Tips and Tricks to Spring Clean Your Office

tips and tricks to spring clean your officeDo you have a spring cleaning routine at home? Do you spring clean your office? I’m sure there are more “yes” answers to that first question. But no judgment here! After all, my office cleaning “routine” is typically something like, “Wow, how did all this dust get here? I guess it’s time to wipe it off!” We touched on office cleaning in our post on things to do in a quiet office a few months ago, but today we thought we’d share some tips and tricks to spring clean your office. (We’ve also talked about when an office is too messywhen to use cute office supplies and how to organize your office.)

Obviously, before you start to clean your office yourself, consider what’s already being done, such as work by a regular cleaning service at the office. You may want to coordinate the effort with them; for example, they may be able to sprinkle stuff on your carpets, vacuum vents, or dust blinds if they know the area will be clear. Depending on how strongly you feel about things, you may also want to ask them if they can give you a fresh trash can or recycle bin as well.

With that said, here are some tips and tricks to spring clean your office:

  1. Clear all surfaces, including any papers, folders, piles, boxes you don’t need anymore, etc., and move them to their final resting place, whether it’s in a filing cabinet near your assistant, in the office archives, in the recycle bin, and so on. You won’t have any room to spread out and sort things otherwise. Here are a couple of useful articles with info on paper decluttering.
  2. Open the windows to let in some fresh air. If your office needs some more help in the smell department, consider putting a bowl of vinegar out for a few hours or overnight to absorb odors. (The vinegar smell evaporates as soon as you ditch the vinegar — just don’t spill it anywhere! Here are some other ways to make your office smell nice if you want to avoid vinegar or a Febreeze-type spray.)
  3. We’ve all done the basic shake-the-keyboard-to-get-the-crumbs-out maneuver, but using a can of compressed air is a bit more thorough. Use compressed air to easily get dust and lint off your keyboard, computer vents and fans, and — if you keep a fan in your office for hot summer days, you may want to clean that with compressed air as well.
  4. Wipe down all surfaces. This isn’t a groundbreaking product suggestion, to be sure, but disinfecting wipes are so useful for multiple surfaces. Wipe your phone (both the receiver and keypad), desk top, doorknob, desk chair armrests, and mousepad. You can use wipes to clean your desk drawers (after you’ve emptied them, that is) if you’re doing some hardcore cleaning. If your trash can is gross, wipe that down, too, since that’s not something the office custodial crew is likely to have time to do. If you don’t like the strong smell of disinfectant wipes, try baby wipes or “natural” wipes. Use microfiber cleaning cloths for surfaces that you’re not supposed to use disinfecting wipes on, e.g., your computer and monitor, plus any wooden shelves/bookcases, etc. You don’t need to use any cleansers with these, and you can toss them in the washing machine to clean them when you’re done (without fabric softener).
  5. If you want to be extra-careful, use these special wipes for your monitor, computer, keyboard, and mouse. You can also clean your keyboard with isopropyl alcohol on a cloth or cotton ball, and your monitor screen as well. There are also fun slime/putties to clean your keyboard, like this one (highly rated but only sold in a pack of 4) or this one (add-on item). (Here’s a detailed computer-cleaning guide from Wired.)
  6. Put away any winter things you keep at the office and determine if they need cleaning: Assess any office shoes for cleaning/cobbling needs, make a pile of dry cleaning, make a mental note whether clothes in your “I hope I get to the gym” bag are appropriate for the season, etc.
  7. Get flowers for yourself or something else bright and happy to celebrate your newly cleaned and decluttered office!

Do you clean your office regularly? What are your favorite tips and tricks to spring clean your office? How about your rules of thumb for getting rid of papers? 

Image credit: Pexels.

clean your office

Ahhhhhh - nothing is better than a clean office! Here are some of our best tips and tricks to spring clean your office.


  1. Power of Attorney :

    Question for the hive mind: My husband and I (mid-late 30s) recently went in to talk to a lawyer about drawing up simple wills (currently no kids, all assets would just go to the other spouse if one of us died, or be split between our parents and/or brothers if we died simultaneously). When we went back to sign the drawn-up wills the other day, the lawyer had also prepared financial power of attorney documents for us to sign, which I didn’t recall him mentioning at our initial meeting, so I thought that was odd. Husband and I were able to talk privately at the lawyer’s office about whether we wanted to sign the PoA docs or not, and we ultimately decided to do so because it made practical sense to be able to access each other’s separate accounts in the event one of us became incapacitated. But, now I’m wondering if that was a smart move and if it’s normal to have durable financial PoA set-up at our age? I do trust my husband, but I guess I’m just a little uncomfortable knowing, if our marriage did start to fall apart in the future, that he could essentially raid my accounts and take everything legally (we keep some separate accounts for reasons that don’t need to be explained here, but suffice to say we plan to keep some accounts separate, though we do have a joint account as well).

    So, I’d like to get your take on whether having a financial PoA at this stage in our lives is normal/smart or if there are any other potential pitfalls I should consider? Is this par for the course when you draw up a will or was our attorney being weird here?

    • This is absolutely part for the course. We did the same when our lawyer drafted our will.

    • How is the PoA drafted? Is it effective immediately or only upon the event of your incapacitation? That’s the thing about incapacitation; it can happen pretty unexpectedly. Call the lawyer back and ask him to explain the PoA, when it goes into effect, when/if it automatically terminates, and the fiduciary duties that are imposed when acting as an agent for another. Financial and healthcare PoA forms aren’t unusual for will packages in my area.

    • Anonymous :

      IME estate attorneys usually charge a flat fee for simple estate documents and that set of documents includes a will, PoA, and an advanced medical directive.

    • When my husband and I got our wills done it was part of the normal package. Those and the medical POAs/end of life decision stuff. But we had the stuff to fill out ahead of time, so we knew to expect it.

    • When we did our estate planning the package included the wills, a HPOA, and a financial POA. You say your concern is that if your marriage fell apart he could raid your accounts, but usually you would also have to be incapacitated before he would actually receive access to your accounts (this was how our financial POA was worded anyway). If you hit the point in your marriage where you are uncomfortable with the concept of him having access to your accounts you can always revoke the POA at that time.

      • Power of Attorney :

        I really appreciate all of the responses here. I responded more fully to Stati’s reply below (which ended up as a new thread). I’m glad to hear that a PoA is standard along with a will, but I need to go back and see if it took effect immediately or only upon incapacitation. And it’s true that the PoA can be revoked, which is helpful- thank you for that reminder, Anon. Thank you so much, everyone!

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Also chiming in that durable POAs were part of our package. Our “package” included a revocable trust, basic wills, advance health care directives, and durable POAs. If your attorney didn’t form a trust (or mention it), you may want to consider it. Although this depends on the laws in your state and what your assets are. A trust lets you avoid probate and I was surprised to find out that you really don’t need a ton of assets for a trust to be useful, at least in my state.

  2. I’m not a lawyer, I’m a doc – so take this all with a grain of salt:

    I don’t think it’s uncommon to bundle a will with a POA. However, I’m certain the devil is in the details. The lawyer ‘ettes can give you more guidance here than I can for sure.

    We’re married, mid-30’s with a 9 month old; we had wills and POA drawn up before baby was born.
    Ours kicks in if, and only if, one of us becomes incapacitated. This was a conscious decision we made as a couple. We both have complicated family medical histories with one or both parents dying at a young age. My husband’s father had a hemorrhagic stroke due to a genetic malformation at 45… it totally changed his personality and he squandered away most of the family’s assets within a few years before he passed.

    *** I hired an attorney privately to review my POA and our will separate from what our “joint” attorney drafted. This gave me peace of mind and confidence. And no, I never told hubby about it. *** And no, I don’t feel guilty about it.

    What bothers me is that it seems you were not, or did not feel comfortable, discussing the POA and all of its various forms with the attorney before signing. ? Maybe I’m misreading your post. Your feelings are valid, I wouldn’t ignore them. You never know what could happen.

    • Power of Attorney :

      Thank you for the confirmation from everyone who replied above. I’m glad to hear that it’s standard for a PoA to go along with a will in your experiences (we did do the advanced medical directive, too, which our attorney did talk with us about in our initial meeting, so I knew that was part of the package).

      I’ll need to go back and read the document to see if the PoA took effect immediately or if was written to only kick in upon incapacitation (I think it was immediate, but I could be wrong). If I had known the PoA was coming, I would have researched the possible ways to set one up. In the moment, it seemed sensible when our attorney explained it (and we’ve worked with this lawyer before and I do trust him), so it was less me being uncomfortable asking questions of the lawyer, as Stati mentions, and more not knowing what to ask/ what the alternatives could be when setting up a PoA. Although, if I’m honest with myself, I think I also didn’t want to ask too many questions that would make it seem to my husband that I didn’t trust him (which he is sensitive to).

      Really, I should have said I wanted more time to consider the PoA and would come back to sign it another day. But, I can correct this by going back and reading the doc, asking our lawyer any follow up questions, and then opening up the discussion with my husband I see any changes I want to make to the PoA. Thanks again, all!

      • Anonymous :

        Honestly, you should never feel afraid to ask your attorney questions especially in an estate planning situation! Too bad, so sad if he feels like you don’t trust him. He should do a better job and should be doing everything possible to make it so you do trust him!

        – Signed, an attorney

        • Power of Attorney :

          You are of course right. Even though I was caught off-guard in the moment, I am taking charge by asking questions now and may reopen discussion if necessary.

          And to clarify, I didn’t care about the attorney thinking I didn’t trust him (attorney), I was sensitive that my husband would be hurt if I opened a line of questioning that made it seem like I didn’t trust him (husband, who I was saying is the sensitive one). Of course, I also shouldn’t be afraid of asking those questions in front of husband in an estate planning situation, so your advice is relevant no matter who you thought I was talking about!

        • sweetknee :

          I think OP meant she did not want her husband to think she did not trust him.

          • Legal Canuck :

            In my line of work we charged a flat rate for Wills, EPOA (enduring power of attorney, which only comes into effect upon inpacatation,) and AHCD (advanced health care directive) . The way that hubby and I have it, is that we need 2 doctors to determine incapacity (standard wording here).

            As for the AHCD, my brother will be making hubby’s health care decisions (to cut the cord). I do not trust that I would be able to follow through on his wishes (morally yes, emotionally, I feel I would be too close to the situation).

  3. S in Chicago :

    Let folks know they can sprinkle stuff on the carpet? Um, I can’t imagine anyone doing this in any of the offices I’ve worked in. Don’t be THAT person.

  4. I’m sorry, Kay, I love you but do you think the menfolk are reading articles about how to spring clean their offices?

    Just no.

    Offices have janitorial staffs. Let them do their jobs.

    • Anonymous :

      If your office janitorial staff is dusting, they’re way better than our’s. It’s a struggle to get our’s to do more than empty trash cans/clean the bathrooms and, if we’re lucky, on the rare occassion, vacuum.

      • Shopaholic :

        +1 – the janitorial staff occasionally dusts but not when I’m here (which is always) so nothing really gets done except for the emptying of my garbage/recycling.

    • Anonymous :

      HAHAHAHA. If only!! Ours are only permitted to empty the large trash and recycling cans in the common area. We don’t even have regular vacuuming anymore. You have to specifically request it. When I moved into my new office, I had to clean the absolutely disgusting desk – there were crumbs under the glass top, streaks everywhere, and >2 year old food in the drawers.

    • I so agree! When I was dateing Sheketovits, he did NOTHING to clean up my apartement, even tho HE was the one who did the most to get it dirty. Between the vomitting and the peeing on the floor, he was a 1 man wrecking crew. I had to completeley replace my linens b/c of him, and the carpet needed to be steam cleaned twice. Do you think he even lifted a finger to help me keep the place clean? NADA! He figured that b/c he was the man and b/c it was MY apartement, he could have ME attend to the apartement’s cleaning, irregardless of the fact that it was HIM that made it into such a mess. FOOEY on him and men like him who make women do all this domesticated stuff. It cost me alot of money for cleaning bills and new 1000 count Egyptian Cotten sheets. DOUBEL FOOEY!

  5. Vinegar?? :

    I’m having a hard time imagining just how bad our floor would smell if someone left a bowl of vinegar out overnight. I mean, the whole room would reek of vinegar, no?

    • This space left intentionally blank :

      The smell of vinegar does dissipate surprisingly quickly. It’s a great cleaner for all sorts of things: dishwashers, washing machines, laminate floors…

  6. another anon :

    Your post made my chuckle only because several of us walked into our offices this morning (law firm) to find our trash bags from yesterday strewn about our offices (like the actual bags, not the contents). Suffice it to say, I won’t be relying on our current cleaning crew to do any spring cleaning…. Also, their duties appear to be restricted to emptying trash/recycling and a quick vacuum–nothing else gets dusted or cleaned in my office unless I do it myself. FWIW, I love cleaning my office. I rarely ever do it, but I love it! Always feels like a (short-lived) fresh start. I was also once of those kids who loved cleaning and organizing my room–and anyone else’s:) As for the menfolk, I wish some of my male colleagues would read some office spring cleaning articles….

  7. So, I’m having a pretty quiet afternoon at work and have decided NOT to clean my office..
    instead I did a search for “Ellen” on this site because I thought it would be entertaining…
    The results did not disappoint.
    And apparently she has her own blog. This is amazing…

  8. Secretly married :

    I think my fiance and I are about to call off our full Catholic wedding, which is supposed to be in about a month. He told me about a week ago he just wasn’t sure about getting married “right now” and wants to postpone . I knew he has been acting distant for a while, so im surprised it shocked me as much as it did. To me, postponing the wedding indefinitely is just unacceptable, and even if I were to go along with it and reschedule the wedding I could never trust him to go through with it. He keeps saying there are issues with our relationship that we need more time to resolve, but considering we’ve been together for 5 years I don’t see them resolving anytime soon.

    What complicates everything is the fact that we already got legally married about a year ago for legal reasons. We kept that private and have made a conscious decision to consider the Catholic ceremony as our true marriage. It makes his not wanting to marry me in the church worse for me because we’re already legally married. It just doesn’t make any sense. Now I’m looking at divorce / annulment processes and its just awful. I know I need to start cancelling contracts but he keeps asking for more time to make up his mind. And Idk how to tell my family and friends who have already made plans because it’s so soon. I feel like my whole life is falling apart.

    • I am truly sorry that you are going through this- how devastating!

      First, your family and friends will fully understand, so don’t worry about them at all. This is the time to focus on you.

      Second, I think you should cancel the contracts now. If your fiancé/husband’s main reason for wanting to postpone is that there are issues in your relationship that need more time to resolve, a month isn’t going to be enough time. So him asking for more time to “make up his mind” is ridiculous- there’s no time left. And even if tomorrow he told you he wanted to proceed with the wedding, I can’t imagine that YOU’D feel comfortable moving ahead with someone who is clearly shaky on the relationship, as you mentioned. So, it’s clear you’re not getting married in a month either way, so cancel the contracts now.

      Third, if you yourself are not already seeing a counselor, I would strongly recommend starting with one because there is a whole minefield of emotions you are going to process and having someone to help you through that will be very affirming. They can help you navigate the divorce/annulment process.

      Again, I am so sorry that you are facing this- I’m not surprised that it feels like your world is falling apart. Just take things one day at a time. You will come out stronger on the other end.

    • white out :

      I am so, so sorry. I would not give him more time to make up his mind. It’s been five years, you’re legally wed — how much more time does he need?

      Big, big hugs.

      • Yes, HUGS. I talked with my freind who was in a similar situeation. She was married in both the church and civilly. But remember you are legally married already in this country b/c of your civil marrage, so you can divorce him w/o even worrying about getting a religous anullment b/c you have NEVER been married in the eyes of the church. My freind asked what your family has been thinking the past 5 years — she came from a strict upbringing, and she could NOT even stay out past midnite until after her marrage. If your family does not think you are married, where have you been living/sleepeing/haveing s-x (etc) for the last 5 years? Sureley they do not think he is a monk, do they? If they are OK knowing you have been liveing “in sin”, then don’t even sweat it, my freind told me. Just tell them you are tired of liveing with a guy who will NOT commit in the religus sense, which to my freind, shows that he is even more religion conscious then she was. Good luck and I hope you find a guy who cares about you for more then daily s-x, which is what my ex did. FOOEY!

    • Anonymous :

      I will add my hugs and also say, almost this exact same thing happened to a close friend a year or two ago. Secret legal wedding ahead of time, gigantic church wedding planned, wound up postponing and then canceling the “wedding” and getting secretly divorced. It sucked but it was 100% the right call and it’s better to handle it sooner rather than later. She is thriving without that guy now and actually dating someone new who is pretty great. Lots of hugs for you!

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Why doesn’t he want to get married in the church? Have you asked him?

      • Secretly Married :

        I didn’t reply this correctly, so copying and pasting:

        He said he does want to get married in the church eventually, but he doesn’t know when. He said there are issues in our relationship that he wanted to work on before then. He won’t say what those issues are, other than bringing up random fights we’ve had over the years.

  9. Secretly Married :

    He said he does want to get married in the church eventually, but he doesn’t know when. He said there are issues in our relationship that he wanted to work on before then. He won’t say what those issues are, other than bringing up random fights we’ve had over the years.

  10. Stevee B. :

    Spring Cleaning goes a lot better with professional cleaning services. I don’t know about your janitor services, but Chem-Dry of Greensboro has been worked great for us.

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