The winter weather seems to linger, but I still know spring is in the air. How? I’m deeply into spring cleaning – or should I say clearing – at my office.
Here’s what I’ve been doing:
Purging digitally: I’m always complaining about all the emails I receive. Many of them are lists to which I subscribed years ago. I find I never read them. Instead of simply hitting delete I now hit unsubscribe. My inbox is shrinking as a result. So is my stress.
Adjusting my clock: It’s easy for me to work later in the winter because it’s dark outside. With daylight savings time, though, it doesn’t get dark until later. Fortunately, one of my colleagues reminded me of this. I’m leaving earlier now so I can take advantage of the extra daylight. It’s nice to be home at a reasonable hour and still have time to walk the neighborhood or go to the gym. Soon, I’ll be in the garden.
Purging: I did something in my spring cleaning that was so liberating. I emptied all my pens and pencils into a pile and then only kept about a dozen. What did I do with the rest? I tossed them! Yes, it was wasteful, but most of them had been picked up at conferences or given to me. No one else was going to want them. And now I can use the pens I truly like.
Cleaning files: I limit myself to two file drawers. If they start to get tight, it means it’s time to toss some files. However, many of my files are now kept on my hard drive. I take the time to clean those out, too. I have a rule that every document must fit within a folder. And no folders can be labeled “Miscellaneous.”
Switching up: It’s been a year since my last spring cleaning so it was time to change the artwork and move the items on my desk. Not only did it make the office feel fresh and inviting, it stirred up some new energy.
What’s on your spring cleaning list?
Spring is the time for cleaning and freshening up our environs, which means it’s a perfect time to clean your office. Here’s a short checklist to help you:
Dust: Start by removing everything from surfaces and thoroughly dusting. Don’t cheat and dust around items. You’ll be amazed by what is hiding underneath. As you put things back in place, you may find yourself tossing things you no longer need.
Vacuum: Thoroughly vacuum or mop the floors. If you can move furniture easily, this is the time to do so.
Declutter: Now it’s time to tackle the piles. Sort through them and toss what you no longer need. File anything you can. Whatever you do, do NOT create a miscellaneous folder. Even if a folder only has one sheet of paper in it, it will at least be labeled for future reference.
Order: Check your supplies. Do you need ink cartridges, paper, file folders? Make a list and get those ordered, if not for the year then at least for the next six months. It will be one less thing you have to remember to do.
Sort: Open your file drawers and determine if anything can be tossed. I have a rule that everything needs to fit within two file drawers. If both are full, I know it’s time to purge. I’m finding I have fewer file folders because of online documents.
Electronic sort: As part of your spring cleaning, take some time to clean your computer. Delete folders you don’t need anymore. Clean out your emails. Update your software.
There! You’re done with your spring cleaning and your office should be good to go until you start the piles again.
My grandmother used to make a big deal about spring cleaning. She would scrub cabinets and clean rugs and get into areas of her home that weren’t touched any other time.
It always seemed to be a bit much. Why not just keep up with it throughout the year?
The answer is simple: Who has time?
When my life is feeling chaotic I find cleaning and organizing extremely helpful. One of my friends and I joke about how we end up with the neatest closets during the most difficult times in our lives.
This year already is proving busy for me and adding to the chao is that I’m moving my office — twice in the next 30 days. At first I was frustrated because I like a calm environment. Then I realized that the move was nothing more than a forced spring cleaning. I’m thinking I need to spring clean each year. When I do I’ll tackle the following:
1) Pull all the files out of the cabinet and determine if I still need them all. I’ll recycle the paper that I don’t need and reuse the folders for the next projects.
2) Look at how I accessorize my office. Do I need lots of tchotchekes or can I keep just a few? Another option is to rotate them throughout the year to always have something new to look at.
3) Toss any pens that don’t work or leak. Pencils that are missing erasers should be tossed.
4) Eliminate any folder that says “Miscelleneous.” You will waste time looking for it. You are better off with a folder with only one piece of paper in it.
5) Toss magazine articles about leadership, social media, time management that I have not read in a year. Do the same with books, only donate them to your local library or school.
When I move into my temporary quarters, there will still be some chaos, but there will be a lot less!
Do you have any spring cleaning tips to share?