Use These Tips to Clean Up an Out of Control Home Office

Tips to Clean Up an Out of Control Home OfficeA home office can easily get out of control, particularly if you have been busier than usual. Those little tidying tasks keep getting put off until one day you realize that you are drowning in a sea of stuff. Unfortunately, all that time you spend searching for things takes away from your productivity and can even create a stressful environment. This time to take back control of your home office.

The Ultimate Purge

Separate your office into zones. In each zone, you will need to pull everything out in the open. Empty any drawers, storage bins, and containers. Pull books off shelves. Create three areas to sort through your stuff.

One area is for trash or recycling, a second is for donations, and the third is for stuff to keep. The goal is to have less in the third area than the other two. Throw away any unnecessary papers, including those you have digital copies and duplicates of. If documents contain confidential or personal information, shred them first. You should also throw away damaged binders and folders.

Reorganize Your Desk

Your desk is the center of your whole home office. After you have purged, you can begin organizing this vital area. Add some organization inside your desk drawers to keep things tidy and easy to find. The top of your desk should only contain items you use the most, such as writing instruments and other such items. A desktop organizer can help you keep these necessities neat and within reach.

The Filing System

Over time, you likely accumulated a stack of papers and folders that you set aside to file at another time. You have continued to put off the task and now have a large stack to contend with. Consider utilizing a color coding system. Regularly used files, client files, and important records can each have a different color. Organize hanging folders based on level of importance, placing frequently accessed folders at the front of each group.

Digital Organization

While you are creating or tweaking your paper filing system, you should do the same for your digital files. It is a good idea to mirror your digital system with your paper system. If you use USB flash drives, make sure that you have one labeled flash drive for each major category of files. For example, you should have a flash drive for household documents and another for work documents. File groups with larger contents can be divided further if necessary. Flash drives can be kept in a drawer or in a desktop organizer.

The amount of time that it will take to reclaim your home office space will vary depending on the amount of stuff you have and the amount of time you can dedicate. It is often helpful to tackle more messy cases in increments if you find yourself getting overwhelmed. A good starting point is to dedicate at least an hour to the effort.

It is more beneficial to set aside several hours and complete all the cleaning and reorganizing at once. As you complete each task, you will feel better about your home office space and working in it.


  1. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    I think I could use a desktop organizer. I am pretty good at organizing the rest of my office space. Although I do have a lot of paper I have them in order.

  2. ellen beck says:

    I need to get into the habit of flash drives. I admit, I am a ‘paper keeper’ . I do throw them out, but have found when I do, it isnt always wise I have to go and retrieve them again. I am actually not that bad except for keeping papers, but thats about it.I dont think there would be anything to donate.

  3. I think a desktop organizer would be helpful for me since I have a tendency to stuff things in drawers and then not know where they are.

  4. That’s a great idea to have different flash drives for different categories. I’ll be doing that.

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