Working from home is great, but a cluttered and disorganized home office can get in the way of productivity and creativity. One way to combat this is by embracing minimalist organization for your work space.
Minimalism promotes focus, clarity, and efficiency. It’s especially helpful if you have a small workspace. All you need to do it:
- Declutter and simplify your work space
- Design a layout that’s efficient for your workflow
- Make the most of your storage solutions, including digital storage
Set the Stage: Decluttering and Simplifying
The first step is the easiest: get rid of what you don’t need. Start by removing all items from your workspace.
Sort through each item and ask yourself if it serves a purpose or inspires you while you’re working. If so, keep it. If not, and especially if it’s a distraction, get it out of your workspace.
Designing a Layout that Works For You
Think about the following when you’re deciding how to arrange the space.
Place your desk in a position where it gets plenty of natural light, if possible. Natural light can boost mood and productivity.
Avoid facing a wall; instead, position your desk to face the door or a window to create an open and inviting atmosphere.
If this isn’t possible – say, if you’re in a small windowless basement room – consider getting some craft lamps with bulbs that come close to natural daylight.
Note: if you’re mostly on a laptop all day, it’s also possible you don’t want a desk at all. Many people are switching to deskless setups, and it can be great, depending on your needs. It certainly frees up some space.
Get an ergonomic desk chair that supports good posture and reduces strain on your body. Adjust the height of your chair and desk to ensure proper alignment of your wrists, back, and eyes.
Or, if your set up is deskless, find a comfortable chair and maybe an ottoman to put your feet up.
Cables and Wires Management
To maintain a clean and minimalist look, keep cables and wires out of sight. Use cable management solutions like cable clips or cable sleeves to organize and hide them behind your desk.
Neutral Color Scheme
If you’re painting or buying furniture, considering sticking to a neutral color palette for a clean and uncluttered look. White, beige, or light pastels work well.
If you want something more energizing, like red, then stick to a monochromatic color scheme or use white or beige wherever you don’t use the bright color.
Optimize Your Storage Solutions
Efficient storage is at the core of a minimalist home office. Try the following:
Make the best use of your vertical space by installing floating shelves, pegboards or wall-mounted cabinets. This lets you to keep essential items within reach while freeing up valuable desk space.
Shelving units or bookcases can blend seamlessly with your office decor. Use them to store books, reference materials, or decorative items that inspire you.
Organize your important documents with a streamlined filing system. Consider using labeled folders or color-coded binders to categorize and easily locate your files when needed.
Also consider going paperless and digital, if your employer allows it.
Digital Organization Tools
In today’s digital age, digital organization is just as important as physical organization.
Reduce the need to file papers with cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox. These store your files and make them easy to access your files from any device.
If you have privacy concerns, look for cloud storage companies that have end-to-end encryption.
Productivity apps like Trello, Asana, and Todoist can help you manage your tasks, deadlines, and projects effectively. These tools can help you stay organized, prioritize your work, and collaborate with team members if necessary.
If you work for a company that uses its own chosen productivity software, make sure you’re getting the most out of it for your personal use.
Create folders or labels in your email client to categorize and prioritize incoming emails. Unsubscribe from any unnecessary newsletters or promotional emails to keep your inbox clutter-free.
Digital notes apps are tremendously helpful. Evernote is the most well-known, but I recommend Nimbus Note which I’ve been using for several years now. It has way more features and an option to pay once instead of having ongoing subscription fees.
To maintain a minimalist aesthetic on your desk, curate the items you keep within arm’s reach. Thing about the usual steps in your workflow, and in what order you reach for different ite,s.
Keep only the essential equipment on your desk, such as a laptop or computer, a notebook or planner, and a pen or pencil holder.
If you have a printer, try to find space off your desk for it. The same goes with scanners and any equipment you don’t use daily.
Add some personalization to your minimalist workspace with a small potted plant, a favorite photo, or a motivational quote. These can improve your mood and creativity without cluttering your space.
Consider getting a desk organizer with compartments for storing pens, paper clips, and other small office supplies. This will help keep your desk tidy and prevent items from cluttering your workspace.
Limit the number of pens, notepads, and other stationery items on your desk. Only keep out what you frequently use. The rest can go in a drawer or storage bin.
Bonus: Additional Tips
Clear Your Workspace at the Day’s End
Make it a habit to clear your workspace at the end of each day to start fresh the next morning. This can make mornings feel less hectic.
One-In, One-Out Rule
Use the “one-in, one-out” rule for office supplies or items. If you bring something new in, remove something else. For example, only have one pen in each color you use.
It’s easier than ever to go paperless. Sometimes just snapping a picture with your phone is all you need. Consider buying (or asking your employer to buy you) a scanner, and get rid of all that unnecessary paper.