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10 Quick Fixes for Creating Space in a Cluttered Home Office

10 Quick Fixes for Creating Space in a Cluttered Home Office

While the tendency to clutter your corporate office desk with stray papers and food wrappers is easy, imagine adding bills, letters, junk mail, kids toys and, you never know, even a cat to the mix. This is the reality of working from home.

Sadly not everyone has the luxury of knocking through walls to create a vast home office. You get just one room in the family home and, often, not a very big one at that. This makes keeping the space clutter free even more important. A messy environment creates a messy mind and can turn your professional sanctuary into a disordered space where you struggle to boost your output.

There are, however, ten very simple things you can do to create more space in your home office in no time at all.

1) Get a space-efficient desk

Home office desk with storage drawers

    Image credit: Home Decorators Collection

    One of the things I notice in more disordered home offices is the size and state of the desks inside them. Often intentionally too big for the room so an abundance of papers, documents and other items can be stored alongside a computer and keyboard, they can quickly sap up any spare space. Smaller desks don’t have to mean less space though, especially if you buy one that incorporates a roll-out shelf for your keyboard and mouse, storage drawers and room underneath for a bin and/or paper shredder. Not only will all of your essentials still be in one place, but stored safely away from the main hub of your desk and organised into their own unimposing spaces.

    2) Switch to a laptop

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    laptop on home office desk

      Image credit: Refinery 29

      Unless you’re a designer who relies on a larger computer screen to complete their work, it’s worth switching to a trim laptop to create more desk space. In addition to leaving more room for you to spread out when working, laptops use eight times less power than desktops and will save on your electricity bill in the long run.

      3) Organise loose stationery

      home office desk storage

        Image credit: Stylizimo

        Anything that’s rolling around loosely on your desk is instantly going to make your home office look more cluttered, no matter how small it is. In addition, imagine how frustrating it will be when you’re trying to work with all of those pens and pencils getting in the way. Investing in a simple desk organiser can work wonders, and they’re available in a variety of styles to suit every kind of home office.

        4) Tie up wiring

        laptop wires tied up

          Image credit: Suck UK

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          Loose wires can quickly get out of control and, as well as looking unsightly, can become a safety hazard. Tying them up, getting a desk that incorporates cable management, or strategically hiding wires behind things like bookshelves all work wonders.

          5) Be brutal with what you throw out

          home office paper on desk - cluttered

            Image credit: She Knows Living

            Before you sit down to some serious work, take some time to walk around your office and discard every unnecessary item you can find. Throw away or shred unimportant documents, give old office décor you’re no longer fond of to a charity shop and put any stray food items back in the kitchen. Anything you don’t need while you’re working should be removed, which also goes for distractions. Game consoles and televisions have no place in a home office.

            6) Prevent décor build up

            home office desk decor

              Image credit: Jennifer Daigle Blogspot

              While throwing out old bits of paper and junk documents goes a long way in creating space, you shouldn’t neglect your office décor too. Designing a workspace at home is fun, and when something that’s completely you catches your eye in a shop, it can be difficult to pass it by. If you simply have to buy it, then get rid of something already in your office, and that you haven’t used or liked as much over the past six months to stop items building up.

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              7) Utilise wall space

              drawings and paper on home office wall

                Image credit: Boligcious

                Not all clutter is rubbish, and sometimes you might not want to throw out all those inspiring magazine pages or images. So why not make a feature out of them? Creating a pin board or mural out of items like these is an increasingly popular trend, you can even pin important notes up there too to free up more desk space. In addition, go for tall bookcases, recessed shelving or floating shelves rather than wide storage to utilise an empty wall without taking up valuable floor space.

                8) Decorate using neutral colours

                neutral coloured home office

                  Image credit: Ffffound

                  The shadows and atmosphere cast by dull and gloomy rooms doesn’t just impact your mood, but actually makes a home office appear smaller. Decorating in neutral colours is one of the best ways to open up a smaller space by reflecting natural light and making it appear brighter. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to white paint though – robin’s egg blue, light grey, beige, cream, pastel green and off-white all look great and are a subtle way to include more adventurous colours.

                  9) Don’t be tempted to over furnish

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                  home office desk in nicely furnished room

                    Image credit: Minimal Desks

                    While the home offices featured on interior design blogs incorporate bookshelves, chairs, coffee tables and sofas to stunning effect, the reality is that many of these spaces are considerably larger than your average home office. While a home office does have to be as attractive as it is functional to make working in there enjoyable, over furnishing for stylistic reasons will only make the room feel claustrophobic. Plus, simply filling it with really essential furniture will look much more aesthetically pleasing than if it was full to bursting.

                    10) Keep the room single purpose

                    single purpose home office

                      Image credit: Melissa Mercier

                      Your home office is for working in, so try not to let other areas of your life intrude. Deal with junk mail and bills in a separate room, keep out kids toys and dirty crockery and leave any leisure or “down time” items like televisions and books elsewhere. Once other areas of your life start creeping into your home office, it’ll quickly become disordered.

                      As you can see, a small home office doesn’t have to look as compact as it actually is. Creating the illusion of more space with these simple tips is a sure-fire way of not just opening out the room, but making yourself more productive in the process. Remember, an orderly space makes for an orderly mind.

                      Do you have any of your own tricks for creating space in a cluttered home office?

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                      How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                      How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                      I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                      1. The Inner Critic

                      This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                      • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                      He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                      Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                      2. The Worrier

                      This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                      He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                      Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                      3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                      He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                      He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                      He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                      4. The Sleep Depriver

                      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                      His motivation can be:

                      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                      How can you control these squatters?

                      How to Master Your Mind

                      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                      This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                      For the Inner Critic

                      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                      You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                      • He riles up the Worrier.
                      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                      • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                      • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                      • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                      Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                      For the Worrier

                      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                      • Muscles tense

                      Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                      Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                      For example:

                      If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                      For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                      • Muscles tension

                      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                      Breathe in through your nose:

                      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                      • Focus on your belly rising.

                      Breathe out through your nose:

                      • Feel your lungs emptying.
                      • Focus on your belly falling.
                      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                      Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                      For the Sleep Depriver

                      (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                      2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                      From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                      • Shut down your thinking.
                      • Calm your feelings.
                      • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                      Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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