home office organization tips

Let's face it: Everyone really works at home. 

Kids do homework. Parents pay bills, manage their finances, juggle their schedules.

And some people even run businesses from their homes.

Whether you use your home office daily for your job or just a few afternoons a week to pay bills online and send e-mails, you'll need the same essentials for an efficient but comfy space in which to get it all done.

These 5 home office organization tips can help you set yourself up for efficiency.

  1  Home Office Organization by the (Note)Book

I have one notebook that I use for to-do lists and a second notebook for everything else. These two notebooks keep me straight. The key is that I write everything in them, rather than on tiny pieces of paper. Try it!

This way, no slips of paper are lost. No phone numbers are misplaced. I don't have to tear up the house looking for the napkin with the contractor's name on it.

All I have to do to find a message is think, "Hmmm. I talked to them sometime last September." Then I just flip back to the pages I wrote in September.

Low tech? You bet. Efficient? Absolutely. Home office organization at its best!

When you finish a notebook, place it in a storage box with the dates clearly labeled on front. Keep it for reference. You'll need it.

  2    Organizing Your Desk

How to organize your desk? Easy. Think drawers, trays, file holders, and bins. Keep things nearby - but not necessarily on - your desktop.

Your goal, should you choose to accept it, is to keep 75 percent of your desktop visible at all times. Here's where the "near" comes in. You shouldn't have to get up to get your files or printer paper. 

Make sure that everything is not only convenient, but is also safe from curious little fingers, the dog's teeth, or the cat's claws. If you have a separate office, a closed door should keep all the little ones out. 

  3   Store Supplies You Use Together in the Same Place

Home office organization works best when you keep things simple. Keep stamps, a pen that actually writes, a calculator, and envelopes together so that bill time's a breeze (or at least as much of a breeze as bill time can be.)

Pens, pencils, and highlighters are among the assorted accessories that need a home spot in your home office. A cute mug with your kid's baseball picture works great; a drawer will do in a pinch.

Other essential stuff to stash in a supplies drawer or in a single box for easy grabbing includes staplers, tape, paper cutters, a hole punch, stamps, and thumbtacks.

The bottom line: Group 'em so you can grab 'em in a pinch. Save time searching through drawers by storing as many items as possible in clear containers.

  4   How to Organize Your Files

How to organize your files at home? Another easy one. Organize your papers into categories that make sense to you.

These can include tax information (get tips on how to organize your personal financial papers here), items that need response (invitations), items to save (coupons, appliance instructions, warranties), and correspondence.

Place these sorted papers into the files that you have set up.

You might also want to create an "in" box for those items that have arrived with the daily mail that you don't have time to read or file.

  5   Be Prepared for Disaster

If you're prepared for disaster, then it won't happen, of course. But if it does, you'll be prepared. Regularly back up critical computer files on a thumb drive or iCloud. Purchase - and use - a power surge protector for your computer and all your electronic items.

Now that you have home office organization down, enjoy your streamlined life!

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