Here is a recent organizing project we completed at a home here in northern NJ that made a world of difference in the homeowner's ability to get things done. This work center / home office is located in the kitchen and is the main area where:
- Incoming and outgoing mail is processed
- Kids calendars, activities and related paperwork are maintained
- Coupons, receipts, giftcards, recipes, bank deposits and more are stored and processed
1. CLEAR THE SPACE - We started by completely clearing the desk and giving it, AND the equipment, a good cleaning. This is a very important step. Once you see it all clean and spacious again, it's MUCH arder to put clutter back. And, it makes it easier to get rid of stuff.
2. SORT LIKE WITH LIKE - As we pulled everything off the desk, we put all paper in one bin, all writing implements, all office supplies, etc. We also had a bin for stuff to go elsewhere, be donated, recycled, or trashed.
3. MICROSORT EACH BIN - Before putting any thing way, we sorted things into fine categories. For example, we sorted all the writing implements into pens, pencils, markers, etc.
4. CHOOSE THE BEST STORAGE SOLUTION AND LOCATION FOR EACH GROUP OF ITEMS - In this phase, it's critical to choose solutions that support how you really work and make it easy to maintain. We also needed to maximize use of space. So, as you can see in the final result, we used vertical storage and bins wherever possible to contain items. Here are a few of the ideas we implemented based on Mom's organizing style.
The basket on top is an "Inbox" Anything family members want Mom to process must go in that basket. Mom then processes the content into a READ FILE, URGENT TO DO Basket, to the CALENDAR, or the new ACTIVE REFERENCE FILE system in her file drawer. The Active Flile System is where she now keeps Girl Scout Drive Materials, School Calendars, etc. These files are used often and reviewed frequently to keep them clean and active!
PROJECTS TO BE DONE
She also has a fairly large bin above the file drawer now with projects that need to be completed, such as recipes to be entered into the computer, patches to be sewn, etc.
Since she doesn't have a drawer in the desk, we created one! We used a bin and several small dixie cups to inexpensively and quickly subdivide all the little things like paperclips, rubber bands, glue sticks, etc. This gives every item a home, and it's almost impossible not to put things back where they belong. Overflow supplies are now kept in drawers under the new printer stand.
PRINTER /COPIER STAND
The printer was moved off the desk along with paper and supplies to a new printer stand. This was very inexpensive and purchased at Target. See the bottom half of the Printer Stand here. The matching top has 2 shelves. It's actually intended for a closet, but works perfectly here! Now anyone in the family can access supplies they need or make a copy without disturbing Mom!
Another change we made is to store all writing implements vertically. We used some decorative mugs she had on hand to sort and store pens, markers, pencils, and scissors. Every item she uses now has it's own permanent home!
TIP: Put a folded up paper towel in the bottom of the mug so that it isn't damaged by ink from the pens!
All these changes and more were accomplished for less than $100 in supplies (including a new printer stand, a few new binders & creative binder supplies and bins (We only spent $15 on bins, everything else came from hunting around the house or creatively using things like Dixie cups!)
Hope this inspires you to get some cluttered areas in your home back under control!
All the best,