Organizing Tips for the Home Office
Organizing Tips for the Home Office
As more and more people work from home, the home office is a new essential living space.
That also means that we have yet another area that gets cluttered, dirty and has to be cleaned and organized.
I am able to work from home and while I greatly enjoy what I do, my computer desk and laptop can feel just like a ball and chain that won’t let me go anywhere else OR do anything else.
And I’m getting pretty sick of the weight of it!
The problem is that most of the clutter in my den is actually valuable paperwork that needs to be saved.
So I had to figure out how to store everything I need for work, while keeping it easily accessible, neat and organized, especially since I have occasional guests that stay.
What Matters the Most is to Find What you Need, When you Need It.
I’ve cleaned and organized my home office several times for many years as my business needs have evolved. I think that qualifies me as an expert home office organizer!
I’m happy to share several ideas below to help you find the best way to organize and store your own home office supplies. Are you ready to get busy then? Let’s clean and organize your home office!
I (Really) Know you Don’t Need all that Paper…
Not every piece of paper that is scattered across your desk is valuable. Make two piles for your papers; a pile to be tossed out and a pile that will be kept and filed. Always remember to shred any paperwork that has personal information on it.
Get Rid of Old Office Supplies
Dried up glue, dead pens and empty staple boxes are definitely not needed and it feels so good to free up additional space by removing the trash before it gets out of hand.
Everything has its Place
The #1 rule of home office organization and storage is to find a place for everything – that means finding a place for items for both family, guests, and office stuff.
Separate Storage Area
Maybe you have to work off of your dining room table because you don’t have a designated office space in your home. While it may not be the optimal way to handle your business chores, it can be done; but only if you designate specific storage areas.
For instance, make sure that your computer and phone are off limits to the family during work hours and keep a designated filing cabinet for business related paperwork only.
Separate Office Supplies: Pens, pads, papers, etc.
It is always a good idea to have a chest or cabinet set aside to store your office related supplies in. Note: never mix the kids art supplies with your copier paper. You may find yourself struggling to finish your paperwork on time when no paper can be found in the entire house.
Instead of piling your office related files, mail and supplies in every nook and cranny around the house, make a single place where you put all office related things.
Keep your Paperwork in Order
Working from home can create an endless stream of paper that needs to be tamed. Nothing screams unprofessional more than being unable to put your hands on that contract; meeting notes or other important paperwork.
Most organizational experts agree that the best way to handle office paperwork is to touch it once only. Making piles of “I’ll get to it later” papers only adds to the chaos of your office.
That means when you open the mail that you categorize it right away and put it in its proper place. Some categories might be:
- File it for reference
- Throw it away/Shred it
- Recycle it
- Place in a do-to bin
Easy Storage Solutions
Whether you have converted your entire basement into a home office, just a corner of your bedroom, or an actual office space; the fact remains if you are not organized, you will soon run out of room.
Here are some super easy storage solutions:
- Bulletin Boards: by using extra wall space to tack up appointment notices and important documents you can save yourself a lot of space.
- Shoe Holders: hung from a door, these nifty out of the way storage containers are a great place to keep small office items like tape, scissors, notepads, pens and more!
- Ottomans: an ottoman is a great way to hide office files, magazines, projects or the books and magazines you just can’t do without.
- Cabinets: If you must work from the common family area, then consider a trip to the local thrift shop for an old kitchen cabinet or entertainment center with doors that you can use as a desk or supply closet. This is a great way to store a lot of stuff in a relatively small space without giving your family area that “officey look.”
Keeping Your Books in Order
I love my books! If you need books for research, then you likely find it difficult to keep them from taking over.
Here’s how you can streamline your growing business book collection:
- Keep out only what you need.
- Add bookshelves around doorways, windows and other small crannies that you can’t use for other purposes. One home office organizer actually created an entire library in the cranny at the top of a client’s staircase. The space was literally wasted until they added shelving that was both attractive and out of the way.
- Store books in two rows on shelves if there is room – that’ll let you keep twice the number of volumes in the same amount of space.
- Only keep the books you really need. Most libraries and thrift stores love book donations
Use Labels, It Doesn’t Matter What Kind, but Use Them
I’m not talking specifically about an actual label maker device, – But if you have that kind use it. Use the labels that come in the file folders and insert the label in the clear plastic tabs. Heck – I even use sharpies, post it notes, preformed cut labels (like small shipping labels).
Begin by labeling all of your work folders and then start labeling your file and desk drawers, storage bins and more if it’s needed. Be as detailed as you need it to be.
A job well done! As you can see, home office organization and storage doesn’t have to be complicated – and it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. True, some of the container and organizational stores have some great tools that you can use to keep your office neat and tidy.
But, if you don’t have the funds to invest right now, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives to making any sized office organized.