5 ways to clean your office better

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If your office is an unmitigated mess (like mine was this summer), here are some office cleaning tips that will help you become more organized…

Does having a tidy office or a clean desk motivate you? I know it makes a huge difference for me, although not everyone is wired the same way. So, if the words “tidy office” don’t excite you, then stop reading this blog post right now. Go and do something else more important to you.

This past summer, I had a spectacularly disorganized office. It looked as though a bomb stuffed with paper had exploded in the centre of it. But between my work and my travel, I just didn’t have time to deal with the issue. I simply shoveled the papers into a box and cleared off enough room for me to work. Last week, however, I finally did a deep clean. It feels fantastic! Now I’m suddenly enthusiastic about jobs I don’t normally like doing very much. If cleaning matters to you, here are some tips that might make it easier.

  1. Clean and discard stuff, before you organize. There are two reasons for doing this: (i) You’ll feel better when you see your office start to become cleaner. This feeling is highly motivating. (ii) Why organize something when you might want to throw it out? Make the big decisions about what you want to keep and what you want to throw or give away, first.
  1. Have a Goldilocks filing system. By this I mean, a system that’s just the right size for you. On the one hand, you don’t want so many files that you have to think really hard about where to put stuff. On the other, you don’t want just one file labelled ‘miscellaneous’. You probably need somewhere between 15 and 100 file folders, depending on the size of your business.
  1. Put the objects close to where you’ll need them. If you use a hole puncher all the time, as I do, you’ll want it sitting out on a countertop. If you use it only a couple of times a year, stick it in a drawer. Files you consult daily should be in a special holder close to your desk. Income tax returns can be filed in a box stored at the back of your office.
  1. Consider buying a good scanner. By good, I mean a scanner that’s super-fast and really easy to use. I highly recommend the Fujitsu Scan Snap. I’d heard good things about this device for years. My only regret is that I didn’t buy it sooner. Scanning some documents is an excellent way to get paper out of your office.
  1. Be willing to let go of things. I used to hang on to way too much stuff. Now, before saving anything, I ask myself a few questions like these: Can I replace this information relatively easily? Will this information likely go out of date anyways? Is this information available on the Internet? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, I discard the paper.

Two months ago, I wouldn’t have dared show you a picture of my office. Now you can see what was formerly the most messy part of it in the photo above. Bliss!

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