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I am not a lover of cleaning. I like things nice and neat and organized. But the sweeping and scrubbing and dusting and mopping and polishing that comes along with it?

Umm, no, thanks. 

Thankfully, our spring cleaning this week doesn’t involve any cleaning sprays, bleach, feather dusters, air canisters, multipurpose wipes, mops, or brooms — unless you really want it to.

No, friend, this week, I’m sharing a simple six-step process to help you spring clean your cubicle — Eat Clean in Your Cubicle style.

I know you know I’m a firm believer that having healthy food around you (and at work that usually means in your desk drawers or on your shelves and in the fridge and freezer) is huge for helping you eat cleaner in your cubicle.

I’ll talk about this until I’m blue in the face and we’ve both stopped listening. 

So this week we’re going to look at what you’re actually stocking and create a plan to restock so you feel like a clean-eating badass with options aplenty next time you pull open that drawer looking for something to eat.

Let’s get cleaning!

Step 1: Pull all your food stuffs out of your desk. Look in those drawers and cabinets, and don’t forget the fridge and freezer, too.

Let’s get this party started right! The first thing you’ve gotta do is gather up all those boxes and bags and packages you squirreled away over the years and bring them out into the daylight. (Presuming, of course, that your cubicle has a view to the outside.) 

This isn’t to be proud of everything you’ve stashed. It’s to see what you’re working with, what you ate, what you didn’t eat…it’s your starting point.

Step 2: Immediately throw out anything that’s expired or doesn’t pass the smell test.

Now that your desk is overflowing with food and you’re pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to find your phone if it started ringing, start checking out those expiration dates.

Some things you definitely want to throw away, no questions asked. Anything moldy. Anything that’s got a hole in the package. Anything that you’re not even sure what it used to be.

Look at those expiration dates and give everything a good smell test. This is an easy way to quickly make some real progress.

Pat yourself on the back because sometimes throwing stuff away is hard. 

Step 3: Check the ingredients of what’s left. Is that 67-ingredient protein bar going to make you feel all take-no-prisoners at your 3 p.m. meeting?

Okay, you’ve gotten rid of anything overtly offensive. Let’s take a lot for some subtly offensive stuff.

Start investigating those ingredients labels. Be on the lookout for really long lists with things you can’t pronounce, obviously chemical-y sounding ingredients, and anything that’s not clear to you.

For example, your chips do not need 101 ingredients anymore than Cruella DeVille or Monty Burns needs 101 Dalmatians. They also don’t need five different kinds of oil, monosodium glutamate, or any fake coloring or flavoring.

Be ruthless, my friend. You’re better off for it.

Step 4: Toss out or donate to the communal break room what you don’t want anymore.

Once you’ve rounded up what you’d really rather not eat ever again (except maybe on those days when all you really want is a cheesy pouf and to take a nap in your car on your extended lunch break), you’ve got two options: refuse bin or rehoming.

If you don’t like to waste food or money, totally deposit those food stuffs in the break room for your coworkers to scavenge. You know how people love free food. But, seriously, only do this if the food is still edible and you don’t feel guilty giving them something you’re not prepared to eat yourself.

Step 5: Put what’s passed the test back.

Now that you’ve moved past that tough step of throwing things out, let’s stock those drawers again!

Don’t just throw everything back in your desk in a big ol’ pile. Try to be somewhat organized so you can easily see when your stash is getting low. 

You might put any boxes in your overhead bins. You might put all your bags in the bottom of a drawer. Whatever floats your boat, friend, and makes reaching for those healthy things easier.

Step 6: Make a list of what you’d like to see next time you open those drawers and restock.

Maybe this spring cleaning has you feeling good, like you’ve totally got eating cleaner in your cubicle figured out. Maybe you’re feeling a little lackluster, like you kinda don’t ever want to eat those raisins and you don’t know why you even bought them.

Fear not! In this step, you’re going to make a list of some healthy stuff you’d like to keep in your desk (or in the fridge or freezer.)

Some suggestions:

  • Beans
  • Bread + avocado
  • Bread + PB&J
  • Canned soup
  • Canned Veggies
  • Cereal
  • Chips + Salsa
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Crackers with hummus or nut/seed butter
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dates + nut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit
  • Kale chips
  • Milk of choice
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn 
  • Pretzels 
  • Protein powder/greens powder
  • Rice cakes + nut butter 
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Seeds
  • Single-serve applesauce
  • Snack balls
  • Snack bars/granola bars
  • Tea
  • Trail mix
  • Veggies + hummus or salsa

Might I also suggest you check out the Healthy Desk Checklist when stocking your desk? It’s got even more healthy snacks just waiting to help you eat cleaner in your cubicle!

Have you ever spring cleaned the food in your desk before? What’s your favorite snack to eat at work? And how do you keep your cubicle clean, aside from relying on the cleaning staff, that is?