Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Home Office and Small Business Space

Keep these reminders in mind as you plan to clean your workspace.
spring cleaning office

The pandemic has spawned germaphobia among individuals and businesses. It has prompted a forced habit of cleaning that may feel like a chore to some people. 

Nevertheless, spring always brings back the joy of keeping our immediate surroundings tidy, especially the spaces where we work and live.

 

Benefits of spring cleaning

Why would you want to clean up in the first place? We hope the answer is not just “because everybody does it”. While that is a good start for the unmotivated, consider the following gains, too: 

  • A tidy workspace boosts your productivity 

  • Cleaning your workspace gets you moving, keeps you healthy and relieves stress. 

  • Getting rid of clutter gives you more space to work around. 

  • Donating useful things fosters generosity and makes you feel good. 

 

1. Plan your cleaning activities.

Start with a plan. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or complicated, otherwise it may discourage you from getting started. The idea is to do this activity as efficiently as possible, without the unnecessary back-and-forth that often happens when you move things around without rhyme or reason.

You may want to do things like:

  • Allow sufficient time for spring cleaning: Make sure you don’t rush the activity. It’s important to take your time because it usually involves a lot of carefully moving stuff around.
  • Start from the top, down to the bottom: Plan to work on the ceilings, top-level cabinets and shelves first. The idea is to start high, as dirt will fall as you clean. If you have multi-story spaces, work on the upper levels first. This is important because as you declutter, you will have room to sort articles on tables and floors.

  • Imagine how you would like the cleaned space to look: Do you want to try a different layout of the appliances and furniture? Is it possible to achieve that look by just spring cleaning alone?

  • Make sure you have the cleaning products and tools on hand: You don’t want to stop in the middle of the task just because you realise you ran out of cleaning supplies and have to run to the shops in your dirty clothes. That is, of course, if they’re even open.

 

2. Protect yourself first.

You don’t want to work fully exposed to dust, cleaning chemicals and dirty surfaces. Before you start, get some gloves, masks and eye protection.

 

3. Move, secure or cover appliances, equipment and furniture.

See if you can temporarily transfer them into a “holding area", a corner or another room before you start dusting off and vacuuming cabinets, drawers and shelves. You neither want to blow dust onto them, nor spill cleaning compounds into their openings. 

More reminders:

  • Unplug the small appliances before you move them. If that’s not possible, make sure to at least cover them or their airflow vents (if applicable) to prevent dust from getting into their circuit boards.

  • Cover your computer or, if they’re on a rolling table, move the entire unit to the holding area.  

  • Put your laptop in its bag or case.

Don’t worry about cluttering up this holding area for now. You can clean it once you move your belongings back to their original, or new, places later.

Tip: Before moving them, you may want to take a photo of the room as it is, and how things are laid out in their spaces. If you were to disconnect cables and plugs to reconnect them later, take a photo of how they’re configured, too. If you can attach label tags or tapes into them, then that’s even better. This could be useful when you start putting them back.

 

4. Sort things according to their intended purpose.

As you start emptying the spaces occupied by your belongings (most of which you’ve already moved to the holding area), it’s easier to group similar objects together. Sort things on the floor, visually grouping them together in clusters according to the purpose they serve. 

Here are some categories that you can use: 

  • Bags, containers and organisers 

  • Documents, folders and file case 

  • Office supplies and stationery 

  • Electronics and accessories 

  • Electrical tools 

  • Batteries, cables and power supplies 

  • Hobby items (eg. cameras, musical instruments etc.) 

From there, you can create a mini-inventory of the articles you have in the room.

 

5. Make an inventory list.

You can take inspiration from some inventory management best practices to guide this task, albeit on a smaller scale. Prepare a pen and paper or a list app as you start to take things off their shelves.  

On your list, add columns to answer these questions to help you determine whether or not you still want to keep them: 

  • Do I have other things that serve the same purpose? 

  • When was the last time I used this? 

  • When will I use this next? 

  • Is it still useful?

 

For food items in your pantry and the refrigerator: 

  • Can I still use it as an ingredient for cooking? 

  • Is it still good for consumption? 

  • When will it expire? 

 

For documents in your desk drawers: 

  • Is this an important document meant to be kept on file? 

  • Until when is this document valid? 

  • Can I throw these papers now? 

  • Can I just photograph or scan it and keep it as a digital copy?

 

6. Be extra careful when discarding papers.

You do not want to just throw away documents containing sensitive information. Ask these questions before you throw them out:  

  • Does it have any personally identifiable information, such as names, addresses and phone numbers? If they do, shred or cut them into smaller pieces so other people can’t read the information. 

  • For scrap paper, of course, put it in the recycling bin.

 

7. Segregate disposables and recyclables.

Make sure to get rid of rubbish and unwanted items safely and responsibly

Put them in a box or somewhere you can easily transport them later. Label them (eg. bags, clothes, scrap papers etc.) for easier sorting. Then, clear them off the tables and floors to regain space.

 

8. Clean surfaces and items using proper cleaning products.

Now you’re on to the actual cleaning. Remember that even products marketed as “all purpose” cleaners can’t be used on everything, so keep these things in mind: 

  • Not all cleaning equipment is meant to be used on dry or on wet surfaces. 

  • Some cleaners are meant to be applied using specific brushes or pads. 

  • Some abrasives and brushes can damage surfaces. 

  • Some chemicals can corrode paint or cause discolouration. 

  • Some chemicals can quickly deteriorate rubber and plastic. 

Put simply, read the label before using the product and, if you’re still not 100% confident, test it on a small, hard-to-see area.

 

9. Put the appliances, equipment and remaining items back in their places.

Now that you’ve cleaned the desks, cabinets, drawers and shelves, it’s time to put the things back where they’re supposed to be. Make sure you know which cables and plugs go where. The photos you took and the labels you marked before dismantling and moving them earlier will prove useful now. 

More reminders: 

  • Check for specific voltage requirements (eg if you have appliances and devices that need voltage transformers). 

  • Check for special storage needs (eg if you have items that must be stored in a dehumidified storage to prevent mould buildup). 

  • Untangle cables and reconnect them correctly. If they are still a little out of control, tie them up with some cable ties.

 

10. Alternatively, now is the best time to re-layout your space.  

Most of us use spring cleaning as an enjoyable time to re-organise our indoor spaces. The items mentioned in #9 still apply here, albeit with added considerations: 

  • You can’t place the appliances too far away from the power outlet, unless, of course, you decide to have a new outlet installed. 

  • The airflow vents of your appliances must not be blocked. 

  • Cables must be carefully laid such that they won’t kink or present a tripping hazard. 

With a little bit of inspiration and a good sense of indoor space layout, you’re off to enjoying the new look and feel of the room. 

(Also, don’t forget to clean that “holding area” in #3.)

 

11. Clean your hands after work.

After you’ve placed your appliances, equipment and furniture where they should be, everything will be looking clean and fresh. Make sure to wash your hands clean.

 

12. Reward yourself with an ice-cold beer or a warm cuppa! 

Spring cleaning is not an easy feat. Congratulations for having the will to sweat it out. 

With some careful planning, proper time allotment and the right cleaning products, you’ve completed a fulfilling activity. You’ll soon be more productive in your workspace without the clutter.