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Quick Tips for Organizing Your Home Office

May 25, 2008
Working at home may seem like a dream for most people, but, without organization, a home office can get out of control. To prevent your work life from spreading into your home life you need to start with a plan. And if you already have a home office that is out of control, getting organized will increase your productivity and help you get back on track.

Start by tackling the paperwork. Many of us have developed a bad habit of stacking papers on top of one another. You've got to get through those stacks and develop an organizational system so it won't happen again. Gather a trash can, a shredder, a box of files and some labels. Your goal is to purge your office of all unnecessary paperwork and organize the items that you keep. In the future, your organizational system will help keep your paperwork in check.

First, sort all of your paper into four categories: trash/recycle, shred, save, and take action. "Trash/Recycle" items include junk mail and flyers that can be thrown directly away. These don't have personal information on them. The "shred" pile consists of paperwork that has vital information on it that shouldn't be put in the regular trash or recycling bin. "Save" paperwork consists of bank statements and other paperwork that needs to be saved for future use. Finally, the "take action" pile is paperwork that needs to be dealt with immediately, such as bills.

Categorize your paperwork according to its function. Keep all the bills from one creditor together, and file everything in reverse chronological order. This means that new bills go in front. This may seem really intimidating and will take a few hours, or maybe more if you've really let the paperwork pile up. You can take heart in knowing that you'll never have to do this again. Once you get your system in place, you won't have to let paperwork pile up anymore.

After you deal with your paperwork, you'll need to address the rest of your office. Now is the time to figure out if your office's layout is working for you. Does the space make sense and provide for a good workflow? Or do you always have to make adjustments and rearrange items in order to use your workspace effectively? Make changes in your layout now while you are thinking of it, and you'll be more productive later on.

Make sure to clean off your desk and all of your electronic equipment. You can get special dusting cloths for electronics that will help remove dust and static from your computer, printer and other equipment. Don't use regular dusting spray on these items or you'll run the risk of ruining them.

Now is the time to make your office more productive by getting a new calendar to stay organized. Desk calendars take up a lot of space when used on a desk but can be a great asset to your office when hung on a wall. A desk organizer to hold pens, paper clips and post it notes can also help you stay organized.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson shares office supply coupons where you can subscribe for free coupon updates for your favorite office supply stores or products. She also posts coupons for Norton and Symantec products here.
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