Many of us have a room (or an area!) in our house that we refer to as the home office.
Unfortunately, though, all too often the home office isn’t one of the most organized rooms in the house. It tends to serve as a “catch-all” of sorts—where random papers, pieces of unopened mail, and other documents all end up. By the time you get around to doing work in the home office, there’s so much clutter that you either spend a good portion of your time organizing—or brushing the piles aside and attempting to work amongst the chaos.
If you, like many, are on the lookout for ways to be more productive, having a neat, tidy, and well-organized office is a great place to start. The first step is committing to be more intentional about how you approach this area of your life and home. Not only will it be easier to focus when you’re not surrounded by clutter, you’ll be able to maximize your efficiency since you won’t have to spend valuable time searching for missing papers—something that we spend an average of 55 minutes a day on.
Why not make this the time of year for organization and productivity? Here are five steps to organizing your home office—and keeping it that way.
1. Give Your Office a Purpose
First, assigning your office a specific purpose can help you to organize it in a way that will allow you to get the most out of it. It will also save your space from becoming an overflow spot for random papers and other items.
Determine what you want out of your home office.
- A place where you can work from home?
- Somewhere you can be creative?
- A place to pay bills?
- All of the above?
Once you’ve assigned a purpose to your office, you can go about setting it up in a way that will work for you, allowing you to make the most of your space.
2. Bring in the Right Furniture
This means choosing pieces that will help to improve your workspace. If your office is a place where you want to be able to work on projects with the kids—then you’ll want to leave room for workstations, and ensure that you have enough storage space for tools, supplies, and other odds and ends. If you need to be able to multitask, you’ll want to have pieces that will allow you to maximize your space—choosing vertical storage systems, such as ladder shelves or cabinets. Finally, no matter what you’re planning to use your space for, ensuring that you have a comfortable desk and chair is important—and investing in a good filing system is also essential.
3. Give Everything a Place
To have a clean, clutter-free office, you must start fresh. Avoid spending too much time arranging clutter or moving items. Start from scratch. Bringing things in on an as-needed basis is the best way to go. Take everything off of your desk, put things into a box, and then get to work. When you need something, put it on your desk. If you don’t use it for a few days, chances are you don’t need it—or, at least, you don’t need to store it on your desk. Next, give everything a place. This will make it easier to find things when you need them, and will alert you to supplies that you’re running low on. It will also help you keep your place organized—you’ll know in an instant where to put miscellaneous items.
4. Create a Good Workflow System
Your office is where you work, and it’s important to ensure that your workspace is organized in a way that will help you to be more efficient. Creating a good workflow system is the best way to ensure that nothing piles up and everything gets taken care of. Think of the projects that you work on. Are you wasting time by having the printer on one side of the office and your computer on the other? Make sure all of your supplies and documents that you need regularly are close at hand. Extra supplies and completed documents can be stored out of sight.
5. Keep Your Desk Clear
A clean desk is a thing of beauty, and having an organized workspace can even make you more productive. Just store the main essentials on your desk—this means your laptop or monitor, keyboard, and mouse—as well as things like your lamp, planner, phone, perhaps something inspiring or beautiful, and maybe a photo or two. The rest should pertain to your current projects. Anything else will be distracting and lead to clutter.
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An organized home office is within your grasp! Take small steps toward decluttering and work to find ways to make your space more efficient. Get started today!