Organizing Offices and Store Rooms

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How to Organize Your Office, Desk and Storeroom

Organizing Offices, Study Areas and Store Rooms

Hi, This is so embarrassing. I can’t seems to organize my study room or store room. Every time I clean and organize it, after a while, it’s messy again. I am the only one using it, not other family members.

Please Help! Gina


Gina, it really is hard to keep offices and storage rooms under control so don’t feel too bad about having trouble staying organized. We all have problems with storage areas and heavy use areas (the kitchen counter and table are two other examples).

Here are a couple of things that might help keep your study area and storeroom more organized:

  1. When you do clean it make sure you get rid of as much as you can. This is probably the hardest step but the most important.

  2. Then make sure everything has a home. If you can’t find a home for something (a specific place to keep it) then you either need to get rid of it or find another place to keep it, possibly in another room. 

    Keep books, files and other papers stored in a vertical position and not horizontally, like laying flat on a desk. Once something gets set on a horizontal surface like a desk or a counter, it becomes a magnet for anything that doesn’t have a home. This is often the beginning of a big mess that will have to be organized later.

  3. Put it away. Develop the habit of putting something back where it belongs as soon as you’re finished with it. Don’t lay it down and expect to get back to it later. Usually, you’ll be on a different track later and you won’t get right back to it. Put it back in its home.

You have to just keep on top of storage rooms, offices and other areas like this and just keep organizing a little as you go. These rooms usually get used or dumped in a lot and will tend to get out of control so either daily, once a week or once a month set aside a time to clean it once again. You can do it how often you want although since it drives you crazy I would say clean it at least once a week.

Keeping your office organized is like doing the dishes. Just when you get them washed,  it suddenly seems like there are more to do. You can either save them and wash a mound of dishes once a day or keep on top of it by washing them each time you use one or after a meal.

I went into great detail about cleaning and organizing your home in our Keeping it Clean e books, so you might want to check it out.



Photo By: banspy


  1. Lea Stormhammer says

    The question I would ask is, do you really use your office or is is someplace to keep your things while you work elsewhere (kitchen table, living room couch, etc.)?

    We had an office that we couldn’t keep clean no matter what! We finally realized that we weren’t even really using it – even though we thought we were – and thus things would get set down and never picked up again for long periods of time. So when we did want to use the desk, it was covered with stuff. Usually I worked at the kitchen table and my husband likes to write and study curled up on the couch.

    So, we emptied out the room – gave our son his own room – and moved our filing cabinet into the (very wide) hallway downstairs and bought a small secretary to hold office supplies and give us a surface to put the laptop on when we needed it. The printer and our dictionary, etc. live on top of the filing cabinet and the secretary needs to be closed if we aren’t working on it (otherwise it’s tricky to get through the hallway). Much better! Now we “need” to keep things put away and we don’t have a room full of junk anymore!

    In general we found that we were trying to make our needs fit the the spaces that we “needed” and “had” rather than making our home fit our lives. Now that we’ve cleaned out and rearranged and asked ourselves if every single thing fits our life or if we just have it because we “should”, we have far less clutter, our spaces are way more useable and we’re a lot happier and less stressed!

    Good luck with your struggle! It took us 11 years to figure out what our “problem” was…

  2. Grandma says

    For a few years due to space (very limited) we had my desk and desk top computer in the bedroom.
    We bought me a lap top so that when Don was night shift I could use the lap top downstairs.
    Well I still prefer my desktop but would not use it for some unknown reason. Well unknown until recently. We moved it down to the living room. I have put the lap top away only for trips is it out of storage.
    I am a bit claustraphobic and I need sunlight to feel comfortable.
    We have dark blinds and curtains in the bedroom so Don can sleep during the day.
    Now I am in the light and love sitting here typing stories and talking to people.
    The desk is not covered with clutter because it is in use all the time and being in the living room where company can see it, it stays cleaned up.
    So maybe moving the office or parts of it to a different area would help with organizing the space.

    • says

      It makes a huge difference on things like that Grandma. I am the same way. Sometimes it takes just moving something and I will use it 10 times more.

      Tawra also had trouble because of her FM in one house with the office and family room being on the second level of their home. They finally moved their bedroom down to the family room/office and the office upstairs. It helped so much because instead of running up and down stairs from the kitchen and upper level to do office stuff it was right there on the same level. Just because the builders meant for a room to be one thing doesn’t mean you have to use it for that.

      Another funny thing about moving things. When we have a garage sale sometimes certain things just aren’t selling, if we move them to another spot they will sell. So funny.

    • Angie says

      Welcome back Grandma! I can relate to the bedroom being dark and uninviting. My husband works nights also and we have very heavy blinds and curtains. I couldn’t understand why I dreaded dusting, vacuuming and tidying in the bedroom and one day I realized it’s because it’s always so dark and depressing in there. In other rooms in the house I have blinds and curtains open even on dreary days because the light is beneficial to my moods. It hardly seemed worth opening the blinds and curtains in the bedroom since my husband would just have to close everything back up to be able to sleep. Now I know what my issue is with that room and it makes it a little easier. The littlest things… :-)

  3. says

    I’m working on point number 2 — making a home for everything. This includes catalogs that I want to look through for ideas and newspaper ads for the grocery stores. I had been just leaving them on my desk, and they were taking up so much room. I’ve now got them vertical in a box under the desk. I can pull it out and look through these things easily. And they don’t take up valuable room on the desk.

    Also, and this really helps me, is I set aside one day of the week that I sort through everything on the desk. On Mondays. I bill-pay, record receipts into my ledger, check on appointments for the week, etc. At least for 1 day, my desk is totally clear, until the next Monday rolls around.

    But like Jill said, I have to keep on top of it. But I look at that task as part of my job.

  4. Jan says

    Ok, this will probably seem strange to everyone. I am packing my house so I can get it ready to sell. Since I have it cleaned spotless, I have no desire to do any of my crafts. I just don’t have the motivation. When my area was messy, I just had tons of ideas and was able to crank out card after card (I make greeting cards). Now that the area is clean and I have tons of space, I can’t get the motivation to create anything. I do hope this will go away soon, maybe after the move? any ideas?

    • says

      I wouldn’t worry too much Jan. A couple of things may have happened. One you have been concentrating on what you might call more practical type of things – cleaning, packing and dealing with all the details that go into moving. Your brain has been working in a whole different area “cleaning” mode and you are more drained mentally then you realize trying to figure what goes, what stays, where to put this or that. Once you get moved and settled in you will feel much more like doing other things then.
      Even though your nest is clean in your mind it really isn’t your nest any more which can cause a person to be” put on hold” for many things in their life.
      The other thing too that may have happened is even though I like to have my sewing room relatively organized I still like to have everything out where I can see it. Looking at all my material helps me to get ideas of what to do next and it inspires me. Plus when I do a really good cleaning in my sewing room it takes me a week or so to finally start sewing again because something in me wants to enjoy the cleanliness and all the hard work I did to get it there for a bit.
      I would say just relax and once moved and settled in things will get back to normal.

  5. Rachel H says

    The people who built this house included a small office off the laundry room. The husband worked at home. It is very small, but workable. However for some strange reason they did not put vents in, so this room does not have air or heat. Also being next to the laundry room, you can’t talk on the phone if you need to when the washer and dryer is running. I have two work at home jobs, Avon rep. and medical insurance billing. I find that I just work at the dining room table. I can hear the radio, watch something cooking in the kitchen, see out my living room windows. That office is now just where I store my work supplies. Playing with the idea of making a small office space in a guest room we are about to set up. But what if we have guests? I’ll be back at the dining room table. No easy answers to these dilemmas!

  6. Marcia says

    I am always having to clean out our computer room! I am working on that particular problem right now in fact. One thing I have discovered ha ha this should be obvious but…I always had a lot of catalogs lying around some were months old and one of the companies had a message on the last catalog I got saying “This may be the last catalog you get from us!” Ha ha…I thought “Well so what if it is? I usually order everything on line anyway!” Then the eureka moment happened! WHY should I keep catalogs at all if I usually order on line anyway?! Most mail order places these days have web sites! So I have the mail order companies I often order from bookmarked on my computer. If I happen to get a catalog from a company I have never heard of a quick look through the catalog will let me know if their merchandise even appeals to me which most of the time it doesn’t anyway. If it doesn’t I throw it out right at the post office. If it does I take a few minutes to look up the web site, bookmark it and if they have wish lists I may put something on the list. If I don’t order from them for a while I delete the bookmark if I remember the name of the company I can always look it up again. This helps me save money and time since I don’t give myself time to build up a desire for something that may be out of my budget or I don’t really need. I find that often something I may want loses its appeal after a while anyway or I find what I need cheaper somewehre else. It works well for me and cuts down considerably on the catalog clutter.

  7. Marcia says

    I forgot to ask about this in my post but this information would be helpful since I have quite a problem with excess paper…how do you find out what are really important papers and what aren’t? Is that something that could be addressed in a future article? Or do you have an article on that already? My husband is a pianist and I am into pen pals and they both seem to generate a lot of paper clutter and it seems like the more I shred the more appear! We even have a file cabinet and that is crammed full and I try to clean it out every so often and more papers seem to come in than go out. You are so right about horizontal surfaces if a crowded desk is a sign of genius I have an incredibly high IQ!

    • says

      I know what you mean Marcia. I have so many little pieces of paper piled on my desk with ideas for future posts that it would take me at least 100 years to write them all. Glad to know that is because I have such a high IQ :) I will be sure to tell my kids that. :)

      We have a few articles that will help answer your question. The first one tells you exactly what to do or who to call. If those aren’t enough, check out some of the boxes at the bottom or things that are highlighted in the article. When I started researching to write these I was amazed how few papers I really needed to keep. I kept way more then I needed too. Part of the problem is if you own a business you need to keep more then an individual does but most people make the mistake of keeping what a business would. If you have more questions after reading these just give me a holler:

      Organizing Paperwork for Taxes
      Can I Do a Better Job Managing my Bills


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