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Many articles have been written on office cleaning and organizing. However, that was not the case back in 2002 when I first wrote this article. Also, honestly, unless you’re a Type A personality, it isn’t until your office becomes a mess that you realize you need to clean and organize it.
More important than the actual cleaning is the mental preparation, proper supplies, a system to keep your office organized when you are done. After all, once most people get started, the rest is easy.
Let’s go over the preparation of home office organizing before I get to the tips.
~ Assess the area before you start. For example, at the time of this writing, I have two daily files stacked and laying flat on the desk. It would be much more efficient if those files were up and off of the desk but within arm’s reach.
~ On the other hand, you can remove everything that’s not in its rightful place and then assess the area. That way you’ll have a better idea of what you need to make your working area more comfortable when you shop for supplies.
~ Have a pen, markers, file folders, envelopes, and labels on hand. Before you clean and end up with a pile of papers, you’ll want to have what you need to sort and file as you pick up each piece. (Touch items as few times as possible.) Think about what you’ll be filing, such as bills not paid, bills paid, insurance, car receipts, bank papers, vendor information, school transcripts, resume, and so on. Put monthly receipts in an envelope for each month of the year.
(I purge my checkbook and purse of all receipts into monthly envelopes. It paid off several times when I had to return an item.)
Here are 10 Tips for Home Office Cleaning:
1. Schedule time to clean a particular room.
2. On that day, turn off the phone unless absolutely necessary so that you will have fewer distractions. (If you are distracted, it is difficult to get “back” on track or complete the job.)
3. Have a trash can and empty box on hand.
4. Stack everything that is out of place in the center or to the side of the room.
5. Put everything that belongs somewhere in the office in their rightful place. (If you can’t put something where it belongs right away, then put it aside for now.)
6. Throw the garbage in the trash, and put the things from other areas of the house into the box.
7. During this process, jot down notes for a possible system of where you want things to go and how you will keep the flow of a incoming and outgoing items on track.
8. Make a list of anything needed to complete the room. Do you need another filing cabinet, different organizers, or more file folders?
9. Manage your wires. Do you have wires straggling all over from a computer, phone lines, or other electronic equipment? Get twist ties to make them more manageable.
I used to cut different colors of paper into strips, then tape the same color strip at the top and bottom of a cord. This way, I can glance behind the computer or desk and know which end matches the other. If you want a more professional set, these are pretty cool: Dotz AV Entertainment Bundle.
10. Completely separate your business and home items. When you are working in a home office, it can be a little more difficult than working at an out of the home office. Your home office often collects household items. They somehow creep in from other areas of the house. Keep a box in the office for when you find items that belong elsewhere.
Just remember that any job is easier when done in smaller, more manageable chunks, and with a clear plan of action!
And let me know if I missed anything in the comments below.
Copyright ©2002, 2015 Susie Glennan
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