Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tips for Organizing Your Home Office

January is National Get Organized Month! If you have a home office that's also in a common area of your home (like the living room, kitchen or den), I'm sure you know how difficult it can be to keep your space organized. Here are some quick tips from

1. Invest in enough office space. Your office needs a clear work space; that means providing enough space for computer hardware and peripheral equipment, a place for reference items, file space and an area for regularly referenced supplies and paper. Be sure your office furniture gives you plenty of space for work and storage.

2. Create activity centers. An effective office needs to be zoned into these activity areas:

The Work Center- This includes a clear work area, your computer and frequently-used office items.

The Reference Center- This includes manuals, binders, dictionary and professional books and materials.

The Supply Center- This includes office and paper supplies.

3. Properly place the hardware and periphals. Position your equipment by how often you use it. For instance, if you use your printer every day, it needs to be within easy reach. If your CPU is only used for troubleshooting, you can put it under or next to the desk. If you rarely use your scanner, you can put it outside the work area.

Additionally, when you're setting up your hardware, be mindful of access to trays, drives and cords. Don't block access to drawers or occupy leg room with tangled cords.

4. Hide cables and wires. Here are some tips from professional organizer Tom Nevermann, the Moving Doctor, on how to contain unruly wires and caring for media equipment:
  • Bundle like wires together to lessen cord clutter. For instance, put computer speaker wires with stereo speaker wires.
  • Used fabric softener sheets are great lint and static-free rags for cleaning CDs and DVDS. Be sure to handle CDS by their rims to reduce fingerprints. The back of the CD is the side that needs cleaning since that's where the CD carries the info. Use the dryer sheet, and stroke out to the edge from the center.
  • Use a surge protector for all delicate electronics. Look at the back to be sure it's UL listed and is a transient voltage surge protector. High-end protectors are made with replaceable fuses and will last longer than the less-expensive kind that might not work after a large surge. (Get more tips here).
5. Create a paper processing area.
  • Make an area in your Work Center for papers that need instant action.
  • Keep paper associated with clients or current projects in an area that's easily accessible and in your view.
  • Create a permanent filing system for papers you'll reference but not regularly.


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