Five Things I’ve Learned About Organizing a Home Office

by Organization, Productivity

Five Things I've Learned About Organizing a Home Office

1. You will take up as much room as you give yourself.

I used to have a very large desk and two filing cabinets. When I decided to move to a standing desk I got rid of one of the filing cabinets and now have only my desk, a two-drawer filing cabinet and an Apprentice caddy. You may think you need more room but it maybe just that you keep things you don’t need or don’t have your space appropriately organized. One Productive Environment Specialist thought she needed a new desk but after she performed the 8-Hr Miracle™ service for herself she realized she just had too much paper!

2. Beware of the Container Store, Staples and Ikea!

It’s easy to spend a ton of money in these stores on all sorts of gadgets you think you need. Trust me, I love these types of stores too but I know that most of the little accessories are just contributing to the clutter. Give yourself a budget and stick with it or better yet – don’t go!

3. Use an external monitor.

I tend to have a lot of windows open when I’m working and I love having an external monitor to drag items from one screen to another, view 2-3 documents at once without having to squint or simply to avoid having to open and close windows all the time. Do your eyes a favor and invest

4. Have what you use often within arm’s reach and put away the rest.

Have you ever noticed that a flat surface tends to collect things? You put a set of keys down, and then a pad of paper beside it, then your headset and then it just becomes a pile of ‘stuff’? Having a clean, clear surface is more aesthetically appealing as well as more practical. If you only use a stapler a couple of times a month, put it in a drawer. I was hanging on to a 3-hole punch because it was a really nice one. I finally realized I don’t even keep enough paper to have a binder so I donated it to a teacher.spacer

5. Don’t buy in bulk.

Do you really need 100 rubber bands or 1000 paper clips? Doubtful. Even if it is cheaper per unit to buy more, if they are just going to take up space for 3-5 years ask yourself if the ‘real estate’ is worth it. Ask if there is anyone who wants to split the cost of office supplies with you or just suck it up and buy the smaller item. I still have a box of staples I purchased 12 years ago. Not good use of my small amount of real estate when I first purchased it.
What have you learned about organizing a home office?

 

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jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects