More and more people are incorporating an office into their homes, whether or not they also have an office elsewhere. Of course, home office spaces are convenient and lend themselves to increased efficiency in one’s job, but this is only true if the space itself is organized and streamlined to match one’s personal and job style and needs. Because, really, not everyone needs a desk, laptop, and filing cabinet.
Regardless of the actual items one needs within his/her office space, organization is the key to being able to work efficiently and effectively from the home. One beautiful thing about a home office is that it can be customized – by you – to meet your specific wants and needs. Here are five tips for organizing your space:
1. Start by Designating a Home Office Space.
This is probably an obvious first step, but it must be said. It’s absolutely necessary! If you find yourself consistently trying to do your work from the ironing board (heaven forbid) or the dining room table, the first step in getting organized is carving out a space for your home office. It needn’t be an entire room; an office-turned closet might be all you need. But make sure the space is designated as your home office to keep things organized and focused.
2. Incorporate Shelves.
Possibly the next most important step toward home office organization is the implementation and use of functional shelves. I say “functional” here because the shelves themselves will vary based upon the user’s needs. One must first take inventory of what s/he needs the shelves for and then plan their size accordingly. Should they be deep enough for binders, tall enough for files or brushes, or wide enough for measuring sticks? Figure out exactly what you need the shelves for, and customizing them will be much easier and more efficient.
3. Make Good Use of Baskets & Boxes.
This strategy not only keeps your office space looking nice, but it also provides great functional storage. The use of aesthetic containers such as baskets and boxes facilitates the grouping of like items (e.g., office supplies, papers, fabric swatches, etc.) for quick and easy accessibility. Because a box’s size is finite, its use also requires careful editing of what you’re storing; it is helpful to go through things every once in a while when a box gets full to see what, if anything, can be recycled or thrown out. Also, label these when possible and as needed.
4.Use Compartments to Create a Place for Everything.
One person’s office needs will vary significantly from another’s; however, one constant is that everyone has a variety of needs to be addressed from said office space. Thus, a variety of organizational units (compartments) are most likely both necessary and useful. Different compartments for invoices, work orders, client files, etc. will help you to be most efficient, especially if you can have a place for everything from the get-go. This means you won’t have to set something down, move it to another pile, shift the pile, and eventually either lose it, throw it out, or file it away. If you can immediately put something into the compartment in which it belongs, your home office will be much more efficient.
5.Incorporate a Bulletin Board to Keep Things Within Arm’s Reach.
Perhaps your work is such that you don’t have to (or it’s not best to) file things away immediately. If this is the case, consider installing a large bulletin board to keep your ideas, references, and inspiration fluid and easily accessible (and still off the desk!). Bulletin boards are particularly helpful because their contents are easily changeable and constantly within eyesight and/or arm’s reach.