It is important to remember that how you organize your office will determine the ease of work flow as well as retrieval of important items when you need them. Remember that organizing your office or any space is a process. That means that it takes dedicated time and a clear vision of how you want it to look and function. It also means that you will need to maintain and use that system regularly. Let’s fast forward to the part where you’ve already purged everything that you think you don’t need to keep. Now it’s time to sort all of the contents in the office. Sorting is the first step to getting an organizing system in place.
Step 1 – Supplies you will need before you begin sorting items:
• Sticky note pads – these can be used to label piles
• Writing pad – create a list of categories as you go along; revise as needed; refer to this if you want to print labels later on
• Pencil and eraser
• A clear surface to work on, preferably a table or counter top (Note: the floor is okay if you have a healthy knees and back)
• Bags or containers for trash, recycling and shredding. OIOM TIP: shred later, not during the process; your goal is to get organized not shred!
Step 2 – Decide on your categories for sorting; Make quick decisions.
• Organize each items according to general or broad categories such as: Supplies, Financial, Education, Personal, Clients, and References.
• You can identify sub-categories later on.
• Decide where to start and stick to that area before you move on. OIOM TIP: If you find things that belong in another room, create a pile, label it, and bring it to that room when you are done in the office. This will keep you from getting distracted.
• Label a spot on the organizing surface for each broad category. Sort 1 item at a time into the broad category pile. Try not to labor over your decisions and instead, make them as quickly as possible. If you are struggling over which pile to put it in, go with the one that you are most likely to associate with that item.
• Move around the office space 1 area at a time until you’ve done everything. OIOM TIP: Always being with your office surfaces rather than inside of the drawers and files.