Office clutter can get overwhelming, especially if you don’t tidy up your desk on a regular basis. Junk mail gets mixed with important documents and drawers are filled to the brim with useless office supplies. If this sounds familiar, we’re here to help. Follow our step-by-step guide for decluttering your desk space and turn your home office into a place of productivity.
No two households are alike, so it’s important to start decluttering your workspace by asking yourself one important question: How will I use this space? For some, the home office may serve as the command center of a bustling side hustle. For others, it may simply be a place to store household documents and pay the bills. Taking time to think through your answer will help you intentionally cut through the mess and organize your desk in a way that works for you.
When you’re faced with a messy desk, organization can seem impossible, so start by throwing out items you no longer use or need. Be realistic; if you come across something you haven’t used in a year or more, chances are you won’t be using it in the upcoming year, either.
Sort Paperwork (Then Go Paperless)
Paper is likely the number one culprit for creating a disheveled workspace. To sort through the mess, we recommend making three piles. One for trash, one for important documents to file, and one for paperwork that needs your immediate attention. Invest in chic pocket organizers or desktop organizers for files you do need to keep, such as medical records or insurance receipts, and a decorative tray for your desk top to keep to-do work front and center. Once these items have been taken care of, toss or file accordingly.
Of course, going paperless wherever possibly is a significant way to cut down on desk clutter. If you prefer, scan important documents and save to your computer before running through a shredder.
Toss Old Electronics
If you’ve lived through the past two decades, your desk has likely seen multiple iterations of the modern computer. Technology will continue to move forward, so cut ties with old computer accessories, cords, and software CDs. New desktop computers and laptops are particularly compact, so use their slim profiles to your advantage and opt for Wifi and wireless technologies whenever possible.
Rethink Office Supplies
If you are going paperless, consider getting rid of traditional office supplies that no longer serve you, such as paper clips, rubber bands, file folders, and highlighters sitting in our drawer or desktop. Go through your pen cup and throw away writing utensils that are out of ink or worn out.
Large desks with lots of storage space may seem like the pathway to organizational enlightenment, but be wary. Excess drawer space can lead to a false sense of organization when, in fact, the mess is just hidden away.
With the heavy-lifting of decluttering done, you can begin to organize your desk in a systematic way that suits your daily needs. Our number one rule? Make sure everything (and we mean everything) has a designated place to reside when not in use. If small office supplies are a necessity, place a divider in your desk drawer to separate business cards from Post-It pads. Designate a letter tray for holding your notebook and planner.
If your desk faces a wall or is nestled in a corner, get creative with the wall space around you. Instead of relying on sticky notes, install a decorative white board surface, cork board or message board for tracking reminders and your to-do list. Some file organizers attach to the wall as well, freeing up precious surface area on your desk for brainstorming sessions and more.
Your home office doesn’t have to be all work and no play, so have fun creating a workspace that reflects your personality and interests. Try a piece of wall art, small house plant, or picture frame – anything that adds character and takes up minimal space.
Home Office Desks with Storage Ideas
If you absolutely need storage in your home office, some desks are designed to feature both a slim profile and concealed space for basic office supplies. Desks with storage options like drawers, cabinets or shelves offer organizing convenience without providing too much space for (and tempting you to keep) unnecessary items.
Writing desks are known for their sleek silhouettes and versatility. Most styles come with a small drawer or two for keeping the bare necessities tucked away.
Lift top desks are a special subset of writing desks; they feature narrow tabletops and limited storage. Instead of drawers, however, the surface lifts up to reveal hidden compartments for paperwork and office supplies.
Once you’ve gone through this office organization process, make it a weekly or monthly routine to check in and declutter your desk or office space as needed. Keeping your home office desk organized will help you stay on track and save time in the year ahead. You will be a professional organizer before you know it!