Most of us have been faced with home office junk at least once in their lifetime. So, no need for you to be angry with yourself. It’s in human nature to pile up things and keep stuff we don’t actually need. You shouldn’t shy away from cleaning up your home office because a couple of simple, but amazing tips will help you successfully deal with the mess.
How to get started
First of all, think about the supplies you’re going to need when you start making sense of the mess. Get at least three big containers and a lot of garbage and Ziploc bags. Don’t forget a marker and tape, so you can label the bags. The next thing – be aware of the fact that you will need a whole weekend to get the work done, so don’t make any other arrangements then. And the last thing – if it’s possible for you to completely empty your workplace, be sure to prepare yourself for that (find temporary space and containers).
Once you’re done preparing, here are the tips you should follow:
- Think about necessity – it’s unbelievable just how much stuff we think we need. Piling up the “necessities” won’t do any good. The first thing you need to do is to clean out your desk completely. Start from the beginning. Put everything from the desk into a box and get back to your work. Each time you need something from the box, take it out and put it back on the desk. After a couple of days, take a look at the box – the things that remained untouched are probably unnecessary. Another way of getting rid of the clutter is to really think about all the items from the desk – does each one of them has a purpose for you or do you think you might need it eventually?
- Organize your things logically – once you’ve decided what items you really need, the next step is to organize them in such way that you can quickly access them while you’re working. So, your top drawer should be filled with things you need most often during the day, and the last one with things you need from time to time. If you’re keeping a lot of small items in your drawers, drawer dividers will help you keep everything organized. If you’re using a lot of paper during the day, make a natural flow from left to right – your work waiting to be done could be on the left side, everything that’s being processed comes in the middle, and jobs finished go to the right.
- Deal with the cables – electrical cords can get really messy on or behind the desk. You can try to tame them by hiding them into small storage containers. There are a lot of cable management tools by different manufacturers, such as IKEA, or you can be resourceful and use a simple rain gutter. If you really can’t deal with them properly, then you can just give up on trying and find creative ways of displaying them.
- Expand the workspace – if you really have too much necessary stuff, and your workspace just isn’t big enough, the obvious solution is to expand the workspace. If you don’t really need additional storage solutions outside your home, one of the tricks is to make vertical storage above the desk. It can be a simple book spine next to your desk, easy to install and helpful with storing books or magazines. Also, you could consider elevating the monitor, which would create more space on the desk. If you don’t want to make additional shelves, you can use a pegboard to hide any routers and other devices or clean the desk a bit more by putting some stuff behind the monitor.
- Put everything back to its place – every item you use should have its usual place when you aren’t working. Otherwise, the stuff will just keep piling up on your desk and your workspace will be cluttered again in no time. Even if you organized your desk perfectly, it will still get messy throughout your working day. And it will be just a matter of time when your desk becomes full of junk. To avoid that trap, don’t be lazy – at the end of your working hours, put all the stuff you used that day back to where they belong (drawers, boxes, and shelves). This 10-minute job can save you from a mess that would otherwise be waiting for you the next morning.