5 Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Home Office

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Based on the view out of my windows today (above), it’s hard to believe that it’s Spring. We just got another round of snow last night, and it’s not showing any signs of letting up today. Yet, despite that, the calendar says that Winter is officially over. If you live somewhere that looks like Southern Alberta, then just close your eyes and pretend with me for a while.

Spring cleaning shouldn’t be reserved for your basement or garage. It doesn’t even need to be exclusive to physical spaces in your life. If you run a home business, this is a great time to get reorganized, and better prepared to have a breakthrough year. Here are 5 areas of your home business you should focus on.

Physical Files


When David Allen talks about GTD, he describes how it’s important to get things out of your head, and into a better system. I believe the opposite is true as well. If your physical workspace is full of clutter, that will get right back into your head and kill your creativity and productivity.

If you haven’t already, take out all of your 2010 files from the cabinet, and place them into proper filing boxes. Keep them around for reference until you’ve got your taxes done. Once that’s behind you, be sure to safely store them somewhere away from your daily workflow. Having a big stack of boxes in your office clutters up the space and your head, so find somewhere else for them to live.

Digital Files


Just because they aren’t falling out of overstuffed folders doesn’t mean your digital files shouldn’t be cleaned up too. First, make sure all of your files are backup up; either online (backup service like CrashPlan or Carbonite) or offsite (hard drive in a safety deposit box or with a friend). Then, transfer all of your 2010 files to a separate folder and away from your current projects. If you feel you will need to access them, then keep them tucked away on your computer. If not, store them on an external drive.

Equipment


This is a great time to give all of your office equipment a good once over. Get a can of compressed air and give all the digital equipment a good cleaning (turn them off first). Check to see if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. Having a broken chair can hurt your body as well as your efficiency. This may also be a good time to replace your keyboard and mouse. Face it, they’re full of germs, and it’s an inexpensive way to feel like you’ve upgraded your equipment.

Supplies


Now that you’ve cleared out your 2010 folders, it’s time to stock up on supplies. Make sure to pick up new folders, pens, paper, labels, and whatever else you use on a regular basis. There’s nothing worse for productivity than having to stop your work because you ran out of stamps or envelopes. Taking one day away from the office to get all of this done will save you a lot of time in the future.

Clean Up


Now that everything is repaired, restocked, and backed up, give the office a thorough cleaning. If you can, find a way to take advantage of the extra sunlight that Spring has to offer. Maybe a plant or two will help you out of the funk that Winter tends to put us in. Oh, and make sure to give your kids back that stack of toys that managed to pile up in the corner. Better yet, finally admit that those are your toys, and put them away yourself. Smile

If the weather where you are looks anything like mine, this is the perfect time to do this. You can have a combination Spring cleaning/Snow Day. When the weather finally comes around, you’ll already have the cleaning done. Then, you can duck out of work early, and get outside to enjoy it. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.