Spring Clean-Up for Your Office

March 31, 2011 by Rose Cook

Does the picture above make you feel anxious or uneasy? If you’re shaking your head with a sudden desire to clean, you’re not alone!

Months of meetings, conference calls, off-site events and life in general can take a toll on my organizational skills.  As I spent an afternoon cleaning out my cluttered garage, I realized that professionally speaking, my desk is starting to look just as bad. Spring is the perfect time to clean up your cluttered work area whether at the office or at home. Does anyone else have a few piles of “I’ll get to it later” sitting on their desk?  As much as I hate sorting through all of the mess, I’ve found the end result to be far more rewarding than the chore. 

Here are a few tips:

1) Block off time on your calendar.  Now it’s official, you have a meeting with your mess.

2) Plan ahead.  Knowing that there will be papers to file and things to toss have hanging and file folders, labels and even trash bags ready to go. Make sure you have enough storage to keep everything you want.  One reason things pile up is not having the proper filing cabinet or drawer, storage box or desktop organizer.  A request to your facilities department or a trip to your local office supply store may be the key to losing the mess on the desk.

3) Separate everything into a ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ pile.

4) The ‘yes’ pile is easy.  You need it, so either make a file for it or add it to the appropriate already existing file.  Check the date on the document.  The longer you’ve left it sitting in a pile, the less likely it’s important enough to keep.

5) The ‘no’ pile usually consists of no longer wanting or needing it, having a duplicate or forgetting why you even kept it, to name a few. This is my favorite pile and it all goes right in the trash.

6) The ‘maybe’ pile. As you sort through all of your papers you will invariably find things you don’t know what to do with.  Here’s a suggestion that may help.  Consider scanning materials you may want to reference later into your computer and keep them in an electronic file.   Investing in an external hard drive to back up your folders and documents is also highly recommended.  Another option is investing in a service that automatically scans and saves all information from your hard drive to a remote off-site server.

7) Purge, purge, purge. While you’re at it, pull out old files and go through them for outdated and unnecessary materials.  Do this to your electronic files too.  Time has a way of making a lot of previously important information obsolete. A shredder is a must have item for sensitive documents when they are no longer needed. Another suggestion is to consider donating any items you no longer use such as books, office equipment or supplies.

The hardest part most of us have with cleaning up our office is simply making time and getting started.  Well, no more excuses.  Spring forward and get organized!

-Rose Cook, FlexPro CEO

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