How to Declutter Your Home Office

Time for a change? Let’s reclaim your workspace, and turn it back into the productive spot it was meant to be.

Last updated: 17 May 2024

If you’re staring at a home office buried under piles of papers, random coffee cups, and a jumble of cables, you’re not alone. You set up a space to increase productivity and somehow, it turned into a storage room that barely sees any work. But it’s time for a change. Let’s reclaim your workspace, step by step, and turn it back into the productive spot it was meant to be.

Step 1: Deep clean

Throw on some lively music — cleaning is much more bearable with a good soundtrack. Start by chucking out the no-brainers like old takeout menus, spent pens, and those papers you can’t even remember why you kept. Dive into those stacks of paperwork next. Throw out the old bills, recycle the magazines, and get critical documents into a neat pile to file away.

Step 2: Go digital

A mess of paper is unnecessary these days — we’re in the digital age, after all. Scan important documents you need to keep and store them in the cloud or on an external hard drive. This gets rid of some physical clutter and makes it easier to find what you need when you need it.

Step 3: Find furniture that works for you

Your desk and chair are the kings of your office. Choose a desk that fits nicely in your space and matches how you work – maybe it's a standing desk or one with lots of drawers. And don’t skimp on a good chair; your back will thank you. Look for one with solid lumbar support and adjustable settings so you can sit comfortably at your battle station.

Browse all desks and desk chairs on Trade Me.

Step 4: Set up storage and organisers

It’s time to put everything in a proper place with storage solutions and organisers. Here are some great ones to consider:

  • Desk organisers: Keep all those small, office essentials like pens, sticky notes, and paper clips in one place and out of the way.

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  • File organisers

Paper can accumulate quickly and become overwhelming. Use file organisers for sorting and easy access. Then, label folders by category (e.g., Finances, Projects, Personal) and consider colour-coding for an even faster search.

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  • Drawer dividers

If your desk has drawers, these will help you compartmentalise your space for different items like stationery, notepads, and tech gadgets. This way, you know exactly where everything is when you open the drawer — no more rummaging around.

Browse our range of drawer dividers.

  • Office shelves

Shelves aren't just for books. Use them to store reference materials, binders, or even decorative items that inspire you but don’t necessarily need to be on your desk. Consider adjustable shelving units that can change as your storage needs do.

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  • Storage baskets

For everything that doesn’t have a place on a shelf or in a drawer, baskets and bins come in handy. They are perfect for grouping similar items (like all your charging cables or camera equipment) and can be stored under the desk, on shelves, or even stacked in a closet. Label each bin to save yourself the hassle of guessing what’s inside later on.

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  • Floating shelves

If your office is getting a bit crowded, make the most of vertical space. Wall-mounted file holders, magnetic boards for notes, and hooks for headphones can free up desk space and keep important items within easy reach.

Check out all the floating shelves on Trade Me.

  • Cable organisers

Cable clutter can make even a tidy desk look messy. Use cable organisers or clips to keep them neatly arranged and out of sight. This not only looks better, it also prevents cables from getting tangled and damaged.

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  • Under-desk storage

If desk space is limited, under-desk drawers or cabinets can be a game-changer. They provide extra storage without taking up precious desk space.

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Step 5: Good lighting and greenery

Poor lighting can be a real drag on your eyes and energy. Try to set up your desk where you can get some natural light. Then, you want to find a good desk lamp that lets you adjust brightness and warmth when the sun goes down. It’ll make reading, writing, and working on your computer easier on your eyes. We also recommend adding a couple of easy-care plants around your office – they’ll look nice, clean your air, and might even boost your mood.

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Step 6: Keep it up

After completing these steps, you should have a beautifully clean and organised desk. And if you commit to regular mini clean-ups, you’ll be much more likely to keep it that way. Take five minutes at the end of each day to reset — the papers back in their place, cups and plates back in the kitchen, and pens in the holder. It’ll make starting work each morning that much easier.

Desk detox

Tackling your cluttered home office might seem scary, but with these steps, you can create a space that not only looks good but also makes you feel good – and productive. Start small if you need to; even clearing off your desk can make a big difference. Here’s to a neater, more efficient workspace that’s all yours!

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Written by one of our Trade Me Marketplace experts - providing you with the latest information to help you shop smarter in New Zealand.