Getting your home office in order

Giveaway Monday – Review of a service for mums in business

Sometimes it’s only when you start tackling an issue around your house, that you realise there is a deeper issue at hand. I am fantastic once I have a system in place (and yes it does need to be updated every so often) but…for me, paper was my number one issue.

home office organisation

This is where Denise Childs, Professional Organiser, from ‘Systems For Order’ stepped in and helped. Her key passion is helping women who have their own business or mums at home (who need some good systems in place). I was fortunate to review (and receive 2 hours of assistance).

Denise usually does a pre-assessment of the room/rooms that need to be tackled and then devises a strategy in advance and a list of suitable products that can be purchased, if necessary, before she comes back to address the issues. She has her pricing and various packages available on her website.

Paper..and the trails through the house

If you are like me, when you walk in the door you can leave a paper trail. Anything from the mail, to conference notes, children’s artwork can end up in several different places before it actually gets dealt with. I don’t think I actually realised it until I reflected on the path I took (good exercise to do!) The solution: Have one place where the paper is kept in the house and in this case it is our filing cabinets and a desktop filer (bought at Officeworks on Denise’s recommendation). The desktop filer is now used for filing (that used to sit on top of the printer) and things like ‘Bills to Pay” (so bills get put there immediately after being opened and now are not on the fridge).

When going all through my paperwork, I realised that my records really hadn’t been updated (i.e. filing cabinets) since I left teaching and needed to archive files and start again. Denise and I sorted piles of paper (and put sticky notes on them) so that when I bought the suspender files they could be filed straight away. I also bought some archive boxes (plastic or paper are fine) so that I could sort out past files.

Toys, and more toys

Having two young children (5 and 2 ½ years old) has left our lounge room as a playroom and my beloved bookshelf where I lovingly had all my books hiding in the garage. Denise showed me a great system for tidying this up and using plastic containers (that are clearly labeled) to help the children and myself keep things in order. Even after a week, we have managed to keep in the same system (and tidy). One beneficial thing that she did do was to use her iPad to take images of ‘Before’ and ‘After’. Seeing the before shots of the bookshelf and then what it looked like after will be a visual reminder of NOT to get back to that state.

Denise’s Top 5 Tips for Order in your Home Office

1. Keep all your like items together e.g. writing materials, batteries, envelopes, etc. This not only saves you time when looking for something (you only have to look in one place not three!), it helps with stock control.

2. Remove unwanted or unused items from your desk and office. If it is not being used it is clutter and taking up valuable space. Archive at regular intervals to free up valuable storage space to keep your office streamlined. A clutter free desk is a clutter free mind and helps you concentrate on the tasks to hand.

3. Get rid of the In Tray. It is a black hole of forgotten memos, invitations, reports, etc. Instead create individual files for these items, and label them. As soon as a document enters your office place it in a relevant file to be dealt with in due course. This saves you time as you only need look in this one place instead of shuffling through piles regularly.

4. Remember filing is not about shoving old papers into a filing drawer; it is about the quick and easy retrieval of information. Establish a good filing system so you can lay your hands on the item you need immediately.

5. Time management is the key ingredient to getting things done and being successful. Make a To Do list at the end of each day, ready for the next day, so you can hit the ground running in the morning.

home office organisationA little more about Denise Childs, Systems for Order

After many years in large corporate environments as an Executive Personal Assistant, I established and managed a successful home-based consulting office while raising three children.   I am now able to draw on my combined 25 years’ experience in office and home management in my Professional Organising business to help busy families gain control of their lives and their homes.

home office organisationReviewed by Megan Iemma, Teach Coach HQ

Tech Coach and “IT” girl Megan Iemma is a thought leader in the world of technology and its uses.
An educator and technogeek, Megan combined her passions for education and technology and founded Tech Coach HQ working with businesses and their teams to improve processes and embrace the productivity technology has to offer.

The giveaway:

One lucky mum in business will win a two hour professional organising service focusing on de-cluttering and streamlining systems for efficiency in the home or home office. To be done in person (dependant on location) or via Skype.

To win, simply leave a comment to the question below by Friday 22 November 2013.

What’s the biggest organisational challenge you have in your office?

home office organisation

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12 Responses to Getting your home office in order

  1. Liz says:

    Being creative person, I am a little “relaxed” when it comes tp filing and organising my office. Its ordered chaos and i think i know where everything is until the 3 year tornado comes in and stuff goes everywhere and I am forced to deal with my paper trails!! I need better systems with paper!!!

  2. Trish says:

    My kitchen table is my “office” and I am forever drowning in both business and personal paperwork where our home and business collide! Mix that with kids toys/artwork/random items found from nature placed on my “desk” and it truly is chaotic! I would desperately LOVE some help finding an efficient and uncluttered way to organise everything.

  3. Robyn Bishop says:

    Paper is definitely my biggest challenge! :) My piles and piles of papers! I’m drowning in it! :/

  4. Jessica says:

    Piles of paperwork, lack of filing and systems in place to stay organised!

  5. Melanie Carter says:

    There is never enough hours in the day! But a challenge that can realistically be addressed: paperflow, but specifically what to keep/cull & filing categories :)

  6. Oh my goodness you must have been seeing my house whilst you wrote it. I walk in my house and it is amazing how things are getting dumped and now to the point where the kids simply just drop things where they feel like it. Paper is everywhere and I am struggling to find some form of order. Thanks for the blog :)

  7. Karen Johns says:

    My filing is my biggest organisational challenge, for sure! I have different trays for intray, finances tray, response required tray, and filing tray. Trouble is my filing tray is empty because I never seem to get around to dealing with the other trays so they can even move to the filing tray. Plus there really isn’t a home for them to go to even if they do reach the filing tray. The really important stuff tends to avoid my trays at all and get pinned in layers on my pinboard in front of my desk. Trouble with that is once you get a couple of layers going, the pins start falling off. Help me, please!!!

  8. Flick says:

    Our biggest challenge is the home office which also doubles as sewing room, and photography studio. We haven’t yet found a way to make the space work for everyone and stop the creep of other items ending up in there.

  9. Ramona Lever says:

    My business has grown so fast that I haven’t had a chance to change my office to suit. So my biggest organisational challenge is setting up systems so that someone else can step in and run it so I can step back.

  10. Bridget says:

    What’s the biggest organisational challenge you have in your office?

    Managing relevant information that comes into my office; both electronic & hard copies.

    This can involve sifting through numerous emails received everyday & archiving this information, managing information found through search engines searches to magazines & trade information posted directly to my office.

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