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Surviving Home Office Clutter

I work in a home office. My work area (most specifically my desk) usually looks like a complete disaster area. It’s not “dirty” per se, but heavily cluttered. I may have any number of things cluttering my home office on any given day, including:

  • Papers
  • Calendars and planners
  • My cell phone
  • My desk phone
  • Various program discs
  • Piles of used index cards
  • Piles of unused index cards (I’m an index card junkie for certain planning projects)
  • My dishes or drink remnants if I’ve been eating meals while working for the day
  • Binders
  • Piles of large envelopes filled with band press kits for review
  • Books that I need to reference for blog posts or pull up for reviews I’m writing
  • Basic office supplies like a bunch of pens and dry erase markers
  • Sometimes a white board added to the pile of stuff on my desk return if I pulled it off the wall to use it

And then of course there are the other basics that are “supposed” to be there – my keyboard and wrist rest, mousepad, monitor, computer speakers, desk lamp (two actually for the different desk sections), my water fountain, my fish bowl, my file tray, and the little office organizers that are supposed to help me keep the rest of it contained.

These things really add up / pile up quickly. Some of it I clear out each day (like dishes), and some things I tackle on the weekend when I have more time (like filing papers).

Despite the mess that is my desk, I’m actually an organization addict. Everything really does have it’s “place.” I just like to keep a lot at-hand when I’m working. I’m also one of those people who knows where everything is in that mess.

Yet, I prefer a clear desk, clear floor, etc. where I’m working. I simply work more productively. I keep things close because it feels like that should be more productive, but the reality is that it makes it more difficult to focus on what I’m writing or doing for a client when I’m surrounded by countless visual stimuli in front of my face.

Do you face the same problem? Or do you actually prefer the cluttered work environment (some do)? Right now I spend my weekends cleaning up so I can start Monday morning “fresh.” But I’d love to be that way week long. This weekend I’m planning to do the most thorough organization I’ve done in a while (belated Spring cleaning for my home office I guess you could say).

Do you have any tips to share? Anything that you find indispensable in keeping on top of home office clutter? When you get to that organized point, what do you do to keep yourself there?


  1. TSS

    Having stations or specified areas for each project is a great way to keep things organized even if you already know where everything is. Good luck!

  2. Jennifer Mattern

    Thanks. 🙂 I think that’s a part of my problem – nearly everything is done on my computer, which is why my desk is the worst area (I try to keep everything I may need within reach). Ideally I’d re-organize the setup (right now it’s a “long” office – all of the space is behind my desk area), but given the type of desk I have (which I love), and the orientation of the room, I don’t know that I could really move things to make storage areas more readily accessible while I’m working. I know it sounds silly – not wanting to get up for a book or something, but when I’m in the middle of writing a piece, and I simply want to check a fact for instance, getting away from the computer can completely throw off my writing groove. 🙁

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