Between piles of paper, unruly cords, and extra supplies, it’s easy to let a home office turn into a disaster zone. But when you finally have time to organize, where do you even begin? Rather than getting overwhelmed by the process, start small and sort by category. We gathered our favorite strategies and home office organization ideas that go a long way with a little effort. Not only will your workspace look refreshed, but you’ll be a much more efficient, productive worker as a result.
Start by taking “before” photos of your space.
This will help you hone in on the clutter problem zones in your office, such as desktops, corners of the room, and drawers. This is also a great time to evaluate your desk, seating, and other pieces of furniture. What do you really use? Is it working for you or not? And what do you really need that you don’t have?
Establish an inbox.
Place a tray on your home office desk for incoming papers. Make a promise to yourself to place the papers in the tray as soon as you get them. Then when it’s time to declutter each day, go through them one at a time, starting from the top paper and working down. Decide whether to read and recycle the paper or file it away permanently.
Get creative with cording.
Not only do cords add visual clutter, they often take up valuable real estate on the desktop. Mount a surge-protector strip underneath the desktop to keep wires off the floor and tag each cord so you know what it’s powering. Another organization idea is to buy cord ties that will keep a bunch of cords neatly tied together.
Sort your supplies.
Start by taking a survey of what you really use in your office. Throw out anything that doesn’t work anymore. Store small office supplies that don’t take up much space (i.e. paper clips, push pins, staples) in a desk drawer organizer. Then group the rest of your supplies in categories: notebooks, folders, etc for storage.
Make use of vertical space.
Walls aren’t just a place for artwork. Hang a series of bins, baskets and/or shelves on your office walls, then designate which spots will hold which items permanently. This trick will help you maximize space and clear off your desk so you can actually get some work done in your office.
Donate what you don’t need.
File anything you haven’t used in the last few months away in a box. After six months, reevaluate whether you still need it. If you haven’t used any of those items yet, it’s unlikely you will anytime soon. Donate what’s left to a school or non-profit organization that will truly appreciate the supplies.
Do a little bit of organizing every day.
This is a case of slow and steady wins the race. Determine which office desk organizer ideas work best for you each day. If it’s helpful, set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes at the end of the day or create a playlist with upbeat songs to make it fun. Take the day’s dirty glasses back to the kitchen, and drop papers you’re ready to toss into the recycling bin. By making a daily habit out of tidying up your office space, you’re more likely to build it into your permanent routine.