Even though today is the official holiday, I celebrate this day at least once a month (if not once a week!) Every day, at the end of the day, I spend a few minutes tidying up so I come back to a clean desk the next day. But that doesn’t mean I keep it completely clean. Papers get shuffled together, sticky notes get stuck together and then pile up, and supplies shoved in a drawer or container just so they are out of sight. Even then, it’s pretty easy for me to put everything back in order when I sit down and do it because I’m super organized – at least when it comes to my desk.
So here are some of my top tips on how to organize your home office.
Organize your paper
Having a place for your paper is pertinent to having an organized home office. I like to use folders for personal items, bills, projects, our pets, mail, and medical information. Along with that, my Needs Action folder is a lifesaver for me when it comes to making sure things get done. Depending on what you use your home office for, you may need different labels but the premise is still the same. File it away where it belongs, add it to the Needs Action folder if you need to do something with it, or get rid of it. A wastebasket, a recycling basket, and a shred basket (or a shredder if you’d prefer) will go a long way in helping your paper go where it needs to if it doesn’t need any direct action.
Use containers and dividers
I used to keep everything in a drawer and grab out what I needed whenever I needed it. There was no rhyme or reason to what went in there or where it went. It definitely made cleaning up my desk easier, but it wasn’t really beneficial to staying organized. I lost supplies and important notes, ran out of supplies and didn’t know it until they were gone, and spent way more time trying to find things that would have been easy to find if I had a spot for them. So now, I use containers and dividers. It helps with office supplies and paper, allows me to know when I’m running low on something before it’s gone, and aids in clean up time because everything has a location.
Color coding is one of my all-time favorite ways to stay organized anywhere. I’m a sucker for pretty color combos so not only does it keep something organized, but takes some of the blandness of staying organized and makes it fun. You can color code your folders, your books, your notes (both the pens and/or sticky notes), the containers for your supplies – there are tons of possibilities! You can also use different shades of a color to have main categories and subcategories.
Come up with a system
For me, I do the daily tidying up like I mentioned before + a weekly sweep of anything left out. I also go through the Needs Action folder a couple of times per week to make sure I don’t miss anything or to file anything away that has already been completed. Supplies are put away in the correct spot each week and then each month, I make sure to order new supplies of anything that’s getting low. Pens, paperclips, envelopes, etc. I also take time once a month, or sometimes every other month, to look at anything on my desk that isn’t regularly utilized to see if I truly need it or if it can be stored/tossed. For you, the system may be entirely different. Either way, having a system of some sort that works for you will help you maintain organization in your home office.
Whether it’s on your desk or in your office, building up is an easy way to stay organized and use less space. Filing cabinets, wire mesh paper organizers or desk organizers, hanging wall folders – all of these items lead to more desk space and more floor space while still keeping your office organized. This is a great way for smaller spaces to stay organized as well.
If your home office is big enough, have stations. A printing station, supplies station, mail station, personal station, etc. Having stations keeps everything you would need all in one area. If you do something in your home office on a regular basis that has multiple pieces, a station may be a good idea. A printing station may have the printer, paper, labels, and ink in that area. A mail station may have stamps, bills needing to be paid, envelopes, and address labels. A personal station may have medical history, pet vaccination records, and important documents on your car or house. There are plenty of options and many can be combined if they utilize the same things.