Do You Need to Declutter Your Business? 3 More Ideas to Get you Started

Declutter Your Business

Declutter Your Business

Do You Need to Declutter Your Business?

3 More Ideas to Get you Started


Welcome back to my series on 21 Ways to Declutter Your Business and Get More Organized. You can read the last post in this series here. Productivity is a hot topic in business circles as well as my mommy circles. We never seem to have enough time to get everything done that’s on our list or in our heads. Paperwork seems to be leaking out of every drawer and falling over on every surface of the office and you know that permission slip for tomorrow’s field trip is in their somewhere… Bookshelves are double and triple stacked and they are driving you crazy but you can’t seem to find the time or motivation to do anything about it.

So far in this series on 21 Ways to Declutter Your Business, I have shared 12 ways to make small changes that lead to big results. You don’t need to do all 21, in fact I encourage you not to. Pick the one or two that feel most important and start there.

Today’s 3 tips are a blend of the emotional and the practical. When it comes to productivity, mindset can get in our way and can be unconsciously sabotaging our own success. Clutter isn’t good for creativity and in fact can hinder you from being creative and thoughtful. Physical clutter creates mental clutter.

#13 – Change your Habits

In the last post I shared some ideas on using software to help with productivity and managing paperwork. But it isn’t just spaces or software that don’t really work for us sometimes: It’s habits too.

Mindset is one of the key elements to our business success. We have to believe it is possible!

What are you doing that is unnecessarily complicating your business?

  • Do you habitually lose money by waiting till the last minute to use this month’s VA service package, wasting her time (and yours) by assigning trivial tasks instead of the ones you really need her to do?
  • Do you have bad email habits that either drive your subscribers away (inconsistency; mailing too much—or so little they forget you)… or allowing your inbox to clutter up again?
  • Do you never call people back or send follow up emails? Do you procrastinate? Follow up is another key element of business success!

Whatever it is that makes you self-sabotage, realize that identifying that habit is the first step to changing it. And change it!

I know, I know, easier said than done, right? Start small and celebrate every time you make headway. Pick on habit and put a large colorful x or a gold star on a paper calendar for every day you make progress and don’t do that habit.

Mindset habits around our business can have to do with an inner lack of faith in own ability or fear of being successful. Look at your motives for self-sabotage and ask yourself what is going on underneath the surface.

#14 – Use the “Rule of Three”

If you are having a hard time discarding multiple belongings—whether or not that is business books or old bath salts—use the rule of three: Keep your three favorite items in that category—and discard the rest.

If you really have trouble letting go of things, continue this way:

  • Donate three items in that category
  • Throw away three items in that category

If you still have items in a category left after that, take another pass and do it again: You will most likely find it easier to discard or donate the extra items the second time (but try not to keep more than three of each item!)

I love this tip – it works in the office, the bedroom closet and the kitchen. But I would have to say that tip 15 is my personal nemesis – I love books and my shelves are overflowing. It’s definitely time to do some purging…


#15 – Purge your Office Bookshelf

If your addiction is books, you are likely to have so many that it will be hard to apply the “Rule of Three.”

Sort your books into two categories:

  • Relevant and current
  • Evergreen authority books (e.g. Funk and Wagnall’s Style Guide; Webster’s Dictionary

Take the rest and sell them at your local used book store or donate them to a youth center.

We moved from Texas to California two years ago and it was so great to get rid of stuff before we moved. I went from about 10 bookshelves double and triple stacked down to four, neatly shelved. Now they seem to be overflowing again with kids’ books, business books, my husband’s traithlon and fitness books, art books… I am not surprised at how easy it has been to accumulate new stuff since we have been here – mostly books and art supplies but definitely more than we need.

I will definitely be making a trip to the library to donate books to them for their annual book sale. I also like to donate books to the kids’ schools for the English teachers’ classrooms.

It feels really good to give books, art supplies and other useful items I no longer need to someone who can use them. If you struggle with giving things up, stand in the shoes of someone who might be able to put these items to use and imagine how grateful they will feel.


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  1. Patti P on October 14, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I do not work outside of the home – however I do homeschool our 4 children. Plus I am trying to develop my blog so it will make some extra money for our family. I love all your ideas. We recently moved from one home to another and we are in the process of trying to declutter and organize things. So your post is very timely. I love the 3 item idea. Thanks for sharing

    • minette on October 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Patti – being a mom and homeschooling is a full time job! Kudos to you and congratulations on starting a blog to make extra money. What a great lesson to model for your kids, too. Good look with getting organized. There are so many awesome resources out there for organizing your home school!

  2. Elisabeth on October 14, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    No… not my books! Don’t make me get rid of my books! LOL

    A couple of years ago my husband got me a Kindle just to help cut down on clutter. I still have a lot of books, but it is better than it was.

  3. Alana on October 14, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I think the universe is after me. This is the second blog post I read today about decluttering – almost like the Universe was pointing at me and saying YEAH YOU. GET RID OF THOSE BOOKS. No, wait, that’s my husband saying that. More than books, too. OK, I can take a hint (It isn’t just books – it’s 30 some years of living in the same place)

    • minette on October 14, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      I am laughing out loud, Alana! Love it when the universe hits us with the messages we most need to hear.

  4. Tamala on October 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    MY GOSH HOW I NEED YOU IN MY LIFE!! I am really working on getting organized… I need to GET rid of things… and add more shelves on the walls for storage. But first.. I need to dump lots of things.. I have papers from high school in my work drawers.. smh LOL

    Thank you for these tips

    PS I love the click to tweet. I think I may add them back into my posts. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • minette on October 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      Tamala, when we moved two years ago we still had college papers and textbooks tucked away, craziness! Plus baby clothes we found in the attic and when we moved our kids were 13 and 10! I feel your pain. Start small and pick one drawer at a time 🙂

  5. Victoria Virgo on October 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I like the idea of the rule of three. I am looking around my room now and there are lots of necessary clutter that I could purge. Adding that to my to do list – Shouldn’t take too long to clear 🙂

    • minette on October 15, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Love your positive attitude Victoria. I think that’s the secret – it doesn’t take as long as we think it will, especially if we focus on one small space at a time.

  6. Amy Bovaird on October 14, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I love your helpful hints! I definitely need help with changing my habits! For example, I was supposed to guest blog for you and when I went to check the day, I found I hadn’t written it down. Yet I didn’t seem to find time to follow it up. I wanted to do that very much! I find I’m trying to catch up with all my plans but haven’t managed to do it yet. And I’m always busy! Def need to work on this area! The willings is very much there! It’s time management. So, maybe I have to change my time management to change my habits! =)

    • minette on October 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Amy – thanks for the honest sharing. I have found that living by my calendar and putting my to-dos into my calendar keeps me much more honest with myself and on track with my business.

  7. Ashley on October 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    These are very helpful!!!! I am KNOWN for clutter especially on my desk and bookshelves. I think it is my creative mind that causes the clutter so I take the good with the bad and make sure to throw away everything that is completely unnecessary. I usually purge stuff on Saturdays when my kids are with their dad and I can do it in peace 🙂

    • minette on October 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      I totally resonate with what you said Ashley, that our creative minds cause the clutter! So true!!!

  8. Mary on October 15, 2014 at 1:44 am

    Terrific tips! I look forward to implementing them into my office space. Thanks!

    • minette on October 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Mary. Look forward to checking out your post on Jimi Hendrix.

  9. Michelle Liew on October 15, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Thanks for all advice on decluttering. It is helpful to for the mind and body.

    • minette on October 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      So true, Michelle. My husband often comments that the clutter makes him feel anxious!

  10. Francene Stanley on October 15, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I have been on the receiving end of goods donated to a charity store when I really needed help. I always give away spare things now, knowing how someone in that position feels.

    • minette on October 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Wonderful Francene, thank you for sharing that here!

  11. Wendy Van de Poll on October 15, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Minete, I am really good at keeping my office clear as far as the big picture but at the end of the day…that is a different story..need to declutter as my day progresses…thanks for a great article

    • minette on October 15, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Hi Wendy thanks for stopping by to read this post. I agree, decluttering as we go is so smart but for some reason seems to elude us, especially me and it never helps when the kids show up to dump their papers on top of what I have already accumulated! 🙂

  12. Chara on October 15, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Great suggestions on an important topic, Minette. I am usually very good about clearing things out, and I’m realizing it’s time again for another tidying trip through the house to see what needs to be offered to others. And I appreciate the way you extend this practice to one’s business.

    • minette on October 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks, Chara, for those of us who work from home, it’s hard to separate the clutter and sometimes our business adds to the clutter!

  13. Peggy on October 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Minette – I want the bookshelf in the picture you used!!! I LOVE IT! Okay…my name is Peggy and I’m a book-a-holic. Yup. I am. I’ve donated books before – but it’s been a while, a long while since I’ve donated what I’ve amassed. Again. Because that’s what book hoarders do…amass books. So…I will donate one shelf of books – yes, I will!

  14. Sheila Callaham on October 16, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Uh, hum, my name is Sheila and I’m a book-a-holic… 🙂 My biggest problem are stacks of paper in my office. When they become overwhelming, I move the stack to my closet. You can guess where this is going… no where! I’ve got to accept that everything I’m holding onto is not really that important in the big scheme of things. Thanks for the inspiration, I’m liking it!

  15. […] This is the 6th installment in my series on how to declutter your business and your life, get more done and take control. Today’s three tips crossover between personal and business focused. If you work at home, like I do, there is often not a clear distinction between home and office. While I have a very nice office dedicated to work, home creeps in. Kids drop stuff on my desk, personal bills are mixed in with business receipts and the bookshelves are overflowing in every room in the house. If you missed yesterday’s post, one of the tips was how and why you need to declutter you bookshelves, you can read it here. […]

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