Now that I have left my corporate job to work full time in my business, I’ve had to upgrade my home office situation big time! And of course, my home office reno started with figuring out ways to organize my desk.
I had a pretty good home office system before. But mostly just for occasional blogging, paying bills online and downloading music. Nothing that was really going to accommodate a full working day — or five. I’ve had to upgrade the surface space, improve the seating and bring in some organizational accessories in order to create better work-like functionality.
1. Start with the desk itself
If you’re just using your desk to pay bills or shop online, a small, attractive desk is okay, but if you do any kind of work at it, you need room to maneuver. My new desk was custom built to fit an existing closet space. My new working area measures 50 inches deep and 153 inches wide. That’s plenty of room for me to have my laptop, notebooks, phone and lamp without feeling crowded.
2. Invest in desk accessories
To keep your essentials handy yet organized, invest in some desk accessories. I picked up a few office supplies from Chapters-Indigo including a clipboard notepad, a set of paper clips and a little gold dish in the shape of lips. It was so cute I couldn’t help myself. But all I really use it for is to collect paper paper clips, fold back clips and loose change. I also purchased a gold desk lamp from Ikea and a few notebooks.
3. Create systems
The principle to keeping your home office desk organized, efficient and attractive is to create systems that allow you to find what you need quickly, perform the task efficiently and return everything to its proper place easily when you’re done. The daily mail is a perfect example. Make sure you only open it right next to the shredder, recycling bin or wastebasket, and immediately process each piece you’re keeping: bills in a bills folder (or paid online and then filed), magazines in a magazine folder and appointment reminders marked in your agenda.
4. Manage paperwork
There are entire books and articles on how to efficiently organize the mountain of paper that comes through our lives every day. I have a staggered vertical desktop file holders so that I can see all of my subject labels at a glance. Another alternative is to make use of the wall space around the desk. As I mentioned above, I purchased a clipboard to keep a monthly calendar that I then hang on the wall. You can also buy clear plastic file pockets that mount on the walls, getting paperwork off your desk but still keeping it within reach.
5. Make it a clean slate
Always give your desk a sweep at the end of the day so you can sit down to a fresh start the following morning. (Invest in some sanitizing wipes and do a quick wipe as well to keep those office germs at bay.) This is the perfect thing to do when the day is winding down and you’re work is done.
An organized desk is an organized life!