Spring is in the air, and with the warmer weather comes the age-old impulse to throw open the windows and get organized. As you get your living space cleaned up, don’t forget to give your workspace the same attention. We spend a significant amount of time at our desks and cleanliness and organization do wonders for productivity.
A lot of us haven’t been back to the office since we hastily packed up our desks a few years ago so this spring cleaning is an overdue one. As you get ready to return to the office and whip your desk into shape, here are a few simple ways to de-clutter and get your workspace back to its sparkling best.
Break it down
Not many of us have a big corner office to worry about, but no matter the size of your workspace, it can help to break it down into areas of focus. One side is your computer and tech accessories, one part is supplies, and another could be personal items. If you make an effort to tidy one zone per day, you’ll be organized before the end of the week, every week.
The easiest way to de-clutter might also be the hardest: getting rid of things. If you think about it, you can get most of your responsibilities taken care of with a laptop or a phone. The rest may have their time and place, but if you don’t use something every day, is it really necessary to keep it on your desk at all times? If it doesn’t give you joy, it’s probably time to move on from it.
One in, one out
If a full-scale downsizing is too much to take on, consider a transfer system. Before introducing a new book or succulent, make a rule that for every one thing that comes into your workspace, one thing has to go out. With less clutter coming in, you’ll have more bandwidth to make tough decisions about what you can part with.
Get it out in the open
The office is no place for a junk drawer. If you’re saving paper clips for a rainy day, you’ll guarantee that it will never rain. You may feel prepared by keeping a random assortment of supplies in a drawer, but when these things are out of sight, they’re also out of mind. And they’ll just keep piling up. Instead of stashing extras in a drawer or cabinet, try to keep everything out in the open. This will force you to deal with how much you actually have and how often you actually use these things.
Clutter can happen in the cloud, too
When we talk about spring cleaning, we’re not just talking about washing windows and tidying your desk. We also need to talk about your inbox. As emails pile up, they can clutter your mind and distract you from giving your best effort. If you know you won’t be able to get to an email on the day you receive it, snooze it or set a reminder to follow up so you can get it out of your immediate focus and get back to working on your priorities for the day.
Hang hooks for coats and bags, add a basket or drawers for paperwork (and label their contents) and put all those pens into a coffee mug. If you’re looking for sustainable organizers, reuse cardboard boxes like those that came with a recent shoe or jewelry purchase.
Eliminate plastic bottles and aluminum cans
It’s not uncommon to see three or four different kinds of beverages on one desk—a plastic water bottle, a can of soda, a cup of coffee. We need water, caffeine, and electrolytes to get us through the workday, but they sure do take up a lot of space. One way to cut down on beverage containers is by investing in a smart water dispenser. You can mix unique combos of flavors and enhancements, save around 30,000 bottles and cans every year, and eliminate the hassle of restocking the office fridge.
Don’t forget to actually clean
We can’t talk about spring cleaning without actually cleaning. In our Clean and Green Return-to-Office Checklist we list resources like eco-friendly cleaning supplies, ventilation tips, and more. As you get down to dusting, sweeping, and scrubbing, consider using natural fiber sponges and castille soap as they’re better for the environment than standard cleaning supplies.
As you head back to the office this spring, do yourself a favor and wipe it down and spruce it up. Get organized, clean, and sanitize regularly, and commit to making your workspace a pleasant place to be. You’ll be happier each day you sit down to work, and more productive, too!