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A Space of Your Own

By Debbie Williams

Recent statistics reveal that the average executive wastes 150 hours per year searching for lost documents. One in 20 documents is lost and never recovered.

When setting up your home office, there are a few basic ways to keep yourself organized. Begin by defining your space, then utilize whatever storage solutions are necessary to keep your papers and products together.

Creating a home office can be challenging for those of us with limited floor space. Fashion a bonus room by using an office armoire or unused closet. Setting up a card table or banquet table, which can be folded and stored when not in use, can create additional workspace for special projects. Store files in portable crate systems or in a vertical desktop rack. Hang shoe or jewelry organizers over the doors for office supplies, books, and tapes. Bulletin boards placed around the room at eye level provide easy viewing while you are seated at your desk.

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Keep your office clutter free by providing a dedicated place for everything. Store hanging folders in file cabinets or in portable crates under the desk. Purchase stackable bins for processing paperwork. Purchase a drawer divider for stationery and desk supplies. Inform family members where to deliver incoming correspondence. Utilize a master calendar or wipe off board for coordinating special projects. Clip or scan articles, and file in a folder for reading at a later date.

Maintain a workable follow up system with an index card file or accordion file. The dividers are numbered 1-30, and documents (or note cards) are filed on the appropriate day of the month for future action.

For an office on the go, create a portable system for your car or briefcase. Keep a large sturdy crate or laundry basket in your car to contain product samples. Small hanging file crates carry client information or product literature securely to your destination. Some suggested items for your portable office are: letterhead and envelopes, business cards, brochures, postage stamps, calculator, pads of paper, pens, pencils, stapler and staple remover, scissors, tape dispenser, Post It Notes, rubber bands, paper clips, and change for parking or tolls. There are a number of visor and glove compartment organizers to hold small items. Pocketed organizers that hang on the back of the car seat are excellent for holding maps, brochures, literature, etc. A compact alternative would be a zippered pouch full of office supplies for your briefcase.

Now that you've set up your personal space, take just a few minutes a day to preserve it. Write your to do list for tomorrow. Straighten your desk before you quit for the day. Purge your files on a consistent basis. Begin each day with a clear desk and a clear mind, and find renewed fervor in the work that brought you here in the first place.

© Debbie Williams
Debbie Williams is an organizing strategist and parent educator who offers tools and training to help you put your house in order. She is the author of "Put Your House In Order". Learn more at


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