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Affordable Ways to Create a Clutter-Free and Inspiring Work Space

Updated on December 28th, 2021
Inspiring Work Space

Every now and then we might need to spruce up our work space. It can help us work more effectively, make it easier to find things when we need them and create a more pleasant area to work.

Here are some tips to inexpensively update to create an inspiring work space.

1. Make small additions to your works pace

If your work environment doesn’t need a complete overhaul, it couldn’t hurt to make some small-scale changes. It can still revitalize the area if you feel uninspired working in it. A little TLC can go a long way instead of revamping your whole office which can get costly and stressful.

Maybe you can change some of the photos you’re displaying or add some if you don’t currently have any. You can also pick up some cheap office decor like a paper tray, a new calendar, or some storage fabric bins and file folders to help you stay organized. Target has some very affordable office supplies and organizers in fun and inspiring colors and designs.

You can also consider stores like Staples or even shop online on sites like Amazon if you think you can get a better deal.

2. Rotate your photos regularly.

Think about adding a small shelf to the wall near your desk and display a mini gallery of frames that you can swap out whenever the mood strikes.

You won’t have to put additional holes in the wall. The shelf can stay there permanently, but you just change what’s on it. You can swap out frames, interesting artwork or other inspiring items you’d like to display.

3. Spice Up Your Supplies

Put decorative-yet-functional containers in place of what you currently use to store supplies. Swap out standard ones with something unexpected like mason jars or metal candy tins. It can put a fresh spin on how you containerize your supplies.

If you want to keep such supplies off of your desk, stick an inexpensive utensil tray normally found in kitchen drawers and use it to separate your pens, pencils and highlighters. They’ll still be within reach, but won’t take up prime real estate on the desk.

It’s also an easy way to keep them sorted.

4. Stop clutter before it starts.

Be on the lookout for clutter magnets, dust collectors and anything unnecessary that can quickly clutter up your space. Can you tuck a stack of books in a basket or maybe donate them altogether? If you’re forced to keep some files as hard copies, can they go in a file instead of on top of the desk?

If space is at a premium, consider getting extra mileage out of your door. You can use a file organizer on the back of them for roughly 12 dollars. Look up pocket charts or file organizers. Scholastic sells them. They are commonly used in elementary schools, but can also be used in an office setting. It’s easy to locate what folder you need because it’s visible yet, still out of the way.

This can also help combat having important papers turn into a distant memory underneath a big stack of paper.


You don’t have to thumb through any cabinets or look behind another folder to find the one you need. This works best for categories that you use regularly. For example, I have a folder that is labeled freelance writing because it’s something I work on every week and add random ideas to the folder as they pop up. I won’t forget any of them because they are stored here.

While I don’t like using paper and avoid it whenever possible, it’s a concrete way to capture thoughts that I may or may not use. I can easily recycle the paper if the idea doesn’t go anywhere.

5. Enlist free help.

Sometimes you can go in circles trying to figure out the best way to organize your space. Don’t waste a lot of money on products until you identify what you do in the space, what you need to have accessible and what can get tucked away.

Follow Youtubers like Alejandra Costello on, Lorrie Marrero or Peter Walsh to not only learn about great products, but how to develop processes to utilize the products the best way possible. Watch Part 2 of The Most Organized Home in America where Costello shares her insight as a professional organizer. Many of her ideas are very inexpensive and easy to implement.

If you get a chance to watch the video, she’ll show you what her home office looks like as well as the systems she has in place when working there (cut to the 8:40 time stamp in the video if you just want to look at the home office section). She has a unique way of sorting her work that you may have never thought of before. Some of her papers are sorted based on how many steps are involved to complete them. One step tasks have their own home while multiple step tasks are stored in a separate area. She explains why and it’s set up this way and what to do with the work when finished.

She’ll also reveal her cost-effective strategies of sorting items within your desk. From using cardboard boxes from the dollar store to small tension rods as drawer dividers. Whether you’re starting from scratching when setting up your space or trying to rework what you have, try out some of these her tips to work effectively for less.

The Bottom Line

Sprucing up your work environment has many benefits. Let these ideas marinate a bit and then decide what to try first. You can see for yourself what works best. Along with being able to find items quickly, work more efficiently and make the space look better, it may even help you push your projects across the finish line faster.

It also frees up mental space and allow to have a steady flow of creativity or allows you to work on things you’ve been meaning to do, like put a branded logo on your invoice or add more leads to your email list.

Karen Cordaway

Karen Cordaway

Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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