31 Days of Organizing Tips: Day 27 (Office)

Welcome to Day Twenty Seven of the 31 Days of Organizing Tips series!  Throughout this series I’m sharing organizing tips that will help you on your journey from overwhelmed to organized.  

Today’s tips are to help you organize your office. Whether you work from home and have a separate room designated as an office, or you have a desk in your kitchen, bedroom, or basement that you use when you pay bills, your office area can be overwhelming.

Paper clutter builds up very quickly! And offices can often be a dumping ground because they aren’t used as much as some rooms in the house, and desks can become cluttered surfaces very quickly.

But, with some organization, you can create a space where you can get your work done efficiently and effectively.

Before you start, sort through your office and relocate any items that do not belong there. Then purge as much as you can. {Make sure you shred any documents with personal and sensitive information.}

Most people keep a lot more paperwork than they need to because they think they may need it someday. Click the links below for advice on how long to keep documents and records or check with your local laws or an accountant.

In Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/keeping-records/where-keep-your-records-long-request-permission-destroy-them-early.html

In the United States: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/how-long-should-i-keep-records

Now that you’ve purged, here are some specific office organizing tips. If you don’t have space in your home for a separate office, you can still implement these organizing tips in a small desk area in a kitchen, bedroom, family room, dining room, craft room, or even a hallway.

1.  Use drawer organizers to group like items together in your desk (paperclips, note pads, erasers, etc.)

Organized Desk Drawers

2.  Keep the top of your desk uncluttered. Just like cleaning your kitchen counters helps you get a fresh start in the morning, a tidy desk will help you start each day with a clean slate. All that should be on your desk is whatever electronic devices you’re using (laptop, monitor, ipad, etc.), maybe a hanging or stacking file system if you don’t have anywhere else for it, and possibly a desk organizer for a few pens and pencils if they aren’t easily accessible in a drawer. This gives space for whatever project you are currently working on (but make sure you have a space to put that project away away when you leave your office, even if you haven’t finished it completely).

The Simple Guide to a Clutter-Free Desk

3.  Set up your office so that everything you use frequently is in arm’s reach when you’re sitting at your desk but items you use less often are not in your way. If you have a cabinet or shelves or a closet available, you can store reference materials, extra office supplies and stationary there.

Organized Office Cabinet

4.  Keep like items together. Paper should be stored near your printer. A recycling bin, garbage can, and shredder should be placed near your desk.  Use magazine holders, boxes, and baskets to contain like items. You can also maximize vertical space using shelves and hooks.

Home office with cube shelving, books, baskets and wall shelves.

Organized Home Office

5.  Organize your file cabinets in a system that works for you. Some options are using colour coded files and folders, alphabetical folders, or sorting by function (house, car, health, etc.). How you name things needs to make sense to you as well. And think about whether you want your tabs all in a row or going across the folders from left to right. I prefer all in a row because it’s easier to scan quickly and you can easily add or remove folders without messing up your system. The photo below uses a combination, which is good too.

Organized Files

Please remember to pin from the original source for all of these lovely pictures!

For Day Twenty Seven, purge your office (especially your paperwork). Decide which of these tips will help you get organized and then put it into action. If you feel overwhelmed at how large a task this is, set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you can get done.  Then you can either keep going for another 15 minutes or wait until tomorrow. If you do 15 minutes every day, you’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish. Once you get your office organized, remember to maintain it so it won’t become overwhelming again.

How do you organize your office?  What’s the best organizing tip you’ve implemented?

If you need help decluttering or organizing, contact me for in-person organizing services in the Mississauga area, or virtual organizing services anywhere else. 

Happy organizing!