6 Small Office Organization Ideas for Improving Your Work|
With many workers moving out of traditional offices and into home offices in the last couple of years, small office organization ideas have earned a lot of ink.
And rightly so—creating a positive work/life balance is critical to happiness, so being able to leave work behind at the end of the workday is important; which is why having dedicated office space is becoming a must-have commodity.
Our tips for organizing your office should hold true whether you’re working out of a converted back bedroom, a corner of your basement, or even if you’re stuck in a small office at a brick-and-mortar or office park location. Except maybe the Peter Rabbit lamp.
Here are a few of our favorite organizing ideas for small office situations:
- Close at hand
- Walls and windows
- Stay productive
- Decorate appropriately
- Keep out
Start with Nothing
The first step in organizing your small office is to take everything out. That’s right, stack everything in the hallway, put everything in the basement or garage, or somewhere temporary where you can take stock of the most important items you’ll need on a daily basis.
If you’re converting a second bedroom into a semi-permanent office, you’re likely going to have a plethora of incongruous items around. Can’t concentrate with a canopy bed in the corner of your eye? The Peter Rabbit lamp doesn’t inspire your best work? Renting a self-storage unit is an affordable, secure option for temporary (or long-term) storage.
Determine the absolute minimum number of items to keep in your office. For most people, it’s going to be a desk or table, chair, and computer. For those who haven’t gone completely digital, a file cabinet and printer are probably must-haves, as is a place for storing reference material or collateral.
Arrange Things by Importance
Once you’ve gotten down to the bare minimums and your workspace is clutter-free, it’s time to think about desk organization. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to overlook this handy tip: keep the most important items closer and the least important farther away.
If you use your printer a lot, don’t put it across the room, find a place of prominence that won’t interfere with your keystrokes. But, if you rarely have the need to print something, don’t put it in the way of something you will use more frequently.
This concept also applies to the office supplies inside your desk, too. Imagine if your kitchen drawers didn’t have a silverware holder—anarchy! Get a drawer organizer for your binder clips, pencils, post-it notes, and so on, and keep it in the top drawer so you can easily reach it. Use file folders for critical paper items but remember to go through them periodically, because you really don’t need a copy of your MCI phone bill from 1998.
Pro tip: If you have the luxury of multiple computer monitors, you may be able to orient one vertically. We tried it and found we can fit more useable windows in the same area than in a horizontal configuration.
Bonus tip: A monitor or laptop stand can give you a little extra space for a docking station or phone charger, plus it can also help to raise your workspace closer to eye level.
Use your Walls
For visual people, it’s often easier to brainstorm or conceptualize by putting ideas on paper rather than by typing on a keyboard. But if your desk is too small or you prefer spreading out, try a wall-mounted whiteboard.
If you’ve got a lot of windows rather than wall space, consider applying dry-erase window whiteboard film. Or, for old-school cool, apply some chalkboard paint to a wall to take notes, compose strategies, or just doodle.
Walls can also be used for storage. Hang floating shelves about 4’ to 5’ off the ground (eye level) to add some depth and additional storage space for magazine holders, reference material, artwork, or other seldom-used accessories.
Pro tip: If your office space is really claustrophobic, consider using mirrors to make the space feel bigger (just one of our tips from our blog, 7 Easy Tricks of the Eye: How to Make a Room Look Bigger).
Design for Maximum Productivity
We would be remiss if our small office organization ideas didn’t also address productivity. Believe it or not, increased productivity can be as simple as choosing where you place your desk.
The size and shape of your desk might influence where it can be placed, but if it will work in different configurations, consider your personality.
If you’re easily distracted, placing the desk so you are facing a wall is an easy way to stay focused. If you have the space, position the desk a little way back from the wall to avoid feeling claustrophobic.
If you’re in need of creative inspiration, facing a window may be helpful, and the added benefit of sunlight might help keep your mood positive.
In small business situations, managers often choose to have their desk facing a window or doorway. Not only does this invite openness, but also allows employees to gauge how busy you might be.
Of course, the best compromise is often to position your desk with a window to the side. Just make sure your chair swivels!
Update your Décor
You might be thinking, stay in your lane, Store Space, but we also have a few décor ideas to keep in mind. First, whatever or wherever your small office space is, make sure it’s got the right tone and is on-brand, especially if the piece might appear on camera at any time. If you’re at a hip advertising agency, a piece of edgy artwork might be appropriate, but if you’re an accountant, a poster of your favorite anime character might scare off your customers.
Second, remember to keep it small and simple. A picture of friends or family is always appropriate. A small flower vase is also good (succulents don’t need much water—just sayin’). Inspirational posters can also work, but again, make sure the art you select fits your personality, as well as your company’s values.
Pro tip: Many video conferencing apps offer the ability to add a custom background to your chat or even blur the background. This is especially important if you have proprietary information scrawled on a whiteboard behind you, or worse, a full laundry hamper, for that matter.
Cordon it Off
OK, most everyone has chuckled at a video (or seven) where a cat or kid interrupts someone conducting an important Zoom meeting. That’s cute approximately once. After that, it becomes a distraction.
This isn’t just true for an at-home office, though. There are times when a person needs solitude to concentrate in the workplace. So, figure out a way to limit access … and make sure to establish rules or some sort of system to let co-workers or family members know that you need uninterrupted time.
Pro tip: if you and your spouse or roommate are both working from home, be sure to take turns on “guard duty” to keep the kids or pets out when there are pressing deadlines or important meetings at stake.
Wrapping Up Small Office Organization Ideas
Back in the day, no one wanted to be stuck in a cubicle. Now, many workers have been freed from the confines of fabric-covered walls and Herman Miller knockoffs, only to be trapped in their own kitchen or couch trying to remain productive.
It’s worth it to make the effort to organize your own small workspace, and the benefits include being able to remain productive while on the clock and keeping a healthy work/life balance.
Here’s hoping some of these tips help you make the decision to reorganize your temporary space into an actual workspace.
Be sure to remember Store Space if you need some additional storage along the way. We’re your home for easy, affordable and secure monthly rentals. Visit our storage finder page to find the location nearest you!
Writer who also enjoys cars, guitars and Mars bars.