Matt Baier on Preventing Sloppiness




Twice a week, every week, I whip out my Purell sanitizing wipes & scrub away all of the awful little imperfections that somehow managed to dirty up my desk– from food crumbs to ink stains. Viola! Clean. And it should stay that way, right?

But, somehow, my desk always seems to betray me…I just don’t get it! Two days ago, you’d need sunglasses to look at my glowing and beautiful desk and today it’s a sight that will literally make your eyes sore (in a bad way). Sometimes I wonder if I’m cursed, as though I’m just genetically built to make my desk space messy. 

Organizing Pro Matt Baier offers some interesting perspective on this general tendency to mess up your pretty desk. I found that if you really take in what Matt has to say, you might find that your sloppiness is not so inherent to your being…it’s just that you were visualizing your space incorrectly! Matt beautifully explains this concept in the last installment of his guest blogging series.

After reading this post,  you might find that you are (finally!!!) no longer a victim of your clutter, and that’s certainly something to celebrate.



5- My desk was neat two days ago and now it’s a wreck! Why does this happen so often and what can I do to prevent my sloppiness from getting so bad?

There’s a difference between clearing your desk and organizing a desk.  Both result in a clear desk, but only one lasts.  Organizing means that the desk contents get cleared to locations that make sense.  So how do you get those locations to make sense? Start with the end.

Step away from your desk and imagine your office space is like a target with four rings, even if it is just a cubicle.  On the outer ring, keep your back up office supplies and archive files, the files you are keeping just in case. This outer ring can be outside your office.

In the third ring, keep reference and items you want to display. These items can and should be stored vertically.

In the second ring, keep things like a printer. They are important and get used often, but they may require that you get up from your seat.

In the first ring, keep ONLY items that you need to keep at your fingertips. This would include your computer, your phone, a small file cabinet, a minimum amount of office supplies, and your action files. Everything else should go to the outer rings.

Finally, in the bulls eye, store nothing. That’s right nothing. A clear work surface is your number one organizing tool, because it allows for processing. Think of it as a vital tool, not just another piece of furniture. That tool’s purpose is processing NOT storage. Everything needs a home in the rings of the target, not the bulls eye.

All the paper that ends up on our desks requires just one of two things: make a point of acting on it or find it reliably. Action items require a system where the files are vertical, visible, and minimal. All other current files require a user-friendly filing system, so that you can find them reliably. You can free up space in your filing cabinet by storing the files you are keeping just in case more remotely. You may find that up to 65% of what is clogging up you file cabinet are files you are keeping just in case.


Like this post? Check out more of Matt Baier’s guest posts here:

-Matt Baier on Is There Such a Thing as Organized Clutter?

-Matt Baier on the Benefits of Keeping an Organized Desk 

-Matt Baier on Sentimental Garbage

-Matt Baier on Office Desk Essentials

A brief bio on Mr. Baier: After his promotion to Head of Design Services at the Jim Henson Company, home of the Muppets, Matt was responsible for managing half the staff and working in half the space, with 25% more work in demand.  To combat the challenge ahead, Matt engaged his organizing expertise, increasing the company’s production rate tenfold.

Today, Matt owns and heads Matt Baier Organization, where his organizing team uses the Matt Baier Organizing approach to declutter and organize homes & offices all across the Fairfield County and Westchester County areas.