Today more than ever people are working more from home (at least for part of the week) or have even set up a full-time personal business out of their house. With this growing trend there has become an increasing need to separate the work space from the normal harmonious home surroundings and to keep it clean, workable and under control.
The gratification and feeling a clean desk and office can give you is energising and sometimes often than not inspiring! With a decluttered desk and work area you can better focus on the task at hand and get jobs done! The problem is a few days or big projects later the chaos returns, and your clean desk and office is nowhere to be found.
Regardless of the amount of desk layout space or your office size you have, full home office organisation is a big job. And it tends to be overwhelming at first glance or at any glance! If you’re not quite ready for a full makeover but desperately need to be able to find things, here some manageable tips and tricks you can do to organise your home office right now, helping any house bound worker keep their office decluttered and clean.
Your desk Is Prime Real Estate
Whatever is placed on your desk work top should to deserve to take up the space. Only frequently used items, those to be accessed daily should reside here. Often its handy to do a 1 week desktop cleanse, below are the instructions recommended by top professional home organisers Mooving Matters:
- Start by getting 1- 2 large cardboard boxes. Next take everything off your office desk except for items that are necessary for your work, such as your computer and phone. Put everything you remove from your worktop into the cardboard boxes.
- Put the boxes somewhere accessible bit out of the way. Then go to work as usual. As you are working in your home office, if these something you need that’s not on your desk, fetch it out of the box and put it in a logical place on your desk.
- By weeks end you will find you have everything you need to work efficiently on your desk or close by and nothing else. As for whats leftin the boxes, these items belong else where. IE properly stored or filed away.
In The Zone
Look to establish work zones for maximum efficiency. An activity-driven approach is conducive to maximising space and making the whole work space easier and more efficient for daily use.
A home office should feature three distinct sections: “the work zone” (the desk and computer), “the reference zone” (manuals, reference books, binders, filing cabinets, etc.), and “the supply zone” (where stationary and office supplies are kept).
This approach is just as effective in small home offices as it is in larger studies.
The Paper Purge & Colour Coding
Most people’s home office spaces usual ends up in sea of paper piles, ebbing and flowing across desktops and shelving units. Look to get control of the clutter before it takes over your work space. Decluttering services experts advise on applying the strategy called “The System of Three”: shred/toss it, file it or take action from it. Vet every piece of paper in your office by this protocol and place your important paperwork in a colour-coded filing system.
A well-organised filing system is a good indication of a functional office space and colour coding is the easiest and most stress free method. To organise, separate the filing system into five colour-coded categories:
- Green – Financial
- Red – Medical
- Orange – Personal
- Yellow – Insurances
- Blue – House hold
Label each hanging folder according to your needs. Invest in a good label maker and label your files, drawers and boxes for an easy way to organise your office. Whenever someone needs something, you will know exactly where it is.
The Mail & Print Stations
- The Mail Station – To keep track and maintain control of the paper coming into the home office, create a mail station. Make a folder for incoming and outgoing mail, mail to file, bills and a folder for every family member. As soon as the mail comes in, file it in the mail station. Then once a week, take a few minutes and go through each folder. If you prefer not to use folders use a stacked In/Out tray for your mail. Papers and unopened mail coming into your office need a temporary home until you can make decisions regarding them. Make sure that the bottom of the two trays acts as your In-Box, thus limiting just how much stuff can accumulate before you give it some attention. This helps you keep a clean desk and stay on top of projects that need attention.
- The Printing Station – Designate a space in your office to house the printer and printer supplies. If you have a wireless printer, it doesn’t need to take up room on your prime real estate – your desk. By placing it in a cabinet or other area in your office, you will gain much more space on your desk for other items.
The Life Binder
Organise your most important papers in binders for easy grab-and-go in case of any emergency. For example, if there was a medical emergency, you could grab your medical binder and have all the information you need at your finger tips.
Here are some top binder categories:
- Medical – Where your family’s important medical records are stored. If you ever need to go to a new doctor or if you have a complex medical diagnosis, everything is organised in one spot.
- Pet – This binder should contain your pets’ medical records, shot records and medications.
- Auto – Designated for all car repairs, maintenance records and car insurance documentation.
- Manuals – Store all your manuals in one place in this binder. You can even separate the binder by sub-categories, such as appliances, electronics, garden and house.
- House – Store all house-related information here, such as maintenance, pest control, security system and contact numbers for handymen.
The Only Way Is Up
If you have a small home office it might be a good idea to rethink bulky filing cabinets, storage cupboards and low height bookcases instead look to transform your wall spaces. Floating shelves, hanging filing systems or a panel of wall-mounted caddies can increase your storage and give a modern designer look as well. New space-savvy, wall organisers are practical and convenient as all your files and supplies become more visible and easily accessed.
With your new shelving up, you can infuse some design aesthetic by organising your books by genre, colour or size depending on your preference. Organising by colour will add an eye-catching feature while giving your space a clutter-free, streamlined look.
Storage isn’t the only office item that can be taken vertically. By placing your computer monitor on a stand, you’ll not only raise it to a proper ergonomic level and give your neck and back a break, but you’ll give yourself more clean desk surface space to work with.
The Writings On The Wall
Ever considered a multitasking message board? A message or pin boards will ramp up the efficiency and appeal of any home office. Not only does it act as a quick reference guide for important appointments, to-do lists and must-revisit ideas, but it also serves as a visual muse that boosts creativity and productivity and also provide inspiration.
For added practicality, choose a board you can write and display papers on, such as a whiteboard or magnetic chalkboard.
But as desk drawers and filing cabinets Bulletin or message boards that are to keep us posted on up-to-date events and keep our lives organised, can often fall by the way side and become cluttered time capsules.
Look to tidy and review you board regularly at least every couple of weeks and ask yourself… Is there anything posted or written that relates to a task that you need to do today or in the next week? Are there ancient documents that need to be filed away or thrown? Is it only consumed by pictures drawn by the kids? Or family photos from years ago…These are nice but shouldn’t dominate the board, as you want it to still stay functional.
That Dreaded Drawer
Are your desk drawers in total chaos? You can easily Divide and conquer the clutter by using the simple drawer organiser to keep small, loose items tidy and contained. If you can’t find an insert that fits your drawer perfectly, you can easily create a custom setup by lining the drawer with a selection of small containers, trays and bowls that slot in next to each other.
Those Chaotic Cables
Unruly wires that snake across your desk and floor not only are a trip hazard but create annoying visual clutter as well. By simply adding an integrated cable management and power system, which is hidden under the desk top will keep the desktop free of distracting, dust-collecting wires.
If you happen to be a renter and require a temporary solution that’s cheap yet won’t leave any damage, try a stick-on cord organiser. Alternatively, you could use velcro affixed to the underside of your desk or the trusty cable tie to wrangle excess lengths of wire together. It’s also a handy tip to remember to label each plug so there’s no cable confusion down the track.
If you want to eliminate unsightly cables all together from your home office, then its best to invest in rechargeable Bluetooth- or WiFi-network. Working wirelessly will declutter your work space making cleaning even easier.
Don’t Forget About It, Maintain it!
So, you’ve finally got your home office looking like the one of your dreams, but you just need to make sure it stays that way. Look to Schedule regular maintenance and tidy up of your office space. The easiest way is to do daily or weekly reviews. All you need to do is allocate a few minutes at the end of each day or a time slot once a week for a quick tidying up.
Some simple and quick tactics to help tidy are as follows
- Pick Three Things and Throw Them Out – There’s probably a lot more than just three things either on your desk or scattered around your home office that can go right to the waste or recycling bin.
- Weed One Filing Drawer – Filing cabinets can consume so much clutter which is ironic because they are known as clutter solutions. In a typical home office, thou we seem to stuff them with whatever we can’t find a place for, IE random documents we don’t want to deal with but don’t want to throw away. And so filing cabinets soon become our own personal landfill! If you have the time and are up for an archaeological dig, then go for it and start sorting through your standard-sized four-drawer filing cabinet with years of accumulated stuff right away. However, most people can only spare 30mins max so it’s probably best to start small. The best means to knock over the task is to choose one drawer at a time and removing anything that’s no longer current or necessary. (Remember, though, to hold on to any important documents like business information for at least 6 years.)
Personal and confidential documents and papers that you no longer have to keep should be shredded. For older items you need to hold on to but won’t need to access regularly, look to purchase a cardboard file box and use it to store old files. Store the box in a spot away from your home office such as under the stairs or in the garage, wherever is safe and dry yet out of sight!
If you want to regain your office space and don’t have the time and would love some professional home organisers assistance to declutter your home office, look no further than Mooving Matters!
To arrange a complementary on-site inspection of your home office by Mooving Matters, your home organiser Sydney or to simply discuss our ‘Ultimate full service packing + moving’ experience call (02) 93375333 or visit us at moovingmatters.com.au.