Cleaning and maintaining your garden room

You must have heard the saying a hundred times – “tidy house, tidy mind” and you have to admit it makes a lot sense. Well a garden room is simply an extension of your home, and no matter what it is used for, you still need to keep it clean and tidy. If its used on a daily basis as your office, then this becomes even more critical.  After all, you’re much more inclined be productive and efficient based on the state of your desk and garden room office space. A little stereotypical? Probably. But we’ve all seen chaotic workplaces that are inhabited by efficient and effective employees but that, according to the stereotype, is probably more the exception rather than the rule.

Jabo Kallabo 15m square Garden Room

Closer to home, in my own garden office, I operate so much better with a clean workspace –  and that goes for both the garden room itself and the rest of my home. I hate mess and you could even say that I’m a little anal about it. My coffee must have a coaster under it, my iMac keyboard and monitor must be properly aligned, paperwork must be filed away, books sit neatly on the shelves, any space on my desk that’s not unoccupied by a necessary piece of electronic equipment must be clear and I always try to avoid eating at my desk. So I think its fair to say I’m in a pretty good position to offer a few keep your garden room tidy tips as both the owner/user of a garden office and a little bit of a clean freak…

  • Say hello to the rubbish bin
    If rubbish tends to accumulate in your garden room – and it will if you’re using it as a studio, teenage den or home office – then adding a bin will cut down on clutter. You’d be surprised home many people don’t have a bin in their garden room. People are usually going for a little garden chic and I’ll admit they’re not the most attractive interior accessory, plus they can smell. However, you can get around this by purchasing a bin that fits your room’s decor or is cleverly concealed inside a unit. If you know food will be thrown into it, then get one with a lid, some scented bin bags, keep it cleaned (once a week at least) and empty it at the end of each day. Don’t leave food in your garden room overnight or you’ll be greeted with a rather unpleasant aroma when you open the door the following morning.
  • Keep all flat surfaces clutter-free
    Papers, books, brochures, junk mail and magazines will build up on flat surfaces all around the home, and the garden room is no different. In fact, whatever the function of your garden room, it is often more cluttered because it’s a central gathering place in the house. Be it a place of work or relaxation/hobbies, it will be used on a regular basis. Purchase suitable storage and shelving, its as simple as that. If you use your garden room as an office and you don’t have the floor space, then a stackable file cart is the perfect solution. And on a daily basis take a quick sweep of all flat surfaces by piling papers in a bin, then sorting and discarding as necessary. Take a vow, and get your family to follow it, to put unwanted papers and magazines away, rather than just on coffee or side tables.
  • Keep cables tidy
    Until the world goes wireless, we’ll forever be stuck with tangled cables behind our entertainment centers. Fortunately, there are several options for taming cords in the family room. The most attractive is the slim Cableyoyo. It neatly coils up to six feet of cord and comes with an adhesive backing that sticks onto nearly any surface. A cable caddy usually sticks onto a desktop (or behind the TV console) and has a space for several cables to clamp into. Your cords will still dangle freely, however, so a cable zipper, which encloses all the cables in a tube, might be the best bet.
  • Create a play area
    If you’re using your garden room as a playroom and the toys are taking over, then it’s time to put them on the naughty step so to speak. Unused corners of a family room transform into great play areas because the walls serve to block encroaching clutter. Corners are also good areas to put small bookcases, toy boxes or a children’s table. Get the storage boxes on wheels for toys so that your child doesn’t feel confined, can easily move their things around the playroom, but at the same time is encouraged to pick up after they’re finished playing.
  • The functional coffee table
    A coffee table is essential in any garden room, regardless of what its used for. If you have a coffee table (or forgot you had one due to the clutter) it’s time to reassess its organisational capacity. Coffee tables that look great but don’t have any storage for magazines, remote controls or even drink coasters, are probably making life more difficult. If you don’t have the budget for a new one, consider adding low storage cubes, rolling baskets or bins that sit underneath the table.
  • Create a games area
    A family that likes to play together, stays together. Sorry, again with the cliche. However, a games cabinet for board games etc is both functional and fun. Games usually end up stuck in a cupboard nobody can reach, but it’s helpful to designate a separate space for them, whether in another shelving unit, a bookcase or in plastic containers under the coffee table. Creating a single game space will free up other areas of the room for storage. If a computer is part of your gaming area, pop it on a desk that has a separate work surface, paper storage and space for the monitor.
  • Don’t be afraid to hide things behind the sofa
    Generally we push the sofa/seating against a wall, and you can use that small void thats created to store things you don’t want to view.  It’s also a great place to pop a slim cabinet or low bookcase and this gives you another surface to put a lamp or show off some sculptures etc.
  • Sort your media
    Any form of media such Blu-Ray, DVD’ s, vinyl and CD’s are staples of the family garden room. Take a little time to sort your collection and there are plenty of options for storing your sorted collection: DVD towers, bookcases, shelving or the drawers of a coffee table to name a few. Find a system that works for you and always pop them away after you’ve watched or listened.
  • Curb your collecting
    Collections, if you’re not careful, can take over a garden room and it will only make it harder to keep organized. I know I have an obscene amount of vinyl LP’s. Large collections display best when bits and pieces are shown at a time and rotated to keep the decor fresh. Cut your displayed collection in half by putting half of the pieces into an appropriately sized container and storing it in a hall closet or in the loft. For added value, personal or otherwise, keep an inventory of each piece (date acquired, date of piece, description/significance).
  • Invest in adequate furniture
    Garden offices especially need a clear work area, and that means providing adequate space for computer hardware and equipment, a spot for reference materials, file space and a location for frequently referenced supplies and paper etc. Make sure your office furniture provides ample space for both (comfortable) working and that all important storage too.
  • Establish activity centers
    An efficient office is best zoned into activity areas. For example, space to work that includes a clear workspace, the computer and frequently-used office products. A space for reference materials such as files, manuals, books and and materials. A supplyzone, which contains office and paper supplies. And so on…
  • Properly position your electrical equipment and peripherals
    Position your equipment by frequency of use. If the printer is used daily, then it should be within easy reach. If the harddrive is only accessed for troubleshooting, then why not place it under or next to the desk. If a scanner is rarely used, then pop it away and only connect when needed. When setting up hardware, just be conscious of access to disk drives etc. Don’t block access to drawers or take up leg room with tangled cords. And make sure you conceal cables and wires by using cable tidy solutions.
  • Clear your desk
    Put the photos of your family and your calendar on the wall, and stow all of your pencils, pens, and highlighters etc in one desk caddy. If you have too many to fit in, put the extras in a drawer and just get them out as and when needed..
  • Wipe it down
    Buy a container of anti-bacterial wipes and keep it handy in the garden room. Once a day or after you’ve been in there, simply use one of the wipes to sanitise and clean the surfaces, keyboard, mouse, desk, phone etc. Use a soft, clean, cloth to dust the computer monitor, and any other desktop items that you cannot use the wipes on.
  • Scan your documents
    If you have a scanner, or access to one, consider whether you can safely scan the papers that are taking up space in your office and then archive or destroy the originals. Doing this can save you several cabinets’ worth of storage space. Another advantage is that you can then back up the scanned documents to a remote server or drive, so that in the case of an emergency, even if the paper documents are destroyed you will still have copies available.
  • Don’t forget the floor
    When you dust, some dust may go onto the rag, but the rest will probably fall onto the floor, and so does a lot of other crumbs, dust, and dirt dragged in from the outside, so once a week hoover your carpet, or if your office has tiled or timber flooring, hoover and mop it.
  • Remind yourself
    And finally, if you find yourself losing track of time, and the clutter starts building up in your garden room, put a reminder on your calendar, like any other appointment, to remember to hoover, dust, and file each week. The key to staying organised is regularly cleaning and tidying the room.

About Lazy Susan

About Lazy Susan

Lazy Susan is a small family business that specialise exclusively in wicker, rattan and metal garden furniture, specifically cast aluminium. Visit www.lazysusanfurniture.co.uk to find out more and view our complete product range.

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