home office

Feeling Unorganized Today?

Some days I just feel like I’m unorganized. My desk is a mess. The mail is piling up. The dishes are filling the sink. The hot spots are growing (I think by themselves). I don’t remember leaving that book laying on the table or my clothes on the bed.

It doesn’t take long for the messes to grow. After all, you are living in your home. That’s a good thing. But when things start getting out of control it is time to take some cleaning action.

Some days are 15 minute days and some are 5 minute days. By this I mean I set a timer for 15 minutes to tackle a certain job that needs to be done. A lot can be accomplished in 15 minutes. It’s usually not to hard to focus for that short period of time and clean up the kitchen, family room, or home office.

But some days 15 minutes seems like too much time to take away from the other responsibilities for the day. That’s when the 5 minute day comes in. Set a timer for 5 minutes and narrow your focus on one small spot. Clean as many dishes as you can for 5 minutes. Don’t worry if you don’t get them all done. What’s important is that you took care of some of the mess. It will be a lot cleaner now than it was 5 minutes ago.

What I do on days like this is work for about 30 minutes on my writing then take a 5 minute break to clean up one of those hot spots. It’s amazing how much gets cleaned up by the end of the day.

What tricks to you use to get organized on those days you feel overwhelmed? Please share them in the comment section.






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Organize Your Home Office Day

Today is “Organize Your Home Office Day”. Everyone has a home office whether it is for work, personal, or both. Below is a copy of my free weekly newsletter I send to my subscribers. I don’t normally post it on this blog so if you are not a subscriber please sign up on the right sidebar to receive future newsletters. The link for the March monthly newsletter is also posted on the right sidebar.

Decluttering Tip Newsletter – Home Office
Volume 2, Issue 10

Today is “Organize Your Home Office Day”. It would be nice to be able to take a whole day to organize your office. I don’t have a whole day for it and I doubt you do either. So I’m suggesting a “Organize Your Home Office Week”. By doing a little each day you will have your office decluttered and running efficiently by the end of the week.
If you work out of your home you probably have an office set up in a spare room or at least a corner of a room. If your home office is for personal use then you may not have a permanent office set up. It doesn’t matter. You can still organize your “home office” to help tackle that paperwork as efficiently as possible.
The easiest way I find to have an efficient and decluttered office is to break it into zones. There are three main zones and they will work whether you have a permanent office or a portable office. They are your “Active” zone, “Semi-Active” zone, and “Inactive” zone.

This area will be the desk or table you sit at and do your work. You’ll want to have all the supplies you use on a daily basis within arms reach. This would be the pens, notepaper, envelopes, stamps, bills, calendar or planner, phone, stapler, and any other items you find yourself using. Look at your desk area and if there are things you rarely use then think about where else you can store them. Free up this space for the items you use daily.

If you have a portable office then you will need to have a box, briefcase, or some way to store these items so it is easy to set up your office when you need to and put it away when you are finished.

This area should be somewhere nearby where you store extra office supplies, file folders, reference books, computer software, backup disks, etc. When you need a certain file or reference book you don’t want to spend a lot of time searching for it. If you don’t have a lot of storage area for office supplies you can store them together in a box in a closet or even under the bed. If everything is kept in one place then you can easily find the extra copy paper, printer ink, staples, or pens. Unless you go through your supplies very fast because of your type work or have a large family, don’t stock up too much. It will become clutter. Inks and pens can dry out. Paper and envelopes can turn yellow.

File folders you use on a regular basis need to be in this semi-active zone. If you have room for a file draw or cabinet then keep it in this room or near the area. Remember, this is for active files only so you shouldn’t need a wall full of file cabinets. Portable file boxes can be used if you don’t have room for a permanent file draw.

This is where you will keep all the inactive files that you don’t need to access more than once a year. Old tax returns, old bank statements, canceled checks, etc. These can be stored in the back of a closet, under a bed, or in an attic. I don’t recommend storing papers in a basement unless it is a finished area that you know is not damp.

This week focus mainly on the active zone and the semi-active zone. When these two zones are organized you will find you can get your work done more efficiently.

Decluttering and organizing the inactive zone would be a good rainy day weekend project. It won’t affect your daily work like the other zones but is still important in the long run.

To a lighter load along the way.

Please forward this newsletter to anyone you know who may benefit from this tip.


Paper Clutter to the Recycling Bin

Do you have a file folder filled with cut out articles and/or recipes tucked away in a drawer or box? When was the last time you looked into this file folder?

Last night I continued my paper decluttering project for January. The files in my file drawer were getting so tight I could hardly fit another piece of paper in them. It was time to purge! After dinner I pulled out a couple of file folders from the back of the drawer. I sat down on the couch and while watching TV went through them.

The first file had a bunch of catalogs from a book club I no longer belong to. They weren’t too old but needed to be filed in the recycling bin. The other file folder had some recipes and articles I had cut out from magazines. After going through the recipes I only found one I wanted to try. The articles all seemed a little outdated. Since they were torn out of magazines some of the pages had the date of the issue on them. Do you think articles from 1992 are a little old?

That’s right. I have kept this file folder for over 16 years and didn’t bother to look at it. I guess those articles really weren’t so important to keep. I wonder how many other outdated articles are hiding in file folders. I think I will be pulling one folder out each night and decluttering them.

It felt real good last night to put those old papers into the recycling bin.




“Clean Off Your Desk Day”

Today is “Clean off Your Desk Day“. It is always easier to work at a clean desk than one that is cluttered up with papers, pens, coffee mugs, water bottles, and lots of other misc. items. As I am typing this I can see I have a little work to do with my desk. I will set a timer for 15 minutes and clean it up.

With January being “National Get Organized Month” I have decided it was time to go through my bookcases and declutter some books and notebooks. I don’t have any more room on the shelves so books and papers are starting to stack up on the floor. Time to reorganize.

I decided to add a new bookcase. I had room to move a small, three shelf one to another area and put a new five shelf one in its old place. This will give me more room to put the books and notebooks. Sometimes we have to change things to make them work more efficiently for us.

Once I get the new bookshelf built (hopefully by tonight) I will put everything on the shelves. It won’t be organized just yet but I will take care of that later. I will go through one shelf at a time and get rid of any books I don’t need. This way will be better than trying to tackle the whole mess at once. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed.

Time to go clean off my desk!