Have a “Catch All” Place

Throughout the week, I receive many assorted things that I have to deal with. These are things like random letters and mail, samples, or really anything else. These things often irritate me because they do not have a home in my office, and end up becoming clutter. I have found one way that helps me to deal with these things, however. What I do is keep a space open just for these items. This way, when I receive a letter or something else that I cannot deal with at the moment, I can have it neatly put away in this place. I even have a little basket that I put all of these things in to keep them all together. This place also serves as a holding place when I take a break, am interrupted, or have to divert my attention. I can easily just throw some files in here, and easily pick them up when I return or can get back to them. My only warning is to make sure that this space does not become too overfilled, black hole for all of your papers, but if you can prevent that, this will become a great way to help keep you organized.

Unfinished Projects

Unfinished projects can cause the level of organization in your home office to drop.  Having many unfinished projects all around your home office can make it seem very unorganized and distracting. Quite often little piles of unfinished work will build up around the office, and make it harder to find things. Personally, I find this more distracting mentally than it is having piles. My mind will often get cluttered with the things I know I have to do, and keep me from concentration on the tasks at hand. When I sit down to work on something, I often end up thinking about all of the other things that I still have to finish.

Sometimes there is nothing that you can do about these unfinished projects, and circumstances you cannot control prevent you from completing something. This is when you have to deal with what you have. Keep all of your unfinished projects together in one place. I find that keeping a folder or manila envelope for each project helps to keep me organized. I can then keep those together, and when I feel the urge to complete one of the projects, I can easily get to them. Also, it is very satisfying to see when your pile of things to do slowly dwindles down. So next time you have unfinished projects and can’t finish them at the moment, keep them organized, and working on other project will be much easier.

A Dry Erase Board

dry-eraseDry erase boards can come in all different sizes and shapes and can be very useful.  They are also versatile and can be done to fit your needs. For example, you could get one with a calendar on it and write upcoming events. Another idea is to separate it into categories for your to-do list. Having a large dry erase board on your wall allows you to see all of the things that you need to do. I have a dry erase board on my wall that is about 4 feet by 3 feet. Right now I have it separated into categories with my to-do list on it. Also, it is very satisfying to go to it and erase things off it. The versatility of dry erase boards it great because while now mine is separated into categories, next week I could have one big list or make a calendar on it. The only thing limiting your choices is your imagination. Another thing you could do is use different color markers. This makes it visually more appealing while being more functional. You could have green things less urgent to complete and red items more urgent. Another thing dry erase boards are useful for is figuring out problems. For example, if you are trying to design a layout for something you can try multiple options on the board and just erase them if you don’t like them. You can just keep redoing the layout until you like it.  My dry erase board is one of my favorite and most used office accessories.

image from veganstraightedge at flickr

New Year’s Resolution: Get Organized

It is almost the New Year and time to start thinking about a new year’s resolution, if you haven’t already. You could make 2009 your year to get yourself organized. As I stress a lot on this blog, organization is very important, and can make your life a little less stressful. So getting your office organized could also make 2009 better. If getting organized is going to be your New Year’s resolution you have to make sure you can keep it. There are many ways to keep organized. Start off the new year by cleaning out all of the unneccessary stuff you have in your office. Then make a new system that is easy to use, so you can finally keep that new year’s resolution. Also, check out this blog because there are new ideas and tips all the time. Happy New Year, and good luck with your resolution.

Get Organized for the Holidays

Having an organized office can make your holiday shopping less stressful. Here are a few tips to get organized this holiday season.  First of all, keep all of your receipts from shopping in a separate place so you can easily find them. That way when something is opened Christmas morning and doesn’t fit, you can easily find the reciept. This will make for less stress after the holidays have past. Another thing you can do to be organized for the holidays is make lists of who you need to buy for, who you have already bought for, your budgeting, etc. This way no one is forgotten on Christmas and there are no surprises when the credit card bill comes. Wrapping presents as soon as you buy them can also make for things easier. You won’t be up late Christmas eve wrapping if you wrap them earlier. Also, try to keep the rest of your office organized because losing anything will create stress, and the holidays can be a stressful time of year. Just remember the more organized you are the more joyous this holiday season will be.

Organizing with Baskets

Baskets can be very helpful when trying to organize your office, or any part of you home.  They come in so many different styles that they will fit almost any decor. You can find them in metal, wood, cloth, plastic, and many other types. They are can hold many different things, for example you can have a small basket on your desk so that you can put alll of the mail that you need to  take care of in it. You can also find large baskets to help keep bigger things like paper or books that you don’t use everyday. I find that having a basket for things that I need to put away helpful. Make sure that your baskets never get so full that you can’t put more stuff in them.

You should make sure that you consider what your are doing with your basket along with the material it is made out of. Cloth is good for things that are going to get the fabric dirty. Metal or plastic is good for things that may leak or spill that way you can rinse it out. If your basket is going to be visible all the time you may want to consider getting wood, or something else that looks good. Baskets are very helpful in keeping your home office organized.

Color Coding Files

Files are something that all home offices have, whether you like it or not. Files can become confusing and hard find over time. Having file folders that are different colors can be helpful when looking for a file. Colored files can make you so much more organized. For example have everything in blue folders: financial information, yellow: unfinished projects, and red: client information, or whatever you need them to be. When you want to find information on that client you helped last month you can open up the file cabinet, go to the red files, and pull the one you need. It can make finding files quick and simple.