Based on my personal experience of helping clients organize their offices, and insight from organizing guru Julie Morgenstern in her book Organizing from the Inside Out, I believe the following are the Top 7 Reasons for Office Disorganization:
Items Have No Home – If you notice piles of clutter, it is likely that you have never designated a particular spot for them. Every item needs one consistent home, so when you are done using it, you know where to put it and when you need it again, you know where to find it
Inconvenient Storage – You do not put things away because it is too difficult of a task. You may be storing items too far away from where you actual use them. If it is too hard to put something away, you simply will not do it
Unclear Goals and Priorities – Organizing is about defining what is important to you and setting up a system to reflect those goals or priorities. If you’re not sure what your goals are, or your goals tend to be excessive, it will be hard to set up a workable office
Dislike the Space – You find your office so loud or so quiet, so dreary or cold that you dislike being there. It is hard to organize the space when you have such ambivalent feelings about being there
Indecisiveness – You experience difficulty making decisions, often times about what to keep and what to discard. You have a fear of making a mistake or a wrong decision; you feel anxious and worried. This can often relate to the fear of losing information
Out of Sight, Out of Mind – People leave things out as visual reminders of what they have to do (e.g., pay bills). This is okay if there were only a few items, but once the volume builds, everything blends
In Transition –“Every time we go through a major change, we experience a breakdown in our organizational systems,” (Morgenstern, page 21). Transitions include moving, marriage, new baby, starting school, graduating from school, retirement, illness or death, job search, business merger, business growth spurt, career change, etc.
Once you have insight to why things are disorganized, you can then move forward with solutions that address your particular challenges.