31 Days of Organizing Tips: Day 27 (Office) | From Overwhelmed to Organized: 31 Days of Organizing Tips: Day 27 (Office)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days of Organizing Tips: Day 27 (Office)

Welcome to Day Twenty Seven of the 31 Days of Organizing Tips series!  Wow...only a few days left.  I'm so glad you've joined me.  Throughout this series I've been sharing organizing tips that will help you on your journey from overwhelmed to organized.  I'm including lots of pictures and links for ideas that I've found around the web that relate to the topic each day. You'll find a complete list of all the posts in the 31 Days of Organizing Tips tab above, or at the end of this post.

Today's tips are to help you organize your office.  Whether you work from home and have a separate room designated as an office, or you have a desk in your kitchen, bedroom, or basement that you use when you pay bills, your office area can be overwhelming.

Paper clutter builds up very quickly!  Offices can often be a dumping ground because they aren't used as much as some rooms in the house, and desks can become cluttered surfaces very quickly.

But, with some organization, you can create a space where you can get your work done efficiently and effectively.

I need this post as much as many of you.  I don't really have an office.  We have the elements of an office in various parts of our home that have been moved several times as our family has grown and our circumstances have changed.   Our whole office system needs an overhaul and I'll be tackling it soon.

I feel a little hypocritical giving tips to you when my office is in such an unorganized state, but I know this is an area that is overwhelming to a lot of people.  When I worked outside the home I was always tweaking how I organized my office, so I'm going to share tips I implemented there as well as great office organizing ideas I've seen around the web.

Before you start, sort through your office and relocate any items that do not belong there.  Then purge as much as you can.  {Make sure you shred any documents with personal and sensitive information.}

Most people keep a lot more than they need to because they think they may need it someday.  Click the links below these pictures for advice on how long to keep documents and records.

In the United States:
Source:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/your-money/household-budgeting/25RECORDS.html?_r=1&
In Canada:

Source:  http://www.mrsjanuary.com/personal-finance/how-long-to-hold-on-to-financial-records-in-canada/

Now that you've purged, here are some specific office organizing tips (click the links below the pictures for more details on how these offices were organized).

1.  Use drawer organizers to group like items together in your desk (paperclips, note pads, erasers, etc.)

Source:  http://getsimplifized.com [Update: blog is now http://simplelifetogether.com/ but this post is no longer available]

2.  Keep the top of your desk uncluttered.  Just like cleaning your kitchen counters helps you get a fresh start in the morning, a tidy desk will help you start each day with a clean slate.  All that should be on your desk is your computer, a hanging or stacking file system and a desk organizer for a few pens and pencils, as well as whatever project you are currently working on (but put it away when you leave your office, even if you haven't finished it completely).

Source:  http://www.goodbyehousehellohome.com/2012/03/day-3-spring-into-organization-tour.html

3.  Set up your office so that everything you use frequently is in arm's reach when you're sitting at your desk.

Source:  http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.ca/2012/06/omf-headquarters-big-reveal-of-my.html

4.  Keep like items together.  Paper should be stored near your printer.  A recycling bin, garbage can, and shredder should be placed near your desk.  Use magazine holders, boxes, and baskets to contain like items.

Source:  http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2012/09/home-organization-101-week-4-office.html

5.  Organize your file cabinets in a system that works for you.  Some options are using colour coded files and folders, alphabetical folders, or sorting by function (house, car, health, etc.).

Source:  http://www.mrsjanuary.com/organization/how-to-organize-your-filing-cabinet/

So those are some tips to help you organize your office.  If you don't want to buy a big desk, here's a simple DIY desk made out of a door and 2 small bookshelves.  I've also done this with file cabinets in the past.

Source:  http://www.marthastewart.com/274366/desk-organizing-ideas/@center/276989/organizing#352810

If you don't have space in your home for a separate office, you can still implement these organizing tips in a small desk area in a kitchen, bedroom, family room, dining room, craft room, or even a hallway.  I love this little desk that makes great use of this space in a hallway and you can even close it up when you're not using it!  {Click the link for a tutorial and to see pictures of all the storage.}

Source:  http://www.marthastewart.com/274366/desk-organizing-ideas/@center/276989/organizing#182810

Please remember to pin from the original source for all of these lovely pictures!

For Day Twenty Seven, purge your office (especially your paperwork).  Decide which of these tips will help you get organized and then put it into action.  If you feel overwhelmed at how large a task this is, set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you can get done.  Then you can either keep going for another 15 minutes or wait until tomorrow.  If you do 15 minutes every day, you'll be surprised how much you can accomplish.  Once you get your office organized, remember to maintain it so it won't become overwhelming again.

{Note:  If you're getting overwhelmed with all the ideas in this series, please understand that is NOT my intention! :)  This series is designed for me to write every day for a month, not for you to completely organize your house in a month.  That thought overwhelms me!  So, feel free to skim and pin/bookmark these tips now and then come back later when you're ready to tackle a particular organizing project.  I'll add a button or tab to the blog at the end of the series that will make it easy for you to find all the posts.  Hope that takes some pressure off!}

Tomorrow we'll look at organizing shared spaces or rooms with multiple functions.  I can't believe there are only a few more days left in this series!  I look forward to sharing the remaining posts with you and hearing your tips too!

How do you organize your office?  What's the best organizing tip you've implemented?

Have a great day and happy organizing!

Here are all the posts in the series:

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!