The home office is a place for working, paying bills, doing taxes or perhaps even relaxing and reading a book. In order to keep this space functional and comfortable, it’s important to keep it neat and organized. The thought of sifting through everything can seem overwhelming at first, but by following these tips for organizing a home office, you can put things in order and set yourself up for success in an hour.

1. Sort your paperwork

Since your goal is to organize a home office in an hour, start by sorting through a small stack of papers instead of tackling the whole pile at once. Decide which papers to keep, then put them neatly away in desk organizers. Try separating your papers into one of two categories:

A. “Deal With It Now”

Designate one desk organizer for bills that need to be paid, phone calls you need to make, the new car insurance card you need to put in your car, the magazine subscription you need to renew, etc. Put this stack of papers wherever you will see it—even if it’s on top of your computer keyboard—and work on it next time you’re in the office.

B. “Ready To File”

This desk organizer will include paid bills, receipts, instruction manuals for equipment, pay stubs, benefit statements from work, etc. Put this stack in a less accessed space or store it inside file cabinets for later.

By doing this quick, basic sort, it’s simple to identify and separate your most urgent papers from your less critical ones. Then, you’ll be able to focus your time on the work that matters most.

2. Store office supplies somewhere other than your desk

Whether it’s copy paper, paperclips, extra pens, a stapler or correction tape, bunching all of it on your desk can be a recipe for clutter. To give yourself more desk space, keep only the essentials like pens, pencils and highlighters at hand. Put everything else in a closet, filing cabinet or somewhere other than your desk.

3. Make home office organization manageable with OHIO

This home office organization tip stands for “Only Handle It Once” and applies to any piece of paper kept in your office. When your mail arrives, sort it right away. Toss the junk mail, sit down to pay the bills and file the paperwork you need to keep. If you wait to sort it all out, you’ll end up with a pile of paper that feels unmanageable. You can save yourself time by handling the paper only once and right when you get it.

4. Outfit your home office for organization

Invest in desk organizers—including file sorters, file cabinets and shelving—to help keep your important documents in order. If you need extra floor space, remember to think vertically. You might want to add shelving above your desk or use taller bookcases, for example. You could also consider installing closet shelves to store additional binders, books or extra office supplies.

Keeping your home office organized is an ongoing project, but it’s simple to manage if you can make small, consistent efforts to keep things under control. And with the tips offered here, you’ll be off to a great start.

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