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pulling it together

Spring Cleaning Your Work Space

The dust bunnies behind your desk have started having weekly staff meetings, and some of the paperwork in your ‘to-be-filed’ basket has been there since the Clinton Administration. Let’s face it, wiping off your monitor with the sleeve of your sweater just isn’t going to cut it anymore. It’s time to get down to some serious work space Spring Cleaning.

Call me kooky, but I actually enjoy tidying up and organizing my workspace. It’s not that I’d pass up a lunch date to dust my bookshelves, but there is definitely something spiritually uplifting about freshly purged file cabinets, a desk top neatly arranged and drawers that open to reveal an orderly assortment of completely necessary items.

I’ve done extensive research in my quest to achieve this organizational Zen (mostly by reading articles in women’s magazines while waiting for a dentist appointment), and there seems to be quite a bit of philosophical debate about the best way to reorganize and revamp your office, desk or cubicle.

While some recommend taking everything out of your drawers and off your shelves then putting back only what you need, others suggest clearing out just a few drawers or shelves at a time. Some promise you’ll be done in an hour, and others tell you it will take a couple of weeks.

Just as “one size fits all” rarely fits anyone well, I am not convinced that there is any tip or trick for bringing order to your office, your home, or for that matter any aspect of your life that will work for everyone. As with most things, you may have to try a few different approaches and see what works best depending on your occupation, office design, work style, and individual taste.

That said here are few suggestions from See Jane Work for ways to make Spring Cleaning Your Work Space less of a chore and more of a creative venture.

Give your computer a virtual scouring.
Like you, your computer will work more efficiently when it’s not being pulled in too many directions at once.

  • Put old files on discs and then delete them from your hard drive. Keep the discs protected and easily retrievable with a Spotted Groove CD Album.
  • Go through your internet bookmarks clearing out those you no longer use and creating folders for those you do.
  • Make sure your contact lists are current and that you don’t have any duplication.
Purge your file cabinet.
Before you get to that pile of stuff on your desk, clear out some room in your file cabinet or your file storage boxes.
  • Consult with your tax advisor about how long to keep tax documents and financial records. The IRS website also offers guidelines for record-keeping.
  • Give your file cabinet a mini make-over. Get rid of the worn-out, mismatched hanging file folders that came with the cabinet and put your files in crisp, white M.O. Hanging File Folders. They come with snap-on filing tabs that make labels viewable from the front, back and even the top.
  • Need more storage space? If you’re in a cubicle or home office you may not need, or have room for, for a full-size file cabinet. R+H Desktop File Boxes can make shelf space into filing space. They hold hanging folders and notebooks, and the label holder in front makes it easy to categorize the contents.
Remodel your desk top.
You don’t need a contractor, or even a bucket of paint to give your office a new look. Update your desk tools.
A worker is as only as good as her tools.
  • You’ve got 3 staplers, two of which have another company’s logo stamped on them. Ditch the standard-issue desk accessories and add some style to your space. The Red Stapler from Swingline, featured in the movie Office Space, is sure to be noticed and thus somewhat less likely to be swiped.
  • Donate desk tools in good condition to a local school or charity. Many schools will gladly accept office supplies in good condition, as well as still usable paper and envelopes.
Maximize your office space.
Good organization can add space to even the smallest work areas.
  • Clear your mind as you clear your work space with the Office Feng Shui Book. With maps for arranging your office and desk top you’ll increase your productivity as well as your peace of mind.
  • Get rid of desktop clutter by hanging a Magnetic Strip Bulletin Board over your desk for notes and reminders. A set of Clique Bins can hold pencils, pens, sticky notes and more on a magnet board or steel file cabinet.
Between work and family life you may feel that you don’t have the time or energy to straighten up your desk or office. But the time you spend on getting your work place in order will be easily recovered.

Not only will you stop wasting time searching for misplaced items and files, but many companies now recognize that a well-designed, well-organized workplace can improve morale and increase productivity. It can also help to attract and retain a higher quality workforce, which could mean you’ll actually get an assistant who doesn’t jump ship after 90 days. That alone is worth cleaning out your desk drawers.

If one of our ideas or products works for you, or if you have a solution you’d like to share, please let us know at ideas@seejanework.com.


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