Posts Tagged ‘organization’

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Home Office 101

March 25, 2014

I recently was asked to speak to a group of about 50 employees who were being transitioned from a corporate office environment to working out of a home office. They were interested in where to begin in starting this next chapter of their lives. It occurred to me that many out there are finding themselves in new career choices that may involve setting up a home office. If you’ve found yourself in that position, or perhaps the set-up of the one you have needs reworked, then this is the blog for you!

Things to consider when setting up your home office include:

  • The layout of your work space: Did you know that “L” and “U” shaped desks are the most efficient work spaces? It’s best to break down your surface area into two–an “equipment wing” and a “free wing.” Be sure to have adequate indirect and direct lighting. Do not trust the recessed canned lighting in your ceiling to provide enough illumination to your tiny print paperwork! And, of course, be sure to have adequate storage room. A hutch or credenza are great homes for some office supplies and files. Last, but not least, remember to limit your number of personal items. The more “business” your home office is, the greater the opportunities for tax deductions!
  • Your attitude: Decide your office hours and stick to them! Are you a night owl? Maybe your hours will be 4:00pm-Midnight. Just be sure your hours take into consideration when your client/target audience is available as well. And while the thought of not needing to change from your jammies is an attractive idea for a lazy Saturday, do not pick up that habit for your office time. Dress to go to work…even if it’s simply switching into jeans and t-shirt, get dressed! As an aside, a recent study showed that we are much more efficient when we wear a sweater. Hello Mr. Rogers!
  • Office supplies: as Joan Rivers would say, “Can we talk?” Listen, warehouse stores may offer you an amazing deal on paper clips, but unless you are creating new garland for your Christmas tree, do you really need 5,000 clips on hand? Be realistic in what you will use over a 3-month period. Then when supplies are low, replenish, but don’t go crazy. Storage space is valuable real estate in your home office; treat it wisely. Store your supplies, like things together, in labeled, clear storage to keep them tidy.
  • Files: the least-loved task in an office is typically filing. So, the better your files are set up, the easier that chore becomes. Be sure to set up action files (ie bills to pay, calls to make, pending response, etc.), project files, and tickler files. Think of “filing” when establishing your electronic organization as well. Most email systems provide the ability to have folders set up… USE THEM!
  • The Four D’s: For any item that comes across your desk, whether it’s paper or an email, do one of the following: Delete (or trash), Delegate (give it to whomever should take care of it), Do It (if it will take you about 5 minutes or less to handle it, then do it now!), Defer It (for the items that will take a little longer to handle, or can wait).
  • TURN IT OFF: This is my favorite advice! We have so many distractions in our work day…if there is a way to control them, take advantage of it. Turn off the automatic email alerts, phone alerts, and shut your office door if possible. Schedule when you will handle email, and then stick to that schedule. Accept and/or return calls at scheduled times. The more you can do to eliminate distractions, the more you get done… period.

If you’re interested in a needs assessment to allow us to check out your home office and see how we can help you become more in control of that space, click here to schedule one. We’d love to help organize your chaos!

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The Cart Can’t Pull The Horse!

August 3, 2013

One of the firm beliefs of Organized Chaos is that you do NOT buy products to solve clutter problems until after you know exactly how much of something you have to store.  Buying a new container because it’s “cute and can surely be used for something” is like throwing gasoline on a campfire.  That cute container has now just become part of your clutter problem instead of the solution!

Gift Wrap Closet–Before

This belief was reinforced during one of this week’s projects for a whole-home organization.  Our client had purchased an Elfa system from The Container Store for gift wrap, but then did not follow through with setting it up to be a storage solution; thus, it had become part of the clutter.

Gift Wrap Closet--After

Gift Wrap Closet–After

After emptying the entire closet contents, grouping like things together, and adding a few missing components (a drawer organizer, melamine tops, label holders, and labels), this closet is a gift-wrappers dream!  We were also able to use some bins that had been emptied in other rooms for storage solutions.  Now, in this gift wrap closet, everything has its place, and there’s a place for everything.

If your space has more problems than solutions, click here to schedule a complimentary needs assessment.  We look forward to organizing your chaos!

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Lucy… you have some ‘splainin’ to do….

May 30, 2013

If you’ve ever looked into hiring a Professional Organizer, you may have noticed that many of them recommend working in three- or four-hour increments. If you follow us here or on our Facebook page, you may have seen tips instructing you to set a timer for 15, 20, or 30 minutes to tackle some of your clutter. We can hear you now, “Wait a minute! Three or four hours for the professionals but only 15 minutes for me? Please explain!”

There are a few factors that explain the time recommendations and why they are different:

  1. When you are faced with an overwhelming amount of clutter to tackle on your own, it is recommended that you set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes to focus on a portion of the clutter regularly, either each day or week… whatever is going to work for you. The smaller amount of time is recommended so that the task doesn’t seem so impossible. If it was recommended that you schedule four hours per week to catch up on filing paperwork or clearing out the master closet, you may decide (and possibly already have) to keep living with the clutter longer instead.
  2. When you invest in a Professional Organizer, you’re not only investing in their time, you’re investing in their expertise and skill. There is preparation time put into each appointment. It’s a better investment in their time if you have their help for a “chunk” versus one or two hours. It’s also a better use of their time if they prepare for a four-hour job than if they prepare for two separate two-hour jobs. And of course it saves on their fuel cost for traveling to your location.
  3. By selecting a Professional Organizer who specializes in your organization challenge, i.e. garages or paperwork, the value of those three- or four-hour sessions increases exponentially as they are able to do so much more in less time.
  4. A byproduct of investing in a Professional Organizer is that you also acquire organization skills through the process.

Of course, no matter how much time you devote to getting organized, it’s better than none at all. So if that kitchen counter is driving you crazy because it’s covered in clutter, set a timer now for 20 minutes and do what you can. Or, if you’re ready to not only get the clutter off of your counter but also get your kitchen organized to avoid the clutter in the future, call us. As always, we look forward to organizing your chaos!

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Message in a Bottle

July 24, 2012

I recently discovered this interesting story about a message in a bottle returned to its sender after 35 years. It started me thinking, if you could send a message that your future self would receive 35 years from now, what would it say? What would you want those 35 years to look like? Will they be filled with clutter and the eternal stress caused by the fruitless desire “to get organized one of these days”? Do you want to look back on that constant struggle with clutter and see that it was stealing your time away from your children, your vacation time, or just plain, well-deserved rest?

So many clichés come to mind, among them:  “life is short,” “carpe diem,” and “live for today.” Yet, even though these statements are quoted so often, we are still so busy working around–and going through–our STUFF, we can’t really benefit from their wisdom.

In a recent article in the Boston Globe, researchers have discovered that “Managing the volume of possessions is such a crushing problem in many homes that it elevates levels of stress hormones for mothers.” I have clients who can attest that fathers are unhealthily affected just as badly.

So, go forward 35 years and look back to what those years look like for you. If you can’t see the rest because of the stress, call us 469-323-5220. Let us help organize your chaos! 

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