Back-to-School Office Decluttering

25 Things to Toss Right NOW - Back-to-School Office Decluttering | Purging | Organizing | Organizing Tips | Rooms Need Love

Oh, back-to-school time. Calling me with its pretty pens, adorable notebooks, and all these things I don’t need because I don’t go to school.

Know what I do need? A good office purge.

With back-to-school right around the corner, now is a great time to get your office or homework station in shape for a great school year.

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Having a cluttered, messy work space is one of the worst productivity killers. I can’t focus when I’m surrounded by piles of paper and stuff . It’s distracting, and I’m more likely to clean than do my work

Let’s all start this school year off right with a happy, tidy work space to get everyone excited to work.

Here are 25 things you probably have in your office that you can get rid of right NOW!

25 Things to Toss Right NOW - Back-to-School Office Decluttering | Purging | Organizing | Organizing Tips | Rooms Need Love


Let’s break it down into categories:

Category #1: Paper

  • Shred pile
  • Un-filed papers
  • Mail pile

Okay, technically you’re not tossing the un-filed papers or the entire mail pile but you are getting rid of paper piles and tossing the papers you don’t need.

Now, make a promise to yourself to never make a pile that big again. Repeat after me, “I promise to shred that credit card offer as soon as it walks in the door, file that paper as soon as I get it, and sort the mail everyday.”

Good job.

  • Old receipts

Those old receipts are in the same boat. If you don’t plan on returning something and you don’t need the receipt for tax purposes, shred it. If you don’t have a shredder, you really should get one. You can get one on Amazon for under $30, such as this AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder.

  • Used notebooks/notepads
  • Scraps of paper

At some point the notes you took in those notebooks and notepads may not be relevant. Toss the meaningless ones. Same goes with scraps of random paper, like Post-its. My husband was the king of bringing home little pieces of paper from his grad school clinic days. Half of them never made any sense to him later. Just toss them.

  • Expired coupons

Need I say more? Obviously useless.

Category #2: Reading

  • Unread/unloved books

If you haven’t read that copy of The Book Thief, you probably never will (ahem, sorry, that’s me). Donate those books to your local Friends of the Library chapter to spread the joy of reading. We sometimes hang on to books because we think they make us look well read and educated, but honestly, they’re just taking up valuable space or they make your blood boil. (Goodbye, The Scarlet Letter.)

  • Old textbooks

Textbooks are tough because most of us spent and arm an a leg to buy the newest edition your professor insisted you needed. You could always try to use Amazon Trade-In, but I don’t have much luck there. Instead, look into a place to donate, such as Better World Books.

  • Old magazines
  • Instruction manuals

Scan those magazine articles you really like into an app like Evernote and toss the rest of that magazine. Most of those images are online, so use Pinterest to save them for later. As for instruction manuals, you can find most instruction manuals online in PDF form.

Talk about cutting the clutter.

Category #3: Supplies

  • Inkless pens
  • Busted pencils
  • Empty markers
  • Dried glue
  • Dried whiteout

Not much else to say about these but throw them straight in the garbage.

  • Unused office supplies
  • Duplicate office supplies
  • Old/random craft supplies

When my office moved out of state, we were told to take as many office supplies we would need for our home offices. I ended up with a lot of duplicate supplies and supplies I never ended up using. The same thing happens to old craft supplies. Throw these in a donation box. You might be able to donate these items to a local school.

Category #4: Electronics

  • Old electronics
  • Random cables
  • Broken iPhone cables

There are always electronics recycling events going on all over Temecula. If not, just throw old electronics in the donation pile. And throw away those broken iPhone cables. Those are just depressing.

Category #5: Other

  • Old greeting cards

It is okay to let go of greeting cards. If a certain one really means something to you, find a special place of honor.

  • Loose change

Put your loose change in your wallet or your kids’ piggy banks.

You know these are in your office, ladies. You probably only need one hair tie, one lip balm, and one container of lotion to get by. Put the rest back in the bathroom where they belong.

What else would you add to this list for an office declutter?

25 Things to Toss Right NOW - Back-to-School Office Decluttering | Purging | Organizing | Organizing Tips | Rooms Need Love


More about Jena

Hey! I'm Jena Love, and I encourage busy women to simplify their possessions and organize their lives so they can focus on the important things in life.

2 thoughts on “Back-to-School Office Decluttering

  1. Leah

    Great tips! It cracked me up reading through the list the first time because EVERYONE has the same crap piled on their desk (receipts, junk mail, hair ties) haha. I’m going to put this to use right now!


    1. Jena

      Ha! I’m glad this came in handy so soon! Good luck with your office declutter, Leah!


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