Working in a small or home office forces you to think smart about organization. Here are some ideas on how to get organized and more productive:
Work Slowly But Surely
If you have the time to spend a day working through everything… great! But most of us need to figure out this organizing thing around real work.
So write down out all the things you need to do and tackle one at a time, whether that be one a day, or one a week. Determine which actions are going to give the biggest payback for least effort and cost, and do them first. Adding more furniture is rarely the right answer: it can be expensive and time consuming to measure up, pick out, and (if you are in to flat pack) assemble it.
Clear the decks! errr Clear the Desk!
The only things on your desk should be items that are:
- heavy, such as your monitor
- fixed or cabled, such as your keyboard or a desk lamp
- used multiple times a day, such as a pen and paper, or a bottle of water
Everything else can probably be safely stowed away. Keep those sometimes-used items such as stationery in storage bins or a drawer, where you can reach them without leaving your chair. Move those rarely-used items such as reference books to a bookshelf out of the way. Finally consider dumping anything that you honestly don’t use. The souvenir from your vacation 5 years ago might look cool, but is it serving any useful purpose taking up valuable desk space?
Oh and you don’t score points for stuffing everything in a drawer. The drawer too should be organised in such a way you don’t need to lift things out to find something. Less is best!
Get Smart About Furniture Placement
When you walk in and out of your workspace, do you have to climb over or walk around anything? Perhaps there is furniture you can get rid of that isn’t serving any useful purpose? Or maybe your desk just needs to be moved around to open up the space more?
A couple of common opportunities include:
- Visitor’s chairs. Unless your job is to consult others face to face, the chances are you don’t need extra chairs next to your desk all the time. Find a place nearby and pull them out when required.
- Modify furniture from their original state. That side return on your L-shaped desk might not be serving any purpose. Can you unscrew it and free up space?
Or perhaps you have 4 drawers down the side of your desk but you really only need 2. Can you remove the bottom two and in their place put your wastepaper basket, computer box, or other essential equipment?
Are you setting up a home office or don’t have a lot of space? Have a read of How To Make A Home Office In A Small Corner for some specific advice.
Look up! See any available space on your wall?
Shelving is inexpensive, relatively easy to install, and is versatile. You can put books up there of course, but don’t forget storage bins/baskets and filing trays can live up there as well.
Best to go for a colour and material that matches your furniture, or failing that, a simple black or white lacquer.
These are just some of hundreds ideas out there on how to organize a small office or home office. We’ll be posting more articles on how to get organized and make the most of your small space. In the meantime why not leave a comment on how you organize your small office?