Six Common Sources of Home Office Clutter and What to Do With Them

While putting together some content for my clients and streamlining some processes, I decided to work on some core content for organizing a home office.  While all of our businesses are a little different and we have different things that are essential to our workspaces, we are all working from home and most of us have a designated workspace.

So today I wanted to address some of the common sources of clutter in typical home offices and give you some ways to keep these items organized and or routines to consistently remove said items out of the space.

Extra office supplies:  Do y’all go crazy for yourselves during back to school shopping?  Office items are super inexpensive and it’s a good time to stock up.  Keeping all of these items in the primary workspace wouldn’t be ideal for keeping clutter at bay.  You can store your surplus away from the general office space, just be sure the place is easy to get to (like not in the back of the attic).

Paper lists:  Most people still use some form of paper in their home office.  Even if it’s as small as a pack of post its. Depending on what your paper consumption looks like, you can keep all of your paper lists in a notebook (minimize loose papers) so you know where to find all of your lists and notes regardless of what type of note taking you were doing.  You could also keep a bulletin board, or cork board with the lists and set up a day in your calendar to create action items, tasks, or reminders from them and toss the loose pieces of paper.

Business cards:  Who here still uses business cards?  Or do you have a stack that never gets passed out?  Now these aren’t completely out of style (even though most of us work our businesses completely online).  If you go to an in-person event and happen to pic up several business cards, or want to organize the ones you already have in your office you can do this in a couple of ways.  

  • take a picture of the business cards and save in a digital file
  • toss the information in a spreadsheet for review later
  • store in a small decorative shoe box (can alphabetize if you want)

Take note that the last option leads to quick storage of the business cards, but will be a hassle for you to look through when you need to grab any information from them.  

Dishes or items to return to the kitchen:  Now we all love our coffee, water, or whatever’s in that cup!  But as the day progresses, it’s easy to allow the dishes to pile up.  If this is a common source of clutter in your home, you can try to remove the dishes from the office first thing when you sit down to work, or better yet, when you are done working for the day.  If you are in a shared home office space and other people are contributing to the dishes clutter (or better yet, toddlers who don’t have a care in the world), you will have to set up some encouragement for them.  See my post on the Dump Zone principles and how to combat them.

Notebooks:  While notebooks in and of themselves are typically pretty tidy, when you have several that need to stay in your primary or secondary workspace, you will need a way to store them neatly.  Generally, storing notebooks vertically will save you valuable desktop space and space on shelves as well. Here are a few ideas:

  • Bookends to keep them upright
  • Magazine holders
  • Desktop organizers can hold notebooks as well

Even though some of these common clutter challenges may not plaugue your home office space all the time, there is likely and occassion or few where you will find yourself clearing out some space to get rid of clutter.  The important thing to note is how you got there and work on ways to prevent the clutter from becoming a challenge in the first place. Check out my blog post on Preventing the Clutter Before it Happens here!

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