Do you work from home full time? Do you work for a few hours at night after dinner? Maybe your home office is where you organize your schedule, pay bills, and work on your side hustle.
Regardless of what you use your home office for, it should be a place that inspires you to work and encourages you to be productive.
And that requires organization.
Ready to get your home office organized in the best way possible? Here are seven home office organization tricks for greater productivity.
1. Get Rid of Clutter
The first step to organizing any room is to get rid of clutter.
Start by finding all of the things in your home office that don’t belong there. Then, put each item in the room where it belongs.
Next, sort through your shelves, cabinets, and desk to get rid of anything that you no longer need or don’t plan to use.
Buried in piles of papers? Shred documents that you don’t need. Throw out those stubby little pencils, dried-out pens, and outstretched paperclips. They all need to go!
2. Get a Filing Cabinet
Paper tends to be the primary source of clutter in every office. If possible, try to go paperless and digital.
As for the papers you need to keep, get a filing cabinet and drawer dividers to organize them. Group bills, tax documents, invoices, bank statements, and other papers by category so you can find them when you need them.
If you have shelves or bookcases with empty space, magazine file holders are a great way to organize papers and folders. They’re also perfect for holding reference manuals, instruction booklets, and binders that don’t fit in your drawers.
3. Store All Supplies Together in Categories
The best way to be productive is to learn how to maximize your time. And one way to maximize your time is to make sure you know where things are.
Make a point to store office supplies in groups. If there are certain items that you use together, store them in the same drawer or storage box.
Blank printer paper and printer cartridges should go together. Store blank notepads with pens and pencils. Keep staples with your stapler. Organize paper clips and binder clips in the same drawer.
Storing similar items together makes it easier to find things, so you’ll spend less time digging around when you need something.
4. Store Frequently-Used Items Within Arm’s Reach
We all have different items that we use every day. Some of us rely on nothing but a laptop and a mouse. For other people, mailing supplies, such as envelopes and stamps, are at the core of their job.
Whatever it is you use the most, you’ll be more productive if you keep those things within arm’s reach of your desk chair. You’ll save time (and get more done) if you don’t have to stop what you’re doing and get up for supplies.
If you have a desk drawer, keep your essentials in the top drawer. Don’t have a drawer? There are a variety of stylish desk organizers you can buy that will allow you to store your most important items on top of your desk.
5. Create Boxes for Incoming Mail and Outgoing Files
Is your desk always covered with papers, envelopes, notepads, and memos? The best way to solve this problem is with a physical inbox/outbox system.
Get two paper trays. Designate one as an inbox for unopened mail. Designate the other as a place to hold things you’ve already read and/or things to file away.
Once your “To File” bin is full, take a few moments to put them away. Don’t let them pile up or start to overflow!
Some people find it helpful to add a third bin for unfinished projects. With a “Work in Progress” bin, every paper on your desk can have a designated space.
6. Place a Trash Can Beside Your Desk
From tissues to coffee cup lids to old Post-its, trash piles up quickly in a home office. And if you don’t have a trash bin nearby, it will probably end up on the surface of your desk.
Place a trash can as close to your desk as possible to ensure that garbage ends up in the receptacle where it belongs.
7. Organize Your Digital Files
Do you do most of your work on a computer? If so, you’ll need to spend some time organizing and arranging your digital files as well.
There’s no need to have 100 visible icons scattered across your desktop.
Take the time to create folders and subfolders and organize all of your digital files so that they’re easy to locate. Just make sure to label your folders properly!
Make it a point to go through your email inbox on a regular basis, too. Scrolling through hundreds of emails to locate the one you want is a great way to waste time.
You’ll be much more productive if your inbox only has a few important items related to current projects. Archive everything else in designated folders in your email server or on your desktop.
Ready to make your home office a more productive place? Here’s what you need to do to get it organized:
- Get rid of clutter
- Create a filing system for papers and documents
- Categorize your supplies
- Keep frequently-used items within arm’s reach
- Create a sorting system for incoming mail and outgoing files
- Keep a trash can nearby
- Organize digital files on your computer
With these organization tricks, you’ll be amazed at how much time you save and how much more productive you are!
Amber Smith is the Leasing Manager at Catalyst Houston, an apartment building with floor to ceiling windows in Houston. With over seven years of experience working in luxury apartment communities, this Houston native has true pride in her city and understands why Catalyst is the perfect place to call home.