2011 Organizing Guide: The Home Office

Do you keep a room or area in your home that is designated as your home office? This may be the space where you work from home, run a home-based business or it may just be dedicated to details of running your household. This space usually houses your computer, your printer and other electronic accessories plus files, paper, pens, envelopes, clips, rubber bands, and a hundred other tiny things you need that can become a mess very quickly.

The first step in organizing an office is to get on top of the paper situation. Almost all of us keep papers that take up space, but aren’t necessary. It takes some time to clear out excess paper, so set aside a few hours to through your piles and files using our Eliminating Paper Clutter guide.

A lot of paper clutter comes in the mail…so set up a mail clearing house in your office or near where you tend to read the mail. You’ll need a shredder or shredding scissors, a recycling bin, and a trash can. As you open mail, toss the envelope directly into the recycling bin it was a window envelope. Shred the envelope if your address is printed directly on it or a label. Stuffers? Into the recycling if your name and account number aren’t printed on them. Anything that can’t be recycled like magnets or stickers should go into the garbage if you don’t have an immediate use for them. Decide what action needs to be taken on what’s left- do you need to follow up right away? Do you need to file it, and if so, does that mean you can shred the previous record in your file? If you don’t have the space for a standard filing cabinet, or realize you just reduced your paper considerably, consider downsizing to a smaller file storage system.

Next – desk clutter; is your work surface a calming place to get down to business or is it piled with detritus that makes you avoid that spot? Utilize desk drawer organizers to keep everything from writing utensils, to batteries and push pins in their place. If you don’t have drawers a stylish desk top system can contain the clutter and make your time in the office more focused.

Take a look around your space, better? One more area you may need to tackle if you have a variety of electronics is cord organization. By bundling cords and labeling them near the plug in end you can reduce the risk of unplugging something critical or getting tangled in a mess of cords.

If your office space only gets light use as a home office, you may be done at this point. If you work from home or spend a lot of time in your office, you may want to take your organizing efforts a step further – consider this article on optimizing your office layout.

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