When you really think about it, a desk is where we spend most of our time awake. Sure, you spend a few hours at home, and hours sleeping in your bed. But your waking hours are spent at your desk. Or if you have a mobile job, in your car. We’ll address the car part in a later post!
Naturally, when you spend so much of time in one place, it does tend to get a little messy (or a lot messy if you are like some of us!). A clean desk is important to have a clear mind. The tough part is not cleaning the desk. The tough part is keeping in organized and clean even after a week.
Here are some tips that might help you keep that desk clean and organized:
Start with Cleaning: Put aside an hour to clean your desk entirely. Before you start, keep a few empty files, paper clips and a label maker handy (or a few post-it notes). Make 2 piles of Keep-Throw. If something is in the ‘keep’ pile, figure out where to file it. If you don’t have a place to file it, check if you really need that document again.
Receipts, bills etc need to be put away in a folder, filed according to the month. Put all the additional cards in a card folder. Throw away all the little notes and post-its if they are lying on your table – unless they are stuck in a visible place, you are not really using it!
Put away the files and folders in a drawer or shelf.
At the end of it, these are the things that need to be on your desk:
- Your computer
- Your Phone
- A pen stand, preferably with slots for post-it notes, staplers etc
- A 2 or 3-tiered shelf
Is the desk clean? Now, to the organizing part.
- Order of use: There are some things that we use almost on a everyday basis. You know what they are. We can’t tell you. Put those in an easily accessible place, perhaps the top drawer.
The items that are used less frequently but need to be accessible can go below.
The other things can be stored away or thrown. You know those files that you use once a year, or are saving just in case the tax man ever asks you to pull out that bill from 5 years ago for a Chinese restaurant?
- Decorating: You need a little inspiration, a little memory at your desk. A few personal mementos always help refresh you on long days. Try photographs that you can pin up, or little souvenirs from holidays. Try not to have more than 2-3 mementos on the desk. Photographs work best for this reason – you can make a pretty corkboard (check our DIYs!) for them!
- Everyday Organizing: Now that you’ve got the desk all sorted and clean, the challenge is to keep it that way – everyday.
Most of the clutter comes from filing. Those restaurant bills, the numerous files that keep piling up. If your office doesn’t provide you with a shelf, invest in a small one yourself. When you walk in every morning, and before you walk out, sort out all the bills and file it away. It takes 5 minutes and saves your hours of headache.
Remember those files we told you to keep accessible? That’s where this comes in handy. If there is work still pending, the 2-tiered shelf can be handy. The incomplete tasks go in one and the completed ones go in another. Every Friday, make it a rule to just put it away in the respective files.
- Get a bigger trashcan: Getting a bigger trash can my sound silly but it’s actually a strategic heck. When unnecessary paper comes into your workspace, you’re more likely to place it in the trashcan than to stack it in a disheveled paper tower of “No Clue What to Do With It.” . Get a bigger can, and you’ll be able to absorb more waste. Make sure to recycle!
Yes, it can always be a challenge to keep the desk clean. We are so often worried to throw away little things, just in case we need it. Keep these organized and stored can alway help in keeping the desk clean.
Do you have more tips on how to keep your desk clean? Share it with us in the comments below!