Take a good look at your home office. No, seriously, take a look at it. Do you know where your extra supplies are? Are your records easily accessible — and can you find things by date or category? Can you get to the scanner without having to step over boxes of random stuff? If your home office feels more like a business cage rather than a place of business, then you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re constantly battling the state of your home office, then take a step back and read these five tips below. Don’t worry about losing the valuable work time; a clean and efficient home office can boost productivity in the long run.
#1 Use stackable containers: Whether you get them from The Container Store, IKEA, or Office Depot, stackable containers allow for easy access and neat stacking in a way that boxes simply won’t — and it’s way, way neater than simply stuffing things into a drawer or the closet. As many of these containers can be sectioned or partitioned, you can plan appropriately, grouping items and using labels to create an efficient organizational system.
#2 Use wallspace: It’s easy to look at storage and organization as simply floor space rather than the vertical possibilities. Wallspace is one of the simplest ways to help maximize your organizational capabilities for your home office. There are numerous ways to approach this, from simple hanging baskets to shelf space bracketed into the wall. 3M has adhesive based hanging hooks and strips that won’t create holes or peel paint when removed, allowing you to safely get creative.
#3 Purge unused materials: When buying office supplies, you may have seen amazing sale prices on notebooks or boxes of pens at Costco. Turns out, though, you only need a fraction of that — so what do you do with your excess supplies? Most people default to storing and saving them; after all, you paid for them. But if you think about space as a commodity for both business and life, extra boxes and packages start eating away at your day-to-day life. Instead, you can offer up those office supplies to local schools, non-profits, or a site like Freecycle.
#4 Go paperless: A world without paper isn’t just good for the environment — it declutters your space and enables digital permanence. The result? Transactions are searchable with email receipts and archived invoices, and with modern tools, you can easily apply categories and other metadata for easier processing. Even if all you do is take phone photos of your receipts, backing these up to a free Google Photos account allows that platform’s smart engine to automatically recognize those as documents.
#5 Hire a bookkeeper: Are your invoices spilling out of your desk? Your expense receipts overflowing an old Amazon box? One way to declutter your home office is to create a much more efficient record-keeping system — and part of that is hiring a bookkeeper. By hiring a bookkeeper, all of those records can be funneled and recorded with a professional — and that bookkeeper can also probably help you get create a method for home organization that ensures that you won’t be tearing apart your home office come tax season.
One Final Home Office Organization Tip
Perhaps the most important tip for organizing your home office is this: make time for it. Our lives are so busy, especially when you’re juggling many hats as a business owner, and things like organizing your desk or decluttering your supplies could seem draining after a long day. Set a dedicated hour or two per month strictly for organizing and you’ll find yourself getting used to the rhythm of business self-care.
By the way, if you need more about tip #5, get in touch with Books in Balance. We offer a free initial consultation to San Rafael small businesses — and we can even talk about some favorite techniques for keeping home offices organized!
Brandon, is a well-seasoned accountant and heads up the team with 25 years of senior accounting experience. He holds an Accounting degree with a Minor in Business Administration. He maintains several certifications and holds industry related licenses in tax preparation. When Brandon isn’t in the office, you’ll find this avid dog and animal lover supporting various Bay Area - and beyond - animal charities.