10 neat ways to organize your home office

Your home office can be a dumping ground for paper and little things that add up to a big mess. Here's a simple how-to guide for setting up your home office and controlling the clutter.

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Organize your home office
Taking time out from your desktop activities to set up and maintain a neat home office will give you and your family's productivity a boost. The following organizing tips will help keep clutter at bay so you can get down to business.

1. Start by positioning your desk, then build the office around it. If space is tight, think about getting a desk with a hinged drop leaf, which can be extended when you need it. Consider using an old drop-leaf table and giving it a fresh coat of paint for a fraction of the cost you'd pay for a new one.

2. Buy an ergonomically designed chair instead of just grabbing an extra one from the kitchen; it makes a big difference, especially on days when you're sitting in front of your computer for hours at a time.

3. Track your workflow and then arrange your furnishings accordingly. Put the items that you use most often closest to you. Don't devote prime real estate to a cabinet holding old files, for instance.

4. Use adjustable task lighting instead of just relying on general room lighting or a ceiling fixture. Note that reducing the overhead lighting will cut down on the glare on your screen.

5. Take advantage of some of the many organizer systems available. Make sure that you invest in one that works for you so everything doesn't end up in a jumble on your desktop and floor. Magazine racks, paper baskets and functional file cabinets can make a big difference.

6. Make sure you have supplies at hand. You don't want to be running to the kitchen every time you need a piece of tape. But you don't have to go for a strict utilitarian look: things that you need, such as notebooks or a desk set, can also be simple and beautiful. Keep your eyes open for colours and patterns that you love.

7. For storage, don't limit yourself to utilitarian storage boxes; consider ones made of materials such as ceramic or wood -- or decorate plain ones with your kids' artwork. Make your home office cosy by adding framed photos, accessories and flowers -- you'll feel happier while you're working or paying bills.

8. Store your supplies in clear glass vases, jars or canisters so you can find what you need at a glance. If you can't see something, it's easy to forget about it.

9. If you're seeing clients at home, place a comfortable chair beside your desk. You don't want to appear disorganized while you run around the house looking for one at the last minute.

10. Set a small table or hang a shelf right next to the door to hold outgoing mail so every time you leave the room you'll pick up letters and parcels that need to be sent.


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