By Nicole Tinkham
Did you know that 57% of workers admit to judging co-workers based on the cleanliness of their work area? Even if this fact doesn’t terrify you just a little bit, getting organized increases productivity and leaves you feeling less stressed. Can’t go wrong with that! One thing that often holds people back from spring cleaning in the office is where to begin. Things get so stacked up that just looking at the mess makes you want to throw in the towel. Don’t give up just yet! We have some killer tips on getting your office in tip top shape. Read on!
1. Make the time
First thing’s first, make TIME for a good cleaning session. The last thing you want to do is leave your desk torn apart at the end of the day. Allow yourself plenty of time to get the job done by starting first thing in the morning. That way if you do happen to be interrupted you have a whole day to get back at it. Here are a few things we recommend doing:
• Schedule the time in your calendar and set a reminder in your phone.
• Let everyone in the office know what you’re doing to prevent interruptions.
• Have a goal in mind of exactly what you plan to accomplish.
• If you have an enormous mess in front of you, schedule spring cleaning over multiple days. Just know ahead of time your goals for each day.
• Create a to-do list of areas that need to be organized.
• Identify the problem areas of the office and tackle them first.
• Set reminders throughout the day to take 5 minute breathers so you don’t drive yourself insane.
• Know ahead of time the tools you’ll need (desk organizer, sticky notes, file folders, etc.) and have them ready to go.
• Get yourself pumped up! Have a positive attitude when going into it and it really won’t be that bad.
2. Toss old paperwork
If you have a pile of paperwork lying on your desk without any type of organization whatsoever, this would be a great place to start. Begin with what’s on top of your desk and work your way to the drawers. Deciding what to keep and what to trash can be difficult. As you go through stacks of papers, ask yourself the following questions to determine whether or not the document has seen its last day.
• How often do I reference this document?
• Do I really need it? What do I need it for?
• When I do need it, where would I look for it?
Note: Some documents may need to be shredded so keep that in mind before tossing everything straight into the trash can.
3. Make a paper system
Now that we’ve ditched unnecessary paperwork, it’s time to create a system for the documents that we’re keeping. Want to avoid doing this whole process over again next year? Then listen up because this is crucial! You’ll need some sort of organization for paperwork. It could be hanging file folders, stacked trays, wall files, or desktop sorters. Make sure to label each section with “to do”, “to read”, “to file” and so on. Be clear and specific when labeling.
4. Separate your supplies by usage
Still working on the top of your desk, take a look at the supplies sitting on your desktop and ask yourself if you use these supplies on a daily basis. If the answer is yes, keep it close by. Most of the time these items include pens and pencils (in a pen cup), tape dispenser, stapler, calculator, Post-it Notes, and of course your phone and computer. Anything else can go in one of your desk drawers. For small items in a drawer, consider a drawer organizer like this one. It’s great for binder clips, paper clips, rubber bands, tacks, correction tape, and more.
5. Create zones
If you needed to perform a pretty serious organization session this season, we’re guessing you don’t have set “zones” in your area. You may not even know what a zone entails. Each area of your workspace should be designated for certain tasks. The first thing you must question is how you will use the space. What type of work will you be performing in the office? Your computer could be a zone in itself. Other zones could include a library for research, filing cabinet for documents, and storage for supplies. This will help you use your space more wisely.
Just because you can now see your desk doesn’t mean it’s clean! After clearing off the surface, it’s important to disinfect. Wipes are great to have close by so you can quickly wipe off your desk, computer, keyboard, phone, and anything else that collects dust and germs.
7. Tackle your computer
You’ve totally organized your desk, drawers, paperwork, and supplies. You completely cleaned everything right down to the keys on your keyboard. But there’s one more thing that needs to be organized. It’s the thing you probably use the most and the majority of people forget about it. Your COMPUTER! As with your actual desk, start with your computer desktop. Do you even know what your background looks like or is it covered with icons? The items that require quick access should stay on your desktop and everything else should be moved to your documents in properly labeled folders. This goes for your inbox as well!
Remember: As you delete files, they pile up in your recycling bin. Empty it out when you’re finished!
Next time you clean in the office, it won’t take you nearly as much time if you do this one KEY thing: maintenance! Here’s what you need to do when it comes to maintenance and how often it needs to be done.
Every day: De-clutter your desktop. Chances are you have at least one project lying on your desk at the end of the day along with a few notes here and there. Tidy up 5 minutes before leaving for the day and make sure everything is put back in its designated place.
Every week: Check supplies and wipe down desk. At the end of the week check your supplies and make a list of items to order on Monday. There’s nothing worse than having an empty box of staples when you’re fresh out. It’s also the perfect time to wipe down your desk with disinfectant to get rid of those gross germs!
Every month: Quickly go through your paperwork. As time goes on, it’s inevitable that you’ll gather more stuff. If you’re running out of room in the filing cabinet or on the bookshelf, it’s time to get rid of a few things. Limit yourself to only a certain amount of space so clutter doesn’t make it’s way back to the top of your desk.
Every year: Clean. Do a more thorough job once a year. As long as you maintain throughout the year, this won’t be nearly as bad as the initial cleaning session. Here’s your opportunity to see what’s working well and what isn’t. Try a new organization system if you need to! Sometimes all it takes is a little experimenting to get it right.
We now leave the dirty work up to you! If you run into any difficulties that come up along the way, feel free to comment below or shoot over a question on our Facebook or Twitter page. We’d be happy to help in any way we can. Just remember that all this hard work pays off in the end. What will you do with the extra time you’ll be saving by not having to dig through endless piles of paperwork? Oh the possibilities…