Harvard University Archives

Advice for organizing an annual office clean-up

With the return of warmer weather and as the end of the academic year approaches, thoughts turn to spring cleaning. An annual office clean-up day is a good opportunity to find out what records you no longer need to keep in your office and the best way to dispose of them.

Cleaning up both paper and electronic records can benefit your office in many ways by creating a more productive use of your resources. Organizing paper files allows you to use valuable office real estate for staff space instead of yet another expensive filing cabinet. Cleaning up electronic records improves network speed and makes searching faster.

Consider organizing a clean-up day for your office! Here are five suggestions to help make your effort a success:


Gather support – Get your head of department on board. Contact Records Management Services if you need advice on how to get buy-in from your department head, facilities group, IT office, or others who may be assisting you.


Provide incentive – Entice your colleagues and build departmental spirit with awards for the “most improved” cubicle, most e-mail space regained, or most records shredded (remember to consult a records schedule before disposing of records). And, don’t forget to bring food!


Be prepared – Check out Records Management Services’ tips on how to prepare for an office clean-up day, including advice on how long to keep your records and what to do when you no longer need them.


Get supplies – Need bins for recycling and shredding? Records Management Services offers advice on records destruction and can put you in touch with Harvard’s preferred vendor for shredding.


Use offsite storage – Consider sending infrequently used records to offsite storage at the Records Center and, if you already have an account, review your account information by contacting Records Management Services.





Records Management Services can help your office save time, resources, and money!  See our website for more information on these topics or attend our summer workshops.