I work from home every day. Being part of a virtual company like YMC means that there is no “office” for me to go into. We all do our jobs and work together over the airwaves, from the comfort of our homes – and in and around our families. Between the craziness of the Kid ruling the roost and the daunting task of keeping track of everything going on with the YMC site, having a comfortable and organized space I can retreat to helps me stay grounded and focused on my job.
Whether you run your own business, are a WAHM, use your home office as command central for your family or all of the above – here are some of my tips to keep your workspace under control and working for you.
1. Keep Useful Things Handy
There are things that you use all the time and things that you don’t. A good rule of thumb is to keep the things that you use regularly close by and put those that you don’t, in deeper storage. I like to have certain things within arms reach while I’m sitting in my desk chair – so I don’t have to get up! I can reach my recycling bin, my trashcan, my music, the basket that I use to hold my receipts, and the printer all from my seat. My desk drawers are premium real estate reserved for paperwork for current projects and a small stash of office supplies that I use on a daily basis. I keep all of the excess office supplies in the cupboards on the other side of the room and restock my desk when needed.
2. Contain the Small Stuff
Try to keep your desktop free of too much clutter. The same goes for inside of your drawers. Containers are a great way to keep small items like clips, pens, highlighters, Post-its and any little “doodads” from taking over your desk or becoming a big mess in your drawers. Mason Jars can look cute filled with clips and the bonus is that you can see what’s in them. If you need to tame stuff in your drawers, you can use little trays or even a kitchen utensil drawer organizer to give you little cubbies to hold your small bits and pieces.
3. Purge Paper Regularly
Paper is a huge problem for most of us and we are always struggling to keep paper clutter at bay. The trick is not to let it pile up too much and to consistently keep on top of it. I have a small basket on my desk that I keep timely papers in. The key word here is “small” so that it can’t become too overwhelming for me to deal with. When things get really busy, I am guilty of letting paperwork pile up. I have a chest in my office and I let that surface be the place papers and magazines congregate so that my desk can stay clear. But I make sure to go through any piles regularly and purge and file away as I go.
4. Make Organizing Fun and Pretty
It’s the best when organizing tools are fun and/or pretty! Treat yourself to a few little decorative but useful items in your home office. I have a little plastic dude whose head is a magnet with paper clip hair. It is cute on my desk and means that a paper clip is always within reach. And the Kid loves giving him a “haircut”! I also have a crazy position-able “Harry” organizer that is perfect for holding pens so I can easily grab one when I’m on the phone and need to jot something down. And I’ve been gathering supplies to make a memo board similar to this one my friend Sarah made. I can’t wait to have a pretty place to post important papers hanging over my desk.
5. Choose Multi-tasking Equipment
You can cut down on the amount of stuff in your office and save space by purchasing office equipment that does double, triple – and even quadruple! – duty. A good example of this is an all-in-one printer like the Kodak Office Hero 6.1. You can print, copy, scan and fax all from one compact machine. Plus with wireless printing, you don’t have to deal with extra cords dangling around. To top it off, a document tray that holds 200 pages means fewer trips across the room to get paper from the stock cabinet to load into the printer.