Day 15: Office
Hello, friends! Welcome back to our How to Organize Your Home in 20 Days series!
You have worked so hard organizing your home and it definitely shows.
I hope you are starting to feel more at ease as you are clearing your home of clutter. Today’s project... the office!
The office in your house is shared by many people for a lot of reasons. It’s an easy dumping ground for miscellaneous items and the never ending stack of papers.
Today we are going to clear out that office so you have a peaceful place to work. Let’s get started!
In this particular project, we helped our client get rid of 90% of the paper she and her husband had been accumulating over 30-40 years.
We donated 5 filing cabinets. At the end of the project, our client was able to keep all her important paperwork in the built-in filing cabinet in her desk!
First step of organizing your office -- start putting everything in your office in a pile in the middle of the room.
Bring out all of the books, papers, knick-knacks, small office supplies (stapler, tape, thumbtacks) and large office supplies (printer, desktop monitor, keyboard).
The large office supplies are fine to stay on a flat surface, you don’t have to put those on the floor!
By bringing out all of the items from their spaces, you will be able to see which items in your office actually belong there and which items are just adding to the clutter.
As you're pulling things off the shelves and out of cabinets, categorize everything into groups, putting all of the like items into groups.
We like to categorize things AS we pull them out to keep things efficient and to make sure the piles don't become overwhelming.
Group together all of the books, all of the papers, all of the folders, all of the charger cords, all of the pens, and so on until everything is in a group with like items.
By putting everything into groups, you will easily be able to see the items you really need, items you have too many of, and items you didn’t even know you had!
Before we start to clean your office, we need to dive more into the paper situation.
If you really want to declutter and organize your office as a long term solution, you need to sort through all of the papers scattered about.
Paper contributes to the most clutter in an office, so it’s important we take time now to deal with it.
Sort all of the paper into categories based on short-term needs (coupons, information flyers), action items (bills, invitations to events), long term filing (birth certificates, passports), leisure (magazines, newspapers) or recycle (junk mail or anything you no longer need from the previous categories).
In this example, we put all the file tabs on one side. I've found that this is efficient for people who don't have a lot of tabs. It's also more efficient when all the tabs are in a row. If you add more folders and tabs, you can add it in without changing all the other tabs!
Put short-term papers in a spot where you can easily locate and use them in the future. Store action items in a spot where you can see them frequently and take care of them.
If possible, opt out of paper billing when you are able to, many billing companies give you a discount when you make the switch!
Invest in a filing storage for long term filing so important documents are safely tucked away and you know where to locate them.
**Bonus Tip! Don't get a large filing cabinet unless you have a lot of important paper to keep archived. As is with every space in the house, if you have storage space, you WILL fill it.
Place leisure paper in an area of your home where you will read through them in your free time.
For papers that are trash, throw them away immediately so they don’t start to pile up again.
It's good to have a recycle box and a shred box so you can easily take these things to the car or the recycling bin once you're done sorting the paper.
Investing in a shredder will also help you get rid of papers quickly because you won’t have any apprehension about throwing away mail that may potentially have sensitive information on it, therefore, never having to hold on to papers that you don’t need.
However, shredding can take a ton of time if you have a lot of accumulation. We like to take our bulk shredding to Pro-Shred in Englewood. They have some of the best prices in town if you're happy with drop-off shredding.
Here's an article we like about cutting down on the paper clutter.
After all of the items in your office are categorized, it's time to clean it!
Start off cleaning by dusting all the high surfaces and then wiping down all other flat surfaces. Polish any knick-knacks and decorations.
Disinfect the commonly touched surfaces and items. Replace the trash bag in the trash can. Finish up by vacuuming/sweeping the floor.
Once you are finished cleaning the office, it's time to get back to all the items on the floor.
There are only 3 options to all of these items: keep, donate, or trash.
Items that you want to keep should be things that serve your family a purpose and you definitely will be using in the future.
These are things like books, electronic devices you use, office supplies, important papers, memorabilia and current decorations.
Items that need to be donated are things that are still in good condition but no longer serve a purpose for your family.
These are things like old decorations, items you have an excess of, electronics you no longer use and books no one in your family will read in the future.
Items that are trash are things that don’t serve your family any further purpose and wouldn’t serve anyone else purpose either.
These are going to be things like expired batteries, charger cords that have no host, a stack of old newspapers and broken electronics.
If you are having difficulty deciding on what items should be kept or donated, ask yourself questions such as, when was the last time someone in my family used/wore this item? Does this item still serve its original purpose for me? How many of this one item do I have and is more than one really necessary? Would someone else better benefit from having this item than I would?
By asking yourself these questions about items you aren’t sure of, you are opening your mind and being honest with yourself about the needs of your family. Any items that you keep but you don’t need will continue to add to the clutter around your house for no reason.
By giving away these items, you are not only clearing the mess from your house, you are also allowing someone else to use these items that may need them more than you.
Once you have made the decisions on what items you will be keeping, it’s time to put those items away in your office.
Start by placing the books on shelves based on genres (or if you're feeling really ~crazy~ you can sort them by color for an amazing aesthetic).
Then, move onto placing commonly used items on the top of your desk for easy access.
Put less commonly used items in the drawers of your desk so they are tucked away and not adding clutter to your work space.
Use organizers to keep everything on and in your desk organized and in a designated spot.
Designate a spot in the room for your new paper sorting system so paper doesn’t get too overwhelming again.
Finish up by putting out all of your knick-knacks and decorations back out on display.
After you have put everything back in its place, finish up today's process by putting away any leftover items.
These are the items that were in your office at the start of today but don’t actually belong there.
Take note of who in your family the stuff belongs to and have a conversation with them about the importance of returning their items to where they actually belong within the house and why putting things in the right spot is important to you.
Your office should be a place that is functional for your family and peaceful to be in. It’s where important work is done, not where you have to stress about finding something.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed by the items in your office, please reach out to the Clutterless Home Solutions Team.
Clutterless Home Solutions