How To Create and Maintain a Clean Desktop With 1 Easy System

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How To Create and Maintain a Clean Desktop With 1 Easy System

There’s a couple of thoughts out there around having a clean desktop.

When I speak of a clean desktop, I am basically talking about a desk that is clear of clutter. The unnecessary.
Some say a clean desktop is essential, and some say, why bother? It’s just going to get messed up anyway. I of course lean towards the argument of having a clean desk, as opposed to a messy one.
Let me tell you why.

  1. A clean desktop allows us to start the day stress-free. We don’t arrive at our desk and get overwhelmed with the mess that it is.
  2. A clean desktop allows us to get right to work. We get to start the day with the productive kind of work. Not the unproductive kind.
  3. A clean desk creates a good impression, whether you are working from home or in an office full of other people. Lead the charge. Be a good role model for those around you.
  4. A clean desk is healthier. Clutter collects dust and dirt.
  5. A clean desk is a more secure desk. Fewer things out for others to see, that maybe they shouldn’t see.

When it comes to systems for decluttering and maintaining, I love the r.e.c.l.a.i.m. system I have created. It works for any space you are wanting to reclaim.
You can download “7 steps to reclaiming your space” for a more detailed description.

Here is how you are going to use the r.e.c.l.a.i.m. system to declutter your desk.

Step 1
  1. Sit down at your desk and take a look at it.
  2. Ask yourself these questions.
    • How did it get this way?
    • What habits do I have that created this messy desk?
    • How do I want it to be?
    • What do I really want to accomplish at my desk?
  3. Write your answers down on a piece of paper using bullet points or essay form. It doesn’t really matter.
Step 2
  1. After you have written down your answers, grab 4 containers. It depends on how messy your desk is how big the containers need to be.
  2. I want you to take the things off of your desk that won’t be helpful in accomplishing what you really want to accomplish. Refer to the answers you answered in Step One.
  3. The things you remove from your desk will end up in one of these containers…
    • Donate
    • Discard
    • Goes elsewhere
    • Not sure (they belong in my office but I don’t know where the heck to put them)
  4. Leave the things on your desk you need to keep on your desk. The things that stay on our desk are used daily.
  5. Since dealing with your boxes at this point can get you off track, you may set them aside for now.
  6. At the end of your session, take all but the “not sure box” and discard the discard, donate the donate, and the goes elsewhere box doesn’t just go elsewhere. Everything in it needs to be put away where it belongs. If you don’t, you’ve created more clutter.
Step 3
  1. The things that are left on your desk are the things you really need to take a look at. More questions for you.
    • What do I use each item for?
    • Do I use this item every day. How often do I use it each day?
    • Where does it make the most sense to be on my desk?
Step 4
  1. Take a look at your desk and the items you plan to place there. And yes, more questions…
    • Where does it make the most sense to place the items you have chosen to keep?
    • Is there really room for the item where you want to place it?
    • Does it make sense where you are going to place the item?
  2. Having a hard time? Go ahead and advance to step five to get a little inspiration.
    • NOTE – please keep in mind when you are looking at images, oftentimes they are very realistic, as most of them are staged and create unrealistic expectations. We all have chords and all of our stuff isn’t magically put away “somewhere”. 
Step 5
  1. If you are struggling with ideas or vision for your desktop, take the time to look at some inspirational images.
  2. Places I would look are
Step 6
  1. Create a maintenance plan. This is essential to keeping up your clean desktop.
  2.  A maintenance plan involves planning what you are going to do each and every day to keep your desktop a clean desktop.
  3. Here is the way I keep my desktop clean and ready for when I need to get to work.
    • I start each day with a clean desktop.
    • Throughout the day, when I am finished working on a project, I put all the things related to that project away where they belong. This prevents pile-ups on my desk, and, makes it easier to find things. I don’t have to dig under a bunch of stuff to find my favorite pen or my phone.
    • At the end of my workday, I pull out my planner, take a look at what I got done today, and plan appropriately for the next day.
      • This action is scheduled into my daily calendar, otherwise, it’s likely I won’t do it.
      • I take the first item out I will be working on in the morning and place it on my desk, along with my daily plan. I like the Planner Pad. 
    • If the desk looks like it needs a wash, I spray it down and wipe it off. I eat at my desk on occasion and sometimes it shows!
That’s it in a nutshell.

I know you still have that “Not Sure” box. That of course pertains to having an organized office, and there isn’t space to write about that here.
You could take some time to grab my download “7 steps to reclaiming your space” which will give you insight as to how to proceed with your “Not Sure” box and the rest of your office.

Take Action:
  1. Take care of those boxes you filled up during this process.
  2. Get busy with the work outlined above
  3. Let me suggest a couple of reads.
    1. This is a quick read – 10 Steps To Creating and Keeping a Clutter-Free Home Office
    2. This is a very detailed read that includes some great information on setting your desktop, and office up to be optimal for productivity.  Getting Things Done – The Art of Stree-Free Productivity 
    3. Grab your free copy of “7 steps to reclaiming your space” guidebook
Here’s to having a clean desktop day after day after day, and being productive because of it!

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