This post was sponsored by Fellowes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
While most families are headed out of town for Spring Break, my family does exactly the opposite. Sure, we may pop in to see family for a day or two, but most of my free time is spent cleaning and organizing to prepare for a busy travel season. And it’s even better that my husband and teen daughter are home with me – they get to help! Here’s my fave home office organization ideas in four easy steps to save time and get ride of the mess.
I’m “one of those people” that love to spring clean. I take all of the curtains down and wash them. Then I pull the cushions off the furniture and vacuum. I even open the windows and wash them and their sills. But sadly, it’s where I spend the most time that I’m the least organized – my home office. I spend a full day everyday I’m home writing, researching, and editing photos. I also tend to stash press trip papers in the drawers (or stack them on my desk!) for later use. It’s only when I step back and look that I wince at the sight.
Truth? My family recycles a ton and generally has a only a single trash bag to put out every week, but there are personal papers and documents that I don’t like to recycle. I’ve heard too many true stories about identity theft to even take a chance, so into the fireplace they go. I wasn’t that keen on burning them, but it gave me peace of mind.
With four easy tips from Laura Stack, aka the Productivity Pro, I’m now being proactive about what to do with all of my office paper mess. They’re helping me tremendously with organization so I’m passing them off to you.
The FIRST Habit
This acronym is my new office paper mantra: File It, Recycle, Shred, or Take Care of It.
What I don’t want to file away I now shred (then recycle) or simply recycle. I file bills and receipts for annual taxes, insurance papers that get renewed annually, and even special papers from my daughter.
Papers with personal information that I no longer need to keep get shredded immediately and added to our recycling bins saving so much time in the long run. Here’s the scoop on shredders: you want one that uses a cross-cut shredding style so there’s no way to piece together paper scraps if someone had a lot of time on their hands.
I’m digging our Powershred® PS-12Cs Cross-Cut Shredder right now – and it’s available at Walmart. What’s the 12 stand for? Its ability to shred 12 sheets of paper at once. It also shreds plastic credit cards, junk mail, staples, and paper clips. THAT’S time saving! I’m able to shred for up to five minutes straight before a 20-minute cool down, too. There’s a four-gallon pull out bin to keep all of the paper shreds so I don’t have to empty it with only a few papers and a waste paper viewer so I know when it needs emptied.
If you’ve never watched a shredder at work, it’s oh, so satisfying. Once the shredded paper compartment fills up, I dump the contents into a recycling bag and take it to our bins. Folks with kiddos will love its Safe Sense Technology, too. If little fingers (or clumsy big fingers like I have) get near the shredder’s opening, the system stops immediately.
Label Files Logically
This one’s kind of a no-brainer but it’s worthy of touching base. Label your papers in clearly-marked folders so you don’t have to dig and waste time. It’s fun to use colored folders to tabs and keep everything cute and whimsical. My home office space doesn’t have to look like I’m working in the basement of a hospital, after all.
If you’re all about electronic files, adopt a simple naming convention that includes date, name, and version number. Then take those folders and make subfolders to divide up large categories into smaller groupings by topic. Use labels you’ll remember. You have no idea how many times I’ve created image folders on my pc and then completely forgot what I called them the next day. I chalk that up to exhaustion and a need for coffee.
When my daughter was in elementary school, we had a nightly routine to get her prepared for the next morning. I made sure her school uniform was set out and all of it pieces together. She made sure her backpack was arranged properly and all necessary papers inside. The same should go for your office space. Get in a routine that will help you to complete a task faster.
Time Yourself on Tedious Tasks
There’s a reason that I’ll tell myself, “Nah, I’ll get to it later.” One word: overwhelming. I’ll happily do a task that takes five minutes as opposed to 45 minutes. So here’s a simple solution. I make a task list and leave it in front of me until it’s completed. It’s like a gnat in my ear bugging me to get it done. If I really want to stick to my guns, I’ll even mark a task on my calendar so I’m committed. I hate to miss an appointment!
Do you have a great way to keep your home office organized? Please let me know in the comment section below!