The 3 Fundamentals to an Organized Home Office
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the home office is the information center of your home. Does your home office work efficiently? Can you find what you need? Do you enjoy spending time in the space? There are 3 fundamentals you need to focus on to bring order to your space: furniture, effective paper management, and storage for supplies.
An effective workspace should have a stable surface (a desk if possible, but it can be the kitchen counter or a folding card table), a chair, file storage (a file cabinet or a file box), and supply storage.
Arrange the furniture in your space so that you can reach your most used items easily when you are sitting in your desk chair. We call this the target principle. If things like your desk supplies or file cabinet are too far away, you are more likely to postpone putting items away. If you can reach everything, you will have simplified tasks to one step instead of two, and you’ll save time.
On your work surface, you should designate a place where papers land when they come into the office. Then designate a place where outgoing papers wait to be delivered to another area of your home or out of the house. Now sort paperwork into categories such as to pay, to file, to call, errands, waiting for a response, and to read. Sort your papers into tasks that apply to you. If there is no action needed on an item, it probably means you should toss or recycle that paper.
Paperwork that you want to keep needs to be filed. There are several ways to set up an effective filing system. The trick is to set up a system that you will use. Make it as easy as possible, and have it make sense for you. You can see a tutorial on a Basic Filing System that I made a few years ago that is a youtube favorite.
The final thing you need in your office space is storage. Your desk should have drawers for your most-used supplies. Adding dividers to the drawers will guaranty it doesn’t become a junk drawer. Also necessary for most home offices is some storage space to hold large items like extra paper, folders, and computer supplies.
Set up your office so it makes your work easier. You should not feel as though you have to work to keep your office running smoothly.