Q: “Denise, I have been trying to clean my office, but every time I start, I spiral into feeling completely overwhelmed! What do you suggest?”
A: What I suggest may overwhelm you at first, but it is actually a great way to handle this situation. (I would recommend getting a helper or two.) Step one is to take everything that needs to be addressed OUT of your office.
Now you are working with a clean slate and it is easier to analyze items that you are adding back in. For example, now that the top of your desk is cleared off, it is easier to think about what you really should have on it on a daily basis and choose what to bring back.
Now, categorize the rest of the items that are still outside of your office. For example, if you have gathered a pile of old real estate advertising magazines, you can decide if you will keep those or throw them away. If you don’t want to throw them away yet, but they don’t need to be in your office on a daily basis, make a storage box for “Magazines 2010-2015” and then store it elsewhere. You can analyze each category of items separately and decide if they make the cut to go back into the office.
If you aren’t sure whether you should move some things back in or not, keep them but move them to storage. Make sure you label and date the box. Then in a year or two if you haven’t thought about those items, then they obviously do not belong in your office on a day to day basis.