Clear Desk, Clear Mind! Tips for a New Year Clear Out

Back to work after the Christmas break, ready for a new year, but is your desk ready? Cluttered with last year’s meeting notes, missed calls slips, things to do, sandwich shop menus etc…Don’t just throw them in the drawer with the rest and hope they will go away, let’s start 2013 tidy and organised!

clean desk
photo credit: Jill Clardy via photopin cc

Start with What You Can See

Start making some stacks…

  1. Filing pile (Stuff that needs to be filed away either in your personal folder or business critical information that needs to go into a company folder)
  2. Trash pile …Wait! Think about what is “trash” and what can be recycled. Don’t just throw everything into the bin and be done with it. It takes almost no effort to open the other bin and separate your stacks.
  3. Make a recycle pile. This is NOT a paper pile, these days nearly everything can be recycled, not just paper. So the diet coke you had for lunch last week … you can recycle that can, my friend.

Clear that Clutter

Right so now we have our stacks we can begin the horrible task-the drawers. Take out piece by piece items in the drawer putting them into the correct piles, sorting pens and stationary into another pile as you go.

The next stage is RBF… Recycle-Bin-File. Once you have sorted the recycling and thrown out the rubbish it comes back to the remaining pile …1,2, 3…file.

Get a folder with a pack of tab dividers – start filling up the folder with headings relevant to you. This will make your life a lot easier when your boss asks for that report you did back in May.

*GREEN TIP* scan all the documents you have found and want to keep and save them to your computer, this way you always have a backup and reduce paper usage! It’s amazing how many offices retain paper that could be scanned instead.

Keeping Stationery, stationary

How annoying is it when you’re not able to find a pen when you really need one? Get a pen pot! It`s not hard to fashion your own individual pen pot if you don’t already have one, you can use things around the office. A mug can work very well; just make sure it’s been through the dishwasher first!

*GREEN TIP* If you’re feeling really “Blue Peter” you could make one out of left over wrapping paper and a tin can. Cut the paper to the size you want (you may need to get an adult to help with this). Use the spare wrapping paper to cover the can and make it look decorative.

Drawers and Floors

I am assuming your drawers are still clear? Good. Get a wipe or a damp cloth and wipe down the insides of the drawers. Bet you are thinking “I’ll skip this bit…” but just remember all those times you have left food in your drawer? Do you really want your very own rodent? Once you have wiped down, replace all the contents in an organised fashion. Your new folder with all the important pieces of paper, the note pad you take to meetings for doodles/Executive Bingo and any other items of stationery.

Tip and shake your keyboard onto the desk (try not to recoil with horror as you see the pile of bits that fall out). Wipe down your desk, under the key board and phone. Vacuum the floor. Even if you don’t think it’s dirty, crumbs are practically invisible.

*TIP* If you are struggling for space in your drawers or constantly have paper work to fill out and send off, why not get a 3 tier desk top tray? This way instead of getting all confused with all the paper that comes your way every day, you can become a pinnacle of organisation. For example…Top tray- work to be done, Middle tray- work finished, Bottom tray – work to be sent/filed. The beauty of these trays is they are space efficient; stacking them will free up some space.

The hub of activity….The desk

All you should have on your desk now is your computer. It is very important to disinfect your office items; keyboards and phones – if you share them, clean them. Even if you don’t share a phone, how many times have other people shown you something on your computer and touched your mouse? Don’t start 2013 with a cold, use antibacterial spray.

Now I’m not suggesting you make your work area look like a showroom, a desk should be functional, but now you have freed up some space you can displays some great pictures or get a plant (company policy allowing). It’s amazing what a tidy desk can do for your ability to concentrate. You spend a long time at your desk each day so make it personal to you, clean, green but….just not messy!

Written by Amanda Stockhill of Ecocleen