Now that you’ve sorted and organized everything on the surfaces of your office you are ready to go deeper! Wondering how to do this? During this step in the organizing process you are going to work in the individual drawers and files one at a time. This is generally a longer process so I recommend that you schedule a specific day and block of uninterrupted time to do this work.
Establish your goals before you begin so that you will be able to plan ahead. Overall, the goal of this process is to thin out the amount of inventory in your office drawers and files so that you are organizing only what you need and use. However, you may want to focus on some or all of the following office organizing goals:
1. Create more digital and scanned records to reduce the amount of paper documentation.
2. Change the location of items and files in order to maximize easy retrieval and access.
3. Utilize systems and strategies that are aligned with your work and learning style. Are you more visual, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic? Work from your strengths.
4. Maximize storage space including vertical and wall spaces. OIOM TIP: Save horizontal space for the work and when you are done have storage elsewhere.
5. Decrease clutter with more efficient containers, a tickler file system, or remote storage.
Supplies to have before you start organizing:
• Single tab file folders
• Hanging files
• Empty file box(-es) to hold hanging files
• Pencils, eraser
• A clear horizontal space to work on
How to Organize: Identify the drawer that you want to begin with and work only in that drawer.
• Office supplies: Take everything out of the drawer and place all of the items on to your clear work surface. Discard all trash and items in disrepair immediately. Place any item that can be donated in an empty bag or container. Add anything that can be recycled to a separate bag. You get the idea! Items that belong in other rooms should be set aside for when you are done working in the office that day. If you find that you have multiples of items, determine the quantity that needs to be put back into the drawer. No one needs 15 markers! Create a pile for surplus that you can contain and store for use later on.
• Files drawers: Empty one file drawer at a time placing each file in a standalone box for hanging files. Within each file sort as usual: discard, keep, and/or organize. OIOM TIP: I recommend single tab file folders within hanging files which allows you to label anywhere along the tab that you prefer. Each hanging file should have a labeled tab on one side or the other. Label or re-label the file folder as needed. If it no longer belongs in that category re-label it to organize later. OIOM TIP: If you have a large number of labels to make do that later. Write the labels in pencil for now. Keep your eyes on the prize…get organized, not labeled!
One final Outside In Organizer and Makeovers (OIOM) TIP: The office is a place to conduct work. I would encourage you to limit the amount of sentimental items and memorabilia to maintain a work-related environment.