By Kenneth McCall
A creative mind is seldom tidy. I once saw this saying on an office mug situated on top of a phenomenal pile of unfiled paperwork and had to laugh. While it is true that most of us are, by nature, not fastidious organizers, blaming our personalities is not the best way to get on a clutter-free track. And even though some people might be comfortable with a little clutter chaos around the home, having a disorganized home office only accomplishes one thing: lost time.
Even if you are the furthest thing from an organized individual, having a clean and tidy office space saves untold amounts of time and frustration. Plus. it is often a relief to step away from the whirlwind of a busy home to a place where you know where to find everything. The tough part is creating and maintaining this haven of home organization. Fortunately, there are steps that even the most cluttered of creative minds can take to achieving and maintaining a clean and organized home office.
Create Your Space and Make Sure it is the Right Fit
Organization needs to start from the ground, up; or in the case of a home office, from the office furniture up. Nothing is going to look right if your office furniture is not right for your space. Before you begin boxing and sorting through loose office items, take a good look at your workspace and determine if it all fits in its given space. Is your desk too large and blocking the filing cabinet? Is the filing cabinet too big for its purpose? Does your chair move comfortably and fit easily with your desk space? Are there extra pieces of furniture serving as impromptu paper supporters? Sorting out the bones of your office is the first step toward organizing it.
A Place for Everything
After you've ensured that your office furniture is comfortable, accessible and appropriately sized for your office space, go through and designate each area for its intended purpose. Make sure you have a clearly defined workspace, an easy-to-access filing space and a place for all of your office needs such as extra reams of paper, paper clips and ink cartridges. All of your electronics should be near your workspace with enough room for your printer, computer and any other gadgets you might need for your day-to-day activities. By grouping these things closely together, you can tuck the cords out of the way of moving drawers and chairs and run them all to one extension cord/surge protector. If you have a CPU, you can usually tuck it below the desk where it won't be in the way.
Your filing area should be near your filing cabinet and reference material. Even if you haven't started filing everything yet, just having the space will help as it will be first place you'll look to put away any sort of paper or reference material, and the first place you'll look when you need those things later. This space should have room for stacking additional storage and/or adding shelves, if needed. If anything, it should have a blank wall space that can be utilized for additional organization.
No More Blank Looks
Now for that blank wall in your filing space. Having a tactile organization station can do wonders for quick sorting and easy reminders. You can go a lot of different ways with this blank space. From installing a white board with little magnetic clips to making a quick chalkboard with chalkboard paint and some old framing material, this wall of organization will help you keep on top of everything from little to-do items to reminders for ongoing activities. Magnetic clips help a lot as they can hold papers you might need for an upcoming appointment or hang on to notes that you only need for a short period of time. If you go with a chalkboard or just need some more magnetic space, you can purchase tin sheets from a nearby home improvement store at very little cost and simply screw them into the wall. If you want something a little more artistic, have the tin sheet cut to fit in a favorite vintage frame and cover the tin with a piece of fabric. You can use anything from standard magnetic clips to industrial magnets to keep paperwork off the floor and organized.
Now that you have your space sorted out, your designated places at the ready, and a wall for daily organizing, you can get started on sorting the little things. Everybody has their own way of organizing, so just make sure it is easy for you to follow and find things later. Above all, make sure there is a place for everything since, as the old tried-and-true saying goes, a place for everything and everything [will be] in its place.
Kenneth McCall is a managing partner for storage.com In this role he builds the systems that help customers find the best self storage units for their needs. Through Kenneth's and his team's work customers can find Sacramento storage units and units in many other California cites.