How to clean out your office in one hour

If you’re a collector like me, your office is full of stuff. Papers, books, old gadgets and drawers full of unnecessary supplies. After accumulating about 20 years worth of junk, I thought it was time to clean out. With only about one hour’s work, I managed to eliminate about 90% of my junk. Here’s how I did it.

1. Move to a vacant office

When a colleague down the hall retired, I claimed his office. From him I inherited a desk, a chair, a computer desk, two book cases and a file cabinet. To this I added only daily necessities:

  1. Computer and accessories
  2. A few pens and pencils, tape, paper clips, etc.
  3. Office fridge
  4. The textbooks for my current courses (I’m a college professor)
  5. Other textbooks and materials that I will need for future courses.

I left everything else in the old office.

2. Over a fixed period of time, get whatever you need from the old office

For the next two months, I went back and retrieved necessities from the old office. Then I found places for them in the new office.

3. Then pay someone to throw everything away

Honestly, I couldn’t resist doing a one-over of the old digs to make sure I didn’t forget anything “important.” This is when I retrieved my shelf full of old tchotchkes and other memorabilia. I had someone else throw everything away so that I wouldn’t be tempted to keep things that I didn’t need.


About Mark P. Holtzman

Chair of Accounting Department at Seton Hall University. PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. Worked at Deloitte's New York Office. BSBA from Hofstra University.

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