Inspired by Apartment Therapy Chicago's 5 Steps to a Permanently Cleaner Bedroom, we realized that there's another room in the house that needs a keep-clean plan: The Office. Tranquility and cleanliness are just as important in the place where you rest your fingers to type. Here's a few strategies to make sure your home office stays clean and organized for good.
1. Clean the crannies.
Your office probably has as many dirty nooks as your kitchen. The first step to a permanent cleaner office is to get in there and clear 'em out. Deep clean your keyboard, clean out your desk chair's caster wheels and attack every other crannie with a vacuum and some surface cleaner.
2. Make files for everything.
If you don't have a proper place to file every paper that crosses your desk, they'll just sit there creating clutter for days and weeks to come. Keep labeled tabbed folders in a fire-safe cabinet, use an inbox for current projects and commit to tossing unnecessary papers in the round file—that's the trash can for you newbies.
3. Keep a trash bin in every "zone."
So you've been paying attention and visually separating your office into three working zones? Good. Now on to Step 2: Put a can in each zone. Try shredding bin by your desk, a fabric scraps bin by the sewing table or a twine-wrapped recycling bin by the library. It's kind of like how chefs keep a waste bowl on the counter when they're cooking: You want to toss (or recycle!) the junk, then forget about it.
4. Create (and stick to) a library system.
Whatever you do in your office, you've probably got loads of reading material cluttering desks and shelves. Start on a permanently cleaner office right now by moving all your books so their spines are facing the same direction and the titles all read from top to bottom (organizing by color is optional). When a new book comes in, or an old book comes back, make sure it goes back into the right spot. Oh, and one more thing—dedicate yourself to dumping magazines after three months.
5. Dust at least once a week.
When you dust less frequently, it's easier to dust. Wipe down your desktop, shelves and monitor (with a coffee filter!) at least once a week to keep things looking and feeling good. There's another added bonus to get wiping: Dust is not just the number one enemy of your shiny black desktop; it can also get inside your tech and ruin your gadgets for good.