National Clean-off Your Desk Day

By Sharon Schweitzer

The organized clean-enthusiast who started this celebration is Anne Moeller in Clio, Michigan. Celebrated on the second Monday of January, it is likely that this holiday is the result of the cluttered desktops pre and post the Christmas season and New Year. 

This day is an opportunity to begin your new year with a clean and organized workspace. Whether your desk is in a private or shared office, cubicle, home or a make-shift desk on the counter, having your workspace uncluttered and organized will help you work more efficiently. A clean workspace improves productivity and inspires us, too. It often gives us a sense of serenity.

The word ‘desk’ was coined in the 14th century but only became widely used in the 18th century. Desks were mostly used by legal professionals and clergymen but, today, they are found almost everywhere. After the Industrial Revolution, work shifted from intense physical labor to desktops. Before computers became mainstream and most work went digital, drawers (a lot of them) were the way to go for organizing workspaces. After computers became the norm, unnecessary paperwork was gradually disposed of, but with the many USBs and plugins required for maintaining data digitally, we still end up with messy desks! 

Productivity experts and scientists agree that a functional workspace is important for having a fulfilling and productive work life. Clean and organized work desks allow workers to focus and to organize and process information. In addition, research shows that those who work within cluttered spaces tend to get frustrated faster than those whose workspaces are organized and clean.

Modern lifestyles are synonymous with stress. The good news is that we can alleviate much of it through small actions. Working in clean and bright spaces has been proven to reduce stress. Tidy desks first thing each morning can instantly uplift moods. Want to take it one step further? Adorn your desk with indoor plants or seasonal flowers. Prop up a favorite piece of art or pictures of your loved ones. Clean, aesthetically pleasing desks can do wonders for motivation and productivity levels.

Here are some tips to help you declutter your workspace:

  • Toss the trash. (And do it once a week to make it easy on yourself next year.)
  • Remember: files, not piles. Figure out your filing style, and reorganize if it’s not working. Taking the extra 30 seconds to label things well pays dividends in time down the road.
  • Organize your drawers with a drawer organizer. Then you won’t need to keep nuzzling your coffee mug into the nest of paper clips by your computer.
  • Designate drawer space for your distractables like cell phones, stress toys, and that daily tear-off calendar with the comic that you keep glancing at.

Here’s to a clean desk and a more organized year in 2024!


Photo by

Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

#SharonSchweitzer, #AccesstoCulture, Access2Culture, #InternationalCelebration, #AccesstoAsia, #GlobalEtiquette, #Cross-CulturalTrainer, #InterculturalCommunication, #InternationalCommunication, #Interculturalist, #Etiquette, #CultureExpert, #Speaker, #KeynoteSpeaker, #CleanOffYourDeskDay, #HappyNewYear, #UnitedStates, #stress, #desk, #work