Make your office work for YOU. Another major source of headaches in the home, the office can be a place of calm function, but more often than not, it is the center of the perfect storm of the entire house. It’s important to remember that 90% of what is bothering you is the actual desk TOP, because, well, it looks messy! If you can keep that desktop free of clutter, you are well on your way to making peace with your office space.
Now, a list of what really works in the office:
• Wall Magazine Racks – Not for magazines though, these are for the kids. Each child/teen has one basket, on the wall, labeled. They can put school work in there, art, video game instructions, whatever they want. Just make sure each basket has three sides on it (not the open kind where papers fall out the sides).
• A Holding Zone – Every office needs a place for paperwork that, let’s face it, needs to be taken care of but is not necessarily urgent. Either a basket on/under the desk or a wall-mounted file box (inbox) is perfect.
• Desktop Hanging Files – can be used for documents you use frequently (class rosters, work information), bill sorting, or both! Label hanging files clearly so that you will not be tempted to pile incoming mail on your desk surface.
• Photo Boxes – I use decorative cardboard photo boxes for a variety of things, from office supplies to CDs.
• 1-2 Family File Boxes (or drawers) – This is where you keep important documents, old taxes, health insurance information, auto/boat pink slips, paystubs.
• 1 Additional Box/Drawer Per Adult – Grownups each get their own box for: Career stuff, personal health information, saved magazine articles (but don’t go crazy with those magazine articles – limit yourself to one folder please, ladies).
If your desk is, say, in the living room, and the clutter is still bothering you:
• Get Creative – Mount that magazine rack that we talked about to the side of the desk.
• Keep files that you use frequently under the desk. Ones that you don’t need regular access to should go in a closet or garage.
• Make it Pretty - File boxes can be covered in pretty wrapping paper. Dip coffee cans in pastel paints to hold pens, markers and crayons. Desktop organizers come in beautiful wood or modern finishes these days. Decorated photo boxes can store supplies under the desk.
• Invest in a desk with lots of built-in storage. In a large room, a full size desk with hutch can organize the whole family and may even include doors so you can literally shut the clutter out of sight. In a smaller room, look for a pedestal desk with file drawers.
What do you do to keep office-clutter under control?