It’s a new year, and for many, this means setting new goals for the year ahead. However, one thing could be holding you back from having a productive 2017; the organisation of your homes flat surfaces. These surfaces include benches, tables, desks, and even the floor. You use them for different purposes from working, entertaining, playing and a whole range of other activities. Consequently, for many these surfaces end up being storage spaces for various household items. Depending on the types of goals you have set the condition of your flat surfaces may determine whether you achieve them.

The organisation of flat surfaces are important as they provide you with the space you need to complete tasks. However, when they are unorganised, they can reduce your productivity and motivation as you feel you don’t have the space you need to get things done. Resulting in people avoiding the activities and goals they desire to achieve. On the other hand, organised surfaces will motivate you to complete these activities as you have the space you need to complete them. Organised spaces will put you in a better frame of mind giving you a sense of control of your surroundings. Unlike disorganised spaces which tend to create frustration and a sense of chaos putting you in a negative mood. You will be far more motivated to get things done when you are in a positive frame of mind.

Also, people working in cluttered spaces tend to waste time. When people set time to work on activities, they are full of energy and motivation but when their space is disorganised time is spent moving things around to create the space they need. So all that energy and time that should have gone into completing the activity is lost. An organised surface will allow you to jump straight in and complete your task. Furthermore, it will allow you to focus your time to pursue the important things giving you a greater feeling of accomplishment.

Organising your flat surfaces

Following the three principles below can support you in having organised flat surfaces.

1. Minimise:

  • Declutter all the items that don’t belong on the surface:
  1. Start by removing all the stuff from the flat surface.
  2. Assess each article to determine if you use it.
  3. You should responsibly discard items that you don’t use.

The key objective here is to declutter as much as possible to enable you to then focus on organising the stuff you need. There is no point in organising stuff you don’t use.

2. Organise:

  • Things you do use, should be appropriately stored and not left on the flat surface.
  • Utilise cupboards, drawers and other storage containers to store items.
  • When storing items ensure commonly used items are within easy reach.
  • Things that don’t belong in the room the flat surface is located in should be kept in their proper space. For example, toys should not be stored in the kitchen but rather in the child’s play area.

Remember only store the items that add value and responsibly dispose of things that don’t.

3. Maintain:

  • The key objective here is to ensure the flat surface doesn’t become disorganised and cluttered again.
  • Ensure all items are returned to their storage location once you have completed your activity.
  • This habit will make sure that your flat surface is clean and ready to use for your next project.
  • This action will be a lot easier when each item has its designated storage location.

Example 1: the kitchen bench

If you have made 2017 the year to pursue your interest in cooking, eating healthy or even spending less time in the kitchen an organised bench top will support you in achieving these goals. The key role of the kitchen bench is meal preparation. Unfortunately, it can be a dumping ground for the day’s mail, groceries, and other ad-hoc stuff.

A cluttered bench doesn’t give you the space you need to prepare meals. You may even avoid cooking when your kitchen counter is disorganised, which may result in you eating unhealthy takeaway food. Likewise, if your goal is to spend less time in the kitchen, you won’t be able to do that if you a consistently reorganising and searching for items. An organised kitchen bench should invite you into the kitchen to prepare your meals.

Organising the kitchen bench:

1. Minimise:

  • Remove any items from the kitchen counter that you no longer use or should not belong in the kitchen.

2. Organise:

  • Store all remaining utensils, dinnerware, appliances, and cookware in draws or cupboards. Making sure commonly used things are within easy reach when you need then.
  • Keeping a few commonly used items (e.g. the kettle) on the bench is okay as long as it doesn’t clutter the countertop.

3. Maintain:

  • Only bring things out when you need them; this will ensure you will have the space you need when preparing your next meal.
  • Once you have finished your meal; return all items to their storage location.


Some people fall into the trap of displaying fancy kitchen appliances on benchtops just to show people they have the latest device. If the appliance is used store it in a cupboard and bring it out when needed however if it’s not get rid of it; not just from the bench but get rid of it all together. People will remember the good quality food made in the kitchen over the fancy appliances.

Example 2: the desk

The desk serves as a workspace to achieve your career, study or creative goals. If you have set some goals in these areas for 2017, you may want to check the condition of your desk to make sure it’s clutter free.

A clutter free desk will guarantee your mind is clear and you can perform your tasks without any visual distractions ensuring you are productive. In contrast, a messy desk will prohibit you from getting anything done as you will constantly be reshuffling items and getting distracted by everything around you. There is nothing worse than losing your train of thought or failing to note down that excellent idea due to distractions.

Organising your desk:

1. Minimise:

  • Like the kitchen remove any items that are no longer used or don’t belong on the desk.

2. Organise:

  • Store all your stationary and other office supplies in cupboards or draws rather than on the desk. The exception would be items such as a desk lamp or a computer screen.
  • Things such as laptops, wireless keyboard, and mouse should also be stored to ensure you have space to pursue activities that don’t require a computer.

3. Maintain:

  • Bring items out when you need them.
  • Once you have completed your task; return everything to its nominated storage location. This action is essential if you share your desk with other members of your household or if you are working on different projects. If you are working on project A, you should not be surrounded by stuff that is relating to project B. Your productivity will increase if you are not spending your time shuffling through paperwork and other items.


Some people have the urge to glamorise their desk with expensive stationery and accessories. This is not only a waste of money, but the quality of your work will be determined not by the quality of your stationery but your intelligence, creativity and whether your space allows you to feel relaxed to express your ideas.

The above approach can be utilised for any surface in your home. Take the time to look at your flat surfaces to determine if they are serving their intended purpose. Don’t just focus on the ones listed above but also look at others such as dining and coffee tables which are designed to entertain but can often be used to store miscellaneous items.

Also don’t forget your homes biggest flat surface – the floor. Having too much clutter on the floor can be a safety hazard. Also, the floor plays an important role especially if you have children as they will utilise this space to play.

Keeping flat surfaces minimal and organised will ensure you use them for their intended purpose. They will also be ready for use when you need them, helping to boost your productivity and achieve your goals. Finally, it’s not the size of the flat surface that matters but how you organise and utilise them.