Spring Clean Your Home Office: Organize and Update a Productive Workspace

When spring is near, a person's thoughts turn to… spring cleaning! And your home office should be no exception. A clean and organized work area is a productive one, and it's easier than you think. Here are some ideas to get your home office update underway:

Paper Overload:

Take a deep breath and tackle your files. That’s right – bills, records, invoices, cards, and any other paper that’s clogging your work space. Yes, it is important to keep paperwork about your finances and your business. But to cut down on the bulk of storing all that information, try this trick: go through all the envelopes and throw them away. Look closely at the bills themselves, too – there are often extra pages on the end advertising special offers , and that don’t include your account number. Unless you need those, toss them out.

Then unfold the papers that remain, and group them with paperclips in chronological order. This makes it easy to find the month or type of bill you’re looking for. To further organize your records, compartmentalize. Try separate folders for each type of bill or invoice: utilities, credit cards, bank statements, payments and contracts, etc. Pick up folders and other organizing tools and clear your desk.

Surfaces:

Next, move on to your work surfaces. Take everything off the desk, move the fax machine off its stand, and dust. If the dust is especially thick, use a sponge and some cleaning solution. For a fast cleanup, Method makes an almond-scented wood-cleaning wipe called Wood for Good It picks up the dust and restores some moisture to wood surfaces.

Once you’ve cleaned the desk, dust off the pencil cups, books, and other doodads you keep on it. Use compressed air on your computer keyboard where dust can collect between keys.

Layout:

Now it’s time to put everything back together. If your workspace has left you yawning with boredom, this is a good chance to shake things up. Add a bulletin board or move the one you have. Move the desk to a new position in the room. Weed out the reference books to make more space for laying out projects or papers. Better yet, add a shelf above the desk for books and other doodads. Put your computer on the other side of the workspace.

Virtual Desktop:

Speaking of computers, there is plenty you can do to clean up your virtual desktop. Take the time to organize your work on the computer. Create files for each project, or each type of work that you do. For example, a freelance journalist might have files for each story, with groupings of stories for various clients. It can feel tedious, but the benefits are clear: quick and easy access to the work you need, and an uncluttered screen.

And for a deeper technological spring cleaning, think about adding memory to your computer. If you can’t afford to buy a new or updated system right now, adding RAM (random access memory) can help your computer run faster in the meantime. Some stores install the memory for you, which only takes a few minutes. It’s a quick way to put some spring in your computer’s step.

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