Home Office Organization is such a rich and vital topic, I am going to break it up into a series of posts. Without an organized office, you may find it challenging to be or remain productive, store and recall creative ideas, and keep accurate records for health and financial matters. By setting-up a solid system that works for you, you can have an efficient and inspiring work zone that keeps your house, family and career on track.
Components of a Well Organized Home Office
Every home needs an office whether you work from home or not. Here are some tips to help you keep both your home business and your “work from home” spaces efficient and organized.
Your Home’s Business Center
Every home -- from a studio apartment to a large home -- operates just like a business. Bills come in, money flows out. Beyond bills, daily INFLOW may include medical paperwork, kids homework, cards and letters, magazines, junk mail, and online shopping deliveries; daily OUTFLOW may include trash, recycling, composting, checks for the mailbox, projects back to school, lunches in backpacks, and more.
By creating the proper workflow areas -- where things are available where and when you need em -- you can ensure valuables don’t get lost, bills are paid, and critical tasks aren’t forgotten.
1. When mail arrives, immediately separate ACTION ITEMS (bills to pay, coupons to keep, appointments to make, etc.) and READING MATERIAL (cards, letters, magazines, catalogs, books); throw all the junk mail right in the recycle bin. If you pay your bills online, recycle the return envelope and the mailing envelope it came in.
2. If possible, pay bills once a day, once a week, or after payday; mark each one as paid (plus how and when), and move the statement to your “File Me” folder.
3. File paperwork once a week or month in a cabinet or drawer reserved exclusively for home operations.
If you work from home, reserve a table -- or a room -- as needed to keep your career work separate from family business.
• If you work from the dining room table, consider a portable desktop file cabinet or an expandable, color-coded organizer that can be removed in time for dinner.
• If you have a spare room -- or part of a room -- to use as a home office, make room for office files, printer/scanner, phone chargers, a monitor, shredder, and a whiteboard. I’ve even had clients repurpose the chalkboard their kids outgrew to help stay organized.
• Make sure you have both a trash bin and a recycle bin in your home office.
• Keep stamps and checks together.
• Have one drawer reserved for batteries, staples, label maker and cartridges, toner refills and paper clips.
• You can reuse the box and lids your business cards came in to file business cards you receive. I’m going to address business card and contact management separately.
• Be sure to turn PILES into FILES by having a system that works for you. I find color file folders easier on the eyes and easier to organize than manilla ones, but do what works best for you.
Thanks for reading! I hope you found these tips inspiring or helpful. You are welcome to share this newsletter/post with your friends -- I love helping people and every new reader may become or may know a potential new client.
When I’m not writing blogs, making art, or walking my dog, I am working with clients in their homes and offices, helping them to organize, improve workflow, increase productivity, and reclaim their spaces.
Image Credit: Arnel Hasanovic