6. Home Office. The home office space varies significantly depending on your home size and needs. You may have a dedicated room for the office or use the kitchen table. You actually need less space than you may think.
Must haves for the home office space include a small file sorter for your action, file or reference folders (see Incoming information blog), small container for supplies, a notepad, a corkboard and long term file storage. Of course you may have a computer, printer, scanner and a number of reference materials as well and these can all be scaled to the available space.
One of the most significant areas of pain and clutter in any home office is the paper storage. We tend to feel we should keep official papers “just in case.” The sheer bulk of paper combined with lack of time for an extensive filing system, means we generally can’t find reference papers even when we do actually need them.
Sort through the papers you have in your filing system. Ask yourself why you are keeping each file. Do you need copies of utility and other bills for the past several years (decades)? For what purpose would you need to reference these items? Are you able to access electronically? Are you keeping records for taxes? Although you need to have some items for your tax files, check IRS.gov for the revised guidelines as most people are no longer required to keep for more than three years. When I took stock of what I was retaining, I found I could eliminate 75% of the paper in my filing cabinet. Don’t forget to shred any documents that have identity or payment information recorded.
Once the paper is reduced to a more manageable level, you can choose to keep in a paper file system or scan and keep in an electronic filing system. Going paperless is possible!
After you have sorted the paper, remove all other items from your home office area and place similar items together. You will likely find you have collected a number of supplies that go unused because they are not stored in an accessible area.
MAXIMIZE the storage space you have available by adding dividers to the drawers, shelves on the walls, proper filing systems and book ends to keep books and magazines from falling askew.
DETERMINE A HOME for each category of item according to where you access. For example, your most often used supplies like staplers, tape and paper clips will go in a top drawer, pens may go in a holder on the desk and paper near the printer.
Don’t forget to introduce STYLE to your home office. Colorful containers and stylish shelves create a workspace you want to utilize, keeping you on track for your weekly maintenance of incoming information.