The Office Space
Week Four of the Home Organization Series has arrived and it's all about the office space. If you don't have an actual room to call an office, this is the time to go through the area you hoard away the important papers, bills, and business related items. Ready to get started? Let's go!
Same as always, grab your six boxes. Also, having a label maker of some kind handy is a good idea. Organizing files, computer cords, and paperwork works best if you can utilize using visible, clear labels. Otherwise, let's dive right in.
Books and Manuals
Take out all your books (fiction, non fiction, etc) and owner's manuals/warranties and sort through. I love having good books to read on my shelves but I definitely came across books I found boring or lost interest in the topic. These books went straight to thrift. I also came across quite a few owner's manuals of tools and items I don't have anymore. The others I organized in an accordion file folder. This keeps them separated from the more important papers but easy to access and store without losing track of them.
Desk Drawers and Cabinets
Take everything out of your cabinets and desk drawers. Spread it all out on the floor. Any paperwork set aside. Don't worry about keeping them categorized or organized at this point. Just set them aside and we'll deal with them later. You should be left with office items such as staplers, pens, tacks, cords, binders and folders. Anything old and worn gets thrown out. Anything unused but in good condition is sold or sent to thrift. Use containers and dividers within the drawers and cabinets to keep these items separated and contained.
TIP: For all electronic cords, make an identifying label and wrap it on the end of each cord so you can quickly identify the cord you are looking for. Loop the cord like you would a lasso and use twist ties to keep it together. They will lay flatter and not tangle with other cords. Then store all cords in a small tub or basket.
The paperwork will be the most tedious to sort through. But once you've got it sorted, organized, and stowed away you will feel so much better! I think it's truly amazing how free I felt once all the important papers were filed away in an easy to manage system. As a general rule of thumb follow these guidelines for paperwork:
Organizing the Remaining Items
Many people will tell you to put books back on the shelf in a way that is appealing to the eye, such as by color. This is just my opinion, but I don't really agree with this method for one reason: it makes it harder to find the book you're looking for a little later down the road. I don't always remember what my book looks like but I know what it's about. So I prefer to sort my books by category. And then line the books in the category from tallest to shortest to still keep it appealing to look at.
As I said before, use an accordion file folder to store owners manuals and warranties.
For all other paperwork, there are a number of different ways to file. You can use a filing cabinet and keep everything in one or two drawers with folders labeled alphabetically. You can use a binder system with each category (i.e. Auto, Medical, Pets, Monthly Bills, Taxes, etc.). Or you can use accordion file folders and either go alphabetically or by category. When I went through my office I used a binder system and accordion folders. I used binders for medical, pet records, and monthly bills. For everything else I used an accordion file folder and sorted the categories alphabetically. All of our tax records, however, are in their own accordion folder and labeled by the year. This makes it easy to pull out the one file and easily find tax related documents without non tax related documents getting mixed in. This makes tax season a little less stressful!
Maintaining the Office
Here a few quick tips for maintaining your newly organized office space:
What are some tips or tricks you use to maintain your office space?
This is like the coffee talk corner. Sometimes I give organization tips or relationship advice, but a lot of times I'm just sharing about the everyday moments that make up my life.