Having an inbox in your home office is one of the easiest ways to control paper clutter! It can also help you to see all of the information coming into your home office, so you don’t miss anything. And today, I’m sharing 5 easy ways to set up a home office inbox quickly and inexpensively!
5 Easy Ways to Set Up a Home Office Inbox
Recently, I shared a post called 3 Essential Routines for Home Office Organization. One of those routines addressed the importance of having an office inbox and inbox maintenance routine to keep you and your home office organized. Let’s take that post one step further and talk about 5 easy ways to set up a home office inbox. This post will help you get started using this handy, effective, and necessary office organizing tool!
#1 DIY/Repurposed Inboxes
You can set up a home office inbox for FREE with items you probably have laying around your house right now!
You can use just about anything that will hold standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper for an inbox:
- Empty Boxes
- Empty Baskets or Bins
- Magazine Sorters
- Horizontal or Vertical Organizers
I recently purchased new hanging file folders and repurposed the bottom of the box as an inbox (I’m now using it for recycling; it sits under my desk). I just covered it in some patterned scrapbook paper that I had leftover from another project.
I’ve also used a vintage sewing table drawer with a few heavy-duty file folders tucked inside of it as an inbox.
Used shipping boxes work great as inboxes, too, because they’re heavy duty and easily closed. Just remove the flaps from one side and place it on your desk as a vertical inbox. Or, if you want to get more creative, cut one end off in an “S” shape to make it look like a magazine sorter. You could even attach several shipping boxes to each other for a multiple compartment inbox!
Check out items #1-3 in this post from Buzzfeed for inspiration.
Budget-Friendly Home Office Inboxes
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy. As always, my favorable opinions of affordable office organizing supplies are 100% my own. I only recommend products that I use and love!
Trays are another way to quickly and easily set up a home office inbox. Put it on the corner of your desk, and you’re ready to go. It’s also a simple way to add a touch of your personality and design aesthetic to your desk!
This Fellowes Workstation Desk Tray Organizer is specifically designed for papers, is less than $10, and will hold all of your incoming paper.
I like to think outside of the office supply aisle when it comes to a tray inbox, like this teal tray. It’s slightly larger than a letter-sized piece of paper, so you’ll need a little extra desk space available if you want to put this tray into action as your inbox!
If you have a hankering to add a touch of personal style to your home office inbox, this unfinished wood tray is perfect! Paint it, stain it, stencil it, cover it…the possibilities are endless. And it fits letter-sized paper.
Months ago, I purchased a blush Sugar Paper File Box from Target. It makes a perfect office inbox and looks pretty sitting on the corner of my desk!
You can snag file boxes for as little as a few dollars, or if you have a specific style or color in mind, you can shop around and possibly spend a little more. While you’re saving for the perfect file box, try a DIY or repurposed inbox (see above)!
Any basket or bin that can hold standard sized paper will work for an office inbox!
Check the dollar store, clearance aisles of your favorite stores, or a big box store near you.
Or, if you’re ready to set up an inbox right away and don’t have something at home that will work, here are a couple that would work beautifully, and they can be ordered online from Amazon and arrive at your door a few days later!
Although this Rattique Shelf Tote isn’t quite large enough for papers to lay flat in, you could still use it as an inbox by standing papers up in it. And depending on your color choice, you can grab one for about $10!
This Copper Spectrum Wire Storage Basket will fit your letter-sized papers perfectly! It’s fairly tall (~8″), so it might not work on all desks, but there will be plenty of room to keep those paper piles at bay!
Magazine Sorters make amazing home office inboxes, and they’re space efficient as well! If you don’t have any laying around at home, you can pick them up very inexpensively.
Try this set of five Ikea Flyt Magazine Files for about $5. Although a great buy, these aren’t terribly sturdy, so consider carefully if these will receive rough use (i.e. if your young children will be learning to file their papers independently)!
If you’d like to go a sturdier route, try this set of 2 Ikea Tjena Magazine Files. The price varies depending on your color choice, but you’ll snag two of them for less than $20!
These are just a few of the ways to create a home office inbox quickly and inexpensively. Set one up today so that you can control the paper and the information coming into your home office. Then, you can say good-bye to a home office cluttered with paper and paper piles!
Make sure you pin today’s post for handy reference!
If you found today’s post helpful, you might also enjoy these related posts:
- 3 Essential Routines for Home Office Organization
- Get Organized with a Tickler File
- Eliminate Paper Clutter for Good!
- Organize Business Receipts in 4 Simple Steps
- 3 Ways to Instantly Be More Organized
- How to Build Strong and Lasting Business Routines
Thanks so much for joining me today! Do you use a home office inbox? What unique, personal, or budget-friendly ways have you found to set up a home office inbox?