National Clean Off Your Desk Day
Also known as
National Clean-Off-Your-Desk Day
the third Monday in January (1983 to 1992)
the second Monday in January (since 1993)
Anne C. Moeller (of Clio, MI) in 1982
National Clean Off Your Desk Day was made "to provide one day early each year for every desk worker to see the top of the desk and prepare for the following year's paperwork." Having a clean desk helps us focus on the tasks at hand without getting distracted. The goal of the day is to thoroughly clean your desk and have a system in place to keep it clean year-round so that there isn't need for a deep clean until next year's Clean Off Your Desk Day.
How to Observe National Clean Off Your Desk Day
The day should be celebrated by cleaning your desk. You will need a plan of attack to make the process run smoothly and to ensure that your desk will stay clean. Here are some ideas on how to effectively clean off your desk.
First, you should literally clean off your desk. Take everything off of it and out of the drawers. Dust, wipe down, and disinfect your desk, both inside and out. Sort everything from your desk into four piles, giving everything a spot right away. Make a pile for things you will keep with your desk, things you will throw away, things that belong somewhere else, and things you aren't sure if you need or not. Put the pile of things you aren't sure about into a bin and pack it away. Plan on going back to it in a few months. If you still haven't found a need for things at that time, get rid of them.
When putting your desk back together, make sure all your supplies are put back in spots where organization and accessibility are kept in mind. Put things like pens, pencils, or Post-it notes in separate trays or in different see-through containers. You could also set up a new system for organizing papers. Perhaps you could make a three-tiered system of trays, where they are labeled as "important," "to file," and "to read." Whether it be for folders, trays, drawers, shelves, or containers, use labels that are clean and specific, so you know exactly where everything goes. Keep only things you absolutely need and use on a regular basis on the top of your desk.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your desk is kept clean throughout the year. For one, make sure you have garbage and recycling receptacles close to your desk, so things you need to get rid of aren't piling up. Do a quick clean of your desk at the end of each day. Put papers where they belong and toss any garbage. These shorter, daily cleans will preclude the need for longer cleans, like the one you are doing today.