organize your home office, ways to declutterDon’t let the clutter trap take over your office

Staying organized is one of the biggest challenges for at-home entrepreneurs, whether your office is a spare bedroom or corner of the kitchen table. The clutter trap can easily take over your office, siphoning off your focus, energy, time and productivity. These tips will help you declutter and organize your home office so you can work effectively.

Attack the Piles

The first step to decluttering your home office is to tackle the piles of stuff around your desk (we know it’s there!). To avoid becoming overwhelmed or lingering too long on one document, set a timer for twenty minutes and dive in. Do it again tomorrow, and the next day, until you can see the bottom of your desk.

Toss Old Papers

Put every piece of paper through a test: Do I need this? Why? Where will I look for it when I need it again? Don’t ask where you should put it; that will just lead to more disorganized clutter. Instead, put papers in places where you are likely to pay attention to them. The goal to this exercise is to quickly clear your desk, so don’t spend more than a few seconds assessing each document. If you are worried about tossing something potentially important, place it in a folder to review later. If you take this route, you really have to review the papers. It doesn’t count if you just create a new pile that sits there for weeks.

Create Activity Centers

Divide your office into zones with specific duties. Your work center should include a clear workspace, frequently-used products and your computer. A reference center may contain professional books, dictionaries, manuals or binders, and a supply center can hold all your paper and office supplies. Keep the things you use most often closest to you, then store other items in handy but out-of-the-way places like a desk drawer or shelf.

Separate Business and Pleasure

Keep your home office separate from the rest of your home. Personal items like catalogs, bills, letters or family to-do lists should stay out of the office because they can be distractions. If it does not boost your efficiency, it does not belong in the office.

Utilize Wall Space

If your home office gets cluttered because of its small size, get creative with your wall space. Add lots of shelves that give items a home away from your work center, use blackboard chalk to paint a reusable wall calendar or hang bulletin boards to keep loose papers from littering your desk.

How do you keep your home office organized? Share your tips for battling clutter in the comments section below!