As April ushers spring in, it also brings us a dreaded tax season. In the spirit of getting ready for that wave of data to process either before you begin your taxes or the paper/electronic filing that should occur afterwards, we will chat about creating AND maintaining a streamlined work area.
Whether you have a working home office to yourself or just a tiny space where bills need to be paid, we will find ways to maximize your work area and help make it more efficient.
First things first, remove all items from your room or workspace that do not belong. If random items have made their way in-get them out! Keep only what you need to work with and keep only what is relevant.
Start by clearing off your surface area if it’s cluttered. Surface areas are natural drop zones for just about anything. Be mindful about what you actually need in that area.
Sort and group together paperwork, office supplies and other remaining necessary items. Create 5 main categories for your papers: TO-DO NOW, FILE, SHRED, TRASH & RECYCLE. Once you are ready to file what is left, begin with general categories such as: HOME, AUTO, FINANCES, and HEALTHCARE. Now create sub-categories for each of your main categories. For example, under HEALTHCARE create an annual file for each family member. Further sub-categories may be added such as: Vision, Dental, EOB’s, etc. The FINANCE category could have sub-categories such as: Banking, Retirement, and Investments. Tailor your paperwork file categories to fit your specific needs, as not every household is the same.
There are many filing storage options to choose from. Cabinets with hanging file drawers accommodate larger home offices well. Decorative file boxes or vertical desktop file boxes work well for smaller spaces.
If you are a visual person, try color-coded labels, clear bins or open desktop containers. Keep your active working files out so that they are easily accessible. Typically, only files that are somewhat active belong in a file drawer or box. A good rule of thumb is to sort through your files every month or so, especially those that you add to often. Annually review the older files and shred paperwork that needs to be discarded.
Create designated spaces for office supplies, electronics and any other items that you have sorted. Chargers are great stored in labeled clear boxes. Poppin makes design-a-desk accessories in fun bold colors. There are so many office storage options such as desk drawer organizers, stacking containers, baskets, bins & boxes. Personalize your space and make it fun!
Take advantage of any available wall space by adding floating shelves or some corkboard. Added storage bins and trays will get you ready for productive and efficient work!
Even if you haven’t yet created a designated workspace for your home, it can be possible. Think of creative ways that a little corner, nook, or closet could be your new mini-home office. Rolling carts with drawers are great mobile solutions for small spaces. There are also lots of affordable desks that fold up and away when not in use.
It is so much easier to get work done or pay bills on time if you have a dedicated workspace. And if you customize that space with your favorite colors and accessories, you will actually want to spend time there. Keep it maintained by doing a quick clutter drill at the end of the day. Toss junk mail out before you bring it in and address urgent issues as soon as they come in. So go find a space and an organizing method that works for you and stick to it!