How to Organize a Home Office

Are you craving a productive and happy home work space? In this post, I’ll show you how to organize a home office you’ll love!

In my work with clients and my own home, I’ve found that home offices often become catch-all spaces. Maybe you are sitting in your own office right now, staring at piles of your own I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-its, and you’re not sure there’s anything in there that you actually like.

In fact, maybe what you really want to do is go to Target and get a new desk, or a bunch of cute baskets, a new file cabinet, or pretty files with flowers on them. I’ve been there!

Or, maybe you are telling yourself that your office needs a new coat of paint, so why organize if you are just going to paint? Maybe you are telling yourself that you’re a stay at home mom, you’re about to retire, or you have an office at work, so you don’t really need a home office.

To all this, I say, “Not true!”

My Mantra

Go forth and conquer your office and let nothing and no one get in your way. Buy nothing, paint nothing, organize it as is, and then figure out how to make into your dream space. The vision will come to you. Life is too short to wait for the perfect time, and the perfect desk. Start here!

Okay, now that my little pep talk is out of the way, let’s go! Get some sparkle water and meet me in your office. Look at how much potential it has! This is the space where dreams are going to happen. Can you say that out loud? I think you’ll like it.

First, Hone

Start with your desk, and put things in groups of like with like: all your pens together, all your books together, all your mail together, all your kids party supplies, and jewelry you meant to repair… Sorting things like with like helps bring a little joy to organizing. It helps you to see what you have, and how abundant you are. You also don’t have to over-think this, or part with anything. Just Sort. (I think I’d like a tee-shirt with that on it!) Sorting might take you a few sessions.

Aww, look at all my favorite pens, nicely sorted!

Next, Eliminate

Get some boxes or empty bins and label them: belongs elsewhere, donate, toss, recycle. Now, go through all your sorted piles and put items you don’t want in the corresponding bins. This also might take a few sessions. But it feels soooo good! Designate a charity that you’d like to donate to. If you live in Seattle, Seattle Re-Creative would love your unwanted art/office supplies! Your homework is to put away your belongs elsewhere items, take the donation items to a charity, take out your recycle and trash bins.

After that, Assign

Assigning means you ask yourself how you use a space, and where you want things to go to make it easier to use. Assign a place for every item, or category of items. Choose a zone for each category collection, such as the “office supply zone,” or “craft zone.” Some things might already be in the right place, but be open to moving around the other categories and zones to new locations.Here’s my office and craft supply zone:

Assigning is one of my favorite parts of the process because it means I get to move furniture. I get an odd thrill from moving around my furniture and shopping my home. It’s like a free department store, and it makes me happy to see my old things in new places. Try it! Maybe an old table would make a great desk? Here, let me get that end. I think your table looks great there! What would you most like to put on it?

Take a sip of your sparkle water.

Now, Re-purpose

This is the part where you ask yourself how things should be kept. Now that you’ve assigned a place for everything, you now know the size of the shelves you’re working with, and you’ve sorted items so you know how much of each item you need to contain. See if you already have bins and baskets that would work. Try things you wouldn’t normally try, just to get a sense of how you’ll use your items in the space.

I like to use Tupperware, mason jars, or even some pretty repurposed boxes. If you look at the pictures in this post you’ll see that I’ve used a birch box for my colored pencils, and a floral shoe box for my stationary supplies. I always use what I have first. Then, after I’ve tried it for a few weeks, I’ll get what I need. Sometimes I find that I like it as is, and I save myself some cash, and free up space in my recycle! Win-win!

Here’s how I contain my washi-tape collection:

Finally, Transition

Over the course of the next two weeks ask yourself how it’s working. What could work better? Is there anything you really don’t want after all? Is there anything you need to make it even better? Now you’ll know just what you need. Maybe it is a new desk, and maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s pretty great just as it is.

Look around and pat yourself on the back. Personally, I LOVE what you’ve done with the place. It’s Instagram worthy. Post a snap and tag your favorite organizer @organizedbyheart. (Wink!)

Here’s my office:

Wait just a minute, did you notice the lovely acronym above? Oh, yes, that’s right! H-E-A-R-T! This is the same system I use to organize my clients and myself, and it works for every room!

If you’d like to work with me to organize your home office, get in touch! If you liked this post, please share it.

I’ll leave you with my vision board. Maybe you want to add one to your home office, too? I found this gorgeous board here.

With Heart,
Lauren

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