Has your home office become the household dumping ground? Can’t find your coffee cup for the growing stacks of paperwork and children’s art?
We share here with you all our favorite tips for keeping our “mom caves”- aka the home office clean, organized and a pleasant place for you to be in, and work productively.
Why clean and declutter your office
An organized workspace is the first step to an organized mind.
Having a workspace in the house which is exclusively yours is essential for Work at Home Moms, in fact, any busy moms managing schooling to medical insurance and balancing the household budget, you should have your own space in the house for doing these chores.
But all too often, we can let the paperwork stack up, right alongside those morning snack crumbs and don’t get us started on what’s gathering under the keyboard.
Your home office “Spring clean” deserves to happen more than once a year! We like to time ours for a deep clean and sort before the start of every school semester, as well as daily and weekly tasks. Depending on how many hours a week you spend at your desk, you will find the routine that suits you.
Purge and declutter (once a Semester)
Declutter your desk
The easiest way to get down to business is to clear the surfaces first. This is everything you can physically see in your office space. Filing might be a boring but essential part of office organization.
- Only keep hold of the paperwork you need to and recycle items you don’t.
- A happy compromise if you are unsure is to scan any documents that you may want to refer back to later but don’t need to keep originals.
- Shred any documents first containing confidential information. (For security we recommend investing in a cross-cut paper and credit card shredder)
- Only keep on your desk or shelves important documents you might regularly need to refer to in the next 3 months.
- Box up and remove from your office space irregularly accessed documents that need to be retained – out of sight and (almost!) out of mind [Just remember to keep the outsides of the boxes neatly labeled for later access].
- Can you change any bills or bank statements to online delivery to cut down on paper?
- Has that indoor pot plant died? (It’s OK, we’re guilty as charged on this one too). Replant and replenish!
- Kids’ artwork – ah sigh. Every time I hear the word declutter this is where I get stuck. But we have a system now. They can each choose one favorite to be in mom’s office, any others go in their special art portfolios kept in their rooms. At year-end, they can then decide what stays or goes.
Useful organization tools for a home office
Once you can see your desk again, it’s time to look through your drawers:
- Throw away all those business cards you’ve been collecting or file them away. This can be done electronically too.
- Throw away those pens that no longer work!
- Replenish any stationery supplies that are running low, and keep them organized and easy to access., but only the absolute essentials on your desktop.
I bet this is the one you put off the most because it’s out of sight, right?
- Sort through all smartphones, cameras, electronic devices and make sure all photos and important files have been backed up to a cloud drive or hard drive.
- Clear as much as you can off your portable devices and start fresh.
- Keep your laptop/computer’s memory as free as possible. Your computer will run faster if there is more memory so move what you can into Cloud Storage or external hard drive.
- On a PC, look for Settings > System > Storage
- Om Mac, look for
- This can be a great opportunity to order those family photo albums too!
Deep cleaning in your home office (Weekly)
So now we can see the surfaces again, what should you be cleaning in your home office and how often?
Desk and computer cleaning
- The most obvious surface is the desk we work on. This is a minimum weekly task, make sure to actually move and clean under items.
- Our keyboard, screen and computer mouse – germ central! Every time we touch our face and then our keyboard, it’s most likely the surface your hands come into contact with the most every day, so keep it CLEAN!
- Use an antibacterial spray on a soft cloth and gently wipe the screen, keyboard and mouse. We like microfiber cloth for this. (Make sure if your computer is touch screen you are powered off before wiping down).
- Alternatively, specialized anti-static screen wipes for electronics can be used
- Harder to reach dirt and crumbs under the keyboard? This is where are air duster can come in handy.
Handy cleaning items to have for your home office
We’re going to hazard a guess here that your life probably runs of this device, right?
So it makes sense that this is the one we need to think about DAILY when it comes to items touching our hands and face. Here are steps you should think about for keeping this vital piece of home office equipment clean daily, and weekly deep cleaning.
- Careful with any chemicals coming into contact with your cellphone so as not to damage the screen.
- Switch the phone off completely before you start cleaning and remove the case and accessories.
- A Clorox disinfecting wipe or similar should be sufficient to wipe all surfaces.
- Or use a soft microfiber cloth the same as your computer.
- A cotton bud might be needed for hard to reach corners of the case, or silicone/hard plastic cases can be submerged in warm soapy water.
- A leather phone case should be cleaned and conditioned regularly with specialized leather treatment.
- Let everything dry before putting back together.
General home office cleaning and hygiene
It should go without saying, just as you would wash your hands before a meal, it’s wise after you’ve taken a break from your office to have clean hands before you start at your desk again. Soap and water ideally, but also a sanitizer on your desk.
- Don’t forget to mop or hoover under your desk regularly too.
- If you have a regular cleaning service (not a luxury if you are a busy working mom!), make sure you vacate your workspace so they can get into these hard to reach places for you. lave instructions around any special or dedicated cloths you want only used on electronics.
Setting up your desk space for success
So now we have our surfaces cleared and deep cleaning, what comes next? How do you keep your home office clean and organized in the semester ahead?
- Set up a family command center. Ideally, this is NOT the same space as your desk. Don’t know what one of these is yet? Pop over here for some ideas, it will be life-changing to your family organization!
- Keep a family calendar that is visible to everyone, as well as your own work calendar or planner.
Keeping it clean and clutter-free
- Keep to your regular schedule of decluttering once a semester. If you’re a list person, put it in the planner! Once it’s built into your schedule as a necessary task it won’t come as such a burden. It’s much harder to ignore when it pops up on the list!!
Don’t forget, this is about setting a good example for your kids too. Are you constantly nagging them to clean their rooms? Your office and workspace should reflect on the same behaviors you want them to display and the habits they will carry into their adult lives.
Have you got any more favorite pointers on keeping your home office workspace clean and tidy? We’d love you to share them in the comments below