Ask Jeff – Help Me Organize My Home Office!

Hello Day-Timer,

I have an extra room in my house that I use for my office. It has become so messy with papers lying on the desk due to my husband. He has gone back to school and books and papers have taken over. I don’t know where to start to get it organized, please help with things that would help to have on the desk, and anything else to help with things to stay organize. – KS


Dear KS,

Thanks for writing… this is a great topic! It seems that a used office is a messy one. Having a clean office equates to a productive one, but a clean desktop is a veritable magnet for productivity. It’s inspiring.

Your first objective appears to be gaining control of your husband’s school material. Here are some tips:

  • Use a filing system. Don’t get fancy, just file it and label it. Use basic manila folders and any type of hanging file system. The portable ones you buy at office supply stores work great. The key is to label these folders by subject and store them alphabetically. Have him keep his books stacked neatly on a shelf or in a storage bin for easy accessibility.
  • Take charge of your desktop by minimizing what’s kept on it. The rule of thumb is keep important tools an arm’s length away. So, it may not be critical to have a stapler, tape dispenser, and paper clip jar all sitting out.
  • Get the single best desktop tool — one medium-sized tray that serves as your inbox. This is your decision point. Throw all your pending notes, papers, bills and receipts into this tray and each day make it a practice to empty the inbox. It may mean taking action now and it may mean filing things away.

Your office is your business and your desk is your workstation. Make it work for you.