Photo by: Seamus Walsh
Office organization is crucial to productivity, whether you work in a private office, cubicle, or an office in your home. While some experts claim that increased productivity is linked to the feelings of competency and control a clutter-free work area produces, office organization isn’t all about tricking yourself into working diligently. Organized offices use self-storage wisely to warehouse archive-able materials and extras to keep them out of the way but accessible.
Also, clutter itself can be distracting. If a book you don’t necessarily need at the moment is lying on your desk instead of sitting on a bookshelf where it belongs, you may be tempted to pick it up and mindlessly peruse through it instead of working on a tedious task. Storing books on bookshelves is an obvious solution to one aspect of a disorganized office, but there are many storage and office organization ideas you can employ to tidy up your workspace and boost your productivity.
Sort, Classify, Purge
Purging your office of unnecessary items is the most important step in creating a productive, clutter-free workspace. While it is the first step, it isn’t one that you can necessarily complete before moving on to other office organization ideas. You probably have many more unessential items amassed in your office than you realize. The better advice is to do the purge over time, sorting through, classifying, and then storing or tossing away things you come across over a few weeks or a month. Don’t feel bad if it takes longer than a month. Offices that haven’t been properly organized in years can take time to get in order.
Setting up an office organization station will help you during your Sort, Classify, Purge project, as well as keep you organized on a daily basis. It is the perfect solution for dealing with everything that comes into your office, and it’s especially effective for home office organization where, many times, things entirely unrelated to business find their way into your workspace.
You’ll need four things to create your organization station:
- a table or credenza
- two baskets or bins for documents
- trash can/paper recycling bin
The table doesn’t need to be anything fancy or big, just large enough to hold the document baskets. Position the table just inside the door of your office, and set the baskets on top of it. Label one basket “In” and the other one “Important.” The shredder and trash can go under the table or next to it. As things come into your office, they go into the “In” basket. You can sort through the “In” items as you have time, or set aside a specific time each day to do it. Files, mail, and other documents you need to deal with (file, scan, pass on to someone else) get put into the “Important” basket. Documents you don’t need but that contain sensitive information get shredded, and everything else gets tossed in the trash.
Most offices have filing cabinets, as they’re essentially some of the most useful office storage solutions. Color coding files allows you to locate information quicker. If you work with documents that routinely need to be shredded such as account or credit card statements, you should include an expiration date on the file tab label as a reminder to dispose of them in a timely manner.
Often office organization falls apart when file cabinets overflow, leading to file folders sitting on top of cabinets, credenzas, or anywhere there’s room. Storage bins are the answer to that problem. When files are longer active, such as at the end of a project or for clients who are no longer doing business with you, place them in a storage bin. Label the bins with dates, alphabetically, or whatever system applies to the contents. Additionally, don’t let full storage bins stack up in your office. Instead, place them in a separate room or other rent a storage unit exclusively for that purpose.
File and Desk Organizers
You may have caught on by now that bins, organizers, and storage boxes are essential for office organization. They provide specific places for you to put things so that they don’t stack up and become clutter. In addition to the baskets on your organization station, a desk organizer is very useful. Made from plastic or metal, they have several slots that hold files upright, and they’re terrific for sliding a file into when you still need to work on it, but have to move on to something else. They keep active or urgent files within your reach while still keeping your desk tidy.
Also, desk organizers can be sanity savers when it comes to all the little essential accessories you need to do your job. Whether you choose a caddy that fits in your top drawer or one that sits on top of your desk next, these handy organizing tools keep things such as paper clips, tacks, tape, pens, pencils, and more out of the way, but within reach when you need them.
If you haven’t considered installing a few wall hooks or even a singular unit that has several hooks, the perfect time to do it is when you are organizing your office. Wall hooks are essential for hanging jackets, umbrellas, tote bags, purses, and even coffee mugs. They offer a place to temporarily store items you’ll need, and are more organized than a closet.