Every self-employed professional knows how difficult it is to find his/her space, apart from everyday family life, for business. If you’re just starting out, don’t have the luxury of your own den or bedroom to turn into an office, don’t give up. Office organization is a step-by-step process, and once you’ve chosen your space, it will be easier to focus on what you need to make it work.
Clutter free leaves more space for me! You may find it’s time for another weed out of unnecessary items, which can take no more than an hour or two to get everything to a manageable level. This is your first step towards staying organized. Here are a few tips to help you get there and enhance your new work space:
Start with the high traffic areas. The living room and kitchen are usually the two most used rooms in the house so why would you start here? Well simply put, you have no choice! If your home does not have an extra den or room to convert into an office, this is where you may have to set up your workstation. Find a dresser with drawers and shelves which will look good in a corner, or reorganize your kitchen cupboards to free up some new workspace. When the kitchen reverts to its normal food prep/homework/mealtime chat area, no-one will guess you were working there earlier in the day! If you do in fact have a larger home, choose the smallest free room to convert into a den and enjoy the freedom to create a space that will accommodate the occasional visitor or sleepover, as well as your business!
Use storage containers. Ensure you have ample room to house binders, files and office supplies – as well as a nook for your laptop. Over the years, the style of storage containers has upgraded to be stylish as well as functional, and there are plenty of containers that not only match the décor in your office, but you can now integrate them so that no one would even notice they were being used for your business, especially if your workspace is dual purpose.
Divide storage items into categories. You can use different containers to organize different processes within your workflow. Smaller baskets are great for mail/office supplies/books and binders; while larger containers store bulkier items and hanging manila folders.
Remove everything from drawers and cabinets. If you’re converting a kitchen or bed-room into an office, it is easier to start with an empty space and fill it instead of simply pushing things around. If you line things up on the counter, someone else can help by putting the items in some type of order with new storage destinations, elsewhere in your home. For those items you no longer require, don’t be shy to call a local charity to donate any used kitchenware, toys, clothing and sports equipment which you no longer need.
Label your containers clearly. This will help you feel organized, as well as look organized! Use tape and printed labels or a permanent marker to identify the contents of your storage containers. Avoid writing on the actual container in case they need to be reused later and the contents changed. Labeling also makes for easy identification if you decide to sell or give away a container of books or something. You won’t have to open each container to locate them.
Organizing your office takes time but is worth the investment. Whenever it reverts to its original purpose, ensure you remember to return everything you use to its proper place after you've finished working and you'll enjoy huge rewards. As you maintain a level of organization, your uncluttered office space will help free your mind from frantic family life, so you can concentrate on what you do best when you’re working - growing your business. Meanwhile, when you resume family activities, your home is your home again and no-one will be tripping over your office space! This way everyone is happy - and with family and friends that's as important as growing your business.
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