If your home office isn’t a cluttered nightmare, you’re obviously still in start-up mode. Call me in a few years and I’ll help you then. For everyone else, I’ve seen your office pictures on Facebook and your mother may be ashamed, but I am actually proud of you for wading through all that everyday just to get to work. ( You should be proud of me, too.) But all good things can be overdone and a messy office is one of them. When you get to that state, here are five solutions for storing your stuff in places other than the floor and the top of your desk.
1—Over-the-door pocket shoe organizers: If you don’t have a door in your office, use the back of the nearest closet. These nifty little pockets can hold all your office supplies, so long as they are smaller than the average shoe. Make sure you get one with see-through pockets and you’ll never lose your back-up staples, paper clips, or rubber bands again. Other things you can stash in here: usb drives, extra batteries, pens, business cards, all those cables (that you hang onto even if you don’t even know what they fit anymore), post-its, index cards, SWAG, your chocolate stash. Anything smaller than a shoe.
2—Zippered plastic storage bags. They’re not just for veggies and leftover pizza anymore. The small ones work to corral little things like paperclips after the box is gone. The big ones can hold paperwork (like all those various warranties and instruction manuals that you will never read until something breaks), cds and dvds, greeting cards, and your chocolate stash.
3—Clear storage bins. Clear because if you can’t see what is in it, it’s likely to cease to exist, at least until you go buy another one of whatever you’ve hidden in there. Storage bins in a home office are like the space under a teenagers’ bed—they can hide a multitude of sins nearby but also out of site. If you can’t find clear ones, or already have opaque ones, label them. Just write on the container with a large permanent marker, or tape a list of contents to the side.
4—Pretty baskets and trays. You can be as disorganized as you want and still be able to find your desk if you store things in pretty basket s. A cluttered in-box becomes downright charming if it’s a re-purposed copper cake pan. Your stack of unread papers and magazines on the floor looks messy; in a wicker basket, they become décor.
5—A scanner. You might not think of a scanner as a storage solution, but it really is, or can be. Scanning documents and storing them electronically will dramatically reduce your paper clutter. Be sure you have and use a good back-up system. Consider online storage for redundancy, or routinely take copies of your backup to another (outside your home) location. Before you file something, ask yourself if scanning this would be a better solution. Most things in your files now could probably be scanned and tossed, freeing up lots of file space for things you really need to keep.
It can be so easy to let your home office get cluttered and messy. Most of us do not actually entertain clients in our home offices and there’s no boss likely to drop by and suggest you clean up. But part of running a business means doing the mundane tasks, too. So, take some time to organize and declutter your home office. You will definitely see the rewards in increased productivity (the amount of time you spend looking for things in a messy office does add up). Plus, it’s often hard to get motivated to work when everything is a mess. Besides, you can dip into the chocolate stash as a reward when you’re done.
Here are links to buy the shoe organizer I use for office supplies and a scanner, which is a home office essential.