Spring Cleaning Your Office Like Marie Kondo

With Chinese New Year just around the corner again, many of you may have started planning your annual Spring Cleaning. For those of you who are not familiar with the idea behind spring cleaning, traditionally this cleaning ritual is generally done before the first day of the Lunar New Year, which involves thoroughly cleaning your home and office in the hopes of getting rid of bad luck from the past year and gaining good fortune in the new one.

For many Singaporeans like you and I, we spend a big chunk of our daily life in the office, which means it’s also time for us to take on the daunting task of spring cleaning our office tables. Before we jump into that, did you know that there are actual health benefits of spring cleaning your office beyond the tradition itself?

What are the health benefits of cleaning?

  • For starters, cleaning is a proven de-stressor. I admit that I am a hoarder and I always feel a sense of relief after decluttering. Do you often have to dig into a pile of papers and wonder where you left your staple? How about giving the cleaning task a go now and see how you feel afterwards?
  • Next, cleaning helps you to breathe better. Most offices have poor ventilation. Dust and moulds are the biggest culprits triggering your asthma. Could you even imagine breathing in and out ancient dust mites living on the chair that you sit in?
  • Additionally, cleaning can be one massive mood boost! Similar to the de-stressor effect, having a clean and less cluttered office environment tends to lead to a more relaxing and pleasant day for you.

How to declutter like Marie Kondo?

So now it all comes down to the big question, how? I’m certain that like me, a lot of you must feel like decluttering is a never-ending battle. Recently, the best-selling author and world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo has come back with her new Netflix original show where she reintroduced the KonMari Method to declutter. With her mission “to spark joy in the world through tidying”, she suggests organizing by category rather than by location.

So then how do we go about decluttering the office? As the old saying goes, a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. That’s why I’ve created this list of top 3 tips for your office spring cleaning:

1. Divide your workspace into zones 

Work zone (clean and minimalist approach), relax zone (photographs, plants, a tray for the mobile phone to minimise distractions at work, snacks, etc) and supplies zone (stationeries).

2. Get the paper organized electronically

Only if you work in a law firm, otherwise please have your papers scanned and trashed away. Also, inculcate the habit of using electronic copies rather than physical papers. After all, we do not have an infinite amount of trees for us to chop.

3. Last, leave only your necessities at arm’s length

This means you will probably only be left with your laptop, pens and notebook. A cup of tea too maybe? The rest of the items should be stashed (neatly) away.

Spend money on experiences over items

While the hype of this series is here to stay for a while, I would like to urge everyone to spring clean not just for Chinese New Year but for the long term. It’s not just about polluting our environment with unwanted possessions but more importantly, we often declutter, buy, and repeat. This means we are spending unnecessary money on material possessions.

Most of us do not have an infinite amount of money and having gone through poorer days, I dare say that the happiness that comes with buying new items is temporary. Instead, spend money on experiences that create memories, spend money on workshops that equip yourself with new skills.

I hope that this Chinese New Year, while you build more structure around your office, you take this chance to spring clean your definition of a fulfilling life. How about a spring cleaning workshop at your next offsite? (:

Spring-cleaned and organised (for now),


4 steps to avoid working during your next holiday