It isn’t easy to keep an organised and productive work space in your home. There’s chores to do, meals to prepare, and adorable children to look after. Whether you have a full study or a corner of the living room, clutter always seems to pile up. The mess affects our productivity — and not for the better. Maybe you get the help of local cleaners to keep your home tidy. But how do you organise a productive workspace?

Fixing up your home office is a matter of smart storage and sticking to an organised system. It takes some work (pun intended!), but it’s worth the effort to remember where to put which file and to keep your pens in one place. There are different solutions, from label systems to categorised stations to containers for keeping your work space neat and efficient.

Here are 7 tips for organising a productive home office so you can work smart and hard.

1. Create organisation stations

Ever have your mail end up with your printables? Solve your mix-ups by creating separate stations for different purposes. Set up a mail station on one end of your desk, or hang one on a nearby wall. Have one folder or file holder per category — bills, correspondence, files. Then have another station for printing, another for your kids’ artwork, and so on and so forth. It’ll keep you systematised!

2. Declutter your tabletop

Nothing says a mess quite like papers, receipts, and other detritus cluttering up the surface of your work station. Take the time to sort through everything and toss out whatever isn’t necessary (but shred the important stuff first!). File the rest away in different binders or envelopes, with clear labels for the contents.

3. Code and label

It’ll help to have things colour-coded and labeled, from drawers to bins to folders. It’ll keep things neat, tidy, and efficient, allowing you to find exactly what you need with ease. Have different coloured folders for bills, office files, and deliverables. Clearly label binders and drawers with their contents. It’ll help you file things away, too.

organised home office

4. Store on shelves

Use your wall to your advantage and keep things off your desk surface by installing a few shelves! You can get a standing shelf by your desk, or install a few floating shelves over your tabletop. Open shelves also have the advantage of keeping anything you need in plain sight. You can even use them as an accent by choosing decorative shelves or adding display pieces!

Choose which type works best for your work tools and setup — then keep only what you frequently use within arm’s reach. After that, it’s just a matter of keeping curious, chubby hands out of your shelves.

5. Categorise in containers

If you have cubbies or drawers, organisers and containers will help keep your things sorted and tidy instead of scattered around. There’s nothing more frustrating than digging around for just one paper clip. Keep supplies stored in appropriate containers so you can easily access what you need, and don’t waste five minutes looking for one pen.

6. Systematise your space

Make a wall calendar out of picture frames. Install a wire rack to hold notes and photos. Create a productivity board out of chalk tape and marker. There are plenty of ways to turn the space and surfaces available to you into creative organisation systems! All it takes is some innovation and DIY work, and you can have setups that help you work efficiently — and look good, too.

7. Find your aesthetic

All work and no play makes you unproductive! There’s no harm in adding a touch of colour or aesthetic to your work space, especially since it’ll help perk you up. So display your kid’s new animal sculpture, or hang up their artwork on your wall. Put family photos on your shelves alongside your books. Let your kids doodle on your chalkboard, or add little cheer-up notes to your calendars. Mix in your favourite books with ones for work. Even add a plant or two. Not only is it better for your mental well-being, it could give you the extra motivation to get through that report — a pretty workspace is a productive one!

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