Closed September 2017

Clutter Video Tip: 9 Essential Elements for a Productive Home Office

Quick, think of your favorite room in the house… Did you say your home office? No? I’m not surprised. Statements, taxes, filing are all essential in running your home, but they aren’t very fun. Watch this video for the the nine essential elements of a productive home office. Following these strategies will make the time you spend at your desk less stressful and more productive. So you can get in, get it done, and get on with what you really want to do.

(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at


Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about having a well-equipped home office. We’re going to talk about the flow of things in and out of your office space, and also I want to show you some components of an efficient desk space that help make that happen.

First, lets think about how it is when you drive your car. So, you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, you’ve got all the buttons you need for the radio and for the windows, and you’ve got your pedals, your dashboard, and your cup holders. Basically, you have everything you need to drive a car within easy reach. So, think about applying that same concept to your desk. You need to have all of these components within easy reach so that you can efficiently work every day.

So first, lets talk about how things come into your office and how to process those through these physical components of these different baskets and things that we’re going to have. So you have maybe seen me on other videos talking about having an “in” basket. And it can be a basket like this or it can be a tray or whatever you particularly like, but you need to think about this as the parking spot for anything new that comes into your office so that it is to be sorted. It could be mail, it could be other kinds of papers, and it could even be physical objects that you need to look at and make decisions about, maybe something that needs repairs. So you’re going to have this as anything incoming and you’re going to process this. Now, we’ve talked in other videos about action, reference, or trash, and you’re going to be looking at everything in this with those three things in mind. Now, if those items are action items, you want to have a place to put those. So you may decide to have action files, project files, things for items that you actually need to do something with. So I have this that you can see behind me for bills that need to be paid, for travel arrangements, for urgent items like quick phone calls and forms that need to be filled out. This is how I handle it. I like trays because they’re very visible. You can also use folders if you like, or any kind of office supply that makes sense for you and your style.

You also may decide that you need to have some other project files for ongoing things that you’re planning. I have a drawer here in my desk that I have for those things, and those are actual file folders. If the items in your “in” basket are reference items, those will go in your files, and so you need to have some files pretty close by. These are my reference files. I also have a basket here for things to be filed if I want to wait until a later time to actually put those into file folders. And then if the items in your “in” basket are to be trashed, they may need to be recycled, so I have this basket that goes underneath my desk that’s a recycling bin and then I also have a shredder, which is very important, so I think every home should have a shredder to make sure that you protect yourself from identity theft. Then, of course, you’re going to have a regular trash can as well.

So then, you may also have other categories of items that come through that are items that may be for reading. So I have a “to read” basket – and this also usually goes on my floor – but these are the magazines and catalogs and other items that I can easily pull out of my “in” basket to make my pile a little less scary to sort through. So that centralizes all of my reading material into one place. Another thing that you might run into when you’re sorting is something that goes out to someone else. So you can have an “out” box. Some people like to do that. I just put the things on my desk to carry out on my way out. But some people have a lot of needs for things that are outgoing. And sometimes for clients I’ve created what I call “destination trays.” So there are very common destinations that they’re always giving things to certain other people or taking them to certain other places, and we have multiple trays that we label for those destinations, so they can easily sort what’s going out of their offices.

So, as you think about this inflow and outflow of things through your office, make sure that you have all of these components in place so that you can do your work the most efficiently. I wrote a whole book about how to organize your home office and you can find out more about that at

See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.

You may have been searching for office organization tips or paper management.

Click here for FREE decluttering help NOW!

Leave a Reply

ParadeRachael RayInStyleCNBCFast CompanyThe Boston GlobeWomen's DayWGNToday