Home office organization can seem like an easy thing to achieve. However, we tend to struggle with this very personal space. From tons of paper we are afraid to shred… to getting a organization system in place… it can be hard to know what to tackle first.
This guide illustrates the common challenges and ideas to master home office organization. Of course, you will want to pick up one of the best home office organizers to help you in your mission.
Home Office Organization Challenges
What starts off as a well intended and organized home office, can quickly become a mess. Its like being a minimalist with a laptop only to be buried in laptop accessories! See if these home office organization challenges apply to you.
One of the chief office complaints is usually the piles of paper on every available surface. You’ve pushed all the documents into a filing cabinet or two. However, papers have a way of not staying where you put them, and you can never find the ones you’re looking for at that moment. Documents in the office are one of the major complaints in home office storage when it comes to feeling organized and on top of your space.
Home offices are often the repository for shared electronics, from printers to shredders. They tend to sit on whatever flat surface was available, sometimes for years. Then all the cords go with these devices clutter up your office floor. Sometimes they even turn into a tripping hazard. Regardless, loose cables everywhere certainly don’t help your office feel organized.
Office Supplies and Stationery
Every home has, at some point, had a junk drawer. You may have even had to downsize your junk drawers or move it into the office for organization. The problem is, once it’s in your office, the supplies and stationery took over every available surface. Of course, there’s never a pen where you can find it now, and the manilla folders keep disguising the post-it notes you need to take phone messages.
As with many rooms, offices tend to collect items. It’s also a room that isn’t on your cleaning rotation like bathrooms or kitchens typically. This collection leads to a stuff build up. You may not want to, but cleaning it all out is the first step to reclaiming your space.
Home Office Organization Ideas
Home office organization can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. From getting home office organizers to steps to declutter, the following tips will give you a fighting start:
Organizers by themselves are not going to fix your home office’s organization. However, intuitive space organizers can help you reclaim your space. Items such as mail sorters or desktop supply holders are great choices to help keep those things in a single place. You can obtain the organizers you think you’ll need before you tackle the initial organization of your office space, so you do not need to stop. After all, momentum in room cleaning is valuable.
In a home office, people often ignore the vertical space. If you find you’re always running out of space, consider installing some shelving or cubbies on the wall. These work best if you place them where you can’t hit your head, like over the desk or filing cabinet. There are many different shelving styles, so it’s easy to find one that fits your unique office. Plus, most of the shelving options will help your office feel larger, which is always a nice bonus.
Right now, there is furniture in your office, but it might not be the best furniture for organizing. For example, ultra-minimalist desks without built-in home office storage simply tend to take up space. The filing cabinet is hard to get into, bookcases are scattered everywhere, and any cabinets are stuffed to the brim. The key is to make these work again or replace them with a model that will.
Desks are the center of an office. It’s where the main household computer and the printer sit, along with where you’ll spend the most office time. This time means your desk needs to have the necessary office supplies as well. A desk with drawers and space for a mail organizer is ideal for getting your workspace in tip-top shape.
Additionally, your other furniture needs grouping for maximum storage functionality. If the book you want is always on the far shelf or the printer paper is on the other side of the room, it’s not working for you. If the bookcases are next to each other and the ream of paper is under the printer, there’s a lot less frustration. You’re also more likely to keep up the home organization you’re building now.
Everyone’s least favorite part of organization is the purging of items that are no longer useful. In the case of your home office, this means everything from old papers to art supplies. When you first organize, there will be items to purge. You’ll need to be prepared for that.
Once you’ve done the first purge, there will need to be a schedule to maintain it. This timing will depend on how quickly your household accumulates things in the office, but twice a year is an excellent place to start. Having a schedule for purging the unneeded items saves significant time than if you do it only when it gets truly out of hand.
Label and Contain
There will be items in your office that you don’t use every day, but still need to keep around. For example, if you have school-age kids, you’ll need to keep art and project materials for those more significant projects. However, that doesn’t mean those items should land willy-nilly. Instead, they should have specific spots such as labeled containers where they’re put when not in use. You could even get the kids involved in marking the units if you don’t want to use printed labels.
Categorize to Organize
When you first organize your office, the whole thing can become overwhelming quickly. It’s best to start designing a system before you begin instead of hoping one will come to you as you work. You can start with some basic categories, like necessary and not, and then work from there.
Once you’ve weeded out the unnecessary items, it’s time to start actively categorizing your home office. This system works best for papers, which tend to get stuffed everywhere. You can begin with piles for taxes, medical, car information, etc. to help get everything going. That way, the related items are all grouped together, and new pieces are easy to sort. Some people find color-coding to be useful in this step.
Another possibility is to categorize by year. This system would allow you to start folders or binders for each year of paperwork. With a little bit of a system in place, your papers won’t pile up again. Organizing only works if it’s something you can keep up.
Clear Your Office Space
While some people function well with a messy workspace, most do not. This distinction means one of your first focuses in the organizing process should be your workspace, whether that’s a desk or a table. Now, that’s not to say that the jar of pens is going to wreck your focus. It’s not that a wobbly pile of papers or all your office supplies strewn across the surface won’t help. Instead, small containers and sorters work well.
Another common office consideration is all the cords. Often, you’ve found yourself tripping over them or thinking they’re an eyesore. These cables are a fixable issue though. You can attach wires to the walls, organize them by function, and more. To begin, figure out where the plugs for everything are. Then connect each cable to something solid, like the desk or the wall. Lastly, you can assign labels to each cable so you can easily pull cords, as necessary. In particular, bread clips make excellent labeling implements.
Assign Discard Dates
This tip applies to mail and other paperwork. Your home currently has a spot where mail lands when it comes in. This spot may be inconvenient, yet it continues. Then you end up with a pile of papers, potentially taking up real estate in your home office.
Fortunately, there is an easy trick to mail and other papers. It involves writing on the envelopes or corners and then committing to the date. You can tag every piece of paper that comes into your house with a deadline date. If it is urgent, that date is closer. Less critical items get further out times. Then you group the items by urgency.
These deadline dates are essentially the dates that piece of paper needs to be removed by or put away. The clutter associated with paperwork is in the buildup, so if you handle it at entry, you’ll have a much easier time long term.
Establish a Routine
Routines are the silent force behind keeping your excellent home organization. Therefore, it is essential to build these routines from the start. After all, you do not want to end up needing another day to re-organize your home office.
The most straightforward routine is the daily one. In this case, it takes two minutes or less. All you need to do is ensure that your workspace is in the same condition you started the day in. This choice means you’ve returned the office supplies to their containers, straightened up any project related papers, and returned books to their shelves before you leave the room.
The next step is picking a date for your monthly clean. This clean allows you to reset any organizational methods that have slipped quickly. For example, if you’ve accumulated some paper, it’s easier to file when it’s only a month’s worth. By setting a date and a reminder each month, you’ll keep on top of the larger tasks for your space.
Twice a year, you should consider a more thorough cleaning. This cleaning ensures that only what needs to be in your office is and that your organizational methods are working. Tax time and late fall are good times to do this since both times tend to result in more papers. After all, you only need to hold onto what’s relevant.
The bottom line is once you’ve devoted the time to organizing, you don’t want to go back. By assigning yourself dates and setting up reminders, you’re on the road to success in keeping your home office space organized.
With the tips above ,and the right home office organizer, you can quickly restore this space to its intended use. Make sure to declutter and put a labelled system in place to prevent further messes. With your organization confidence in place, move on to tackle that walk-in or hallway closet.