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:

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The Busy Woman’s Guide to Last-Minute Cleaning

Do you adhere to a cleaning system for your home? Have you hired a cleaning professional or cleaning service? And — if you only have 3 minutes to clean your home before a new visitor walks into your home, what do you clean? 

We’ve talked before about the wonders of hiring a cleaning professional, and talked about our general cleaning systems and methods before — but something we’ve never talked about is total last minute cleaning. As in, “I wasn’t expecting my friend to come over after dinner and now I have two seconds to run in and make the place look vaguely presentable!” quick cleaning hit list.  (I’m half-remembering a quote from Working Girl where Harrison Ford’s character warns Melanie Griffith’s character that if it’s a day or two before his cleaning professional is due to come, it can be pretty bad…. I totally agree!) I’ve adopted my own systems, and read some other things, so I thought it might be an amusing conversation today.  (Pictured.)

Given limited time, I clean:

  1. Whichever bathroom sink a guest might use (if you only have one bathroom the answer is clear!)
  2. The toilet in that bathroom (and a quick Lysol wipe of the toilet seat, too)
  3. If time permits I wipe the bathroom mirror down if it needs it
  4. If time permits I put any dirty dishes in the sink instead of the counter

I read in Apartment Therapy years ago that you should dust your TV at the last minute, but I often feel like with toys, shoes and a zillion Amazon Prime boxes sitting around, the TV is the last of my worries — and I’d much rather people know I’m messy than suspect my house is a petri dish.

So how about you, ladies — what does your last minute cleaning routine look like? (I now see that we haven’t really talked in general about cleaning since 2012 either — so let’s discuss! Do you have a cleaning professional come on a regular basis? How often, and how did you find him or her? (Any tips on cleaning for your cleaner — organizing everything so surfaces are clear enough for them to be sprayed and cleaned?) Do you adhere to the Fly Lady system or anything else? If you have roommates or a partner, do you like the current division of labor or do you feel like it’s a work in progress?) Another fun topic we haven’t ever discussed — do you have a similar “cleaning quick hit list” for your office if your office is on the messier side(2017 Update: whoa, this Buzzfeed video is pretty awesome too, although it’s more like a “thorough last minute cleaning” than “quick,” but hey.)

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Open Thread: Keeping a Clean House When You’re Too Busy To Clean

Cleaning Supplies, originally uploaded to Flickr by SurvivalWoman

2016 Update: Links have been updated below; you can also check out our latest discussion on last minute cleaning for busy women.

So:  one of the big tips they give to working women is to hire a cleaning lady.  I get it, I really do — but I still can’t bring myself to bring someone in more than once a quarter.  I’ve seen a ton of interesting Pins on Pinterest on how to keep your house clean (e.g., this one from The Budget Diet), and I know both Apartment Therapy and Real Simple have written about it in the past.  I know readers have discussed full-fledged “systems” like The Fly Lady cleaning system, as well as newer ones like, ahem, [email protected]#$ Your Habitat (which even has an app).  There are even games out there, like Chore Wars! (Pictured: Cleaning Supplies, originally uploaded to Flickr by SurvivalWoman.)

For my $.02: I’ve been doing my own modified version of a few different systems, but in general I’m willing to commit 15 minutes a day to cleaning.  For our 2-bedroom, 1.5 bath, 1000 sq ft apartment, this is what it looks like:

  • Monday: clean bathrooms (counters, mirrors, toilets) and kitchen counters
  • Tuesday: Swiffer floors, dust apartment
  • Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: spend 15 minutes doing Thing That Bugs Me (maybe it’s scrubbing the stove, or the shower, or decluttering the kitchen table, or cleaning a bathroom floor)

We tend to do laundry as needed throughout the week, and my husband (God bless him!) does most of the dishes and whatever vacuuming needs to be done.  I’ve found the perfect time for cleaning, for me, is after my workout, when I’m already sweaty and gross but want to cool down before I hop in the shower.  I’m starting to get more into nontoxic, green cleaners, and across the board I really like Method products over some other ones I’ve tried.

Readers, do you have a system for keeping your house or apartment clean?  If you have a partner or roommate, how do you split chores?

Open Thread: Hiring a Cleaning Lady

Cleaning supplies, originally uploaded to Flickr by AnnieGreenSprings

2016 Update: Links have been updated below; you can also check out our latest discussion on last minute cleaning for busy women.

Readers, have you hired someone to clean your house or apartment? What are your best tips for how to hire a cleaning lady?  When did you first hire them? (Right out of school, after you reached a certain salary, after you got married or had kids… when?) What have you learned about the process, such as how to be a good boss, how to communicate your wishes, and how to get what you want?

You see, for years, I’ve ignored the advice that every older working woman gives every younger working woman: hire a cleaning lady. It makes returning home after a long day spa-like! It saves marriages! It is the easiest thing to outsource! (Pictured: Cleaning supplies, originally uploaded to Flickr by AnnieGreenSprings.)

And yet, I thought: I don’t like people touching my stuff. Or, God forbid, “organizing” my stuff. Particularly while I’m not home! And then if I am home while someone else is cleaning my house… gee, where are the palm fronds and the four buff guys to carry me around?  Also, I thought, I don’t have time to “clean for the cleaning person” — if I did then I would just go ahead and clean the apartment myself.

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The Messy Office

messy-officeHow messy is TOO messy of an office? I’ve worked with all sorts of people when it comes to this. There are the people with the super-bare office — completely clean desks with perhaps one photo on it. I’ve worked with folks where it was so messy that it seemed like they could film an episode of Hoarders in there. And I’ve worked with people where it was “controlled chaos” — one of my bosses memorably kept about 10 tall piles of manilla folders on her desk at all times and would have to go through each pile to find what she needed. Personally, I’ve always been on the messier side of the spectrum, but with the caveat that I can almost always find what I need in under ten minutes. [Read more…]

Poll: When does a messy office cross the line?

My messy office, originally uploaded to Flickr by pettishoo.This week’s poll is about an office space — if it’s your own, and you have a door that shuts and blocks it from view entirely, how clean do you keep it?  (We’ll also assume, for the purpose of this poll, that you don’t have frequent clients or superiors coming to your office.)  We have friends who keep their desks bare of all paper except the immediate project they’re working on — and we have friends who have files and boxes and loose papers and half-read magazines from the commute and pens and other things lying about on the desk and the floor, as well as spare shoes, spare clothes they keep at the office (suit jackets, more comfortable pants), and various food stuffs.  Then there are the people who have the truly messy offices — the “wall of paper” offices, where you wonder how they were able to stack the files so high without the pile falling over.  All this brings us to our question today: When does messy cross the line into unprofessional?  Is it worse for women, who are more prone to keeping personal items (shoes, jackets, low-fat food items, etc) in their office?


What’s the messiest your office has been — and what did you do about it?  Has anyone brought in professional organizers or bought office furniture to hide the mess?  What’s the messiest office you’ve ever seen (and whose was it — a superior’s? junior? college professor?)

Photo Credit.

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