Are you tired of walking into a cluttered home office?
Disorganized offices may feel like more of a temporary frustration than a setback. But cluttered workspaces can actually negatively influence your productivity.
Sometimes organization is fleeting, particularly if you already consider yourself to be a messy person. However, there are a few tricks you can try when it comes to keeping that home office spick and span.
In this post, we'll discuss how to organize a home office in ten amazing hacks! Read on for insight.
1. Create Personal and Professional Boundaries
When you have a home office, it can be all too easy to bring your personal life into your professional space. If you use your home office for other things, such as non-work-related projects, clutter can quickly ensue.
Create boundaries in your home office to keep your professional life separate from your personal life. If you don't use your home office for work-related tasks, you can still generate appropriate boundaries.
Designate certain areas for specific tasks. Perform professional work only at your desk and home office computer, for example. Store work-related material in their own file folders and storage containers.
You can even visually divide your home office into specific work zones by utilizing wall art, shelving, and curtains.
2. Make Use of Wall Space
It's easy to overlook wall space, especially if you spend so much time staring at your computer in your home office. Yet if you are drowning under the office clutter, turn to your walls for storage solutions.
Implement floating shelves to store books, knick-knacks, and calendars. You may even want to investigate over-the-door organizers or other wall displays.
If you have a lot of picture frames on your desk, take the photos out of these frames and put them on the wall. This will clear up surface space and still enable you to look at those images you love.
3. Digitize When Possible
Home offices often succumb to paper storms, particularly if a lot of your work is document-based. You may already have countless file cabinets and drawers crammed full of papers.
Digitize these documents as much as possible to cut down on paper waste and storage needs. If you have the option to receive a document in digital form, do so!
Otherwise, make use of a scanner or copier to turn all of your floating pages into digital files.
Of course, this will likely require investment in some cloud storage. Make sure you have a solution in mind--and plenty of backup space--before you do this.
A good place to start is iCloud if you have a Mac product. Other home workers find value in Google Drive space. If you have any questions about computer storage, be sure to consult your local technician.
4. Store Only the Essentials
Home offices often become catch-all rooms, storing more than they can handle. Even if you've done your best to keep only work-related items in your office, you may still feel as if you're wallowing in clutter.
Store only the essentials in your home office. If you have file cabinets filled with documents from 2003, move these elsewhere.
Keep only relevant, essential items in your home office, preferably those from the last couple of years only.
If you're having trouble identifying what is essential, ask yourself how necessary an item is for you to continue your work. If you aren't able to answer this question with confidence, the item in question is definitely inessential.
Eventually, this process may not equate to storing your excess items elsewhere. It may actually lead to effective purging, coaxing you to let go of any packrat tendencies.
5. Identify Waste Solutions
Make sure that it's easy to dispose of waste in your office. If you don't have smart waste solutions implemented, it can be all too easy to mix waste with what you actually need!
Keep a clear and accessible trash can in your office space for easy disposal of waste. Also be sure to have a separate recycling bin for the recycling of paper, plastic, and other materials.
Store these bins in a prominent place, preferably close to the door (and not under your desk!). Commit to emptying them weekly, if not daily, to keep clutter to a minimum.
The same goes for clearing off the surface of your desk. At the end of each workday, spend time organizing documents on your desk surface, weeding out waste from the essentials.
If you really want to cut down on waste, learn more about approaching a zero waste home office here!
6. Create a Space for Mail
Most mail, incoming and outgoing, ends up in the home office. But sometimes those letters get lost under other documents.
Ensure you always pay your bills on time by creating a dedicated space for mail purposes. This may mean setting up two metal trays on your desk: one for incoming mail and one for outgoing mail.
It may mean using a similar filing method for distinguishing between less urgent and more urgent pieces of mail. This can be particularly valuable if you work professionally out of your home office.
Keep stamps at your mail station so that you never have to rummage around drawers to find one when you need it most. You may even want to keep FedEx mailers and other shipping materials in the same area, too.
If you find that you are getting just too much mail at your home, consider unsubscribing from certain mailers. Sign up for paperless credit card statements, for example. Call local companies and ask for digital copies of anything important, if possible.
This can limit the mail that comes into your home office, minimizing the potential for clutter!
7. Limit Floating Office Supplies
Don't you hate it when you reach for a pen and can't find one? Limit the amount of time you spend rummaging through your drawers trying to find crucial office supplies.
This may mean investing in drawer storage solutions. Keep paper clips and other small office supplies in Mason jars, for example, and stow these in your drawers themselves.
Store pens and highlighters in a pencil holder next to your computer. Even larger office supplies, such as sticky note pads and index cards, should go into some sort of organizer to keep your storage containers clutter-free.
You may even realize you don't need as many office supplies as you believe you need! Consider digitizing your to-do lists and other notes, for example, to eliminate your need for sticky notes.
8. Implement a Printing Station
If you have a printer in your home office, it's likely taking up a lot of space on your desk. Some printers can send printed documents shooting across the room if they have no place to land!
Create a separate surface dedicated to printing needs. This could mean setting up a shelving unit isolated from your actual desk. It could also mean situating your printer outside of your home office.
Store all of your extra paper, ink, and other printing supplies with your printer itself. This will ensure that these items don't take up unnecessary space in your actual office.
If you're really keen to save on space, consider taking your printing needs elsewhere. Set up an account with a local print shop and print orders directly from your computer.
Of course, this means going a little more out of your way to take care of your printing. But it can save on office space, especially if you are desperate for a clutter-free zone.
9. Build a Workflow
If you have a regular routine in your home office, take some time to create a daily workflow. Being able to take care of tasks smoothly in your office can keep your desk surface squeaky clean.
For example, keep your computer to the very left corner of the desk if you are right-handed. To the right of your computer, stow everything you are likely to need after a typical session at your computer: important documents, for example, or incoming mail.
To the right of these items, stow what's next in line of daily priority. In general, follow the principle of keeping close what is daily needed.
If you find that a certain arrangement of items isn't really encouraging your workflow, change it up until you find something that works.
10. Create More Storage Space
If you find yourself drowning in excess file folders, boxes, and storage containers, create more external storage space. Move your additional materials to the basement or mindfully dispose of them.
If you just have no more space in your home, consider keeping additional items in a storage unit. Learn more about external storage solutions here.
Lastly, ask yourself if you actually need more storage space. Sometimes excess items are truly superfluous--their ultimate home may be the shredder!
How to Organize a Home Office
Figuring out how to organize a home office doesn't have to be hard. Identifying your office needs and meeting them mindfully is the key to clutter-free work environments.
For one thing, be sure to distinguish between professional and personal projects in your home office. Build an effective workflow and make use of wall space when organizing essential items.
Create printing and mail stations and rely on external storage space as needed. Digitize when possible to cut down on your paper footprint.
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