Spring Cleaning Your Workspace

A clean white desk with a keyboard, eyeglasses, paper, and two rose gold pens

Spring is in the air, which means it’s a great time to get your workspace clean and organized.

While we typically reserve our spring cleaning efforts for our home, it’s just as important to give your workspace a good refresh. After all, you spend so much of your day at work, you owe it to yourself to make it a clean and inviting space. 

And a clean and organized workspace can leave you feeling happier, more productive, and focused. Here are some additional benefits of giving your workspace a deep clean:

Health. Spring cleaning isn’t just about organizing and decluttering your office supplies. It’s also a chance to clean all the dust and grime that’s gathered over the winter months. Use this time to clean and sanitize your workspace of allergens, dirt, and bacteria–your immune system will thank you for it. 

Focus. It’s really hard to concentrate on the task at hand when your desk is piled high with heaps of paperwork and littered with dirty coffee mugs. Clearing away unnecessary items from your space will help you harness your concentration for the real work. 

Efficiency. Our productivity is halted every time we have to go hunting for a pen or rifle through folders for an important document. By investing some time up front to sorting and organizing your workspace, you’ll save so much time in the long run and improve your productivity. 

Well-being. If the sight of your overflowing desk is stressing you out, you’re not alone. Physical clutter is visually irritating and has been known to increase stress and anxiety levels. A surefire antidote is to clean and organize your workspace. The sight of a neat and tidy desk will bring a sense of calm and order to your day. 

Like any other project, it’s a smart idea to break down your spring cleaning session into easy, manageable steps. Below are our favorite tips and strategies to help you manage all the tasks and spring clean your workspace with ease. 

Make a spring cleaning to-do list

Before you start breaking out the cleaning supplies, you’ll want to create a comprehensive to-do list first. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed, while also ensuring that no important step will be missed.

So, jot down the different zones in your workspace, like your desk, drawers, floors, shelves, etc. And then make a list of things you need to take care of in each zone. 

Here’s a sample to-do list:

Zone: Desk

  • Declutter pens
  • Declutter paper
  • Organize inbox tray
  • Clean and wipe surface
  • Clean the catch-all tray
  • Declutter your office supplies 

After making your to-do list, you’ll want to go through each zone and declutter/toss any items that are no longer functional or you no longer need.

For example, you’ll want to toss any pens that have run out of ink, shred irrelevant documents, and donate items you don’t use but are in good condition e.g. mugs, trays, etc.

Once you take care of the decluttering, you’ll have a much better view of your workspace and will know what needs to be cleaned and organized. 

Manage your paper clutter 

It seems like paper clutter accumulates within any seconds. While we may not be able to stop incoming memos from landing in our in-trays, we can make a small effort to keep junk mail and other irrelevant documents at bay. 

Go paperless. If you haven’t already, go paperless with bank, credit card, insurance, and other monthly statements. It’s likely that you pay most of your bills online, so you don’t need duplicates of paper and electronic bills. And if you’re freelancing or working from home, going paperless will help you maintain your work and personal space. 

Opt out of credit card offers. If you’re tired of receiving credit card or insurance offers, you can request that consumer credit reporting agencies remove your name from their mailing lists. Check out this guide to find out how. 

Unsubscribe from catalogs. Check the back of those shopping catalogs, and you’ll likely find a toll-free number or website that lets you unsubscribe.  

Buy a shredder. A paper shredder is a worthwhile investment if you work from home. Shred paper documents you no longer need but contain personal or confidential information e.g. credit card or medical insurance statements. To help you manage your paper flow, make a schedule to shred your documents every Friday afternoon or the first day of each month. 

Keep a small file cabinet. If you don’t have one already, a small file cabinet will help you organize your essential documents, and keep them from taking up precious space on your desk.  

Identify your desk essentials and make a cleaning plan

What are the essential items that help you accomplish your work everyday? You’ll want to have those key supplies visible and easily accessible. Things like your laptop, pens, notebook, planner, and relevant documents you’ll probably want right on your desk. 

To keep everything organized, use a catch-all tray to wrangle all your small supplies like paper clips and post-its. Keep binders to help you gather your notes and documents. And employ cord ribbons to neatly arrange your chargers and cables. 

Do a quick tidy in the morning

Start your day off right with a quick tidy session. Toss out any garbage, straighten out your folders, and wipe your computer screen. A tidy desk will help you feel like you have a tidy mind.

Do a quick tidy in the evening

Gather documents and file them away, put supplies back in their homes, wipe your desk with a nice-smelling cleaning product. Your future self will thank you for preparing your workspace ahead of time. This is also a good way to end the day, and mark the transition from work mode to offline mode.

Do a 15-minute cleaning dash

If you’re having trouble getting started with your spring cleaning, try giving yourself a low target to make it more approachable. Set a timer for 15 minutes and just use that time to clean your desk or other zone. When the timer goes off, assess your energy levels. The little rush you get from accomplishing a task just might motivate you to keep going and pursue the next item on your cleaning to-do list.

Written by JiJi Lee.

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