If you ever work from home or have a dedicated space for paying bills and keeping track of documents like tax forms and car titles, you know how cluttered a home office can get. Unfortunately, all of the clutter that accumulates on your desk can really impact productivity levels.
Want to learn how to organize your home office so you can spend less time hunting for documents or wrestling with wires and more time doing the things you enjoy? Take a look at the following tips.
Learn How to Organize Bills and Mail
Most people have to contend with paper bills and mail in spite of the fact that today’s world is mostly digitized. And nothing seems to pile up quicker than paper. These home office organization ideas can help you tame that chaos:
- Add cardboard backing to a cool old window shutter. Hang that with the slats facing upward and — Voilà! — you’ve figured out how to organize mail the DIY way.
- Place labeled magazine holders on your desktop or wall to create out-of-the way in- and out-boxes. You can also use these to store letterhead, stationery and envelopes.
- Keep a recycling bin or shredder nearby so that you’re not tempted to put off trashing unwanted mail and catalogs.
- Devise a color-coding system and file mail, bills and important paperwork accordingly. For example, you could use a blue folder to store family documents like marriage and birth certificates, red for your deed, homeowner’s insurance and mortgage, and yellow for Mittens’ vet records. Take this method to the next step by labeling each file so you don’t spend hours hunting for paperwork. Bonus: If you ever have an emergency, you can grab the relevant file and go.
Divide and Conquer
When you’re figuring out how to organize your home office, don’t underestimate the value of making sure all of your desk items have a place of their own. Here are some ideas for home office organization that can help you keep that desk area straight:
- Drawer dividers: These shallow trays are excellent for keeping everything organized, from USB drives and sticky notes to pens and staples.
- Containers: Containers can be used to hold everything you don’t need immediately, including files, backup printer paper and spare rolls of tape.
- Filing inserts: Install one of these babies in a deeper desk drawer so you can keep those color-coded files out of sight.
- Labels: Avoid wasting time opening and shutting drawers on storage containers by labeling each drawer front with the names of all the items stored within.
- Like with like: Place like items near one another. For example, store envelopes and stamps together to make your workspace more efficient.
- Wall space: Preserve valuable desk real estate by installing shelves to hold reference books, stationery and other home office odds and ends.
- Cord control: Use binder clips or Velcro strips to keep computer cords and cables wrangled. Tip: You’ll find plenty of ideas for this on Pinterest.
Do Some Quick Cleaning
It honestly takes more time to think about how to keep your desk clean than it does to actually clean it. Whenever you wrap up a bill paying session, take some time to do the following:
- Put pens, pencils, USB drives and calculators back in their place.
- Take the time to shred or recycle paperwork you don’t need any longer so your desktop is clear.
- File any documents that you’ll need in the future and replace files neatly.
- Return coffee mugs or any snack dishes to the kitchen.
- Quickly tidy up your desk each time you finish working.
That’s how to keep your desk clean, and it takes all of five minutes.