Working from home is the best thing to happen since the invention of the Laptop Beverage Holder. Look at you, emailing clients out on the patio while sipping a Mint Julep and texting your friends sarcastic messages when they’re stuck in rush hour traffic.
But over time a problem developed: unlike the fluorescent prison you used to escape from at the end of each day, your home office never goes anywhere. Stubbornly, it attracts disorder and chaos the way the Bermuda Triangle sucks in aircraft and ships. And worst of all, there’s no mysterious cleaning crew to come in to restore order every night.
For years now you have slowly migrated your home office from the dining room table to the breakfast nook to the master bedroom, leaving nests of paperwork, toner cartridge carcuses, and more Post-It Note reminders than you can shake a Bic at all over the place. After roping off disaster areas with yellow police tape, your family was finally forced to stage an intervention.
They want their house back.
Although you hate to admit it, you know they’re right. Your work has been suffering. It’s hard to produce that Economics of Tassel-Loafers in the Workplace report when you can’t even find your laptop. You’ve got to buckle down and take back those 120 square feet that you claim on your tax forms each year.
To get your office supplies back in the box you’re going to have to think outside the box. Check out these creative storage hacks to keep your home office clutter-free:
If you don’t keep your desktop clear, where are you going to throw your power bar wrappers and dirty coffee cups?
- Revolving spice racks make a perfect caddy for push pins, rubber bands, paper clips, and other small supplies.
- Try this simple tripod stand, made of two binder clips and a business card, for displaying your smartphone.
- When fastened to the side of your desk, binder clips make a great system for keeping your electric cords separate and tangle-free.
- Get things off the desk and make good use of every corner with this overturned magazine rack.
General Home Office Organization
Clearing off your desk doesn’t count as organization if you’ve just thrown everything under the desk. The solution is to keep small office supplies, business cards, current paperwork, and to-do lists out of the way but in sight.
- Wooden shutters, mounted on the office wall, make a great pocket organizer for paperwork.
- Inexpensive magnet boards or peg boards can be hung on the wall in front of your desk to create an easily-changeable display of office necessities.
- No office would be complete without a basic desktop organizer. The only problem is, when “someone” throws a file into your in-box, you can no longer pretend you didn’t see it in all the mess.
Here’s the thing about filing cabinets. You actually have to open them to see what’s inside, and that can be a horror show.
- Clear plastic shoe boxes, like these ones sold at the Container Store, are the perfect size for papers. Label the outside of the boxes, stack them on shelves, and you have a filing system that’s easy to see.
- Use a filing cabinet on wheels to move your home office from the guest room to the laundry room in minutes flat when those inconsiderate visitors show up.
- Color-coordinating your files into categories is not only visually pleasing, but ensures easy access. Red can be tips and tricks to get rid of unwanted house guests….
- Not sure how best to organize your paperwork? Use this handy “Should You Keep That Paper” infographic.
Office Furniture and Equipment
No home office would be complete without at least a few good IKEA-style hacks.
- Use a desk that can be raised or lowered so you can work while sitting or standing.
- Use a whiteboard that is big enough to express yourself but can be quickly erased should any visitors come to your home office; you are supposed to be a professional, after all.
- When your bedroom doubles as your home office, you’ll want to use a small, LED desk lamp so that your spouse can sleep — and this one plugs into the USB port of your computer so you can take it anywhere.
- Spain has the right idea with afternoon siestas, but if going to the bedroom to lay down seems too indulgent in the work day, you can still take a quick cat nap in this Nap Time Office Chair.
Cool Hacks for Random Stuff
Thinking of that pile of office supplies as installation art may get you into the California Institute of the Arts, but it’s not going to help you write that blog on clutter-free office hacks.
- If you’re worried that family members are secretly downloading porn to your computer (because how else did it get there?), rest easy with this safe and secure fingerprint reader.
- Now that you’ve decluttered your home office and implemented some convenient organization and storage hacks, check out the Fuut Hammock — guaranteed to make you feel like a fancy, top-level executive.
- Speaking of busy executives, all work and no napping makes Jack a tired boy. Take a quick snooze with The Driven Executive’s Nap Tie or the George Costanza under-the-desk sleep pod.
- This Bullshit Button enables you to call bullshit whenever you hear someone talking nonsense (of course, since you’re the only one in your home office…).
With these simple hacks for organizing your home office, you can return the kitchen, bathroom, or your kid’s bedroom back to its original use and finally get some work done. Now if only you could set up a Starbucks kiosk in your living room….