Freshen Up Fridays: The Home Office

It's time to get to work. . . on organizing your home office.

With the changing of seasons, the inevitable spring-cleaning bug tends to bite — sometimes hard. Here to help you organize those spaces in your home that need a little freshening up, Audrey Swanson is picking the minds of local professionals to share their tricks of the trade on home organization.

I love my home office. (And by home office, I mean the little corner of my bedroom with my cute espresso-brown desk and oh-so-sophisticated floor lamp.) It’s a place for me to jot each week’s schedule in my planner, to brainstorm story ideas, and to sit with a cup of coffee on Saturday mornings working on projects. It’s one of my favorite spaces until it starts accumulating random papers, bills, and knick-knacks. . . then it bugs me to no end. It doesn’t matter whether you have a desk in a corner or a full room dedicated to an at-home office: Sometimes the stuff just piles up.

I called on the help of Ashley Easley – certified professional organizer with MasterPeace Solutions — to overcome home office organization obstacles. Keep calm and keep reading to find out her top five tips:

1. Put papers away – right away. Even in a huge paperless movement, we’re still bombarded by the stuff daily. As soon as you get the mail or a fax or papers from work and school, sort them. Recycle what’s unneeded immediately.

2. Make notes to self. Keeping things on top of your desk as “reminders” to do them is just a big fat trap. Put them in files (like these Container Store beauties) or other unseen areas, but keep a running to-do list on your desktop to make sure tasks don’t go forgotten. Tip: Giving yourself a deadline for the to-dos will help you complete them efficiently and with less procrastination.

3. Label anything and everything. Desk drawers, file cabinets, and even containers that hold office supplies in and on your desk should all have a name to them. Nomenclature is a necessity if you want to keep your sanity.

4. File by categories unique to you. Keep a few “living” files on the desk that you might need at any moment, like kids’ school memos or calendars. (These will be pretty to keep in sight, even if they are full of papers.) The filing cabinet is for files not used so often, such as paid bills, receipts, and tax records. Put things together by category, rather than alphabetically, Easley suggests.

5. Find your routine. Dedicate yourself to keeping this area maintained, in order for you to keep your life maintained! Make a point to take three minutes each morning and evening to glance over the office and put things where they belong.

Audrey Swanson is a D Home and D Weddings intern.

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