10 steps to an organised home office

I have to admit our office is organised chaos.  I share our office with my husband, we have 2 work stations with very different styles of organising and definitions of what a clean desk is.  My desk tends to be a dumping zone with broken toys, kids drawings, receipts, magazines to sort through and my endless supply of pens.  

This month and possibly pushed through to the next join me in my quest to get the office organised.  I will share with you tips and ideas for you to create an organised space of your own.

Here are the 10 steps we will be taking to get our home office organised.

  1. Setting up a dedicated workspace
  2. Create zones in the office
  3. Controlling the paper clutter
  4. Organising desk drawers
  5. Set up an effective filing system
  6. Organising the finances
  7. Spring clean the computer
  8. Taming the inbox
  9. Protecting the digital photos
  10. Learning how to stay in control and keep the office organised

What area in your home office needs the most attention?


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Grant-deanna Platts May 1, 2012 - 8:38 AM

Oh I am definately up for the challenge 🙂

Amy May 1, 2012 - 8:54 AM

All of it!! I just started on the office last week – after sorting through mountains of filing, I’m nearly there…and now the next load of ‘stuff’ has been dumped. I’m looking forward to hearing your organising tips. Amy x

Karen T May 1, 2012 - 8:56 AM

Our office is chaos and not even remotely organised! It is the dumping ground for so much! I’m really struggling with everything in the house with an 8 week old and a 22 month old who won’t nap in the daytime 🙁 I keep dreaming we had the money to pay someone to come and help me with it all!!

Harriet Archer May 1, 2012 - 9:08 AM

1.Setting up a dedicated workspace – That’s the dining table! Or coffee table. But the dining table is bigger and better!
2.Create zones in the office – I have a cupboard! One side is ‘office’ and the other stores my hobby. The Bloke has a cupboard – it’s scary in there! And the boys have a cupboard. (Which is NOT my problem!)
3.Controlling the paper clutter – This is where less is actually more… No space for paper clutter means it can’t really accumulate.
4.Organising desk drawers – HRRMMMM May need some help there. I do have two drawers I haven’t worked out to my satisfaction
5.Set up an effective filing system – Two lever arch files. One for warranties, one for current stuff. The last three years are bundled together by year in the filing cabinet which is in a wardrobe. (we really have space issues!)
6.Organising the finances – I do that the first week of February, when school goes back
7.Spring clean the computer – lalalala look, there’s a tractor! Ok, maybe *that* needs doing
8.Taming the inbox – It’s a lovely tractor, just look at it…
9.Protecting the digital photos – yes, that’s the Bloke’s domain. I should check what he’s doing.
10.Learning how to stay in control and keep the office organised – I think not having a dedicated office is probably a Good Thing for me. I have one of those standing file things in the kitchen, stuff that needs action goes in there, and I action it on Sunday afternoon when I do paperwork.

So in summary, up for #4, 7, 8 and 9

Therings May 1, 2012 - 9:12 AM

Given I had to move similar piles of kids drawings, recipts, school newsletters, photos, etc to actually get to my computer this morning, I’m thinking my desk area needs a revamp too! Hubby and I also share an office with 2 workstations. Can’t wait to see what ideas you come up with. 2 things I have implemented – Ikea Lack shelves above the desks – low enough for all the stationery items and pens, etc to be stored on and I can reach them whilst sitting, so this keeps the desk area free of them. Also, a magnetic board behind the desk with bulldog clips on – this keeps groups of paper together but up in front of me so I don’t forget about them or loose them on my desk under the broken toy frog!!

Trina May 1, 2012 - 9:12 AM

To keep all my hubbie tax receipts in order before they go in the lever arch file I use a file box (a nice brown leather look one that can be used anywhere if you don’t have a dedicated space). Things get filed here first instead of being put in a to be filed pile. This means they are roughly in order and can be found should a receipt be needed. When I file them in the lever arch file in preparation for the end of year tax I just have to put them in alphabetical order. It gives me a chance to purge anything that doesn’t need to be kept and make sure I haven’t left anything out of the tax return.

Kate May 1, 2012 - 9:20 AM

Is there any tips on organizing the husband so he doesn’t dump mail, magazines, paperwork, books, lotto tickets, pens, manuals (my list is endless) around the house rather than putting it in its place?? I might have to set up a rewards chart for him if he gets it right!

Roxy May 1, 2012 - 9:22 AM

Can’t wait!!

Lisa Warren May 1, 2012 - 9:54 AM

What area in your home office needs the most attention?

Jess Gretton May 1, 2012 - 10:16 AM

look forward to it!! in desperate need of some help in this area also!

Leonie May 1, 2012 - 10:18 AM

I recently hired someone to spend a few hours with me on my computer, organising my mail set up and folders and improving my skills. It was well worth it, I feel like I have had a virtual office spring clean!

Lisa May 1, 2012 - 10:46 AM

Doing backups on the computer & organising all of the electrical cords. I also need to update all of my inventories for insurance purposes… oh procrastination at its best!

Dani_searle May 1, 2012 - 11:39 AM

Definitely number 3.I can’t stay on top of the paper clutter!

Jazz May 1, 2012 - 11:47 AM

Papers and receipts! It all gets put in piles with the intention of sorting it out ‘later’. I’m yet to discover that magical time ‘later’!

Ange May 1, 2012 - 12:06 PM

Omg THANKYOU! I just bought a filing cabinet yesterday and now do not know where to begin! I will be watching this space!!

Belle May 1, 2012 - 5:50 PM

I believe that the ENTIRE office needs desperate help!! Watching this space…

Melissa May 1, 2012 - 8:35 PM

SO what I need. Tonight I talked to hubbie about the fact that I currently do not have an office at work and I do not have an office at home that is just for me to work (I have a large proj m’ment job and also run a website from home). so lots of jobs all joined into one mess. This is my focus as well for the next few weeks so hoping I get some great tips. Always love reading your stuff!

Kathryn May 2, 2012 - 8:01 AM

Yes!!! I need tips on how tosort all the paper – thats is defiently my weakness too. And i need tips on how to sort/stire tax stuff (receipts etc) – another weakness of mine. Watching this space…..

Mumma K May 2, 2012 - 8:48 AM

Thanks Katrina, this is one area in our house that needs desperate attention, because our house is on the small side my home office is a cupboard, it has become a ‘dumping cupboard’ for paper, kids craft and anything really. I’m really looking forward to having a organised home office, can’t wait to get started 🙂

Giovanna May 2, 2012 - 9:42 AM

Timely Katrina. We also have 2 separate office spaces and mine is on-hold while we organise renovations. Frankly, I can’t wait that long so am thinking of a move to another part of the house and reorganising it a-fresh. I am looking forward to getting rid of all the PAPER (!) and going almost paperless.

Katrina May 4, 2012 - 10:00 AM

Thats a good idea so then in the meantime you are working in a tidy environment

Tina @ Tina Gray {dot} Me May 2, 2012 - 1:31 PM

The part of my home office that needs the most attention is the part that I don’t have one! I have a desk in the corner of the lounge room. But it does get untidy quickly with paperwork.

Katrina May 4, 2012 - 9:54 AM

I hope that by the end of the month that you maybe able to find a system that can help you eliminte the paper mess!

Luckiestwoman May 2, 2012 - 2:26 PM

I’m joining you on your quest! I’m starting back at work next Monday. My home office is my workspace and it’s a mess! I even cleaned it up a few weeks ago but didn’t get the follow up organisational stuff done so I am basically back to square one. Your list has me all inspired!
I have a personal blog dedicated to it – might even have to make it public once I am done.
Thanks for posting!

Jana May 2, 2012 - 2:41 PM

Thanks for sharing also reminds me of my desk as I also have a Ragdoll who loves jumping on my desk & even on my keyboard lol

Kerry May 2, 2012 - 5:41 PM

Great timing, just started organising my office last weekend. Looking forward to some great tips to help me in the coming weeks. I have only recently discovered your website but already I have been able to implement so many of your ideas

Multi-Blogging Mum May 2, 2012 - 9:24 PM

I need an office to start with.. not my messy area…

Katrina May 4, 2012 - 9:53 AM

LOL, you can do, you will enjoy your space at the end of it!

Trish May 2, 2012 - 9:38 PM

I have a cat but no office , we are setting up a temporary one in a mobile room. So I need all of the above.

Katrina May 4, 2012 - 9:53 AM

LOL, my cat is funny, she keeps popping up in all photos recently. I look forward to seeing what you have achieved at the end of the month Trish!

Karen September 20, 2012 - 9:51 PM

your cat is awesome! ^^

Tina May 4, 2012 - 10:16 AM

Oh dear! My office is so much smaller but has so much more clutter! I am going to be removing items for a while.
I started using it as a dumping ground and started organising it, so hubby made it his dumping ground! Grrr!
Will take before after photos.

Chrissie May 4, 2012 - 12:07 PM

My desk! I work full time from home, so I have my work laptop in front of my Mac (which I can’t use for work at the moment). A jacket to cover up the spot on my desk that reflects sunlight directly into my eyes from about 8am, a pile of paper that’s goodness knows what, notebooks for work and my personal writing, my diary, water bottle… Yep, my desk really needs some love right now!

Katrina May 4, 2012 - 9:20 PM

could you get something to put on your desk instead of using the jacket such as a placemat or table runner? I hope you enjoy this months challenge!

Tayla May 4, 2012 - 2:49 PM

I have a small desk in the corner of my room for uni and tafe work, really need to use the space a little better, cant wait to get started!

Tabitha Fletcher May 7, 2012 - 12:15 PM

Yeah, I’m sortof an organized mess myself, lol. I have a special tray to collect little lost things like paperclips and pen caps that we can’t find the partner to. But…it works for me. I would love for you to link this at Making Space Mondays!!

Tabitha Fletcher May 7, 2012 - 12:16 PM

Whoops. Didn’t leave an address. How did that happen? http://www.debtfreemommyblog.blogspot.com. Thanks, Tabitha Fletcher

Kate Reid October 12, 2012 - 12:19 PM

This looks like my desk, even down to the ragdoll cat “personal assistant” 🙂 mine prefers to sit in front of my computer screen, not behind it though…

Marelize October 8, 2014 - 7:34 AM

My home office is the farm’s office, it is the homeschooling-area too. So I have my stuff, farming stuff (two enterprises), and school stuff all in one room! It’s got the better of me.

Kate - Kat's Assistant October 8, 2014 - 12:18 PM

Hi Marelize, It feels so good to have the office decluttered and organised. Good luck.:)

Mychelle October 8, 2014 - 4:13 PM

Steps 1 to 10 has been my ambition for 7 long years! I haven’t even been able to organise my tax for 4 years. To sort the 0000’s of digital photos would take me 2 weeks full time reckon. Maybe in 20 years when the kids move out (hopefully!!!????)

Katrina - The Organised Housewife October 13, 2014 - 11:35 AM

LOL oh i wish you all the luck Mychelle! It’s one of those jobs that are quite easy to put off but unfortunately have to be done.

Natalie Phillips October 8, 2014 - 9:10 PM

My whole office needs work, it is also our spare room (sleeper couch), struggling to keep all business files etc….,no space, papers over flowing, big desk but never tidy.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife October 13, 2014 - 11:46 AM

Good luck Natalie, I would love to hear how you go organising your office. Maybe try a few floating shelves. I think they work quite well.

Cory Waltmathe December 13, 2014 - 12:33 AM

Thank you for the helpful tips, to organized an office is not that simple. Office is the place that you will work, that’s why it has to be clean and organize.

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