Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we felt good instead of overwhelmed when we walk into our home office? While for a lot of people this may not be the case, it’s not an impossible dream. The great news is that the boring office of the old days is truly a thing of the past, and nowadays we have the freedom to personalize our home office and make it our own. I know what you’re thinking – personalize my office! I can’t even SEE my office under the piles of paper and clutter! Here are some tips to help change that:

The worst clutter problem for most people, throughout the home but especially in the office, is paper. There is no way around it: you’ve got to deal with it on a daily basis. Determine what time of day fits your energy level and schedule best, and plan 15-20 minutes every single day at about the same time to deal with paper. Remember this acronym: FAT – F – A – T. It stands for “File,” “Act,” “Toss.” Every piece of paper falls into one of those categories and if you remember that as you go through your paper piles, it simplifies the process. Make sure you have a designated spot for your paper mail and put it there religiously. It can be a beautiful basket or bowl - any container that’s large enough and that you enjoy looking at. Learn to be ruthless with tossing and recycling paper, as 80% of it will never be referred to again. If you already have lots of paper in your home office, try to spend an hour several days a week on this task until it’s under control.

Next, make time each day to file those papers that you truly need to keep. It’s no one’s favorite job, but doing it daily takes a matter of minutes, while not doing it daily means hours of catch up. Developing this habit alone will save you tremendous amounts of stress.

For action items, I’m a big fan of vertical filing tools that stack higher in the back than in the front. You can see at a glance what you need to do and those hideous piles that seem to accumulate overnight on every horizontal surface can’t happen. There are some great websites with fun, colorful office accessories, so be selective but be creative and have fun with it! Three to try are organize.com, seejanework.com and russell+hazel.com

Keep things that you use daily or at least weekly within arm’s reach of where you sit at your desk. Everything else can be stored out of sight but still accessible.

Another important thing to remember is to bring in less: Learn to resist buying huge quantities of office supplies. When you think about it, does anyone really need more than one stapler or several backup printer cartridges?

At the end of the day, make sure you take a few minutes to straighten up your desk, clear off extraneous stuff, and review the next day’s schedule.

OK, now the fun part: Turning your home office into a space that reflects your personal style and that you love working in. Think about all the senses: If playing music appeals to you while you work, create a play list of music that inspires you. Maybe burning a scented candle or having a container of essential oils will lift your spirits. Pick a few meaningful items, such as your favorite photos of your family, a beautiful piece of art or two, and an easy-to-care-for plant. The key is to keep it simple and remember that, like every other area of your home, your office is a reflection of you and you deserve to feel great every time you walk into it. And don’t be surprised when all this clutter clearing opens up space for more productivity and creativity!

Author's Bio: 

Emily Herrick is a residential professional organizer who works with women on the East End of Long Island who want to declutter their home to live simpler, more balanced lives. Careers in advertising/marketing and librarianship combined with a natural affinity for organization in her own life led her to the field of professional organizing. Helping clients simplify their home life and create a space that reflects their style and makes their home feel like a serene oasis is her passion.