Welcome to the second Monday of January 2019: better known as National Clean off Your Desk Day! Cleaning for your mental health is essential to staying focused and balanced. And I know, there’s no better holiday to look forward to after the winter holiday season than one dedicated to clearing the dust and making way for productivity.
You think I’m kidding. 😉
Cleaning can be a daunting test. That’s why today in the Rain, we’re sharing our top 5 easiest tips to clean your desk.
1) Clear off your desk-completely
Before you can even think of working productively, you have to know that everything on your desk has purpose. Like it or not, we’re starting with a complete desk dump!
Grab a garbage can and get ready to dump every little candy wrapper, dried out pen, or dusty, illegible scrap of paper you find. Do check both sides of loose papers to make sure you don’t accidentally get rid of something important, but don’t fret too much.
Half of the battle is getting started, after all. And according to one Indiana University study, study subjects with clean houses were found to be healthier than those with messy living spaces. More specifically, individuals with cleaner homes were also often more physically active. So take out a few trash bags around the house and cross off your exercise for the day!
Finally, clear everything left on your desk into a holding bin or basket for the time being.
2) Sanitize and disinfect your desk
Your desk has a lot of health problems to worry about. In fact, an average office desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. The same 2007 study at the University of Arizona found an average desktop to have 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table. So that’s relatively good news for your kitchen-but definitely not for your workspace. Talk about ew!
It’s time to grab some sanitizer and wipe that sucker down. Don’t be cheap about this: make sure you’re getting your desk surface as well as your laptop or desktop monitor, keyboard and mouse. Cleaning wipes are a must-have tool to refresh your desk. Go ahead and store them close-by and consider setting up a reminder to wipe down your desk every few weeks.
3) Prioritize frequently-used items
Great, now you’re space is clear and clean! What’s next? Pick out the top 5-10 items you use on the daily, and re-place them on your desk/work area. These should include only your must-have items: your computer, mouse, planner, notepad, pen…things you always grab on the regular. Think essentials in this step, the type of things you would carry with you if you absolutely had to move desks for the day.
But be careful about this! Don’t trap yourself in the same amount of clutter as before. For example: do you love this pen? Great! But do you use it? If you don’t use it on the regular (or worse, at all!) leave it in the holding bin for now. We’ll get to it-promise.
4) Reconsider older tools and items
Okay, you have your most-used pens, planners, notebooks, sticky-notes, and even more re-placed on your desk. What about the plethora of pens and notes left in your holding bin?
Ah, the memories of your first company pen! The cute shape of this unusable (but still cute) sticky note! No matter the memories, It’s time to ditch the tools that you still have for no efficient reason. Yes-that means every dried-out pen you still have on-hand.
And remember, sometimes even things that work STILL don’t have a place on your desk. This could be pens or white-out bottles or millions of paper clips-anything that you simply have an abundance of. Be sure to pass on these items to a friend, loved one, or donation center near you. Now that’s productive and heart-warming cleaning!
5) Adopt an organization and storage system
Drawers, cabinets and letter trays, oh my! Yes, you probably do need something to hold all the paper products necessary for your best ideas and work organization.
But there’s no point in having space to store things without a real organization system to rely on. Grab some washi tape (removable Japanese rice paper-tape, a popular planner and labeling tool) and one of your favorite pens. Now label and file away all your paper woes! Over the next few weeks, be sure to stick to the location and system you’ve created.
Not working out for you? Take note of where you naturally end up placing your wayside papers. Next, re-label and re-place your drawers, cabinets, letter trays, and/or more. Place these as close to where you naturally place your papers and objects to mend your habits and organization together. Perfect!
Looking for a pretty way to label? Washi tape is easy to remove and even easier to re-label with. As a lover of all things erasible-pen, washi tape is a must-have in my organization and planning toolbox! Here are a few to get you started:
Why cleaning for your mental health is key
Cleaning your workplace and desk in particular can greatly improve your productivity. But why is cleaning for your mental health key?
In addition to an Indiana University study showing clean house owners to be healthier, researchers at Princeton University back in 2011 actually found that clutter can make it more difficult for you to focus on particular tasks. An an inability to focus never feels good, right?
One study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin also shared that individuals describing their homes as cluttered had an increase in depressed moods throughout the day. With clutter in every nook and cranny you see, it’s hard to imagine feeling relaxed throughout the day. Never fun!
So what’s your desk like on this #CleanOffYourDeskDay? Are you naturally neat or do you need a little help, like I do? Grab these easy tips as well as 3 healthy ways to self-express (through art!) to quickly clean your workspace and gain some mental breathing space for 2019, too.