Running a business from your home does not give you permission to let it all hang out. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. You should have office hours, dress professionally, take breaks as needed and by all means have an ORGANIZED OFFICE.

I have heard that a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind, but the truth is chaos can create mental clutter, which can actually stifle creativity. I go with the idea that some degree of tidiness will keep you more often on the path to success than not.

So let’s look at a few ways you can start turning that cluttered office into a more tranquil domain.

Home Office Tips for Decluttering and Organizing

  • Get the process going. Collect several bins and trash bags. Bins, boxes or trays can be used to sort the important items.
  • Don’t be a hoarder. Start with the office supplies. Pens that no longer have readable ink are a no brainer and should be sent off to the circular file. Oh, and by the way, those legal pads that look like they survived a flood – you know the ones that have cardboard bending in the back with a yellow tint to white paper – say goodbye, adios and good riddance.
  • Take inventory. I know you are catching on to the theme here. Collect all your office supplies and lay them out on a desk or table. Toss the useless. Accentuate the useful.
  • House frequently used items close by. Contain similar items together and place them in a location that makes sense to the frequency of your need for them. You can store extras in a closet or drawer that is not near your workspace.
  • Out of sight, means out of mind for some folks. Tying a string around your finger won’t help, but you could keep a list in your desk drawer identifying where you stored specific items. That way, when you think you need more supplies, you shop in your home before you go to the nearest Office Depot or The Container Store.
  • Divide and conquer. Drawer dividers are also a cool way to contain small things like staples, rubber bands, paper clips, pens, pencils, sharpeners, staple remover, stapler and labels.
  • Group by likeness. Mailing supplies such as stamps, envelopes, labels and return address stickers can be kept in one area.
  • Keep a two tray system. An in and out tray can keep you focused on the important projects for the day and help you see what you have accomplished by the end of the day or week.
  • Nice and Tidy! Desktop bins are helpful for filing multiple current projects.
  • Ambiance is important, so make sure you have room on the desk or floor for a good lamp.
  • Make the space you need. If you don’t have enough cabinet or desk space for important projects, rolling carts or bins are essential tools.
  • But Wait, What if you are Paperless? Systems for computers can mirror actual desktop filing systems.

Hope you found these suggestions helpful as you try to make your home office a productive environment. Let me know if you have suggestions or questions.  Next week, we will talk about tackling all those piles of papers.