Clean up your desk - are you ready? (Part 1) Organizing Your Office | Organizing Made Fun: Clean up your desk - are you ready? (Part 1) Organizing Your Office

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Clean up your desk - are you ready? (Part 1) Organizing Your Office

OK, so my first question to you is - do you have a desk?  I bet most of us do - or perhaps something you use as a make-shift desk!  If not, that may be one of the first things you need to tackle.  If you are running your home, you need to have somewhere as your office - it may not be an "office" but it needs to be somewhere you can set up your computer, pay bills, keep track of files, all your paperwork (that's important).  We bought our current desk on Ebay about four years ago when we moved into our home. I just updated it with some new knobs and handles and it's very stylish and functional! Plus, it holds lots of stuff!

This is a great closing desk that's also pretty!

Maybe you don't have a whole area where you can make an office.  Then perhaps you can turn a large (closing) armoire in your living room into your "office". Maybe you have a small desk in the kitchen.  Wherever it is, really isn't super important.  If at all's probably NOT a good idea to have your "office" area in your bedroom.  You just won't get the rest you need with work or bills laying close by...

Check out this little desk that is built inside the wall!

Seriously...having your office in your bedroom can really cause you a lot of stress and anxiety having to look at that area every time you head to bed!  So, when planning where you set up "office" be sure to set it up somewhere sensible.

My desk (on a pretty good day)

I'm going to confess, my office is probably the one area I struggle with most to keep organized.  It's the one area that I have to really work at and stay on top of in order to keep clean and neat and organized.  With that said...there are some great things I've realized that may help you, too. I'm going to let you see my office space and show you some of the ways I've organized it (and some ways I haven't). My way isn't the only realize that you need to make your own way work for you.

 Inside the desk

1.  Are you a piler?  I am! I pile things - so it looks neat, even if it's in one big pile, but that's not so organized!  Solution? I have to have separate areas for each category of office misc.   See below where I have the magazine holders?  I took out a shelf and tucked these has helped me not to leave things in a pile.  I have four categories for the things I shuffle around the most.  One of them is school stuff that I can't let go of, but will toss within a few months.  Another is just an idea box where I toss clipped things or ideas I've come across.  I have another for directories (church directory, phone number lists, etc.).  The last is for our medical reimbursements from our flexible spending account and insurance (with a special needs kid, it's used a lot). 

Right above the little clock (on the right) is my basket of coupons

2.  Only keep useful things.  See my drawer of watches and junk? That's an excellent example of stuff that needs to get out of the desk!  

This is NOT my desk...but a great idea for organizing piles of stuff!

3.  Throw out papers BEFORE they get into your office or on your desk!  It's easy to have that mail come in and just throw the bills into the office.  Well, stand over the trash can when you grab your mail.  I think I throw out about 90% of the mail.  My hubby has no idea how much comes in.  The catalogs get a once over...and then I toss them.  IF there is something super important, I go to the website and bookmark the item or email it to myself!

This is not my main file drawer (I have a separate filing cabinet), 
but have my piano lesson business things in here 
(I'm a piano teacher) and some supplies filed.

4.  File mail and papers as soon as possible!   If you get lots of useful coupons, make a special box or place in your desk area to throw them in.  I have made a wire basket, that is out in the open area of the desk, that I just toss in all the coupons I get in the mail - i.e., restaurant coupons, grocery coupons, and misc. coupon books.  Be sure to go through them at least once every couple weeks to throw out expired coupons, though - that's important, but will take you less than five minutes!

My bill paying drawer...

5.  Designate drawers (or pretty file boxes on the desk or under it if you have no drawers).  If you have a lot of stationary, make a drawer to keep it in.  Set up a drawer for your billing needs (see above).  I have my checkbook, stamps, envelopes, and return address stamp in this drawer.  It doesn't take a genius to set it up, but it works for me.  Designating drawers just gives your desk more purpose.  

 The middle drawer, needs a little tweaking!

6.  Keep as much off the top as possible.  It's easy to make your desk the place you just put whatever you want (I'm totally guilty of it).  

 Here's an office inside a chest!

7.  What papers should you keep?  It's a good idea to keep hard copies of SOME stuff, but not everything.  One thing you can do when you get your mail, toss everything except the bill payment.  If you go paperless and send in your money through your bank/credit union online, that's even better.  Use your online calendar and mark the due date, have it send you a reminder with how much the bill is for about a week before it's due.  Your online banking should allow you to set up a payment that you can specify a date you want it paid, so you can "pay" it and forget it, then it will come out on the date you choose.  Don't keep any bills...unless you need them for proof of residency (we need that here for registering for school, etc.).  Toss them right away if you do what I suggested above.  If you do mail it, only keep the return envelope and actual return paper. Important papers to keep would be insurance policies, property tax statements, home owning business, and car insurance statements. 

I'll go over how to file important papers and setting up your filing cabinet next week!  

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  1. This is definitely an area I need to tackle. Right now the desk is in the living room... and I'm not really pleased with having it there, but Rick doesn't want it in his "man room".

    I could see using the altered clipboards and the trunk at this house.

    Hmmm... You've got me thinking, Becky!

    Tammy B

  2. Hey Becky! Thanks so much for linking this post to Style Feature Saturday! I really read every single word. My office space is super organized, but my husband graciously took over bill paying when I used to work 10 hour days, and needless to say, our little kitchen desk suffers still. :) I'm already in the process of some major re-haul there and other I'm looking forward to furture posts to get me in the mood! :) shaunna

  3. Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

  4. Yes, it is really nice to organize your office desk and much better if you provide cabinet where you put all your office supplies.

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