Whether you work for home full time or just use your office to sort through bills and finances, it’s easy for paperwork and supplies to pile up into one gigantic mess. Before you know it, you’re dreading going into the office — not just because of the work, but because it doesn’t feel or look good in there.
Take control this year — sort through the mess and refresh and renovate your home office to turn it into a productive, inspiring place where you can get things done.
We spoke with professional organizer Amy Trager, who gave us the scoop on how she helps her clients organize their home offices. Here are 8 of her great tips for you to use in your home:
1. Organize to refresh. “Get all the paper put away, and items that belong elsewhere out of the room,” says Trager. “New desk accessories might look fresher and work better for you: Supply trays, file sorters, paper trays, etc. Decorative accents can help a home office go from industrial to homey, too.”
2. Choose a room color. “Ask yourself how you want the room to feel. Energetic, like bright oranges or reds? Or calming, like pastel blues and violets?” says Trager. If you don’t want to paint, implement your color scheme through accent items like wall art, area rugs, chair cushions and window coverings.
3. Identify problem areas. Paper is the biggest issue in home offices. Think about going digital as much as possible, but if you’d rather stick to hard copies, you’ll have to get organized. “Rarely does anyone enjoy filing and sorting through paper. But it’s a necessary evil,” Trager says. “Create paper systems that are realistic and reasonable. Don’t make a system that needs to be kept up on a daily basis if you know you won’t get to it more than once a week.”
4. Label everything. If you don’t label your boxes, drawers and folders, odds are you’ll forget what’s in them. “That even means creating labels like ‘Funny Thoughts,” if necessary,” says Trager.
5. Start with what you already have. Are your current files still relevant and up to date? Get rid of anything that’s unnecessary, outdated or irrelevant. “Then, file away what already has a home and create homes for items lacking files,” says Trager.
6. Stay on top of the mess. Keep up with your organization system regularly so that the mess doesn’t pile up again — whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly. “Make sure it’s done to completion,” says Trager. “That often means setting aside time to do it, which is usually the hardest part.”
7. Create new storage options. New cabinets — either desktop or wall mounted — can help you keep your supplies and materials tidy and out of the way.
8. Rearrange your furniture. “Changing the configuration of your furniture may help open up the space,” says Trager. “Change the angle the desk sits in the room or where a credenza or cabinet lives.”
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