Home offices were once at risk of losing priority to guest bedrooms, workout rooms, and the like, but now, most of corporate America has had to hastily fashion or retreat to a home office at some point during the pandemic.
Even if you already had a proper office at your disposal, you know how spending more time there—much, much more time tjere—can easily turn a pile of papers into a mountain of mess. If a document is not in "the cloud," it's more likely to be in the trash.
Luckily, there are quick tricks to add order to your office at any budget. Whether you plan on staying home for the indefinite future or just want to refresh your occasional workspace, scroll through the 14 simple ways to organize your home office below.
Use Vintage Filing Cabinets
A filing cabinet fresh from the office supply store fills most people with dread. Thankfully, the same can't be said about these early 20th-century solid oak cabinets with metal plates. They're full of character, and their semi-gloss finish reflects light into the darker room.
If you want to avoid adding more wood to your room, a 1940s industrial-era file cabinet (like this one by Steel Furniture Mfg. Co.) with brass hardware will also look great.
When going with bigger, vintage filing units, you can add specialized organizers to each of the drawers to tidy up everything from receipts to protractors.
Maximize Small Containers
If the items you need to organize are much tinier, save yourself future headaches by opting for multiple small organizers. That way everything can have its own space, and you'll always be able to find a pen without scrambling. Tucking a rattan box container onto a bottom shelf is a great way to store infrequently used odds and ends.
Opt for Floor-to-Ceiling Cabinetry
If you don't want to or can't put your desk in middle of the room, tucking the desk into floor-to-ceiling cabinetry creates tons of storage and visual drama. Leaving the middle for open shelving adds contrast to this moody desk scene, and it keeps special items within arm's reach.
Mount Long Floating Shelving
Creating a side table and floating shelves all out of the same wood creates a beautiful, cohesive look that's perfect for smaller offices. It keeps the space from feeling claustrophobic and the items on your shelves from looking cluttered.
Hang Up Minimalist Shelves
If your home office was once a guest bedroom and will return to being a guest bedroom someday, you need to be strategic about your organizational choices. Minimalistic shelves will keep clutter off your desk and still look perfectly at home once you switch the room back.
Need all the arm room you can get? Opt for a wall sconce with an adjustable head. That way, you will always have space and light where you need it.
Be Smart with Additional Storage
A chest of drawers made out of woven baskets is a simple way to keep an office feeling bohemian and relaxed (while still keeping it organized). You can easily repurpose this piece for other rooms, too, if you need to convert the space.
Double It Up
Do both you and a partner need to work from home now? And you have kids who need somewhere to do their schoolwork? Turn a hallway or side of a room into an office area with a strip of connected desk units. You both can have your own set of drawers, and you'll always know who stole your phone charger.
Tuck Away the Clutter
If you're installing cabinetry, it's a smart trick to build in hidden horizontal shelves along the sides of the vertical units. This shiplap wall desk will stay organized without much work, but it has enough flair and personality to look great even in a bedroom.
Use a Desk Tray
A desk table adds dimension, and you can also use it to bring in a pop of color, texture, or shine to your work area. They're also great for keeping everything orderly on a free-standing desk without cabinets.
Install a Cork Wall
Like to have everything right where you can see it? Install a cork board wall. You can hang up your calendars, schedules, to-do lists, reminders, and quotes to keep you going. You can buy a roll of cork and DIY a whole wall, or you can get one sheet of cork and temporarily secure it.
Mix Open and Closed Storage
Being bookended by tall vertical cabinets can make you feel like you're working in a closet. For a quick fix, take off some (or all) of the doors on one side and leave it open. It might take some time with your power tools, but you won't succumb to office dullness as quickly.
Crumpled up papers and snack wrappers need to go somewhere. A flimsy metal trash or plastic bucket can look demoralizing, so try a natural fiber basket. You can take that small plastic tub, add a liner, and then put it inside of a larger basket if you need to throw out soiled items.
Add a Console
If floor-to-ceiling cabinets still don't give you enough storage to properly organize your office, keep heights in mind when selecting additional pieces. The console in this office is lower or in line with the bottom of the cabinets. This maintains the room's flow and prevents the console from accidentally becoming a focal point.
No matter how you use them or where you put them, binders will take up a lot of desk real estate. So, if you need to store manuals and other tall packets of paper, try vertical magazine file organizers to keep them orderly.