By Nell Taliercio
Without the structure of an office outside of our homes, it is
easy to scatter anything work related all over the house. We
still need to complete our work in a timely and efficient
manner. After all, the less time we spend working, the more
time we have with our family. An organized home office will
make for a faster and more pleasant workday. Here are a few
ideas to get you and your home office organized.
1) Do you have a home office? You don’t necessarily need an
entire room, but you should have a well-defined space to
contain all your office essentials and files.
A desk in your bedroom that will hold your files, paper, pens,
calculator and of course computer will do fine, especially in
If your “office” consists of the dining room table, some of
drawers in your kitchen, a file cabinet in the basement and
computer in the bedroom, you may want to think about
everything in one spot.
Are you spending a lot of time searching for a particular
document, running from room to room to find it? Consider
all your files and papers to one central location, preferably
close to the computer if that’s where you are doing the bulk
2) Keep your personal files and papers separate from your
You will eventually have enough paperwork to deal with without
having your personal bills, magazines and the kids’
after-school schedule mixed in there. Create a separate spot
for those somewhere outside of your home office space.
3) Create a file system that works for you. Remember, you may
be working for someone else, but when it comes to your home
office, you are your own boss.
Think about how you look for a particular file or piece of
paper. What will be the easiest way for you to find it? Then
create a file system that works for you. Don’t worry, if you
don’t get it right the first time, you can always resort and
try again. Sooner or later you will come up with a system that
is “just right” for you.
4) Take a good look at your work area. Do you have piles of
papers, files, mail, floppy discs and CDs lying around? Do you
notice anything else piling up? Set aside a few hours and put
everything away. Use your new file system and find “homes” for
5) Now that you have your office organized, set aside a few
minutes at the end of your workday to keep it that way. Try to
“leave work” for the day with a clean, empty desk. You will
appreciate it the next morning. This will also prevent you
ever coming across a huge pile of papers again.
6) Add a personal touch to your office. Bring in some pictures
of the kids; add some pretty plants, inspirational quotes, or
anything else you can think of that will make your office a
pleasant place to work in. In addition to getting and keeping
you in a good mood whenever you step in your office, you are
more likely to keep it clean and organized if it is a place
treasure. So splurge a little on some special office décor.
7) Let’s talk about the files on your computer. You can waist
just as much time searching for an online document as for a
piece of paper. If your computer is used for work as well as
for personal use, create a work folder and use subfolders for
particular employers, projects etc.
Again, come up with a file system that works for you and keep
your work files separate from your personal files. This is
particularly important if other family members access the
computer as well. If that’s the case, and you are using
XP, I strongly recommend setting up a separate user account
for work and password protecting it. This will prevent other
family members from accidentally changing or deleting your
8) In addition to your regular files, you also want to keep
your emails organized. Let’s be honest, we have all wasted
searching for a particular email that contained some vital
information we needed fast. Setting up folders for different
clients and projects has worked well for me, but again find a
system that works for you and stick with it. Sort the email as
soon as you read it. It only takes a second or two to drop it
in the appropriate folder, but will save you a lot of time if
you have to find it later.
9) Now that you have a good filing system (both physical and
digital) in place, set aside a little time every few months
weeks if appropriate) to purge your files. We can quickly
accumulate a lot of documents both in our file cabinet and on
our hard drive that we no longer need. At the very least, try
to purge your files twice a year.
10) Now that your office is organized, you may also want to
take a look at organizing your time. Again, come up with a
system that works well for you.
I encourage you to start with a few of these ideas to get your
office and yourself more organized. You will be surprised by
how much time you will save not searching for files, papers or
the stapler. Before long, you won’t know how you ever
functioned without an organized home office.
About The Author: Nell Taliercio is the owner and founder of
www.TelecommutingMoms.com – which is a leading resource
website with work at home jobs and everything a telecommuting
mom would need. Come visit us today!