My office organizing clients and I are archeologists. We tackle piles of papers and journals from other time periods, and we chisel through email inboxes overrun with electronic missives from long ago. Sometimes the piles and inboxes aren’t the problem. It’s The Shrine.
The shrines I’ve found in offices are collections of tchotchkes or multiple photo frames of family and friends. The shrines take up valuable real estate in a space that is already cramped and crowded, and many times, we’ve stopped noticing what we have since it’s become part of the landscape.
Here are a few examples that I’ve seen:
- The Large Photos. Several large 8×10 photos of someone’s children as babies. The kids were grown adults.
- The Plant Lady. It’s like the Cat Lady but with lots and lots of plants. It’s a problem when the vines edge into your primary workspace and curl around your keyboard.
- The Collection. One woman loved shoes so her co-workers began buying her decorative shoes, and her shelf is covered with a vast collection. She’s asked people to stop buying them, but they kept bringing them to her. Other collections I’ve seen in the workplace include elephants, giraffes, Monet, and rubber ducks.
One department’s manager asked me to visit their office space. I noticed each of the team members had paper stacks literally falling on the floor, and they each had small desks with a small filing cabinet and overhanging cabinet. However, each of them had the overhang cabinet open with individual shrines full of fast food toys, candles (that you’re not allowed to light at work), potpourri, picture frames and, other tchotchkes.
Their prime real estate was being taken up with toys while their work was falling on the floor. I had to (gently) break the news about how they needed to downsize their shrines and utilize their prime real estate for their work.
I believe in fun in the workplace, and I like to have cute, fun things in my office. Photos of my nieces and nephews are on the wall in one collage frame, and a couple of funny sayings are pinned to the back wall of my desk wall. They’re out of the way and not in my prime real estate zone.
What should you do with your shrine?
- If you think you have a shrine, count how many items you have. You may be surprised.
- Secondly, identify which items are your absolute favorites.
- Remove the ones you don’t love from your collection and see how that feels for the next week or two.
So, how do you feel? Do you miss the ones you removed? Did you even notice they were gone? Does your space look and feel better?
You probably already know that Rubbermaid makes great products for the kitchen. I especially love their Easy Find Lids and my new favorite is their junk drawer organizing system. I decided to test it out in my husband’s desk drawer and installed it on May 10th…then I checked back to see what it looked like on July 8th.
Take a look at the progression of our mini-project. The before and after photos really tell the story. If you’re brave enough, I’d love to know what your junk drawer looks like. Leave a comment and post your pic. =)
Step 1 – Open the Rubbermaid package & make sure the system will fit in the drawer…or select the pieces to be used
Step 2 – Open junk drawer, take everything out, and sort/purge/categorize
Step 3 – Decide where to put everything
Step 4 – Check back in 2 months (or minimum of 21 days) to see if the system is working
Buy @ Rubbermaid
*The nice folks at Rubbermaid sent me this junk drawer organizing system to review free of cost. Thanks, Rubbermaid!
How diligent are business professionals about keeping a clutter-free workspace?
· 30% of respondents report having lost an important document due to a messy desk
· Food (32%), old newspapers (32%), coffee cups (31%) and spare shoes (12%) were cited as the most likely items to cause workspace clutter
· Disorganization commonly leads to lost time (47%), meeting tardiness (16%) and missed deadlines (14%)
[Small Business Trends · Campaign Launched to Help Business Professionals Get Organized · Office Depot Survey · December 2009]
Get Your Work Space Organized