It is all too easy to find your office desk full of clutter and with papers strewn all over. Did you know that your office space greatly impacts how productive and efficient you are, let alone all the valuable time wasted frantically looking for items or notes you scribbled? In this article, we discuss how you can organize your desk on a budget with ease.
Baskets or Paper Trays
Use baskets or paper trays to keep your stash of papers in order, be it mail, bills, postcards, etc. Go through all your papers and sort them into three different categories. Label a basket for each of these categories. One for papers you do not need and intend to get rid of. Another for the paper you are going to file. Another for the paper you are supposed to act on. This will greatly help keep clutter away and hence create more room for you to work.
You can also hang your baskets to make use of your wall space. A pegboard wall will make it much easier for you to hang baskets. There are DIY tutorials available on how to construct a pegboard wall.
Also, you don’t have to hoard notes and old postcards and have them strewn all over your desk. Instead of keeping them on your desk, tack them with some of your artwork on the wall to make a display.
Color-code Filing System
For the papers to file, colour-code your filing system into different categories and file all important papers in it. When you colour-code your filing system, it makes it well-organized, which makes your office more functional. You can colour-code as follows: Red for financial, green for medical, blue for insurance, orange for auto, purple for manuals, etc., according to your requirements.
For all the paper you get, a mail station will enable you to organize it well. Have a folder for all mail coming in and going out, another folder for all mail that is to be filed, another for all your bills, and even another for all the members of your family. Then, immediately you have any mail come in, put it in the mail station accordingly. Every week, make time to go through each folder and put your papers accordingly in your different baskets, and then eventually into your color-coded file system.
Create a space for your books, tech items, artwork, trinkets, etc., by hanging a shelf or shelves over your desk. This way, you will not clutter your desk with stuff, and you will create a room that you can use as a workspace. Also, items will be easily reachable.
You can compartmentalize your shelves using boxes. So, stack some boxes on your shelves. Use one color palette for a beautiful display.
For the books, you keep in the shelves, keep these organized. The best way to organize is by color. When you organize by color it adds a design element. At the same time, your space looks very organized and free of clutter.
Open shelf units on your desk will serve as storage and at the same time provide support for your desk. They enable you to have adequate space for spreading out, for books, etc. They also provide support. Some desk models even enable you to have access to the shelves from different sides.
No doubt your desk has some accessories such as a pencil cup, a lamp, a clock, pictures, etc. It is all too easy to find that these are all over your desk causing a mess. So have your computer on one side, your accessories on another, and then ensure there is adequate room for you to write and work.
Create even more workspace by keeping some essentials in a separate place. For example, your printer, copier, etc., can be kept elsewhere. This way, you free up some much-needed space on your desk.
You can put a small table next to your office desk. It will actually add some elegance to your design and the additional working space will be much welcome.
Yellow Brick Home has a tutorial on how to make a keyboard tray. You can get the tutorial and make a keyboard tray where you can place your laptop or notepad when you are not using them.
One in, One out Rule
We generally use this rule in our closets, but it can be equally applied to our desks too to avoid clutter and to keep our desks organized. Make it a rule that each time you purchase a new item, it means one has got to go. So, if you purchase a new paper cup then it is time for the old one to leave, and so on.
Sorting through office drawers can be a task because we stuff in there whatever we are not sure where to keep or do not want to discard. It is ironic that these drawers are meant to help us be more organized because far from it, we dump everything and anything in there.
An acrylic organizer or a plastic organizer tray will help you take control of your desk drawer. It will enable you to put the items in your drawer neatly in compartments. So, empty your drawer. Go through all the contents and get rid of anything you do not need. Transfer everything that should not be in that drawer to another location. For example, what if you find bills, manuals, and some recipes? The bills get filed or discarded, the manuals go into your filing system, and the recipes are probably better off somewhere near the kitchen instead of your desk drawer. Then, put everything else back neatly into the different compartments. Now your items will be separate and much easier to find.
You can also buy a desktop organizer or improvise from the supplies available to you or even make one yourself. A desktop organizer will come in handy for putting items such as pens, notebooks, sticky notes, etc.
If you have office supplies, store these in containers or bins or baskets. Keep these office supplies away to make your desk appear decluttered.
Bulletin boards are just as applicable in your office as they are in a school. Use it to pin important reminders, messages, or numbers well within your sight. This will definitely make you more organized.
However, do not let your reminders and messages turn into clutter. Keep only what you need for the day or week ahead and remove old messages and reminders of events that already passed. Also, while we all love our kids’ pictures and photos of our family, avoid pinning these on here. Find somewhere else to put them up. Keep in mind that this bulletin board is there to help you get organized and be more productive.
Use a separate cork board to pin your family photos, photos of friends, and kids’ pictures. It is healthy to have them in the office because they will cheer you up and lift your spirits.
Also, keep a weekly planner on the wall where you will easily be able to see the things you need to do. Would it not be great if you included clearing your desk as one of your weekly to-dos?
Rearrange Your Office Desk
Sometimes your office could really use a change of design; regardless of how comfortable you think you are with your current design or how long you have had it. You can change your outlook and increase your productivity by just moving around your desk. For example, your desk may be away from the window. Move it near the window and enjoy the natural light.
Similarly, you may be in need of a paint job to give your office a fresh look. So go ahead and visit your local hardware and look for a shade that you like.
If you use a desktop computer, a tablet, and a smartphone, there are solutions such as 2040 Design Studio’s Modo. It has pins that can fit a variety of devices used today and several desk items that tend to disappear. With a drill as well as some wood and a dowel you can also make one.
Follow these tips and your desk will be organized and at a minimal cost. But you may be wondering whether this will work because you have way too much stuff. Other than the basics, you are not quite sure what to keep and what not to keep. Well, get two boxes and throw in everything that is on your desk, except for your computer and phone—the must-haves. Now, go to work as usual. As you work, fish from the box whatever you need and place it back on your desk. By the end of the week, you will have what you really need. Now go ahead and begin organizing that using the tips we covered. Whatever that is left in the box belongs elsewhere. So, either file it, shred it, or find another place other than your office to keep it.
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