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If you’re a hybrid or remote worker, chances are you’ve already Googled “home office organization hacks” or “how to organize a home office” several times. You already know your home office doesn’t belong in the bedroom; that windows and natural light are key; and that your Zoom background definitely matters. But. Desk clutter is real, especially when you’re working from home.

No one is coming in during the evenings to dust and vacuum. Papers tend to gather by the printer like in-office workers circle the water cooler. Cables are a disaster and those drawers? Phew. You might never have fully appreciated your provided office storage systems until you didn’t have them anymore.

So, in honour of #cleanoffyourdeskday this week, use this 5-step system to clean and organize your home office desk.

Home office organization tip #1: Start with a clean slate


Time for home office decluttering! Remove everything off the top of your desk (except your desktop computer) and from inside your drawers. Stack that stuff on the floor – just get it all off and out. Then wipe down your surfaces and inside your drawers, using that handheld vacuum and its “tiny-spaces” extension piece (scientific term, BTW).

Home office organization tip #2: Purge


Go through all those items on your floor and chuck out things you don’t use regularly. If you haven’t used something in the last 2 weeks but you do use it occasionally, put it in a separate pile. Embrace your recycling bin for outdated docs and papers you don’t need, and broken electronics and office supplies (see if those can be recycled, too). There may be things in your drawers that don’t belong in an office setting, since personal stuff does tend to creep in. Make another pile for stuff that you can find another home for in another room or area. By this point, your pile should be drastically reduced by this point.

Home office organization tip #3: Curb the cables


Take a look at your outlets. Are they jammed with cube-taps and power bars? And do you really need all of that plugged in at all times? Remove what you don’t need regularly. Now, turn your focus to those USB cords. If you can afford it, replace your mouse, keyboard, and headphones with wireless options. For remaining USB cords, you have a couple of options. Hit up Amazon for a cable organizer, or go for an easy DIY option: Snap some butterfly clips to the back of your desk and feed the cords through the larger space close to the black part of the clip. Then, pull the end of the cord to the looped part of the clip. It can live there until you need it – just gently pull the cord to release just the right amount of cable to plug it into your device.

Home office organization tip #4: Caddy up


Drawer caddies and separators are about to become your new best friend, if they’re not already. Time to buddy up your office supplies with items of the same feather; pens belong with pens, clips with clips, elastic bands with other elastic bands, and so on. Each item should have a dedicated space in your drawer so you always know exactly where it is when you need it.

Buy caddies at Staples, the dollar store or use what you’ve got around the house to create smart home office storage solutions for those desk drawers. Remember: The drawers stay closed most of the time, so it doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy (unless that kind of thing really bothers you. If that’s the case, match away). Prioritize your drawers from top to bottom. All the things you use regularly go in the coveted top drawer.

Top tip: Before you throw your pens and pencils back in your new dedicated caddy space just for them, test each pen to make sure it still works. Sharpen your pencils, or refill them with lead if they’re running low.

Home office organization tip #5: Reload

You’re almost there! Your drawers should be cleaned and restocked so it’s time to tackle the desktop. First question: Does your printer need to be there? Maybe it can go on a separate shelf or surface. You can free up a ton of space on your desk surface and avoid the gravitational pull for paper clutter that all printers seem to have.

Second question: How can you utilize your wallspace to help keep surfaces clear? Hanging trays are a great idea, or you might explore floating shelves to keep file folders and paper trays.


Congrats! You now have a magazine-worthy home office desk

So what now? Well, your challenge is to keep it that way. Spend 10 minutes at the end of each day putting things back where they live and recycling paper you don’t need. And, since you’re working from home, consider a home cleaning service to help ease some of the cleaning burden around the rest of your home office and the rest of the house. It’s something you would get in an office setting, and you deserve that clean-slate feeling just as much as in-office employees.

Happy office desk cleaning!

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