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7-day plan: Get a spotless, beautifully organized home office

Putting in a little extra effort to button up your home office will help streamline your home.

organize home office

Start your workday with a smile in a home office that's neat, clean and special to you


Why spend time getting your home office in order? Because a messy home office only gets in the way of plans, that's why! Piles of work papers and to-dos are visual reminders of things you don't want to be doing — putting in a little extra effort to button up your home office will help streamline your home.

This plan will help you clear the clutter and put systems in place to make it easier to keep things looking good all year.

Make a plan of attack

How big your home office is, and just how packed full of stuff it is will make a huge difference in how much time you'll need to devote to get it in shape.






If you use your home office regularly, or if your home office is large or has accumulated a lot of clutter, plan to spend a few longer stretches of time on a weekend and follow up with shorter tasks during the week.

If it's a small space or not too cluttered, you may be able to compress the plan into a single weekend — read it over before beginning and tailor it to work for you.


Day 1: Deal with paper

Decluttering tasks: What is all of that clutter? Do you even need to keep this stuff? This is the day to find out. At the end of today's tasks, your home office may very well look worse than when you began — consider yourself warned!

  • Do some research. Sometimes we keep things simply because we are not sure if it's OK to throw them out. Go on a fact-finding mission (call your tax preparer or search online) and figure out what you need to keep and for how long.
  • Sort and stack. Work your way through your home office, pulling every loose paper out of drawers, shelves, cupboards etc. As you go, sort your stuff into categories as best you can, shredding and tossing what is no longer needed.
  • Make quick temporary labels for your category piles with a marker on plain paper — it's amazing how quickly you can lose track of what goes where.
  • Set aside anything that does not belong in your home office and make a point of returning it to where it belongs (or to whom it belongs to) today.

Cleaning tasks: Keep a shredder, recycling bin and trash can nearby for obvious junk mail and garbage.

Day 2: Make some space

Decluttering tasks: Pour yourself a big cup of coffee or tea, because you'll need the boost to get through today's task — but when you're done, your workspace should be feeling significantly better.

  • Pull every (nonpaper) item out of your desk and office storage and sort it into piles, placing like with like —for instance, all letter writing supplies in one pile; everything computer related in another.
  • Now take a closer look at those piles, removing unneeded duplicates (do you really need three staplers?) and anything that doesn't belong in your office.
  • Armed with the knowledge gained on your fact-finding mission on Day 1, dip into your files and see if there are papers you can safely get rid of.
  • If you want to move toward a paperless home office, go online today and set up paperless statements and billing.

Day 3: Get organized

Decluttering tasks: Think outside the file box to find an organizational system that works for you. Rather than going to an organizing store first, see what you can use around your home. It's more important to give everything that has been sitting out in piles a permanent home than it is to buy new containers. Here are a few ideas for organizing your home office:

  • A grid of clipboards on the wall can make for a handy place to keep papers organized.
  • Wall-mounted cups keep frequently used supplies neat and within reach.
  • Cups and bowls borrowed from the kitchen make great desktop and drawer organizers.
  • Labeled, open-top baskets on shelves are great for people who like piles.
  • Traditional files are still useful for important documents.

Day 4: Freshen up

Cleaning tasks: Give yourself a big pat on the back, because the hardest work is now behind you! Today is all about making your home workspace fresh and clean, so it will be a healthier, more pleasant place to spend time in.

  • Vacuum your home office from top to bottom. Use an attachment to clean window treatments, high corners and fabric lamp shades.
  • Wipe down shelves and surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Use monitor wipes to clean your screens.
  • Use a keyboard cleaner to blow dust from between the keys or gently clean them with cotton swabs.
  • Bring in some fresh plants to help clean the air.

Day 5: Consider comfort

Decluttering tasks: How comfortable is your home office? If you use your workspace often, it's important to have an adjustable chair with proper support, good lighting and perhaps a small stool to put your feet up on. See what you can do today to make your home office more comfortable.

Day 6: Add a personal touch

Decluttering tasks: The beauty of a home office is that you can emphasize the home part as much as you like. Bring in family photos that make your smile or treasures from your travels; drape a beautiful textile over your chair; or store your office supplies in pretty fabric baskets and china teacups. Cut a few fresh flowers from the garden and place them in a vase on your desk. Light a scented candle while you work. Do whatever makes your office feel more like you.

Day 7 and beyond: Do daily maintenance

Decluttering tasks:

  • Aim to handle paper as soon as you get it, rather than letting it pile up. If you don't have time to do this daily, set up an inbox with slots for a few broad categories (bills, work, school etc.) so papers will be easier to handle later.
  • Post a note detailing what you should save and for how long.
  • Schedule a weekly time to empty your inbox.

Cleaning tasks:

  • Straighten up your home office before you are done working each day. Bring the coffee cups back to the kitchen and completely clear your desktop.

Original story by Laura Gaskill for Houzz

Check out some of our favorite home office organization on the Motherly Shop!

Yamazaki tower home office desk organizer

Yamazaki tower home office desk organizer

Corral your odds and ends with a sleek desktop organizer. We love way this one accommodates a variety of shapes and sizes.

$30

Yamazaki como handle wastebasket

Yamazaki como handle wastebasket

Trash never looked so pretty. Just the right size for an office space, this simple wastebasket adds a functional and stylish touch with its wooden handle.

$20

EKOBO bamboo storage jars

EKOBO bamboo storage jars

These simple jars with cork lids are perfect for storing small office supplies. (Including snacks which totally also count as office supplies.)

$21

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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One thing first in line at the chopping block? Cooking. To be fair, I like cooking. I cooked most of our meals long before I had ever even heard of social distancing. But there's something about the pandemic that suddenly made cooking every single meal feel exponentially more draining.

Enter Daily Harvest. They deliver nourishing, delicious food right to your door. Daily Harvest's mix of smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, snacks and more provide a balanced, whole food options that are as satisfying as they are nutritious. But my favorite part? When we're ready to eat, I simply pull the food from the freezer and it's ready in minutes—without any chopping, measuring or searching for a recipe. Even better, they're incredibly tasty, meaning I'm not struggling to get my girls to dig in. Not cooking has never felt so good.

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Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

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Mint + Cacao Smoothie

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

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Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

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Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

There's something about the combination of sweet potato crust topped with red cabbage, organic greens and an herby-cilantro sauce that is so delicious… like surprisingly delicious. I polished off this bad boy in seconds! And unlike other "veggie" crusts I've tried, these are actually clean (AKA no fillers, preservations, partially-hydrogenated oil or artificial anything). Plus, it couldn't be easier to throw in the oven between conference calls and homeschool lessons.

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

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Any time I get to serve a breakfast that tastes like chocolate, it's a good day. (That goes double when it's *my* breakfast.) This rich, chocolatey smoothie is packed with organic zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds and pea protein for a nourishing mix of healthy fats and muscle-building protein so I can carry that baby all day long. And did I mention the chocolate?

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Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

My kids have turned into snack monsters during quarantine, and I'm often struggling to find a wholesome option (that doesn't require a lot of extra cooking or else I resort to something ultra-refined and shelf-stable). These bites are the hero I never knew I needed. For one, they taste like cookie dough, but they're actually packed with chickpeas, pumpkin, dates and flax seed (among other whole ingredients). But unlike actual cookie dough, I don't have to go anywhere near my mixer to whip them up—all I have to do is pull the container out of the freezer, let them defrost a bit and we can all enjoy a treat.

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Sometimes I have a little more time to cook, but I still want a quick, stress-free solution. (Especially because it always feels like I just cleaned up from the last meal.) I love these Harvest Bowls because they warm up in under five minutes on the stove top (or microwave!) but pack tons of flavor. The Cauliflower Rice + Pesto bowl is one of my favorites, with basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast for a hearty dish reminiscent of a mouth-watering Italian meal. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I add leftover grilled chicken or a fried egg.

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Who doesn't want to end the day with a little something sweet? This creamy and decadent frozen treat from Daily Harvest is swirled with sweet berries and tropical dragonfruit for an antioxidant burst you'll feel good about—but that your kiddos will just think is ice cream. Go ahead, take credit for being the best mom ever.

Want to try it yourself? You can get $25 off your first box of Daily Harvest with code MOTHERLY.

This article was sponsored by Daily Harvest. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas

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Comforts Baby Lotion

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"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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