Organizing the Home Office

A new year! A fresh start! I would love for my whole house to have a magical reset button that would make it clean and organized. However, the reality is that I am the one who has to make this magic happen and it won’t be “poof” it’s done. That is why I use my Zone Plan to work on one zone of my home at a time. 

I start my year by working in my office zone. Now is a great time to clear out files and make room for the new year and to start pulling tax materials. So, I work my plan step by step.

  1.  What is bothering me? 
  • overfull files
  • project bins outdated
  • clutter 
  • unfiled papers

     2. How do I want my office to look and feel?

  • clean and uncluttered – open
  • welcoming
  • inspiring 

     3. What do I need to do to make this vision come true?

  • sort, label, and file all loose papers
  • clear all desk drawers, files, and surfaces
  • purge files
  • shred and archive old papers
  • set up current project bins
  • deep clean the zone

    4. Schedule time to do each task.

  • pull out calendar and see what times are available
  • schedule reasonable dates/times for each task
  • write the times on calendar as appointments
  • follow the plan

By the end of the month, I will call whatever has been accomplished as “good enough” and move on to the next zone. The office is now ready for regular maintenance until the next year. I always reward myself by putting a fresh flower on my desk.


Organize Your Desk

If you spend as much time at your desk as I do, when it becomes a hot mess, so do you. At least once a year, I take time to reevaluate the way my desk is set up.

Start with the desktop. Remove everything and give it a good cleaning. Envision what you do at your desk. What objects do you use every day? Place these on your clean desk.

As an example, I have a rather small, traditional desk. This has its good points and bad. The desk fits well in my space and has drawers. This is good. The surface is small, and this can be frustrating. I use my computer (PC) every day. Because I have a kneehole with drawers on both sides, there is only one place the computer can sit. I have it connected and on a stand, so it is not easy to move around. I have a landline phone on my desk that sits on the wall side because of wires. I am right-handed so my mouse and coffee mug sit to the right. I also have a Time Timer that I use daily. I usually only have one pen out on my desk and I place it by the phone. I have a rather large desk lamp that takes up way too much space. This is really all I need. However, I also have a fresh flower, a picture of my grandson, and a small dish holding earbuds. I usually have one folder or project that I am working on and my calendar sitting on the desk while I work.

This arrangement is feeling crowded to me. I intend to have two recessed spotlights installed over my desk so the lamp can go. The picture of my grandson can go on the shelf behind the desk where I have some other pictures. The dish with the earbuds can slip into a drawer. I feel this will open up my space and be more calming.

Next, organize the drawers. Each drawer in the desk works best if it has a designated function. Empty each drawer and wipe it out. Determine what will be stored there. One drawer may hold supplies like pens, markers, a stapler, ruler, a pair of scissors, etc. Another drawer might have paper pads, sticky notes, your checkbook. Some drawers in my desk are for my home affairs and some are for my business. I like the way my drawers are set up, so the idea for me is just to get rid of any clutter that is not needed (I mean, who needs 6 pads of paper that have accumulated over the year from charities or 15 pens with black ink?). 

Now, use the desk for a while. Is it easier to maintain? How do you feel when working there? If there are still papers or clutter piling up, go back and re-evaluate. If all is well, enjoy!