Last Updated on March 31, 2016 by Ellen Christian
One of the biggest challenges for those that work at home is figuring out how to organize your office. For me, it’s because I don’t really have an office. I have a corner of the living room that contains my desk, computer, paperwork and supplies. While I try to keep everything neat and filed out of sight, there are times when my supplies overflow into the general living area. I would prefer that this didn’t happen because it makes the living room look cluttered and it’s harder to clean.
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How To Organize Your Office Supplies
One of the first things that I needed to come to terms with was how many office supplies I really need. There is only me in my office and I can only go through so many supplies. With the kids out of school, they no longer use my office supplies for school so I am going through them much less quickly. These steps are helping me get and stay organized.
- Choose one location. I keep my office supplies in a printer cabinet in the living room. The cabinet also doubles as a plant stand so it’s not obvious that it’s used to store office supplies. Keeping all of your supplies in one location helps prevent purchasing duplicates. If all of your pens are in one location, you will know exactly how many you have. I can’t tell you how many times I have purchased more computer paper because I couldn’t find the original package I purchased.
- Eliminate what you won’t use. While I was decluttering, I realized that I have printer ink and photo paper for a printer that I no longer have. I passed those along to someone who could use them on our local Freecycle group.
- Get rid of what isn’t good. Do you have calendars or planners that are outdated? Or markers, highlighters or pens that are dried out? If so, it’s time to get rid of them.
- Use baskets or bins. Collect similar items and store them in baskets or containers to make them easy to find. I’m a big fan of the KonMari technique of keeping similar items together. All of our pens are in one container. All of our pads of paper are stored on end in another.
- Be realistic. You don’t need to have every office supply that exists or stock up on every sale. Define what enough means to you and then stick to it. If six pens are enough, you do not need to store 36. No matter what the price is, don’t buy more until you fall below the minimum you’ve identified.
- Return things to their home. When you’re done using something, put it back where it goes. This step helps keep clutter to a minimum. When you take out your paper punch, put it back when you’re done with it. If you use a particular marker on your whiteboard, return it to the tray on the white board when you’re done using it.
Most of the time, I work from home, but I also tend to take my office with me. I answer emails at the grocery store. I’ve talked to clients while I was gardening. I’ve also started to go on trips for my blog, and while I’m traveling, I am still working. I keep office supplies with me while I’m working away from home, but I never let the amount become overwhelming or cluttered.
Ellen is a busy mom of a 24-year-old son and 29-year-old daughter. She owns six blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.