It’s that time of year again. For some it’s relieving and relaxing, for others, it’s a chore. Often, people forget that spring cleaning your home is just as important as cleaning your office. The average working person spends about 25% of their week at work. That’s a lot of time spent at your office desk typing/taking phone calls and even eating, so why not keep it clean? This office spring cleaning checklist contains actionable items that you can do while you read, so get out your organizing skills and cleaning supplies and let’s get to work!
Minimalize and Organize
Open your drawers, yes do it now, we’ll wait. Now take everything out one by one and ask yourself when was the last time you used that old notebook that you never wrote in or the 10 sticky note pads you have. Limit the amount of ‘stuff’ you have and place the extra stationery in the company supply room! This way you don’t feel like you have to get rid of anything, just merely letting others borrow it. Next, take out all the papers that you stuffed in your drawers a couple of months or even years back that you told yourself you would look at again, or documents you told yourself you couldn’t throw away because they were so important. Well, are they still important? Organize your papers into two piles:
- Most important (you look at these daily/weekly)
- Important (look at them monthly)
- Least significant (haven’t looked at these papers in the past year)
Move the documents you look at more often to the front of your drawer or filing system and move the older materials in the back. That way you have the files that you use weekly within arms reach of your workspace and files that you use yearly towards the back of your filing system. This creates more efficiency in your day to day work so that you don’t have to go searching in the back of the drawer for something you use on a monthly or yearly basis.
Once you’ve organized your paperwork by the timeline of when they are most often used, split those papers into themes. For example, if you’re in social media split the paperwork into (Twitter/Facebook/Instagram), or if you work with clients, you can split it up by (client/internal paperwork). Split it accordingly to what your job entails. This system gives you a broad to narrow outlook by first dividing your papers into the timeline of when you will use them (daily or monthly), then dividing that paperwork into themes. This system organizes your office, so you spend less time searching for something and more time being productive!
The “Throw It All in Drawer”
Everyone has one, even the cleanest people do. The “throw it all in” drawer consists of random items you have that you just don’t have a place for, i.e., flashlights/pens/sticky notes/tape. The easiest way to keep that drawer clean is to get a drawer organizer to throw in all your knick-knacks. The next time you find a random object around the office and you don’t know where to place; you can throw it in the drawer organizer. This way you’ll have a “messy” organized drawer. Try to limit your messy organized drawer to only one drawer in your office. Once you found your drawer, get out a measuring tape and measure your drawer dimensions. Here’s a drawer organizer we recommend, It has a place for all your knick knacks, it’s affordable and meets your needs.
The Dusty Décor
Look at your desk – when you look at the décor on your desk does it give you the sense of sentiment or do you look at it and it feels like “stuff.” If it feels like just stuff that’s cluttering up your workspace, then re-evaluate the items you want to keep. Research shows that hoarders have a hard time letting go because it triggers the same nerves in your brain as if you were physically in pain. If this relates to you, then you don’t necessarily have to throw anything away if you have sentiment attached to that item. You can take it home and put it in your storage memory box to look at later on. Think back to your overall goal you’re trying to achieve today – de-cluttering your desk! Now look back at your office and look at 3 things you can either take home, donate or lend to a co-worker. When thinking of these 3 things, look at decor that’s behind your chair on the walls, or decor that you pushed in the back that you can’t even see. Once you find those 3 things, set them aside to either take home or donate!
The Working Zone Method
Now that your notes and décor are cleaned up think of re-organizing your desk and dividing it into working zones. Having different zones divides up your brain into different working compartments. For example, having a place for your computer, a zone for your note taking and paperwork, a zone for making calls and a zone where you can zone out for a second at work to eat or do anything personally. This way you have a place for everything in your work day, and you can organize your desk accordingly. How do you start? Find your top 3 zones. Think about what you do you do on a day to day basis that takes up the most time. Split your zones accordingly to your list. For example, if my zones are phone calls with clients, creating campaigns and taking a work break, I will make a zone (folders/files) for those three things. However, you won’t have a zone for “taking a break,” this zone can be somewhere else in your office, like the break room, the kitchen or even outside take a walk. Your other zones can be icons on your desktop and files you put in your drawers. Once you create these zones – organize your existing notes and compile them into the files. To prevent these zones from overflowing, do a weekly check-in with yourself to make sure you’re not throwing in random papers and notes into your zones.
Spring cleaning your office isn’t just what’s on the outside but also on the inside. Take a second and minimize your screen and look at your desktop icons. How is your desktop organized? Start with your wallpaper. Choose a clean background so you can see all your icons on your desktop without the background colors interfering. Next, look at all your icons and find common themes that you can create into folders. For example, you can create folders for all your meeting notes, new client forms, pictures, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to add folders within folders (but don’t get crazy). Having a clean desktop is a significant factor in having a clean office. The moment your desktop starts cluttering, your brain clutters, and everything follows with it. Considering you work daily on your computer, your desktop should be the number one priority to keep in check. It’s easy to get caught up in a busy work day and save things on your desktop without having the time to save it into their desired folders. At the end of every workday before logging off your computer, look at your desktop and organize whatever you saved into its respective folders. Your morning self will thank you!
The Desk Evaluation
Look at your desk, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the happiest) how happy are you with it? If your answer is below a 5, ask yourself why. Is it your drawers and how they get stuck every time you try to open them? Is a piece of wood falling off your desk? Does it have so many scratches that you just give up cleaning every time you start? It’s okay to consult with your employer to ask them to buy you an affordable used desk. Since you’re at work majority of your waking hours, you want an office desk that meets your needs and requirements and allows you to enjoy being at work. A nice desk and set up has a significant impact on your productivity at work.
Set a Reminder
Spring cleaning is a great way to get started on cleaning up your office space and de-cluttering, but wouldn’t it be nice if your spring cleaning stayed that way for the whole year? Set a reminder the first Monday of every month to go through your zones, your “throw it all in drawer,” and your dusty decor to keep a check on yourself to ensure that you’re not adding on to these piles as the weeks go on. Having a monthly reminder is refreshing way to start your new month and making sure that your desk stays de-cluttered and clean for the whole year!