Attempting to declutter your home office can seem like a daunting task. Just look at the space pictured here. Boxes and crates and stacks of stuff make it difficult to find things and frustrating to move around.
While it will take some effort and time to get the job done, it's well worth it. An orderly work space is an effective work space. See the transformation below.
The first step to any organizing project is to purge. This means sorting through everything to determine what you need, what you use, and what you should get rid of. Sort items into the following categories as you set out to declutter your home office.
This trio of bookcases were once cluttered with random piles of books and stacks of stuff. Now they are neat, orderly, functional and aesthetically appealing.
Once you've purged the contents of your home office, you’re ready to decide what goes where. To do this you will need to consider work flow. In this case, work flow simply refers to the systematic way in which you use (or would like to use) the space.
Do you tend to stay in one place, such as at the desk? Or do you move around a lot from desk to filing cabinet to a mounted white board, etc.? Do you need an uncluttered surface on which to lay out projects in addition to your desk area?
Thinking about the way you use the space will help you determine the best arrangement for the room. Try to arrange things in such a way that they will compliment your natural work flow patterns rather than impeding them.
A really useful method for helping you declutter your home office and keep it clutter free is to store things where you use them. The more you have to move around to retrieve the things you need, the more things are going to pile up on your work surface. That can make it difficult to get any work done.
We often feel compelled to keep things close at hand for easy access, thinking to ourselves I’m going to need that again soon, so I might as well leave it out. I know this because I am guilty of this.
Take a moment to think through the items you use most often
when working at your desk. Find a place
for them in the desk or on the desk top.
If there is room to spare, fill it with items that would be nice to have
close by but which are not essential.
One of the biggest causes of clutter in any room is homelessness. Items that don’t have a designated home end up as squatters. If, in your efforts to declutter your home office, you find yourself with a pile of potential squatters, go back to the purging stage.
Decide which category the item in question belongs to. If you are certain it isn’t trash (either the throw away or give away kind), then the next question is whether or not it truly belongs in the space. If you are sure it does, then you will need to find it a permanent home.
Finding a home for everything in a home office can be challenging. Sometimes it’s necessary to think vertically in order to find the space you need. Vertical space can be claimed in a number of ways.
This tall hutch was originally designed to hold dishes. These days it houses office supplies and books. It's large capacity makes it an excellent storage piece.
Cables are the bane of every office, are they not? If you truly want to declutter your home office, clutter control will need to be considered. For starters, you will want to think about furniture placement. Any item that will house electronics should obviously be placed as close as possible to an outlet. This will be safer and will also help to hide the cords.
Think carefully before placing a desk in the middle of a room. Personally, I prefer seeing out into the room rather than staring at a wall, but that means running cords across the floor unless you are fortunate enough to have a strategically placed floor outlet at your disposal. Running cables across the floor can damage the cables over time if they get stepped on. It also poses a tripping hazard and it's an eyesore.
All sorts of cable control devices are available from channels, to wraps, to clips, to boxes and more. Whether you decide to invest in cable control gear or create your own, it’s a good idea to label your cables. Use bread tabs or tape wrapped back onto itself to create your own labels or purchase some from an electronics or organization store.
To truly declutter your home office you need to have a functional filing system that allows you to find or file any piece of paper in 30 seconds. Sound impossible? Check out my page titled Declutter Your Files for details on creating such a system for your home office.
An organized home office is a productive home office. Declutter your home office today and put the space to work for you!
If you'd like help tackling your home office organization project, click the link below to contact me.
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