Clean Your Canvas

Your Cubicle Makeover 101

“Moderation in all things, even your cubicle” – Uncle John

“You can’t have everything. If you could, where would you put it?” – Steven Wright

I know some people who try to have everything and put it in their cubicle.

An artist starts with a clean canvas. Each brushstroke and each dab of oil color adds more value to the work.  Each different color and shade enhances the work even more. Each combination of light and shadow gives greater value, and each additional object and subject enrich the masterwork,…

to a point!

Our artist reaches a point where the entire process is reversed. The aesthetics begin to diminish. Every tiny addition lessens the value until the painting becomes a heavy piece of canvas weighted down with too much paint, clutter and confusion. Critics will call it a fire hazard.

It becomes time to break out the turpentine or lacquer thinner and undo everything.

Clean your canvas

To begin your cubicle makeover you must restore your cubicle to its original configuration as it was when you first moved in.

When a painter begins he/she starts with a blank canvas. It would be distracting to try to paint new subject material over an existing work.

boxesGet four boxes and transfer the entire contents of your cubicle into them (everything that is not nailed down.) Clear your desk and pull all the Post-It notes off the wall. Take down your calendar (We may use it later if it fits.) It really helps to get a partner to help you make decisions as this is really hard to do.


Box 1: Things you need to keep at work on your desk or in a drawer

Box 2: Things for filing or storage  (you don’t use them but can’t throw away)

Box 3: Things you need to take home

Box 4: The trash bin

Do not ponder too long on each item. When you finish take a look at your cubicle.  It helps to have a friend or co-worker with you to speed up the process. They will pick up an item one at a time and you decide which box to put it in. The whole process should take no more than 30 minutes. When you finish you now have a blank canvas.

Your palette is all the decorative items you consider proper from home, stores, swap meets, Goodwill, and this shopping site.

Put things from Box 1 back in your drawer and onto your desk.

Deal with the other boxes, taking out the trash, filing important files you haven’t seen for over six months, and keeping the take-home box just outside your cubicle entrance.

Note: I want you to get some collapsible containers.  They store nicely under your desk.

Origami Storage Box (Collapsible)41n3iYhPSeL._SL160_

These boxes are amazing and a decorative item by themselves. Once a week take out three of them and go through the filing, trash and home ritual. Spend no more than 10 minutes doing this. If you can do this you can keep your cubicle and your mind free of clutter.


You are now ready to try a decorative item or accent. By the way, you have just made-over your cubicle, but it is boring.


Let’s begin your makeover with the computer