Working from home is fantastic in a lot of ways. Working alone at home can make things like lunch breaks and what clothing you’re wearing pretty flexible. It can also make something like cleaning up your space optional, in some cases so optional that you might not do it all. No one is going to see your home office, right?
At the beginning of 2019, after a heavy adoption of that “optional” cleaning option, my personal home office had reached a pretty disastrous point. I spent a few days cleaning it up and then put myself on a cleaning schedule for the year. If you work from home, I recommend you do the same.
And if your home office is always clean, my hat’s off to you. This tip isn’t for you.
Like any big task, cleaning is a ton easier if you break it up into smaller parts. Cleaning up a year’s worth of junk mail, post-it notes, unfiled receipts, and other junk is a huge undertaking. Splitting things up on a daily basis made everything a ton easier, and has ensured my home office has been visitor-ready all year long. It’s also had the added bonus of ensuring I’ve always been able to find everything I need when I need it (miraculous!).
As far as how to organise your cleaning, that depends a bit on your personal situation. One of my biggest issues was packages. I get a ton of products sent to me in the mail to review, which is great, but all those products come in cardboard boxes with boatloads of packaging. I also live in the third-floor walkup, so recycling those boxes requires a bit of legwork. It also requires that I make it to the recycling bin before everyone else in my building does so there’s actually space for my junk.
Our recycling gets picked up on Tuesday, so now every Wednesday I have an alert around lunchtime that suggests I take the recycling downstairs to the now empty bin. It’s a small thing, but it’s meant amazing things in terms of limiting the pile up in my office. Previously I would consistently remember on Mondays, which is great, but there wouldn’t be space to actually put the recycling in the bin so I’d be SOL. Now I get my stuff in there first.
Mail is another thing I was horrible with, that I now have an alert to handle that on Fridays. I’ll go through the massive pile on my desk, pay any bills that need to be paid, and file or trash everything else. Again, a small thing when you do it regularly, a dumpster fire when you skip it for a week or two or let that junk mail pile up. I can’t tell you how many times I used to look for that letter that was “somewhere.” The answer was always in the pile I had offloaded from my desk to the floor.
I also have alerts reminding me to vacuum every few weeks and tidy my desk area, and yes, one to suggest that it might be a good idea to take out the trash.
If you struggle with keeping your home office (or really any room in your home) clean, one good deep clean and then a cleaning schedule for the parts you struggle with (I use Google calendar alerts), can set you up for success in 2020.