Why does it seem that your home office collects the most clutter? You can’t find a thing when you need it? And it becomes a dumping ground for the all sorts of mail, kids homework and notes, art projects, cords of all kinds, empty toner cartridges, pictures, magazines, flip flops, dog toys- oh wait, that is my home office! Yes, organizers get messy, I mean creative, too!
The home office is one of the most requested places my clients want organized. Why? Because we treat our home office like a dumping ground for everything that we need to deal with later but the reality is that we don’t deal with later and it multiplies like bunnies.
But I have learned a trick or two for successful Zen office organization and they are pretty easy to do; they just take some time! The real trick is being disciplined enough to stay on top of the clutter every few days! I know who has time for that? Well you do, if you want a relaxing, so I can find everything in its place, clutter free home office!
Disclaimer: Make sure you have at least 3 hours of non-interrupted time to complete the project!
Start by removing everything from your office that doesn’t require heaving lifting. You will have more success if you start from scratch. It gives you an untainted perspective and you can make sure the furniture, shelves and layout work. If not, change it up, rearrange it or buy some new shelves and accessories. Really clean it too! Once you have the bones of the room arranged start putting things back into the office. But be mindful. Only office items go back in. Say so long to the dog toys, flip flops and empty ink cartridges.
Sort papers into boxes for filing, scanning, shredding or recycling. Paper is a massive hoarder living in your home! It loves to lie around, multiple suspiciously, take up valuable surface space and create stress! Paper cannot go back into your office unless it is useful to you and it has a place to live. Invest in a good shredder, scanner and label maker because you will be using these items every few days to keep the paper monster at bay.
Once you have your paper sorted, use folders, boxes or bins to file things away. Do not underestimate the power of labeling. Knowing what is in a folder or container will be a time saver in the future. My favorite tip is to decorate your office with containers that hold your papers and display them on your shelves. If you are highly visual, invest in some vertical wall file folders. Having a folder on the wall makes the piles on your desk disappear!
As you are putting your items back into your office be mindful of where you are putting them and why. Think like a minimalist. Do you need 4 staplers, loads of markers and pens and 1,000 paper clips? Do you need every picture frame or vase? Do you need every cord for every electronic device you own to be stored in your office? Probably not. Look critically at books, magazines, and other reference materials. Choose wisely. Invest in some clear containers, label them and store items you are not currently using away for future use. Look up some Feng Shui practices and place accessories in your office and on your desk accordingly.
Once everything is back in your office survey the room. It should look nice, feel comfortable yet be practical and is a place that makes you proud to show it off. It should produce a Zen sigh. AAhhh!
Keep It Up. Now comes the hard part. Remember the discipline I talked about well here it comes. Take out your calendar and schedule a 20 minute “sort and clean your office session” every 3 days. Yes, every 3 days! Why, because clutter, paper and other miscellaneous items will always make their way into your office and you need to be diligent about shredding them, recycling them, relocating them or throwing them out! This is the very best advice I give my clients because it works. When it pops up on your calendar, take a moment and start clearing and re-organizing.
You will be amazed by the feeling you have when your office stays clutter free for 3 months, 6 months and beyond. You will be happy to be in your home office but more importantly you will be calmer and more productive in your space because it is organized.
Extra zen tips: Use storage bins as decoration on the shelves. Add personal elements to the office and decorate with them around the practical ones. Be inspired to have things around you that make you happy and also will keep you organized. Having a cohesive look will make the room look fresh and modern.
Photo Credit-Norma Rapko office