Making the Office

I’ll confess. My home office is my go-to organizing project. Time and time again, it requires a mini cleansing and organizing session. It’s a hard-working room. Of course, as its name implies, it serves as the base for my organizing business, but the action doesn’t stop there. I would argue that few home-based business offices fulfill IRS requirements to have that space dedicated solely to tasks related to running the business. Sadly, since I strive to maximize the function of the spaces in my home, mine does not.

Because other household activities like processing the mail and paying bills are conducted in my home office, it generates a bag for recycling and a bag for shredding. It’s donation central, the landing spot for things awaiting front door pick up service and home to information necessary for my volunteer work. In other words, stuff gathers, piles accumulate and dare I say it, the room gets cluttered. Hence, it’s my go-to organizing project often enough. Really though, it supports the idea that organizing is not a one-and-done proposition. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Although it doesn’t need to be complicated, it takes discipline and maintenance to keep any area functioning as desired without the ongoing distraction of clutter.

Office Organizing Essentials

The top of my desk sees most of the action when it comes to clutter. It’s a temporary respite for meeting notes to be reviewed, business cards collected, and maybe even a stray coffee cup. Yet, there are some basic elements that are used regularly that keep clutter in check. A small mesh tray houses incoming mail that needs to be processed. The see-through nature of the tray ensures that nothing gets forgotten. There is no out-of-sight, out-of-mind option. A matching desktop file sorter holds the few active paper files that I refer to over and over again. Otherwise, my files are stored electronically, labeled by category and stored in an iCloud service. Keeping with mesh theme, a multi-sectioned organizer in a desk drawer keeps office supplies like paper clips, stapler and scissors, within easy reach. And a desk lamp is essential as day grows into night (and font sizes continue to shrink).

When you think about an office environment, any office, paper typically comes to mind. Think of every piece of paper as an action item. Is it something you need to keep (file) for reference? Do you need to act on the information it provides? Or is it something that can be tossed? Applying these few simple questions will help ensure you create and maintain a consistent system for handling paper.

Boosting Productivity Through Office Organization

Do you need to see everything? If so, don’t neglect the wall space as a storage area. Vertical, wall-mounted shelving, organizers or a whiteboard may be your solution. One thing you may not want to see is the endless tangle of cords and cables. There are plenty of cable-corralling tools and systems that will hide the mess.

There are a couple of schools of thought when it comes to a cluttered desk. Some believe it feeds creativity. For others it’s overstimulating, distracting and translates into low productivity. When something needed to move your work ahead is buried amid the clutter, precious time is wasted. Frustration builds and so does stress. Time is money, after all. For me, an organized desk and files are among the best tools in my productivity arsenal.

Your office may be the hub for much activity, so it needs to work hard for you. Give the top of your desk a quick scan at the end of every day. Use the organizing tools of your choice to put things away and maintain your needed work materials. You’ll be greeted to a clean slate in the morning ready for a productive day ahead. Just leave a little room for your coffee cup.