Technically, spring has sprung, even if you’re still shoveling snow. Here are five simple ways to spring clean your law office, including a few cheap tricks.
Tip #1: Start with the top of your desk.
The first place a client or colleague notices upon entering your office is your desk. If it looks cluttered, it makes you appear unorganized and too busy to help. Get rid of any pens and pencils you never use. Lay out the items on your desk in a parallel fashion so your clock, notepad, pen organizer and laptop form a sort of grid from a bird’s eye view.
***CHEAP TRICK: If you can’t move some important papers off your desk, simply stand them up or stack them in a paper organizer. They will still be within your easy reach, but won’t appear like a messy pile of paperwork.
Tip #2: Notice your bookshelf.
Oftentimes when we set up a bookshelf, it only contains books—surely a novel idea. But over time, other items seem to take residence upon the shelves. Picture frames, pens, office gifts and trinkets, boxes of tissues are all common cluttering culprits. Bookshelves look the most neat when they only have books on them. If you want to add some flavor to your shelves, then you need to move books out of the way for the other miscellaneous items. Don’t merely stick the items in front of books.
***CHEAP TRICK: When purchasing bookshelves, buy ones with drawers along the bottom row. This way, you can keep your tissues and trinkets in the drawers out of eyesight. If you want to insert photo frames in between books, buy bookends.
Tip #3: Electrical hazards.
Take note of anything that is plugged into an electrical outlet in your office. Does it look like a potential fire hazard? There are numerous ways to hide your wires, including simply wrapping them up with Velcro to minimize the haywire effect. You can also get a power strip and safely hide it behind your furniture.
Tip #4: Inside your drawers.
Drawers, whether in your home or office, often become black holes, frightening away anyone who opens them. They seem to vacuum in anything and everything with which we cannot part. In the spirit of spring cleaning, try your best to throw away anything you haven’t used within the last two years. Even if it still works and has some objective value. You can give these items to your secretary or a colleague so that person can make the decision: keep or trash. But if the decision is to keep, it now belongs to your secretary or colleague, not you!
***CHEAP TRICK: If you are truly unsure about something, put it in a box and have your secretary keep it for a few more months. Then, at a specified deadline like September 1, look through the box again to make a final decision.
Tip #5: Timing is everything.
People need mental and physical energy for spring cleaning of any type. Some people work better by handling small tasks over a longer period of time. If this rings a bell, set an alarm where you will tackle some office spring cleaning for 15 minutes one day per week. If you are the more intense type of person, block out two or three hours one weekend and jump in headfirst.
***CHEAP TRICK: Enlist support from a spouse, friend, or child.
Finally, you must plan a reward for yourself once your office is organized to your satisfaction.
Lawyer and legal writer, Julie worked primarily in real estate law before focusing her career on the social media and marketing aspects of the legal industry.