declutter your home office

How to Declutter Your Home Office

Your home office is a place where ideas need to flow and people need to be able to think. There is no excuse for disorganization. You can’t work if your office is cluttered, so before you buy anything new, you have to figure out exactly what’s in there and get everything out that isn’t necessary.

Here are some tips to help you declutter your home office:

– Paper. The home office is the place where papers go to die. Although it might sound daunting if you have piles of papers, your only way out of home office hell is to go through it all and get rid of old papers that you really don’t need, then never generate more piles. It’s a paperless world now, so you can almost always do things without ever killing a tree. There are exceptions–certain contracts, for example. Most of the time, however, you can keep documents on your computer. Just be sure you have a regular system for backing everything up in case your computer dies and a way to maintain private information.

To get rid of all the paper you still have lying around, just plow through it. It might take a whole weekend or two, but crank up the music and just start. Make three piles:

1. If you need it soon, file it neatly in an organized way with a system that makes sense to you, so the next time you need to find your last phone bill, you’ll know exactly where it is: under P, for “Phone Bill.”

2. If you might need it but not any time soon, put it in a file box you can store somewhere out of the way.

3. If you don’t need it (be ruthless), recycle it.

Office supplies. Next, tackle your office supplies. Consolidate everything and put it near the place where you will use it–printer paper and ink cartridges near the printer, stapler and paper clips on your desk, etc. Everything in the office has a spot: trays of pens, paper clips, staples, and envelopes. Have a technology box where you keep backup phone chargers, camera parts, and computer pieces; another box for packing material, like padded envelopes and packing tape; and another box for wrapping supplies, like paper and ribbons.

Purge. Get rid of everything that doesn’t work or that you won’t use, like supplies for printers you don’t have anymore, broken cell phone chargers and mismatched cases, dried-up glue and markers, pens that don’t work or are missing caps or leaking, pencils with worn-down erasers, markers that have dried up, stationary you don’t really like, and the boxes you’ve been saving “just in case.” Go through your desk and supplies about once a week so you always have only what you really need.

– Assemble binders. For projects that have to be paper based, make a binder for each project. I know we’re going paperless, but sometimes it’s nice to have a binder with everything in it. Label them. In fact, label everything.

For more tips on organizing your home office and every room in your home, check out Skinnygirl Solutions by Bethenny Frankel, available on