Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spare Time Thursday: Organize Your Office!

I barely had any time to spare tonight myself! I had already done some returns and gone to the grocery store and Sam's Club, so this evening was tight, but I still made time to get something done. It's this darn blog. It's a motivation maniac!

So I pondered for a minute what I could spare some time for, and then I recalled that nagging weekend list that still had an undone item on it! The office! Of all the rooms in our house, that is our "catch-all" room. When Carl isn't traveling, he works from home in there. As I've mentioned before, we don't have the funds to create an elaborate workspace, so we have to work with what we have. And that also means, we need to keep it organized to keep it functional. So tonight, I spared some time to get my paper in order!

5 Minutes:
Gather up anything that doesn't belong in the office and get it out of there. Don't let your office become no man's land for things that don't have a home. Give them a home, even if that home is storage, or get rid of it! This simple and quick step will eventually help keep the office in a manageable state.

10 Minutes: Do the above and then sort your papers. Three piles is all you need- File (I consider coupons and receipts file items), Action and Trash. If they don't fit in those three, they don't fit in the office! Throw the trash away, and you can leave the other two piles for when you have more time.

20 Minutes: Do the above and file those papers! We have a filing cabinet with different files for each important account- credit card, bank account, insurance, tax papers, car loan, mortgage, etc. Giving each individual item it's own folder makes it super easy to purge the files every 6 months!

30 Minutes:
Do the above and determine time frames for your action pile. If they are bills that need to be paid, go ahead and schedule the payment online or get the check ready and put it in the outgoing mail area. If they have to wait, set them aside. I use a graduated file holder.

45 Minutes: Do all the above and dust & wipe everything!

Here are a few key things in the office that help keep me organized:

1. The filing cabinet- key! As much as I'd love to live in a paperless world, I'm just not ready yet. So as I stated, each important account has it's own folder. (Carl has work stuff in here too, I swear we don't need 4 drawers of files!)

2. This is probably the only piece of furniture in this room I actually like. I use it to store extra blankets and all my camera stuff- including video camera. You can't see it, but all the cords, tapes, memory cards, batteries, etc. are in a small plastic tote. We also keep our laptop bags in here when not in use.

3. The best $1 I've ever spent. It's an accordion file folder from Target, and it was seriously $1. I leave the front pocket open, and then starting in the 2nd pocket I organize coupons by their expiration date. So, for example, the coupons that expire in August go in the second pocket. In the back is where I keep my receipts in case of returns. Then before I go shopping, I flip through to see what coupons I need that day and put them in the empty front pocket.

4. Lastly, the graduated paper organizer. I keep the file folder in there, as well as BB&B coupons (since there are SO many of them) and then my action items go in the front.

Hopefully you were able to spare some time today and tidied up a space in your house!

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