How do I keep my home office desk clean and clutter-free?
You might have been wondering how do I keep my home office desk clean and clutter-free? Is it possible to achieve it? There has been an increase in the number of people working from home as companies now encourage their workers to work remotely.
Working from home has its benefits as it provides a great measure of freedom. Yes, working from home is great but things might get messy as you work progressively from home. Having a good and well-organized home office desk will make your life much easier.
Keeping your home office desk clean and clutter-free might be difficult but it is possible. But how can you achieve it? Well, it demands that you are intentional and disciplined in following some set of rules.
15 easy steps to keep your home office desk clean and clutter-free
Really, even though it may seem a daunting task its not that difficult. Let's have a look at the steps one by one.
Let's start organizing your home office desk
Your home office desk is of course the heart of your home office. Here is where you will spend most of your hours during the day. A well-organized desk can help boost your productivity by making work easier and interesting. So let me share a few tips with you that could help you with the arrangement of your office desk.
Arrange your home office desk close to the wall or a corner
The first tip to having a well-organized office desk is to arrange your office desk against a wall. This would make it easier for you to use the socket for your office gadgets.
By arranging the desk next to the wall makes it easier to hide the many cables you need. Think of all the wires, monitor cable, charger, lights, and so on.
Placing your desk to the wall keeps them out of sight and your desk will automatically look much cleaner and organized.
Have a spacious room for your home office desk
Having a well-spaced room for your home office desk makes it easier to have a well-organized office desk. It is not advisable to have your office desk in a tight room or corner because it would make your home office prone to a mess.
Of course, sometimes it might just not be possible. But if you have a chance to set up your new office in a separate room you have a better chance to keep it organized.
A tight room would not provide enough space to keep home office tools or equipment like the file cabinet bookshelves and many others.
Use the wall hanging storage solutions
One way to organize your home office desk and maximize your space is to find a way to organize your office equipment like pens, and other office equipment inside a storage that is hanging at the wall.
Organized storage sections could be your basket, cubbies, shelves, and hooks. That even gives you more space on your desk, and will make the table clean and clear. Picking up items for work will be easy and when you're done, you would return them fast.
And you find solutions that don't take away place of your desk if will help you to keep your desk clutter free.
Have a dustbin next to your desk
Having a dustbin around you is essential for a well-organized office desk. Let's face it - when you work from your home office desk, you will always generate waste like papers.
When you keep the dustbin readily available near to your desk, you can get rid of waste right away.
This will prevent you from collecting waste papers and disposable items on your desk.
But please don't forget to empty your dustbin every day.
Simplicity is key
Having a well-organized home office desk requires simplicity.
Keep your home office and desk simple and avoid having unrelated work items in your office room and office desk.
For example, keeping volumes of magazines that are unrelated to your work at your desk makes your desk look cluttered. And it will also distract you from your work.
So keep personal items that you do not need for the CURRENT WORK, not on your desk. Store them away until you really need them for the work you are currently working on.
For more tips on how to keep your desk clutter-free please also read our article THE CLEAN DESK PHILOSOPHY: INCREASE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF YOUR HOME OFFICE
Get a filing cabinet
Because you work at home, you may need to keep some files, records, and important documents. But the desk is not the place to store them.
That's why you will need a storage cabinet.
Some use a paper tray for documents on their desk. But in reality, these paper trays more often than not become a graveyard for documents that you do not really need - at least not your current work.
And so very often papers in these trays are piling up and make your desk look cluttered.
So, our tip is not to use paper trays on your desk at all. Instead, get a filing cabinet and store papers inside. So they are out of sight and you can keep your desk clean and free of clutter.
The advantage of a filing cabinet compared to foldes is that in a filing cabinet you can simply place your papers in folders. You don't have to keep a puncher on your desk, then find the folder, take it from the shelve, open the folder, find the correct section then close and put back the folder again.
You simply can open the drawer, see the correct folder and simply throw in your papers. Its much simpler and faster - and still you are very organized this way.
Have the right setup of your computer monitor
If you need a monitor, having a well-positioned computer monitor on your desk should be one of your priorities.
Of course, your main concern should be to set up your monitor ergonomically to avoid back pain.
Adjust the screen height so the surface of the display is just a little bit under your eye level. If your monitor is not adjustable you can use a stand for it or place it on a box to get the correct height.
Your eyes should look slightly downward when viewing the middle of this display. It is recommended that your monitor is about 17 inches away from your body or about an arm's length distance.
In order to keep your desk as clean as possible, make sure you align the cables neatly under your desk. Tie them so that they are not so visible.
Of course, if you do not really need one, and are fine with working on a laptop get rid of it. If a clutter-free desk is your main priority then working only with a laptop is your choice. It looks better and you easily can store away your laptop when your work is done.
More infos about setting up a home office ergonomically you find in our article WHAT IS THE BEST ERGONOMIC HOME OFFICE SETUP?
Keep your everyday office tools close to you on the desk
Office equipment you make use of every day should be kept close to you on your desk. You do this by utilizing your office desk drawers and to keep them close to you.
That way you don't go wandering about every time looking for tools you make use of every day.
This keeps you organized and focused on your work duty. Tools like your pen, important files you are working on, markers, and many more should be kept in your drawer.
Create easy to identify folders and storage containers
You might be wondering for what purpose? Well, simply to make storing the office items or equipment you are using after work as easy as possible.
If you have a well-organized desk, where everything has its defined place, it will make it much easier to keep it clean.
And it also keeps you motived to keep it that way.
You can compare it with a well-organized garage. Have you seen a tool-wall where every tool-shape is marked at the wall so that it's very easy to know where every tool has its place?
You can use the same principle with your office tools. For instance, you should have a particular place where you keep your pens and other office accessories. So when you pick them from their designated location, you would easily return them back and not place them in the wrong location.
Placing them in the wrong location will contribute to disorder and in the end - clutter. This approach would greatly help you have an organized home office desk.
Have a notebook instead of single papers
Keep a notebook next to you. There you have ample space to write down notes, phone numbers, ideas, and anything else that comes to your mind.
Use only the notebook for handwritten notes and don't use sticky notes or even worse single paper sheets. The single papers will eventually be all over your workspace and make it cluttered.
But a neat and clean notebook looks organized and you can close it when you finished your work. And - best of all - you will find all your notes again and they don't get lost.
Have a practical workflow
As you arrange your desk, you should have a stable workflow to keep your desk organized. For instance, only active files should be on your table. Once you have the files on your desk you want to work on RIGHT NOW prioritize your workflow.
Keep away projects you are not actively working on at the moment.
Prioritizing your work will help you to work more effectively.
You could prioritize your work like this:
1. Work on what is important and urgent and should be attended to right away.
2. Tasks that are important but are not urgent
3. Tasks that are urgent but not important at the moment
4. Tasks that are not important and not urgent.
This simple method can help you to work less under pressure, accomplish more - and keep your desk well organized.
Keep your electrical cables orderly
The more cable you have in your home office the easier is to look for your office to look disorderly.
Therefore it is important that you keep all the electrical cables laid properly. That includes all cables on your desk, under your desk, and on the floor. Think of your computer cables, printer cables, extension box cables, and so on.
Really, there is not much that distracts more than cluttered cables all over the place.
So use some cable zip ties to keep your cable orderly out of sight.
Also think about if you can use wireless options for your printer, mouse, scanner, or loudspeaker.
Remove unnecessary items from your desk
A clutter-free desk means that you keep all clutter away from the desk. Logically, you will need to be mindful of what you keep on your home office desk.
Is it needed or necessary for the task I'm working on right now?
If the answers to these questions are no, then you should take them off your table.
You might be used to have them on your desk, and they look pretty. But they can distract and should be taken away to create space for essential items.
Store files digitally, whenever possible
With the internet, many things can be done and stored digitally. This greatly helps to create space on your desk and reduce the amount of paperwork in your home office.
Some of your files, calendars, memos, and even your to-do list can now be created and stored on your computer and the internet.
I'm using a little scansnap scanner to scan all my documents directly to Evernote. Papers that I do not need to keep as an original I file into my trash bin after scanning.
That reduces the number of stored papers greatly, I can easily find the documents and can not lose them as all files are stored in the cloud.
Cloud services are readily available, such as google space, dropbox, Evernote, and so on.
Complete your work or projects and clean up right away
One way to avoid a cluttered or disorganized desk is to complete every task for each day and avoid spillover of work till the next day.
This is because when you don't finish your work, you are more likely to leave them on the office desk till the next morning or next day. And of course, the desk would be disorganized and cluttered.
So what is the way out? The way out is to complete every task for each day and clean up your desk immediately when you are done. Doing this will keep your desk clutter-free.
Keeping your desk clean and organized
After you have been able to organize your desk, it's important to keep them organized.
But that is easier said than done.
Keeping your home office desk organized requires a lot of discipline and conscious effort.
Several times when we arrange our desk we find out that after some days we are back to square one. So keeping discipline is the key.
Here are some tips to stay organized and clutter-free:
Regular clean up
Regular cleanup is very important for you to maintain a clean organized office desk. Make it a habit to clean up your home office desk every day before you are leaving your workspace.
When you do that every day, you will be able to remove daily any papers, notes, and waste from your home office desk. Also take some time to clean your gadgets, your table, and clearing your home office desk every day.
Remove private items from your home office
Because you work at home, chances are that you would keep some private items in your home office space.
If you have space remove them from your home office altogether.
But even if that is not possible keep these private items away from your designated home office space.
Don't mix private and work-related items.
That will help to keep your home office space clean and tidy.
Benefits of keeping a clutter-free or organized desk
Having a clean and well-organized home office desk is crucial to enjoying your work. Without a clean office desk, your work can become boring and less productive.
A well-organized home office desk gives puts you in a good mood for the work ahead of you. Sometimes, people don't feel like working simply because their desk is already cluttered or disorganized.
And so they have to start every workday with organizing their desks and try to find their papers and tools. That is very demoralizing and already set you in a bad mood right from the start in the morning.
A well-organized home office desk on the other hand provides inspiration and puts you in a good mood for work, making your work a lot easier.
Helps you to locate items easily while you work
Keeping a clutter-free or organized office desk will help you locate office items quickly and without stress. If you are persistent and consistently keep your office desk well organized, it will put an end to the endless and time-consuming search of items.
Makes you ready for the unexpected.
It's just a great feeling to know that your home office is always presentable when unexpected visitors come to visit you at home.
Keeping a well-organized home office desk can save you from embarrassment.
Makes a good impression
When your colleagues visit you or see your office during a video conference, a well organized and clean office always makes a good impression.
It just looks organized and professional.
There are many good reasons to make the effort to keep your home office desk clean and clutter-free. And it's not too difficult to get there.
That measure of self-discipline will carry over to your work, keep your mind free for more important things.
But most important is that you feel great as you accomplished it.