Community Chatter: How do you organize your home office?
I bet you didn’t know that the second Tuesday in March is national “Organize your home office day” did you? (I didn’t either!) But here we are, and I know for myself at least, it’s a good day for me to do some spring cleaning in my office and think about how to organize it a bit more.
Once I moved my “desk” from the kitchen table to the spare room, I quickly realized that some things just weren’t going to work for me anymore - most notably my habit of being able to write sticky notes to myself and post them on the wall next to my chair wouldn’t be possible any longer since the wall next to my desk is brick instead of drywall. Additionally, I haven’t entirely unpacked the moving boxes and other random items that found their way into the spare room as I settled into the new space.
I have started grabbing one box every evening after dinner and sorting through it as part of my spring cleaning/organizing, and that will definitely help things along. But I still have the matter of sticky notes. I could go buy a cork board or white board to use, but I’m trying to be more intentional in my purchases this year and decided to give an online solution a try.
Enter Google’s Jamboard. It’s a virtual whiteboard that lets you add sticky notes, images, drawings, doodles, etc. I’ve been using the sticky notes feature as a replacement and while it’s not exactly the same it is convenient to be able to quickly jot down a note, and I love that I can color code things as well. Since I have enough real estate on one of my monitors, I keep it open in the background so I can always see it, and so far it’s working out fairly well.
I can’t say I’m a terribly organized person, but the good news is that I’m relatively minimalistic. When it comes to my home office, business is business. I make sure that the space is only dedicated to things to keep my work day productive, and anything else finds a different place in the house.
I have just 3 drawers in the office: one for important documents and paperwork, one for peripherals and chargers, and one to hold office supplies like notebooks, post-its, pens, memory cards, etc. I also keep a slot on my desk for mail I need to take care of like bills and invitations.
The rest of the room is dedicated to a bookshelf, a futon for guests, and our (mostly decorative) music instruments. It’s a simple and productive space.
I've spent most of my career in a field that enabled me to work from either home or office, depending on the company or project. However, even after years of figuring out the perfect setup for a home office, when the pandemic arrived and we were all working from home, I was forced to look around my space and ask myself exactly how functional my workspace really was. After five minutes of assessing my home office setup, I was shook. My workspace needed a complete makeover, and I fixed it immediately. Through that action, I learned what I need in my home office to stay organized. The bottom line is, as with all things, it was best to keep it simple. I thought about the office tools which generally inspired me to choose working from the office rather than my desk at home. I listed what I didn't have, but what the office does have.
To get my home office organized and keep it that way, I set up the basics: A whiteboard, bulletin board, 2 filing cabinets, a stack of post-it notes, extra pens, a drawer for office supplies, and 1 set of bookshelves. The bulletin board and whiteboard are truly key to my level of organization. Whiteboarding helps me prioritize or expand on an idea (or both!), while the bulletin board and accompanying thumbtacks give me a chance to tack up important reminders. The drawer is organized with office supplies so I know where to find anything and everything I need. On my bookshelf I keep a special box full of wires, chargers, power cords, and other electronic needs, as well as the many books we often reach for when working on building new skills. The rule I've set for myself to stay organized is also simple: clean up at the end of the work day. Pens go into the pen section of my office supply drawer. Headphones used for Zoom calls go with the electronics. The whiteboard and bulletin board are reviewed for any changes needed. And, at the end of the day, I set up my office so I can walk into work the next day with a fresh start, every time. It all sounds much easier than it is; it took a global pandemic to assist me with organization, but I've finally found my secret sauce: simplicity.
Now it's your turn, what organization tips do you have to share? Let us know in the comments below!