Your home attracts enough clutter in the first place. Adding a home office to the mix only adds to the mess.

The benefits of working from home have instigated more and more telecommuters. But if you have a messy home office, opening the laptop on your favorite chair seems more appealing than sitting at your cluttered desk. When the paper clips start piling up, and there’s no clear line of separation between your couch and your desk, it’s time to take control.

Check out these 5 quick steps you need to take for home office organization.

1. Ditch the excess paper

Excess paper is a recipe for disaster in your home office. Instead of holding on to every last scribble and those notebooks filled with brainstorm sessions, do a quick sweep of what you truly need and toss what’s keeping you from staying organized.

The first step? Gather every last piece of paper in one central location. This is going to seem counterproductive, as you’ll create a bigger, more collective mess than what you started with, but this is your chance to organize. Begin separating papers into piles by usefulness. As you sort, quickly toss any items you know you will never use again. If you’re starting to put things in the “maybe” pile, hold on to those items for a short time — there’s nothing worse than throwing away that event schedule you realize you needed months later. But when it gets to be too much and you feel like you’re drowning in paper, consider scanning your files to your computer to eliminate the excess.

2. Sort with bins and containers

Labels are your new best friend. Whether you’re a minimalist or a pack rat, labels will always serve their purpose well and save you precious time searching. Besides, can you really know you’re going to remember what you put in that box on the top shelf months later? Years later?

After you’ve sorted your papers and files, be sure everything is categorized and placed where it should be. Color-coding your files and boxes is, for example, a good way to keep your finances separate from your calendars.

3. Strategically choose and place furniture

Selecting the right location for your home office is one thing, but choosing an effective desk and storage system can be just as important. Whether you’ve settled on converting the exercise room into your workspace or you’ve carefully hidden your office space in the corner of your living room, your storage should blend in with the space while allowing you to be productive and efficient with your home office organization.

If you’re short on space, consider floor-to-ceiling shelves to combat the lack of space on your flat desk. If all you need is a flat surface and a chair, maybe that 6-foot desk with near-endless supply of drawers isn’t right for you. It’s important to evaluate your desk location and type before you get too settled into the place you’ll be spending the majority of your day.

4. Keep your personal life separate

Where was that note you wrote for your boss? What did you do with that recipe card you were planning to use for supper tonight? When you begin combining your personal space with your work space, things could get messy. Home life and office life should be kept separate. If you do frequently use your desk space for projects or files related to your home and family, designate a specific area for only those items and distinctly label it as such.

That rule applies to your belongings, too. That family photograph is just fine sitting on the corner of your desk, but when your home desk begins transitioning into a museum full of your kids’ school portraits, it’s best to place those memories elsewhere. They’re taking up valuable work space and might be better off hung on your wall or set on the mantle.

When your belongings begin to interfere with your daily life, they could be better off in storage until you need them. For climate-controlled and secure self-storage units, contact Storage Direct. Our nationwide locations offer easily accessed units and friendly customer service you can count on.