Monthly Organizing Challenge: Home Office Intro

As I mentioned last week, this year I am kicking off a monthly organizing challenge!  What is it about a good challenge that really gets us excited and motivated?

It's all about sharing ideas, working together and conquering our organizing projects one step at a time.  And organizing is so much more fun when you have someone to do it with {or hundreds of people to do it with}, so let's do this!

This month I am taking on the Home Office.  It is the command station of our home.  We manage our schedules there.  Pay our bills.  Crunch our budgets.  Write out birthday cards and file away stacks of papers.  And whether it is a small desk in the kitchen or an entire room down the hall, organization is the glue that holds all of those important tasks together.

To kick things off let's chat about some of the top home office organizing tips:
  • Create an "In" and "Out" box.  Put all incoming mail in your "In" box throughout the week and then take 15 minutes each weekend to go through the box, take action and recycle.  The "Out" box is a great place to keep outgoing bills and items that you need to take with you each day.
  • Pare down the paper!  With everything being digital these days, how many paper stacks and files does one really need?  Keep the long term important things filed away {everyone needs to make their own choice of what is important to keep such as legal documents, titles, home documents, etc...}, and keep everything else minimal and digital.  Pay bills online and keep statements digitally and move to paperless statements with your financial institutions.  Less paper in the mailbox means less paper on your desk.
  • Keep it simple!  Filing systems that are too complex or are not simple to access, are less likely to be maintained and used.  
  • Recycle.  Set up a recycle bin pared with a shredder so that you can not only be a bit more green, but protect your identity as well!
  • Take control of the cords.  Cord messes can take over your desk and be a visual distraction.  Remove cords that are not being used and use cable ties and clips to keep the cords you do need, neat and tidy.
  • Recharge!  It's not only good to keep all charging devices in one place, and hide those cords with a charging station, but it is also good to keep them in a place away from the bedroom so that you can get a good rest and recharge yourself.
  • Think vertically.  The back of your desk is a great place to add boatloads of storage, whether it be through wall systems or shelving.  You don't need a big space to have a functional one.
  • Dreamy drawers are those that only have the basic supplies and nothing more.  Use dividers for your office supplies, making it more challenging to just toss things in and close it without thinking twice.
  • Get the memo.  Memo boards rock!  I love having a cork board to pop up important notes, reminders and documents that need action.  It's a great visual checklist of things that need to be done.  Just be sure to remove things after they are completed to keep it streamlined.
  • A good planner/calendar.  Whether you a digital personal or love to write it all down, it's nearly impossible to keep up on appointments, commitments, meetings and special dates without some sort of a calendar system.  
  • If you don't have a home office, give yourself a tray which you can create a portable desk with and keep things nicely corralled in one area {I do this with my blogging items since there are days when I prefer to work in different locations in the home and it has been amazing!}

So where does one begin?
  1. Make a list of things you are hoping to tackle this month to get your home office space in working order.  Be realistic and only take on what you can commit to and pick your battles.  It doesn't have to be an entire space overhaul, just enough to feel stress free about paper piles and desk clutter.
  2. Find inspiration.  Check out the www and your favorite magazines for ideas and products to spark your creativity.
  3. Schedule it in!  Make time to get it done, whether it is 15 minutes per day or an hour on a weekend.  Ask for help watching the kids or get them involved to help with sorting and any crafting.
  4. Blank slate it!  Anytime I take on an organizing project, it is great to start with a blank slate.  It allows you to properly evaluate what you have and place things back where they make the most sense vs. where they have been for the last eight years.
  5. Sort.  Sort down your contents into categories and piles.  Make sure you have a purge pile!  It's time to clear out the clutter!
  6. Purge.  Say farewell to all of those things holding you back from living simply.  Only keep what you need and love, say farewell to all the rest.  Sell on Craigslist, donate to Goodwill, recycle recycle recycle.
  7. Store it!  Now that you have cleared the clutter, it is time to store the remaining items.  Use what you have and shop your home for additional items.  Check out thrift stores, the dollar store or the Container Store to find things that fit your storage needs.  Or, DIY your own storage for a custom fit, to save moolah and because crafting and projecting is fun!
  8. Share it!  Blog about your projects and share them with the world!  You have just accomplished something, you should be proud!  At the end of the month, we will link up all of our projects and share the ideas and inspiration with the IHeart Organizing community!

This blog isn't just about organizing, it's about getting your hands dirty.  Whether making a tag from scrapbooking supplies or re-purposing a wine crate as cord storage or as a wall cubby.... let's dare to DIY something fun while working on our home office spaces!

To not only bring us some inspiration, but to also spark a few DIY ideas, here are a few that have recently caught my eye:

{File Cabinet Makeover}

{Cork Memo Board}

{DIY Calendar}

{Beautiful Pencil Cups}

{Mail Pockets}

So who is excited to tackle the Home Office with me?  I will be sharing a few of our projects along the way this month, but what I am most excited about is seeing yours at the end of the month during the Link Party!  What other paper pile and home office tips do you have to share to kick off the challenge?  Any projects that are working wonders for you?  How about favorite product picks that you couldn't function without?

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