If you work at home like I do, you know that trying to find the best ways to organize your home office isn’t the easiest thing to do. I don’t have a real office, so to speak. My office is my bedroom in the morning and my kitchen table in the afternoon, where I stand and write the rest of the day. In the morning, I use a tall hutch as my desk, where I have my laptop, documents necessary, appointment book, cell phone charger, pens and paper, and even a little coffee pot on it! Hey, whatever works, right? I have to keep this space neat and be able to easily put my work away each day in a neat fashion so at night, it doesn’t feel like I’m still in my office when it’s time to go to bed. If you find yourself in the same boat, try these simple ways to organize your home office, even if that means you don’t have a real one apart from your other rooms.
1. Clear out the Junk
Before you even try to think about ways to organize your home office, you’ve got to clear out the junk that you don’t use, don’t need, or don’t even know how it got there. Hey, we all have junk drawers we avoid opening most days of the week, right? Right! Go through those drawers and just take one day a week to make sure they stay neat. Throw away papers you don’t use, don’t need, or don’t recognize. This way, you can make space for what you do need, keeping junk to a minimum each week.
2. Utilize the Space You Have
If you are working with a small space, I advise using what space you can the best you can. For instance, if you have any drawers, use them to file away pens, notebooks, folders, and files. Don’t use them as junk drawers, but instead free up that space so all your work documents aren’t always lying around on your “desk,” whatever that may be, and looking cluttered and messy. If you have any room under what you’re using as a desk, insert a small trash can so when you do have trash, you’ll have an easy way to throw it away and won’t have it lying around all the time.
Another trick I like to use is to use folders, both physical ones and on my computer. I file folders that belong to one group or purpose together in drawers and label them appropriately. Then, I do the same with corresponding groups through my email. This makes for such an easy way to keep up with everything, and each week if you need to touch base with someone from one of those groups, all you have to do is pull out that folder and check to see the last correspondence you had with them.
4. Keep Supplies Handy
Be sure to keep a couple of pens and at least one notebook around your desk at all times. If you get a call while working and need to jot something down, you’re not having to go hunt a pen and piece of paper. As soon as you write down what you need, file it in a folder and put it away where you’ll be able to locate it better.
5. Desk Smarts
Another tip for organizing your home office is to be smart with your desk space. I am guilty of eating at my desk, like most people are, but don’t let dishes, glasses, cups, etc, pile up. You risk getting something on your computer, important documents, and it creates clutter and mental stress, leaving you with a mess at the end of the day.
6. Shelf Space
Another tip I have for organizing your home office is to utilize shelf space. Adding a little personality to your home office can make it seem more welcoming and happier to work in. Since my desk is in my room, I have photos, candles, and even a flower on my shelves near my desk. It makes things more enjoyable to work in an atmosphere that’s pleasant to be around. When I’m working at the kitchen table, that doesn’t typically apply, but I am sure not to clutter up the table and utilize the table space I have for a notebook, my phone, pen, and that’s it. We also have a couple of shelves near our table that I’m able to use if I need space for extra documents, etc.
7. Keep Equipment Working and up to Date
Lastly, be sure you have a printer and even scanner if you can. Don’t keep equipment around that doesn’t work, and put it away somewhere in storage or sell it if that’s the case. Or, just get rid of it. Be sure whatever equipment you do have is always neat and organized so you can use it in an instant and get on with your work.
You also need to be sure that you make your office only your office while you’re working. Don’t get sidetracked by other things that might distract you like magazines, a television, or anything else you might be tempted by. These tips all help your home office feel more appealing and like home. It will make a huge difference in how happy you are at your home office, along with your production performance. Do you have a tip for keeping your home office organized, or your office at your job?