12 Things in Your Office You Can Throw Out Today

By Kentin Waits on 14 January 2015 2 comments

If you're like most people, your office is your second home. You probably spend way too much time there and, because of that, have way too much stuff there. If the new year has you inspired to make a fresh start, maybe the best place to begin is your office. (See also: 15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out Today)

So grab a box (you know, the big empty ones near the copier) and start purging. Here are 12 things in your office that you can throw out today.

1. Old Resumes

If you have a hand in the hiring process where you work, then you know the steep ratio between qualified candidates and open positions. If your stack of resumes is 6-12 months old, toss them. Most applicants' availability, career goals, and contact information have likely changed.

2. Outdated Electronics

Unless your business is selling antiques, it's okay to toss that dot matrix printer. And while you're at it, explore other ways to get rid of old electronics. Once that 12 pound laptop and broken fax machine are gone, potential new clients will be far less likely to think your 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass has a bag phone in it.

3. Dead Plants

What special kind of voodoo makes even the most robust plant wither within weeks of becoming part of our office décor? Do the fluorescent lights sap the life out of them? Are they allergic to business jargon? Do they revolt at the smell of burnt popcorn? Whatever the reason, if you can't revive them, toss them.

4. Fake Plants

The only thing worse than a dead plant, is a fake one that can't die. These faded dust-collectors add nothing to most office environments. Switch to the real, but hard-to-kill plant variety or just embrace the dark power of your black thumb and go plant-less.

5. Gifts You Never Took Home

Rare is the employer that doesn't participate in some sort of white elephant or gag gift event during the holidays. While the parties can be a welcome diversion, after a few years, the gifts can leave our offices looking like a thrift store. Do a deep declutter one Friday afternoon and donate what you can to an actual thrift store.

6. Random Mugs

First, pat yourself on the back for using real mugs instead of disposable Styrofoam or paper. Then, take a critical look at just how many mismatched mugs you've collected. More than five? 10? Donate the excess or pass them on to a co-worker who's still single-handedly keeping the polystyrene industry afloat.

7. Jackets, Sweaters, and Gym Clothes

The temperature in most offices varies wildly, prompting many to amass a small collection of light jackets and sweaters on the backs of their chairs. Take a few moments to scale back your growing second wardrobe. Oh, and while you're at it, clear out that small pile of gym clothes under your desk.

8. Tchotchkes

In our home offices and at work, tchotchkes multiply like dust bunnies and empty Starbucks cups. While a few might be endearing, having too many tchotchkes implies that you need a desk full of totems to get through the day. Donate or take the excess home.

9. Boxes and Packing Material

It's hard to avoid the slow accumulation of boxes, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts in any office. If your business doesn't involve frequent shipping, freecycle these items (someone's always moving) or take them home to use for holiday gift-shipping.

10. Out-of-Date Magazines

The price of magazines makes them difficult to toss even after they've been read from cover to cover. Consider donating them to a hospital's waiting room, a retirement home, or a school.

11. Old Receipts and Bills

Once your expense reports have cleared, why keep old receipts? And how long are you planning to hold on to that cell phone bill from last April? While it's always a good idea to leave a thorough paper trail for tax purposes, it's also entirely possible to get a call from Hoarders as an industrial-sized dumpster gets dropped on your front lawn.

12. Old Marketing Materials

The sheer volume of business brochures, leave-behinds from conferences, catalogs, and random business cards that the average professional accumulates in a year's time makes me think printing is where the real money is. Take a moment before you leave for the weekend (you do leave for the weekend, don't you?) to go through the stacks. Keep what you need and feed the rest to the recycling bin.

Okay, maybe you can't purge all 12 categories of items in a single day. Conveniently, there are twelve months in the year if you decide to take the scenic route on your decluttering journey. Whatever way you do it, you'll be glad you did. And with a clutter-free workspace, you just may be inspired to redecorate and find inexpensive ways to make your office look awesome. Remember, clearing out your office can help clear your mind, inspire new levels of productivity, and make Monday mornings feel slightly less daunting.

Is your office filled with items that get in the way of your productivity? What's the strangest item you've seen in someone else's office?

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Guest's picture
Kashif

What about the most outdated and obtrusive item in the office: the Boss :)

Guest's picture
jaime

Don't forget to cut/mark out your personal info on those magazines!