Mission 18: Home Office

Do you have a dedicated home office space? It can be in a closet, a bedroom, a dining room, or even just an area at the kitchen table.

This week we tackle the potential breeding ground for immense paper clutter! I think the biggest tip here is to be sure to clean off your tabletop or desktop every single day.

For our mission this week, I want you to divide your room into different zones and tackle one zone at a time.  Because there can be so much variety to a home office area, I am finding this is the most difficult area to generalize.

For general purposes, let’s call the zones desktop, desk drawers, files, bookcases, and floor. You may need to create more or less zones for your specific area.  For this general post, I will walk you through these 5 areas.

Desktop:

  • Clean off the desktop. File any papers that are lying around.
  • Is your pen collection unruly?  Spend a little time to make sure they all work.  Get rid of any you don’t use regularly.
  • Dust the computer hardware and cords.
  • Polish the desktop.

Desk Drawers:

  • You knew it was coming.  Clean out those drawers! Use some drawer dividers for all the little items you use.
  • If the drawers are too full, look for creative storage solutions in other areas.  Be sure an keep only the items you use on a regular basis in your drawers.

Bookcases:

  • Go through those old books. Do you have textbooks from 20 years ago? I would venture to guess many of those are irrelevant at this point.  So many things can be found with a simple Google search these days.
  • Do you have a ton of trinkets in your bookcases.  Be sure and declutter those those shelves? We are working to make our spaces look big and inviting.  Too much clutter will make for a cluttered mind when trying to work.
  • Dust.  Dust under EVERYTHING.  Now is your chance to get to the areas you never have time to get to.

Files:

  • Purge the files you never use.  You may decide to combine some into fewer files. You do not have to keep bills from 10 years ago!  For business expenses, you need to keep receipts for 7 years or so, but for household expenses, I don’t see much need in keeping them for more than a year or two just to have trend records. Consult your accountant for official guidance here.
  • Make sure your files are not too detailed. If they are too detailed, your filing system may be too hard to manage. Example: Make one file for your pet vaccine records.  You do not need a separate file for each individual pet.
  • Are your folders old and ripping apart?  Now may be a great time to redo them and give them fresh new labels. If you want a cohesive look, be sure to use the same pen for all the labels or simply use a label maker.

Floor:

  • Do you have stacks of papers in the floor? Deal with them. Throw away the trash.  File the good stuff. Get rid of everything you don’t need regularly.  You can always purchase a file box and store away the less used items in the attic.
  • Maybe your room could use a new layout to increase your productivity. Now is your chance to maximize your room to get more work done in less time!

I realize your office may may have more or fewer zones.  I think I’ve given you a good sampling here.  Be sure and adapt this mission to YOUR space.

Have a great week!