Time to Tame the Clutter: Organizing Your Home Office
In today’s digital world, even the smallest of homes has a room or an area that functions as a home office.
Don’t think you do? You do. It’s the place where you keep your mail, bills, important papers, supplies and, quite possibly, everything you need for your home-based business. But for most of us the home office is a kind of afterthought – it’s usually small and thrown together in fits and starts over time without an overall plan.
The result is you are left with a disorganized, cluttered space that is not serving its purpose. Instead of creating a space that inspires you to get important things done in a timely manner, your office space fills you with stress and, in the worst case, panic. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can conquer the mess and bring order to your office.
Bringing Order to the Chaos
Tackling chaos in your home office is certainly something you can do on your own. However, if you keep putting this task off, consider bringing in a professional organizer like the team here at Just Organized By Taya.
Many people are not even aware that a hiring a professional organizer is an option. Professional organizers are trained and certified by the National Association of Professional Organizers. We can come in and completely take over a project for you or we can help you with organizing a space in incremental steps, by helping you find the right products to make your office run at its most efficient while remaining an attractive part of your home .
Additionally, using a professional organizer gives you a new set of objective eyes which is particularly important if you have a hard time letting go of unnecessary items or paper.
Making a List, Checking it Twice..
Whether you opt to work on your own or if you bring in a professional, the overall steps are the same. Use the following checklist to help you get organized before you get started.
Allow enough time to thoroughly tackle the job. Do you need to hire a sitter? Can you devote an entire day or weekend to work on your home office uninterrupted? What kind of budget do you have for things you may want to purchase – furniture, office supplies, etc. Do you have the right cleaning supplies? Do you have/need help to move large furniture and/or boxes? Create a master checklist of everything you want to achieve before you start.
Take a minute to make yourself a little reminder sign to hang in a visible spot in your home office. On a piece of paper, write the words: Stress-free! Organized! Inspired! Hang it where you will see it as you work. It will serve as a reminder of the benefits you will get when the job is completed. Are you ready? Let’s take this step by step…
Step One: Start Sorting
The first step in getting your office organized is often the hardest. You are going to sort everything in your space into one of five stacks. Again, be honest with yourself. If you have a hard time remaining focused on jobs like this or if you struggle deciding what to do with each piece of paper, it might be worth investing in hiring help at Just Organized By Taya to help with this part of the process.
Toss/Recycle – Ready a large trash bag for garbage, a bin for recyclable items and a box to contain items that might need to be shredded. Your goal is not to sort paper in a way that you will file it, just get it as quickly as you can into general piles.
Replace – You are bound to come across items that belong in other rooms in your house. Do not start putting them back as you find them. Instead, have a box or bin to hold those items until you are done with sorting everything in your office. If you begin putting items back one-by-one, you are bound to get distracted and waste valuable time.
Donate – As you come across things that you no longer use or that do not work for your situation, put them into a box to donate to a local charity store. (When you drop things off, be sure to get a receipt. You’ll be able to find it come tax time in your newly organized office!)
If you discovery you have three perfectly good printers in your closet and you’re hesitating over getting rid of even one, think of the person who may need it and actually use it. If you struggle with parting with things an objective voice will help you avoid agonizing over each and every decision
File – Have a box specifically for items you may or may not need to file. This is not the time to go through each piece of paper. Instead, just pile the paper into the box and set aside time to address it in the future.
Supplies – Use a basket or box to hold office supplies that are floating around the office. Remember, you are just sorting into general categories right now. Post-It notes, staplers, paper clips and cords all go into the same box for now.
Step Two: Time to Clean
Closets – wipe down shelves, vacuum floors and make notes of potential changes in shelving or storage that might improve your office.
Surfaces – your desk, shelves, and other surfaces should be clear right now. Take time to thoroughly clean them before putting anything back.
Furniture – Clean chairs, tables, lamps, drawers and bookshelves while they’re empty. Note what furniture is working for you as it is and what furniture could be improved upon or replaced.
Details – Take a minute to wash windows and get the floor clean.
Step Three: Putting It All Together
Create a station for working on your computer. Nearby, have a station for printing as well as handling paper. Whether your style is modern, country or eclectic, there are boxes, bins and baskets that can help you keep your office supplies sorted and organized attractively.
Use your walls.
A large dry erase board, bulletin board or piece of pegboard can help you keep track of messages, urgent papers and projects. Determine what tend to be your most urgent tasks to help you decide which option will serve you best.
Tangles of cords create a feeling of chaos and are a source of frustration when you actually need to unplug something. From simple, inexpensive ways of controlling cords – toilet paper rolls or pool noodles sliced open lengthwise on one side – to more advanced cord systems, you can most easily reign in your cords now, as you are putting your office back together.
Create a file system. Creating a file system will take at least two hours of your time. Dedicate a morning or afternoon to getting your papers organized now and keeping them organized in the future.
Ready to get started? As daunting as organizing a chaotic office space might seem, living in disorganized spaces is in itself a huge contributor toward your daily stress levels. Making a commitment to tame your home office is an investment in your emotional health as much as it is about making your office functional and attractive. Using a professional organizer can be the impetus you need to get started making big changes and seeing problems and solutions objectively and finally taking back control of your clutter…and your life.