With Chinese New Year being right around the corner, you should take the opportunity to spring clean your office and workplace to make way for the new year. If you’ve seen the popular Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, where the queen of decluttering invites herself into the homes of the messy and disorganized. You’d know the one rule to live by. If it doesn’t spark you joy, you don’t need it.
Channel your inner Marie Kondo and KonMari your way to a decluttered office with these 10 tips below:
1. Assess the Mess
Before you tackle the huge mountain of papers, figurines, books, and stationary on your messy work desk. You must first assess how bad the mess is and make your own plan of action. Prep a list of all things that you believe need tidying and cleaning up. Then, following our guide here, arrange your to-do list in order of priority.
Read: Life Hack: 6 Tips to Help You Leave Work On Time in Hong Kong
2. Go Paperless
Australia is on fire, global warming is here, and paper is expensive. These are just some of the many reasons to go paperless. If your desk is cluttered with magazines, journals, and stacks of papers, aim to go paperless by switching to a tablet instead. Or try to switch to online news websites to stay updated, instead of relying on newspapers and magazines.
Reminder: If your work desk or work station is filled with papers and you’re looking to get rid of them. Try to shred papers lined with personal information. Or recycle the rest.
3. Remove Decor
Yes, you spend half your time in the office. But your desk is no place for you to display personal artifacts. You don’t have to refrain from displaying all the intricate aspects of your personality. However, keep in mind that you don’t want to go over the top. Items such as a mug featuring your favourite TV series, a succulent or two, or even a cute mouse pad might be all you need.
The sad and harsh truth is that your desk is no space for personal decorations. You don’t want to keep your workspace cluttered and clautraphobic.
4. Make Things Accessible
Keep the things that you use the most accessible. You don’t want to create a new mess (right after you cleaned your desk), just because you’re trying to find that one pen that you own. Keep important and crucial items (e.g. your notebook) visible and within reach.
5. Have a Personal Trashcan on Standby
As a normal human being with papers and snacks on their desk. It’s a no brainer that you’ll need to have a personal trash can either next to or on your desk. Make sure that your personal trash can is within reach. Keep in mind that you should be able to reach your bin without getting up from your desk.
That way, you won’t be too lazy to throw out your trash, instead of stockpiling it on your table. It’s also a good way to get rid of cockroaches and other pesky critters that come out at night to feed on crumbs.
6. Keep Objects You’re Unsure About
Whenever we’re doing a big clean, we find items that we don’t know the exact origin of. As you clean, you might be asking yourself, where did this battery come from? Why do I have 3 boxes of tea? Do I even drink tea?
Well - the good news is that you don’t have to throw things out if you don’t know whether you’ll need them in the future. Keep these objects in a container under your desk. Give yourself a time limit for these items (e.g. one month, two month, six months). Chances are if you don’t use them after 2-3 months, you won’t need them ever again.
7. Wipe Your Desk Down
Now that you’ve decluttered and organized your desk, it’s time to give your desk a thorough wipe down. Dust your computer screen, smack the underside of your keyboard, and wipe your desk.
There are a number of things you can use to ensure that your desk is clean. If you’re looking to save some cash, raid your kitchen to make a surface cleaner out of white vinegar and water. Or invest in some wet wipes, for that periodical desk wipe down. Your immune system and health will thank you!
Read: Don't Catch 'Em All: A Simple Guide to Office Cleanliness
8. Replace Anything Broken!
If there’s no longer a use for something. Please, for the love of God, throw it out. But what if it’s an object that you’ll use on a day-to-day basis? What happens - when that breaks? Well, you do your future self a favour and replace it. Broken mouse? Replace it, and throw the broken one away! Janky keyboard? Send it back to HR for a new one! Why bother harbouring broken and meaningless junk?
9. Keep it Plain and Simple
If all else fails, you might just want to strip it down. Go back to basics and declutter your desk, removing everything but your computer, mug and pen. It’ll be hard to make things messy when there’s barely anything on your desk.
10. Clear Sh*t Out Regularly
The key to keeping your desk nice and neat is simple: regular spring cleaning. Arrange a time at the end of each month for you to spring clean. There are a number of benefits to a clean and tidy workspace - ranging from increased productivity (thanks to less distraction) to better employee health and morale. Wouldn’t that be nice?
What are some tips that help you keep your workspace clean? Let us know in the comments section below!
*This article was originally published on BGC Singapore as, "This Year, Konmari Your Desk For a Fresh New Start".