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The 5 stages of cleaning your desk

The 5 stages of cleaning your desk

nolisoli space fixture pine-sol clean desk

I know all too well the struggle of keeping a clean desk.

For one, it’s a distraction—both good and bad. Uninspired to work? Clean your desk. Want to become more productive? Clean your desk. It’s an inescapable cycle.

Keeping your desk clean also requires a lot more conscious thinking than you’d expect. You know how it goes: Get a little busy and that neatly piled stack of magazines ends up a mess of files. Juggle one too many tasks and that perfectly sorted out drawer or organizer becomes a free-for-all stationery and supplies dump. Did I mention how the once pristine workspace—be it a home office or a company-issued desk—could also soon become a second (or third) pantry-slash-dining table? Uh-huh, I’ve been there, too.

If you’re feeling lost, here’s a quick roadmap to the stages you’ll experience as you get your space—and your life—back in order.

Stage 1: Denial

Sometimes it’s tempting to just forget it. You find yourself saying, “It’s not that messy, this is just organized chaos.” You turn a blind eye to the mess on your desk (or worse, end up dumping it into a far drawer—out of sight, out of mind). Throwing all care out the window, you just leave your workspace as it is.

Keep the top of your desk and the insides of your drawers organized and clean.

Stage 2: Anger

Imagine this: It’s supposed to be a chill day. You’re working from the comfort of your home, in total control of your time. But as you sit at the space you’ve designated as your thinking zone—your office away from office—you suddenly feel restless. Constricted. The ideas just won’t come to you, and you get frustrated. Zoom out: It’s because the place is in disarray.

There’s only one way it could get worse (and it will, if the space stays as dirty as it is): You’ll start getting sick.

Stage 3: Bargaining

The sneezing fit settles it once and for all. It’s time to start cleaning up. But it’s not like you can just put down all the work you still have to do. So what do you do?

Start small: wipe down your desk’s free spaces. Whether you’re dealing with a layer of dust (the nooks and crannies behind computers are a breeding ground!) or some gunk leftover from that lunch you had delivered the other day, a quick way to clean it up is to mix a quarter cup of Pine-sol with a gallon of water, and use a soft sponge or cloth to wipe the surface clean. (A tip: Make cleanups easier by keeping small bottles of diluted Pine-sol in key areas of your house.)

A small spray bottle of Pine-sol at key locations of your home can help make cleanups a lot easier.

Stage 4: Depression

You’ve finished wiping down the desk, and now it’s almost as if it’s shiny and new. Whew. But wait, there’s still a lot of the home office left to clean up: the overstocked shelves gathering a layer of dust, the chair-turned-coat hanger, even the fan and the desk lamp. You crash back into your chair: “I’ll never get this all done. Maybe I should just give up.”

Stage 5: Acceptance

In the end though, you just really have to come to terms with the fact that a workspace cleanup is something that should regularly be done. And it shouldn’t be a tiring thing, too. After all, with planning and the right tools, you might just finish cleaning up before your coffee break’s over.

A diluted solution of Pine-sol goes a long way. Aside from cleaning furniture, it can be used to de-gunk plastic (think of all those storage containers you can reuse), deodorize and disinfect surfaces and containers like your trash bin, and pretty much just battle the most common enemy of neat-freaks everywhere: dust.

So don’t worry if you find yourself realizing your room’s once again transformed into a jungle. Take a deep breath, and remember there’s always a solution close at hand.


For more information on Pine-sol’s products and for more cleanup tips, visit © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.