What is a home office? A home office can serve different purposes for different families. For some, it may be that room where you work on that spreadsheet and presentation for your boss from home! For other, it may be that room that you write a novel. For yet others, it may be just that corner of the living room where you pay bills or write greeting cards. A home office is only successful if it helps the owner be productive and efficient at accomplishing the tasks that one sets out to do in that room.
As with other spaces, the home office is governed by the principle that similar items need to be stored together for practical and aesthetic reasons. In other words, keep all bills with bills, all paper with paper, all pens with pens, and so on.
Fast & Fabulous Filing: Creating a Smart System
The first consideration in any home office is the seemingly unending trail of paper that becomes a part of our lives (and winds up in our house). Even if you pay your bills electronically, you likely have more paper coming into your house on a daily basis than you know what to do with it. You need to create a system that processes all your paperwork simply and effectively.
First, we will divide all the papers into logical categories, and then into subcategories. We will use file folders for the specific subcategories, and put all the associated folders into the same drawer. We will label the drawers and the file folders. Within each folder, we will organize the papers chronologically with the most recent documents in the front and the oldest in the back.
Start by getting a filing cabinet or a desk with a filing drawer in it, unless of course you already have one. If necessary, you could also use a set of filing folders and put the folders in a dedicated box. Some personal administrative categories that you may want to use include:
- Medical records
- Mortgage/housing records
- Credit card bills
- Utility bills
- Miscellaneous bills
- Tax returns
- Insurance policies
Organizing the documents as they come into your house into the correct and appropriate folder is actually not difficult or time-consuming. After a few times, it will become a cinch to sort your mail. Make sure that anybody helping you organize your papers is well aware of the document filing system.
To view the rest of the posts in the Home Organization Series, please click here.