10 Simple Steps to a More Functional and Stylish Home Office

10 Simple Steps to a More Functional and Stylish Home Office

Do the piles of papers on your desk, floor and any other flat surface in your home office overwhelm you? Do you feel stressed because you can’t find important documents when you need them? Do you find you are procrastinating when it comes to getting any work done in your office? The problem might be that you simply don’t enjoy being in the space. If your home office is properly set-up and cleared of clutter, it can reduce your unconscious resistance to spending time in the room. In order to make the room more inviting, you can add proper lighting, a comfortable desk chair and some inspiring artwork. You might even paint the room in a colour you like. However, you can’t decorate around clutter. In order to make your office a place you’ll actually enjoy working in, follow these simple steps to de-clutter and organize it:

1. PLACE items you use daily within arms-reach. You should be able to reach them from your chair while seated at your desk. Remove seldom-used items from your main workspace.

2. KEEP a spiral notebook by your phone to jot down phone messages and other notes rather than using scrap pieces of paper that clutter your desk and can go missing.

3. HANG an over-door organizer with clear pockets on the inside of your closet door to store extra office supplies. If you don’t have a closet in the office, use the back of the door. Not only will you utilize otherwise un-used space, you’ll also be able to see exactly what you have. It’s perfect for storing sticky-notes, pushpins, staples, and extra printer cartridges.

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4. TEAR OUT any magazine/newspaper article that you want to refer to in the future and staple the pages together. File the article in an accordion file, labeled by category, and you’ll be able to find it quickly when you need it.

5. FILE your bills in a tray as soon as they arrive in the mail. Keep only unpaid bills in this tray and place it close to the area where mail first enters your home. When it’s time to pay the bills, you won’t have to scramble to find them. Simply pick up the tray and take it to your desk or designated bill-paying area. After the bills are paid, file them with the most current at the front. We usually reference the most current documents in a file, so having them at the top will save time. Keep no more than one year’s worth of bills in your filing cabinet. At year-end, you can shred them or transfer them to a bankers box if you need them for tax purposes.

6. PLACE the tabs for hanging file folders in the front of the files. When inserting paper, you can easily grasp the tabs and pull the files open and no matter how full the folders get the tabs will remain unobstructed. Line up the tabs flush to the left or right; avoid zigzagging as this will be difficult to maintain when adding or subtracting files and is also hard on the eyes.

7. FILE your papers horizontally if traditional filing cabinets don’t work for you. Use stacking trays or literature sorters. This will allow you to file your papers in slots so you can see where everything is and access it quickly and effortlessly. These can be purchased from office supply stores and come in a variety of sizes and materials, from inexpensive cardboard to higher-end plastic and wood.

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8. USE the stapler instead of paper clips when filing papers. Paper clips can get caught onto other unrelated papers.

9. SCHEDULE 15 minutes a week to spend on filing. Do it on the same day and preferably the same time every week. This will prevent your filing from piling to overwhelming heights and you’ll spend less time looking for things.

10. READ e-mails at planned intervals throughout the day rather than as each one arrives. Take action immediately after reading. Decide whether to answer, forward, electronically file or delete. Avoid printing e-mails to file or answer later. This just adds to the mountain of paperwork and wastes time.