If you’re looking to organise your home office as a stand-alone project, or as part of a whole home decluttering, it can be a daunting task, but with a bit of planning and effort, it can be both successful and have a huge impact on your personal productivity.
As professional organisers, we have advised on a huge number of home office projects, and if expertise or time saving are needed, would recommend getting some help if it’s available in your area. However, if you don’t have access to professional support, or if you decide you’d like to have a go yourself first, there are some common steps which should get you well on the way to a more productive space.
Here are 7 steps from a Professional Organiser to help you get started when it comes to being able to organise your home office:
- Set your intention
Before you begin, determine what you hope to achieve by organising your office. Are you looking to increase productivity or simply create a more relaxed, comfortable and functional space? Knowing your goal will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the process.
- Assess the current state
Take a look at your office as it stands now, and make a list of the items that you no longer need or use. This will include, but not be limited to old documents, broken equipment, books, wires and any other clutter.
- Sort through your things
Once you have a list of items to declutter, go through each one and decide whether to keep, donate, or throw away. Keep in mind that items that are no longer useful to you may be useful to others, so consider donating them to a local charity or collection service.
- Create a system for organising your belongings
Once you have sorted through your belongings, it is important to create a system for organising them. This can include using labelling, storage containers, and filing systems. Don’t over-complicate things on your first go, simple and memorable is best.
- Organise your desk
A cluttered desk can make it difficult to focus and be productive, so it is important to keep your desk as clean and organised as possible. To organise your home office, use a desk organiser, cable tidies, and separate drawers will help, as will a tray and pot or cup to keep papers and pens in order.
- Organise your computer and digital files
Your computer and the files on it will often be a source of headaches and stress, so it is important to keep them in order as well. This can be achieved by using a simple folder structure and periodically closing tabs, emptying your downloads folder and removing any old folders you created temporarily. This can be a whole subject in itself, and if it’s a real problem for you, we’d recommend either working with a professional, or there are a couple of books that can help. The first is Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte, and the second is the classic, Getting Things Done by David Allen.
- Make use of vertical space
Home offices often aren’t the largest room in the house. To maximize your workspace, try to make use of any available vertical space by installing shelves or hanging organisers where feasible. This can help you keep your items off the floor and out of the way, while still keeping them easily accessible. A bookshelf serves multiple purposes as a tidy storage for files (to keep them off your desk!), as well as reference materials and of course books.
Once you’ve finished organising your home office, it’s important to set an manageable schedule for maintenance. This can be as simple as 15 minutes in your calendar for regularly cleaning and decluttering, as well as reviewing your file system to make sure it is still working for you.
By following these steps, you’ll hopefully be able to create a relaxing, organised office, which is as easy to maintain as it is to work in. If you struggle to get it right, working with a professional organiser can help, and bear in mind that like everything in life, it’s a process, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a couple of tries for you to get everything in order. Good luck!
See some more of my home organisation posts here