Hacks to Organize Your Small Space

Don't have a luxurious corner office (yet)? That doesn't mean you can't make a place for everything you need! Use these ideas to maximize your office space -- increasing productivity and your sense of serenity:

Create Instant Space and Serenity by Decluttering

Stacks of papers, sweaters, jackets, knick-knacks, and other odds and ends can quickly overtake a tiny office. Straighten your shelves, shred or recycle old documents, and take home any items that are eating up valuable workspace. If you haven't touched something in the last six months, odds are, you can get rid of it.

If you are worried about destroying old documents, you can scan them and save them to a secure, backed-up file so that the information can be retrieved if necessary. A good rule of thumb when decluttering: if it's covered in dust, you probably don't need it.

Tackle Your Files

As more information moves into digital and cloud-based platforms, the need to keep paper copies of files has lessened. However, some things must be saved. To help manage your filing cabinet, use the following guidelines:

  • Create a meeting folder - Keep all items that need to be discussed, delegated, or dealt with in meetings in a single, easy-to-reach file folder. This will help you feel more prepared for meetings and will ensure all of your action items are held in one place.
  • Create a follow-up folder - We're all waiting on someone else for something. Keep a file of all of the projects that are on hold until you receive data or reports from colleagues. Each morning, pull it out and follow up on pressing deliverables.
  • Archive old items - Closed projects should not take up valuable space in your drawers. Archive these folders in the department's main file storage area.
  • Friday File-day - Do you find yourself surfing the web at 4:00 on Fridays? Instead of watching the clock, make time on Fridays to file the papers that have piled up on your desk throughout the week. This will free up desk space and help you feel more organized when you get back to work on Monday morning.

Enlarge Your Space by Thinking Creatively

Is your computer monitor sitting on top of your desk? Purchase a monitor platform, and you'll instantly create space to store folders, notebooks, and other items. Is there a lot of empty space under your desk? Use it effectively by adding portable file drawers or storage cubbies.

If you have an inbox on your desk, you can free up desk space and limit clutter by utilizing hanging file baskets. Just be sure to label them well so that your co-workers don't toss important papers where your inbox used to be.

Next, scan your walls. If you have empty wall space, it's just begging to be used productively. Add shelves, a white board, or cork board to give those empty walls purpose.

Put Everything in its Own Place

When items have a "home," it can instantly declutter your desk while helping you de-stress. Are you constantly looking for your stapler? Do you lose pens three or four times a day? Give everything its own home. Get a pen cup -- and use it. Keep your stapler in your desk drawer for easy reach. When you're done with something, put it back in its space so you always know it will be available at your fingertips when you need it.

Light Up the Room

Poor lighting casts shadows that make a room look smaller. Think about your own living room at home. When you're reading the paper on a sunny Sunday morning, your room probably feels bigger than it does in the evening after the sun goes down. The same principle holds true in your office. If you're working with dim lighting, talk to maintenance about getting brighter bulbs, or find some small lamps to help cast better light and instantly make the room feel bigger.

Crowdsource New Space-Saving Ideas

While you may think you have the smallest office or cube in the company, there are others who also have to deal with small spaces. As you make your daily rounds, pay attention to what others have done with their spaces. Not only will you get some new ideas on how to maximize a small office or cube, but you can ask those co-workers where they purchased their solutions or what steps they took to open up their tiny offices.

Organizing a small space is not always easy. It takes time, planning, and effort. If you've become frustrated with your tiny office, decluttering and organizing is well worth that effort. Not only will it give you more room to move, but it will also give you a boost of energy, helping you to feel more productive throughout the day.