My word for the year is organized. From many years of prior experience, I know my life goes better and I’m happier when I am organized. Since I spend a lot of time in my home office, it was at the top of my list when I sat down to prioritize where to focus my organizing efforts. I learned a lot in the process of getting my office in order and today I’m sharing the home office organization ideas I discovered along the way. To help you find the tools that will work best for you, I’m including links to products I think you might like as well as links to blog posts to show you how to make your own.
First, you have to assess how you like to work. Do you work better in a stark, uncluttered environment? Or do you prefer to be able to see everything at a glance? If you like to have everything available at your fingertips, you’ll want to invest in organizing products that let you keep important tools and resources on your desktop without taking over the entire space.
For frequently used items like pens, paper clips, and Post Its, you might choose one of these organizers:
If, in addition to commonly used tools, you also want to keep files, papers, or binders within easy reach, one of these organizers will help you keep them confined to one section of your desktop.
If you prefer more of a Martha Stewart look, you might prefer these white wood options instead:
For more of an executive image, you might prefer these:
Or maybe you want an organizer that expresses your unique personality…
I’m personally pretty stingy with my desktop surface space, but I still like to have certain tools readily available. This laptop stand/organizer was the perfect solution for me.
You can also make your own desk organizers. Susan, from Organized 31, shows you how to upcycle plastic containers that you would otherwise throw away.
I love this Repurposed Rotating Spice Rack Organizer from Label Me Merrit for holding clips, push pins, rubber bands, and other small office items.
If you like a really streamlined desk, with only the bare essentials atop it, you will want to make good use of your desk drawers instead.
The key to keeping your desk drawers organized is to make sure each item has its own place so you can easily find and grab what you need. You also want to maximize your use of space so it’s best to choose organizers that fit the dimensions of your drawers exactly. There are literally dozens of drawer organizers to choose from and since, for the most part, they go unseen I recommend choosing based on how well the dimensions and compartments work for your space as opposed to choosing them for brand name or visual appeal.
If you just can’t bring yourself to use a plastic organizer though, you do have some nice wood and bamboo options that serve the same purpose and some are quite reasonably priced.
For versatility, I prefer to use individual compartments that I can rearrange however I want.
You can really customize your drawer organizers by making the compartments yourself. Jen, from iHeart Organizing, shows you how to transform cereal boxes into handy drawer dividers.
Of course your desk isn’t the only space in your office that you can use to organize your work. I am a big fan of using wall space for office organization. Not only does it let me keep everything where I can see it, it also frees me of the burden of finding wall art for my office.
For me, having my calendar somewhere I can easily see it is essential to staying organized. If you’re the same way, you might like one of these large dry erase calendars for your office wall.
My wall calendar is just one portion of what I refer to as my command center. I have one for the family and one for work (in my office). Here’s a peek at my family command center.
Another option for dressing up your wall space in a functional way is to hang memo boards. I love these DIY Memo Boards from Michelle James Designs.
Your desk isn’t the only piece of vital office furniture. I’ve always considered a file cabinet to be essential for keeping all of our paperwork organized. If you just need something small to house your household bills, warranties, and legal documents, you can get by with a small, 2-drawer cabinet like these:
If you also run a home-based business, you might need a larger file cabinet. Depending on your taste, you can opt for a wider 2-drawer or a tall 4-drawer cabinet.
I like to keep reference books near at hand as well, so my office has a large bookshelf. Bookshelves are also great spaces for adding personal touches (pictures or collectibles) and with the help of baskets or bins, serve as additional storage space. As you can see below, you also have several options when it comes to size, design, and finish.
If you like more flexibility to adapt your work space as your needs change over time, you can opt for modular shelving instead.
Behind the Scenes
An area I didn’t think about until I was in the middle of organizing was the space BEHIND my desk. All those cords sprouting from the surge protector beneath my desk were mangled into a crazy mess behind my desk.
Before we dive behind the desk though, let’s tidy up the cords on top of your desk. With the help of these clips, it’s easy to differentiate your phone charger from the camera charger.
You can accomplish the same feat with washi tape. Check out how Rachel from I Love My Disorganized Life uses washi tape to keep her cords and electronics organized.
Behind your desk, the easiest way to corral the cords is to strap them together in some way. You have a lot of options for accomplishing this:
One final thing to consider as you organize your office is whether or not you really want to stay confined to your office to do all of your work. I find that I like a change of scenery. If you do too, you might want to invest in a lap desk or car desk so you can be productive AWAY from your office.