Spring Cleaning: Keeping Your Home Office Organized

As businesses go digital as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees around the world find themselves having to adapt to an entirely new work environment: their own homes. Whether you have always had a home office or are trying to assemble one to the best of your ability, it’s important to know how to keep your space organized. 

When working from home, it’s easy to forget that you are, indeed, working. The comfort of your own home is often seen as one of the biggest perks of remote work, but few people want to admit that it is also one of the biggest cons. It’s easy to forget your sense of professionalism when you’re writing proposals in your pajamas, and before you know it, there are food wrappers and empty coffee mugs forming a mountain that you swear you’ll clean up tomorrow. 

Although it’s easy to fall prey to the siren call of those comfy pajama pants you got for Christmas, try and wear something that will make you feel like a part of the functioning world beyond that cozy office chair. Something as simple as an outfit change can help wake you up and remind you that while you are at home, you’re also technically at work. Keeping your home office organized starts with holding yourself to at least minimal standards. From there, it’ll be easier to avoid the clutter. 

If you don’t have a home office, find a space to work in that you can call your own. A spot at the table, a favorite chair in the living room, or a writing desk in your room will suffice. Try and avoid working from your bed. While it’s tempting to answer emails from the comfiest place in the house, it takes away that sense of professionalism that is essential to develop and maintain while at home. Keep your area for work separate from your area for rest. 

Now that you’ve found somewhere to work, it’s important to keep it neat. At the start, it’ll seem simple enough. You’ve got all your color-coded ducks in a row, and you can’t imagine the space you’ve created becoming the site for an avalanche of paper, but it happens to the best of us. People tend to hang on to too many papers, even if they aren’t necessary, out of the fear that one day they’ll become necessary. 

The first thing listed in HGTV’s article, “10 Steps to an Organized Home Office” is “purge the paper.” Desks become covered with papers faster than most people expect. By using the “System of Three” proposed in the article, you can reduce the clutter by going through the papers and deciding whether to shred them, file them, or take action from them. 

Other than the common sense solutions that most likely come to mind when thinking about organization, such as creating binders, filing systems, and labels, another way to make the most of your office  is to utilize wall space. HGTV’s article proposes using the wall to hang white boards, cork boards, and calendars. Having your goals, appointments, and to-do list hanging in front of your face is an effective way to keep yourself on task. Additionally, it frees up desk space and keeps your flat surfaces open for other office supplies. 

To make sure that you don’t slip into disorganization, go through your papers once a week. Designate a day to go through your files, mail, and anything else you’ve been hanging on to. Having a day dedicated to sorting your papers will keep them from piling up and becoming overwhelming. Not to mention, it’ll keep you more efficient, as the chances of losing something important decrease drastically when you actually know where everything is. 

If you’re in need of inspiration, take a look on Pinterest, where effective, aesthetically pleasing home office setups are abundant. The variety of options is sure to get the creative juices flowing. Decorating your home office in a way you enjoy will make the experience of working from home more enjoyable and make it easier to maintain.

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