Home office hacks that get you organized now!

I love the comfort and flexibility of working from home. It allows me to throw in a load of laundry or get the crockpot started. Like many, I am at my most productive when my home office is organized.

I challenge you to set aside time and commit to organizing your home office space now! Here are 5 tips to help you get control of your office clutter:

Tip #1: IMMEDIATELY make a decision about every paper that comes into your home.  Put each in one category - Shred/Toss, Take Action or File.  If it is junk mail, toss it.  If it has important dates on it, get them on your calendar and then toss it.  Create an Action file/bin on your desktop to store incoming important papers and go through it on a weekly basis. Anything that needs longertermstorage gets filed. This leads me to tip #2....

Tip #2: File long-term paperwork in zones.It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to make sense for you and your family. Don’t give in to perfectionist tendencies - just apply broad categories. I like using hanging folders or binders based on color-coded categories, for example, Green (Financial like bills, banking), Red (Medical & Pets), Orange (Taxes & Income), Yellow (House & Auto) and Blue (Memberships, School, Vacation).

Tip #3: Have a grab and go folder. In case of an emergency, organize your most important papers in a binder or fireproof lockbox for easy grab-and-go. Assemble those “must have” documents (like loan info, medical records, and insurance policies) so if disaster strikes, you won’t have to fumble through your files.

Tip #4: Keep your desktop clear of clutter. The most important physical space in your office is the surface of your desk.  Moving paper piles around isn’t an effective way to manage clutter. Look closely at everything on your desk and ask yourself does this item have to live here? If it doesn’t need to be there or if it is something that you don’t use every day, file it.  Or better yet, scan and file it electronically.

Tip #5: Tackle digital clutter. Organizing your digital life can be even more daunting than physically decluttering your home. While an empty inbox may be unattainable there are steps you can take to gain control of your digital life. Need to organize and better access your passwords? An app like 1password may make sense. Want to declutter your inbox? Sign up with unroll.me or sort emails into folders that go from general to specific.

On a regular basis, set a reminder to purge or archive unloved photos on your phone, electronic subscriptions, old apps, unused browser bookmarks, or files/emails you haven’t accessed in 90 days.


15 things to toss now!

Clutter comes in many forms.  From expired coupons, dried up paint cans and old warranties, see how great it will feel when you purge these unneeded (and often energy-zapping) items from your life.

So go ahead and donate, dump, shred or recycle anything on this list below.  I guarantee you won’t miss any of them. Personally, I am going right now up to my bathroom to toss out (almost) all of those little bottles of hotel shampoo and body wash.  

15 things to throw out:

1.    Old greeting cards that are not sentimental

2.    Travel brochures from trips already taken

3.    Extra buttons that come in little plastic bags from clothing purchases

4.    Expired condiments (and while we are at it, spices and canned goods too!)

5.    Hangers from dry cleaners

6.    Phone apps that are not being used

7.    Nail polish that is too thick to spread

8.    Paychecks older than 2 years

9.    Remote controls that no longer have a use

10.  Single earrings (and those annoying single socks)

11.  E-books you will never read

12.  Expired medicines and vitamins

13.  Business cards of people you don’t remember meeting

14.  Manuals to items you no longer own

15.  Clothes that are stained or ripped beyond repair


Our favorite simple tips for staying organized...

We all have more stuff than we need. Even professional organizers find themselves getting overwhelmed and squeezed out by their possessions.  At Home Space Harmony we can’t wait to share 5 tried and true tips for staying organized and not letting your stuff (paper, clothes, toys) take over.

Tip #1: Put like with like

One of the easiest ways to organize your space is to group similar items together.  Designate a drawer, shelf or basket for a category whether it be chargers, gift cards, hair ties, or batteries. So many times we go into homes and find batteries stored in hallway closets, kitchen cabinets and bathroom drawers.  Trust us, grouping like-with-like cuts down your time searching for those items.

Tip #2: Everything needs a home

Once you have grouped like items, designate a place for everything. An item is clutter if it does not occupy some specific location when not in use. For instance, everyone has a place in their home for silverware.  If you found a random fork under your bed or a knife in your office you would know immediately where it belongs. Everything in your space should be this easy to put away. Don’t bring something in the house unless you know exactly where it will live.  And make sure everyone else who lives with you knows it as well.

Tip #3: Make tidy a habit

Just start getting in the habit of doing things right away. Clutter often comes out of postponed decisions. Try to hang up your coat when you come in the door. Open your mail and sort immediately. Try to deal with the dishes right after you use them or make the bed when you get out of it. These are things organized people routinely do.

Tip #4: Bring order to daily routines

Be mindful of natural household patterns and set up simple solutions that can become habits. Do kids come in and take shoes off by the door? Create a drop zone there. Put a small bowl by the front door for keys or a galvanized tub with sunscreen and bug spray near the porch door.  

Tip #5: Let your space define how much you can own

Decide how much space you want to allocate to a particular category and then stick to it. For instance, dedicate one shelf to storing your sweaters. When that shelf is full and you buy another sweater, something has to go. So that means you will need to shop with intention.  Think before you buy and ask yourself do I really need/want/love this and where will it live in my space.