A 5-Step Plan for Getting (and Keeping) Your Home Office Clean & Organized

published Sep 14, 2021
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Credit: Liz Calka

The pandemic has made people rethink they way they use their homes — especially their work spaces. If you didn’t have a home office a year and a half ago, there’s a good chance you have one now. If you already had a home office, maybe you moved things around or made some smart additions to make it feel like more permanent or productive (or both). Or maybe, like me, you discovered just how important keeping your home office clean really is.

If it feels like making sure your desk space clutter-free is a bit of a chore, this five-step plan is for you.

Start with a Clean Slate

If it’s currently out of control, the first thing you’ll want to do is re-set your office space. Clear everything off your desk at once, wipe your desk down, and then decide on what things (try to keep it to a very few) can live on your desk. Put the rest away.

Designate a Spot for Paper

Organizing experts agree that paper is one of the biggest sources of clutter in your home office. Accept this and create a spot for your paper. A simple paper tray can help keep your work zone tidy. But you’ll still need to deal with those papers eventually… which brings us to step 3:

Set a Time to Deal with All That Paper

Deal with any papers that you can right away. For everything else, set a regular time to deal with them so it doesn’t become an overwhelming chore. You can do this daily, every other day, or weekly, depending on how much paper you accumulate. Regardless, put the task on your calendar or to-do list.

Credit: Lana Kenney

Create a Shut-Down Routine

Develop a clean-up ritual for when you leave your office for the day. Put away notepads and pens, straighten up notebooks and planners, gather mugs and water glasses to bring out, etc. This will help make the next step a lot easier.

Schedule a Weekly Cleaning

Plan to clean your office once a week. This way, you’ll get to any little things that still got left out, if there are any. Dust the surface of your lamps, shelves, and desk; wipe down hard surfaces where necessary; empty the trash; water plants; and vacuum.