How to Declutter Your Desk and Help Your Bipolar Mind

August 4, 2011 Peter Zawistowski

You can declutter your desk, bipolar or not, in just a few steps. It doesn't need to be complicated. Read this to declutter your desk and clear your mind.
Could your desk use some decluttering? If so, you may share a personality trait with most procrastinators--putting off decisions. Breaking that procrastination habit means you are going to have to do a bit of digging, literally, to declutter your desk. This can be more difficult for those with bipolar than those without, but it can be done. Planning, practice and more practice is what it takes to declutter your desk and regain space in your bipolar mind.

What Makes Us Get to the Point of Needing to Declutter Our Desks?

Clutter can make you feel secure and cozy, especially to the bipolar individual. Sometimes it can make you feel busy and important. Your statement to the world is ,

  • “Look at all I have to do” or
  • “Look how overworked I am” or
  • “Don't give me anything else to do.”

A lot of the sorting can be trivial work and may seem to be inappropriate for the amount of time spent. Given the total trivial amount of work, it does not take much to turn it into a major project.

Is your desktop as cluttered as your mind? Cleaning up trade journals, news releases, old calendars and lunch bags from your favorite fast food place can help not only clean up your physical space but help in clearing your mental clutter too.

Declutter Your Desk With These Simple Steps

What Decisions Do You Need to Make?

Every time a paper or an item passes over or crosses onto your work area, a decision needs to be made. A paper requires:

  • Read Me,
  • File Me or
  • Toss Me.

Items need

  • Order Me,
  • File Me or
  • Ship Me.

Hopefully the toss me items don't even make it to your work space.

What Do You Need on Your Desktop?

“Clean desk” or “Clean freak” advocates insist that only your current project belongs on your desk top. These advocates would banish everything else to side tables, drawers or shelves. But let's not take the extreme position. Instead we want to create a maintainable and livable desktop situation at work.

If your space currently has a mountain range or two of items, papers and stuff, it is time to take prompt action. The first question you need to answer on is not “How am I going to clean this workspace?” but “What do I need on the top surface of my work area?” Even a memory with total recall can't prevent papers and items from being misplaced. It happens a lot, and we need a way to deal with it.

Take a couple of hours, and find a temporary staging area (the floor has always worked for me). Take everything off your desk and begin the sort.

  • What goes ON the desk?
  • What goes IN the desk?
  • Where will you put the leftover stuff? (NOT back on or in the desk!)

Finish your desk top sort in a set time. I make it a morning project and finish before lunch, or sometimes start after lunch and finish before the day is out.

On the Desk Ideas

As you finish your sort from the work top, etc.; start to assemble your desktop. I find a desk blotter is essential. On my bench surfaces, I like one those calendar style blotters, allows for quick note taking (notes don't easily disappear) and small spills are easily cleaned up. One item or work project at a time on the blotter.

Desk Drawer Ideas

"One drawer one purpose" is the motto. Office supplies in one, clean paper and stationery in another and of course the ever popular junk drawer. You may have other drawers available (ie file cabinets, bench drawers, etc.)

  • Use small boxes and plastic containers, especially colored ones to help keep items sorted.
  • Most of all don't be a hoarder, give away extra staplers, boxes of pens, or put it in the master office supply cabinet.

When you declutter your desk, you make it easier for your bipolar mind to operate at work. Try it--decluttering works.

APA Reference
Zawistowski, P. (2011, August 4). How to Declutter Your Desk and Help Your Bipolar Mind, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Peter Zawistowski

Karen Daly-Dawson
August, 9 2017 at 4:04 pm

I am moving into my own space apartment in a long time. Anxiety is high want nothing around and I have Bipolar,ADHD W/OCD and other issues.
I need to go to bed at peace not worried that i had friends show up and things out of order. Reading what I just wrote helps me out in so many ways. Invest in a shreader!!

Leave a reply