More and more people are setting up home offices. They may work virtually, manage their own business, or just take care of basic bill paying and other finances from home. Like any other room in the household, the office can get cluttered, messy, disorganized and dusty.
‘National Organize Your Home Office Day’, observed on March 14, reminds us to stop, take a look around our home offices, and take some time to straighten up. Imagine thousands of people, including yourself, getting motivated by this national holiday! It could be like a secret national club, or even a real group of friends and neighbors who take on this task simultaneously. ‘Organize Your Home Office Day’ is a good excuse to clear your desk, throw your trash away, recycle the empty soda cans, wash coffee mugs, file those stacks of papers, wipe away the accumulated dust, and more.
Here are some tips to help you get your office cleared and organized on March 14:
1. Clear your desk and other surfaces. If paper, office supplies, dirty coffee cups, or other items cover your desk, you need to clear them off. Paper usually piles up on any flat surface if it has no designated storage space. Getting all of this stuff organized can be overwhelming, so focus first on removing it to another surface for sorting, before you take the next step.
2. Sort, shred, recycle and purge. Bring the items to be washed and recycled to the sink and recycle bins. Throw out the trash, pick up the scattered office supplies, and put them back into their proper containers. Then sort the papers into categories to be filed.
3. Dust off the newly clear surfaces, before you put items back on the desk. Notice how big your desktop looks?
4. Allow plenty of storage space in your filing cabinet. You need to have enough room to store regularly used files, and reference/archival files (papers that you don’t need to deal with on a daily basis). If you don’t have this type of storage, invest in a two level clear plastic file drawer cabinet on wheels for convenience, or in some attractive covered boxes for keeping documents. Be sure you have enough filing room so your papers do not end up in piles, but in organized files. And, keep personal and business documents filed separately.
5. Leave plenty of room on your desk to work. Decide whether you have room on the desktop to keep all of your electronic equipment such as your computer, printer, scanner, landline or digital phone, calculator, etc. If your desktop computer takes up too much room, replace it with a laptop. Transfer some of this equipment to another small table top if needed. Designate areas on the desk for doing paper work, and for keeping your desktop folder holder, your pens, stapler, paper & binder clips, and other supplies.
5. Purge files regularly. Look through your files each month, every quarter, twice a year, or annually to get rid of outdated paperwork, and to to make room for the new. Doing so, will keep those papers from piling up on your desk, and even your floor. Do the same with your computer files, getting rid of old email, folders, or programs you don’t use anymore.
6. Are you happy with your office environment? If not, make some changes so you enjoy being and working in the room. Is your desk and other furniture including shelving functional? Buy a new desk with drawers if you work on just a flat desk surface, add more efficient shelving if needed, get a more comfortable chair, hang new curtains, bring in photos, artwork, plants. Make this a pleasing place to be.
Following the tips mentioned above, you will have less on your desk and work area, will feel better, think more clearly, and be more productive. If you need assistance, you can contact me for help.
And, you really don’t have to wait to organize your home office again until March 14, 2018!
(Let me know if you, friends and family decide to celebrate,and get organized on this national holiday – and the steps you take to create a clear, comfortable, enjoyable office)
If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org