Are you drowning in clutter in your home office?
Would you like to clean things up so you can get back to work quickly, and easily?
A home office should be just as functional as a traditional work office.
The challenge, of course, is to prevent personal and household belongings from encroaching on your work space.
In this post, I offer four quick tips to help you declutter your home office.
These tips can be used for a room, or even a section or partial area of a room designated as a home office.
Identify how you’ll use your home office.
We all know a home office is an office located inside the home. But have you ever sat down and decided exactly how you want to use your home office?
It’s extremely difficult to declutter a space when you haven’t decided which items should, and shouldn’t, be located within the space.
All the more reason for you to be clear as to the specific activities that currently take place (or will take place) in your home office.
Grab a sheet of paper and a pen, and start writing down all the different ways you currently use your space. The results of this brief exercise may surprise you!
For example, is your home office a place to:
- Use your computer and printer
- Store physical files, office supplies, and work materials
- Store books, magazines, and journals
- Collate or prepare materials
- Process paperwork and administrative items
- Have telephone calls, virtual meetings, or webinars
- Meet with clients
- Think quietly
- Review materials
- Brainstorm ideas
See how many different types of activities can take place within a single home office? Once you’ve nailed down the purpose of your home office, you can begin the decluttering process.
Remove personal and household items.
The first step in decluttering a home office is to remove any and all personal and household items that are unrelated to your work.
Round up any and all items such as clothing, shoes, accessories, children’s toys, small appliances, kitchenware, books, sports equipment, exercise gear, and the like.
Depending on the state of your home office, you may need to look far and wide to uncover errant items. Look inside desk drawers and filing cabinets, peek underneath desks and equipment racks, and open closets and storage chests.
Once you’ve gathered everything, you’ll need to return items back to where they belong within the home. For instance, clothing and accessories should go back into your clothes closet or dresser in the bedroom, and children’s toys should be stored in a chid’s toy box in their bedroom, nursery, or or play area.
Declutter your workstation.
While it’s fine to use office supplies and have a couple of personal items at your workstation, you don’t want to be drowning in these items while you work! Remember, your workspace is meant to be a place where you can conduct your work…and not a clutter magnet.
Take a good hard look at your workstation. You may have to stand up and walk a few feet away from your workstation to take in the big picture.
What does your workstation look like? What’s on top of, under, behind, and beside, your work desk and chair? Which office supplies and materials do you use everyday? Which items should be stored somewhere else in your office? Which items should be archived?
You should be able to pinpoint a couple of items that need to be removed, relocated, or recycled.
You may be amazed at how this little exercise can change a cluttered space. Simply removing a box of old files from underneath your desk, recycling a giant stack of old journals or magazines, or moving several reams of printer paper and assorted office supplies to your storage closet gives you more room to type, write, review, and move around in general.
Make a decluttering checklist.
If you want to keep things shipshape in your home office, you’d do well to incorporate a series of regular decluttering tasks into your work routine.
You can keep track of these tasks by making a very simple checklist. Aim to take care of these items on a weekly or monthly basis, so materials don’t build up.
Looking for some tailored decluttering inspiration? Make note of areas in your home office that tend to attract or accumulate clutter over time.
If your office seems to be a clutter magnet, schedule weekly decluttering sessions into your calendar at the end of every workweek. You can remove items, say, every Friday afternoon after lunch, so you’ll have a neat and tidy space to look forward to the following week.
Here are some decluttering tasks you could add to your checklist:
- Remove personal and/or household items that have migrated into home office
- Declutter top, underneath, and side of desk/workstation
- Pull out old or expired paper and digital files
- Toss old project, program, and assignments materials
- Shred confidential paperwork and materials
- Declutter email folders and accounts
- Clean files and folders from your computer’s desktop screen
How about you? What seems to be a common clutter issue in your home office or work area? What steps are you going to declutter items on a regular basis?Join the conversation and leave a comment below!