Space Takers: Home Office Edition

  • By birdie@getorganizedcolumbus.com
  • 12 Nov, 2016
Messy Desk
In our first edition of space stealers, we talked about products that eat up our precious cabinet and pantry space. But in the office, the biggest offender by far is paper, supplies and gadgets. The emphasis will be on paper though because it is something all home offices struggle with. Saying paper is a problem, though, is […] 
In our first edition of space stealers, we talked about products that eat up our precious cabinet and pantry space. But in the office, the biggest offender by far is paper, supplies and gadgets. The emphasis will be on paper though because it is something all home offices struggle with.
Saying paper is a problem, though, is an oversimplification. Let’s explore the type of paper kept and how it is maintained to get to the heart of the paper typhoon that plagues most home office spaces.
  1. Monthly Investment Statements. There was a time when we did not have access to our accounts and needed to keep the paperwork for the life span of the investment. But our accounts are available to us online. Most experts recommend that you keep the original policy and any paperwork that shows account activity, such as trade confirmations, and the year-end tax documentation. Get rid of the dense files, bankers boxes, and three-ring binders that store decades of history.
  2.  
  3. Daily Mail. The only unopened mail that needs to be kept is mail that requires action, such as bills, RSVPs, or personal notes. There should be no advertisements, flyers, and marketing materials taking up any space in your home. We suggest having a recycle bin in the office or near the area where you read the mail so these can be readily tossed.
  4.  
  5. Paid Bills. With online account review, the need to keep paid bill statements is not as necessary. But we set up many systems where these are stored for one year and purged after taxes. The key is the annual purge for keeping this paper tamed. In addition, we make it simple to file in monthly folders. Easy in. Easy out.
  6.  
  7. Cards and Photos. You may have read previous posts of mine explaining that cards are meant to celebrate moments and are not meant to be kept for a life time. Of course, there are some with personal notes that may have special meaning; but they don’t belong in the office. Cards and photos should have a home that matches your vision of ownership in the long term. Do you want to keep them in albums? Do you hope to store them and pass them on? There are a number of photo safe storage options that should keep these out of drawers and shelves.
  8.  
  9. Magazines and books. Admittedly, in the age of eEverything, this is my least favorite pile. The electronic versions are space friendly, environment friendly and convenient to keep. Give yourself some space back and let go of the outdated magazines, or the books that were just a good quick read.
  10.  
  11. Notebooks with notes in them. People hold on to these because there may be a note with some value in them. Rarely are they called upon for that note of value. It may hurt, but I can tell you unequivocally to toss them and don’t look back. You won’t miss them. Find a way to use the notes program on your phone or via an app to help keep your important info or action items available to you without taking the space.
We should also take a moment to talk about eGadgets that take up space: old phones, old computers, and that pile of cords that belong to…something. And let’s not forget the boxes that stored them! The marketing is so good that most of us keep the boxes too. Recycle the boxes and keep the product documentation if needed. There are a number of ways to recycle the gadgets and destroy hard drives as well. For example, Verizon will take old phones, and Goodwill has a program for all electronics, just to name a couple.
Take back your space! Keep your work space clear of this clutter, and watch your productivity and your mood improve!

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
By Tera Harmon 16 Nov, 2017

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.
More Posts

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
More Posts
Share by: