I often get requests from others to write articles for my readers (that’s YOU!). My response is “Send me something that my readers will enjoy and use, then I’ll review it and make a decision.” I thought you’d enjoy & use these Home Office Organization Tips written by James Adams.
It may take patience and determination but if you want an organised working environment, here are 10 steps to getting there:
Your office space doesn’t have to be cramped in order to collect clutter. In fact, even the largest of home offices can easily go from useful to untidy. If your home office has become a museum of dust, dander and don’t-belongs, there are ways to bring it back from the dark side.
1. Make a plan: Have you ever tried to tackle a project without first having a blueprint? It isn’t easy and it sure isn’t fun. Before you even attempt to clear the clutter, sit down and decide what the rules are for the room. How did the room get unorganised in the first place? It probably happened because you allowed for too much leniency in what belonged in the office and what didn’t. If you put something down where it doesn’t belong, it makes it that much easier to continue doing; what you are left with is a home office that could use some TLC.
2. Get your hands dirty: Once you know what you are looking to discard and what you absolutely need to keep, it’s time to enter the room. Just stand in the doorway for a second and glance around the room. The mess will disappear little by little if you have a strong enough commitment to change. Once inside, start pulling things apart. Those unmarked boxes in the corner of the room, stacked to the ceiling? Yeah, those too. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Take everything apart, no matter how small. You need to find out exactly what you are dealing with.3. Use boundaries: If you allow the entire room to be labeled “home office space” you will find yourself in a similar situation down the road. Mark off parts of the room and reserve them for specific things. For instance, the right side of the room is all scrapbooking related items. The back corner is reserved for your small business files, folders and contracts. You can have a personal part of the home office, but keep it separate from business.
4. Organise needed items: When you are tearing through all the musty boxes and looking through all the scattered paperwork, start to separate into piles. The first should be marked “needed items” or a pile that will be organised and kept in the home office. Believe it or not, you won’t need everything that you put your hands on while spring cleaning. You are probably more of a pack rat than you thought you were. If you need it, keep it; but really take the time to ask yourself, how often will I use this? When is the last time it was used? If you can’t remember, toss it.
5. Let go of the past: You can’t keep everything, you should know that by now. It isn’t bad to save things, especially if you think you could use it in the future. However, if it has been a considerable amount of time since you last used or even looked at the object, it doesn’t have room in the home office. Letting go of the past is often times difficult, that is understandable. The key to a tidy home office is knowing what stays and what goes.
6. Create a storage space: It is possible that you will find items that you aren’t sure you need but you are nervous about tossing away in case it is ever needed. In this situation, it’s acceptable to use storage bins that are dedicated to just that — storage. If you have a free zone in the home office, dedicate it to storage. Make it look neat and tidy, don’t just leave items freestanding or scattered around. If it doesn’t have a home but you aren’t ready to part with it, keep it nearby; but not too nearby.
7. Recycle unneeded office items: How much of that home office clutter is the result of items that build up that could be recycled? Probably more than you think, actually. If you do a lot of printing, where do you store your old ink cartridges? Where do you put scrap papers or unneeded printed sheets? A good deal of space is typically stolen by these items that are just lying around. Recycling is not only good for your office, it is great for the environment and can help reestablish the economy!
8. Implement a filing system: All the loose papers have to go; there is no place for that in a tidy home office. Get a filing system started; it could actually be a lot of fun! Go wild, experiment with cross-referencing and colour coding if you get excited about tidying up, which some people do. If you spend hours, days or even weeks looking for specific items in your office, filing everything away neatly will relieve some of that undue stress.
9. Get rid of the “junk drawer”: You know you have one; it is the first little pull-out drawer inside your office desk. You don’t need it, miscellaneous items should now be finding their own homes. If it doesn’t fit somewhere, storage is a great place for it. If you don’t want to store it, recycle or trash it. You desk represents the entire office; keep it maintained and you will feel much more organised right from the start.
10. Maintenance daily: It isn’t going to take care of itself, but if you put in the time and effort, you can make your home office organised and useful. Take the time to maintenance it, though; don’t let it fall back into the routine of putting things where they don’t belong, stacking unwanted papers or shoving things aside without taking the time to organise it. If you stay on top of the cleaning, you will never have to mass clean-up again!