With the ever-changing office culture, more and more people are starting to work from the comfort of their own home. It’s easy to sit on the couch and work while watching TV, but it’s not always best for your productivity. Ideally, you want a separate room in the house that you can turn into an office space. Realistically, this isn’t always possible. If your makeshift office is cramped into the corner of your living room–or even if it’s not–you may struggle to keep your area organized.

Office organization isn’t always easy or fun, but it’s essential in order for you to remain productive and get work done. If you’re looking for ways to organize your home office, here are some tips:

Get an organizational system in place

Chances are your office space could be more functional if you had an organization system in place. Before you start to clean, figure out how you want to organize your space. There are a variety of ways you can organize your space including multi-level organizers for unsorted papers, a file rack for current projects or a filing cabinet.

Clean off your entire desk

If your desk is buried under stacks of papers, post-it notes and office supplies, you’ll want to start with a clean slate. Start by removing everything off of your desk except your computer, printer and phone. Then you’ll be able to go through all of the items that were on your desk in order to throw out the ones you don’t need and organize the ones you do need. Use the organizational system you created to sort through everything that was on your desk or in your drawers.

Organize your cables

Do you trip over a pile of wires and cables every time you walk into your office? Having cables and wires all over the place is not only a tripping hazard, but it can make your office more cluttered than it needs to be. To reduce the number of cables in your office, consider putting away any electronics that you don’t use or try to switch over to wireless devices such as a mouse, keyboard or printer. You can also bind your cables together with cable ties, clips or Velcro straps so they stay in one place and are out of your way. Keep your cables behind your desk or in a bin attached to the bottom of your desk where no one can trip over them.

Keep frequently used items close by

You’ll waste valuable time searching through the drawers of your desk every time you need a pen, sticky note or stapler. Keep your frequently used items close by, either in a container on top of your desk or organized into the top drawer. Consider keeping a bookshelf next to your desk if you have books that you reference often so you won’t have to go across the room to get them.

Organize your calendar and to-do lists

Think about how you keep track of your assignments, meetings and personal obligations. Are you someone who likes to keep track of this information digitally or do you prefer a hand-written calendar and to-do list? Find a system that you know you can stick with, and work on keeping everything in one place. If you prefer to go paperless, get rid of all of your paper to-do lists and connect the calendar on your computer to your phone. If you prefer to stick with a more classic system, consider using a memo board or dry erase calendar to keep track of all of your important events. Regardless of which system you prefer, it’s important that you keep it organized and updated.

There’s a common misconception that working from home is easier than working in an office, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed establishing and organizing your home office. The best way to remain productive and efficient is to organize your home office right from the start and to find what works for you.

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