The Minimalist Workweek: 6 Ways to Liberate Your Drawers

January 6th, 2010 § 0 comments

This is a guest post written by Dave Damron of The Minimalist Path.

On the path to becoming a minimalist, it’s important not to overlook your desk drawers.

I have already discussed my issues with desks and desktops over at The Minimalist Path, but drawers are another clutter-control area that has been glossed over many times.

Drawers, you ask?! Yes, drawers. They hide away the stuff we want to ignore for days, months, and even years. Drawers are an intimate part of the procrastination in all of our lives.

Drawers are the devil. Okay, maybe not the devil, but they can be a great way to hide things that you actually need to deal with, or part with.

I currently have two drawers in my desk and they only hold writing tools, scratch paper and computer/electronic cables. Other than those objects, these drawers are empty.

I do not have an abundence of unorganized old bills or miscellaneous love letters from Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Biel. I actually keep the latter under my pillow, but that is a discussion for a different post.

Drawers were the arch-nemesis of my attempts to organize at work, when I worked at a 9-5. I always just threw random papers from the boss into them and rarely acknowledged their presence until the last minute. Unfortunately, during my almost 2 year tenure in my 9-5, I never learned from my clutter until the end.

But since then I’ve developed a number of helpful solutions to the proverbial drawer problem.

I would love to help you minimize your workplace by attacking those drawers with all your might.

6 Ways to take control of your drawer situation.

1, Limit unnecessary filing. It’s important to recognize the difference between filing and “filing”. Filing is the process of putting useful material that you will need in a drawer, so you can use it later. “Filing” is putting stuff in a drawer that you will never need to see again. Learning to differentiate between the two is a valuable skill.

2, Surrender your knickknacks. How many knickknacks do you need? I had a few knickknacks as conversation pieces at my desk, but it’s was important to keep the number limited. Unnecessary knickknacks can build up in drawers, when you don’t really need them. Trash those knick-knacks hiding in your drawers now.

3, Deal with the work on your desktop, don’t hide it. The more you see an item on the desk, the more likely you are to complete that task. So don’t bury projects in the drawers. Deal with projects that appear on your desk immediately, and then dispose of them. Skip the drawer section of your workflow entirely.

4, Keep the pen supply simple. Do you really need 30 Bics, 2 staplers, 5,000 paperclips, and markers representing all the colors of the rainbow? Most likely not. One simple pen can usually do the trick in most modern offices.

5, Food goes in the fridge, not the drawer. This may help you on another resolution, if you know what I mean. Keeping food in your drawers can promote constant snacking during your workday, snacking plus extended periods of sitting can cause obvious health side effects. Forgetting perishable snacks in drawers can cause obvious smell side effects.

6, Don’t let others fill your drawers. You would be surprised by what others ask you to keep for or from them. That includes your boss. Just say you can only handle what is on your desk and nothing that needs to be stored away. If they have something that needs to be done right then, then do just that. If it can wait, have them give you the project or file when you have time to address at that time.

Hopefully, these will shine a light on the problem hiding in the closet…or should I say drawers.

David Damron is the brilliant blogger behind The Minimalist Path and Life Excursion. He was interviewed previously on Far Beyond The Stars on being Minimalist.

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