You know that something is a growing problem when consultants crop up to solve the problem for you. Such is the case with organizing an office. You can save some bucks if you just do it yourself with the tips we provide here.
Cleaning Out Your Office
The three goals of office organization:
- Clear out clutter
- Make it more functional
- Make it a more pleasant place to be.
Do you need to take on the task? You do if:
- You have to move things out of the way before you can sit down
- There are so many stacks of papers on your desk that they’re spilling onto the floor
- You’re having difficulty finding things
Here are the steps you need to take, approximately in the order you need to take them:
If there is any furniture in your office that represents an obstacle to navigation, move it or, if you don’t really use it, get rid of it.
Clear your desktop.
What else besides your phone and computer need to be on your desk? Peripheral equipment like printers or multifunction units don’t belong on your desk. Get a printer stand. Otherwise, if it’s not something that you use every day to make your work easier, it doesn’t belong there. Find another place for it. Go through each paper in a stack. If it’s something that requires action now, do it. If it’s something that requires action soon, put it in a suspense file. If there is some need to keep it, file it. If you want less paper to file, scan them into your computer and if you want to be extra cautious, make a backup of your scanned files on a thumb drive. If it’s unlikely you’ll ever need to look at a paper again, put it in the recycle bin.
Put paper sorting boxes on your desk.
You’ll need an inbox, an outbox, and a box for daily mail. The outbox folder can be used for papers that need to be scanned or papers that require action. If you have a need for both, consider having two outboxes: an internal outbox (scan items) and an external outbox (exit items or ones that require other action).
Organize your desk drawers.
Clean out each desk drawer. Get some plastic trays designed to fit perfectly into a drawer. Use them to organize your office supplies. These can be invaluable for keeping the drawer organized in the future.
Update your equipment and furnishings.
Does your computer need an upgrade? Does it need to be replaced entirely? Maybe it’s time to replace your old printer, fax machine, and scanner with a multifunction unit. Upgrade your phone to a speaker phone.
Provide some visual interest.
You should not be staring at your computer screen all day. It helps to look away from your computer screen occasionally, and that’s made easier when there is something attractive in your range of vision: a painting, print, poster, ceramic, plants, etc. Put up a small corkboard and use it to pin up things that make you happy – photos of family and friends, childrens’ drawings, etc.
Put everything you need within easy reach.
Adjust your office design as necessary, moving the items or equipment you need the most into easy reach. Improving the physical flow of the room can help to keep things moving efficiently as you work. If you routinely gouge your leg on the corner of your desk as you walk around it, consider rotating it or moving it forward/backward a few inches to give you more room.
Check your storage needs.
Get another filing cabinet if you need it or add a supplies cupboard. A bookcase can also work for these needs, as well as be used for some of the visual interest items and of course, for books if you have them.