Q: We have a very messy, unorganized office in our home. We would like to start from scratch with it. What are some suggestions for creating an organized, work friendly space?

A: The office is notorious for becoming one of the most cluttered rooms in the home. Papers, computer wires, binders, manuals and office supplies tend to get mixed together in a jumbled mess on the desk, which can impact productivity (and make the room look pretty messy, too).

The first thing to remember is to start small. You will not be able to properly organize your office in an hour. You may not even be able to organize it in a week! Work to organize section by section, stack by stack, and drawer by drawer. It may take longer, but spending a little bit of extra time will be worth it in the long run. Start off by getting rid of papers and items that you no longer need. Decide which documents are actually important and which can be thrown away.

Once you’ve purged your office of outdated documents and items, it’s a good idea to organize the remaining items in terms of use. Keep all of your frequently used office supplies in one place, for easy access. Create a “reference center” to store binders, papers and manuals. If everything in the office has a specific place, it will be easier to clean up and locate things when you need them. Don’t underestimate the value of small drawer organizers, binder clips, trays or labeled storage boxes when organizing.

Many homeowners don’t invest in enough furniture for the home office. Avoid this mistake by purchasing a desk that has enough space and drawers for all of your equipment, and using file cabinets and bookshelves to your advantage. Rolling chairs can help you navigate the space effectively and might be a good purchase, depending on the flooring you have installed.

Above all, try to create an organizational system that stops clutter before it starts. Prevent papers from piling up in the first place by getting rid of everything you don’t need and organizing the things you do. Spending a few minutes each day organizing your office will keep the mess from returning, and keep you feeling like a high-powered CEO.