In the last two years, I think we have all learned the importance of having a home office that functions and is clutter-free. Maybe your ‘home office’ space has already had a once over because it is also your command center or your crafting area for your kids. Whether you have already tackled some parts of it or not even touched it, we are going to discuss organizing office supplies, papers/files, and cords/electronics.
How to Organize Your Home Office
Be Intentional and Edit
Think about what you do in your office space and start there. Just like every other space, when you are clear about your intention for the room and space, it makes all the other decisions simple. When tackling your desk or closet, empty everything out, sort by category, and use the guiding question, “Does this help me accomplish what needs to be done in this office space?”. Other questions to ask as you make your edit:
Does it work?
Do I need more than one? You can keep backstock office supplies up high, but you really only need a few pens and one stapler at the ready.
Is there an app for that? I’m talking to you scanner, business card organizer, and filing cabinet.
Sort, use the right containers, and edit again
How to Organize Office Supplies:
Pull out the items you want to have accessible and give them a home close to where you work. The items that don’t fall into the daily or even weekly usage category don’t necessarily need to take up prime real estate, especially if you are limited on drawer space. How often do you really use a hole punch? Or a staple remover? If there are items you use less frequently, keep that in mind and plan your office space accordingly.
The first task is to get things like paper clips, pens, envelopes, and highlighters out of their bulky packaging. Sort like items and come up with a plan for how to organize them in a way that works in your space.
If you don’t have drawers, you can still make your office supplies accessible. I love using a rolling cart with supplies in spaces that don’t have storage for office supplies. You can also use wall storage options, floating shelves, or bookshelves. Find a way to create a little more storage so you can have what you use and need and not be filling your desk space with clutter.
I like to use the same products in offices that I do in craft spaces. You can see a craft room I edited right here to pull some inspiration.
Does everything you use currently have a working cord? Maybe keep one backup for your phone when you travel, but guess what? You can throw the rest away! You don’t even need to look at it or analyze it. Now I know cords can strike a chord in many people. I have seen multiple couples argue in front of me over the cord situation. A couple I organized for (and trust me when I say they are the most good-natured couple I have ever organized for) could not come to an agreement about his cords. After a lot of back and forth (coaxing by the wife and resisting from the husband), they finally resolved to put an entire bin in the garage labeled ‘Jeff’s Cords’ even though they both knew they would most likely never be used.
For the cords that stay…untangle them. Use velcro straps to wrap them, and then categorize them. You can either label each cord or group cords together in a Ziploc bag or zipper pouch and then label the outside. Then put all your labeled cords or labeled bags in an appropriately sized bin and label it.
In the same vein as cords, another item that tends to collect - flash drives, hard drives, old laptops, iPads, kindles… do you have them laying around? Worse yet…do you still have the boxes they came in? I promise you don’t need the box, but consider taking your old electronics somewhere to either properly dispose of them or let someone else enjoy them. You can sell, donate, recycle, or even trade in old tech. So much better than letting them gather dust in your office closet.
Make sure all your sorting of papers and office supplies is memorialized with a great label. It is the icing on the cake!
Get to work in your new and organized office
Whether this is a multi-day project or a one-hour tidy-up…I know you will get there. Invest in your sanity and know that once you do it right, the maintenance will be so much easier in the months to come. Stay tuned because in a few weeks, I'll talk about organizing all of the papers, mementos and other files that may be in your home office.