A proper workspace, whether you work at home or in an office, is key to increasing productivity and reducing stress. This workspace should include good lighting, quiet, an ergonomic setup with a comfortable chair, a desk at the ideal height, and a computer screen just the proper distance away, so you’re not squinting and hunched over. But “proper” also means neat, which is what National Clean Your Desk Day is about.
(And if you’re reading this after National Clean Your Desk, why not celebrate today?)
Some of us seem to enjoy messy and cluttered desks or not be fussed by them, but research suggests that a well-organized space — where you’re not constantly looking for a pen or a document under mounds of other documents — lets you focus on your work and get more done in less time.
Here are a few tips on clearing and cleaning off your cluttered desk:
1. Take everything off to start: That means not just your computer, keyboard, and mouse but any picture frames, plants, coffee mugs, dried-out tissues, and, of course, papers. Place everything nearby in a big pile.
2. Wipe down your desk: Depending on whether your desk surface is wood, glass, or another material, wipe it down with an appropriate cleaner — a solution of water and vinegar can do the trick. Remember, it isn’t likely just covered with bacteria but also dust, oily residue from our skin, and, yes, tiny bits of our actual skin.
3. Throw and recycle: Go through that pile of stuff that used to be on your desk and sift through it. Shred or file any sensitive documents, and recycle paper and plastic, as appropriate.
4. Don’t forget the drawers and shelves: If your desk has drawers, empty those too and throw away any items you never use. If you’ve got nearby shelves, remove what’s on them, evaluate their usefulness, file away what you need to keep, and wipe down the shelf surfaces — they’ll be covered in dust too.
5. Get a trash can and recycling bin: Keep these near your desk so you can throw or recycle items daily instead of piling them back onto your desk.
6. Use a filing system: For documents that need to stay nearby, consider a vertical organizer or horizontal trays — but remember to periodically go through these to ensure they don’t become a new space for clutter.
What are your favorite ways to keep your office space neat and clean? Tell us all about it! Please share your ideas with the Shop Talk community.
Did you know? Clean in the age of COVID
The average work desk can be 400 times filthier than a toilet, and the average office has over 500 species of bacteria hanging around. This is to say, once every two weeks would be a good time to wipe down your computer, screen, keyboard, and mouse with a disinfectant wipe.