5 Clearing and organizing tips for your home office
Reading time – 3 minutes
Organizing your home office can lead you in many directions. Perhaps:
- your inbox is inundated,
- your files are filled or
- your time management is missing.
You need to start somewhere so let’s start with the S.P.A.C.E. that houses your office.
Look around your office and start:
1. Sorting the items that are visible into groups of papers, books, office supplies, client files, products, advertising materials etc.
2. Pair down each pile with the items that are current and recycle or shred the rest.
3. Assign a convenient place to store your resources. If you use them often keep them near your desk, if they are used infrequently store them further away but still in your office. If they are never referred to but are needed for tax or legal purposes they can be stored in another room.
4. Take each of those piles and select the best Container for keeping the items organized, binders, magazine holders, bins, boxes etc.
5. Evaluate your new S.P.A.C.E. to make sure it will help you be more efficient, productive and profitable this year.
Share one of your office organizing tips in the comment box.
Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She guides and supports you to manage your time, and projects and reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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I find that these days we are bringing in way less paper. As a result, it’s not as imperative to clear outdated files on a regular basis – but as a result of that, I have a lot of outdated files!
So my tip is to schedule time to go through your files at least once a year and get rid of anything that’s no longer necessary.
I agree there is less paper to file but electronic files and folders should also be cleared out on a regular basis especially if they are kept on the desktop. The laptop desktop can become very cluttered.
Organizing the home office will instantly make your home office super organized and you more productive. Thanks for sharing your tips!
One of the easiest ways to become more productive is to have a space to work in that works for you.
I’ve heard this acronym before and it makes so much sense because it is sequential. Having a path to work along is so important to keep me from getting overwhelmed.
I do try and use Janet’s tip of looking through the paper files once a year. The digital files are more of a challenge. I tend to do that when I get a new computer.
Setting time aside to go through paper files is important or you run out of space. Adding more space is not always the best situation. My digital files could use some culling. When I am in a folder and can’t find what I am looking for I usually start to delete some information. My problem is that it doesn’t feel like it is taking up too much space.
I really like this acronym, Julie. It makes so much sense. I tweak my files and the organization in my office often. The more I tweak it the better it becomes. I find that constantly looking through files helps to weed and evaluate the things (either cyber documents or paper) that must remain and the things I can release.
It is much easy to tweak files often. It makes the job smaller than leaving it to do yearly. Tweaking files also keeps you on top of what is in them. Thanks for the suggestion to do it often.
Such a clear, concise way of visualizing the process so it doesn’t overwhelm someone!
My two biggest tips (falling into categories 2 and 5 from your post):
For the short term, spend five minutes before you have lunch, and five or ten minutes before you leave your home office space at the end of the day to file anything you won’t be working on first thing in the morning, toss and shred excess, and get things ship-shape. Tiny efforts every day keep things from piling up.
For the long term, build file purging into your schedule. Just start with the first folder in the drawer and go through it, winnowing out non-essentials. Most people have far fewer than 260 active file folders (260 being 5 days times 52 weeks), so you can just grab one folder each day, maybe to ease yourself back into work after lunch. You’ll familiarize yourself with everything you’re storing and make it easier to know what is still valid.
Thank you for your tips. Taking 5 minutes before or after lunch or a coffee break is a good way to start taking small steps that add up to big results. It is important to decide when it is the best time for the 5 minutes. It would not work for me before lunch because I would be too hungry to concentrate even for 5 minutes. (lol). I use the same file purging system as you suggested. Start with the first one and move through them one at a time. I think it might be more successful if you set a starting date and then do one each day after that. If you do it on random days you might forget to do it. Put it on your schedule.
I read Julie Morgenstern’s book — Organizing from the Inside Out — before I ever started my own organizing business. Her S.P.A.C.E. formula (Sort, Purge, Assign a home, Containerize, Equalize) made so much sense to me that I’ve used it ever since, for everything from garages and closets, to junk drawers and schedules!
When I started out I read that book. I updated the purge to part with and the equalize to evaluate so people wouldn’t think they have to get it right the first time. They can evaluate the plan and make changes as needed.