Without the help of some ingenious home office supplies, it can feel like you’re drowning in chaos. Like any other room, home offices are prone to an overflow of clutter that silently seeps into your lifetime and time again.
If this sounds like a sink or swim scenario, it is. According to a study from the National Association of Productivity and Organizing, 55% of those polled would save roughly an hour a day if they were more organized. Another study from the same organization found that people spend about one year of their lives searching for lost items.
So, by being more organized and ridding your spaces of clutter for good, you would not only make space in your day-to-day life, but you’d save an entire year’s worth of time.
Let that sink in for a second.
Add in the fact that for us Unemployable types, a distraction-free environment is non-negotiable. Our livelihood depends on it.
So if you want to save yourself time (a year!), money, and a nice chunk of your sanity, start by envisioning your ideal workspace.
What Are Your Home Office Needs?
This is a question that many of us have been asking lately. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, “WFH” became a mainstay of our lingo — and lives. Making your home office comfortable, attractive, and overall a healthy, happy place to be has become a priority like never before.
Considering your well-being when plotting out your workspace is very Feng Shui. Decluttering is a big part of this ancient art, which blends harmony and balance with success, happiness, and prosperity. Feng Shui is well worth factoring in as you determine your home office needs.
So, first and foremost, make sure the space you’ve chosen for your home office is somewhere you want to be (especially if you work freelance full time). Don’t just settle for any old nook. Take the time to consider if there’s good lighting, some degree of privacy, and space to spread out.
For example, if you’re shoving yourself in the corner of your kitchen to leave the seldom-used guest room available, time to rethink your choice.
Next, remember that your office is in your home. Furnishing it like a corporate cubicle (aka a veal-fattening pen) defeats one of the main benefits of working from home: comfort.
Make sure your space is well-lit. Paint the walls a color that makes you happy. Position your desk so you have a great view. Welcome in natural light, fresh air, and homey touches.
Need inspiration? Keep reading.
Home Office Must-Haves
While everyone’s needs and freelancer tools vary, there are several home office must-haves that can vastly improve your work-from-home setup. The following are some excellent work-from-home accessories and furniture options to keep you clutter-free (and sane).
Keep in mind, when it comes to purchasing home office supplies, the last thing you want to do is add to your existing clutter situation.
Depending on your home office setup, some of these items may make sense, and some may not. Figure out what will actually help you keep your workspace organized and go from there to meet your home office needs.
1. Laptop stand
Oh, the laptop stand—the unsung hero of home offices everywhere.
Laptop stands are an excellent addition to any home office for several reasons because you can:
- Create extra room on your desk.
- Improve your posture due to elevating your screen.
- Increase the airflow to your computer.
- Choose from several types of laptop stands—including ones with additional organizational features—to maximize your space.
For such a simple office accessory, laptop stands keep your desk clear by creating space that wasn’t there before. Best of all, laptop stands come in a variety of sizes and designs so that you can keep your desk clutter-free in style.
Below are a few of our favorite laptop stands:
2. Drawer organizer + desk organizer
Junk drawers are just as bad as a cluttered desk. Drawer and desk organizers banish the junk drawer from your home office for good by ensuring that everything is where it should be.
Drawer organizers are great for storing items like pens, paper clips, and anything else you may typically have on your desk that takes up space.
Assign each compartment to a different item, and you’ll never waste time digging through your desk drawers again. It’s an easy fix that will actually help you get more done in a day.
No drawers in your desk? Consider a desk organizer instead. Just make sure it’s not so big that it takes over your entire desk as a result.
These are a few of our favorite organizers:
3. Cord organizer
This office supply is a real game-changer. Say goodbye to tangled cords (that we’ve all tripped over at some point) and say hello to organizational bliss.
Cord organizers are great because they immediately tidy up your space and they keep any potential electrical mishaps at bay.
Like other home office supplies, cord organizers come in a variety of styles and colors. Choose from simple snap-in organizers with adhesive backs for the ultimate setup or opt for an all-in-one organizer.
Give these cord organizers a try:
4. Paper organizer
Like drawer and desktop organizers, having a place to keep track of important papers is essential to a clutter-free home office.
The trick with this organizer is to leverage vertical space instead of having several flat trays, which take up a lot of room. Whether you want to hang these organizers on your wall or purchase a compact, vertical organizer, reducing the paper on your desk will drastically improve your space.
Check out these paper organizers:
5. Hanging shelf
Everyone has items in their office that make it feel like, well, theirs. Pictures of loved ones, plants, keepsakes, you name it.
But the truth is, these items can create a lot of clutter. So to reduce clutter while keeping your home office feeling like your space, this is where you can get creative — and the lack of clutter could even help improve your creativity!
Hanging shelves are great because, again, you’re leveraging vertical space and keeping things off your desk, which is where clutter typically starts. Plus, hanging shelves can completely change the look and feel of your office without much effort on your end (aside from hanging them).
These shelves will change your home office for the better:
6. Whiteboard or chalkboard
If you’re someone who needs to write things out to see the full picture — whether it’s for a design project or even just your to-do list — a whiteboard may be your new favorite office item. Plus, it’s a home office must-have for Personal Kanban enthusiasts.
These boards come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, so you can get the perfect board for your space.
And lastly, because you can hang them, they save lots of space. Here are a few boards to consider:
7. Home Office Cabinets
The days of using old-school gray iron cabinets to store files, binders, and other home office supplies are long gone. Today’s home office cabinets come in a range of styles, from minimalist Scandinavian design to warm woods and modern metals.
Aside from keeping your important documents and files secure (even under lock and key), home office cabinets can serve double duty with roomy bookshelves and spacious drawers with built-in organizers.
Here are a few different options that will look great while providing excellent storage and organization for your workspace.
Perhaps the most critical home office item for your health and well-being is your chair. So, if you pull up a kitchen chair or worse, use a folding chair or think lying on a couch is a good idea — stop that right now.
Need more convincing? A study by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries showed that using ergonomic seating (and other furniture and work-from-home accessories) can increase productivity by 15%. Additional research shows that a “seating intervention” may help reduce back and shoulder muscle tension and pain.
So, don’t just sit around (sorry, had to) — get yourself a proper desk chair. Here are a few to consider:
9. Other Work-From-Home Accessories
Considering work is the sum total of your days, your work-from-home setup has to be more than just basic home office supplies.
You deserve a workspace that’s cozy, convenient, and calm, designed to keep you energized and focused. The right work-from-home accessories can make all the difference.
So, for example, I always have on my desk a lit candle, a perky houseplant, and an insulated tumbler to keep my beverage of choice warm or cold.
In our age of near-constant Zoom meetings, I enhance my web conferencing tools with a plug-in mic and an LED light. That’s just for starters — here are several ideas for practical and fun work-from-home accessories:
- Votivo Aromatic Candle (I like Red Currant)
- Funko Pop! (David from Schitt’s Creek graces my desk — he’s an iconic Unemployable. For the record, an inspiring item [or two] doesn’t count as clutter. It’s a necessity:)
So, How Do I Keep My Work from Home Setup Clutter-Free?
Armed with these new home office supplies, you may now have a renewed sense of organization, but how do you make sure that happens?
Keep these “golden rules” of a clutter-free home office in mind:
- Make sure everything in your office has a purpose or place. If the item in question has neither, get rid of it.
- Keep the space on your desk as open as possible.
- Purge paper before it starts to pile up (maybe it’s finally time to go through those filing cabinets of documents…)
- Do an “organizational sweep” once a week to keep clutter from taking over.
Life happens, and so does clutter. It doesn’t mean you have to live and work amongst it if you don’t want to. Be sure to check out our rundown on more helpful home office tips and our advice on how to set up a home office in a small space.
And tune into the latest episode of the Unemployable podcast for more actionable freelance advice.