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File it under ‘done’

Office makeovers can be made easy

POSTED: March 31, 2011 11:00 p.m.
TOM REED/The Times

From drab to fab, little additions and a good spring cleaning can make an office space more inviting, not to mention more motivating. Lighting, themes and color give life to an area where most people spend a great majority of their time.

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The seasons have officially changed and that means one thing — spring cleaning time.

When it comes to that annual deep cleaning, most people tend to think of their homes only, but they shouldn't overlook their office workspace.

Think about it. Your space at work is like your home away from home.

If there are 24 hours in a day and you spend 9 of them at work, and 8 sleeping, that only leaves 7 waking hours left to fully enjoy the rest of your day.

Like it or not, work will encompass many of your waking hours, so why not take the time to organize your workspace and make it a little more enjoyable?

The first step in sprucing things up is analyzing your space. Decide what works, what doesn't and what needs improvement. Assess what will make your space work best for you.

While you are analyzing your workspace, keep in mind that in order for your area to be efficient, things need to be easily accessible. Meaning, if you need your phone and computer to complete your daily tasks, they should be close to your desk. Not across the room from each other.

After you've analyzed your space, you should make a list of the things you need to fix problem areas. If there's too much clutter on your desktop, maybe you need more storage space. If you can never find anything when you need it, maybe you need materials to improve, or establish, your personal filing system.

If you're the type of person that likes to see everything, you may want to find a desktop file holder. If you prefer the out-of-sight, out-of-mind method, you'd be better off with filing things away inside desk drawers.

The third step in cleaning up your act is doing just that — cleaning.

You want to get rid of anything that you don't use.

That goes for unnecessary paperwork, too. If you have a pile of sticky notes on your desk, put the information on them into a more permanent format. Ideally, that would be an electronic file on your computer.

While everything is cleared from your desk, take a few minutes to give it, your computer monitor, keyboard, telephone and everything else a quick cleaning with a sanitizing solution.

The fourth step would be to go shopping with your list of needed materials in hand.

"Shopping" doesn't have to be limited to stores, it can be done in office storage closets and even in your own home. Before you hit the shops, take a quick look in those areas to see if there's anything that you can repurpose to suit your needs.

No reason to spend money when you don't have to.

While you're out shopping, pick up a few items to give your workspace a little personality. Be sure to stay within office limitations. If there's a policy against hanging decor on walls, you're better off sticking with a few desk knick-knacks like colorful storage boxes or even a bedazzled stapler.

When jazzing up your workspace, think of the things that make you happy and incorporate that into your space. If there's no place you'd rather be than relaxing by the ocean, why not pick up a few beach-themed accessories? It doesn't have to be a literal interpretation. It could be a nice framed picture from your last ocean-side vacation and other items in tranquil shades of blues and greens.

If you love gardening, why not pick up a bouquet of flowers — fake ones will work — and place them within eyesight on your desk?

The most important thing to remember when doing a little spring cleaning at work is to make your space your own.


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