We all love office and school supplies! But, can we find what we need in our home or office, even though we have oodles of markers, paper, and index cards? Setting up your supplies can save you money and frustration as you look for what you need. During the school year, these are especially important to avoid late night runs for project materials.
Start with a central location with easy access for supplies
A kitchen cabinet, small cart or closet shelf is a good location. Its important for even the smallest family member to be able to reach these items when they need them. The location also helps you limit over purchasing because you know how much space you have for storage.
Store items by category and in separate bins
Choose general categories, such as writing supplies ( pens, markers and pencils), paper (index cards, construction, graph and computer papers), and tools (scissors, rulers, and hole punch). You can use shoe boxes, Sterilite 3 drawer sets, or shoe organizers for a back of a door. Open containers work well because you can reach in, grab what you need, and not worry about lids getting in the way.
Label and list what you have
Its easy to forget what you have and these visual additions make it much easier. Label each of the containers in your supply cabinet. Create a standard list of what you and your family use and carry it with you when shopping. You can also post a list on the door to the cabinet where the supplies are stored to you and your family know where to find specific supplies.
It’s time for a new 5 Minute Organizing Challenge! What can you do in 5 minutes to gain a little order in your life? You can put a few things back in place or gather your important items. Here’s a new set of five things for you to consider adding to your routine this month. Try them on for size and feel free to suggest a few of your own.
Maintaining a home office can be tricky since work and personal papers can get mixed together along with a few household items. But, there are a few quick things you can do right now, in a just a few short minutes, to start getting things in order.
1. Put away 5 files.
2. Put all the papers on your desk in a neat pile.
3. Take 5 non-office items off your desk (e.g., coffee mugs, shopping bags, magazines, clothing, etc.)
4. Throw away pens and markers that don’t work.
5. Separate personal papers from business documents — start with one handful
6. *Bonus Tip* Start a to do list!
Just like any other room in your home, the home office can get neglected and breed clutter like rabbits. Especially the paper kind. If you bring work home from your office-office, that’s a double whammy.
These pics from a recent client project shows that you can actually kick paper and other kinds of clutter in the arse.
Goal: Get the floor back. It was great to be able to open the door fully, and now another desk can be added to the office.
You’ll want to be careful not to yank everything out so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, pick a starting point, work for a few minutes/day (read: 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes) before moving on to the next area.
Don’t forget to clear your desk and the area behind your chair. No clutter behind the chair means your can maneuver more easily.
Today is a holiday for those of us in the United States. We’re taking a break, too, here at OTR, so we’ve decided to share a few links to several articles that we find interesting…and that you might, too.
- Yard Art Gone Wild [HGTV.com]. Bears, frogs, tigers, gnomes, fairies, alligators, owls, dalmatians, hens, and others live together in this homeowner’s front yard…at the same time.
- Paint by Mood: How Different Hues Affect You [ShelterPop.com]. Did you know that certain colors can affect how you feel? …and even how productive you are?
- The Real Consequences of Office Clutter [Inc.com]. We know that a cluttered workspace can make us less productive, but can it lead to unprofessional behavior, too? Check out the study done by Office Depot and NAPO.
- Cluttered Fridge Doors, Cluttered Lives [NYTimes.com]. Does the clutter on your fridge door really indicate what the rest of your home looks like? Survey says…yes.
- Seven Steps to a Good Night’s Sleep [OpenSpacesFengShui.com]. A lack of sleep can lead to stress which can get you off track and allow for the build up of mental and physical clutter. This article offers tips to help you have a better relationship with your pillow. I was especially surprised by tip #1…mirrors…
- 6 Desktop Apps for Better Focus & Organization [OpenForum.com]. If you’re a techie, this article is for you. One of my favorite apps is mentioned – Evernote.
Professional Organizer, Brandie Kajino, is today’s guest blogger. Check out her recommended tech tools for the home office.
I have some tricks up my sleeve. If you work from home, or have a home office, you probably do, too. I have some favorite tools that keep me together and organized. Here’s my top three favorites:
Google Apps: I have been using Google Apps for over a year. One thing people ask is, ”Why Google Apps and not Gmail?” Google Apps is what’s called a “cloud technology” software as a service application. That’s a whole lotta words for a software you use online, not installed directly on your computer. Google Apps is best for business, meaning I can use it for my business email account, calendar and included software called Google Docs. Google Docs is like Microsoft Office, only you use it online like a website. You can share documents with other people, collaborate on projects and have access to your documents anywhere in the world. Love that!
The last thing I love about Apps is the Calendar and Email. Apps has the ability to sync with a PDA or smartphone, just like Outlook. The difference is having my calendar backed up (away from the inevitable PC crash) and available to me in two places. It was easy to set up, which is a big bonus in my book!
iPhone: Ok, so yes, there are lots of us who swoon over this handy little device. Let me just say this about it: The iPhone is a game changer. I’ve used a Palm Treo (and other models), Blackberries and other devices. The first thing that I loved about my iPhone was how easy it was to set up and maintain. It just WORKS. It took minutes, not a weekend (like one of the other previous devices, which shall remain nameless), to set up. It made me a believer right out of the box. There’s lots of other great things, like thousands of Apps, syncing my music library and generally just being fun to use. (I still stare at it occasionally and just wonder how I was able to see this little wonder in my lifetime!)
The thing I like most is feeling in control of email and other communications like Twitter. My iPhone lets me decide when I want to be connected and when I don’t. The best part? I don’t carry my laptop around nearly as much anymore, and my shoulders and neck are thanking me!
ActiveWords: I could not live without this little program. I’ve written about it on my blog, talked it up on my podcasts and generally given it the love and devotion it deserves. Think of ActiveWords like a treasure trove of “action words” you use like saying a magic spell. “Abracadabra, launch my email program.” “Alacazam, take me to Wikipedia.” “Hocus, pocus, show me my Facebook page.” All joking, and bad magic spell attempts, aside, this is one powerful tool!
With ActiveWords, you set up “active words” to do any number of things, like launch a program, navigate to a website or substitute text. It cuts down the mouse clicks you incur and saves you little bits of time throughout your day. It will even tell you how much your accumulated saved time is worth! Last time I checked, it had saved me over 88 hours of time! Now, that’s productive!
What are some of your favorite home office techie tools?
About The Author
Brandie Kajino, The Home Office Organizer, is a dynamic speaker, author and “organizing muse.” Empowering clients with information, tools and simple organizing solutions are her specialty. For more information on her services, product downloads, a link to her podcast & radio show, her blog and free organizing tips, visit her website: www.thehomeofficeorganizer.com or call 360-907-6485.
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