Declutter Your Business In 20 Simple Ways
Just as our homes fill with clutter, so do our businesses. I know first-hand how stressful clutter can be. I also know it takes time and energy to declutter your business.
But, here's the thing -- Clutter makes it tough to maintain the high energy levels and productivity needed to be successful in business. That's why it's necessary to declutter your business from time to time.
"Stuff" accumulates without us even realizing it. And if we don't take the time to declutter we will soon find ourselves and our business stuck, overwhelmed and unproductive.
That's why I want to share with you 20 simple ways you can declutter your business. I want you to be able to continue to move your business forward and not allow clutter to block your way to success.
My declutter story
In 2003, when my husband and I got married, we combined two houses that were full of stuff. It was a mess. Our 1,500 square foot home was crowded, and our lives were stress-filled.
One night, as I was trying to find our checkbook to pay our bills, I ended up in tears. We ended up fighting because our tiny desk was covered in stuff and I just lost it! I knew it was time to do something to fix the mess (pun intended) but I wasn’t sure what to do or where to start.
I researched “decreasing stress,” and I found tons of research on the fact that clutter creates stress. After sharing what I learned with my hubby, we both committed to declutter so we could de-stress. We got rid of tons of stuff – and when I say “tons of stuff,” I mean it actually weighed at least a ton.
And we found that decluttering did reduce our stress! It was easier to find the checkbook, to make a grocery list, and to even do the laundry.
After experiencing these successes, I dove deeper into the “decluttering/de-stressing” school of thought. And that’s when I discovered Feng Shui. At first, I (like some of you, probably) thought it was a bit “out there,” and a bit too “woo-woo.” But something in me said to give it a try and that it couldn’t hurt anything. So I did.
I started by using this practice in my office space at work and then focused on applying it to my career. A year later, I was introduced to coaching and, well, you know the rest. Here I am with my own business and feeling centered as I help my clients reach their goals.
Today, I continue to use Feng Shui and I continue to design my home, office and life with intention. And, I still see results. I know decluttering really works. In fact, I have several recurring appointments on my calendar for decluttering. This way I am consistently decluttering the different areas of my home and my business. For example, each month I declutter the plug-ins and media on my website. Once a year I declutter our medications.
To help you declutter your business, I'm sharing with you 20 things I consistently declutter from my own business. I hope this list inspires you to look for the clutter in your own business and life and take steps to remove it.
20 Ways You Can Declutter Your Business.
- Documents so old you don’t even know why you created them.
Have you ever settled in at your computer and found a document you worked on several weeks or months you don’t recognize? If you haven’t labeled a document in a way that explains why it’s important–and especially if no bells ring when you see it–get rid of it. You’ll only frustrate yourself as you try to figure out all of these confusing documents.
- Images from events or promotions you won’t be running again.
Digital clutter is still clutter, even if you can’t physically touch it and pick it up. If you’ve created graphics for events or promotions and used them once, but don’t plan on using them again, get rid of the images. You’ll free up space on your hard drive or in your storage, and you’ll be able to more easily find what you need.
- Newsletters in your inbox that you’ll never read.
We all often subscribe to newsletters thinking they’ll be interesting or informative, but there’s usually a set of newsletters we’ve saved and marked unread because they didn’t spark excitement, interest, or intrigue when we originally got them. Helpful suggestion: get rid of them! They’re likely so old the information is outdated by now. Especially if you’re working in the online space. Things change quickly.
- Website plug-ins you aren’t using.
This one’s important because it can affect how your website works. Your website is your online home. Inactive plug-ins slow your website down which can lead to lost visitors and readers and a lower ranking with google.
- Emails that are more than 90 days old.
In business, it’s always better to reply sooner rather than later. If you got swamped and haven’t responded by now or dealt with the content of the email, it’s just awkward to respond out of the blue. If you have dealt with the content and know the message won’t serve you in the future: delete.
- Pinterest pins that aren’t performing well or ideas you haven’t implemented.
If your pins aren’t catching people’s attention, they’re not doing anything for your business or for your marketing strategy. If you’ve pinned ideas to check out for your own business but you haven’t actually implemented them, they’re not doing you any good. They’re just taking up space in your Pinterest boards. Get rid of them.
- Dried out markers and pens.
You know you have them, everyone does. It’s that bunch of pens and markers in the desk drawer, in the junk drawer, or in your pen cup. It’s the writing instruments that don’t work and that you toss down in frustration when you can’t get enough ink to write and then forget about. If it doesn’t work when you go to use it: toss it.
- Cute notebooks you’ve had for over a year and never used.
I know, I know, they’re cute. You fell in love with them. But, as a coach, it’s my job to be the enforcer. And cute clutter is still clutter.
- Notes from client projects that have been completed and approved.
Most likely, these notes will just gather dust. If you “think” the client might need them -- send them to the client and delete them from your computer.
- All those google drive documents labeled “untitled doc.”
This one is simple. If the contents of the document didn’t inspire a title, it’s not worth keeping. Title ‘em or remove ‘em.
- Images, documents, pictures, etc. that you have saved in multiple places.
Choose one location to store them all and delete them from everywhere else. If they’re on your website, you don’t need them in Google Drive and/or on your computer. If they’re on Facebook, why keep them elsewhere, too? Digital clutter is a real thing.
- Supplies, fliers, etc. that are left over from past events you hosted.
AND those 5 adorably cute paper plates you kept from a birthday party a year ago and haven’t used 😉
- Old calendars, schedules, and checklists that are outdated.
Tell me, what do those things really tell you? Do past appointments really move you forward once they’re done and over with? What about that checklist that you started at the beginning of the year and never finished? Cut the clutter and get rid of these unnecessary paper documents and digital files.
- Backup files for your website.
I know it’s important to have a backup for your website, just in case the unthinkable happens. But, the thing is, you don’t need to keep the oldest backups. I suggest keeping the three most recent, but I think saving an entire year of backups is just nonsense.
- Delete temporary files in your cache folder and cookies from your computer, browser, etc.
This will make it easier to find what you need on your computer because it will help your computer to run faster and give you more space for your current and new work.
- Unused apps on your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, etc.
See above. Your phone, tablet, and computers, and your digital storage for that matter, have finite space. If you’re not using something, it takes up space and slows down the processor. Get rid of it.
- Contacts in your phone, email, etc. that you no longer recognize or that you have duplicates of.
Contacts only work for you if they’re accurate, if you know who the person is, and why you put them in your email, phone, and files in the first place. If there are duplicates, or the information is out of date, delete or update as needed. Otherwise you may end up struggling to contact the person you want when you need to.
- Duplicate images in your Facebook Business Page Photo Albums.
Facebook has become one of the go-to places for online business owners, and it’s a great place for clients to find you. But, your business page’s photo album could be a little bit of a turnoff if potential clients and visitors see the same photographs uploaded again and again. Why would you need a photograph there multiple times?
- Business cards you’ve collected from people you no longer remember.
This is all about physical clutter. If you gather business cards often and keep them because ‘you never know when you might need them,’ it’s important to audit those contacts on occasion. If they’re no longer accurate, they’re useless. If you have more than one card for the same person, it’s just another piece of paper that you don’t need. Toss it!
- Workshop notes, worksheets, and handouts.
Over time you’ve most likely gathered notes from workshops, networking events, and educational events you’ve attended. If you haven’t touched them since, get rid of them. And if you also have documentation from things that you’ve already implemented, get rid of them, as well. If you find something that doesn’t fit your business anymore or no longer fits with your beliefs or values, let those things go!
How will you declutter your business
so you can increase
your productivity and decrease your stress?
Hello! & Welcome
I'm Coach Erin. I help new and emerging business owners
↣ organize ideas
↣ design authentic brands
↣ systematize business
↣ create and implement strategies
↣ improve productivity
If you want to start, grow and manage your online service business with more confidence, consistency, and control, let's meet.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin Garcia, Business Coach
Coach Erin has been guiding new business owners through the process of starting, growing, and managing a service business since 2003. Between coaching, brand design, and website development you might catch her strolling the beaches of Western Washington, visiting family in Arizona, or enjoying a glass of iced tea creekside on her back patio.