#Home CPR

7 Tips to Give your Office a Raise

August 19, 2019

Are you a Piler or Filer?
Or both?!

There is a battle waging against clutter and paper is Enemy #1.  It piles up on countertops, plasters to the fridge and invades the office space.  Just when you get one pile down another is coming in through the mailbox.  There might be important info, but who has the time to mine for it?  

The only way to stay on top of paper trails is to create a space for it and a system to keep it that way.  Sound mind-boggling?  It doesn't have to be, yet there is some work to be done first.  If you do it right, you won't have to do it again!  Trust me.  Think about the added peace, order and an increase of creativity and productivity.  

If you're new here, we spent a year - or more - on the "live like you're moving" challenge.  And then Mr. B and I had a pleasant surprise, moved unexpectedly and downsized!  You can find more tips under our HOME CPR page.  Be sure to check out Brooke's office re-do . . . The room behind doors and The room re-do.

Ready?  These tips, reminders and strategies work for every part of your home - rooms, closets and drawers.  Use them over and over again and you will amaze yourself.  People will call you "organized".

Tip One:  Always take a "Before" picture.
Sometimes I'm so anxious to get started, I forget.  
The transformation is always HUGE and 
you'll want a reminder to never go back.
When does cute turn into clutter?

The above picture reminded me of a trip back to the dealership after buying a car.  While I waited for the receptionist to acknowledge me, I looked around.  Her small world was filled with all kinds of little knick knacks, flower pens, coffee mugs, those solar bobble things and more.  When she finally looked at me, I said - while moving my hand in a circular motion, "This must be your Happy Place!"  I was being sincere, even though I couldn't relate.

Tip 2:  You only have the space your have. 
  • Determine what your time and space constraints are.
  • Can you move items out of an area first?  Even if it is one pile at a time?
  • Begin with one section, making decisions on what you truly don't need.
  • Pick a day and time: set a timer, work with a sense of urgency and stop when the timer goes off.  Repeat.
Tip 3:  Floors are not storage space.
  • Take everything out that is on the floor or under a desk. 
  • Cluttered floors interfere with cleanliness and movement. 
I recently helped a family member organize an office and this is the first thing I did - moved everything out into the front room.  When the office was ready for more decisions, I brought in a section at a time.  What there wasn't room for at the end of our strategizing session went to a storage unit with a plan in place for retrieval.

Tip 4:  There's no such thing as an organized mess.
You have heard the saying, "Creative minds are rarely tidy."  Are they the only ones in this predicament?  Doubtful.  Would it be more validating to think, "Creative minds inspire others!"  With a clutter-free environment, creativity has more room to grow.

A cluttered desk can be a distraction whether at work or home.  Disorganization is a vicious cycle leading to frustration, duplication and poor productivity.  Organization is a key to being successful.  Once organized, systems will keep the office looking smart and running smoothly with minimal effort.
Tip 5:  Designate a purpose for every space
  • office supplies
  • files
  • books
  • magazines 
  • cards
  • journals
  • pictures
  • whatever your piles are
Group like items together.  You will know which drawer has the office supplies, which filing cabinet has important papers and where the latest project materials are.

Tip 6:  Purge
Your desk is prime real estate!  Only the essentials to your work day should be allowed to live there.

  • Sort and file . . . sort and file.  Repeat.  "Will you read or need this again if it is filed?"  Label folders in a way you will remember for quick access.   
  • An in-box or file rack keep current projects and files accessible.  No more rummaging around.  
  • Determine the best storage options for each items.  Extra office supplies and rarely used items can be stored in a cabinet or drawer.
  • Create a daily routine at the end of the day to clear the desktop, putting pens, files and folders back in their place.
Tip 7:  Fill the empty spaces
What!  "I just cleared out a whole lot of stuff and junk and love the wonderful feeling it gives me."  

Yes and true.  Over time and without a system, however, those spaces will become stuffed again.  There seems to be an unwritten law of the universe that says, "Every empty space must be filled."  We want to fill those spaces with organizational tools or products so chaos doesn't creep back in.

When I asked for 3 words to describe what the office was to look or feel like, the first one was "Accessible!", "Functional" and "Systems".  This is the time to bring in your style and personality to make your office say, "Welcome . . . Let's work, play and create today!"

For this project I chose this paper tray from Amazon.  It was a file stacker and paper tray with places for those different office supplies.  Way cool.

And what office isn't complete without a spinning desk sorter, giving a home to frequently used pens and clips.  Hmm. Are those zip ties in the center?  

Every drawer in an office space needs to have compartments of some kind to fill the space and give a specific "home" to everything.  Yes, "A place for everything and everything in its place."  Tried and true.

Follow the "Fork it" rule:  "Everyone has a place in their house for forks.  If you found a random fork in the bathroom or under the couch, you'd immediately know it didn't belong there and would return it to its drawer without another thought.  Everything in your life should be this easy to put away.  If an item occupies no specific location when not in use, it becomes clutter."  Steve McClatchy, author of Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example.

Ta Da!  Here are a few pics of the office CPR project:
(The area to the right in the "before" has been cleared and
the filing cabinet no longer has boxes of file folders on top. 
Two framed photos keep the space purposeful.)
"Bailey is SO amazing and talented in quickly visualizing better ways to place items and to streamline spaces.  It seems like a miracle and felt like Christmas!  I'm forever grateful for her gifts and the transformation."  - Mari, Idaho 

My pleasure! 

Image credit: Gabriel Beaudry


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