Your home office is a sacred place. It should offer you the ideal environment to work in. Your workspace should be conducive to both the creative and routine activities of your job. As such, there should be adequate space to work on your projects, to set aside and read through files and have a brainstorming session. But if there are cluttered wires and stacks of files that look like they might fall any moment, you can have a hard time concentrating. On top of that, you will find it extremely painful when you need to rummage through stuff to find that one elusive piece of paper you are looking for. Is it time for you to learn how to organize your home office?
To save time and energy and toincrease your productivity, it is important to keep your home office organized and clutter-free. Here are a few hacks and tips to follow to declutter your sacred workspace:
Divide your home office into sections
To keep the possibility of mess to a minimum, divide your home office into sections. The first section, containing your work desk, should be squeaky clean at all times. Your laptop/desktop or tablet should sit atop the table. A pen holder should carry all the basic stationery and office supplies needed. These should be within handy reach from your chair. Another section should have organized storage. You can install filing cabinets and storage cabinets with compartments that suit your needs. If you have decent space for your home-based workstation, you can label another section for recreation and lounging. A couch and a few stress relief balls would be a nice touch.
Eliminate the unnecessary: minimalism is key
The first part of organizing your home office is decluttering. The first principle of decluttering effectively is to abide by minimalism. Use the KonMari system. Be ruthless in this process of decluttering. The KonMari method of decluttering, created by Marie Kondo asks you to filter everything you own from one lens, ‘Does it spark joy?’ If your response is no, then it is time to let go of the object. Visualize how you want your home office to look , once you are at the end of the whole exercise. Do you think this object will have a role to play there? Does this item add value to your workflow, life or productivity? The solution is a simple yes or no pile – if it serves a purpose you preserve it and if it doesn’t, it goes in the trash.
Align storage equipment and furniture with your needs
How you choose your storage should dictated by your actual needs. If you buy random shelving cabinets or cupboards, you will end up wasting space. What if that tiny drawer cannot hold your charts? That’d be a massive waste of space!
If you are, for instance, a digital marketer, and your table doesn’t have enough space for two devices at the same time, it can be counterproductive. You might end up buying another table, which will not only malign the aesthetics of your workspace but also make it cramped to work in. So make sure you purchase your storage and furniture with a lot of care – they shouldn’t add to the clutter but rather help organize your things to prevent cluttering.
Today, having reams of papers and stacks of files isn’t necessary to get work done. Most, if not all, of our work, is on our devices so it would be in the best interest of your home office to digitize everything, from invoices and contracts to readings and presentations. Going paperless is not just a smart move for the environment but for the cleanliness of your office too. A reasonable amount of paperwork and documents (that are absolutely essential to keep around) can easily be stacked into folders and labelled for easy access.
Have a system for archiving
If there are physical papers and old documents that you need to retain for record purposes, box them up according to the relevant year and place them in a storeroom or a cupboard in a relatively inaccessible corner. This way you will rid your immediate office of unnecessary piles and make use of nooks and corners that would otherwise be unused. This step alone will be a major step to organizing your home office! Pro tip: use inventory lists and stick them on top of each box so you know what the box contains.
Whether you are boxing stuff for archiving, classifying physical paperwork into folders, or storing office supplies in cabinets – use labels to make sure that everything is organized properly. Last thing you want to do is struggle to find what you are looking for because you don’t know where you actually put all your different things!
Donate what you don’t use
The best part about using the Marie Kondo principle of decluttering is that you will end up with a lot of stuff that will have some use, but not for you. It may not spark joy for you. Or if the last time you used something was more than a couple years ago, so it no longer holds utility in the office. You can donate those things to a care home or a thrift shop or to anyone in need.
Personal items don’t belong in the office
Keep the boundaries between your home and office very distinctly demarcated. This means that your personal items belong in your bedroom or living room. Don’t get into the habit of bringing stuff with you from the office to the rest of the house and vice versa. When you use a system of labeling and filing, there won’t be space for alien objects in your office.
Keep the desk clean
A very simple piece of advice, but one that can change the look of your home office: every day, before you begin work, dust off the desk and other furniture. Working on a clean desk can create a positive atmosphere. Have a regular deep-clean too – probably on a monthly basis. Stay ahead of the mess and the mess will never reach your workspace!
When you organize your home office you will find that coming to work every morning will be a joy; something you truly look forward to. You’ll also find that keeping everything neat and organized will no longer be something you dread but something you actually enjoy. You know it will result in you feeling good and feeling good is the foundation from which you can be productive in the work that you do!