December is one of the most popular times for people to get or gift new technology. We may decide to upgrade our own laptop and pass our old one on to our kids. Or, we may decide to completely revamp our office as a gift to ourselves to get ready for a productive New Year. But, how exactly do you clean up your tech and office? Sure…you can get rid of clutter in your home by donating old clothes, clearing out the garage or throwing away old magazines and newspapers, but what about your office? If I were daring I would post a photo of my office, but, um, no! Now is not a good time. It seems like organizing my office is a constant work in progress. It becomes a dumping ground as I move around the home and clean other areas. But, even so… there are a few things that I can do to get my work environment ready for the new year. As with every year, I'm determined to be more organized, and more productive next year. And now is the time to prep.
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10 Ways to Prep Your Office For the New Year
Organize Your Workspace
If I am working at my desk consistently it usually stays fairly neat… sometimes…. I'm constantly moving things around, or wiping off the desk. But, the trouble starts when I am not in there. I know… that makes no sense! But, when I’m cleaning other areas of the house or unpacking, I have a way of just coming in and dumping everything that belongs in my office on my desk. Sometimes I cannot see the desk at all. And when this happens I cannot work. I have to take 20 minutes or so to clean off my desk and put everything in it’s place or I feel very disorganized.
Shred Old Mail and Papers
Shredding is therapeutic. But, I have a bad habit. Instead of shredding mail immediately I like to start a pile of junk mail next to the shredder. Then I sit for about an hour every other week and shred away my stress! Give it a try. 🙂 Seriously though, the best thing to do is to rid the house of junk mail on a regular basis. Shred it when you get it, then it will not end up on your desk. We have both the Fellowes Powershred M-12C and the Fellowes Powershred 79Ci and they get the job done! The 73Ci is a powerhouse. The M-12C is perfect for smaller spaces.
Clean Off Your Laptop
I don’t mean clean your files. I mean get a towel and some safe cleaner and clean your computer! As someone who sometimes does technology repairs, I have touched many a laptop. And what is the first thing that I do? Clean it off with a Clorox wipe. I have seen some laptops in public and on the Internet that look like they have been used as plates. Seriously, part of keeping your tech in working order is keeping them clean. Wipe off your laptop…often! Not doing so can cause crumbs and other nasty things to get down in your keyboard, or worse. This can cause problems with the function of the laptop. See my post, Dirty Laptops are Nasty… It's Important to Clean Your Laptop, for some cleaning tips.
“Decrumb” Your Keyboard
Just like cleaning off your laptop, if you use a desktop computer it needs to be kept clean as well. When working, we are sometimes guilty of eating at our desks. Grab a can of forced air or a portable vacuum and get all of the crumbs out of your keyboard. Do the same to your desk.
Clear the Dust Out of Your Tower
The thought of doing this can frighten some, but it’s actually pretty easy. Dust has a way of collecting around the components in desktop towers, especially the fans. It can cause overheating or slow performance. But you can fix this. Turn off and unplug your desktop. Remove the side panel. Grab your can of forced air or vacuum and get rid of the dust. Just be very careful – you do not want to break anything.
Clean Your Screen
In this new world of touchscreens, our computers are now designed to have fingerprints all over them. But that does not mean that it has to be that way all the time. When you are cleaning off your laptop or desktop, clean your monitor as well. You’ll be able to see much better. Be sure to use a screen safe cleaner! They are not expensive.
Organize Your Files & Photos
We all know that we will probably add a hundred more photos to our stash over the holidays! So, get ready. Organizing your photos into folders by year and month, or event name, can help you find just what you are looking for when the time comes. If you take a lot of photos, consider investing in a large external hard drive to organize and back up your photos. You can also move photos and videos off your phone. And if you are guilty of using USB keys to temporarily store data, consider going through them and cleaning off the files that you do not need. This way when you need to use one you can just grab it and go without worry of having to stop and see what’s on it. And if you take a ton of photos with your smartphone, you should be using Google Photos to keep your photos backed up to the Cloud. That way if you lose your phone, you will not lose your photos. This also keeps your contacts backed up. See How to Never Lose Your Smartphone Contacts Again for tips and info.
Organize Your Computer Cables
Although many things are wireless now, computers and offices still require some cables. Sometimes a lot of cables! The area under my desk used to look like an experiment in cord twisting. At one point I had one PC desktop, three monitors and an all-in-one on or under my desk. The picture below shows that mess that would occur after I had to move some things around in a hurry.
It has gotten better since I switched to an iMac, but there are still cables. Add to that a couple of external hard drives, phone chargers and laptop chargers and it can become a lot. There was a time when all of the cords were nice and neat. But when swapping out hardware or adding something new, the cords get messed up again. Grab a few cable ties, or even twist ties, and organize your cords.
You might even want to get the cords up off the floor using a cable organizer or cord management system. They are very reasonable and make a huge difference.
Clean the Floor in Your Office
Once you have all of your cords organized and out of the way, grab the vacuum. Get all of the crumbs and dust bunnies! An office full of papers, snacks (admit it), and electronics can get pretty dusty. And it does not only settle on your desk, but also on your floor or carpet. You will be surprised what a difference it can make. It will make you feel good about working when you sit at your desk.
We love our Dyson vacuums in my house. We have a Dyson V8 Animal that hangs in our garage for use downstairs. And an older Dyson V6 that is housed in the laundry room upstairs. With the different attachments, both are great for carpets, floors, stairs, spider webs in ceiling corners… just about wherever.
Upgrade Your Lighting
Because of cost, we do not have many ceiling fixtures in our home, at $125 a pop, I said, “Oh… we will just have a lot of lamps!” Although, thinking back… after buying all these lamps, we could have just paid for the ceiling fixtures. Lesson learned. Sigh… Anyway, if you use your office for blog photos or videos, you may want to add some better lighting. No one likes dark photos. Consider adding a few natural lighting lamps, or photography lighting.
I picked up this adjustable selfie light ring a few months and it is awesome! At only $14.99 you cannot go wrong. And it is useful for a lot more things than just selfies. It is powered by USB so you can plug it into your laptop, desktop computer, or wall charger for extra light wherever you need it. It has a clip, so you can clip it to your desk, the table, the kitchen island… just about wherever you need light.
Keeping your office organized and your tech in good running order can make you more relaxed and make your job easier. If you take just a little time each week to “spring clean,” it will save you a harder cleaning job in the long run. Your computer, laptop and other devices will thank you.