It’s convenient to have a workshop at home. But it’s inconvenient to have it cluttered. Clutter makes work confusing and it becomes difficult to find things when you need them. If it’s time to de-cluttering then keep in mind the following tips that will help the most diehard of pack rats and those prone to clutter.

Start From Zero: If you need to de-clutter, it’s likely your home office is a mess. Do yourself a favor and take everything off work surfaces and place items in storage bins. Start with a clean slate. This way, you can figure out what items are most needed and which ones you may not need at all. Slowly start adding more items to your workspace, finding the appropriate place as you go along.

Stop Valuing Useless Items: Those who create clutter may be pack rats, people who don’t like to discard items or those who make excuses as to why they still need useless materials. As you clear things off your worktable and place other items in bins, rate each item, giving it a score from 1 to 4, 4 being symbolic of an item that is essential, such as a painter’s brush. Any item that is rated a 1 can be discarded and things that are rated a 2 can be placed in bins until needed. Only keep essential items close to your workspace.

Allow Function to Dictate Form: Engineers consider efficiency. Tasks are done better and faster when items most needed are close at hand. Allow desired functions to dictate the adopted form of your workspace. For example, if you often need a large, clean space for using a ruler for measuring, be sure that the workspace is designed so you never need to clear things away to use the ruler. Having a cluttered area wastes time and inspires the tendency to attract more clutter.

Take a Step Back: Some people find it helpful to take a step back from the work area to get a better perspective. Others take pictures of the workspace and use the photos to evaluate and identify ‘problem’ areas where clutter forms. Taking this a step further, compare the picture of your workspace with the workstations of others. If you notice a cohort or friend has a knack for organization, ask them to lend you advice and a hand in better coordinating your space.

Expand When Needed: If you’ve disposed of things you don’t need and stored away others that you use less often but don’t have enough space, consider expanding. For example, take advantage of space above your work area or to the sides. Alternatively, you might want to consider moving your entire work area to a new location. Moreover, don’t forget about storage units. You can rent space and make it your work area.

Find a Home for All Items: Those who are orderly find a home for all needed items and are consistent in placing things back where they belong. This way, you always know where you can find needed items and once you reconfigure the space, there will be no reason for things to get cluttered.

Use a Labeler: Invest in a labeler. That way you can easily visualize where items need to go and visitors won’t be confused as to where you expect items to be when you need them. Another idea for those who use tools is to outline the shape of the tools with marker so there is no mistake as to where each tool needs to be placed at the end of a project. Aside from a labeler, take notice of other creative safety supply organizational products.

Clean the Space Each Day: To ensure your space stays free of clutter, clean your work area each day, discarding unneeded items and putting all other things back in the right place. If you have a partner or work with other people, be verbal about the importance of keeping the space orderly and free of clutter.

Evolve with New Projects: Depending on the nature of your work, each project may be differ. Therefore, it’s best to optimize the space depending on each project. For example, an artist may need to visualize a project and need space for sketching. The next phase of the project may focus on creating the art, which warrants a different workspace layout. Leave enough space so it’s easy to transfer to different phases of projects without causing too much clutter or needing to make sacrifices.

Kiera Harper is a keen DIY’er. Always planning the next big project in the family home she has recently turned the garage into a workshop so she has a dedicated area for her hobby. When not holding a hammer she can often be found writing about them, her articles having been published on DIY and home renovation sites.