The second Monday in January is Clean Off Your Desk Day. You’ve had at least a week to decompress from any and all holiday shenanigans and it’s time to get back to real life.
Now this project isn’t just for January. Every day is a great day to get your home more organized. It reduces stress and helps you be more productive in other areas
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So as you look around your home you may notice a buildup of “stuff” on your flat surfaces. You’ve been busy and haven’t gotten to it, and that’s okay. Or maybe your life has always been like this and this year it’s time to change the habit.
This is a good project to work on in small bursts. Take it 20-30 minutes at a time and only work on one surface. Don’t get distracted by drawers or cupboards. We’ll work on that at another time.
1. Get Rid of any Trash, Recyclables, and Dirty Dishes
This is a great starting point for any cleaning project. Just removing these three items immediately makes your space look and feel cleaner.
If you find there is a lot of trash on your surfaces you may want to get an appropriately sized garbage can for your space. Or if you are a soda drinker and tend to leave bottles and cans lying around you may want to repurpose a garbage can or box to use as a recycling bin. This can help solve these problems before they begin.
I just had to put a small garbage can near my living room couch because my husband and I have been eating a lot of Christmas candy. This way the wrappers can go right into the trash instead of getting piled up on the end tables where they get forgotten.
You should always try to return dirty dishes to the kitchen as soon as you leave the room, or if you forget, do a sweep at the end of the day before you go to bed
2. Gather All Mail and Paperwork into its Own Pile
Paper clutter can turn into a huge problem if you don’t take care of it right away. Just get all of the paperwork in its own pile or box. We’ll deal with that in another post. Right now we’re just getting the surfaces cleaned off. You can also read about how to stop junk mail and create your own mail station.
3. Put Away Items with a Real Home
It’s just like your mom always said. “If you take it out you have to put it away.” Going forward try to make an effort to put these sorts of items away after you’re done with them, or at the end of the night when you’re doing your dishes sweep.
This also includes office supplies, writing utensils, and scissors. These should all have a designated home, and it’s not the surface where you found them.
4. Other People’s Stuff
Designate a box for other people’s stuff. There’s no reason for it to be cluttering up your home. Then whenever people come over you can take a quick look through the box (or make them do it). This will probably get these items returned faster because they aren’t buried under other items on your countertop.
5. Designate a Junk Drawer/Box
There’s always stuff that doesn’t have a real home. That’s okay. In a perfect world every object would have a home and we wouldn’t own any junk. But we do own junk and so junk drawers were invented. Putting these items in a designated box gets them off your surface and out of the way. It definitely helps your home feel cleaner.
However, you owe it to yourself to make sure you really need to keep that item before you throw it in the junk drawer. Are you actually going to use it in the future, or are you keeping it “just because.” If you are putting cords in your junk drawer make sure you label them with what they belong to so in the future you will know if you can get rid of them.
6. Remove all Remaining Items and Sanitize Surface
Get everything off your surface. Set it on the floor if you have to. Now hit it with some cleaning spray (or if you aren’t into that a vinegar/water solution). Wipe it down, let it dry, and marvel at your beautiful clean surface.
7. Start Putting Things Back
When you put things back on your surface make sure you really, really want them there. If you have nicknacks or a plant ask yourself if they add to the space or you’re just putting them back because they’ve always been there. Maybe they would be better suited to another place in your home. If you aren’t sure if you want it back yet put it in the junk box.
This is the most important step moving forward. You have to keep doing these little things in order to keep your surfaces clean and clutter free. Ideally you should be putting stuff away after each use but like gets busy. So if you notice things getting a little out of control set a timer for 10 minutes to just take care of it and get it done.