I cannot believe that the end of August is approaching so quickly.  The weather here is starting to feel like fall, which I am so not ready for.  But with fall comes back to school, which is why we are trying to get things organized with the Organize Back To School Challenge.  Each day for the month of August, we are organizing one area of the house to get everything organized before the kids go back to school!  We have tackled bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, kitchen, pantry, toys, and, now, the office.

I have shared many updates to our home office/craft room/mud room over the years.  Since our space is so unique, I thought I would share some ways we have made our home office functional for our family with five helpful organizational tips.

Helpful Office Organization Tips - File Folders Paper

Paper Files

Paper can become a huge way to clutter up your desk space.  I always recommend that you find a way to organize your paper in a way that works for you.  I can handle using a filing cabinet, as I color-code all of my files.  I shared some filing tips with NAPO News earlier this year.

If filing cabinets aren’t your thing, or you don’t have the space to store them, I love using magazine holders as an alternative for filing cabinets.  There are many ways to organize this, but the most useful, is to give each magazine holder a category.  Within that category, use file folders for subcategories.  For example, you could create a magazine holder for medical expenses.  Within that magazine holder, you can have each family member with their own folder.  All of their personal medical bills can go into their medical folder in the medical magazine holder.

Another option is a desktop paper organizer.  I’m not a huge fan of this mode of organizing, due to the fact that I have seen people (cough…my husband…cough) pile the paper on top of each other and things getting lost or misplaced quickly.  If you are using this as an interim before filing your papers, it can work but you have to stay on top of the paper before it takes over your desk.

Helpful Office Organization Tips - Computer Desktop

Computer Files

This is another space for your office to get super cluttered, and you might not even realize it!  I have a Mac, so I created multiple folders on my desktop for everything I am working on.  Each category is color-coded.  Within each folder, I have more folders to keep my projects organized.

My pictures are another topic that I am not even going to suggest tackling today.  My pictures are out of control.  I have no folders, or organizational system for my pictures.  They are all in my iPhoto just sitting there.  I have tried to keep up with tagging people with the Faces feature, so I can find pictures based on family members easily, but that’s the extent of my picture organization.  I will be trying to figure out a system and sharing it with you soon-ish!

Desktop Area

I love when my desktop is clean and rather empty at the start of the day.  Because, by the end of the day, my work space is crazy cluttered.  With projects, notes, and paper taking over my space, I try to start the day with a clear desk.  I do this by having a place for all of my office supplies close by my desk, but not on my desk.  I have a desk drawer that I keep all of my tape, paper clips, etc.  My hole-punches are in a basket on a shelf, so I can grab them easily, but they aren’t taking up space on my desktop.  I also have a pencil box that I can move to different places easily.  By creating a “home” for everything from my desk, I am able to clean up my work space at the end of the day quickly and efficiently.

Helpful Office Organization Tips - Desk Drawer


I feel that substantial storage is crucial for a home office.  I am not saying you need so much storage you don’t know what to do with it all, but I believe you need to have ample space to store things to make your work space the most efficient for yourself.  Shelving units are great options, as they look nice and can hold your books, magazine holders, projects, supplies, etc.  I shared how we created my desk with storage below here.

Helpful Office Organization Tips - File Folders

File Folders

By creating a filing system, either with a filing cabinet or magazine holders; keeping your computer files organized; keeping a clean work space; and creating ample storage, your office space can become incredibly functional.  I’d also add that to keep yourself inspired, make sure the space looks pretty!  It always helps me stay inspired when I am working in a pretty space.  Good luck on cleaning up the office today, and don’t forget to follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips and tricks on ways to get organized using the #organizeback2school.