Looking for advice on how to organize your home office? Call the professionals. There… that’s it. Shortest blog post in the history of blogging. :-)
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Now, I can get down to the task of doling out proper organizing advice. The home office is the Achilles heel of many home owners with the best intentions. I get a bit panicky when I think of tackling this important room, but it’s doable if you’re willing to devote a little time, money and energy to the task. Especially if you work out of your home, this space can make or break the sense of harmony you want your home to convey. Who can be at their most effective when papers are spilling onto the floor and every flat surface is covered with files and the detritus of our busy lives? I admit it: there are times that I’m squished up on a chair with my laptop balancing precariously because my desk – you know, that piece of furniture that should actually hold the computer – is buried.
First things first: invest in adequate furniture. Home offices need sufficient work space for computer systems, a shelving system for files, reference materials and another area to house frequently used materials and supplies. When setting up your computer system or desk area, give some thought to how often you use your devices. If you print daily, make sure your printer gets first placement priority on an easily accessible shelf or drawer, while the CPU can hide under the desk. Do be careful not to stack equipment that needs venting. Like the living room, contain cords with cable ties. Take the extra step of labeling computer cords by writing the name of each cord on the label and wrapping it around the appropriate cord. This will save time and aggravation when you want to replace your mouse or monitor and don’t want to go on a fishing expedition! Don’t forget to use a good surge protector to safeguard your expensive equipment.
I really like file folders, accordion folders, baskets and magazine boxes to control and contain reference materials, large documents and papers you can’t do without. Stored on shelves, they look crisp and clean and will save time when you’re hunting for a specific file. Labels are essential and can add, not detract from a decorating scheme if you spend a bit of time at your local office supply store. I especially love the dry erase decals that can be changed and reused with ease.
Paperwork in a home office is a necessary evil. An inbox is handy to have on your desk, but remember… it’s not a permanent storage container. If a piece of paper has been sitting in your inbox for more than a couple of days, you need to act on it,file it (on those neat as a pin shelves!) or get rid of it. Consider a vertical file rack to hold current projects and purchase a good shredder to dispose of completed projects. I’ve seen great digital filing systems that allow you to scan documents right onto yourcomputer. After you’ve conquered the initial pile of papers, commit to spending ten minutes at the top of each day to recycle, shred and dispose of unnecessary papers. You’ll be amazed at how your efficiency spikes when you’re working in an organized space!