Lifestyle and Trends By Katherine Shaw / May 19, 2016 Are you working from home? Even if you don’t, most homeowners nowadays prefer to have a dedicated space for tasks such as computing, keeping documents, and a place where they can have quiet and privacy away from the busy activities (and noise) from the kitchen and living room. If you already have a home office and would like to keep it a neat and organized place, here are tips to de-clutter and make the space work for you: 1. Furniture and items need to be where they belong Make sure everything that is in your home office belongs there. Resist making it a part-time storage area; clutter can easily accumulate here if you do. Desk, chair, computer, printer, and shelves belong in this space; your 2-year-old’s toys do not. On your desk, keep office tools such as staplers, scissors, pens, and paper handy and within easy reach. 2. Claim the space Tell everyone in the house that this is where you work and not to make it their place to nap, play games, etc. You are having a home office space to get away from distractions from home, so don’t invite them in. If you must share your space with someone else in the family or make the room multi-purpose such as keeping your arts and crafts/ hobbies in the same room, make sure you segregate the spaces between the two to keep clutter under control. 3. Keep all necessary equipment in the home office It is better to keep all your home office equipment in one place as opposed to having the computer there and the printer in another room. Having your laptop on the kitchen counter is fine once in a while, but you are exposing it to dangers, such as it getting wet and bring dropped by kids accidentally.It will also be easier to look for letter and documents if they are neatly kept in one place, instead of keeping some in your bedroom dresser and your passport in another room. 4. Have a filing system Organize your filing system by separating personal stuff from work-related documents, divide them into categories, and label each accordingly. You can sort them by date and importance. You can separate legal documents, such as birth certificates and passports, from bills and other letters. 5. Keep only things that work Never keep things that are not working. Get them repaired immediately or dispose or recycle them. Having unnecessary and non-functioning items take up much needed space and can accumulate if left unattended for long. Always make an effort to keep clutter under control by only keeping items that are serving a function. 6. Have an In and Out tray system Have a physical inbox for bills that are unpaid; while letters that need to be sent and other items that need to go out should be in the out tray. This tried and tested method has worked for many offices for decades and should work in your home office as well. 7. Tidy up after every use After using the home office, resist leaving it cluttered, put away papers, and file them neatly. Don’t wait until it gets overwhelming. It’s better to prevent rather than ‘fire-fight’. Turn off the computer and printer after each use to save on power and clear your desk before leaving. Empty the bin regularly. 8. Do housekeeping twice a week Do a major clean up once or twice a week or have someone else ‘deep clean’ the space regularly. Dusting and changing the curtains and sweeping or vacuuming the floor will keep the space nice and clean. By keeping your space tidy and neat, it will be more inviting and more conducive for work. By keeping things organized, your productivity will be maximized, making your home office space, whatever the size may be, work for you better.