When it comes down to organizing and cleaning up, my favorite room to clean is my home office! Organizing a home office is actually fun for me when I’m not being lazy.
I’m one of those people that can’t work (or cook) without making sure that everything is its place first, because I know I’m most motivated in a clean, organized environment and any work right after is about to be EPIC!
Don’t believe me? I wrote my apartment decorating eBook AND my created my decorating workshop on my “clean and clear” days. If my office is a mess, I’m basically useless and will sit at my office desk for hours scrolling through Instagram (you’re following me, right?), while complaining about being cold. Then, I’ll go home and complain about how I’m never getting any work done. Yep, I’m THAT person.
From my one desk, three different ways series: the fashionista. Custom hand-beaded pillow from my shop.
(Oh, if you remember that my office was in my dining room, I’ve actually taken my dining room back and moved my office to a spare bedroom in my mom’s house. I definitely needed the extra space for efficiently sewing pillows for my shop.)
So, when my blogging buddies wanted to join together and do an organization series, I already knew what room I was working in, because I knew I needed this motivation to make sure 2017 starts and finishes in an EPIC way.
Leggo! **let’s go
I have a system that I use when organizing a home office every single time.
- Remove everything that doesn’t belong
- Remove all extra clutter and trash
- Rearrange furniture to optimize space and storage
- Organize your desk drawers
- Organize/hide documents and ugly supplies in drawers or storage boxes
ONE: Clear your home office of everything that doesn’t belong.
Most of the time, you’ll find lots of crap in my office that really don’t belong, like dog collars, home accessories that I bought for clients, dusty shipping boxes, bags filled with shredded paper, old ink (because I know I’m not the only one that tries to use “empty” ink after the last batch went empty – HEHE), and anything you can name, really.
This stuff just won’t let me be great. Sometimes I’ll walk in my office, realize there is too much crap in there and then just walk out to try again another day. I’m kidding. *with a straight face
So, the moral of the story is, you need to pull everything out of the room that doesn’t belong first. Don’t just move the stuff to the side and try to clean and organize around it. It doesn’t work. Trust me, I tried it. Instead, just throw that crap in another room. Just kidding… for real this time!
From my one desk, three different ways series: the crafter.
TWO: Remove ALL clutter from your office
Or, if you have more discipline than me, you can do a quick sweep and come back to it another day. For me, that doesn’t work, because if I don’t completely clean my office in one day, it’s going to get done next month.
Clutter includes any trash you might have missed in the first step, like garbage, empty cups, broken tools, old bills, and anything else that serves no purpose. Don’t be mad, but your planner stickers that are just hanging out on your desk or thrown in a pencil cup are also clutter. Snacks, rings and earrings (because who doesn’t have extra rings and earrings at their desk), random pens, biz cards that aren’t in a case, paper clips, bank statements, AND those business articles that you printed out yesterday, are ALL… yep, you guessed it… CLUTTER.
I suggest using a few boxes that are labeled “trash”, “giveaway”, and “put back”, so you know what you need to throw away, what you should giveaway, and what needs an actual home in your newly cleaned and organized office.
THREE: Rearrange your furniture to optimize space and storage
My favorite part of my design process (when I’m working with interior design clients) is space planning. I love helping clients see the potential of their room (and home) by moving their existing furniture around and/or purchasing new pieces to create a perfect floorplan that both maximizes the flow of the room and its storage capabilities.
My love for space planning translates to me being a serial furniture arranger. I move my furniture around all the time, even if it’s just one chair.
In your home office, you can get used to one way and don’t realize that way isn’t the best layout. You wonder why you don’t feel efficient or why the room’s flow seems limiting. When organizing a home office, I try moving some pieces around. It makes the room feel extra fresh! (Try it yourself, or hire me to help!)
My office wall shelving is screwed to the wall (very easily, I may add – easy on, easy off), so I won’t be moving it, but I did move my sewing table to the opposite wall, my 8-cubbie bookcase next to my desk, and this grandfather clock/jewelry organizer/medicine cabinet/who knows (what was I thinking with this thing?) out of the office.
Now, I have a better functioning layout and a whole wall that’s free. This layout will be a better one for shooting new YouTube videos (make sure you click here to subscribe to my channel).
Here’s what my office looked like before. [DISCLAIMER: I was working on a big pop up last week, so I had fabric and packaging materials ALL OVER THE PLACE. This disaster is at like 100%, normally my disaster rating is at about 85%, FYI.]
And, here’s what it looks like after I’ve removed the clutter and moved the two pieces around.
FOUR: Organize your desk drawers
I’m not gonna lie, my desk drawers in a cluttered state hurts my heart. I HATE to have my desk drawers messy, but sadly that’s been a reality for them lately. It’s not hard to organize them, but I accumulate so much stuff, that I get overwhelmed when it’s time to go through and get rid of some of it.
My rule of thumb for organizing my desk drawers is to keep anything that isn’t used everyday (or that isn’t really cute) inside the drawers and use small trays to corral like items.
Here’s the before and after of my top drawer:
I love Faith’s video (below) on decluttering her desk. She has a beautiful office area using really cute, inexpensive drawer organizers in her desk drawers. She’s got some really cute décor on top of the desk, too!
FIVE: Use storage boxes to group like items and label them to keep it all organized.
I’ve had other businesses in the past, so I always had to get creative when it came to organizing. But, one thing that has ALWAYS worked is cardboard boxes. They’re inexpensive, durable (enough), and come in a whole lot of colors/styles. Magazine files are also great, too.
If you sew (like me) or craft, you can have separate boxes/baskets for yarn, sewing notions, fabric, craft tools, etc.
If you draw, draft plans (like me), color, and/or render designs, you can use your boxes to separate your colored pencils from your markers and your drafting supplies from your paper.
If you have lots of business paperwork (also like me, LOL), these cardboard boxes are also great for that, too!
Labels can be as plain or as stylish as you’d like.
I used to have so many cardboard boxes, but on one of my cleaning sprees, I got rid of everything. That was probably one of the most productive days of my life, HEHE!
BONUS: Hide those wires!!
…. because a big tangled mess of wires make a room look cluttered. I talked about this in my 10 Decorating Mistakes to Stop Making post. I’ll be creating a video soon about hiding and organizing cables and wires. In the meantime, check out this article on Houzz to show you great ways to manage and conceal wires. Martha Stewart also has a great video that shows you how to keep your electrical wires organized.
So, that’s that! I hope you’re inspired to get it done in your own home office!
Now, go check out the other ladies in the series:
Mon. Jan 9 – Andrea (Decorating Cents)
Tues. Jan 10 – Whitney (Whitney J Decor)
Wed. Jan 11 – Katrina (Chic Little House)
Thurs. Jan 12 – Nicole (She Does a Bunch)
Fri. Jan 13 – Crystal (Holliday Collective)
Sat. Jan 14 – Carli (Fearfully and Wonderfully Made)
Sun. Jan 15 – Alaya (Behind the Big Green Door)
Mon. Jan 16 – Erin (Live Pretty on a Penny)
Tues. Jan 17 – Ashley (The Handy Homegirl)
Wed. Jan 18 – Saidah (Aprons and Stilletos)
I hope my plan for organizing a home office inspires you to start organizing. Do you have any more tips for those that need to get started? Leave a comment below.
Till next time,
So many great tips for walking into 2017 with a clean and organized office!! My tips and #1 and #3 🙂 …and yay for hiding all the cords / wires 🙂
I love the bonus idea of hiding the wires! Great ideas Whitney, I will def be using these in my home office!
Thanks, Alaya! Those cords can really get out of place, if you have enough of them.
Awesome post Whitney. I’m like you in the fact that I hate working on a messy desk. It takes my productivity from 10 to 0. You shared some great tips that are easily implementable! I definitely love your fabric boxes. They are really cute!
Thanks, Erin! Love these boxes, too. Recently bought them on Amazon and they look so much in person!
Carli A says
Great tips and your after looks soooo good! I don’t have a home office quite yet, but you’ve given me some great inspiration for when it’s complete!
Thanks, Carli! I’ve organized my office, now I need to work on the décor. Can’t wait to share more!
Great tips Whitney !! I’m the same way having to clean up in my office or kitchen lol !!! I’ll definitely be implementing some of these tips !!
Right?? I have such a hard time being productive if everything isn’t in order. I just gotta force myself to actually clear everything up, though, instead of putting it off.
Crystal H says
Whitney, this post was right on point! Great tips for organizing an office space. Love the before and after pics too!
Thanks, Crystal! Still working on the décor, but I’m glad that it’s at least organized.
Ashley Spearman says
Great post! I am currently working on my new home office and these tip will come in handy. Can’t wait to show you!
Thanks, Ashley! Can’t wait to see!
Kate Evans says
Hello Whitney, wow! It’s a great idea. I was thinking to shift my office at home and start working from home. Your blog is really helpful for me as it gives me great ideas for manage office properly. Thanks for sharing.
So glad you were inspired, Kate!
Kostas Chiotis says
What a transformation you’ve done there Whitney. Inspiring colors and choice of furniture. Picking the right home office table and chairs can be a daunting task, if you are after comfort & style at the same time.
Kostas Chiotis recently posted…Best Home Office Desks Review
Ryan Brown says
Home offices are great, it helps a lot, it was of great help. Keep in touch! Thanks a ton for this work!
Great Tips!! I will try to apply these tips, “Remove everything that doesn’t belong” now that is tough call.
Great guide Whitney,your before-after office pictures are really amazing, especially desk and art.
Rosi recently posted…Office Expansion Advice
I want to thank you for this wonderful Article!!