Working from a home office comes with many advantages, but it also has its fair share of challenges. One such challenge is organizing paperwork. Juggling both business documents and personal documents can be a struggle, especially in a shared space. Having a system in place to deal with the business and personal documents is a must! Here are strategies from this NYC Professional Office Organizer to help you organize paperwork in your home office.
Create an incoming paper system. This is the first step every time you begin to organize paperwork. To stay ahead of the paper clutter, you need to tackle it head on as it enters your space. Designate separate spaces for all the incoming personal and business paperwork. This includes your incoming mail, school paperwork, etc. Having a specific space for your personal paperwork means it’s less likely to get tangled up in your business files. Whether you work at home occasionally or run your business from home full-time, create a system where all business paperwork never leaves your office. This will prevent it from getting misplaced and key deadlines missed.
Location is important. The key here is to store your files in an easily accessible location. If you can’t quickly access your files whether to retrieve documents or to file them, the more likely they will end up in piles throughout your home. You can store archived files on the top of a closet or in your home’s storage area as they aren’t often needed. Keep the action and reference files you use regularly within arm’s reach of your desk.
Organize the filing cabinet. Depending on the size of your home office, it might not be feasible to have separate filing cabinets for personal and business information. That’s okay! As long as your files are clearly labeled, you can keep the files separate. You can use colored file folders or hanging folders to distinguish between business and personal files. You can even use a simple two drawer filing cabinet, using the top file drawer for business files and the bottom for home and personal files. In addition, labeling your folders with words or phrases that distinguish business from personal documents will enable you to quickly locate the information when searching for it.
Don’t save everything. Especially in a home office which is a shared space, it is important to discard all the extraneous papers upon receipt, so your office space remains clutter free leaving space for both work and personal projects. Items like junk mail, catalogs, and magazines you are not currently reading have no place in your home. Put them immediately into the recycling pail upon receipt and promptly unsubscribe so they don’t turn into clutter! Shred documents with identifying information and recycle the rest.
Digital is the answer. If you are splitting time between working from home and working in the office, then switching to a digital solution will be important. Have you ever taken a project home to work on, headed back to the office the next day to give a presentation, and realized you left the file you needed on your desk at home? Start storing important files digitally so you can access them from wherever you are.
Once you create a home office filing system, you’ll be able to easily work from home without feeling overwhelmed by paper clutter. For more hands-on strategies for organizing paperwork, reach out to your NYC Professional Office Organizer.