Weekend Projects

8 Quick Steps to a Better, Cleaner Desk (In Just 20 Minutes!)

published Oct 23, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

Whether it’s a work station carved out of a closet or a dedicated office space at home, your desk area has most likely seen more action than it’s used to. As your work-from-home situation evolves from a temporary setup to an area that can serve you indefinitely, it may be getting necessary updates and upgrades—but also accumulating clutter.

As you’ve gained experiential, day-to-day knowledge of the kind of at-home office space that serves you best, maybe you’ve switched from a fold-out table to a second-hand standing desk you were lucky enough to snag. And along the way, in addition to finding out what you do need, you’ve found out what you don’t.

This weekend, you’re going to put this particular insight to use. You’re going to take action on what you’ve found out about your home office space. Specifically, you’re going to edit out what’s not working or hindering you from your best work. And then you’re going to clean. A refreshed desk space feels like a new start and doing it this weekend will lead to a Monday that’s better than usual.

Credit: Ana Kamin

This Weekend: Clean out your desk area.

Cleaning out your desk space is a finite and focused cleaning task—this whole thing shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes—and it feels so good to have it done. Here’s a step-by-step sample plan to help walk you through:

  1. Clear off the entire surface of your desk.
  2. Dust the surface with a duster or a dry cloth.
  3. Dust lamps, including light bulbs.
  4. Wipe down the surface of your desk with a gentle all-purpose cleaner (or another cleaner appropriate for the surface).
  5. Clean stubborn marks with a gentle abrasive cleaner, such as Bar Keeper’s Friend.
  6. Wipe down vertical surfaces, like drawer fronts and cabinet doors, if applicable.
  7. Dust items that rest on your desk before putting them back.
  8. Only put back what you actually need on your desk (including decor that makes you happy).

If you have time at the end, empty out and declutter individual drawers. Then think about how good Monday morning is going to feel.

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You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.