A lot is unknown about the state, and fate, of the modern office worker as work-from-home orders lift and people begin a return to the traditional office. For many people, of course, that return won’t happen — many employers will allow employees the choice, and some will even move away from brick-and-mortar offices entirely. That means the home office will be here to stay for many people.
If your home workspace could use some help to get papers and files and charging cords and desk accessories organized, we’ve got ideas. We spoke to experts Nonnahs Driskill, founding organizer at Get Organized Already!, and Rachel Hoffman, a cleaning and organizing expert and the author of Unf*ck Your Habitat and Cleaning Sucks, to ask for their best tips for getting a home office in order. And we asked them to recommend the very best organizing solutions, all priced under $20.
Clear 3-Section Vertical File ($14.99; containerstore.com)
Driskill recommends these clear, vertical file folders that will “keep your current projects organized but out of the way.” She likes the “nice, streamlined look” of the translucent plastic file holder, and the versatility of the keyhole backing that allows the file holder to be mounted on the wall.
Songmics 3-Tier Rolling Cart ($19.99; amazon.com)
A 3-tier rolling cart is a favorite of organizers and small-space design experts who love the slim footprint, deep storage compartments and portability. In a home office, this cart can be used to store files, or hobby supplies — or as one organizing expert we talked to uses hers for, a printer station to keep cartridges, cords and printer paper organized.
Hongdream Wall Mount Pegboard ($11.99; amazon.com)
The desk itself isn’t the only available storage space — Hoffman says to consider the space above, next to and below the desk as a place to create extra storage. She also offers this helpful tip: “For people who can’t install anything on their walls, leaning pegboards or magnetic boards with corresponding storage accessories help get a lot of items up off the desk and into a more out-of-the-way location.”
Kuhome Pegboard Accessories ($14.99; amazon.com)
Customize a pegboard system to fit your organizing needs with an accessories set like this one, which includes six cups with ring-style holders to attach to the board, which can be used to store pens, pencils, scissors, spare charging cords and more.
Baskiss Cord Management Organizer ($7.99; amazon.com)
Adhesive cord managers grab onto cords, keeping them in reach rather than on the floor. This peel-and-stick adhesive cord organizing strip has seven slots and is safe to use on drywall, plastic, wood, glass, metal or rubber.
Kootek Cable Management Sleeve ($12.99; amazon.com)
If your home office has been overtaken by a mass of unruly cords, a cable management sleeves can help bring some visual order to the room. This style is made of neoprene, so it’s flexible, and it’s reversible, allowing you to choose either the white or the black side depending on which better suits your decor. The sleeve is 118 inches long, and can be cut into smaller pieces using scissors, or used whole to obscure a longer stretch of cord or cords.
Cable Raceway On-Wall Cord Cover ($14.99; amazon.com)
Another way to manage and conceal cords is to use a baseboard cover. This D-Line cover comes in five colors — beige, white, black, silver/gray and oak wood — which will match to most baseboards and, because they’re made of PVC, they can also be painted to match unusual wall or baseboard colors.
mDesign 3-Tier Shelf Organizer Stand ($19.99; amazon.com)
Hoffman specifically mentioned that desks without drawers and other forms of built-in storage are trendier, and less expensive, and therefore tend to be popular in home offices. If you find that a little extra storage is needed, a desktop riser shelf adds space and keeps clutter organized.
Desktop Bookshelf with Drawers ($16.96, originally $19.96; amazon.com)
Creating more space on a desk can be as simple as investing in a narrow tabletop shelf that can sit atop a desk. Look for styles that offer open shelving for storing paper planners, notebooks and mailing supplies, as well as some drawers for holding smaller items like phone chargers.
Extendable Desktop Organizer with Drawers ($20.99, originally $21.99; amazon.com)
As Hoffman put it, desk organizers that feature small drawers are a nice choice “so not everything is out on display all the time.” This desktop organizing system has open shelves and some drawers to tuck small items away when not in use.
Office Accessories Caddy ($19.95, originally $49.95; amazon.com)
Hoffman emphasizes using the space above, below and around a desk for storage. But if using vertical space to put up shelves isn’t an option, look for a desk organizer tray with a small footprint that won’t take up a lot of surface area.
Headset/Headphone Holder Mount ($12.99, originally $14.99; amazon.com)
Desktop space is valuable and keeping it uncluttered is important, but so is keeping oft-used home office items within arm’s reach — like bulky headsets. This clip-on headset and headphone holder attaches to the side of a desk, keeping headphones out of the way but still right there when you need them.
Drinking Cup Holder Clip ($11.99; amazon.com)
A drinking cup holder that clips on the desk keeps that all-important water bottle, soda can or coffee cup right by your side — but off of your desk, where it takes up space and threatens important papers and expensive electronics with a spillage accident.
Desk Side Pen Holder ($7.99; amazon.com)
Even in our digital world, you still need a pen from time to time. This inexpensive pen holder clips on to the side of a desk, keeping the desk’s surface free while ensuring there’s always a pen handy when you need one.
Desk Clamp Power Strip ($18.99, originally $19.99; amazon.com)
Clamping a power strip to the underside of the desk means that you always have juice right when you need it. It’s also nice to get power strips up off the floor, where they get in the way and collect a lot of dust.
Under Desk Drawers, 2-Pack ($15.99, originally $18.99; amazon.com)
Under-desk drawers create hidden pockets of storage space for small items like pens and chargers. Just be sure to measure the height of your desktop piece to be sure the drawers will fit properly.
Remote Control Caddy ($9.99; amazon.com)
Remote controls aren’t typically associated with offices, but these days everything from standing fans to lighting systems comes with a remote. If you have a lot of electronics and corresponding remotes in your home office, a ten dollar solution will keep them all in one easy-to-locate place.
mDesign Slim Plastic Wastebasket with Handles, 2-Pack ($19.99; target.com)
Sure, most home offices have a wastebasket for tossing out trash, but recyclables like cardboard boxes and soda cans are just as often found in a home office as in a regular office. Set up a small recycling center with two small, inexpensive wastebaskets for all those recyclables.
Floating Shelves, 3-Pack ($19.99; amazon.com)
Standing bookshelves take up a lot of space and can be pricey, but a set of inexpensive, wall-mounted floating shelves can add a lot of storage in a home office. Shelves can be used for files or books, desk accessories, and are also a pretty way to display plants or collections.
Y-Weave Medium Decorative Storage Basket ($6; target.com)
When it comes to storing small items in a home office, small bins can be used on floating shelves to create a streamlined look. These small, lightweight bins are perfect for stashing office supplies on floating shelves to get clutter off the desk.