Here’s a random question for today: how often do you clean your office cabinets or desk drawers? How often do you move old files into storage, or send them to the shredder? On the home front, how often do you clean your cabinets, pantry, and freezer? How often do you wash your makeup brushes? How often do you clean your closet and actually get stuff out to be donated or recycled? How often do you throw away old tax documents? What other tasks like these things do you do — and how do you remember to do them?
(We’ve talked in the past about how to organize your office, how to schedule repeating tasks, how to spring clean your office, and shared thoughts on decluttering, donating, and more.)
For my $.02, I almost never do these things! Over the past few weeks I’ve tried to clean a cabinet here and there (filing cabinets, as well as kitchen and bathroom cabinets) and have been surprised how amazing it feels to throw away stuff that’s totally expired (for kitchen stuff) or irrelevant (office stuff). We just donated a ton of old kids’ clothes — I just cleaned my makeup brushes — and I just set aside a ton of tax documents for shredding. It feels great! The funniest thing to me is how momentum is really a big part of the efficiency here — it’s so much easier to get rid of things when you’re doing it in a full sweep. Some of the stuff at the back of my bathroom cabinet was half-empty drugstore stuff from 10+ years ago — insane. (Yes, we’re recycling everything we can.)
How about you guys — what tasks like this do you do, how often do you do them, and how do you REMEMBER to do them? If you have assistants, do you ask your assistant to help you with the tasks or do you prefer to do it yourself?
Stock photo via Deposit Photos / imagedb_seller.
Each year I schedule a cleaning day for our whole office. We clean out drawers, organize common areas, and dust shelves. I generally do this at home at least once a year but broken up throughout the year – 1 weekend I’ll do the basement, at other times closets, cabinets, drawers, etc. I don’t like hidden junk. My freezer/fridge get cleaned out before every grocery trip or I wouldn’t have any room.
I’m a consultant with no permanent desk, and I rarely buy food. Freezer is currently doing ok (3.5 years no cleaning) with the beer glasses and vodka bottle… And the occasion microwave meal.
Procrastination about something else is a great tool for me to get motivated about cleaning drawers at work, my fridge and pantry at home, the mail table, etc. I’d say this happens 3-4 times a year at work. I tend to clean out my fridge when I’m doing a big meal prep weekend, so more often.
My husband got inspired by watching the Marie Kondo show and is currently cleaning out our storage attic (he also makes a big show of getting on his knees and thanking the attic, which he does for comic effect, successfully)
oil in houston
I just cleaned our freezer after 4 years as it lost power and I had no choice…. was surprised by how gross it was… so will try to do it a bit more regularly!
every thing else, I tend to do about once a year
My cleaneing lady cleans BOTH my refergerator and Freezer 2x a year b/c Mom told me that listeria bacteria and shigella virus can make you sick. Mom says that she does NOT trust our cleaning lady around food, so she does it herself b/c her cleaning lady does not wash her hands when she comes out of the toilet, either for urine or poopie. FOOEY! I insist on washing and make my cleaneing lady wash her hands BEFORE she starts touching anything, including food or stuff in the refrigerator or freezer. I hope this helps others in the hive realize that their cleaneing ladies can be the source of a lot of sickness brought into the apartement! DOUBEL FOOEY!
I just did a major cleaning of my office and files at the beginning of the year. I ditched a ton of stuff I no longer needed (mostly my own notes from when I started this job, and notes that pertained to our old payroll system.) I moved some filed items into binders so they are neater and easier to access and did my yearly file move — all the files from the previous year get moved from my two desk file drawers to a file box I store in a cabinet. The previous year’s box gets pulled and moved to storage. I’m very limited on file space in my office, so I’m trying to do what I can to create and conserve space for what I’ll need for the year.
At home, I used to do a major fall cleaning — entire house, top to bottom, wipe down the walls, wash curtains, move all the furniture out and vacuum behind/underneath, vacuum the upholstery, dust/polish everything, clean everything up. I haven’t done it the last two years and I am really embarrassed about it. Two years ago it was because my mom was very sick and in the hospital. Last year, I decided why should I go to all that work and trouble to clean the house only to drag out all my Christmas stuff and mess everything up. My goal is to do a major house cleaning probably starting mid-February. I want it all done by Easter.
My fridge gets a go-thru every week just to check on what I need from the grocery store. The food cupboards and pantry get it when I put groceries away. I have two deep freezers that could use a good defrosting. (actually, these really cold days would have been perfect had I not had to come to work!) Last time I cleaned them out to the bare floor, I put plastic bins in them so that everything is organized. They probably need straightened out and re-organized again, and an inventory taken so I know what I have on hand. I’m actually pretty proud of my freezer organization job. I can tell you exactly where to find something in my freezers — this was a huge help when my sister was helping me when I was taking care of my mom. She used to tease me about how OCD I was about my freezer and wanted to know if I kept pictures of it on my phone!
I wash my makeup brushes about once a month/every six weeks. Just spray with brush cleaner and swish in soapy water and rinse. My own closet gets straightened when I open it and cringe (it really needs a Marie Kondo style cleaning, but the idea of dumping everything in that closet on my bed makes me cringe.) I’ve been known to clean out a closet or a cupboard just because it’s annoying me – no set schedule on that.
I am almost religious about cleaning my house every week – dust/vacuum, straighten everything up, do laundry. I say almost, because there are weeks it doesn’t get done because I have things going on and then I spend the whole week feeling like a lazy bum. But I’ve found that the more I keep after things, the easier it is to keep up with things.
Commenting because I did this yesterday. I typically do this 2-3 times a year. Usually, it’s little things that add up until I hit my breaking point. My colleagues joke about how organized I am so it’s not a hoarders situation but my coworker across from me has a VERY minimalist desk and I was feeling like all my “homey” items were feeling more “busy” and “distracting” so I decluttered and picked my favorite few photos to leave up. I went through and shredded a bunch of old document drafts/conference notes that I no longer need and duplicate reference materials. I’ve been working on documenting and rolling out standardized processes for my team so going through and organizing/getting rid of excess “review” items I don’t need.
Also, just cleaned out our fridge/freezer for the first time in 3 years. We did the January Cure over at Apartment Therapy and liked it a lot as a mini-refresh button on the apartment. Looking forward to doing it every year.
I never clean my office drawers. I was just looking in there yesterday for something and it was a graveyard for various cables, with a stack of paperwork striated according to when I received the paperwork (I don’t use paper and if someone hands me paper I put it in my big bottom drawer in a horizontal stack and never look at it again). I’ve also got some condiments, a hanger, and some packaging for various things shipped to me that maybe I’ll need someday.
I briefly considered remedying the situation, but then I didn’t, and I can’t really see a reason to do so.
Marie Kondo is living in my head right now, and my home closet is looking pretty grand at the moment. But I’m afraid if I start on my office, I will quietly thank all my files and then shred the lot of them!
I wipe down (dust) my office most Fridays. It feels good to come in to a clean office on Monday. Deep Freeze gets cleaned out and defrosted every fall, usually end of Sept. Having a fresh space to tuck holiday leftovers in is nice. Closet is once a year or so, kids clothes definitely before school starts. Toy purge just before or just after Christmas, depending on how crazy life is.
One job had a ‘retention’ day, once a year, when old docs were either archived properly or disposed of. It was nice.