With everyone and their mama working from home these days, keeping an orderly home office is more important than ever. Not only do you need to be able to find things quickly, but you also now need to provide a beautiful backdrop for all those Zoom calls! Things are much more complicated when people judge you by your background and lighting - we practically have to become film makers these days! Today, we will talk about the basics of organizing a beautiful and functional home office, whether you use it for work or simply for paying the household bills.
Step One - Empty Your Office
This may seem even more daunting than the pantry or the master closet. Depending on your office, you may be able to do this in zones. Tackle the desk as one zone, the shelves as one zone, and the closet as another. This way, you don't completely tear up your office with no hope of getting it back together. ☺️
Step Two - Go Through Everything And Sort Into Piles
You may even wish to use empty Rubbermaid bins to sort in. Most offices have a lot of paper clutter. At this point, just sort the paper, don't worry about if you need to pay a bill or file something. For now, just decide if it's trash or keep. After the paper has been sorted, you can sort items that you need in your office. You may also have a bin that you place things that go into another room. Plan to have a bin for office supplies, electronics and cords, decorative items, and a place to stack books. Once you get everything sorted into bins, you can easily see how much of each thing you have.
Step Three - Purge
It's not a pretty word, but it's a beautiful thing! Go through each bin (category) and decide what you need to keep, trash (or recycle), or donate. There are probably some office supplies you no longer use. Donate those. There may be a few items that are meant for decor in your office, but maybe your style has changed. Donate. This is where looking through the paperwork needs to happen. First separate it by category - financial papers (bank, home stuff, investments, taxes, insurance), family (birth certs, social security id, any important papers related to kids or pets), and daily (household bills etc). As a side note, consider putting all bills on autopay and paperless. It's good for the environment and the postal system (not to mention it reduces mail to your home) 🙌
Here is a handy guide to how long you need to keep certain papers:
Once you've culled your papers down to a more manageable level, it's time for Step Four!
Step Four - File
You've got your whole office torn apart - why take time to file now? At this point in the steps, we know where the important papers are. We don't want to lose them. And they are likely the most important part of what is contained in your office. If your files are already set up, this is pretty easy to do. If not, use the categories I mentioned above to get started. I recommend having two file drawers if you also own a business so that one drawer can be used for filing for the business and one can be used for household filing. If you have a closet in your office, you may consider putting your filing cabinet in there. Filing cabinets aren't always pretty and this adds a small layer of security. I do recommend keeping any important docs in a small safe - passports, birth certs, social security cards and anything else that would be tough to replace if you had a fire or flood.
Step Five - Plan the Space and Put Stuff Back
I rearrange my office often (please know that I mean twice a month 🤓). It helps me gain a different perspective and keeps things tidy too. Move your desk to face a different direction, or put different things on the shelves. Install floating shelves or change out the art on the wall. If you've become more of a minimalist in the last few years, your office should reflect that. It adds to your productivity when the space around you is peaceful, calm, and creative.
Step Six - Maintenance
I have a two drawer set that I got from The Container Store that houses papers I need to either file or do something with. It works because it's a finite amount of space and when it gets full, I need to do something with the paper contained there. I've linked it here.
Every so often, you will need to tidy up your office. That may include: filing paper, shredding paper, going through supplies, and clearing off your desk. Once the system is in place, it's not as difficult to continue to reset whenever needed.
Let me know how this has worked for you - also let me know if there are any parts I didn't discuss and you have questions about how to organize. Your office is as unique as you are and you will have different needs as time goes on.
If you break out into tiny baby sweats every time you open the door to your office, give us a call or book a consultation with us here. We would be happy to help! Have a great week and be sure to tag @bringpeacehomedfw with your before/after office photos!