7 Quick Home Office Fixes

Quick home office fixes working from home

You know that deer-in-the-headlights look that some people get when they’re scared? I’ve seen people get the same look when they think about making changes to their home office and when they visit an IKEA store for the first time.

Changing the way your home office looks and functions can be challenging. While you can’t change everything about your home office in one day, there are a few simple things you can do now to make your home office more productive. [Read more…]

What Does Your Desk Say About You?

Home office desk

Take a close look at your desk. Would you describe it as sloppy with papers piled like a game of Jenga? Or is it streamlined with containers organized like the warehouse in an Ikea store?

When I was a professional organizer I worked with clients who hadn’t seen the tops of their desks (and in some cases their floors) for years. When one guy finally dug his way to the bottom of the piles, which was the top of his desk, he remembered how beautiful his desk was and why he had spent a small fortune on it. [Read more…]

Chips, Chat and Home Office Changes

home office organize change

Last weekend I figured out why some of my friends invite me to their homes more often than they used to. Yes, I bring over appetizers, desserts or whatever dish they want me to bring. It’s not that. I’m not a very good cook.

They invite me over because they know I can’t stand to see a disorganized home office that could be arranged better. Here’s a perfect example: [Read more…]

Take Time To Purge Your Home Office

Clear clutter home office organizing

Photo source: Rita H Cobbs

I’d love to invest in a storage facility. You know, the ones filled with storage units that people pay $120 a month to store $25 worth of stuff.

I know it’s hard to get rid of things like old client files, equipment so out-of-date they don’t make ink cartridges for it anymore, and stationery that you probably haven’t used in ten years. Do people even order business stationery anymore? [Read more…]

Need More Home Office Space? Look Up

bookcaseWhen you work from home, it’s not the size of the space that matters…it’s how you use that space. The last three home offices I designed were small, but functional. Instead of focusing on the lack of floor space, we made the most of the vertical space.

Whether you’re setting up a home office for the first time or redesigning your current office space, think vertically and put your walls and corners to work.

Start with shelves.

Add shelves above or next to your desk to gain more storage space and to reduce desktop clutter. You can use open shelves or a hutch that sits on your desk. A tall, four-shelf bookcase — ideally with adjustable shelves – can hold dozens of books and reference materials. If you have a hutch, you’ll need to place your desk against a wall. The only exception is when you want to divide a larger room and use it for two different purposes.

Don’t waste corners.

The L-shaped arrangement is my favorite because the two work surfaces are at a right angle. Also, the L-shape makes it easy to use the corner that normally is wasted space. A corner is the ideal place for a copier or printer because it’s out of the way, but within reach.

Make furniture do double-duty.

Several years ago, I set up my home office in a spare bedroom. I used an antique dresser to hold my all-in-one machine and reference books on top. Inside, I stored office supplies. One of my clients uses her dining room as a home office during the day and stores all of her equipment and supplies in a large sideboard. When she entertains, no one knows that along one wall is a fully functioning home office. Look at the furniture you have in your home and consider whether you can use it for storage in your home office.

Make Room for the New Year

new year organizing declutter officeThere’s something about the new year that brings out the organizer in all of us. Maybe it’s the desire to start fresh, wipe away the previous year, or start over.

I started 2013 by organizing my garage. Big deal, right?

Actually, it was. I’ve been able to fit my car in my garage (my son’s car too), but I was tired of looking at all of the shelves in my garage filled with things I knew I wasn’t ever going to use. By the time I finished, I had four trash bags full of stuff, three rugs, and a desk, all ready to donate.

How could I have kept so many things I didn’t need? The answer was as clear as my newly organized garage. Because I had extra shelves and plenty of room to store things I didn’t need to keep, I kept them.

Doesn’t it make sense that the more space you have, the more things you’ll keep? Think about it…it’s easier to stick something on a shelf in case you need it some day (something my clients always say), than to decide whether you really need to keep it.

So this new year, take a look at your closets, bookcases, cabinets, your garage, or storage space — not in one day, it’s too overwhelming — and see if you can get rid of a few things you’re no longer using.

Don’t be surprised if while your organizing you say a few times, “I was looking for that!” because I promise you will.

Which organizing project are you going to tackle this year?

Challenge Yourself To Do It Now

source: stevendepolo

The other day when I needed to work on a project but couldn’t get motivated, I remembered a speech I heard about the “Assoonas.” You know…as soon as I buy a different house, I’ll have the perfect home office. As soon as I buy a new computer, I’ll have more clients. You get the idea.

Sometimes it’s easier to put things off than to handle them right away. Get off your “buts” (I’ve attended way too many motivational seminars!) and follow these tips to help you jump-start your next project.


Use a to-do list

Whether you use a scheduling program, your Smartphone, or even a paper-based planner to record everything you need to do, find a planning system that works. A good system for keeping track of client information is one that’s functional and easy to use. The to-do list should be simple and you should be able to customize it. When you use a to-do list the right way, it can keep you on track and make projects more manageable.

Keep in mind that making a to-do list is easy, yet remembering to look at your list is the hard part. If you feel yourself getting sidetracked, go back to your list.

To read the rest of my guest post on Work Your Way, click here.


How to Increase Home Office Storage

When you start a business from home, you may have think that you have plenty of storage space in your home office. As you grow your business, don’t be surprised if your storage space shrinks quickly. After all, no matter how much storage space you have, you probably want more.

When I first moved into my latest home office, I thought that I would have plenty of room for my books, supplies, projects and anything else that belonged in my home office. A few months later I realized I was wrong. I bought two bookcases, added shelves to my closet and donated a huge box of supplies I’d never used. Now I have extra storage space and I’m able to find what I need more easily.

Before you give up on finding more storage space, try these tips.

Think vertically. [Read more…]

4 Organizing Misconceptions You Can Stop Believing Today

I credit my older sister for putting me over the organizing edge. When we were younger and shared a room, her side was a disaster, and mine was obsessively neat (although I’ve mellowed a bit).

Even though my sister is still disorganized — she’s fine with it — she knows it’s possible for anyone to get organized. But some people are stubborn and refuse to get organized because they believe a few misconceptions about organization.

I want to set the record straight.

Misconception #1—Handle paper once.

This is not only impossible, it’s unrealistic. Whenever I hear an organizing expert tell others to handle paper once, I cringe. Instead of pressuring yourself to handle paper once, get in the habit of doing something to move each piece forward. The point is to keep the paper in play until it lands in a file or in the recycle bin. It’s a waste of time to pick up the same piece of paper and put it back repeatedly. [Read more…]