Today more than ever before people have some sort of office in their home. Some are self-employed and work from home, some work outside the home and still need an office at home and some just do the regular bill paying and such from home. Regardless of the reason, you may use a home office you still need to know the home office organizing basics.
There are a couple of different types of home offices. There’s the actual separate room as a home office, the shared office space (as in the corner of another room), and the traveling or mobile office (that box or the like that goes wherever you go). It doesn’t matter what kind of office you have the basics are the same. Let’s first discuss the actual home office organizing.
Obviously, the first thing you will need is a desk and a chair. While there are countless choices be sure to pick one that will work for the way you work. That means that if you are the type of person that spreads things all over the desk to work, you don’t want to get a computer type desk that doesn’t give you the room to do that. In addition, if you work with multiple screens or other items you might consider an L-shaped desk which will give you even more room. Keep in mind the size of the room for whichever style you choose. You don’t want to get something that is way too big or too small for the space.
More times than not your home office may be sharing the space of another room in the house or apartment. Maybe it’s part of the guest room or living room, or perhaps the family room. Either way you are probably going to be very limited on the space you have. This is very important when it comes to the style of desk you will have and even the chair. You also have to be mindful when it comes to the other items you may need in your home office such as a printer, file cabinet and/or bookcase. This is where your home office organizing skills will come in handy.
For many you may not need a whole “office” setup in your home. If you have minimal needs then perhaps a “travelling or mobile” office will suffice. This might be you using the corner of a dining table to work or perhaps a lap desk that can go from bed to couch very easily. In addition to the portable work space, this would also include you having something portable to hold all of your office supplies. Any type of container, preferably with a lid, would work. Here you could store your writing instruments, stapler, tape, paper clips, post-its, stamps, etc.
The question most people ask is how to declutter the home office? The first thing to determine is why you have a home office in the first place. Do you work from home on a full-time basis, do you work from home part-time, or do you just use your home office occasionally? Once you determine what your actual needs are then you can begin to declutter the home office to suit your needs.
So, what does declutter the home office mean you ask? Part of what that means is removing anything that doesn’t belong in the office. Oftentimes, things end up in the office that belong in other areas of the home especially if you are using an actual separate room in your home as the office. Perhaps your kids brought in their toys and left them around or maybe dishes got left from lunch or an afternoon snack or maybe extra clothes have found their way in. Regardless of what is there, if it obviously does not belong and is not meant to be in the office it should be returned to its rightful home.
Now let’s talk about paper. The thing I find most common with people is that they keep way too may papers. This causes a tremendous amount of clutter in home offices. Most have paper upon paper upon paper. Most of the time the paper is probably what they don’t need to keep. So let’s talk mail. When you bring in the mail, there is always junk mail which should be thrown away immediately. That means things like credit card offers, catalogues, postcard solicitations, and the like. Monthly bills obviously should be kept where you will remember to pay them. A good start might be a basket or box or file for bills to be paid. Statements for banks and stocks, etc. should be filed. Magazines should be in an area where you will read them even if that space is the bathroom. Some people get their best reading done there. If months go by and there is a backlog of magazines that you haven’t read, you might want to consider canceling that subscription.
Now that you have decided what paperwork you need to keep, you want to know how to organize the paperwork at home. This is going to be a very individual process. You have to do what works for you. What I will describe is how I think is a good system that works. You can tweak it to do what will work for you. After all, I don’t live with you and you will be the one working in your home office, not me.
The one thing that I really love with regards to how to organize your paperwork at home is having a small standing file box right on my desk for the things that I am currently working on. The reason that I don’t recommend a file bin or box where papers are oiled on top of each other is because the items on the bottom end of getting forgotten. If they are in a standing file with tabs then it is easy to see what you have going on. Thus, things won’t get lost in the sauce as they say.
In most instances, people say the more the better. Well when it comes to desk organization, I say the less the better. The fewer items you have on your desk you more space you will have to work. Hopefully, the desk you have chosen to work on has some sort of storage – maybe a couple of drawers or a shelf or two. This is where you would store things like the stapler, tape dispenser, writing utensils, post-its, etc. That clears up a lot of space on the top of the desk so you have more space to work and can be more productive. So keep the pictures of your loved ones and pets on the wall or a bookshelf and not on the desk. Okay, maybe one is acceptable to keep you motivated.
How to organize papers at home will depend on if you have papers for a business (if you are self-employed) or just personal. If you have both then they should be completely separate. That doesn’t mean you need separate file cabinets but you should definitely have separate file drawers or boxes, whichever you are using. There are many ways to file. Of course, you can do it alphabetically but you can also file in categories. The categories could be utilities, investments, banking, medical, etc. The point is you need to create the categories to make it easy for you to remember where what papers are in which file. Whichever makes the most sense for you is what you should use.
People have a habit of buying organization supplies but don’t necessarily know what to do with them. Time and time again, office organization supplies sit in the corner of the room instead of being utilized in the way they were intended. That is only because the good intentions of those buying the office organization supplies get lost somewhere between the store and the home.
One of the most useful office organization supplies are drawer organizers. Instead of having a drawer that has stuff all over the pace you can organizer the drawer and be able to find whatever it is that you are looking for with ease. Here’s a link for a variety of drawer organizers. https://www.containerstore.com/s?source=form&refinements=&q=desk+drawer+organizers&submit=
Depending on the amount of papers you need to keep, and yes, I say NEED, you might have a file cabinet or just a file box. Either way, you will need hanging file folders and possibly internal file folders. The determination is personal preference and the types of papers you are keeping. Then, of course, the other necessary office organization supplies would be the basics such as a stapler, tape dispenser, pens and pencils, possibly post-its, maybe notepads, and so on.
As you can see while the idea of home office organizing ideas may be daunting for some, there is a solution for all.