One of my goals for 2015 is to organize my home, to include our home office. We have a room with a big lovely desk and yet everything is still in boxes in the closet from our move (which was over a year ago). Since spring is finally upon us, and the baby is no longer a newborn, it might be time to get going on those goals and work some organization and spring cleaning into my life. Below is my plan aka to-do list aka wishlist (because let’s be honest, I need a wife to help me get all this done).
Spring Clean the Home Office Files
I haven’t filed a thing since moving into this house, so my filing cabinets have piles next to them of all the paperwork that has come in. There’s a lot of house sale/purchase documents and medical documents from when baby was born as well as anything else that has come up over the year. And it just sits there, in piles. So my immediate to-do item in the home office is to find a home for those papers or shred them and dispose of them.
Tips for organizing filing cabinets:
- Make use of file folders and labels. Make a folder for each type of document (i.e. Home Mortgage documents, Insurance documents, etc.) I typically make a folder by business name, so if I have two home mortgages, each one gets their own folder. I have streamlined our bill payments so everything is electronic, but we still have original contracts in print, and any initial documents with our account number that need to go in the filing cabinets.
- Have a plan for each drawer. Some people like to alphabetize the entire cabinet. Me, I like to go by type of file. I have a separate drawer for house paperwork and related bills, a separate folder for all our medical documents, a separate drawer for car purchases, sales, and repair, a separate drawer for taxes, and so forth. I have one short cabinet and one tall cabinet and so far that system has worked well.
- Place files in their appropriate locations immediately. Do not do what I did and have a year worth of documents staring you down and making you put off the task even longer.
Spring Clean the Computer(s)
I have been using various laptops in various locations for blogging, banking, etc. I have one old (slow) laptop that has all our financial documents and photographs, a newer laptop without much on it yet, but I mostly use my work laptop in the kitchen since it is faster and more convenient sometimes. I need to back up everything on my older laptop and start organizing it on the newer one. I have a large external hard drive where I plan to backup everything new since the last time, and then I only plan to copy the files I use on a semi-regular basis and the photos to the newer laptop.
Tips for organizing the computer files:
The lovely folks at SingleHop have come up with this 3-week plan to clean up our computers. I like how the plan breaks the daunting task into something more manageable by having one item to do each day.
I’m happy to say the files on the older laptop are already organized like described in “week 1” so I’m already ahead of the game! I have folders inside folders and just about everything has a place. I’ve already started making use of a cloud system since I’m not always on the same device. My day-to-day personal spreadsheets are kept on Google Drive so I can access them on any browser at work or at home.
Spring Clean and Declutter the Home Office in General
When we moved the lovely office furniture in the room, we stuck all the boxes from our move into the closet of the bedroom we’re using as the home office. So now I unable to get to most of them since they are piled on top of each other. These items had a place where they belonged in our previous house, so they need the same here. Some of the items will remain in boxes since they came from my work office when we moved, and I don’t plan on carrying them back into my work’s new office. These reference binders can stay stored until they are needed. But what about everything else? I have boxes of photos that need to go on the wall, knick-knacks that used to sit on shelves, photo albums, and I don’t even remember what else. They all need a place where they belong.
Tips for organizing the home office.
- Utilize shelving and cabinets to organize binders, photo albums, etc.
- Utilize bins and containers for miscellaneous items that do not otherwise stack well (such as office supplies).
- Use areas of the room for specific tasks, and keep all related items together. For example, store check books where you pay bills.
- Create an “inbox” for items that need to be processed but keep important action items separate from things that only need to be dealt with eventually.
- Allow yourself to get rid of papers you don’t need (shred items with sensitive information).
Well, there we have it, my to-do list/wishlist with tips and ideas for how to accomplish said to-do list. Do you have any suggestions to share?