Home Office Organizing

Paper Organizing Tips

From junk mail, bills, and cards, to kid artwork, schoolwork, and other miscellaneous files, paper can be overwhelming. While technology has eased some of the physical load paper brings, it certainly cannot (and I’m not sure ever will) eliminate paper in our lives. So… what to do? 

 
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Here’s a few tips:

  • Treat your paper piles, filing cabinet, desktops just as you would your closet.

    • Purge before organizing. This may sound painful, especially if you have a lot to go through, but it’s so important if you really want to get a handle (and more space in your house!) on your paper.

    • Going though every single piece of paper in your house may be too overwhelming right now, but in the meantime, you want to get control of what’s coming in.

  • Handle the mail every day.

    • Don’t bring the mail in until you can go through it right then.

    • Sort the papers into trash, recycle, and keep.

    • The “keep” category would include anything that requires action — bills, RSVPs — or anything you want to read — cards, newsletters. Put the “keep” mail in one place, preferably some sort of basket, bin, or box (not a pile).

  • Sort through other incoming papers daily into trash, recycle, and keep.

    • The stacks that come home from work or school can add up, so be sure what you’re deciding to not trash or recycle is truly worth keeping.

    • Encourage your kids to help choose which projects or artwork stays, and which ones to let go of.

  • Set one time a week to go through the “keep” bin.

    • Pick a time that makes the most sense for your schedule — Sunday afternoon might work for many, or maybe you have a morning or afternoon that’s typically free of other obligations. It’s all about creating new rhythms and habits to stay on top of the paper beast with a simple system.

  • Questions on how long to keep files?

 
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Organizing tips for cleaning off your desk

This past Monday was National Clean off your desk day! Yes, there is actually a national holiday for that! Who knew?

Getting your desk or home office space organized can often be overwhelming so we've compiled a few tips to help you get started.

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After

Before

Before

Step 1: Sort everything! Clear the surface and empty each drawer. Make piles of office supplies, things that don't belong on your desk, and go through that paper work! A good place to start in terms of paper is to think about the broad categories--Recycle, shred, file, attend to. The attend to pile will be the most time consuming so don't get hung up here quite yet.

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Step 2: Find a place for each category. Using drawer organizers or a rolling cart if your desk doesn't have drawers for supplies makes it much easier to maintain order so that you aren't facing a disorganized and overwhelming desk again in 3 months.

Step 3: Allocate. Put everything in it's place-- including filing, shredding and recycling piles. Add a few simple decor items or a plant to your desk top if you'd like. I find that I'm more likely to use my desk if I've "beautified it".

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Rolling cart from Ikea

Rolling cart from Ikea

Step 4: Work through that pile of paperwork that needs attention or action. Pay any outstanding bills, add any appointment reminders to your calendar, flip through the magazines and purchase or discard, and start a to do list of anything that can not be attended to at the moment. Keep that to do list on top of your active pile and commit to working through it over the coming weeks. If you have a place and a plan for your desk, the maintenance piece will just be your active paper pile.

Step 5: We would love to see what you are up to! Post a before and after picture of your desk and use our hashtag #helpyoudwell  Or if you'd like to skip steps 1-3 and let us do it for you, email us at info@helpyoudwell or give us a call (865)245-9080!

 

managing your home office

Your home office or workspace can easily get out of control : bills, calendars, mail, files, etc. Tip: set aside time weekly to maintain order in your home office:  gathering papers to recycle, checking on your office supply needs, clearing out your inbox, checking off your to-do lists. Here are a few ways to bring some order to this area.

PURGE

Every good organizing endeavor involves letting go of some extraneous and unnecessary items. Home office areas are no exception. Begin by emptying out all drawers, bins, cabinets, etc. Pull everything off of shelves and clear your desk top surface. This may (most likely) feel overwhelming, but you can do it! The act of handling each separate item is key while making decisions on what to keep, how many of the same thing you need, and if the item is useful to you or not. 

FILE

You need a system that works for you. If you visually like everything to be uniform - choose one color of file folders and neatly label each tab of what is inside. If you like the ease of each category having a color, try: all medical files are in red, all finances in green, all home documents in blue, etc. The important thing is clear labeling so when you go to search for an important document, it is obvious where it would be. Don't pack your file folders too full - consider splitting large folders into two: A & B or 1 & 2. Here's a helpful tool when considering which documents you need to hold onto and for how long. 

 
Resource from  Home Simply Organized . 

Resource from Home Simply Organized

 

SET UP YOUR SPACE + CREATE A WORK FLOW  

Designated areas for incoming mail, outgoing mail, bills to be paid, lists you're dealing with currently, and a calendar - are so important. When these things get mixed and scattered, no wonder we miss appointments, pay bills late and can't locate our mail. Stacking trays or standing file organizers can be great tools for keeping these papers tidy. Urban Outfitters, multi-device charging dock is a neat way to keep devices together and charged! 

 

ADD YOUR PERSONAL STYLE

We've put together a few fun ideas to inspire you. Find pieces you love at thrift stores, other rooms in your home and your favorite local shops. Intentionally placing items that inspire your creativity and productivity are great ways to get stuff done!  A clean and orderly workspace can enable you to efficiently tackle your to-do lists and complete projects. Another fun option is this Photo Clip Set from Urban Outfitters- hang photos of loved ones, inspirational quotes and reminders. 

[Props and decor provided by The Hive.]

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