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Man Up: The Minimalist Work Space

As you might expect, here at Birchbox Man our desks are overflowing with stacks of pomade, rows of shampoo, and leaning towers of cologne. Swimming in product is part of what it means to be a grooming editor, but it can also be a major hindrance to productivity. Heck, we're getting dangerously close to Karl Lagerfeld’s bathroom sink territory here. Last week, as part of a radical desk reorganization project, we called up the most talented and ruthless organizer around: Justin Klosky, founder of the OCD Experience (that’s "Organize" and "Create Discipline," by the way). As a professional organizer, this guy has turned his disorder into his profession. He dropped some serious tough love on our grooming tornado disaster of a desk situation.

His first tip: “Before you organize anything, pull everything out of that area and lay it out to assess.” Soon, piles of nose hair clippers, our collection of retro drugstore scores, and copious shaving products were strewn on the floor in front of us. Over the course of the following hour, they would all make their way into proper shelving and storage.

Klosky says that once you've got your space where you want it, it's important to keep it that way: “Always start and end your day with a completely clear and free desk area.” Sounds extreme, but he says you only really need three items on your desk (in addition to a computer, a phone, and a backup hard drive). He'll allow a personal item or two as well—say, a picture of a special someone, or maybe that red stapler you’ve grown so attached to. But that's it. Welcome to your new, super-streamlined office space. Here are the three, and only three, things you need:

  • A 3-Tiered Bin
    “One tier is for incoming materials, middle bin is projects that you're working on in progress, bottom bin notebook, any other loose materials.”

  • A Notebook
    “Everyone should have a small notebook— separate from one’s digital notes—for keeping track of what’s on your plate.”

  • A Small Supply Cup
    “Scissors, highlighter, nail file, and two different color pens. Use one pen to write new notes, and the other to cross off what you’ve completed. Anything not crossed out needs to be dealt with.”

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