Real Simple recently published a guide to faking a clean house, complete with tips for every room. Here are a few suggestions they had for the home office:
• Stash stray office supplies, like pencils and pens, in decorative stationery boxes or filing containers on your desk.
• Take down calendars and notes from bulletin boards and file them in folders. Or align them so that the tops are all in horizontal lines.
• Rearrange crooked books so that all spines are facing the same direction and the titles all read from top to bottom.
• Stow the keyboard and the mouse in a drawer so only the computer monitor tops the desk.
• Temporarily hide wayward Post-it notes and to-do lists underneath the keyboard.
In addition to those stellar ideas, here are a few of our own for faking a clean office. All of these can be done together in less than 15 minutes. You'll always be ready for unexpected guests.
• Run your desk top through The Breadbox Test and stash small items in drawers or bins.
• Use a lint brush on your desktop and keyboard for a quick dusting (especially if you have pets). If you have time, deep clean your keyboard with tape or a sticky note.
• If you've got a rip or stain on your office chair, cover it with a decorative throw or a small pillow.
• Stack books and magazines in neat piles, or place them into files or bins, like these inexpensive ones from IKEA ($1.99 for a pack of 5). You can keep them folded and ready to go for clutter-clearing emergencies.
• Unplug unnecessary cords (like that cord you leave attached to your computer for syncing your iPod) and place them in a decorative box, or in a plastic baggie in your desk drawer.
• Create a temporary "stuff-to-file" file and get that stack of papers off your desk and into your cabinet.
• Empty the trash can (you'd be surprised how a bare bin can make your office feel cleaner). If you don't have time to run to the trash chute or dumper, empty your office trash into a can in the bathroom or kitchen.
Do you have any other tips for quickly cleaning your home office area? Please share them in the comments!
More on "Faking" Clean: Real Simple