How to Organize Your Home Office

Trying to balance personal life and professional life can be tough; stress is a key factor in the development of health issues, but can be eliminated from your life through proper organization. According to experts, time management is the key for success in home business. Working from home can be more stressful at times, and requires extra attention to organization. Working from home doesn’t mean you have to forego a professional or productive work environment! While it may seem like a challenge to set your home office apart from the rest of your living space, all it requires is giving the matter a little time, thought, and creativity. Follow these easy steps to transform your home office into a pleasant, efficient, and organized workspace.


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    Find the perfect spot. Part of keeping organized in a home office is ensuring that you have a suitable place set aside to serve solely as your home office. It's not going to be effective if you're borrowing space anywhere, such as the kitchen table, or your child's desk while they're at school. Instead of "nomading" about the house in search of the perfect space, select one spot that is out of the way of pedestrian traffic, unaffected by noise or other sources of interference, and can be a permanent home office base for you. Purchase a table or desk (depending on your needs) that can be used just for your work tasks.
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    Check that everything is ergonomically suitable for you. It's easy to become despondent and start making a mess when your working arrangements make you feel uncomfortable. A chair that makes your legs feel deadened or a table that just doesn't have the space needed will soon have you wandering off and trying out other parts of the house for working in to try to improve your comfort levels. If you're doing this, have your workspace assessed for ergonomics and make appropriate changes to ensure your comfort. You can either ask a professional person to come to your house to do this for you, or you can assess it yourself using online guidance, for example, read How to set up an ergonomically correct work station.
    • If you're selling items online or from home, be sure to make adequate space for packaging, sorting, and storing your items as well as the usual computer and related work required. A table at standing height can be very helpful if you need to do a lot of wrapping, packaging, sorting type work.
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    Remove the superfluous. Clutter will make it impossible for you to remain organized in a home office. Being at home, you're at greater risk of things "migrating" into your work zone that have nothing to do with your work – for example, stuffed toys, pieces of clothing, books unrelated to your work, things tossed in your workspace area by others, and things mounting up through your own lack of self-discipline. Deal with this by getting rid of every object that is not useful for work. Take a close look at what you're dealing with and define carefully what you need and what you don't. And don't hang onto pens that no longer work; useless writing implements can waste several minutes of time for you a work when you need to search for new ones. At the end of this de-clutter, you'll get tons of spare space!
    • After removing the superfluous, permit yourself three beautiful objects to grace your workspace and inspire you. Keep it at three or less always, no more. If you want to rotate the inspirational things, then feel free to do so.
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    Manage the cables. You’ve probably found out through experience that the tangled cords under your desk are great at achieving three things: they trap dust balls, they make you look disorganized, and they snag your feet, occasionally pulling over something else in the process! Don’t live with that rat’s nest of cables lurking behind your workstation; even if you’ve never thought it was possible to straighten out your office cables, give it a try. This project is super easy to tackle (even for beginners), and the results are very gratifying:
    • Allow for a little time, elbow grease, and creativity!
    • Go about your cable management in a countless number of ways – everyone’s different. If you like things as simple and pared-down as possible, neatly bundle your cords with cable ties, or completely raise wires off the floor by sticking them to the underside of your desk with adhesive cord clips. For the more complex personalities, there are all sorts of cable management systems that mount directly onto your desk or a nearby wall. The bottom line is to go with whatever works for you, just so long as you get those cords organized!
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    Go wireless. Now that you’ve got that mess under your desk cleared up, think about getting rid of the cord clutter on your work surface. Wireless keyboards and computer mice are terrific gadgets that will free up both your space and your movements. Just imagine not have to tug the cord of your computer mouse free ever again! If you haven't already gone wireless, invest in it now; all the extra space is worth it. Consider, however, that a wireless mouse and keyboard will need recharging and new batteries from time to time, and some have a lag in "waking up" after a long period of non-use.
    • Keep your printer off your workspace desk or table. Purchase or find a suitable printer table for it instead. If this small table or cabinet has shelves for storing printer paper and cartridges, this is even better.
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    Ensure adequate lighting. A home office needs good lighting to help you see properly at all hours of the day. If you're stuck in a basement or somewhere that's darker than normal, consider using a daylight bulb to brighten up your working space and to help you feel that the light is more natural. Get sufficient lamps to ensure your work is properly lighted, whether it's typing, surfing, reading, sewing, crafting, or whatever.
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    Label everything! Stop squinting at the handwritten chicken-scratch on your file tabs and invest in a label maker instead! Having a label printer around will not only keep the contents of your filing cabinet looking neat and professional, it’s also very handy for organizing discs, office supplies and storage cabinets. Laminated tape labels such as those produced by a Brother P-Touch label maker are particularly good at staying clean and intact. Especially if you are printing several labels at once, a set of mailing labels in a printer is a cheap alternative, but be aware that printing labels one at a time and, thus, running a partially-consumed sheet of adhesive labels through the printer can create a sticky jam -- don't do it on an expensive printer. Label-makers that connect to computers save a lot of time by allowing data entry on the computer's superior keyboard, or even from a database or other computer file.
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    Use shelves to store books. If you use books a lot for your work, having shelves in or near your workspace will provide the space needed to arrange them for easy access rather than piling them up on your desk or the floor. Try to keep the shelves tidy and well ordered at all times.
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    Sort. Sort through papers and shred the ones you don’t need. We’ve all dealt with it: the mountain of paper that comes from repeatedly putting off sorting through junk mail and paperwork. You have it in your power to keep that paper from piling up in the first place!
    • Make a standing date with yourself on a weekly basis to sort through accumulated mail and documents.
    • File the things you need to hang onto, and throw the rest out.
    • It’s always a good idea to a keep a paper shredder nearby, for disposing of documents that contain personal information (you’ll be preventing clutter and identity theft at the same time).
    • If the printed material is available on the internet, throw it way and store the information online instead.[1] If you're concerned that the site might not retain the information, make a copy of it and put it on your computer or into a cloud computing space for keeping.
    • From now on, use the OHIO principle: Only Handle It Once.[2] Deal with papers as you get them, and either file or throw them away. And develop a filing system that works for you; it doesn't matter what filing system it is, as long as it does what you need it to, and quickly!
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    Hanging folders with clearly-labeled tabs in alphabetical (or other logical) order allow fastest access to files. They should be loosely spaced in the cabinet so as not to require pushing other files away from the one being used. The individual files can be periodically removed and internally organized or purged from time to time; make this process easier by adding new material in a consistent manner, such as always at the back. Older material such as a year of records at a time can be stapled.
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    Straighten up at each day's end. Before you call it a day, do a small tidy up. One of the best ways to keep your home workspace neat and productive is to take five minutes at the end of each day to straighten up your desktop: file papers, re-shelve books, put pens and highlighters back in their proper place; even dust your keyboard once in a while! By taking just a few minutes to put everything back in order, you’re making a useful transition out of your workday, and ensuring that your office will be much more pleasant place to return to the next day.


  • Consider keeping a second chair in your working area, one that is comfortable and snug for reading. Put a direct lamp over it, and use it to take reading breaks in the chair. Even if your work from home is one based on using tools for craft, sewing, or other manufacturing work, there will still be times when resting on a comfortable chair, and reading about ideas for your work will be a welcome break.
  • You can reduce the problems by designing a comfortable office as you are working from home. The quality of the furniture that you add to your home office is very useful in long run and will help to increase the productivity of you and your staff.
  • Add plants to your home office. These can purify the indoor air, beautify the space, and give you a sense of well-being just having them around.
  • Keep your computer files and emails organized too. This will make a big difference to your working ease.
  • Listen to what works for you best; your reaction to your current desk or workspace arrangement should be a guide to how you'd prefer the workspace to work for you, rather than against you.
  • Optional but pleasant additions to a home office environment include scent (use incense, scent burners, or scent sticks), and background music if it doesn't distract you.


  • It can be easy to dismiss the importance of a well-organized home office but working from home requires the same standards of self-care and attention to workspace needs as working in an office, retail, or manufacturing environment. Don't belittle the importance of quality space, furniture, and supplies.
  • File cabinets can be very heavy and, due to their extending drawers, easy to tip over accidentally. Ensure they are anchored to strong points in the wall if children are around. Short cabinets can reduce but not eliminate this danger.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper shredder
  • Label maker
  • Adhesive cord clips, cable ties or a simple elastic band
  • Storage space

Sources and Citations

  1. Elizabeth Mayhew, How to Organize a Home Office,
  2. Elizabeth Mayhew, How to Organize a Home Office,

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