Are you someone who walks into your home office looking like a disaster? If you’re asking yourself, “My office is so cluttered and disorganized,” maybe it’s time to change things up here and there. Luckily, you’re not the only one who may have this type of problem. If you’re trying to figure out how to declutter your home office, you’ve come to the right article for some solutions.
How to declutter your home office: What are the best ways to organize a home office?
Similar to what most people have gone through, you may have been working from home for the last several months. You may have had some rough adjustments in the beginning, but now it’s gotten better over time.
However, the one problem you may have is overcoming a disorganized home office. You may be someone who quickly sets things aside and leaves them unattended for days or weeks. As things pile up and get cluttered, that overwhelming feeling starts to sink in. You know, after a while you have to do something about this little problem.
Declutter your office space
There are things you can clear out and quickly get rid of. However, some items may be harder to get rid of, such as old books on your bookshelf. As I will discuss throughout the rest of this post, you can’t keep everything if you want to keep your office space less cluttered.
I will go over some useful tips you can practice as you declutter your home office. The following points include:
1. Starting off section by section
2. Sorting your work through categories
3. Providing space for physical files
4. Making use of digital space/cloud drive (i.e., Google Drive)
5. Putting extra supplies into baskets/bins
6. Tossing what you do not need
How to declutter your home office
Start section by section (don’t overwhelm yourself)
For some people, it can get overwhelming knowing where to start in your home office. Especially if you have a crowded, messy space, it feels like a big task to accomplish. If you’re one of those people, go through section by section- starting in the smallest area. The lowest area can be the easiest to get out of the way, so making that small step can be a good start.
Your office desk might be the most accessible spot. If you have piles of paper that you can quickly move, get those papers organized. Or, it could be your drawers. Drawers with empty storage space are useful to put a lot of things you don’t use daily. Make sure not to throw something and let your drawers pile up over time.
Some areas, such as bookshelves, might be more daunting to take on. If you’re looking to rearrange your bookshelf, it can take some time to get rid of old books or folders to put in. So it’s more of a half-day type of task, hold off on that until you’re ready to tackle it on.
How I go through my home office sections
For myself, I rearrange my home office every month or so to hold myself accountable. I always clear my desk so that things don’t pile up and give myself space to perform my best while working. Now and then, I’ll clear my drawers and bookshelves to determine what I no longer need. Things I don’t use anymore may not be worth it and serve me no purpose. I consider myself a minimalist these days.
Sort your work into categories
It may be easier to keep your work organized in a traditional office setting. But if you’re working at home more often, you want to keep your work files in the right spot. It can be challenging for some people to separate their personal and professional items in a home office. The first thing to do is to separate personal from professional, and then go from there.
After that, there are small solutions you can easily arrange. For example, if you’re a small business owner, organize your work files into a “marketing” category. Also, you can do the same for a “finance” category or “new idea/innovation” category. So making these small arrangements while keeping them separate can sort out your work better.
Provide space for physical files
Though we’re living in the digital era, you still may need access to physical files. If it’s old files that you don’t need, make copies or scan them into electronic documents. But if you need to keep them, place them in folders or binders to check back on later. There may be documents you’ll need to reference now and then.
Once you have your physical documents organized, place it somewhere where it’s easily accessible. Putting them in one of your drawers may be the right spot, or somewhere in the back corner of your home office.
If you prefer to have them out of your sight, figure out a hidden spot to place those files. I have my secret spots around my office, so that way, I’m not distracted or have a bunch of papers lying around.
Making use of cloud drive for digital files
Now that people use electronics more often, using the internet and cloud drives are more prominent than ever. It’s not necessary to print documents or mail them out when we can access them online and send copies via email. Not everything is entirely digital (at least not yet), but it does make work a little bit easier.
On the same point, more people are using cloud drives to save and store their files. It’s a great way to keep your workspace clear of paper and make your office a little more organized. Cloud storage services such as Asana, Dropbox, or Google Drive are great resources to store up your electronic files.
What I use for cloud storage
These days, I use Google Drive to store most of my work files. Google cloud storage has plenty of helpful features, especially when I can easily open up files through my Gmail account. Occasionally, I’ll use iCloud (Apple’s storage service) to save some data. For other records, I’ll keep them to my desktop for quicker access. But Google Drive is a winner for me because it’s easier to use as a reference tool.
Put extra supplies into baskets or bins
When it comes to small things (pens, CDs, notebooks), you want to find a space where it’s accessible and won’t take up your desk. The last thing you want is to have some extra pens lying around and then fall off your desk, making a mess.
Unless you’re going to use them every day, put them in a small basket or bin to store. If you have some extra closet space, those would be the right spots to save them for later. Especially if you won’t use them for some time, put them in a beautiful storage space to pull out from at another time.
Not only are we talking about pens or extra paper, but it can be old devices or software products you no longer use. Whether it’s an old phone charger, old CDs, or an older version of Microsoft Office, those can be used in case something happens.
You never know if you may need to install an older version of MS on your computer for some odd reason. So these would be some things you can store in a basket or bin in your home office.
Toss out what you do not need
It’s essential to determine what’s necessary and non-essential. There are things you may no longer need, and it can be hard to throw out. Unless you’re going to use it anytime soon, ask yourself, “Will I be using this thing in 6-12 months?. If not, you may want to consider tossing it out. Remember, your end goal should be to declutter and keep your office space organized.
For myself, I don’t always find it easy to get rid of things I no longer need. There was one time I had extra office supplies on hand, and I decided to donate it to a past back-to-school drive. Also, old books I no longer read or needed I ended up giving. So these are some things wherein the long run, it’s better to toss out if I’m not using them.
If you’re like me, you may say to yourself, “But I like having it there, or maybe I’ll use it again.” That can be a tough little fight to overcome; however, if you’re not going to use items anytime soon, then toss them. There is a point where you have to move from some of these things. In the end, it’ll be better to keep your office space clean and tidy.
If you’ve been working at home for some time, it’s vital to stay on track and keep your home office organized. Someone like myself doesn’t perform well if I work in a cluttered workspace. I get easily distracted and have a hard time staying focused, especially when I need to get things done.
Some of the biggest takeaways from this post include keeping your essentials and what you should toss out. Yes, it can be challenging to get rid of some things you no longer. If it’s old books you’re not reading anymore, consider donating. But if it’ll help declutter your space, do yourself a favor to keep yourself on track.
Whatever your situation is right now, use your home office decluttering session as a learning lesson. If you are working from home in the long-run, take some steps today to keep yourself productive and work the best you can.
Do you have a cluttered home office? Which one of these tips do you think works best for you
Leave a comment below and please share this post with others.
Eric is a time management consultant and owner of the blog, quitkillingtime.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time, personally and professionally. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He likes to go for long walks out in nature and been taking Zumba classes every week at his local gym. You can follow Eric via Facebook and LinkedIn.