Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Home Office Reorg in 7 Steps

I recently had the pleasure of working with Mrs. W. on organizing her home office.  This is a true home office where she does a variety of tasks for the family business.

What you see in the before pictures is just a lot of stuff.  Not bad stuff, and really not un-necessary stuff.  Just things that didn't have a proper home.

Why were so many things out in the open, because, as it turns out, Mrs. W is a visual person.  She is the out-of-sight-out-of-mind sort of person.  Some people like everything neatly tucked away in piles.  But many of us, love to be able to SEE what's important to us.  That's why so many people keep their to-dos in their email inbox, because it's immediately visible upon login.

We talked a good deal about rearranging the room but the layout actually works well for Mrs. W.  From her desk she can see the door and the window.  And since she's left handed, having her open table top to the left of her computer was the natural option.

Mrs W's business happens to be significantly paper-based, even in today's digital age.  That means a lot of files, at least 5-7 in-work at any given time and lots of mailing of legal sized files.

How did we reorganize the space?

1. We added a desktop file sorter for her to store her currently in-work items.
I loved this one by Peter Walsh for Office Max because it allows you to pull out the dividers for larger files like you see in the picture.

2. We created a mailing station where she could bring any documents, weigh them and add postage easily. Above the mail spot we added a metal strip to put up shipping rates and other relevant documents with magnets.

3. We cleared the bookcase of things that belonged in other parts of the house and added a basket from The Container Store to hold the miscellaneous small things that needed to stay.

4. We made sure that printer suppliers were stored directly near the printer (in the filing cabinet underneath).

5. We made sure Mrs. W. had a spot within reach on the desk to hold the tools she uses daily but still keep them corralled. This metal letter tray is designed to hold papers but works great for keeping these everyday tools together and making them easy to move as a group to another spot on the desk.

6. We added clear wall pockets to allow her to keep papers related to upcoming events for her children and herself.

7. We added modular drawer dividers in the desk drawers for all the little extras... power cords, push pins, paper clips, etc.
photo credit {Container Store}

There you have it.  Total cost was around $50 for these changes.

One other addition for Mrs. W. wasn't a change to the space at all. I suggested that she use the wonderful window seat she has and the floor space in front of it as a "work" space for her children when she needed to spend a few minutes on work but wanted to keep them in site but out of trouble.  Perhaps even adding a basket of small toys or crayons and paper to the bookshelf just for them so they would keep their grubby little mitts adorable little hands off her things.
As it turned out, the week after we worked one of her children had to stay home sick from school.  And she knew right away that she had the perfect spot for him to stay entertained for 30 minutes or so while she answered a few critical emails!

Ever wonder what suggestions a professional organizer might make for your space?  Contact me today to schedule a free consultation!

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