Our home-based businesses are becoming busier every day, and it has become necessary for me to purge and organize the home office. I can’t work amid clutter. The closet had become a dumping ground for all kinds of things that didn’t have a place elsewhere in our home. I had old office supplies that I no longer used, piles of papers to sort through, and a lot of items I had been holding onto to sell, but hadn’t got around to. Organizing our homes office so that is efficient for two home-based businesses turned out to be a bigger task than I had anticipated.
I recently sat down with Laura Watts, a professional organizer and operator of her own home-based business, Double Take Organizing, and listened as she shared her tips for getting the home office organized and how to keep it that way.
Here are five of my favourite tips that Laura provided for organizing the home office.
1. Paper is the cause of a lot of disorganization in a home office. Laura recommended that to help eliminate clutter from paper, touch a piece of paper only once! That means that if you print something, file it. If you write a list, refer to it as soon as you can and discard it when you’ve completed the tasks on it. There are a ton of electronic tools and apps available to help you manage a paper problem or eliminate its use.
2. Magnetize with paint. This idea has me totally captivated! I love a magnetic surface for getting things up off my desk. I especially like magnetic clips that will hold bunches of coupons, photographs, paint chips or kids’ artwork, and being able to put these up on a magnetic wall surface sounds like a terrific way to organize the home office. Further tips for using magnetized paint can be found here.
3. Use a business card capture app such as Abbyy. A few years ago I tried out a business card capture app for my iphone but I wasn’t happy with the results. The technology just hadn’t advanced to the point where the data capture was accurate. Abbyy is a great app that is very accurate and totally worth the $4.99 I paid for it if it means my data won’t get lost and I can maintain up-to-date, accurate records of my business contacts.
4. Ask yourself if you’ve used the item in the last year. There comes a time in every home office organization project when purging becomes necessary. To ease the difficulty of eliminating extra clutter from the home office, get rid of stuff! Give it away, donate it to shops such as Salvation Army or Value Vilage, or throw it in the garbage. I usually have to wait until the right mood strikes me to do this, but when it does, look out! I had five garbage bags of stuff picked up last week and another five will be picked up next week. It feels good.
Another pile ready for donation. Get out of my house!
5. Go vertical. The amount of wall space in my office that is left blank is dwindling. Almost every wall has either a shelving unit of some kind, a bracket or basket for holding files and documents that I can’t throw away. When you run out of space to actually work at your desk, go up!
Even this space beneath my office window is being used to help me stay organized. No space is wasted!
What is your favourite method for organizing the home office?