Five Tips for Spring Cleaning your Office Workspace

Five Tips for Spring Cleaning your Office Workspace Do you realize that your coworkers might not be judging you on your accomplishments, attitude or even your altruism? Rather, that water-cooler chatter might be revolving around what a mess your desk is. In fact, according to Forbes, a survey by staffing firm Adecco indicates about 57 percent of workers have judged their coworkers by the cleanliness of their workspace – nearly half of whom have been “appalled” by a dirty environment.

And they aren’t even signing the checks. So if your colleagues are appalled, what’s the boss thinking?

Spring is the season of renewal, and the perfect time to spruce up where the majority of most people’s day – about 8.8 hours – is spent.

1: Declutter the desk

According to, your workspace is really a snapshot of you. Of course, it’s your actual work that should speak volumes – but your surrounds have a way of being heard, too.

  • Go through those papers on your desk. Create files for those that are needed – and put the papers in file folders that are then filed in desk drawers. Or use trays or baskets or whatever system with which you’ll follow through.
  • Return what doesn’t belong to you. Walk through your space with a box and put in it everything that belongs somewhere else – a coworker’s book, the promotional materials from marketing, the tray from the cafeteria.
  • Be ruthless. This is another suggestion from If an item doesn’t serve a purpose or is broken, throw it out. This applies to that catch-all drawer, too.
  • Limit desk decoration overload. A family photo or two, an inspirational quote and healthy plant are fine.
  • Deep clean the surfaces. But as puts it, too sterile can be creepy – unless you’re in the food or medical world. A glimpse of your personality is fine.

2: Declutter the digital desk

The experts with Forbes say digital clutter can be just as stressful as physical clutter. They remind:

  • Email is not a to-do list. Use Outlook or Entourage to set a command to follow up. Print what’s critical; delete what’s not.
  • Streamline digital icons. A cluttered screen can make it difficult to find what’s needed. Create a logical digital filing system – and clear off those sticky notes.

3: Now stay organized

The work is done, so here are some suggestions to keep your space tidy:

  • Only what you regularly use should be within arm’s reach. Your telephone and laptop are necessary. The stapler and paper clips – and everything else - can wait neatly in the top drawer or file. Return after use.
  • Install hooks or bring in a clothes pole. Your purse, jacket and just-in-case sweater create a cluttered look thrown over the extra chair.
  • Don’t let those papers pile up again. The experts say the paperless office is a farce. Instead, devise a system – perhaps baskets or trays – to separate those papers into “To Do,” “To Read,” and “To File.” Pick a day to do each so you don’t get overwhelmed.

4: Set limits

As Forbes sums up: It’s always about too much stuff – whatever the profession. So when a bookshelf is filled and you want to add another book, give one away. When the file cabinet is jammed, it’s time to see what files can go. The same holds true for anything from art supplies to blueprints. Don’t add without subtracting.

Still, stuff can sneak up on you. Rather than waiting to hit the clutter max again, suggests spending minimal amounts of time each week staying ahead.

5: Recommended Reading

Is the mess on your desk out of control? suggests this reading list for tips on decluttering and organizing:

Or you can contact the professionals at Beaux-Arts Group, who can breathe organization into the workspace.