Not every family has enough space to dedicate an entire room as a home office, but almost everyone needs some kind of a center for a computer, bills, receipts, and other important paperwork. Sometimes that space is in a spare bedroom, the dining room, or even the kitchen. Regardless of where your home office is, keeping it organized is often a challenge because most of us let those things pile up, waiting for that magical moment when we "have time" to straighten them out. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your office space - big or small - organized and easy to maintain.
Invest in adequate furniture. Some people buy a cheap, small desk in hopes of making the desk less obtrusive in the room. However, a well-made, taller piece with shelves and storage is often a better purchase because of the versatility it offers. Not only should you have space for your computer and peripheral equipment, but you should have room for reference materials, filing, and supplies.
You may want to start simply with a desk, chair and lamp, and add pieces later as your budget allows. Most home office manufacturers offer multiple pieces within collections and you can build your home office configuration one piece at a time. Laptop users may want to consider a laptop-height desk, designed to be at the perfect level for comfort and accessibility - no need to crouch over the coffee table! Many of these desks are equipped with electrical outlets and storage for the laptop to make the best use of the work surface. Another option is a sofa table desk which serves dual functions, making a statement in your living room while offering a keyboard drawer, stationery drawers, and often a hutch to create a flexible work space.
Focus your office space into areas:
- The Work Center, which includes a clear work space, the computer and frequently-used office products. This space should include anything that needs to be acted on immediately, such as bills to pay and messages to return.
- The Reference Center, which includes binders, manuals, dictionary and professional books and materials. This space includes those things that are not urgent but need to be saved, such as bank statements, newspaper clippings, receipts, and correspondences.
- The Supply Center, which contains paper and office supplies. This doesn't have to be in your desk. Supplies can be put in a closet across the room if you need more storage space for folders and other paperwork.
Attack and Sort the Paperwork. Presort mail at least into its correct section of the desk. Use a variety of containers such as baskets to serve as catching places for the mail, notes, paper clips and pens. Catalogs and magazines can stack up in a hurry Ã¢â‚¬â€œ buy a few magazine boxes to store the ones you want to keep.
Conceal cables and wires. Fold mailing labels back on themselves around each cord and label the wire. Don't forget to label the cords that connect different components to each other, as well as the cord to the electric supply. Then bundle like wires together to cut down on cord clutter behind your desk and on the floor.
Invest in a good chair! Remember that a comfortable desk chair could be one of the most important pieces you select. The proper chair not only improves your comfort, but it also helps reduce fatigue, ensuring optimal functioning as you work, play games, or surf the Internet.
Decorate your space. Don't forget to add a nice lamp for good task lighting while you're sitting at the desk. Choose a few fun items or photos that show off your style - having some decorative items that you want to show off will help take up some of the space that would otherwise collect clutter.
The key to getting better organized is to start with one small step and then take others one at a time, even if it's just 15 minutes at a time. Once you start breaking down the big piles of paper, then each smaller pile becomes less intimidating and more manageable. Once you've started, stick with it. Getting organized is the first step - persistence and follow-through will keep it that way!