How to organize your office in 4 easy steps

By Amanda Gentry

No matter the size or scope of organizing in your office, these four steps will help you gain control of the clutter, reduce stress, and free up time. Don’t add to your stress by thinking you must complete these steps all in one day. In fact, you will fine tune your initial actions as time goes by and you get a better view of your needs.

  1.       Make sure there is a spot for everything. If you have a filing cabinet, make sure to be familiar with where the labeled folders are. If there are no labeled folders, check out this free printable that will help you get started with making easy labels. Ensure you have plenty of folders (in case you run across papers you are not quite sure how to categorize, you can label them, place them in a misc. folder, and come back when you are ready.
  2.       Time to get down and dirty! Start with organizing the pile closest to you. File any papers away in an appropriate folder (or make a new folder if one does not already exist). Make sure the folders are placed in either a filing cabinet, or a portable file box that is easily accessible. Any books get placed on a bookshelf (if the book is important to a specific pile of papers, write the name on a sticky note and place it front and center on the inside of the folder). If you find papers that are irrelevant, recycle or shred them.

Using these four easy steps, you can work your way to a clutter free, organized and functional office.

  1.       Once you have made it to this step, the bulk of the work has already been done! This very important step will help ensure that your office will remain clutter free and organized. Piles of paper often start to build up when there is no designated spot for them. Using a desktop file organizer will go a long way in making sure papers get file away properly every time. Designate one of the slots to hold important papers that need to be addressed immediately (within the next couple of days). Designate the next slot as papers that need to be addressed within the next week or so.  Designate the next slot as papers/projects that have been completed and need to be filed away. For papers within each designated slot, if the papers are part of a bigger project, make sure to put them in a labeled folder (chances are you will be using this folder again).

If you are new to the position in the office, or have trouble remembering certain things, it can also be a good idea to use a slot to hold common reference material (such as cost code numbers, phone lists, etc.)

If there are any remaining slots, you could designate them for incoming or outgoing correspondence, misc. papers that you don’t have time to address immediately, or other materials that you frequently access during the week that need to be off of your desk surface, but readily available. This will help you stay on the organizing streak.

  1.       Once the desktop file organizing system has been properly set up, quick and easy maintenance once a week will help ensure that your system will run smoothly for years to come. Depending on what works best for you, take about 30 minutes at the beginning of the work week, or at the end of the work week, and file any completed papers/projects, move papers from the extended week long priority slot to the shorter term slot and address any misc. papers you did not have time to address during the week.

Using these four easy steps, you can work your way to a clutter free, organized and functional office. You will start to see and feel immediate benefits, such as less stress, more time, and a clear mind.

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