Your home office is a sanctuary that requires the best organization to be the most productive.
However, reorganizing a home office seems like a challenging task because there are so many different parts that need your attention.
Luckily, we’ve created the ultimate guide to home office organization to help you get started, briefing overviewing the process, storage options, design layout, additional tips, and more.
Benefits of Organizing Your Home Office
Organizing your home office is a daunting task that many people neglect, which is unfortunate as there are several benefits, such as:
- Become more productive: When you know where all of your important documents or work files are, you save more time without rummaging through different desk drawers
- Re-discover your needs: As you purge through different sections of your office, you will see all of the items you want and don’t want
- Accessibility: Gain easy access to all of your sticky notes, favorite pens, and filings
- Feels good: There is no doubt there is a sense of relief that occurs when you see a clean, organized home office
Looking at a messy home office and realizing it needs drastic reorganization can be a dreadful experience.
Thankfully, there’s an easy process to get started by following these steps:
- Gather supplies: You will need supplies to dispose of unwanted items, such as a trash bag
- Begin the purge: Start by removing everything you do not use, including paperwork and stationery. If your desk or cabinets are messy, remove everything, as there may be misplaced documents that need to be in another section.
- Sort in piles: Separate everything into categories
- Clean-up: Wipe down desks, sweep, or vacuum the area
- Storage: Explore different options to store your items, such as cabinets or baskets
- Re-file: Begin putting all the paperwork and items into your chosen area, such as a computer desk, shelf, storage container, etc
- Maintain: Once you finish the process, one of the hardest parts is maintaining your newly organized space by cleaning it once a week or every month
What You Need
Before you begin, gather supplies to make it easier to get rid of unwanted items, such as:
- Trash Bag: Dispose of everything that is not useful, broken, or not salvageable
- Basket: Toss small items such as paper clips, stationery, sticky notes into a basket to avoid them from getting lost in the shuffle
- Donation pile: Electronics or stationery that no longer fit your needs but useful to someone else, such as a label maker or hole puncher, can be donated
- Paper Shredder: Important documents or paperwork with sensitive information that may no longer be relevant must be shredded to avoid identity theft
- Tape measure: Grab a tape measure to later explore if you can fit additional storage options for better productivity
Begin the Purge
The easiest way to tackle home office organization is to begin purging out everything from the desk, shelves, cabinets, and anywhere else you may have miscellaneous items.
Many people make the mistake of keeping items they haven’t used in a while, believing they may still use them again when that isn’t the case. Usually, those items take up space or add to the clutter.
Ask yourself the following questions if you are undecided on removing items:
- When was the last time I used this?
- Did I use this in the last year?
- Did I use this in the last six months?
- How relevant is this to my daily workflow?
- How often do I use this?
As you begin removing all of your items, begin to sort them into different piles.
Sort in Piles
Now that all of your belongings are in the open, it’s time to sort them into different piles:
- Keep: Decide what paperwork you want to keep and put them in a pile or separate them from the others
- Shred: Expired documents, sensitive information, or documents you no longer need end up in the shredder
- Stationery: Use a basket or box to put all of your materials into, such as a stapler, notebooks, writing utensils
- Donate: Possible items to donate to a Goodwill, Salvation Army, or another thrift store
- Miscellaneous: If you are unsure about an item, put it into a “maybe” pile until you decide
Once you remove everything from all the spaces in your home office, begin cleaning up.
Wipe down all the surfaces and shelves with a safe, all-purpose cleaner or disinfectant wipes. Open up all of your drawers and remove any residue.
Start sweeping, where little bits of paper, paper clips, or specs may be visible. If you have tile, begin mopping or use a Swiffer to remove the grime off of the floor.
Begin dusting the shelves, cabinets, and anything else that is susceptible to accumulating dust.
If you have carpet, begin vacuuming. To take it to the next level, consider using a carpet cleaner to remove dirt, as carpet holds onto odors and allergens.
If you have a whiteboard or bulletin board, consider cleaning that as well, removing everything from the surface to start new beginnings.
Home Office Storage Options
Before you re-file and put back all of your belongings, ask yourself, do you have enough space?
Consider the following options to expand your area or remove clutter for your storage system.
Most offices have a filing cabinet that sorts through various paperwork. However, today we gravitate towards minimalistic, modern-day designs instead of large, bulky cabinets. Consider a smaller, more ergonomic filing cabinet that will create more space and enough for your filing needs.
Storage drawers or office drawer units are standard storage solutions for any home office. Most drawers come with desk set-ups. Stand-alone drawers may be useful, however, if you have lots of stationery.
Woven baskets are simple solutions for miscellaneous items or materials for easy access.
Clear containers with lids are useful for those who have supplies for more than work, such as artists or those in graphic design.
If you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing storage solution, open shelves add space with bringing the home office to life. Having various shelves for your electronics, paper holders, or a printer opens up space on your desk or surrounding area.
Cubbies are an attractive option that is best against a wall. They’re useful for books, baskets, or any other items that aren’t necessarily for work, such as decorations to spruce up the home office.
Now that your home office is clean, storage options are clear, and your piles are sorted, it’s time to re-file everything into their respective space.
This step includes putting your stationery either in their old spots or new spots you find most suitable.
Utilize your baskets, containers, drawers, desk, and shelves to the fullest.
A minimalistic approach, such as “less is more,” is one of the best ways to keep a clean and tidy area.
Go through your miscellaneous pile once more to determine if it should be re-shelved or re-filed.
Shred, donate or dispose of anything else in your remaining piles.
How to Organize Paperwork
Organizing paperwork can be tedious, but there are ways to manage your documents more efficiently, such as:
- Color coding: Use different colors to label your documents, such as financials are green, personal is yellow, or blue is insurance, and so forth.
- Mail station: If you receive mail for your home office, create a mail station using folders for in and out mail.
- Shred frequently: Paperwork tends to pile up quickly. Use the shredder every week or month to avoid messy paper stacks from taking up space.
- Create categories: Separate documents by type or function
- Go digital: Paperless is a new way of having all of your files on hard drives as pdfs or other extensions.
How to Organize Your Desk
Your desk is the center of your home office that needs to be clean and straightforward.
Tips for organizing your desk include:
- Hang a shelf over the desk
- Design an organization station
- Opt for a small storage caddy
- Have stationery off to one side
- Use floating shelves around the desk for your accessories, photos, other materials
- Create a DIY organizer for your notebooks, pens, planner, and more
- Group all of your office supplies in a tray
- Have a corkboard in front with inspirational quotes, notes, or schedule
- Use drawer dividers to avoid a clutter
How to Organize Stationery
Stationery is the easiest to become misplaced, lost, or scattered around the home office.
Advice on how to organize stationery in your home office include:
- Group stationery items by category
- Have them neatly on one side of the desk in a tray
- Use dividers in the drawers to have small compartments to access the materials
- If you have lots of wires, such as a charging station or other electronics, have them on one side to avoid cord clutter
- Use a basket, bin, or container to put supplies that come in large bundles, such as art supplies
- Consider using a shelf to put stationery items for a clean desk
How to Maintain Your Newly Organized Home Office
After completing the ultimate steps to home office organization, the next step is maintenance by following these tips:
- Set a time to spruce up the home office to wipe down surfaces weekly
- Try to keep tabs of your supplies and paperwork daily, being mindful and setting them in their rightful places
- Continue to file accordingly by setting up a system to avoid paperwork from piling up
- Organize your computer space continually by saving and storing files in folders or subfolders
- Consider a deep clean every month, such as using a mob, Swiffer, broom, or vacuum to clean the floor
- Break bad habits like tossing documents in a corner or dumping stationery in any basket with the wrong label
Additional Home Office Organization Tips
Home office organization requires becoming meticulous to achieve the best set-up to suit your lifestyle and needs.
Additional tips for organizing your home office include:
- Wheeled furniture: Having office furniture with wheels is highly recommended, as it’s easy to move around if you wanted to change your layout.
- Get a 2nd opinion: Ask an expert, friend, or family for advice on how to approach organizing your office.
- Use binders: While folders are great for organizing, binders are more durable to prevent less wear and tear.
- Purchase a label maker: Invest is a reliable label maker to use on folders, cabinets, drawers, or baskets to keep track of supplies and paperwork.
- Backup your files: Going paperless is a huge advantage for creating more space, but computers are susceptible to viruses and crashing, resulting in data loss. Use cloud services, USBs, or portable hard drives.
- Separate room for home office: Avoid having your home office in your bedroom, as that room is for tranquility, while the office should be for work. For mental health purposes and sleep hygiene, it is best to separate the two.
- Books: Consider organizing your books by color for a fascinating aesthetic look.
- Printing station: Create a space for your printer and its different elements, such as ink or paper
- Keep it simple: Home office organization should be simple, with a minimalistic approach to avoid clutter and confusion.
- Use shelves: Instead of cramming everything into your desk drawer or surface, consider shelves to spread accessories around. Open shelves are easy to install and create an ample amount of space.
- Inspiration: Have inspirational quotes in print or framed around the office to boost morale
- 10 minute clean up: Take 10 minutes a day to organize and spruce up the home office, especially your desk, for maintenance purposes.
Design the Layout
Sometimes it’s easy to determine where your home office will be, but the design layout also matters.
Tips for designing your home office layout include:
- Scenery: Some home offices have a view of the ocean, background, pool, or city for a fantastic visual during the workflow
- Dining room: Home officers near the dining room tend to be small and need additional storage surrounding the area, such as shelves or ergonomic cabinets.
- Corner: Various home offices are in peculiar spots around the house, including an intersection requiring imagination to store accessories. Corner office set-ups are also called L-shaped layouts.
- Natural lighting: Finding an area in the home with natural light can create a positive environment and give you a boost. However, be wary of glare on computer screens. To reduce this, use blinds or curtains to darken the room.
- Against the wall: The most standard design layout for a home office is against the wall of any room
- Bistro set-up: For a modern look, consider getting a high chair and tall desk for your workspace, excellent for small spaces, studios, and apartments
- Dual work and play: People with kids may benefit from having a small area for their children to play, occupying them while the parent continues to work
Choose the Right Desk and Chair
The desk and chair of a home office is a massive part of comfortability and the space occupied.
Choose the best desk for your home office by considering the following:
- Drawers: Many desks have multiple drawers, which is great for extra storage space.
- Minimalistic-style: Desks that are a plain surface are aesthetically pleasing and feel more spacious.
- Size: Width and length matter the most depending on how large your space. Use a tape measure to find the correct size to avoid overcrowding.
- Height: Taller people require more space under the desk.
- Material: Wood or glass are popular options.
- Wheels: Having a desk that can move effortlessly is beneficial in case the floor design changes.
Different types of office chairs to choose for your office include:
- Task Chairs
- Ergonomic Chairs
- Drafting Chairs
- Big and Tall
- Accent and Reception Chairs
- Stackable Chairs
Lumbar support, dimensions, seat height, tilt control are essential features to look for in a chair.
Utilize Wall Space
Office space isn’t only on the floor but also the wall space.
Use the following advice to get the most out of your home office wall:
- Create a wall calendar: Boost productivity by keeping yourself on schedule with a wall calendar
- Use a corkboard: Add sticky notes and other documents to keep track of your tasks
- Install a whiteboard: Create plans and goals on a dry erase board to get more work done
- Add a shelf: Add more space by adding shelves
Now that you’ve finished this ultimate guide to home office organization, the next step is to begin the process.
Gather your supplies, begin the purge, clean-up, re-file, and maintain your new home office.
There are many storage solutions for a home office where you can get creative with your space, especially if you don’t have enough room for your paperwork or stationery.
Increase productivity with other accessories such as a whiteboard or calendar. Decorate the room with positive quotes for extra daily motivation.
Overall, there are many different angles to begin your new mission, with several options to achieve the best home office organization.