Let’s keep a tidy home office

Consider the time spent getting organized to be an investment in your productivity.

If you make your home office area organized, you feel organized. A disorganized office can not only make you less efficient, it can cost you money. Bills that aren’t paid on time because you can’t find them incur late fees. Client proposals that aren’t sent out mean lost revenue. Not being able to find a stapler can lead to purchasing a second.

Let’s start with the big stuff. Look at your home office furniture.

Are your desk, credenza, bookshelves and file cabinets arranged so that everything can be accessed easily and quickly? If not, a good idea would be to move them closer together. Beautiful Ideas for office furniture placements can be found on <Houzz.com> or similar websites. Are your pathways clear of bundles of files and boxes full of junk mail waiting to be dealt with?

Let’s start the organization. Let’s get into the drawers and file cabinets. Clean out each drawer to free up even more valuable storage space. Use a variety of desk top organizers, trays or files to organize papers that come across your desk. Color coding your files will make it faster to find information. And never overload files as it will make it difficult to retrieve the documents you need. If necessary, sub-divide larger file folders with interior file folders.

Once you get rid of all the junk mail and old files no longer needed, deal with what you have left, the important stuff. A good idea is to create four folders. They should read:

Consider —

Items placed here should be dealt with and moved to another folder within 24 hours.

Awaiting answer —

Review these weekly, depending on your type of business, to see if you need to place a reminder call to the person you’re awaiting a response from.

File —

Ideally items will be filed immediately. So this folder will always be empty. In the event you do use it to hold documents, make sure you file them at the end of each day.

Read —

Grab this folder anytime you a have a few extra minutes during your day to peruse the article and memos you placed in it. Discard or act on the item immediately after reading.

You should get rid of what you don’t need. For example, if you have multiple office supplies select the one in the best condition and donate the rest to charity. Don’t just box up the extras and move the box to storage in case you need it someday. That’s just moving the problem around.

As email messages build up, the task of reading and addressing each one may seem impossible. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed. There is an effective way to organize your inbox. Almost any email system provides the ability to flag, file, delete, save and drag your way to a tidy inbox.

Your inbox is not storage, it’s not your calendar and it’s not your to-do list. Let’s organize the inbox in a useful way; the solution is easy. Let’s learn how to achieve it! Keep in mind that everyone works at different levels, so this may not be the one-size-fits-all plan.

The easier place to start is with the older material and then slowly work your way to newer e-mails. As you are deleting email you no longer need (which is probably a lot more than you may think) label those you do need to keep. For instance in gmail, messages with the same label are always placed in the same folder and can be accessed at the left side of the page. You can label messages with either button located above the message. Clicking the folder icon allows you to label the email and send it to the labeled folder without it being visible in the main inbox. You can also star messages together in a starred folder. Once you’ve gone through all your old messages, labeled the necessary ones and tossed the obsolete ones, you should have a clear inbox. To keep it from cluttering again, it is important to label and delete every time you open your inbox.


Remove sticky notes taped on your desk area. If they contain information that you wish to keep, either have them available digitally or make a binder just for them.

If possible reserve one drawer for personal items such as hand lotion. Instead of having several photo frames occupying your desk area, have several of your photos scrolling on a single digital photo frame. Toss junk mail daily, old catalogs, papers and other items you no longer use or need. Return phone calls in batches. I hope you picked up a couple of ideas to excite your journey into organizing. Contact us for additional suggestions at floridaprofessionalorganizers@yahoo.com

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