Life is busier more today than ever before. Most of us do some type of work at home which requires us to have a home office. Whether you are self-employed and strictly work from home, bring work home to do or just have a home office for personal use, more and more people need tips and tools to get and keep their home office organized. Even if your office is a small area in your home the same rules apply. (They’ll just have to be adjusted accordingly.)
Your desk (or workspace) is the hub of your office – for obvious reasons. With that said, everything should be organized around the hub. That would include your printer, files, phone, shredder, waste basket. All of these should be within arms reach of your desk. When you are working and in the zone, you don’t want to interrupt your flow by having to get up and retrieve a file, or something you just printed or to answer the phone, etc. You should easily be able to reach for these items or at least roll over to them in your chair with ease. Outlined are some tips to help you get your office organized.
When it comes the equipment in your office, here are some tips that can help to make your office run more smoothly.
- A flat screen monitor is a great space saver for your desk top. You may even want to put it on a riser so that you can utilize the underneath space for storage.
- Invest in an all-in-one printer, fax machine and scanner.
- Back everything up online. For as little as $30 a year, you can sign up for an online storage service that lets you back up your files online. This eliminates the need for external hard drives.
- Put a file holder on your desk to hold files for current projects. A vertical holder works better because things have a tendency to get lost in the ones where the files lay on top of each other.
- Use a desk top caddy to hold your accessories such as pens, tape, post-its, stapler, paperclips, etc. Discard any non-essential items.
Limiting the number of personal items on your desk will allow you to maintain a space where you can be not only organized but also productive. The following tips will help to create order in your office space.
- Keep framed pictures on the wall not the desk top.
- Move the light. Instead of using a desk lamp, use a floor or wall mounted light source.
- Think vertically by installing a wall mounted file holder if you have the space.
- Use wall mounted shelves for décor, plants, awards, etc.
- If you prefer a classic approach (your physical lists, pen & paper, etc.) use a wall mounted memo board, magnetic, write-on or calendar-style board. Hang it right over your desk and keep it updated.
- There is an app for absolutely everything. Make sure you sync your computer to your phone.
Conquer Cable Clutter
If you have a mass of cables shoved underneath the desk they are not only unsightly, but undoubtedly a fire hazard. Here are some tips to deal with your cable clutter:
- Store or get rid of any electronic equipment you use infrequently or no longer use at all.
- Use as many wireless devicesas you can to reduce cable clutter as well.
- Use a USB hub, which lets you plug several devices into your PC using just one cable.
- Plug the remaining cables into a surge-protected power bar.
- Neatly bind the remaining cables together with some version of a cable tie.
- Route the wires through the hole in your desk or secure to back of desk with hardware.
Most of us have more paper than we need. The best option is to keep files to a minimum. Be very realistic about what you need versus what you want to keep. Here’s a few tips to help control the paper.
- Designate a place for incoming and outgoing mail.
- Immediately toss junk mail. (This should never even reach the “inbox”.)
- Only keep receipts that you need as a write-off on your taxes.
- If you have magazine subscriptions, cancel the ones that are stacked month after month because you don’t have the time to read them.
- If you regularly tear out pages from magazines ask yourself if it is really necessary. You can always find it online and create a Pinterest board for all these ideas.
- Do your filing at least once a week so it doesn’t build up to the point where you don’t want to do it at all. Ideally filing every day will keep the stacks at bay.
- If you work from home or have lots of necessary files keep them in a file cabinet. One drawer for work and one for personal.
- Important papers (such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, social security cards, divorce decrees, passports, life insurance policies, etc.) should be kept in a “grab-n-box” that would be easy to carry out of the home in the case of an emergency.
We wish you a happy and organized home office.