In The News
Resolve to Clean, Organize Your Desk
Who says all New Year’s resolutions have to be made on January 1st? January 12th is National Clean Off Your Desk Day – the perfect day to resolve to get the desktop clutter under control. And if you’ve been in my office lately, you’ll understand why this resolution is on my list.
Before you begin, assemble a few boxes, some trash bags, and a magic marker. Label the boxes “Immediate” (as in immediate attention required), “Not Sure,” “Read,” “ File,” “Recycle,” and “Shred.” Now you’re ready to attack the desk.
Sweep Clean: The first order of business is to get everything off the top of the desk that doesn’t have anything to do with your desk’s basic purpose. Coffee cups, food items, paper napkins, and the like should go in the sink or the trash. Remove framed pictures and other personal mementos, as well as pencil holders, tape dispensers, staplers, and other pieces of equipment littering your desk. Set them aside for later evaluation.
Set Aside: Magazines, journals, newspapers, periodicals, and catalogs take up valuable space on your desktop. Move them to the “Read” box and deal with them during a separate organizing session or put them in the “Recycle” box.
Sort: As you remove the rest of the items from the top of your desk, deposit them in the appropriate box or trash bag.
Shred: If you have a shredder, use it as you sort to discard papers that contain personal information or anything valuable to an identity thief. If you don’t own a shredder, put them in the “Shred” box and make it a priority to have them thoroughly destroyed.
Review: Go back to the “Not Sure” box. Now that you’ve gone through everything on your desk, you should have a better handle on priorities. Reevaluate what’s in this box so when you’re done, the boss is empty.
File: Everything in the “File” box should be put in labeled folders and stored in a file drawer.
Clean: Make sure the top of the desk is thoroughly clean before you put anything back on it. If you’re anything like me, there are probably coffee stains and food stains lurking amidst the dust, use an all-purpose cleaner with a disinfectant.
Organize: The “Immediate” box should contain items you’re currently work on. Think about the best way to have them handy on the top of your desk. You may need to invest in a desktop storage tower or a tabletop file for easy access.
Evaluate: Take a look at the personal items. Do you really need all those photos and mementos cluttering the top of your desk? Then take a look at the equipment. Is it just a habit to keep the tape dispenser on your desk or do you really use it every day? Would it be better to keep some of these items handy in a drawers?
Reform: Set aside a few minutes at the end of each day to tidy up your desk. I know this is going to be the hardest part of the process. But making this commitment, means that each time you sit down, you will be ready to work and feel less stress about the task in front of you, because everything will be in order.
~Jamie Rathbun, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent