When you think of spring cleaning, you probably think of your home — attacking the dirt built up on the windows, beating the dust out of musty rugs, waxing your wooden floors and clearing out every stitch of clothing your kids can’t zip anymore.
While spending a weekend tidying your home can indeed feel magical, why stop there? You can apply that same burst of energy to your office.
Before you grab the Windex, you may be wondering why bother? Some offices have cleaning services. Others require a certain degree of organization in case customers drop in, so your desk isn’t out of control.
But there can be huge benefits to cleaning your space yourself, such as:
* Providing a more professional appearance: You don’t want anyone to see that candy wrapper you stuffed in your desk drawer (we all do it—we just don’t want to get caught!)
* Improving general hygiene: While winter may be prime flu season, you can still pass on germs during spring and summer if you don’t clean up regularly; one University of Arizona study found more than 500 species of bacteria across almost 100 offices
* Reducing hazards: A cluttered desk can lead to spills if you balance a mug of coffee near a precariously stacked pile of papers
* Raising concentration levels: An Indiana University study found people have more difficulty concentrating in a cluttered space
So now you know why you should clean. How should you do it? Start with these five tasks.
1. De-Clutter and De-Junk
Even the neatest person in the world has clutter built up on their desk. Go through everything sitting on top of the desk as well as in your desk drawers, and trash anything you haven’t touched in over a year. Act on the notes and reminders that have been sitting there for too long, then pitch those as well. (When in doubt, remember, you do not need 32 pens. Three is fine.)
2. Disinfect Your Phone
Did you know your office phone has more germs than anything else on your desk, according to University of Arizona researchers? Get rid of them by wiping down the phone’s mouthpiece and handle with a multipurpose, bacteria-killing cleaner. While you’re at it, give your cell phone a cleaning—it’s likely to be just as germy.
3. Wipe Down Your Keyboard
Keyboards are nearly as germ-laden as phones. Turn off the computer before you clean it. First, use a canister of compressed air to blow out the excess dust hiding between the keys.
Next, grab some Q-tips and rubbing alcohol, and dip the cotton swab in the alcohol. Wring out any excess liquid — you want the Q-tip barely damp. Go over and between every key with the Q-tip to get grime and dust out, making sure not to drip into the keyboard.
4. Dust Your Desk and Monitor
Once your desk surface is clean, you should have just a few essentials left on the desk. Wipe down the desk and your computer monitor as well to get rid of any lingering dust.
5. Spruce up Your Space
Finally, make it feel fresher in your office by adding a small plant, a vase of flowers or a framed drawing by your child to the corner of your desk. Cheerful workspaces make for cheerful workers — and you’ll smile more, too, which is good for moral and great for your customers.