For the creative types, their offices are where they do the all-important leg-work for marketing and selling their wares, for the business types, their offices are where they work late into the night sealing deals or prepping for the next month, quarter or year. For the reader, their office might just be a book nook, more of a classic English ‘study’ with bookshelves, an antique desk and a chair.
Whether you use your office as a workspace or a relaxation space, it’s important to keep it organized, neat and tidy so that you are not overwhelmed by the space and you can actually use it functionally.
Purge The Space
One of the best things you can do for your office space is to do a semi-annual, or annual purge. Take a day and go through every single item in the office, every scrap of paper that you kept and see if you need it. If not, get a shredder and shred all of your old unnecessary documents, get rid of anything that doesn’t need to be in there or doesn’t serve a purpose anymore. Perhaps you have an old office printer or scanner that you don’t need anymore? Consider selling or gifting this to someone to clear the space.
Clean Out the Filing Cabinet
Everyone and their dog seem to have an old filing cabinet laying in the corner of their office with paperwork from many years ago sitting there collecting dust. Take the time to go through this filing cabinet, perhaps before you follow our first tip and figure out what’s relevant to keep and what isn’t. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to see if you really need this damn great hunk of metal in the corner of the room, or if you’re able to consolidate your papers into something a lot smaller and throw out the old filing cabinet.
One of the most important steps you can take to declutter your office space is to make digital copies of every paper document that you can, categorize them on your computer and then either dispose of the paper copy or at the very least, purge certain papers from your space once you’ve digitized its contents. This digitization will involve a scanner, so you’ll need to use one if you have it or borrow it if you need to. You can also use scanners that are built into your phone, using applications like TinyScanner, which will create a PDF version of the document that you scan. There are lots of tools to help you pair down your office papers, digital scanning is just one of them.
Organize that Desk
The desk is the centerpiece of any office space and as such, it should remain organized. The first thing you should do to help you organize your desk is to clear everything off it, from the pencil holders to the lamps. Take everything that’s not nailed down off and have a look at it. Then, carefully replace the items, taking note of what you use every day and what could otherwise be placed elsewhere. This method of prioritization will help you to put your desk back together looking neater, tidier and will ensure that everything that should be on your desk, is and everything that needn’t be there, isn’t there.
Organize Your Inbox
The computer is pretty much the extension of your home office. For many work-at-home folks, the computer is their life and their email inboxes are the bane of their existence. But, you don’t have to dread opening up your inbox every morning – not if you organize properly, periodically, say, once a month, or once a quarter.
This means doing a thorough audit of your emails. Which ones are important? Which ones can be deleted? Which ones can be filed for safekeeping? Which ones contain important attachments that need to be downloaded and filed? Getting that magic little number in the top-right hand corner of your mail application to ‘0’ can be a difficult task, particularly if you are being bombarded — but it is possible and with a little organization, your workflow will improve, too!
Organizing your home office can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Just take things one step at a time and organize each part of your office piece by piece. Lastly, give it a quick vacuum to complete the job.