10 Tips for Organizing Your Office Today

File folder labelsIt’s the first day of August! You know what that means…school is just around the corner! If you have kids, that means your time is probably about to get a little more structured as you shuttle kids to and from school and events. (Even if you don’t have kids, chances are the oncoming school year will affect you…even if it’s just more time spent driving on busier roads.)  So before you get busy, we recommend taking the time now to organize your home office. Check out these 10 tips for organizing your office from howstuffworks.

  1. Establish an organizational system. You can’t clean your office unless you have a place to put all the clutter. Whether this means setting up a file rack or filing cabinet, investing in a shredder or trash can, or setting an inbox on your desk for ongoing projects, figure out what system will work for you that you will be able to maintain.
  2. Start with a clean desk. Remove everything from your desk so you can start with a clean slate.
  3. Set up your filing cabinet for success. If you just buy a filing cabinet but do nothing more with it, you’ll just end up using it as a catch-all. Set up hanging folders and use file folder labels to label the main categories like client, financial and medical labels.
  4. Purge your office. One of the reasons offices get so cluttered is because we hold on to too much paperwork, unused office equipment, old pans, magazines and newspapers. Get cutthroat and start tossing all those things you don’t need or don’t use. Some things you should hold on to include tax returns, pay stubs, investment statements, bank statements, medical records, and credit card statements.
  5. Cut out cable clutter. Many of us suffer from an abundance of cables in our home offices, with them running to and from computers, printers, scanners, shredders and other equipment. Some options for curbing your cable clutter include using a USB hub or plugging cables into a surge protector. Bind the remaining cables together with a cable tie or Velcro wrap.
  6. Prioritize. Make sure you keep everything you will need regularly in an easily reachable location, such as a bookshelf behind your desk, a calendar on your desk or a file folder just inside. Use a caddy or another small organizer in the top drawer of your desk to hold your basic office supply essentials.
  7. Move office equipment off your desk. With too much on your desk, you will have no room to actually work. Downsize your monitor to a flat screen and place any computer towers on the floor. Buy a printer that scans and faxes and then purchase a printer stand to get the printer off your desk. Consider taking your desk lamp off your desk and replacing it with a freestanding lamp.
  8. Relocate personal items. Many people love decorating their desk with photos, however, these items can add significant clutter to your desk. Remove anything that isn’t directly related to your work to another location in your office.
  9. Establish a calendar system. Figure out what works for you with regards to your calendar and to do lists. We recommend going paperless and putting all your to-do lists and appointments in your Blackberry or smart phone. However, you may prefer to stick with the hold fashioned system like a desktop calendar or a memo board. Figure out what system works best for you and roll with it.
  10. Organize your computer. It’s easy to keep throwing files on your desktop. However, before you know if you won’t be able to find anything. Toss old files and organize the remaining files into folders. Back up your files so you’re guaranteed not to lose anything. Organize your email, throwing out old messages and sorting the remaining emails into folders.

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