Attention, slobs: Clean person Jolie Kerr saves your desk from ruin

If cleanliness is next to godliness, most of us at TONY are destined to rub elbows with Lucifer. Thankfully, cleaning expert Jolie Kerr has shared her tips to save us from purgatory—or worse, the stack of papers piled high around us.

Not our desk, but fairly represenative... Has anyone seen our stapler?

Not our desk, but fairly represenative... Has anyone seen our stapler? Trubz via Flickr Creative Commons

Journalists are pros at a great many things: Google stalking researching minutiae, whipping up witty copy on the fly, spouting a flurry of probing questions while simultaneously endearing ourselves to you forever… But asking (most of) us to keep a tidy desk is like asking a shark to ignore chum in the water. It's just not going to happen, especially when we're smack-dab in the middle of deadlines.

However, in observance of National Clean Off Your Desk Day, and with the hope of remedying our wayward behavior, we sought the advice of cleaning expert Jolie Kerr, author of the Hairpin's "Ask a Clean Person" column and the forthcoming tome My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha. The housekeeping maven shared four tips for whipping our work areas into shape: 

1) Purge, purge, purge
Grab your wastepaper basket and start tossing out any trash that may have accumulated. Recycle or, if sensitive in nature, shred any papers that you no longer need, being sure to remove staples, Post-it notes or paper clips before you do so. This includes anything that you may have tacked to a bulletin board.

2) File, file, file
Get a stack of file folders, sort papers by project or subject, and put them in an appropriately labeled folder. The folders containing documents relating to current projects can be stored in a desktop file sorter; look for one that's on an incline, which allows the labels to be easily seen. Files for completed projects that need to be retained can be stored in hanging file folders in a drawer.

3) Cluster, cluster, cluster
Cluster together your desk accessories: your stapler, tape dispenser, pen and pencil holder, and a small pad for taking notes can be organized near your telephone, so you can easily find and grab them. Store less frequently used items like staples, rubber bands, spare Post-it notes and so on in an easily accessible top drawer.

4) Clean, clean, clean
Once things are tidy and you can see your work space, wipe the surface down with all-purpose spray and paper towels, or with a premoistened wipe. While you're at it, go ahead and wipe off your phone, keyboard and the arms of your desk chair, too.

If you’re curious about Kerr’s other tips, check out her Tumblr, Twitter (@joliekerr) and Pinterest accounts. Now, pardon us while we go find the Clorox wipes…