Home Office Organization Tips: The Dos and Don’ts of Organizing a Home Office


If you work from home and are striving to become more efficient and improve your time management, home office organization is vital. There are home office organization ideas that can save you time, save you money and increase your productivity. Then there are those that can actually end up causing you to waste time, lose money and be less efficient. Learn the home organization tips to incorporate as well as those to ignore.

Organize Your Home Office Furnishings

Organize Your Furnishings

In order to maintain home office organization, you should set up your work area in a way that capitalizes on the space you have available. You should also arrange your furnishings in a manner that encourages you to stay organized. Learn about the art of feng shui. Not only will arranging your office so that the room "flows" well give you peace of mind, but it may also inspire you to keep things in order.

Don’t bother investing in pricey, special supplies marketed for home office organization. You can set up your home office on a budget and still establish a neat, orderly environment. Invest in a desk with ample work area and places for all of your equipment, such as your computer, phone and printer. A filing cabinet is another necessity, and bookshelves or drawers will help you find a place for books, supplies, mail and other miscellaneous items. Another essential item is a trash can. If you must leave your office every time you need to dispose of papers or other waste, you will either end up with a pile of garbage or you will constantly interrupt yourself to throw something away.

Even if you do not have the luxury of an entire room to use as your home office, you can find ways to set up your area so that it is tidy and makes the most of your limited space. If you are limited to a corner of your bedroom or perhaps an empty closet, make use of the space above and below you by hanging shelves on the walls and strategically placing baskets near or beneath your desk.

Organize Papers and Files

Home Office Organization: Files

Without an effective filing system, home office organization will likely continue to elude you. Don’t spend too much time creating a filing system based on what someone else suggests if the method does not make sense to you. However, make sure that your filing system is simple enough that you will be able to locate items quickly, should you need them. Filing alphabetically with recent dates closest to the front of the file is a tried-and-true method that doesn’t require much thought or effort.

Determine how long you should keep files, receipts and other types of paperwork, as well. Keep a master list or spreadsheet to remind you when items should be shredded, recycled or otherwise disposed of. Not all paperwork is equal. For instance, you will likely need to file and store tax paperwork longer than mail or certain files.

Are you sharing your home office with your spouse, partner or children? Try to keep your work-related items separate from theirs as much as possible. Consider using color-coded folders and supplies or label them to keep from getting mixed up.

Organize Your Desk

You probably spend much of your day sitting at your desk, which makes this piece of furniture an easy target for clutter and tasks on which you are procrastinating. A cluttered desk is distracting and not conducive with productivity.

Organize your office equipment on your desk in a way that maximizes space. Select an out-of-the-way location for your PC tower or, if you are in the market for a new computer, consider an all-in-one model that combines the monitor and the hard drive and frees up valuable desk space. If your desk does not have one, purchase a desktop printer stand that gives you more storage space. This way, you can slide a ream of paper beneath the printer or perhaps trays to serve as your "Inbox" and "Outbox."

Don’t reuse junk mail and other scraps of paper in the interest of being green. Piles of paper will clutter your desk and create more work for you later. Instead, keep a small notepad on your desk to jot down reminders or pertinent details during phone calls. Designate one drawer for pens, pencils and other supplies. Ten to fifteen minutes before you shut down at the end of the day, clear off your desk. Throw away trash, put files away accordingly and straighten up any other clutter. Cleaning your work area regularly is one key to home office organization.

Organize Your Computer

Home Office Organization: Organize Electronic Files

Home office organization does not only pertain to your physical work area. Just as you should organize your tangible desktop, you should also organize your computer desktop. Don’t spend lots of money on special programs that only perform one or two limited tasks. Rather, make use of the abundance of software applications already available to you that help you keep your appointments, emails and other important files in order. For instance, if you use Microsoft Outlook as your email client, learn how to create folders to sort and store important items.

By implementing these and other home office ideas, you may find yourself getting even more work done in less time – which leaves more time for fun!

Photo Credits

Desk: sxc.hu/Oksana Tunska

Files: sxc.hu/Melanie Kuipers

Computer Folder: sxc.hu/malkowitch