Be more productive, save time, and find what you need quickly. All the benefits of having an organized office.
Ten weeks ago we started this challenge by creating a Command Center. We started there because that is the foundation of your home. From there, we created a Home Binder to help organize the documents that are used on a daily basis. Then we moved onto the closet because you should feel amazing with what you wear. Then we organized the pantry and kitchen. A few weeks ago we organized the bathroom so you can have a more organized morning.
A good portion of your home is now organized. We started with other areas of the home first to build a foundation and get the main areas organized which is why we did the kids’ rooms a few weeks ago and the toys last week.
We are down to the final few weeks of this challenge! This week we are moving onto the Office.
If you’ve fallen off track, it’s okay, regroup and get back in the saddle. Batch processing is extremely powerful so if you’ve missed a few weeks, combine a few of them and bust it out.
Home Office Organization
Majority of my working career has been out of my/our home. I started with a Sales & Marketing job out of college where I managed a territory. I had a home office that I created in my one-bedroom apartment at the time.
After that position, I took another position for a different territory where I had a two-bedroom apartment. One bedroom was dedicated to the office. The next position after that one was another territory and another two-bedroom apartment with one bedroom dedicated to the office again.
My husband has also had a variety of positions managing territories as well. When we got married, we both had offices out of our home.
We tried a few different set-ups where we shared a bedroom that had two desks in there. We also had separate bedrooms for our office space. Having separate office spaces worked out the best because we wouldn’t distract each other but also we would have conference calls and someone would have to leave the room.
We have had at least five different desks that I can remember. Needless to say, there have been countless desks and set-ups that I have organized.
Regardless of where you have an office, having an organized space will make you more productive, keep you focused and save you time.
Home Office Storage
With every home we’ve had, we have had additional storage because we’ve had quite a bit of office supplies. We have typically used the closet in the bedroom and/or a cube organizer.
We currently don’t have a room dedicated to the office.
Right now, we have a built-in desk in the kitchen right when you walk into the house. There are four drawers, three are on the left-hand side and one is in the middle where a chair would sit.
We keep the printer on the left-hand side of the desk and my backpack usually sits on the main part of the desk. We don’t keep a chair here because we don’t use it as a working desk, we’ll sit at the kitchen vignette right behind the desk to work.
The first drawer is where all of the office supplies are organized. The second drawer is where we keep our laminator with the laminating pages and the last drawer is where all the printer paper is stored. The first drawer is the only that really requires any type of organizers to keep it organized.
There is also a kitchen cabinet we have used to store additional supplies. We keep our home binder here so we can easily locate it and the kids can’t get into it. The top storage bin is where we keep their art supplies. We keep the art supplies up here because we don’t want them getting into them whenever they want.
I know it won’t be like this forever because eventually, they will get to an age where we can trust them 😉 but for now, this works. The white bins on the bottom shelf work great because they are very ergonomic, making it easy to access what’s in there without having to take out the entire bin.
I recently did a refresh of the drawer, this is how it looks now. I added labels to the small square bins and the pens and pencils to keep them organized. The organizers behind the square ones reach all the way back to the back of the drawer and you wouldn’t be able to see a label there.
However, now that I’m looking at this picture, I can add labels to the side of the organizer where they would be visible and easy to see. Funny how that happens 😉
Here’s how it used to look.
I ended up moving the Sharpie markers because we have more of them located in another bin. The tacks were also moved because we currently don’t have a tack board up on the wall. The other thing not being used are the letters for the letter board.
Does anyone else have a letter board and never change it because it takes forever?! I was going to get rid of the letter board because it’s not being used but my husband said he really likes it and wants to be in charge of it, we’ll see how it goes 😉
What Has Worked Well For Us
Most of the desks we’ve had have had drawers, some haven’t so we’ve experienced both types of set-ups.
I can honestly say I like both and here’s why. Desks with drawers help you keep the desk free of clutter, desks without drawers give you a cleaner look and force you to decide what you want to keep on your desk. If I had to make a decision on which one I prefer, I would probably say one with drawers but that’s because I like organizing drawers. 😉
We have also had desks with hutches and those have worked out well too because you are able to store more at your desk than having to use a closet or some other type of storage.
Here’s how you can get your office organized:
First: Clear entire desk and empty out each drawer
Put everything in one area, do not start storing anything yet. Empty out all the drawers and cabinets too. Stay focused during this step. The goal is to get everything in one pile.
Second: Grab cleaning supplies and clean your desk
Take the time to clean your desk and drawers. This will be one of the few times nothing will be on the desk or in the drawers. It will also be one of the easiest times to clean it because you won’t have to move items around to get it clean.
Third: Get a garbage bag and/or paper shredder
Having the garbage bag in the room will help keep the momentum going. Having a paper shredder will be useful when getting rid of paper rather than ripping it up.
Fourth: Start sorting items into piles by category:
- Office supplies (pens, markers, paper clips)
- Books & magazines
- Non-office items (any toys, kitchen items, etc.)
- Broken items (throw away immediately)
- Paper (right now only put the paper in a pile, don’t sort throw it yet, we’ll get to that next week)
Fifth: Go back to the category piles and start eliminating what you don’t need
Start with the categories with the smallest piles and get rid of what you really don’t need. Anything that is broken automatically goes into the garbage. Pens, markers, or any highlighters that are slightly dried out, get rid of them.
For books, that you no longer need, look to donate them to the local library or Goodwill if you feel bad about throwing them away.
For Magazines, get rid of them. As a former magazine hoarder, you will not go through them again. Hang onto a few of your absolute favorites and get rid of the rest.
If there are a few articles or pictures you really love, take a picture of them and load them to the notes on your smartphone, Evernote, or Trello.
Now you will be deciding what organizers to use.
When searching for any type of organizing supplies, get something that is appealing to your eye. You are going to be looking at it almost daily and you want to like what you are looking at, this goes for every type of organizing project you complete. Don’t just buy bins or organizers because they’re on clearance, buy what you will like looking at and fits your style.
If you have a desk with drawers, drawer organizers will be the best way to keep everything organized.
If you don’t have drawers, you will need a desktop organizer.
Now you will start to put your desk back together.
- You are going to start with the main focal point of the desk which is the computer. It should be at the center of the desk.
- Next, you’ll want to sit down at the desk while you work through the next few steps. This will help design a system that is going to work best for you.
- If you already have a utensil organizer put that where it’s easy for you to access. Chances are it will be either to the left or right of the computer. If you have kids, you might want to try to put it somewhere where they can’t reach it.
- Keep a notepad or post-it notes close to the utensils. There’s always that moment when you need to jot something down quickly.
- Dedicate a space for only your daily planner or notebook, keep it here at all times so you know where to find it. If you put it in your handbag when out running errands, make sure to put it back in the same spot so you always know where to find it.
The second to last step with organizing is labeling. Labeling is an important part of organizing because it helps you easily identify what you need quickly.
If you have organizers on your desk, label them. It sounds a little over the top but labels make the biggest difference when it comes to organizing.
If you have drawer organizers, put a label on the inside edge of the organizer where you can see it. If you have binders, make sure the spines are labeled.
The last step in every organizing project is maintaining it. Your organized space will serve no value if you don’t upkeep it. Re-evaluate it every few months. Schedule it on your calendar to review your system to see what’s working and what’s not. Make the necessary adjustments to keep you organized.
This organizing set keeps all of the daily items you use organized.
The beauty of this set is you can customize it to your needs.
*affiliate links used. I may receive a commission if you purchase the recommended products, there is no cost to you by clicking on the links. I only recommend products that I use or trust, see full disclosure here.
How Long Will It Take
How long it will take to get your office organized will depend on how much stuff you have. Plan for two to three hours. As with any organizing project, schedule it in your calendar so it gets done. If you can’t get it all done within your scheduled time frame, schedule another appointment to get it done.
Having an organized office will allow you to be more productive, find what you need quickly, and save time.
Clear off your desk by taking everything off of it and out of drawers. Clean off the desk and drawers. Start purging and sorting by category. Get the organizers you need and assemble a set-up that will work for you. Label the organizers and maintain your organized office. Schedule time on your calendar to evaluate your set-up and make any necessary adjustments.
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What type of desk to you have?