organize your office

How To Organize Your Office For Greatest Productivity

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 Also, you should remove any trash/recycling, out-of-date materials, and duplicate or broken supplies.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).

If you want to live a free, simple, and (mostly) stress-free life, you need to declutter your home. Owning too much can keep you from the life you want! ~Practigal Blog | Decluttering Checklist

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:

  1. A small plant
  2. 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.) 😉
  3. A coaster
  4. 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:

  1. Our home management binder (learn more in my home management binder post!)
  2. 3-hole punch
  3. Headphones
  4. Planner (I LOVE my Simplified Planner!)
  5. Wireless mouse 
  6. Journal
  7. Pens
  8. Pencils
  9. Highlighters
  10. Sharpies
  11. Dry-erase markers
  12. Scissors
  13. Blog planner binder
  14. Laptop sleeve
  15. Folder with originals of frequently copied documents
  16. Bible
  17. Stickers (for my planner)
  18. Post-it notes
  19. Scotch tape
  20. Stapler
  21. Pencil sharpener
  22. Letter opener
  23. Envelopes
  24. Stamps
  25. 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.

  1. Printer
  2. Copy paper
  3. Printer ink (in a box with a lid)
  4. Kids’ school papers (in a magazine file holder)
  5. Extra sheet protectors for my binders (also in a magazine file holder)
  6. Plant
  7. 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. ☺

For more office organization inspiration, check out this guest post for a look at a beautiful feminine office, and this post on a masculine office, both on Just a Girl and Her Blog.

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!SaveSave

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32 Comments

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m so glad you found the post helpful. 😊 Enjoy designing your office!

  1. Such good tips! It is definitely hard to function and be super productive in a space that is disorganized/cluttered. I really think when my stuff is organized, I am more relaxed and focused! Thanks for some new ideas!

    1. Thanks, Jen! It’s so true that it’s hard to function, at least well, in an unorganized or cluttered space. I’m happy to hear that you got some inspiration from this post!

  2. You’ve got a good number of essentials, but everything is tucked away so your desk area looks neat and clean. This plan of action could also be applied to a traditional workplace office

    1. Hey, Bryan! Exactly, smart storage is key. I got rid of all of the clutter in my office space, and now I’m not digging through drawers to find things!

    1. You are definitely not alone in that! I keep hearing this over and over from readers. I did a blog post series a while back on paper clutter, because it seems to be such a big issue for people. There’s this post about school papers, and this one about mail. It cracks me up that paper is still such a problem in our technology-driven world. Where does all the paper come from?!

  3. These are great tips. I recently redid my office and a big part of it was decluttering. It’s not very minimal and i’ve found that works really well for me, i’m way less stressed and accomplish a lot more!

    1. Thank you so much, Brittany! Decluttering really is the best way to start. I’m so glad that you’ve found a system that works best for you. ❤️

    1. You are so welcome, Chelsea! I have that problem as well when I’m busy. The key I’ve found to staying on top of it all is to have tidying up be a part of my routine every single day. Otherwise, it can so quickly get out of control!

  4. Great tips in this post! I’ve been feeling super unmotivated lately so I’m definitely going to declutter and organize my office this weekend so I can feel more productive and ready to work. I have a bad habit of just laying things everywhere on my desk and not cleaning up!

    Grace | https://glossybelle.com

    1. Thanks, Grace. 😊 Decluttering your workspace will definitely help with your lack of motivation! It’s the same reason why I make myself get nicely dressed and ready for the day, even when I am staying home and working on my blog. It makes a HUGE difference in my productivity.

  5. Okay, so I love this! It’s so necessary to have a simple, organized work space so your mind isn’t all jammed up when you are trying to be productive. Great tips, and I love how you listed the actual items you utilize and have in your areas.

    1. Thank you so much! Simple makes everything, well…simple! And I love simple. It keeps me sane. 😜 I’m so glad that you found my tips and sharing my own space helpful.

  6. Ahh thanks for the inspiration and awesome tips! My desk is so cluttered right now and have been meaning to reorganize. Spring cleaning is in full effect!

    1. You are SO welcome, Jess! I’m glad that you found some inspiration for your own life and space. Good luck! 😊

  7. I love this so much! I am currently redoing my office nook and am looking for a bookshelf that fits my bulky printer. I love this bookshelf and love that it’s from Target even more!

    1. Hey, that’s great! I actually had a hard time finding something that fit my printer as well. The tiered ladder shelf I found at Target ended up being perfect since it is deeper on the bottom! I wanted my printer on the bottom so it’s not as noticeable and so that the shelf isn’t top heavy. Although this shelf is very sturdy and could handle it…

  8. This is solid advice. My old office was full of distractions. It can be hard enough to sit down and produce, but coming in to a messy office makes it that much harder!

    1. Thank you for joining the conversation! You are so right about distractions. They definitely keep you from being as productive as you could be. And nobody has time for that! 😜

  9. I enjoyed the peak into your office. My “office” is a corner in the living room and I will admit it is cluttered. I need to find some space to move things. That might be my challenge for the next week or two.

    1. Thanks, Beth! It’s not perfect, but it works. Having your workspace in a living room is not ideal, but we can make it work! I hope you are able to find a solution that works for your home. Let me know if I can do anything to help. 😊

  10. Hello Sheila,

    I love this minimalist style.You have just couple things on your desk, and I am sure that you are very organized in your life.Great tips. I will apply them…all 🙂

    Thank you

    1. Hey, Ben! I try to be organized, LOL! It’s a lot easier when you don’t have a lot of clutter. 😉 I’m glad you found the post helpful…thanks for reading!

      1. I have a large desk, but have a desktop. This means corded keyboard, monitor, and speakers. The CPU and the printer sit on a re-purposed TV stand next to the desk; it is on casters. This stand rolls easily for access to any cords that I need. I have only one drawer and one open cubby, so must be selective with the items I place there.

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