Clutter can be really distracting in your workspace. So take time to declutter your home office. Here’s how!
Got a messy home office?
If you find that your papers are disarranged, and it usually takes you more than five minutes to find anything on your desk, then it is time to put some order into the room!
Whether you work from home or you just need a place to organize necessary paper works, bills, or do some bullet journaling, your home office should be a neat, organized, and productive space.
One way to ensure this is to declutter your home office regularly.
When you do not know where to start, or how to start, here are decluttering tips to give you an idea of what you should be doing.
You can do this!
1. Get rid of items that you don’t use.
We often have the tendency to go overboard when it comes to storing office supplies.
For example, if you are a freelance photographer, you really do not need many writing instruments. Sometimes, we stock up on too many items that years go by, and we barely get to use them at all.
So take a look around your home office and see what is not being used. If you have not used something for the past six months, then you should consider re-selling it, giving it away or donating it.
There are lots of schools and small businesses that would appreciate donations of supplies. You do not only get to have a cleaner and neater office, but you get to help the community too. That’s pretty awesome, right?!
Now if it’s in bad condition, see if you can upcycle it or recycle it. If not, then – on to the trash bin it goes!
Remember, there is no need to stock too much office supplies in your home office.
But if you come across things that you hesitate to get rid of, keep these first in a box. If you have not retrieved any item from that box in the next month (or in the next six months to be more sure) then you should get rid of those items. It’s safe to say that you’re not going to need those anymore.
2. Remove stuff that do not belong in the home office.
To be more productive and be more focused, you should eliminate items that do not belong in your home office. Everything in there should be all about your work to encourage an air of formality seriousness, and of course inspiration!
As an example, do not store workout tools in your home office. Unless you use it in there, like a yoga mat perhaps, do not put it inside the home office.
This also includes other stuff that belong in other rooms like vacuum cleaner and extra clothes. Where do these really belong in your home?
Relocate every item that doesn’t belong in the home office. Put them back to where they should be.
Having a home office that actually has the same vibe like a real office will help you become more focused, and yes, more serious with what you do.
3. Organize your paperwork.
Paper is the most noticeable clutter that one can notice on your desk.
When paperwork pile up and you do not have an organized system to arrange, it is easy to lose important papers – giving you a hard time finding them.
Here’s a simple system for decluttering paperwork: (1) file, (2)take action, (3)shred, and (4)trash. This means you categorize every paper into four piles.
Paperwork under “file” are those that you have already dealt with but can’t throw away like receipts or insurance papers. Choose a filing system that will work for you.
Many women usually go with a color-coded scheme where documents are filed in different colored envelopes or folders, so they do not have to stop and read the labels when retrieving a document.
For example, you can use green for your receipts, red for medical-related papers, blue for your kids’ school documents, etc.
If you have less space for filing papers, you can choose the digital route as long as the digital copy is honored like the hard copy.
Scan or take pictures of the documents. Then the filing can be done in your computer, the cloud, or your hard drive. Just make sure to store them in two places so you always have a back-up.
2. Take action
Paperwork under “take action” are those that you still have to work on like bills you need to pay.
To easily keep track of what comes in, have a mail station or a file tray by your door to monitor incoming and outgoing papers. I suggest that you station it by the door so that family members or housemates can just stay by the door while dropping in new mail. This way you don’t get disturbed.
Another is to have an In and Out File tray. When you find a paper that needs action lying around somewhere, put it in the “In” section of your In and Out tray immediately. This will help you not to forget about it when you get to work!
Lastly, paperwork under “shred” are those that you can get rid of already, but contain personal or sensitive information.
It can be as simple as scrap notes or documents that were once important like outdated credit card statements and receipts that you do not need to keep.
when you deal with a lot of documents containing sensitive and private information, invest in a shredder to make shredding easier and faster. A small one will do.
This is to ensure that your personal or other sensitive information can not be retrieved in the trash.
As the word itself suggests – trash – these are papers that you can simply throw away.
I suggest you recycle papers, so these don’t add anymore to the garbage landfill. Even shredded paper can be recycled. Either you do it at home, or bring it to recycling centers in your area.
4. Arrange your office supplies.
The next most noticeable clutter in your home office is office supplies.
Organize your office supplies. Store them in drawers, containers, bins, and other storage options to keep your desk as bare as possible.
Your desk does not need to have a completely bare surface. You can get a desk organizer that allows you to hold a few pens and pencils, a notepad, and other items that you need to be close by.
As for the rest, store them somewhere else in the home office to avoid having a cluttered desk.
When you organize your office supplies, place like items together to quickly find what you are looking for. For instance, store your stapler and staple wires together, your pencils and pens together, etc.
If your desk has a drawer, don’t turn it into a junk drawer where you just drop anything inside. Use a drawer organizer. Or make one yourself as a DIY project to customize the way everything will fit.
5. Tone down on personal mementos.
What about personal mementos like pictures, souvenirs, trophies, and others?
As much as possible, keep these mementos out of your desk. Display these on walls or shelves but keep your desk free of them. Your desk is the space where you do most of your work, so it should be as bare and neat as possible.
If you want to have your eyes on a family picture all the time for inspiration, hang it on the wall that you are facing. This way, your desk’s surface is free for all the things you need to do for your work.
Also, tone down the number of personal mementos that you have in the room. Don’t overdecorate it with your personal knick-knacks.
Display your favorites – those that inspire you to work. But keep it at the minimum level so your office looks neat and professional.
6. Clean up.
Dust and dirt can build up as time passes – especially if it has been a while since you last cleaned. Hence, don’t forget to clean when you declutter the home office!
Clear out all surfaces. Then dusk everything off with a feather duster. Lastly, wipe the surface with moist wipes or a damp rag before you put everything back.
Clean your computer or laptop too – especially the keyboard. Oil and dirt can easily stick in your keyboard, and if you keep touching your face while you work (I’m guilty!), this can cause facial skin problems like pimples and acne.
Sweep the floor. Mop it or do some vacuuming to make it cleaner. While cleaning up, open the windows so that dust gets filtered out.
Finish off the cleaning by using an air freshener to add some refreshing scent.
Declutter your home office regularly!
Over time, your workspace will get messy and cluttered. There will always be new paperwork coming in and office supplies to stock or get rid of.
Maintaining a regular decluttering schedule will help you keep your home office organized. You can do it once a week or dedicate 30 minutes each day after work to go over your home office and make sure everything is arranged and neat.
Making a habit out of decluttering means you spend less time cleaning during general cleaning days.
Also, when your work entails you to have visits from clients or do a lot of video conference calls, you are ready to entertain them at any time. And that’s because your home office is neat and prepared for public viewing!
By the way, if you want to use your smartphone to help you declutter your home office, here is a list of apps that you can download. I bet you’ll find one that you’ll like!
And here is a page with all our declutter articles. Take time to read the other posts. These will help you declutter your home!