It’s the beginning of April, cue the excitement for warmer days, rainstorms, and bunny-themed candy on every shelf. As this April begins, I’m taking a deeper look, Marie Kondo-style, at what I want to keep and remove from my life. One of the biggest ways I’m doing this is through some personal spring cleaning in my office, work space, and day-to-day.
Spring cleaning goes beyond vacuuming the floors and washing down the countertops. It’s deep cleaning, yes! But it’s also an age-old practice that helps you reevaluate what matters to you, what’s ‘bringing you joy,’ and what you could part ways with in order to make room for something new. Out with the old, in with the new—right?
At the start of the New Year I did a complete cleaning of my house. I donated three giant bags of clothing and housewares, I scrubbed every single item (literally) and I refreshed my living and workspaces with a few small, new items. This made the world of a difference for my happiness and productivity!
If organization is something you struggle with, or you’re just tired of the same-old in your home or office space, here are some tips for cleaning and (finally!) getting yourself organized.
1. Start by making a list of what you want to accomplish.
This sounds simple, but everything starts there. Go through the rooms in your house or apartment and look over a) what you want to clean, b) what you want to sort, c) what you want to potentially get rid of.
When you create a list, you’ll not only know where to start, but you’ll easily be able to pick up with the next item when you have free time. This will keep you from getting stuck. There’s also so much satisfaction in crossing items off a list!
One of my favorite lists is this one that allows you to customize with your name + logo or other identifying information at the bottom. Another I love is this list for micromanagers. This list has areas for small tasks, large tasks, upcoming, goals, and even reminders for other people! It’s perfect for planners.
2. Go room to room and focus on the smaller things over the big picture.
Don’t let the list freak you out. Although there is a large end goal, you have to start small.
Start with one room. Try not to switch over to a new location until you’ve completed everything on that list so you can have the satisfaction of one item completely finished. And try, as best as you can, to focus your attention on the current task over what feels like an endless list.
3. Invest in a simple desk organizer to keep all your mini items in one place.
Paperclips, staples, loose rubber bands—you name it! If you’re anything like me, your desk is probably cluttered with a bunch of random items. Although this isn’t going to make or break your productivity, it doesn’t help.
Consider investing in a simple desk organizer, like this one. It’s simple, universal in color, and relatively cheap. You can hold all sorts of items in it, too, which will make for a less cluttered desk.
Another option for desk/office organization is this monitor and storage stand, which is not only a computer stand, but helps to keep everything in one place (including your coffee, chargers, phone, etc.) It’s great for people with larger computers, but can be flexible to work with laptops, too!
4. Purchase a planner and get religious about recording notes, dates, and appointments.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (a million times) when I started using a planner, my life changed.
A planner is the easiest and most tangible way to keep track of things like appointments, meetings, projects, deadlines, etc. You can have everything in one place, and if you purchase a spiral-size one like this planer by BlueSky on Amazon (my absolute favorite!), you can easily toss it into a laptop bag or purse.
5. Download a time-saver/time-recorder app to make sure you’re on task while working.
There are a myriad of useful apps to help you keep track of the time you’ve spent working on a client project, or to keep you from losing precious time by scrolling through the internet.
Although this isn’t organization per se, it’s incredibly useful to organize your time on vs. off task.
6. Get a giant wall calendar to help yourself (and others) keep track of obligations and events.
Whether you’re thinking about this for your home or workspace, I’d highly encourage a wall calendar.
When I first bought my chalkboard one, I absolutely loved it! You can easily write, rewrite, and erase. I also have gotten in the habit of color-coding for each person (myself, my boyfriend and my boyfriend’s son).
If you decide to use this at work, you can put important meetings, notes, and deadlines. It’s a great way to keep everyone on task and accountable, without having to send so many reminders!
7. Sort your clothes and shoes and put them into a visual organizer.
Going through your clothes and shoes is one of the most time-consuming tasks, but once you get through it and realize how much you can actually part ways with, it’s like a breath of fresh air!
Go through clothes first. Anything you haven’t worn in the last six months should be donated. Anything that doesn’t fit right, that you don’t like, or that you feel unsure about—take this as an opportunity to give to someone who’s really in need!
For shoes, think about the quality. If there are shoes that are worn or dirty (beyond a simple wash, of course), it might be time to swap them out for something new. Also think about what’s realistic for your daily life. Having so many pairs of heels might be great, but if you don’t ever wear them (for work or a night out) it might make more sense to donate them.
For a nifty, space-saving shoe rack, check this out. I love this one because it’s saved me a ton of room in my closet!
8. Create a station for paperwork, bills, and important documents.
If you feel like you’re always struggling to get yourself organized in terms of paperwork, bills, taxes, etc. then this file folder organizer is the way to go. This is small enough to put in any desk space, it also can be color coded for additional organization.
9. Start color-coding your different clients, appointments, and tasks.
On the topic of color-coding, I would highly advocate for color-coding your life. It’s the simplest and most visually engaging way to get yourself organized.
I’ve used these gel pens for years. They’re bold enough to add a splash of color to your documents, and roll on so smooth, but they won’t bleed through the paper. I’ve also used these color-coding tabs to put as labels on my documents for different clients and activities.
Just the simple act of adding color has made my entire work process easier.
Now it’s time for you to start cleaning!
These are just a few easy ways to start spring cleaning your entire life. Remember, cleaning doesn’t have to be wiping everything down (although it can and should!) It’s bigger than that, though. It’s a perspective change, a focus on organization, and a shift in your mindset, too.
These are a few of my favorite ideas, but feel free to add your own.
Leave your thoughts in the comments section, too!
Featured Image Credit: STIL