Spring cleaning – it’s so last year. These days everyone is timing their annual declutter around the start of autumn, which is on Sunday, in case you were wondering. After a hedonistic summer of barbecues, day drinking (just us??) and getting sunburned because honestly you just did NOT expect it to be so hot, it’s time to get back to reality. And nothing helps focus the mind like a good old spring… sorry, autumn clear out.
There are plenty of reasons why we prefer to schedule our decluttering as the weather gets colder. In fact, the weather is part of it. After all, the fact that it’s getting cooler means you’re less likely to get all hot and bothered while lugging boxes around. Also, we’re going into the season where we will be spending more time indoors and that means you want to get rid of all that annoying clutter that will make you feel stir crazy if you don’t.
Autumn decluttering isn’t just for your house. Given that you probably actually spend more time in the office in the average week than you do at home, it’s worth starting there. And there is plenty of evidence that your working environment can hugely affect your productivity. So if you need a way to convince your boss that spending a couple of days ignoring clients and focusing on clearing out the store cupboard is a genuinely good idea, just show them that article. Or if you are the boss, now you have a legitimate reason for getting your team to tidy up.
Of course, as every seasoned declutterer (it definitely is a word, no matter what autocorrect thinks) knows, it’s important to have a plan. So here are some tips from us because, if we do say so ourselves, getting organised is something we’re really very good at.
How to declutter like a pro
Good decluttering is one of those things that actually makes your environment look more chaotic to start with. That’s because the best thing to do is to unpack everything so you can see what you have. You’ll be surprised how much you can shove into a filing cabinet when you try and don’t get us started on archive rooms. Don’t worry, it does get better though.
Once you’ve sussed out how much is there, you need to make a plan of action to sift through it and get it organised. So for example, you might want to begin by throwing away / shredding / incinerating anything that you no longer need. Remember that if this detritus includes confidential waste, you’ll need to destroy it properly. You don’t want internal memos appearing in the local press now do you? And before you ask, no, standard office shredders aren’t particularly effective. Especially if you’re destroying micro format items like microfiche or microfilm.
Next step is to group what remains in a sensible sort of a way. It’s no good having your stock or invoices or packs of post-it notes divided across an arbitrary number of cupboards or shelves or filing cabinets scattered around the office. There needs to be method in the madness.
Storage – a thing of beauty
Once you know what needs to be stored and in what sort of order, it’s time to figure out WHERE. So here you have a few choices. You can dedicate one room or part of a room to storage. You can install shelving, invest in decent archive boxes, create a colour coded labelling system.
Just remember that certain things, such as paper, are quite fussy about their environmental conditions. Much like toddlers, they don’t like to be damp, they don’t like sunshine, they don’t like to be gnawed by rodents.
Of course, you could also get someone else to take care of all that for you. Offsite document storage is honestly the best and we’re really not just saying it because it’s our business. Here are a few reasons we think you’ll agree are pretty convincing:
- It saves you so much space – space you can do all manner of cool stuff with.
- You’ll always know where your documents are – we barcode the boxes in our custom built storage warehouse so we can lay our hands on any of them within minutes.
- Your documents will be safe – from the elements, from fire, from thieves, all thanks to the climate control and security measures we have in place.
- It will be so much easier to get hold of documents – like we said, we can get hold of any of the documents we store within a few short moments and we can also courier them over to you or scan and email copies.
- You’ll save loads of time – just think of those wasted hours spent getting dusty in archive rooms or cursing the collapsing hanging files in that rickety filing cabinet.
Doing an effective autumn clear out takes a little thought and planning and a bit of hard work, but it’s so worth it. Just think how good you’ll feel once it’s done. And if you need some help or encouragement, give us a call.