As most business professionals will attest, it’s much easier to be productive in a neat and orderly workspace. Sounds simple enough, but this can be tricky for those with a small home office. Keeping everything tidy is essential, and a few organizational strategies can help. Take advantage of these seven handy tips for organizing a small home office.

1. Benefit from Bins and Boxes

In a small office, keeping things tucked away offers a clean, uncluttered look and a more relaxed vibe. Install a tall vertical shelf, and add lots of bins and boxes to hold all of your office essentials. For a visual sense of calm and order, get storage bins and boxes of the same size and color.

2. Organize Like Items Together

When it comes to organizing small spaces, it helps to keep like items together. In a home office, stow writing tools like markers, pens, and pencils in an a divided container along with other office supplies like rulers, a stapler, a staple remover, and a hole punch. Create a small drawer or container for adhesive products like sticky notes, labels, and stickers and another for mailing essentials like envelopes and stamps. For quick and easy bookkeeping, keep your checkbook, calculator, ledgers, and other financial items in one place.

3. Take Control of Your Mail

Daily mail can pile up in your home office if you’re not careful. To gain control of your mail situation, take a tip from designer and blogger, Rebekah Dempsey. Create a mail filing system on your wall with labeled baskets. She has baskets for incoming mail, mail to file, bills, and outgoing mail. When mail comes in, file it, and go through each basket a few times per week.

4. Organize Files with Color Coding

Working out of a small home office is much less stressful with a well-organized filing system. Color coding makes filing paperwork a breeze, and it helps you find just what you’re looking for quickly. The folks at HGTV suggest sorting paperwork into five color-coded categories and creating a file for each.

  • Financial – Green
  • Insurance – Yellow
  • Medical – Red
  • Home or Apartment – Blue
  • Personal – Orange

5. Maximize Wall Space

To maximize space in a small office, turn to your walls. Keep to a daily schedule with a large wall calendar. Use a mounted whiteboard to jot down ideas, important phone numbers, and messages, and install vertical files on your walls to hold folders and papers. These attach easily to a wall with nails or screws and help keep your desktop clutter free.

6. Label, Label, Label

Labeling folders, files, drawers, and boxes helps you locate things when you need them. Place printable magnetic labels on metal file cabinets and adhesive labels on boxes, not the shelves where they are stored. That means items are still put in the proper place if the box is removed.

7. Discover More Organizational Ideas

Your home office may be small, but it can still be functional. For more small office design inspiration, start with these ideas:

  • Place an L-shaped desk in a corner to gain two work surfaces.
  • Swap floor lamps and desk lamps for wall sconces or track lighting.
  • Place a small desktop shelf under your computer printer to hold paper and ink.
  • Rid your office of unsightly electrical cords by changing to wireless electronics.
  • Use a drawer organizer for office supplies like rubber bands, push pins, and staples.
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