Today, I’m going to share my top 49 ways to declutter your home office.
As I consider writing this blog post, I find myself looking around my environment and questioning whether I am the person who should be writing this.
It does seem that no matter how organized we think we are, clutter can overtake us in the blink of an eye.
It seems the more clients I gain, the more cluttered I become.
Are you on that level too?
Well, we can confess our clutter sin, or we can do something about it.
They throw their arms in the air and do nothing.
That isn’t the answer and neither is procrastination.
If you don’t start now, you probably never will get organized.
So, let’s examine my 49 top ways to declutter your home office, so you can get organized, work smart and be more productive.
They are listed in no particular order.
1: Start Fresh
This may not be as easy as it sounds, but it works!
I will use my home office as an example.
I will just take everything except my laptop, my fan and my lamp and scoop it all into a box.
I will take every piece of decoration off the wall… everything goes into the box.
Starting fresh, I will begin taking the items I need and put them into a proper place.
This method may not work for a whole home, but it does work for a home office.
2: Stop Buying
If you are anything like me, a cool gadget may just get rung up at the cash register.
It ends up being another piece of the clutter.
Did I really need another lamp?
Just because it looks cool, I have enough lighting as it is.
I would also suggest that every time you buy something new, you make a commitment to donate or sell something that is used or old.
3: Divide Your Space Into Zones
Have a zone for books and another zone for software and CDs for your office.
In your home, you can do the same thing.
In the kitchen as an example, that cupboard is zoned only for canned goods.
Work zone-by -zone decluttering, and make it a law that only the items for that zone can enter that zone.
Every work space and home has tools in one form or another.
No screwdrivers in the silverware drawer, and no Photoshop CDs on the desk.
Have a proper place for all tools and when they are needed, so you will know where they are.
5: Have A Mail Station
This idea works for both the office and the home.
I know mom had a box that hung near the door that was a mail station.
It had incoming and outgoing mail.
The same thing works for your office.
6: Publicize Your Declutter Session
To give you no excuses for procrastinating.
You told everyone, so now you have to clean up the mess.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- The Home Office Deduction: 15 Things You Should Know
- Top 27 Reasons To Hire A Virtual Assistant
- The Top 37 Advantages and Disadvantages of Working From Home
- Top 29 Best Movies for Entrepreneurs to Watch
- Top 47 Ways To Make Money From Home
7: Use Furniture On Wheels
If you have filing cabinets and other smaller furniture pieces on wheels, you can roll them under the desk or in other out-of-the-way places when not being used.
8: Improve Your Lighting
You may ask how this will help you declutter?
When you have better lighting, you will actually see just how bad the clutter problem is.
Not only that, the better lighting will create a mood of wanting more order.
Here is an area I have an issue with and I know many other people do too – saving every piece of paperwork that comes around.
If you feel you should keep it, either file it or scan it and then start shredding all that paper.
Paper is probably the leading clutter creator.
10: Give Away An Item A Day
Why not give your clutter to someone else?
It may take awhile to get rid of a lot of the junk you have, but you just may bless someone else.
If you don’t want to give it away, sell it on Craiglsit or eBay.
11: Fold And Roll
I discovered I can fit a lot more socks and t-shirts in drawers by using the fold and roll method.
Most people who have served in the military know what I mean.
With t-shirts, just fold in the sleeves and the bottom up approximately 4 inches and then roll them tightly.
With socks, fit one open end over the other and roll the pair tightly.
If you keep any type of clothing, or anything you can roll up in your office, use this method.
12: Make A Plan
Like anything, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Make a plan on how your going to declutter and follow the plan.
13: Use The Starting Zone Method
Just pick a zone anywhere in your home or office and declutter that zone today.
Keep it decluttered and move to the next zone tomorrow.
Follow that method until your entire home office is decluttered.
Take an hour and evaluate each item in your home office. Is it a want or a need?
How often do you need it or use it?
If it’s not a necessity item, store it somewhere else or get rid of it.
Go through all that junk and donate it to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or some other good cause that will make sure people who need the items actually get them.
16: Have Only What You Need At Arm’s Reach
This tip is primarily for office decluttering.
Do you really need those books on your desk?
The cup of coffee I understand, but a screwdriver?
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am looking at my own desk.
I guess I better take a break and put the screwdriver away and get another cup of coffee.
17: Use Vertical Storage
Think of it like a high rise apartment building.
Store things upwards instead of outwards.
18: Have A Printer Station
Instead of cluttering your desk with printing supplies, I suggest a roll cart that holds your printer, paper, ink and other printing supplies.
Roll it under your desk when you are finished for the day.
19: Put Like Items Together
I have somewhat covered this in other tips, but just put the pens with the pencils, the plates with the saucers, the sheets with the pillow cases, etc…
20: Use The Cloud
Sometimes clutter isn’t just the items on your desk.
I know many people who have cluttered computer systems.
Technology has made it possible to keep your computer decluttered too.
Store those files on a USB, an external hard drive or in the cloud.
21: Change Your Routine
You may get the whole thing decluttered but what is stopping you from re-cluttering?
You do need to change your routine.
Put the item away in its proper place after you use it.
At the end of each work day, take ten minutes to declutter your home office.
22: Don’t Try For Perfection
Some people try to find perfection in their decluttering and believe me, it won’t be perfect.
Don’t try to get it perfect… Just get it decluttered.
23: Make All Flat Places Clutter Free
If you ever have noticed, the desks and tables are the places that get cluttered the worst.
It becomes easy to just lay it on the desk, table or counter top.
Make a decision that all flat spaces must stay free of clutter.
24: Consider The Flow
When you are deciding where to store or keep items, consider the flow.
You don’t want to travel 20 steps to retrieve a paperclip, and you shouldn’t have to go to the restroom to get a spatula.
Have you considered a garage sale?
It is a great way to get rid of clutter and make some extra cash.
But do not bring the stuff that doesn’t sell back into the house or office.
26: Set Limits
This goes along with many of the other tips.
Just set limits on everything and it will help you stay clutter free.
27: Label Items
If you store items in boxes or containers, instead of having to open it to see what is inside, just label it.
Label makers are actually quite inexpensive and can be helpful.
28: Hello Something New, Goodbye Something Old
Here is another good way to stay clutter free.
If you buy a new item, get rid of an old item.
Cables from your computer, printer, telephone, etc., can give an unsightly look.
Organize your cables and use bread ties or other means to control those cables so they do not give a cluttered impression.
30: Just Trash It
Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to try and sell or even give some items away.
Will anyone really want that VHS tape of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?
Just put it in the trash can.
31: The Catch-All Drawer
We all have one; a catch-all drawer that has batteries, a broken watch, a deck of cards, etc…
Make it a habit to sort the catch-all drawer and keep it tidy.
32: Organize Your Books
I love books, but books can also become a cluttered mess.
It is time to play librarian.
Now organize those books by subject and store them properly.
33: Be Creative With Your Space
Just use your imagination and make the space you have work for you.
If nothing else, just travel around Pinterest where you can find some great ideas.
34: Determine The Issue Areas
It is always best that you start with the areas that have the biggest issue with clutter.
This goes right along with making a plan.
Determine the issue areas and attack those first.
35: Determine If You Actually Need It
With every item you grab, you will have to make a decision.
Do you really need it?
I suggest having a need, a want and a junk pile as you declutter your home office.
36: Create Emergency Binders
Some of the most difficult stuff to deal with is important paperwork.
I have thrown away important papers thinking they were clutter.
A great way to solve this is to create emergency binders where all the important papers are easily found.
Family medical binder
Other binder – for stuff that doesn’t fit in any other category
37: Use Technology
I somewhat hit on this, but it needs to be stressed.
I mentioned all those cables; why not go wireless?
Instead of keeping all those receipts, why not scan them and save them in a file.
So much of the clutter can be erased just using technology; that is why Amazon Kindle is so popular.
38: Enlarge Your Area
Maybe what looks to be clutter is actually all important and is needed.
It just comes down to being able to have a place for everything.
You just may have to enlarge your home office.
Look at the possibilities, could you add on or expand?
Take out a closet or make space in another way?
39: Is It Motivational
Is that fuzzy koala bear sitting on your desk actually motivating you?
How about that depressing picture of the New York skyline before 9/11?
Maybe it is time to get rid of the non-motivational items that are cluttering your area.
40: Add Storage
You might want to find places where you can store items you want to keep, but are cluttering your home office.
Consider the rafters in the garage, under stairwells and other out-of-the-way places to store items.
41: Have A Good Filing System
A file cabinet and files are a great way to store important paperwork, but it is important that you can find the files you need.
Most experts agree that a color coding filing system is best.
Use a certain color for a certain subject.
42: Keep Your email Uncluttered
While we are mainly looking at material clutter items, the cyber world can get cluttered too.
The email box is a prime example.
How long has it been since you purged your email box?
43: Train Your Family And Coworkers
You have made a decision to keep your home office clutter free.
You need to train your family or coworkers to follow your example and put items back where they belong.
44: Invest In A Hook Rack
Outer-garments can give an disorderly impression.
A simple coat rack will keep you and others from hanging them on the back of chairs.
45: Have A Home For Everything
Make sure anything and everything has a home.
When you are done using it, take it to its home.
46: Daily Clean And Straighten
Make sure your schedule has 15 minutes, give or take, daily to clean and straighten.
This way, you can stay on top of keeping your home office decluttered.
47: Have A Short Term Storage Container
Many of us have those items we need near our desk for just a few days.
A short term storage container will help you stay clutter free but still have those items nearby.
48: Disinfect On A Regular Basis
This will help you maintain a clean and safe zone, plus the odor will help you know how much cleaner your area now is.
You will want to keep it this way.
49: Don’t Over-Do It!
I saved this for last, but I do believe it is quite important.
No matter what, you WILL have some clutter.
Don’t turn into a non-clutter jerk.
It is okay!
Just don’t let it get carried away.
By following these tips, you will find yourself living and working in more comfortable conditions.
Your work and home environment does have a direct reflection on your moods.
What are your thoughts?
How do you declutter your home office?
You can post all comments and questions below.
About the Author
Greg Boudonck is a freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He writes on many different topics, but business subjects are one of his primary areas of writing expertise. See Greg’s biography here.