The home office is often the place where we dump all the paperwork we don't know what to do with, especially if that's where we open the mail. So if your office is filled with piles of paper that have never gotten filed, this story and home office organization tips are for you.
This is a true story. As a professional organizer, I helped one client lose over 50 pounds (sorry, 50 pounds of paper) in just 2 days. You can too, with patience and a commitment to changing the way you handle the paper in your office.
Home Office Organization to Get Rid of Unnecessary Paper
The checklist provided here is something you can take action on now, and reach your goals in less than a week. That’s right, less than one (1) week. All we ask you to do is give up one thing … clutter! And here we're talking about paper clutter which we all have although some are better at hiding it.
As Americans we “collect” over 34 pounds of junk mail a year. The average person “files” over 3000 documents a year with about 97% of those documents never referenced again. Our sense of importance and value seems to have gotten misdirected through the years. We spend more time trying to find items that we have put somewhere in our home or office. Instead of using this time with our family and activities we enjoy, we're wasting time searching for paper and other things.
Statistics show than an average of 90 minutes a day is spent looking for lost or misplaced items. And a Newsweek article on the Paper Chasers said “More than 40% of printouts are discarded within 24 hours” so why not stop printing the paper & bookmark what you need online.
A Case Study About Creating Home Office Organization
I recently worked with a client in her home office. We shredded over 40 pounds of paper and recycled about the same! My client was invigorated. This huge “lack of organization” weight had been sitting on her shoulders for years and was now, almost magically removed. A sense of creativity resurfaced. Energy was restored and his work became more productive. Within a short period, he found more time for his family and the hobbies he enjoyed.
You too, can experience a new surge of energy, creativity, and find more spare time. The magic solution is quite simple. Schedule an office clean-out day. (This can work at the corporate level, too.) An office clean-out day is cleansing in more ways than one. Working in a cluttered environment can cause stress, lack of creativity, and reduced productivity. Most people wait until they get to the breaking point of disorganization before they reach out for help. Don’t wait that long.
Take action now!
Tips for Getting Your Home Office Organized this Week!
Here are some practical tips to get you started on your journey to the home office organization that fits you, your business and your home office.
- Make a plan – Decide what you want to accomplish?
- Home office organization – Identify what you need to organization your office, like a desk, bookcases, file folders and a closet. For ideas, check out Making a Home Office Work for You and our home office board on Pinterest.
- Set realistic expectations – Decide what time you can allocate to your home office organization and be reasonable about what you can accomplish.
- Schedule time on your calendar – Give this work the same priority so you can do the work without interruptions!
- Collect your organizing tools – Have a stapler, trashcan (extra bags), & a shredder available.
- Remove distractions – Minimize windows or turn your computer off and silence your phone.
- Dress comfortably.
- Turn on your favorite music.
- Reward yourself – Make a commitment to work comfortably with a nice lunch break, or dinner at the end of the project to celebrate what you've accomplished.
Sorting Home Office Paperwork to Get Rid of the Clutter
Now that you're ready to make all the paper disappear, it's time to learn a home office organization system that makes it easy to wade through the paper. Here's my ‘3 W’s” to help you decide what to keep and what to do with it. For each piece of paper or item, ask yourself:
- What do I need to do with this? – Everything gets sorted into the trash (or shredded), file or take action.
- When do I need to take action? – Make a decision on the urgency of action items – tomorrow, next week or next month.
- Where am I going to put it? – You need systems for organizing action items and paperwork you need to file.
- Action items – A hanging file box works best. The Alpha-Omega Organizer®, was created just for this purpose. The desktop file system has hanging file folders to file papers, reminders, projects, and all your other important information that you will be able to find it when you need it.
- Papers to be filed – require a file cabinet and filing system that's organized according to your business and/or personal situation.
Continue using the ‘3 W’s’ each time you process your mail or print things off your computer. This will eliminate mounting paper piles that quickly overwhelm you, and you don't want that to happen again. Happy organizing!