Five Tips for a Clutter-Free Workspace

August 7, 2014

Clutter. Paper clutter. Digital clutter. Endlessly filling inboxes and mile-long to-do lists. Does any of this sound familiar? Keeping a tidy workspace has always been a struggle for me. Fortunately, I’ve figured out a few tricks along the way that help make those clutter piles a LOT more manageable!

Tips for a clutter-free workspace
1. File Faster

If you’re anything like me, then you probably HATE filing. I have tried every kind of file and binder system known to man, and by the end of the week, I still always seemed to have a pile of paper I’d been procrastinating about. Then, I realized that the system wasn’t the problem. It was the location. For me, if there is even one extra step between “pick up paper, put away,” then that paper isn’t getting filed. I was keeping my files in a filing box in my storage cabinet, so whenever I had something to file, I had to (gasp!) walk to the cabinet, open the doors, pull out the drawer, and then search through a crammed filing box to find the right spot.

I bit the bullet and bought a real filing cabinet (sooo much more space!), and then I placed it right next to my desk, on the side nearest my dominant hand. (I’m right-handed, so it’s on my right side). Now, I don’t even have to get out of my chair to put things away, and everything fits very easily into the filing drawers. It is a beautiful system!

Pro Tip: Keep extra supplies for creating new files in your cabinet so that it’s easy to label & create new folders when needed.
2. Invest in a High-Speed Scanner

If you run a small business or have to deal with a lot of paperwork, I would highly suggest investing in a high-speed scanner. I am in love with my Fujitsu! It has saved me so much time during tax season, and when we moved recently, I was able to respond to my lender’s last-minute requests for paperwork at a moment’s notice, because everything was either already scanned and stored on my laptop, or could be printed, signed, and uploaded within seconds. It basically creates a digital filing cabinet that is always at your fingertips, and it takes almost zero effort!

3. Digitally Declutter

Does your inbox seem to get clogged with too many newsletter subscriptions and coupons? Have you heard of the amazingness that is It’s the best. You can unsubscribe from all of your unwanted email lists at once!


4. Consolidate Your Reminders

I used to be addicted to writing my to-do lists on sticky notes. I managed to simultaneously lose them and create piles everywhere, and about ninety percent of the time, they ended up wrinkled and dirty on the floor under my desk. Of course, there are a million digital solutions and apps out there, but I personally enjoy writing things down and crossing them off by hand.

The day I decided to write everything down in a little notebook, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my cluttered shoulders. Everything was written down in one place, so I always knew where to find it, and it was just as convenient as grabbing a sticky note. WHY did it take me so long to figure this out??


5. Sort your mail daily.

The last clutter culprit that seems to pile up on me is the mail. I have tried all sorts of systems, but I realized that unless I maintain it daily, it will pile up quickly. I sort my mail right over the recycling bin when I get home, then bring the rest into my office. Items that need shredding go directly into the shredder, and anything that needs action is either dealt with or placed in my “to do” folder for the week.

I also finally took the plunge and switched all of my bills to automatic payments online, and that has saved me SO much time. It took maybe thirty minutes to sign up for automatic payments through my utility companies, and it has been one of the easiest things that simplified my life and decluttered my desk. Less to file, less to worry about — it’s awesome.


Pro Tip: You can also sign up to stop junk mail before it hits your house using websites like & Catalog Choice (they’re free!).


My name is Casey, and I live in a sweet, tiny little house in Delaware with my hubby & our two adorable rescue dogs. As a longtime fan of Toni's phenomenal organizing skills, I am absolutely THRILLED to be a contributor for A Bowl Full of Lemons! I used to be a total mess, but after I let go of the idea of “perfect,” I found freedom. I stopped trying to fit the mold, learned how to make organization work with my natural habits, and have been obsessed with creative organizing solutions ever since! When I'm not drooling over the latest amazing project features over here, you can find me happily tinkering away on my own blog, Pretty Organized, where I share my addiction to aesthetics, small space storage ideas, DIY projects, and all things aqua! Learn more about Casey at

11 comments on “Five Tips for a Clutter-Free Workspace

  1. Great tips. I really want one of those scanners. I’ve been trying to scan more of my documents so I can get rid of paper but it’s a labor intensive process using a regular printer.

    I absolutely agree about having filing supplies handy. Once I put empty file folders in front of the drawer, it was much easier to create new files if I needed them.

  2. Debbie says:

    I love the tip to “unroll” all at once from unwanted newsletters! It seems like I get something new everyday and I have no idea where it came from.

  3. Jessica says:

    I really need to impliment a good filing system. I think that will help me so much.

    I also find that if I sort through the mail instantly, it helps more than anything else.

  4. Mari says:

    I definitely need to keep the clutter down on a daily basis! Great tips here. Thanks!

  5. Ashley LaMar says:

    Great advice, especially about the notetaking. I used to have a bunch of sticky notes too but I’ve since moved to a journal. I also use Microsoft Outlook for task reminders.

  6. Morgan says:

    I’m a fan of using Unroll Me and also moving as much to online as possible. Great tips!

  7. omg thanks for telling me about unroll it! great post 🙂

  8. I love writting on hand too, there are something special in that 🙂 Great decluttering tips.

    • Great tips Casey. Over much trial and error, I prefer a mix of paper to do lists on a notebook, in addition to using a great simple software/app for digitally keeping up with repeating tasks and more long term goals, etc. If you are curious about how I use these, you’re welcome to watch the free video series on this system. Just click on my name above, I’m happy to share!

  9. Great tips! I think that decluttering digitally is something that people really forget when they’re overwhelmed with their physical living space… but it really makes a difference!

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