Paper everywhere. So many pens but none that work. Piles of books and binders. Drawers are full of who-knows-what. Does this sound like your office?
When your office looks and feels like a mess, it can be difficult to get anything done. The fact is, an unorganized or cluttered office causes us unnecessary stress, distraction, and frustration.
If you want to be your most productive self, especially when you are working in that space, you need to organize your office.
Why You Should Organize Your Office
When you organize your office, you minimize the number of distractions keeping you from your work. Therefore, organizing your office also increases your ability to focus.
When you are able to focus, and you know where everything is that you need, you increase your level of efficiency. You can get so much more done in less time when you are able to focus!
Not only that but when you organize your office (and keep it that way) you can always find what you need. You can easily see which supplies are running low so you can add them to your shopping list. You no longer accidentally buy things you already have, saving you money in the long run.
Bur first, in order to truly have an office space that doesn’t cause unnecessary stress, distraction, and frustration, you need to declutter it. Having too much in your office will cause it to always look cluttered, no matter how “organized” it is.
You MUST remove everything from your office that doesn’t NEED to be there. So, when I say that you should organize your office, I’m assuming that decluttering is the first step in that process.
What You Should Have in Your Office
So, what should you keep in your office? Only the essentials. These are the items or office supplies that you use frequently. By frequently, I mean at least yearly. If your office space is super tiny, you may only keep items that you use weekly easily accessible, and items that you use monthly or less often neatly stored away.
What should you declutter from your office? The non-essentials. Non-essentials are any supply that you don’t use frequently. Also, you should remove any trash/recycling, out-of-date materials, and duplicate or broken supplies.
For instance, you don’t need two staplers. If you have two staplers, it’s probably because one doesn’t work that well, because you forgot you already had one when you bought the second one, or because you literally couldn’t find it. 😉
Learn how to declutter any area of your home! It walks you through the process of decluttering so that you can get your time, space, and money back.
Also, if you are hoping to declutter more than just your office, get your free decluttering checklist when you subscribe to my free resources to help you stay motivated and track your progress!
How To Organize Your Office For Greatest Productivity
1. Sort the items you decide to keep
Now that you have decluttered the non-essentials, sort what you kept by type of office supply. Put writing utensils together, notebooks together, printing supplies together…you get the idea.
Next, sort your groups of supplies by how frequently you use them. We will use these realizations to help you decide how to organize your office in a way that makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle.
(Your office will likely not work well if you set it up just like mine, because we are different people working on different tasks. But, I will include pictures of my home office in this post so that you can see an example of how to organize your office for greatest productivity.)
2. Decide on a home for the supplies you sorted
So, you have sorted your essential office supplies by type and how often you use them. Now, we need to decide on a home for those supplies. As I mentioned earlier, you should make daily-used items easily accessible, items used weekly fairly accessible, and store anything else away.
This may mean that supplies you use monthly or less often are tucked away on a shelf or in a closet. I recommend doing this, because the fewer supplies you have on (or around) your desk, the better your ability to focus.
No matter if your supplies are visible to others or are tucked away, you want them to be neatly organized so that you can find what you need when you need it. Otherwise, we will have the same problem as before. It’s the problem where we buy things we already have because we can’t find them!
Not only that, but a messy closet will still be seen by you and will likely cause you stress and frustration every time you look inside.
As a reminder, how you organize your supplies depends on your space. Only you can decide what is essential and the best way to store it. It also depends on what your options are for storage. Do you have a desk with storage or not? Do you have shelving or drawers? And do you have a closet? These things will greatly alter what you are able to do with your space.
Organizing supplies to consider: drawer dividers, binders, magazine file holders, clear containers (for attractive items), stackable boxes (to take advantage of vertical space), or attractive boxes with lids (to hide ugly items).
How I Organized My Home Office
My home office is also my front living room by the front door. For this reason, what I keep here is minimal. I have an antique desk with storage and a bookshelf next to it. Things that I use infrequently just can’t be stored in my office area, nor can items that look bulky and out-of-place in a living room. For example, my ugly file cabinet is kept in the basement.
I don’t have a designated office closet. Anything not stored here is in the basement. This includes a file cabinet and three small hanging file boxes (one for each child) that I use to store school and artwork to keep through the years.
On My Desk
I try to keep very little on top of my desk to minimize the clutter and distraction. Here are the items I keep on top of my desk:
- A small plant
- A decoration (I would recommend something that makes you smile/laugh or leaves you feeling inspired. OR get something like a letter board or whiteboard, and it can be BOTH–whatever you need that day.) 😉
- A coaster
- My laptop
That’s it! I try my best to keep it this way so that I always have room to work at my desk without needing to clear it off first. Everything else that I use frequently is tucked away inside the drawers of my desk for easy access.
Inside My Desk
Inside the drawers of my desk, I keep most of the items that I use weekly. Items I use daily are kept in the top drawers, where items used less often are in the bottom drawers. Here are the items I keep inside my desk:
- Our home management binder (learn more in my home management binder post!)
- 3-hole punch
- Planner (I LOVE my Simplified Planner!)
- Wireless mouse
- Dry-erase markers
- Blog planner binder
- Laptop sleeve
- Folder with originals of frequently copied documents
- Stickers (for my planner)
- Post-it notes
- Scotch tape
- Pencil sharpener
- Letter opener
- Thank-you cards
Remember, your essentials list may look different. These are the items that I use frequently for my blog and home life. You may have more or fewer supplies that you need to keep handy. Also, you may not have a desk with 4 drawers. Do what works for you and your space.
On My Bookshelf
Next to my desk, I have a trestle bookshelf. It doesn’t have doors, so I try to keep this looking as neat as possible as well. I only keep items I use at least monthly on this shelf, as well as a couple of decorations to keep it attractive-looking. Since this shelf houses our printer, I keep any printing supplies on this shelf. That way, everything is in one place and easy to find. Here are the supplies I keep on my shelf.
- Copy paper
- Printer ink (in a box with a lid)
- Kids’ school papers (in a magazine file holder)
- Extra sheet protectors for my binders (also in a magazine file holder)
- Picture frame
Some of these things are bulky enough by themselves, so I don’t want to add a bunch of unnecessary clutter. Remember, my office space is one of the first areas people see when they come to our house because it is in our front living room. It isn’t perfect, but it works.
Now that I have shown you the importance of keeping your office organized, and how to do it, I hope that you will take a little time today or this week to get it done. And, hopefully seeing the example of my home office has helped motivate you and give you some inspiration. ☺
Most importantly, keep your office organized by refusing to let it get cluttered again. A clutter-free office is a space where you can work efficiently without distraction.
Is it hard for you to keep your office organized? Do you have any additional organizing tips? Share with us in the comments!