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How to organize your home office

Julie Bielenberg is a Denver-based writer who served as managing editor for a regional home and lifestyle publication before starting Tweeter Communications, her editorial services boutique. With a BA in journalism from the University of...

Organize your home office

The most important part of a home office is to recognize this very fact, it is a home and office. The space you choose needs to serve dual purposes - both a room that family and guests might see on a daily basis and your precious workspace. Move office furniture to form a space that allows the most flow, feng shui and functionality for your needs. Next, try some of these simple tips to maintain a clean environment and usable space.

The Little Plastic Container

Receipts pile up on a daily basis, and chances are these will land on top of the desk in your home office. Some are for meals, others for office supplies and some for things that have nothing to do with work at all - the dog's grooming receipt or gas for the family car. Use a small plastic box or container and stick all of your receipts into that one place. Each month try to organize them into categories and file them away. This way, at any given time, you can go into the box and pull the receipt for a quick return or reference and your accountant will love you come tax season.

 

Clear Desk

No matter who uses the home office, somehow it becomes a wasteland for every unwanted item in the home, your desk being the top of the landfill. Working in a cluttered and unorganized space lowers productivity level and can be more than just a distraction, but an obstacle. Aside from the basic needs of a computer, printer, telephone, pen container and a handful of other items, try and keep the area clutter-free. Purchase some under the desk storage or find extra room in the nearest closet or bookshelf to house those files you only use once a month or a book that you reference no more than once a quarter.

Stackable Files

How many times do you print an e-mail and place it on your desk simply to file at another point in time? Instead of letting the paper mound pile up, try using stackable file trays. One shelf can be devoted to mail, another to printed e-mails and one to faxes and invoices. Set aside one hour each week or two in order to go through the files and place documents in secure locations.

Durable Folders

You might need to change the name of the file. Instead of getting rid of a folder once its purpose changes, just change the label. There are a multitude of plastic, durable folders. Simply purchase some labels that can be peeled off or applied over the previous label to help keep you organized and reduce waste. Plus, these files can be taken to and from appointments with no fear of coffee spills or pages getting ruined, the plastic keeps them safe.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, Stock Up!

Keep back up supplies just in case. Buy an extra box of staples when you pop in the store, pick up some additional lead for your refillable pencils, grab an extra highlighter or two if they are on sale. If you have to go to the store every time you run out of something, your day will become significantly less productive and you can begin to panic at the first sign of an ink cartridge drying out. Many items can be bought in bulk and are more affordable when purchased in quantities.

Helpful Tips

  • Have a running list of items you need for your home office so the next time you go to the store, you can just whip out the list and not under buy or over buy.
  • Keep a recycle bin, waste bin and paper shredder under your desk. This will help hide the mess and help save the environment. Shredding documents is crucial and most office waste can be recycled.
  • Make sure to keep cords and power strips neat and free of other items. Use ties to keep secure and prevent any fire hazards.

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