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22 Tricks to Keep Your Office Desk Neat

'Sanitation Weekly' just named your office Dump of the Year. You’ve worked hard for this honor—hoarding junk, creating a dust bunny zoo, and treating your desk like a kitchen counter. What? You don’t like being known as the office slob? Here's how to clean up your act.

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How to clean up keyboard crumbs

Keyboards are magnets for dust, paper shreds, and crumbs. Run a Post-It note between the keys of your keyboard to collect the junk.

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How to organize old files

Your office is a museum of old papers and contracts. Take an idea from the Best By dates on milk and mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded. These are other surprising documents you should always shred.

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How to clean up pencil marks

Are you finished eating your ham on rye? Good. The rye bread will wipe up errant pencil markings on your desk. With these products, you can clean anything fast. 

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How to clean the office microwave

Is the office microwave a mess? (Yes, of course it is—because no one will clean it.) Throw a handful of wet paper towels inside and run for three to five minutes. The steam from the towels will soften the grime. Once the towels cool down, use them to wipe off the mess everyone else made. Don’t put these items in the microwave.

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How to organize business cards

Is your desk where business cards go to die? If so, snap a picture of business cards people hand you and keep them in your phone. Or add contacts on LinkedIn. These ridiculous office rules will make you glad to work where you do.

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How to clean dust on picture frames

Clean your photo frames by wiping with a cloth dampened in a mild vinegar and water solution. Don’t spray liquid directly on the glass—it may seep under the frame and damage the mat or photo. These are other things you could clean with vinegar.

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How to get rid of a bad smell

Admit it: Your office smells, right? Here’s what you do: Tape a dryer sheet over the AC unit and turn it on.

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How to declutter your desk

Your desk is covered in knick-knacks and doo-dads to prove you’re fun, but all they prove is that you’re a hoarder. “If you have an award or certificate of achievement, make sure it’s not overshadowed by your convention pens and stuffed toys,” says lifehack.org. With that in mind, toss anything that you got for free or at a seminar. If you choose the embrace your clutter, there may be some advantages to being messy.

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How to keep your garbage can clean

If your trash bin is where you trash everything from wrappers to greasy takeout, put newspapers at the bottom of the bin to absorb liquids.

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How to fix a wobbly keyboard

Have a rickety keyboard? Attach binder clips to fix the feet.

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How to untangle computer cords

We’re not done with binder clips. Use them to organize your computer cables.

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How to ID all those cords

And once you’ve organized your computer cables, label them with bread clips.

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How to keep your monitor clean

To clean your computer monitor, use a dry, soft, lint-free cloth. Use a solution of mild soap and water, if needed. Never clean an LCD screen with commercial glass cleaners, which contain ammonia, acetone, ethyl alcohol, or other substances that can do serious damage.

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How to clear off a crowded desk

Place your monitor on a raised shelf to give you more room underneath for more crap, er, important work related items.

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How to organize your pens

You have a million pens but can’t remember which ones work, right? Lifehack.org says toss anything from a hotel, doctor’s office, or golf course right off the bat. Keep pens with sentimental value, especially if you can refill the ink.

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How to keep those staples organized

The perfect organizer for all your little stuff is an ice tray. Use it to hold paper clips, push pins, post-its, peppermints …

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How to set yourself up for productivity

The more you use a particular file or office equipment the closer it should be to you. The less it’s needed, the further away. Here’s how to set up a perfectly productive office.

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How to clean up a spill

That book is not a coaster, and as if to prove it you’ve spilled your glass of water all over it. Fan out the pages and sprinkle on cornstarch or talcum powder to soak up the moisture. Let sit for five to six hours then brush off the white stuff. Here are other brilliant uses for baby powder.

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Here’s a smart way to label

Your brilliant filing system has one flaw: You can’t figure out what’s what. Buy a cheap label maker and label shelves, bins, files, and drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will help colleagues who may need to put away anything in your workspace.

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How to clean up dirty carpet

That morning cup of joe you spilled on the carpet can be cleaned up with a spray of non-gel shaving cream.

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How to care for office flowers

Those artificial flowers you bought to brighten up your cube are dust collectors. To clean them, pour a cup of baking soda into a large plastic bag, insert the flower heads, and close the top of the bags around the stems. Then shake vigorously so the baking soda absorbs all the dust and grime. Remove the flowers, then gently shake off the soda and/or use a soft toothbrush.

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How to make the neatness last

Make it a point to straighten your desk at the end of each workday so you have a clean start the next day to make an all new mess.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest