With more than 80% of company leaders planning to offer remote work in some capacity moving forward, more employees are finding the need to set up a designated home office. Having a clean and organized office has benefits that go beyond the aesthetic. An organized office environment can increase your productivity, provide a sense of propriety, increase your self-confidence, and create an environment where you’re less likely to get sick.
When you work from home, you control how often your home office is cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized, choosing everything from when you dust and vacuum to when you wipe down your keyboard and take out the trash. When you work from home, and your office looks appealing, you’ll feel proud of your office and enjoy the freedom of expression that you might not otherwise enjoy in a more commercial setting.
Whether your home office is a large space or small nook, designed and decorated, or a small closet, spring is a good time to clean your home office and give it a refresh.
Bring Order to Your Home Office
Before you start cleaning, it’s good to bring order to your home office. Home offices can be catch-all rooms for many of us. When a piece of mail is received, it might be placed in a pile rather than filed away. This can be due to other pressing matters, distractions, or the mail was earmarked to look at later. There may be pens and notepads stashed away in any corner, ready for a quick note during a phone call, or outdated technology sitting in piles.
To truly spring clean a home office, it’s important to try to take the entropy and break it down, removing the chaos (even if it’s organized) and creating a clean slate, which can help make it easier to stay focused, organized, and uncluttered.
What is in the office and why? If it belongs in your living room, kitchen, or bedroom, go ahead and move the item to where it belongs.
Sort through office supplies. Put all pens, notepads, sticky notes, and wires together. Do all of the papers picked up at the latest show need to be kept? Any documents that can be scanned and tossed (or shredded) will eliminate extra paper.
Evaluate what can be given away or thrown in the trash.
Organize items based on functionality. If certain items are used daily, weekly, or rarely, you can sort them by use. A label maker may not be used as often as a scanner, and neither might be used as often as a printer.
Sort through paper clutter. That interesting article in a magazine can be scanned or found online, old bills can be scanned to PDF and then shredded, and any remaining papers can be sorted and stored in a filing cabinet rather than in piles around the room.
Adding a recycling bin and focusing on what items can be recycled will help make getting rid of extraneous paper easier and more eco-conscious.
Create Different Areas for Different Tasks
Creating different areas for different tasks through mapping is a home office design idea that can lead to a more cohesive small home office.
For instance, if an office is divided into five zones — computer, phone, research, supplies, and archives — it’s possible to keep everything together related to those locations, allowing the focus to be on the task at hand.
If something doesn’t need to be in the home office space, you can move it to another room. Create a filing system for organizing incoming papers, paperwork that needs to be kept, and to-do lists that aren’t digital.
Redesigning a Small Office
When working from home, having the right office furniture can make or break productivity. Having office decor, lighting, filing cabinets, a desk, and a chair can increase focus.
Desk and table lamps provide adequate lighting when working at night or in a home office lacking natural light. Energy-efficient LED lamps and those with USB ports are good for an office setting, as are gooseneck lamps or lamps with swing arms, which can be adjusted for computer screen glare and to light different areas of a room.
Small corner shelves can provide added storage space for small offices, allowing books, a stapler, tape, and other small items to have a home, rather than being stored in a junk drawer. Built-in shelving units, floating shelves, cubes, cabinets, and baskets all allow for easy sorting in a small space.
A small, sturdy desk designed for a tight space, with storage or adjusts into a standing desk, transforms a room into an office. Different materials, such as fabric, laminate, metal, mixed materials, plastic, processed wood, and wood, all provide sturdy, attractive desks in a wide variety of colors.
Office decor, whether through mirrors, area rugs, wall art, or plants, helps give a small room a more formal office feel while giving the space personality.
Where to Start When Spring Cleaning a Home Office
For many of us, when we’re about to spring clean a home office, we don’t know where to start. After getting rid of clutter, organizing tools and supplies, and getting rid of actual trash, it’s time to pull out the cleaning supplies and get to cleaning and disinfecting.
Professional cleaners suggest “task cleaning” — doing one chore throughout the house before starting the next. This could be dusting every room and then mopping the floors, rather than dusting a room, mopping the floor, and then going back to do the same thing in the next room.
When cleaning an office area or a small home office, having a plan of attack for general cleaning will make the process easier.
Dust the room from top to bottom.
Clean soft surfaces — neaten any pillows, vacuum office chairs, and scrub any sitting surfaces.
Clean any windows, mirrors, and screens.
Disinfect and wipe down any hard surfaces, especially door handles, light switches, and phones.
Vacuum or mop the floor.
While cleaning can be a solitary activity, many people find lively music helps keep their spirits up as they clean.
Cleaning Products for Your Home Office
Cleaning products are needed to truly clean and disinfect a home office after organizing and tidying up.
For sensitive noses or places without good air circulation, unscented cleaners can help keep chemical odors down. Cleaners with various other scents, such as floral, fresh, citrus, clean, fruit, linen, mint, nutty, and vanilla, are also available.
For those trying to keep a greener home and work area, there are more eco-conscious cleaners and supplies available. For office meetings in person, rather than getting a cup of coffee in a paper or plastic cup at the local coffee shop, you can bring a reusable, washable tumbler. It’ll keep the drink hotter or colder for longer, is a good investment, and is something that can be used for years rather than a day.
Keeping Clean After Spring Cleaning
Maintaining a clean home office after spring cleaning is a difficult task, but it can be made easier if done mindfully. Take the time to put away mail as it comes in, take the trash out on trash day (instead of waiting for the bin to become full), run the shredder weekly, evaluate whether something new really needs to be brought into the office, and phase out old and obsolete technology. Keeping up with cleaning makes it possible to keep a small office or home office clean and organized.
After a long, cold winter, spring cleaning offers the opportunity to renew a workspace, increasing efficiency, organization, and cleanliness. Whether your home office is large or small, there are countless options available to make it a productive space.
About the Author
Julie Unger is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience, specializing in education and science.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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