Most home office spaces tend to be on the small side and lack sufficient storage space. These spaces also tend to serve as a kind of catchall for piles of papers and anything else that seems to be worth saving but doesn’t quite fit elsewhere. That can lead to one big mess. If your home office – whether it’s a room or a nook – could use some tidying up, our small office organization to-do list can help you calm the chaos and stay organized.
1.) Declutter Ruthlessly
The first step to organizing is reducing. It’s such an important part of the process that there have been whole philosophies developed around decluttering. Whether you opt for the Mari Kondo method (ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”) or the Swedish Death Cleaning technique (not as scary as it sounds), it’s important to commit. Particularly if you have a small office, you’re going to want to get rid of as much as you can.
Think realistically about what you do and don’t need. Are you unnecessarily holding onto paperwork that’s accessible electronically? Is there extra furniture in the space that doesn’t serve a purpose? Can keepsakes be moved to storage? Let go of what’s not absolutely necessary – shred, toss, recycle, or donate it. Once you’ve lightened the load, the next step is to organize what’s left.
2.) Group & Categorize
Once you’ve finished decluttering the space, take stock of what’s left in your home office and explore ways of categorizing it. Do your documents fall into logical groups? If so, corral them together with paper clips and folders. Do you have craft supplies you can store together in a clear plastic container or bin? Maybe some things are yours and some things belong to your kids or other family members. Or perhaps there are some items you need to access regularly and others you don’t need to get to as easily. Even grouping small things, like pens, pencils, and markers by type and color in a desk drawer, can help create a more organized and efficient home office area. Once you start to see groupings come together, begin thinking about how you’ll store it all.
3.) Put It Away
Now that you’ve grouped and categorized everything, it’s time to put it all in its proper place! The best way to stow your stuff depends on, well, your stuff. If you have a lot of paperwork, a file cabinet with dividers is a must. If you have room, a bookcase can hold binders, books, or other items. Use various desk organizers to keep your workspace area tidy. Drawer organizers, boxes, or baskets are perfect for enclosing smaller items. Desktop organizers can help contain the clutter on top of your office desk and drawer dividers can keep even the stuff you have hidden sorted.
4.) Be Smart With the Space You Have
In a small office, you need to utilize every bit of available space. Start by thinking vertical. Add wall-mounted shelving to make the most of wall space or use hanging file holders. Opt for a calendar or bulletin board that also has some storage. If you put up a pegboard, you can add baskets, too.
For office furniture, choose a small-scale or corner desk – bonus points if it has drawers. If you have room for other furniture pieces, go with options that also have storage. A bench or ottoman with a hollow center, for example. For some stylish storage options, check out our Storage Solutions That Double as Home Decor article.
5.) Keep Working on Your Workspace
You may not get your office setup perfect on your first try, but that doesn’t mean you should give up! You might need to work in the office for a while before you find out what’s working and what’s not. Pay attention to what you’re using, and what’s just taking up valuable space. Don’t be afraid to rearrange and try new setups until you get it right.
When it comes to small offices, the lack of square footage doesn’t have to be a problem. By following the quick and easy tips we outlined above, you can organize your office and create a workspace that feels just right.