Wednesday, March 10, 2010

National Organize Your Home Office Day

Today is National Organize Your Home Office Day. About a third of the requests for help that I receive are related to the home office. Today we'll look at some of the common issues and what can be done to resolve them. There's a little treat for you at the end of this post.

Issue: Paper stacks. This is the most common issue in the office but it's actually a compound issue created by a couple of other issues - an inadequate filing system and cheap file cabinets.

Issue: Inadequate filing system. Many people label their files with little thought to how they need to file, access and use the information. When it's time to file, an inadequate filing system will leave them guessing which file to use and how long to keep the information.
Resolution: Consider using a packaged filing kit. A good kit explains how to file along with file labels. My personal favorite is FreedomFiler (

Issue: Cheap file cabinets. They're rickety, have sharp edges, and the drawers extend only half-way. No wonder no one wants to file!
Resolution: Invest in a good file cabinet. Look for a sturdy cabinet with full-extension drawers. You won't believe the difference a good file cabinet will make and it will probably be less expensive than you think. You might even look forward to filing! One of my favorite brands is Hon which is readily available at any big box office store.

Issue: No office. Your space is so small there is no room for an office so the bills are on the counter, and the coffee table,  the school papers are on the dresser, and the tax papers are ... where?
Resolution: Create a portable office and assign a place to store papers that need action. A file box with an insert to hold desk supplies or a file cart with drawers can be stored anywhere and offers portability when it's time to sit down and do a little work. The files can be labeled by the category of the action (call, pay, research, read, etc.) or set up as a tickler system (check out my earlier post "Tickle Yourself Into Action") By the way, just file papers as soon as the action is complete. Putting the paper in a "file" file doubles your work.

Issue: Missed deadlines. Bills don't get paid on time. Projects are late or never get done.
Resolution: A better planner. A planner that marries the to-do list with a calendar makes it easy to schedule things so they get done. Break large projects into smaller tasks and record these tasks in the to-do section of the planner. Record deadlines and due dates. Consult your planner several times a day to keep on top of your plan for the day. My two favorite planners are the Taylor planner ( and Planner Pad (

Issue: There isn't enough room on the desk to work because of the computer.
Resolution: Move peripherals off the desk. I like to use a shelf above the desk or a small table at a right angle to hold the printer. A keyboard tray will open up more desk space.

Issue: A stack of business cards - who are these people?
Resolution: When you receive a business card write down the date and the place you met on the back of the card. You might also consider jotting down why you might be interested in contacting that person in the future. Can't think of anything? Maybe you really don't need to keep that card after all. A Rolodex is a simple way to file the cards. Use one strip of tape on the left edge of the business card to tape it to the Rolodex card and you will be able to access the back of the card.

Having a little business card envy? The folks at can take care of that for you by printing up some snazzy new cards. is sponsoring a give-away so one lucky winner will receive some new business cards.
2.      The Prize:
500 Business Cards for One (1) Winner
Sizes:  2 x 3.5”, 2 x 3”, 2 x 2” (square card) or 1.5 x 3.5” (slim card)
Paper: 14 pt gloss cardstock, 14 pt matte cardstock or 13 pt recycled uncoated cardstock
Specifications: Full Color Both Sides; Offset Press; 3 Business Day Printing
Shipping: FREE UPS Ground Shipping
Eligibility: Limited to US Residents only
3.      Get more information about
4.     The Rules:
Give-away will end at midnight (Central) Wednesday, March 24, 2010 when an entry will be drawn.
One entry will be given when you become a follower of this blog.
One entry will be given when you become a fan of the Clear Spaces Facebook Fan Page.
One entry will be given when you become a Clear Spaces Twitter follower @ClearSpacesLLC.
One entry will be given when you reply to this post with your office organizing challenge to be featured in Stump the Organizer Saturday! Can't think of a challenge? Tell me your favorite organizing tip. Let me know if you have done the other things (follower, fan, tweet) too.
Visit back on March 25 to find out who is going to get some snazzy new cards free. Now go out there and be productive!

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