I was working with a client in her office today. Her desk spaced was completely covered with stacks of files and papers. She said the sight of them overwhelmed her.
I brought a full sized recycling trash can into her office. I went through one stack of files at a time with her. She was surprised to find that most of the items on her desk turned out to be no longer useful to her. They were clutter.
I asked her how she normally dealt with the paper in her office. She said that she took files out of the filing cabinet when she needed them. But she would forget to put them back. She also said that as papers came into her office they would get mixed in with the folders. Pretty soon it was too overwhelming for her to deal with.
She is also a Mom with two daughters and a husband. I told her that when she goes shopping and comes home with the groceries she puts the bags on her kitchen counters and then puts the individual items into either the refrigerator or the cabinets. She can't leave the food out because it will either spoil or be in the way of preparing meals. She agreed. I said that the same thing goes with her office space. When something comes into her office it either gets used right away and then tossed or placed into a file. When she takes something out of her fridge and she's done with it, it goes back into the fridge. When she takes something out of the filing cabinet and when she's done with it, the items go back where they came from.
She got it. She saw the value of dealing with things right away. Often it can seem like a pain to have to take a few minutes to take care of something. However, the effects of the things being undone and in front of us exhausts us psychologically. Picking up after ourselves keeps us current and in the moment and gives us peace of mind.