Millions of people around the world are adjusting as they discover productive methods to working from home. If you’re a work from home employee or blogger, you understand the importance of creating a functional space that suits your work style and nurtures productivity.
Many bloggers and telecommuters embrace minimalism to make the most out of less in their home offices. It isn’t just about work efficiency – a minimalist office promotes creativity, mental clarity and even invites tranquillity into the workspace and home. Keep these seven minimalist office organisation ideas in mind as you’re creating or re-thinking your home office.
1. Tackle desk set-up and storage decisions together
Even the most minimal of minimalists require a desk to complete their work. Invest in a desk that has enough storage for your current role or restructure your workspace to have easy access to storage space. Ask yourself, “What items do I need daily?” Then, re-evaluate what you need most often to effectively organise your desk setup and storage configurations.
Use fun desk accessories to store pens, pencils, sticky notes and other daily use items on your desk. Store less frequently used items in nearby drawers or cabinets for easy access. Everything else can go in a closet or longer-term storage, away from your desk. Add office desk plants for a touch of calm and colour.
2. Think ahead of electronics clutter
Back-up drives, USB hubs and power strips are necessary for a work from home office, but they can contribute to a cluttered, unsightly mess. As you set up your desk, consider where cords and electronics will reside. Some minimalists will create storage compartments for their electronics – modems, headphones, you name it. Others might dedicate areas behind or under their desk. Regardless of your choice, you don’t want electronics to be physical or visual barriers in your space.
3. Create an organised paper system
Paper can take up a significant amount of space, so do your best to minimise it. Create a system that starts outside the home. If you’re going through bills from the mail, discard unnecessary items in the recycling bin before entering your home. Develop a scan-and-store system for those items you may need to keep on record electronically or as hard copies.
It’s also critical to organise personal records and keep them separate from your business records. Best practices include going through files and purging regularly. For items like insurance policies that are updated often, keep the original for that year and get rid of the old copies. Even better, store digital copies instead of paper. Keep tax records for as long as needed, but not longer.
4. Use light and light colours
Light-coloured or white walls are a minimalist design staple. White walls with abundant natural light can create a space that invites mental clarity and allows for focus and creativity. If you don’t have a lot of natural light, you can use overhead or wall lights to amplify your décor. You can bring pops of colour into the space with potted plants or by hanging art prints with custom frames. As a general note, minimalists love to let the white and the light shine through.
5. Decorate sparsely, meaningfully
Choose décor items that reenergise you and have sentimental value. Deciding which pieces are right for you and your space is key. Highlight a handful of your favourite books on the bookshelf, but refrain from overwhelming the space. Use a stylish stand to showcase a unique sculpture. Decorate with intention.
Decorating with a white or light-coloured wallpaper and delicate curtains can add character to your space, too. Built in bookcases can be thoughtfully filled with books and various small items while still allowing space for the wood bookcase to be a design element on its own.
6. Create an end-of-day stow away
It can be a challenge to stay minimal when you’re expected to maintain a healthy work-life balance in a work from home world. If you have papers on the desk, a chequebook you’ve been meaning to balance, a journal article you’ve been trying to read but haven’t gotten to, that’s okay. Create a designated end-of-day stow-away space where you can pick up at another time. Then, first thing tomorrow, revisit where you left off and continue working through your personal and professional duties. Avoid having this area become a “junk drawer.”
7. Create minimalist daily practices
Some minimalists like to dedicate time to tidying up their space and putting items away. Decide what time of the day works best for you, whether it be first thing in the morning or at end of the day, determine a time and stick to it. If you do this, it can serve as both a mental and physical cleanse.
You can also keep mental and physical clutter away with daily task lists. However, make sure you set achievable goals. Setting unrealistic goals can create more work and chaos in your life, which can end up worsening the situation. At the end of each day, check off your task list and tidy up your space, so you can be ready for another productive day tomorrow!
Ray Ko has been creating effective visual merchandising and interior design strategies for retailers for more than 20 years. Today, he is the senior ecommerce manager for shopPOPdisplays, a leading designer and manufacturer of stock and custom acrylic product.