Your office is your home away from home. And keeping the office clean is an incredibly important function of everyday work life. While it’d be great if you could clean up after yourself every day to make sure everything is always spick-and-span, the truth is that you’ll probably hold off on the bigger cleaning chores until you absolutely need to… Until somebody important knocks on the door, forcing you to de-clutter everything like a highly-efficient cleaning ninja.

Sometimes, giving the appearance that things are cleaner than they really are can help you temporarily not look like an absolute slob. And that’s important. So here are 10 things you can do so your office looks good when you need it to.

1. Keep Your Desk Clear.
 Clear off your desk
This is the most obvious thing to do—and the most difficult. I know you want your funny coffee mugs and printer user guides and rogue pen caps on your desks and ready to be utilized at a moment’s notice. But do you really need them there? Probably not.

What you should do:
So clear off the desk top surface before people walk in to visit your office. Find anyplace that can accommodate all that junk stuff. And then, most importantly, pretend like it was always that clean to begin with.

2. Keep A Catch-All Drawer.
 Keep a catch all drawer
You need a quick place to stash those funny coffee mugs, printer user guides, and rogue pen caps that were sitting on your desk. This is where your catch-all drawer comes to the rescue. Not to mention that this drawer can hide precious kittens out of sight when all they’re trying to do is take a nap.

What you should do:
Keep one desk drawer available to quickly store away any unwanted stuff from off the top of your desk. If the mess is out of sight, you can keep up the appearance that you’re a clean freak. Obviously, remember to clean that drawer often, or else you’ll end up with another mess on your hands.

3. Let Some Light In.
 Let some Light in
Sometimes, all the fluorescent lamps in the world can’t make your office look as pleasant as you want it to. And for that, there’s always the window.

What you should do:
Open the blinds and let some light peek into the room so that your visitors don’t have to talk to you in the dark. Maybe even crack the window open a little if the ventilation can help.

4. Hide All Cables.
 Hide All Cables
Few things are more distracting than computer cables and other wires dangling around the back of your desk as if you’re housing NSA mainframes in your office. If you’re not housing NSA mainframes in your office, then do without that clutter.

What you should do:
Run all the cables through your desk’s grommet and under your desk so that it’s out of sight for anybody walking into your office. If you need the help, make use of colored cable ties to better organize those pesky cables.

5. Get Some Plants.
Nothing is more inviting than a couple of beautiful plants to spice up your office feng shui. Not only does it add some pizzazz to your room, but it also makes people think you’re not weird for cracking open the window for air and sunlight on occasion.

What you should do:
Get a plant or two that work with the colors and accents of your room. Don’t go over-the-top here—it’s still an office, after all. But understand that good-looking plant life can be an excellent distraction from the rest of your room.

6. Close Unnecessary Computer Applications.
 Close Unnecessary Computer Programs
This is pretty straight-forward. You should be working, not playing Counterstrike, ordering a car stereo, and doing virus scans—all at the same time. And, let’s face it. You don’t want to be staring too hard at your computer screen when your boss happens to be in the room.

What you should do:
Close whatever applications you don’t need to be staring at so that you don’t have to get called out for it by your office visitor. Prioritize the tasks you do work on over the course of the day so that you’re not doing 100 things at once and crushing your system memory, either.

7. Keep The Furniture Clean.
 Keep Furniture Clean
If you’ve got office furniture, chances are they’ve collected dust or need cleaning on occasion, too. But in a pinch? That space behind the office couch can become your go-to storage space for anything you want to quickly hide from view.

What you should do:
The best bet here is to keep that furniture clean at all times, but make use of the space behind it when you need to. Sometimes, flinging some paper behind the couch is easier than picking up the paper and walking it to a garbage pail.

8. Don’t Eat Messy Food At Your Desk.
 Don't Eat Messy Food at Desk
Whatever you do, don’t bring that incredibly messy triple-layered spicy bean lathered burrito into the office. Not only does that sound regrettable, but it will end up leaving a mess.

What you should do:
If you do eat messy food at your desk, use some Febreze afterwards to neutralize the odors in the air. And wipe down anything that’ll make people regret visiting your room.

9. Put A Lid On Your Garbage Can.
 Put a Lid on Garbage Can
Nobody wants to see your trash. And, if you’re one of those messy burrito eaters, nobody wants to smell your trash, either.

What you should do:
Get a garbage bin with a lid on it to at least mitigate the sight and smell of piling up trash. But remember to have that trash taken care of frequently so that the room is as fresh as it can be—until your next messy burrito.

10. Keep The Floor Clear.
 Keep the Floor Clear
Because you never know when an impromptu dance session will strike. Just remember to toss out any kazoos and streamers when you’re done. And hide that boom box, too. This isn’t the ‘90s.

What you should do:
If you happen to have a small vacuum, use it a few times a week to make sure your office floor looks as good as the day you walked in there. While you may know how best to navigate your office floor, remember that other people need to walk in there, too. And, often, it’s the first thing they notice when they step foot inside your office.


Sometimes, you need to go above-and-beyond relying on the after-hours office cleaning workers to make sure your office looks its best. Always remember that keeping the room clean during the day is the best option, but if you can’t do that, you can be sneaky about it, too. And that part’s always fun.