When we have clutter sitting around we grow accustomed to it. In time we don’t even see the mess, unless it begins encroaching on space needed to do our jobs or to be comfortable sitting at our desks. Got a few sticky notes around your computer’s perimeter? How about a few boxes of “stuff” stuck underneath your desk? They’ve been there for so long you’ve forgotten what’s in them.
Lean Manufacturing uses a concept called Red Tagging as part of their 5S process. Items no longer needed or used on the manufacturing floor are marked with a Red Tag. The tag contains information such as the name of the item, where it needs to go as well as a due date for moving it. Within a matter of days the item is moved out of the shop, preventing clutter and encouraging organization.
Doesn’t that process sound efficient? It is!
Although you don’t have to use an actual Red Tag, you can apply the Red Tag technique in your office just as Lean Manufacturers do in their plants. So what sort of things are sitting around, gathering dust and are no longer needed?
Check out these seven zones of your office where clutter may be lurking:
- Under your desk
- On top of book shelves or filing cabinets
- Bulletin board – clean it off – it’s probably been a while since you looked at everything here anyway
- Desk drawer – Clear out extra pens, pencils, and other supplies. Pitch the broken stapler.
- Post-it notes – are they layered around your computer monitor? Chances are some are expired and no longer apply.
- Bulging filing cabinets – these are often filled with expired items that have out-lived your company’s retention policy
- Personal items – Items such as extra shoes, dishes or mail need to go home.
As the Lean Office saying goes: Sort Through. Sort Out. When in doubt, move it out!