Writer's Life

Spring Cleaning Your Home Office

The end of winter is in sight, which means there’s a big undertaking just around the corner: spring cleaning. After months of being cooped up in the cold, most of us are tired of our surroundings. For me, those feelings tend to lead to one or two rooms being painted a new color. But if you work from home or live the digital nomad lifestyle, your home office should definitely get some attention when the next cleaning frenzy hits.

Tidy your items by category

How you categorize your belongings is entirely up to you. Maybe the KonMari method is your ride-or-die, or you follow some other organization guru. I like the Five Things Tidying Method from How to Keep House While Drowning by K.C. Davis. It’s simple, practical, and keeps tidying from feeling overwhelmed. Basically, it says there are only five things in any given room: (1) trash, (2) dishes, (3) laundry, (4) things that have a place and are not in their place, and (5) things that do not have a place.

The nice thing about this method is it works whether you want to tackle every category at once or you need to spread it out over a few days because you’re busy or lack the energy. I can usually tackle trash, dishes, and laundry in my home office in one day during the week, then save the other categories for the weekend when I get to sleep in and have more energy.

Buy or DIY storage solutions for things that don’t have a home

When my office is messy for longer than usual, that’s usually a sign I’ve run out of storage space. When there’s no more room on the bookshelf, stacks of books suddenly start taking over the corner of my desk. Either it’s time to move books to other rooms in the house, or I need a new shelf. When papers cover the whole of my desk, it means I need to label some new folders in my filing cabinet.

I also keep a small stash of boxes from past purchases stowed away that I can reuse. If I’m feeling fancy, I can decorate them with basic craft supplies. They’re not just great for corralling tiny items in my desk drawer or keeping cabinets tidy. When I need to pack up gifts for a holiday or someone’s birthday, my stash of boxes almost always has something exactly the size I need.

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Clean and sanitize surfaces

When was the last time you sanitized all the surfaces you regularly touch in your workspace? I’m talking phones, keyboards, and computer mice, of course. But don’t forget about your desk, doorknobs, cabinet and drawer handles, and whatever else you touch throughout the day. Do you also dust areas like fans, air vents, and shelves?

Tidying your home office probably opens up several surfaces that could benefit from at least a light cleaning. Don’t forget about the floor, either, or windows if your office space has them.

Add life to your space with plants

No surprise here, but I’m a big fan of plants. I especially love keeping a few plants around my desk. Plants do more than improve the aesthetic of your workspace. Aside from having a well-documented positive impact on productivity levels, attention capacity, inspiration, and both physical and mental well-being, plants revitalize the energy of a space.

Now, what about the claims you’ve probably seen about indoor plants purifying your air? According to a 2019 article by The Atlantic, creating a measurable difference requires a setup that isn’t feasible for most of us. And even if it was, the difference would be fairly small. While your pothos and snake plants aren’t churning out drastically cleaner oxygen, they do bring in a sense of joy and happiness.

Final Thoughts on Spring Cleaning

Really, there’s no reason to put off cleaning your home office until spring lifts its head out of the snow. Any time your workspace feels like it could use some sprucing up, doing even one of these things can go a long way.

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