Why It's Important to Spring-Clean Your Office

Spring is here! And for some of us, that means spring-cleaning will be added as an item on our to-do lists. Spring-cleaning is, after all, one of the rites of the season.

My spring-cleaning ritual has always included my office environment. Over the years, I have carved out time to organize, de-clutter and refresh my space. By doing so, I created a space with a “fresh start” so to speak.

After each spring-cleaning initiative, I felt energized and renewed. It turns out that my external surrounding was more important than I realized. It was linked to the way in which I sustained my leadership vitality . When my space was clean, I experienced reduced stress and enhanced productivity.

These spring-cleaning habits date back to my days as a young professional. I started my career with IBM where a clean desk policy was enforced. Each night, before leaving the office, I organized my space. Some nights it was my turn to be “on duty” as the clean desk administrator, writing up those who failed to maintain standards. Thus, I learned early on the habits of and reasons for maintaining a clean office environment.

Spring-cleaning benefits:

  • Presentable spaces leave a good impression.
  • Less clutter means less distraction and more efficiency.
  • Private and confidential information is handled as appropriate.
  • Stress is reduced when the excessive stimuli (clutter) is eliminated.
  • Productivity and creativity can be enhanced by “opening” the surroundings.
  • Maintaining a daily and weekly ritual helped reduce clutter with papers and my inbox. By itself, it wasn’t sufficient for keeping me on top of things.

    Related: Change the Scenery and Get Moving for Impact

    The spring-clean gave me the opportunity to create a space that was lean and clean for the year ahead. I eliminated what no longer mattered, was outdated and would be better served elsewhere.

    Here are five tips worth sharing for spring-cleaning to create a physical environment that is organized, de-cluttered and refreshed.

    Spring-cleaning tips:

  • Go through your papers – desk drawers, file cabinets, shelves with binders. Get rid of those papers you no longer need. Organize the papers, files and binders that need to be kept in a way that puts them within reach or makes it readily accessible.
  • Look at books, newspapers and magazines for their on-going relevance. Recycle outdated newspapers and magazines. Donate books that have served their purpose or are never going to be read.
  • Sort out your supplies – pens, pencils, markers, paper clips, binder clips, etc. Determine how many are needed against how many you have. Discard what doesn’t work and return extras to the supply room.
  • Clean your phone, keyboard and screen / monitor. If you use a mouse pad, assess whether or not it is time to get a new one.
  • Evaluate your space for visual clutter. Determine if it is time for a refresh of wall hangings, plants, coffee cups, photos and keepsakes. Note whether office supplies are best served out in the space or within a desk drawer. Maybe a lamp with soft, more ambient lighting would be a good addition.
  • Is it time for your office spring clean? And what about your daily and weekly rituals? Do they need to become habits for helping you reduce stress and enhance productivity?