It's spring cleaning season, and what better place to kick off your efforts than one of the most notoriously cluttered rooms in the home: the home office?
Photo: Getty Images
Because I'm no expert on the art of organization, I flagged down highly sought-after professional organizer Tracy McCubbin of dClutterfly
to share her neatnik tips for the home office. Her sound advice that will take your home office from overwhelming to outstanding -- in less than 24 hours!
FILING & PAPERWORK ORGANIZATION
"First and foremost, a filing system
must be simple and easy to use," Tracy begins. "The most common mistake people make is creating a filing system that is too complicated, [with] convoluted categories with lots of sub categories." Tracy's advice is to take note of how you see the world and create a system based on your own perspective. Because there is no way to correctly file, be sure to arrange your system to match the way your brain categorizes your own life.
Start small by creating categories for your monthly bills.
1. Look at a tax workbook from your accountant
and use these categories to create files. Not only will you have a clear-cut filing system, but this will make tax time
so much easier!
2. Keep things neat with a Ptouch labelmaker or Avery labels for the computer,
or invest in file folder stickers
and print clearly.
3. Be sure that only your current files exist in your filing system.
Anything older than a year can be archived into "cold storage," or boxes/files separate from your current system.
4. Toss anything that doesn't support your taxes,
including telephone and mobile phone bills, but keep credit card bills or other paperwork that can be used to substantiate your taxes. When in doubt whether certain paperwork applies to your tax return, check the IRS
According to Tracy, clutter usually starts "three steps back." For example, mail piled on kitchen counters started when you didn't first sort and rid through junk mail. So schedule time each week to stay on top of your clutter, and treat it like any appointment you're responsible for keeping.
As far as office supply storage goes, drawer organizers
and shelving systems
are a must.
1. Your supply drawer
(or junk drawer, as some lovingly call it) should never have too many supplies in it. Keep one item you need that is in good working condition, plus one refill. Any additional refills should be placed in a separate closet.
2. The boxes that your checks arrive in
make fantastic drawer organizers. Find ways to re-use your everyday items
for smart storage.
3. Be sure that anything you buy for your home office is functional, yet beautiful.
If you enjoy looking at it, you're much more likely to sit down and de-clutter.
Check out this video to see office organization tips in action: