Planning a new home office or reorganizing an existing one? Working from home can be a more comfortable and fun experience- but only if you’re in a dedicated space and not drowning in stacks of personal paperwork, mail, and other kinds of clutter that tend to build up around the house. Even if you aren’t working a 9-5 out of your home, it’s where you manage your household’s most important documents. This week, find sometime- it doesn’t have to be a lot of time- to get started on cleaning, organizing, and creating a home office space that works for you. Check out the latest home office collections to get an idea about organizing your home office.
How Should I Set Up My Home Office?
If you’re just moving, congratulations! You’re starting with a blank slate, take advantage of that, and think about your personal work style. Do you need to be able to quickly reference your calendar and need a complete lack of distraction or do you need to be able to pause and see some green before getting back on the grind? If you’re the former, I suggest putting your desk against a wall so you can utilize the vertical space above the desk to hang a calendar and cork board where you can hang your to do list and stay focused in your new home office. If you’re like me and answered the latter, you may want to position your desk with a partial or even full window view. Once you have your desk in position, you can start thinking about putting in some filing cabinets and shelves. For smaller spaces, a shelf and filing cabinet combination can be ideal. I strongly suggest using those shelves or the top of a filing cabinet as a printing station. Getting your printer off your desk is one of the quickest ways to permanently free up desk space and declutter your work area.
How To Declutter Home Office Workspace?
If you’re not starting from scratch and are trying to get your space back in working order, start by decluttering. I prefer to start this with an organizational plan in mind. One of the fastest ways to forever lose important documents is to grab all your papers and toss them. I know it’s so tempting to slide everything off your desk drawers and right into the bin, but I implore you to use your self-restraint. Start by making folders, or even just piles of paperwork that you need to keep + file, putting useless papers in a bin or a shredder. Once the papers are cleared away from the desk, you can clear off everything else- all your desk accessories, be they pens, coffee mugs, tchotchkes, staples- anything that is not your computer, phone or printer. Throw away any broken, dried out pens, broken clips, and anything you haven’t used in the last year- yes, that includes those magazines you meant to read and never quite got to. Then, take this opportunity to dust your screens and disinfect your desk space and other frequently touched surfaces, like your keyboard, mouse, and phone.
How to Organize a Home Office Desk
Okay, so you’ve cleaned everything off your desk, and now you just have your computer, phone, and printer left on it. Now it’s time for a couple of things. Personally, I’d start by moving any unnecessary office equipment (i.e., the printer, modem, computer tower) and setting up an internet management and printing station on top of a filing cabinet or on a shelf. Next, I’d move onto cable management. If you haven’t already, I recommend upgrading your corded keyboard and mouse to cordless versions. If you’re able to, I’d also upgrade to a desk that integrates cable management and health consciousness into its design. BDI makes a wonderful, adjustable height desk with these features called the Sequel Lift Desk that is absolutely stunning. It can be a bit of an investment upfront, but a home office is only as strong as its least practical piece of furniture. A great desk and chair are just as important to your productivity as the organizational systems you choose to implement.
Organizing Home Office Paperwork
If you really need to keep papers on or nearby your desk for easy access, keep only the ones you need for projects you’re actively working on. If you need to, you can use an on-desk paper organizer, or even better, an organizer that hangs on the wall! Any papers you don’t need daily access to need to be filed. Let me repeat that. Any papers you don’t need daily access to need to be filed! I also suggest doing so in a system that is labeled and easy to understand. I don’t care if you organize your files alphabetically, numerically, or color code by subject, you need a system that you can stick to! Personally, in my home office, I organize my papers according to subject; auto, medical, dental, financial, home, pet, and various manuals. This is a great start to basic organization. I highly recommend using hanging folders for these general categories and using smaller labeled files within those to further organize your papers. For example, all my medical papers are filed by year in smaller, labeled files within the hanging file that is also labeled. Have I mentioned that all your files should be labeled? Because they should be - I’m not sure what the point of all the organizing would be otherwise. If you don’t have legible handwriting, get a label maker; it’ll make a world of difference.
Make Use of Shelving & Containers in Home Office
Speaking of files; if you don’t have a filing cabinet yet in your home office, you should consider investing in one. Not only can the cabinet be used to file all your important documents, but the right cabinet can also be set up as your printing + modem station. Something like the Sequel Multifunction Cabinet can help you make the most of a cozier office workspace. This cabinet provides a generous lateral file cabinet, a slide out printer shelf, an additional nook for printer paper storage, and not one, but two storage drawers for all your spare ink, pens, staples, and assorted office accoutrements. Plus, you still have the entire top of the cabinet to set up your modem, mail organizer, or décor! If your work requires you to frequently reference a variety of books, or you just need extra storage for old files, you can use bookshelves, and keep important documents in labeled binders. You can also use labeled bins or baskets to organize all the awkward things that don’t fit nicely on shelf, like spare cords, extra office supplies, or infrequently used tools.
How Do I Make Use of My Wall Space?
While office wall spaces do tend to be more functional than decorative, this is your home office space, and this is where you really get the best of both worlds. Personally, I prefer to use some of my wall space for paper organization, just because I like to keep my desk as uncluttered as possible. All I keep on my desk are my computer, phone, a jar of assorted pens/letter openers/scissors, and one small post-it notes pad, but the only reason I can do that is because I utilize my wall space. In addition to the paper file, I keep a monthly calendar hanging so I have easy access to all my appointments and deadlines, and can physically write them down, an act I find helpful in retaining important information. Aside from the functional components, I also like to decorate the office with those family photos I don’t keep on my desk. It’s okay, helpful even, to have a family photo or two in your office; the desk just isn’t always the ideal place for them. The wall is a great place to display any degrees or awards you’ve earned and show off your hard work. It can be encouraging to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and doing so can give you the wherewithal to continue working on a challenging project.
Make Your Home Office Organized and Cozy
Okay, you’ve followed all these instructions, recycled/shredded/filed your papers, moved your printer + modem off your desk, and even hung that degree, but you still feel like your space is missing something? No worries. This is your home office; it doesn’t need to be perfectly sterile or toned down. I might prefer an empty desk, but you don’t have to do that. If adding a plant in an unused desk corner or keeping that RBG water mug on your desk makes your day better, then add it. You can also add those personal touches to your wall shelves, bookcases, or even the top of your file cabinets! I personally like to have plants in all my spaces- in my home, in my office, and in my home office. I tend to keep my greenery in various plant stands, hanging baskets, and windowsills where they’re still visible, but out of the way of the desktop workspace.
Your Personal Home Office Store
If doing all of this at once is too overwhelming, don’t do all of it at once. Luckily for all of us, home offices are about as easy to improve as they are to derail. Even minor tweaks- cleaning up your desk and using a paper tray can have a major impact. If you can’t do all the swaps at once, try doing one a week, and over time your home office can be completely transformed. So, go and get started improving your home office today by organizing your office supplies, and you’ll be that much closer to having the inspiring, productive home workspace that you deserve! Contact Greenhouse home for home office setup ideas.