Keeping and organizing our home office has always been a challenge for me. Even with a huge custom-made home office for my husband and myself, keeping clutter under control does not always come easy.
In my case, magazines are the biggest culprits. I receive about 3-5 magazines per day (both free and paid subscriptions), and in a week’s time I’ll have a huge stack of magazines piled up high on my table.
Nonetheless, my home office organizing skills have improved significantly through the years. Maybe it’s a result of my non-stop watching of HGTV including their home organization shows, or from reading too many Better Homes and Gardens magazine. My husband even teases me about my seeming obsession with boxes and other organizing supplies. I’m not there yet, but things have significantly improved in terms of my home office de-cluttering skills.
Here are the tips from the experts that I follow in organizing our home office:
- Deal with the mail immediately, segregating the bills and important documents into your file area and throwing the junk mail immediately. My problem then was that I will pile all the mail in one section of our home office, opening only those I think are important while keeping the rest on the table – which was a very fast way to get overtaken by papers in the home office. Experts’ advice that you throw out the junk mail and other mail pieces you don’t need immediately, shredding the sensitive documents like invitation to apply for credit cards.
- Give everything its home. Professional organizer Marilyn Bohn advises in her article “6 Solutions to Organize Clutter” , “As a professional organizer I am always telling people it is simple to organize clutter when they have a home for everything and when that item is not being used to put it back in its home.”
- Create a filing system that works for you. Given that I work with my husband in our home office, I had to create a system that I can easily maintain while allowing him to easily find the things he needs. And it’s not easy since he’s the “I-need-to-see-everything-easily” type of person who’d rather have EVERYTHING spread out in his work area. We have several built in filing cabinets and I make sure every folder is properly labeled.
- Spend a few hours each day (or at least each week) cleaning up your workspace. What’s the point of investing in filing cabinets and office organizers if you don’t take time to put everything in its proper place and clean the clutter? Well, to be honest, our overhead mail post organizers were busting out before because I did not file for almost a year and it was a pain to file them all properly. But now I try to be good and take time at least once a week to file and organize the clutter.
- Invest in organizing products. There’s a huge number of storage and organizational products for home offices in the market today. Find those products that will work with your style, yet functional, from magazine filers to labeler machines. Don’t forget to invest in a shredder as well.
- Improve productivity with action files. You can still keep all the papers you need close to you, just not all over your table. Create an action or working file where your to-do paperwork are maintained and within easy reach. For my action files, I use vertical organizers where I put folders properly labeled with the action I need to do on them – from article ideas to people to contact to bills to pay.
Let me know of your tips to keep your home office organized and free of clutter!