Start the year off on a productive note by decluttering and streamlining your home-office space. Here’s how…
• Free up space on your desk by thinking ‘up’! Make smart use of vertical wall space with sturdy open shelving and use it to hang filing systems, calendars, whiteboards and more. Also look behind things – the area behind your office door for instance might be good for storage.
• Keep your stationery and other office supplies in containers, desk drawers, baskets and bins (preferably clear ones so you can see what’s in there at a glance). Old jam jars make for handy and inexpensive desk organisers for pens, pencils and the like.
• Label everything – files, drawers and boxes. It may seem like a tedious task at first but it will save you a lot of time looking for things later.
• If you have the space, organise your office into ‘zones’ by placing like items together. This exercise also helps to reveal all those duplicate staplers or outdated equipment you’ve accumulated.
• A corkboard is perfect for pinning up important reminders and notices.
• Almost any piece of home office furniture is improved by putting it on wheels for easy moving.
• Keep to a consistent colour scheme to make the space look more uniform and uncluttered. It’s the small details, such as matching storage boxes and neutral tones, which help to bring a sense of calm and order to a work area.
• Control paper clutter by setting up an effective filing system – go through every piece of paper and either shred/toss it, file it or take action from it. File all your important paperwork in a colour-coded filing system (have sections for financial, medical, personal, insurance, important purchases, instruction manuals and warranties, etc). Why colour-coded? Because we recognise visual cues faster than words. Shred and/or recycle what you no longer need. A well-organised filing system is a good indication of a functional office space. Also try and have as much correspondence sent to you electronically to reduce your paper consumption.
• Spring clean your computer, both inside and out. Use a small paintbrush to sweep away dust and other particles from your keyboard. Use cable ties to group together untidy cords and tuck them away. Wipe the dust off tablets and other screens with a dry cloth or screen wipes. As for the ‘inside’ of your computer, clear out your inbox and back up all your files.
• Create a printing station. Designate a space in your office to house the printer and printer supplies. If it’s wireless, it doesn’t need to go on your desk. Placing it in a cabinet or other area in your office will help open up the space on your desk.
How to stay organised – When your space reaches capacity, apply the ‘one in, one out’ rule. For example, if you buy a new book, out goes an old one. Also, make it a habit to set aside 10 minutes at the end of the day to clear your desk and get it ready for the next day.