Resolution # 1 ~ Organizing Your Home Office - La Vida del Gitano Blog at - 263032

La Vida del Gitano

Resolution # 1 ~ Organizing Your Home Office 
Jan. 5, 2012 6:48 am 
Updated: Jan. 18, 2012 3:01 am
Welcome to 2012!

Is organizing your home office space high on your Resolutions List for this year? I bet it ranks right up there with the "vowing not to look like a stuffed sausage in your beach wear this year" resolution...

But never fear, organizing a home office isn't as daunting (as overcoming the stuffed sausage look anyway) when you have the tools and know-how to overcome your clutter.

This blog has come about as I was challenged by Redneck Gramma to write a book on organizing a home office, partly because I really need to organize my own and what can I say, I love a challenge!
Did you know that 50% of all households have at least one member of the family that works from home or has a home office space?  and that being productive is a direct result of being organized?  and being organized can lead you to more money? So...what are you waiting for?

The first step in being organized is to CLEAR CLUTTER....clutter is the bane of all work from homer's.  It is insidious in nature minute it isn't there, and then overnight (or two or three or twenty-seven) you can't find your computer mouse one morning and you blame the cat.

What makes up clutter?  Endless little pieces of paper, 'notes' to ourselves about whatever it is we need to do and when, files heaped upon one another looking like a ready made diving board into your cuppa joe for your pet guinea pig.  Bills that have been paid as well as ones waiting for your bank account to deem them worthy enough to be paid....all this paper truly gets in the way of productivity.  Not to mention all the little things that you use in a home office.. i.e. staplers, staples, paperclips, pens, pencils, markers, scissors, stickynotes, etc... all stuffed in random locations or laying around waiting for their time in the limelight.

So to clear all this clutter, you need to answer a few questions....

What do I need to keep?

What can I keep it in?

How can I keep clutter from taking over after a clean sweep? 

Start off first with sorting all your writing instruments, stapler, staples, etc., and invest in some trays and holders from your local office supply store and designate a space/holder for all these items. 

Next, clean out ALL the desk drawers, start from scratch, vacuum the dust bunnies out of them and wash them down, now place all the holders you just placed all your implements in and organize them by drawer as to how often you use them (for pens/pencils. etc, you may want to keep a cup holder on your desk, but they can equally be kept in a drawer, out of sight), top drawer gets the frequently used items and so forth.

Files and Paper ~ Do you really need to keep all that paper? In this day and age of technology, almost everyone has a printer/scanner/copier, if not, invest in one, the prices of these machines are very affordable and also an expense item on your tax sheet :).  Now scan and store the documents that are a MUST-HAVE on your computer's hard drive (remember to have a back-up location set in place, talk with a computer techie to get a back-up system up and running to avoid data loss), then SHRED the hard copies.  Shredding hard copies will make an immediate difference in the space you have.

If you MUST keep hard copies, utilize colour-coded file folders and have a place OUTSIDE of your home office space to store them (invest in Banker's Boxes, as they make great storage boxes for files and can be kept in your basement / crawlspace with easy access).  Colour code files by category, such as green for financial, blue for personal, red for utilities, etc., keep the most recent files (12 months and under) in a file cabinet in your office, anything older is relegated to the Banker's Boxes in the basement.  If you do not have a file cabinet, invest in one, they will be easier to find than combing through mountains of them stacked on your desk.

Mailings & Labellers ~ If you are in sales and tend to do a lot of mailings, invest in a label printer that allows you to save all your contacts, then you can just set it to print and away you go.  Have a specific drawer just to hold all your envelopes, labels, stamps.

Electronic Appointment Organizer ~ If you are still in the dark ages of the 80's and do not own a Blackberry/Android/iPhone or Email Program, it is time to drag yourself at least into the early 2000's.  You do not need the calendar on the wall with a million sticky notes stuck to it and your computer screen, organize your appointments in an electronic calendar.  Synchronize these with other family members who are sure to have the same devices (especially the younger family members who have saved their paper route money to buy the latest/greatest gadget) so everyone is on the same page about daily life and to also keep your work appointments organized.  My Blackberry is worth it's teeny weight in gold to me, I set reminders on to-do's and have all my appts logged in it as well as my full business contact list (just make sure you back up your PDA regularly to avoid losing valuable data).

Computer CD's, etc. ~ I don't know about you, but I seem to have one very full desk drawer designated to hold all the computer programs that have been purchased over the years.... I mean some of these pre-date Windows 95!  Sit and go through them all and keep only the most relevant ones and toss the remainder into the garbage.  Then grab an empty shoe box, label and store all these CD's in with your file boxes in the basement....and voila! an extra drawer just became available to hide your chocolate stash!

Books/Shelving ~ if you have a book-case or closet, invest in wicker bins/decorative baskets to hold bulkier items and sort through all the books and banish the ones you no longer need/want to a re-use centre.  You don't need to keep every single Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys novel you ever read from your youth taking up valuable shelf space.  Keep only what is relevant to your business life at this point in time.

Decor ~ lastly, home offices need not be sterile and boring.  Paint the room a colour that suits your personality, if you like purple - go purple!  If you are more of a beige person, then add splashes of colour by selecting bright window treatments or chair cushions for some added zing.  Having a pleasant space to work in also makes you more productive!

Once you have pared down, tossed, recycled and organized your home office space, keeping it that way is simple.  Be diligent in taking 5 to 10 minutes at the end of every day to sort, store or shred items so that when you 'leave the office' at the end of the day, it looks exactly how you found it in the morning.

So I ask you again... what are waiting for?!  Get yourself moving to a more organized and productive YOU!

Now if any of you have any other comments or suggestions that would also be helpful in organizing your home office space ~ I would love to hear them!

All the Best to You for 2012!

Jan. 5, 2012 7:18 am
100% perfect! Great advice for all of us and couldn't be more timely for that first of the year purge that WE all like to do.
Jan. 5, 2012 7:31 am
I love this! I love organization! I need to work on clothes closets and dresser drawers. It feels so good to clean out and clean up!
Jan. 5, 2012 7:36 am
If I didn't know better I'd swear you dropped in and looked at my stacks of papers. That's another goal this year-sort the paper and I've even started on it. Your tips covered everything beautifully, the only tip I can add is for a arty/crafty space-pegboard. I have a crafty corner/office in the basement and when I brightly painted the space, I decided the same pegboard I use in the garage to hold my gardening tools would work to help organize inside tools, dried flowers, clipboards etc. It works great for me and now I can put everything back in its spot when I've finished using it. Great blog!!
Jan. 5, 2012 8:10 am
Surprisingly I have most all my stuff filed for a change. I have a desk with hanging files that I keep the years stuff in. At the end of the year I de-file, string wrap it and it goes to a box in the attic. Sometimes I have to file 6 months worth to catch up before that, but I did pretty good this year. I do have all the staplers etc in an organizer in the drawer, but the desk is looking a little paper messy. Thanks for the reminder to kick my butt into gear, I need to get my space cleaned up!
Jan. 5, 2012 8:24 am
"Neat" blog Gitano.
Jan. 5, 2012 9:57 am
ha ha bd-good one. Great blog Gitano, I am glad you took me up on it. I did not expect one so soon. Since I painted the house before Christmas and moved my desk and computer from the living room (had the computer in a general area as the boys were growing so I could see what they were doing) to the spare room. The move eliminated clutter, so did painting the house. I have a filing cabinet, pen cup, tool trays and love it all. I use green folders for accts receivable as gree=moola for me, and of course red for accounts payable (bye bye moola). When I found the colour coded files at Staples, I did a small happy dance, apart from the file headings, I could now glance into the file drawers and find what I needed quickly. I also have a drawer on my large dest for immediate files, eployee info, etc. RNGrampa bought and assembled a large corner desk for me. I have many personal items around it-gifts and homemade crafts from the boys growing up, painted pictures from my artisitic sister and wonderful treasures sent to me from my AR gals-love you all and your gifts sit on shelves, etc on my desk. I do not use my phone as I should, I prefer to look at a paper calendar than to back up my phone, and the battery never dies on paper:) I have work boot boxes downstairs labelled with the year for business and personal expenses. After 10 years shred the darn things. They say to save for 7, I save for 10 then let them go. I am good at filing and removing all files when I do year end, and have noticed that my desk stays cleaner since I moved to an office, rather than the living room. It is now my space. I also like to have a 3 tier letter holder for things that need to be done-bills, renewals, and things that need to be signed-like papers from school. This way I can send anyone with papers into the room and say -place it on the first shelf, etc. Then I can find what needs to be done now, then file it or shred it. Everyone should own a shredder, take the shredded material and toss it into compost. Highlighters are also a life saver for me and I colour code the high lighter with the files. Lastly take a funny pic or anything that makes you laugh and set it my computer monitor-so when it blue screens you look at the funny and remember life is too short to take everything seriously. I have a sign above my desk, made by love from someone dear to me----Never count your good deeds, just do them and smile. They are done from the heart and should never be used as ammunition.
Jan. 5, 2012 10:00 am
wow, that was a book with a few typos, but you get the drift. Thanks for organizing us. Now point me to this blog when I am pulling my hair out, trying to do year end in a few weeks:D
Jan. 5, 2012 10:01 am
...which will be right about the time you are broiling on the beaches of Mexico:P
Jan. 5, 2012 10:05 am
LMAO! RNG - I think your 'novel' is about as long as my blog! :D I am SO glad you took the opportunity to move your office and get yourself organized! Sounds like you don't need any of my great advice! :P and yes, I am soooooo looking forward to broiling on the beaches of Mexico... 13 more sleeps! :)
Jan. 5, 2012 10:05 am
bd.weld.... I groaned at that one! LOL!
Jan. 5, 2012 10:07 am
Avon ~ yes, we all need a fire lit under our tooshies every once in a while to get things cleaned up! swchef ~ glad you are a neat freak! it just makes life so much easier when you are not harried and frustrated looking for something! :)
Jan. 5, 2012 10:08 am
Cat Hill ~ I was NOT peaking! I swear! ;) the peg board is agreat idea for craft stuff, my office doubles as my sewing room, so one side is work, the other is recreation/creation...usually the sewing side is a little messier :P
Jan. 5, 2012 10:08 am
Sass ~ I don't mind kickin yer butt into gear! Someone has to do it! :D
Jan. 5, 2012 10:09 am
RNG ~ BTW, LOVE the sign that you have hanging above your desk - it is PERFECT! :)
Jan. 5, 2012 1:15 pm
Great tips, Gitano, with a hat-tip to RNG. :) I have a tip to add. Never touch a piece of paper more than once! Open all mail/incoming paper at a set time every day, and immediately act on it. File it, scan it, copy it, do whatever you need to do with it, but do it now. Then store or shred it and mark it off your to-do list. Same goes for email. Answer it and either delete it or file it in it's appropriate email folder. My Mac lets me set appointments from within the email itself, without going to my calendar and making an entry. I'm betting Windows lets you do the same. Set up an eBanking account to pay all your bills, then when you open it, go pay it (set the due date as the payment date) and shred or file the bill. No need to buy stamps or get out your checkbook, yea! Can you tell I HATE paper? LOL
Jan. 5, 2012 1:44 pm
Great blog, Miss G!! Great ideas for everyone!! However, I'm gonna work on the sausage in swimwear idea. Organizationally OCD here. Stand still long enough and you will have a label on your forhead or a "sign here" on your a$$!! I have a spreadsheet on everything from bills to Sasquatch sitings! Staples is a toy store only second to kitchen stores. Sad really, but it works for me. Best of luck to all! It will be liberating!! :)
Jan. 5, 2012 2:40 pm
Great "How-To" blog mi amigo! And, just why is it we want to clean and purge after the Holidays? I always get into this cleaning frenzy in the new year. I love all your tips and tricks. "ZONING" is what I live and breathe by. Due to a failing memory, some years ago I read this book (which I cannot for the life of me remember) and one of things that really stuck with me was the "zoning" policy. Here's how it works: You put all of a LIKE item in the same place or area. Like camping equipment; it goes in the back of the garage and to the left on 3 shelves desginated for camping equipment. I use this method for EVERYTHING. Canned goods go on the middle shelf in the pantry.... veggies to the left, fruit to the right. Works great in my office too when I can't find things. I keep all mailing items in the same area... envelopes, stamps, letter opener, postal rate sheet, etc. So, here's why this has worked out great for me. If I can't find a thing, say scissors... I ask myself this question. What "zone" would you put the scissors? "On the craft shelf in a scissor cup." Viola.... item found. I'm actually not very organized, I just have a really bad memory.
Jan. 5, 2012 2:55 pm
As a card carrying, OCD, anal retentive person, I love all your suggestions. I use parts from each of you. My DH used to tell people that I alphabetized the cat food cans (not true, I just stacked them so no flavors repeated too soon) but when you have a large family chaos can get the best of you in no time, so being organized isn't a nice idea, it is a necessity.
Jan. 5, 2012 7:58 pm
What a great blog and very well written, but really? Give up my Nancy Drew's? Just kidding, no Nancy Drew on my bookshelves, but my sister has had the same ND books in HER bookcase since the 1950's. NOT kidding!
Jan. 6, 2012 4:46 am
Lucylove ~ great tip about using your pc to set appts within email, yes, Windows mail (Outlook) lets you do the same, I use my blackberry in that aspect, but for those that don't have one, your idea is killer! :) Thanks for dropping in with your 2 cents! Much appreciated! :)
Jan. 6, 2012 4:47 am
mickdee ~ you absolutely kill me! I never know what is going to pop out of your yap! :D Shall I start calling you the Sausage Lady? ;P xoxo
Jan. 6, 2012 4:48 am
OOOO Candice!!! I lOVE your ZONE idea!!! I am going to have to re-think how I organize!!! :D Thanks SO much for providing a GREAT way of organizing!
Jan. 6, 2012 4:49 am
LOL Magnolia! I knew someone, somewhere...had the dang ND books around still! :) Thanks for popping in and giving me a giggle this morning! :)
Jan. 6, 2012 6:43 am
Great inspiration and practical ideas. Can be applied to any areas. (I'm thinking ofthe closet in my bathroom with assorted towels, products, travel items, meds, hair junk, makeup, nail junk, cleaners, etc etc. )
Jan. 6, 2012 6:44 am
I meant to say"other areas" not "any areas".
Jan. 6, 2012 7:01 am
Hi, Great blog guapa. very well organised. I always had "In","Out" and "Pending" trays with my to do list which included all pending work in the IN one. No bits of paper, a list updated every morning, manually and on computer. That way, I also never forgot the pending stuff. Salud
Jan. 6, 2012 7:26 am
Great advice, Gitano! I'm starting to clean out everything, starting with the closets. Thanks for the push in the tush!
Jan. 6, 2012 8:41 am
Candice I also love your zoning idea, BUT my memory would not help and I would need 3 pairs of scissors. One in the wrapping zone, crafting zone, sweing area and kitchen drawer. That is a very good idea, I also like to keep like things together in a spot. The spot often gets cluttered but at least it is there (somewhere)
Jan. 6, 2012 12:01 pm
Great advice, Gitano! Our office/toy/junk room is the one room I can never seem to face. I'm obsessive about my kitchen which is meticulously organized as are my closets and my bathroom. Occasionally we clear a path (literally, a space just wide enought to navigate a straight course from the door the to far end of the room), but that is the extent of it. I wonder what the line between "collecting" and "hoarding" is, lol!
Jan. 7, 2012 4:17 am
Indy Peggy ~ I have just cleared out my linen closet in the bathroom! I can't believe all the old junk that was in there! Yes, can definitely apply the above to ALL areas of the home :)
Jan. 7, 2012 4:18 am
de nada Marianne ~ glad I could be of some use! :D
Jan. 7, 2012 4:20 am
Mangel ~ Sounds like you need an 'intervention'!!! :D Gather the family and get a plan together, then put it to action! That of course is the hardest part, once you have cleared the room of clutter, post some rules and stick to them! i.e. - 'if you pull a toy out to play with, put it back where it came from when done!', etc.....
Jan. 7, 2012 8:55 am
well you'll be glad to know you have unleashed a monster. I spent yesterday afternoon dealing with the "paper" monster, and getting some organization back into this house. That's step #1 for sure. I have other areas to deal with but that was the elephant in the room that I couldn't ignore any longer. Thanks for inspiring me to get off my rear and get it in gear. I can breathe a huge sigh of relief now, not to mention feeling like the fire department wont be scolding me for all but leaving a lit match to the gas can....
Jan. 7, 2012 9:00 am
The garage is the next big project. Are you having Neil write that blog with his tips or are you doing that one too?
Jan. 7, 2012 11:14 am
Avon ~ so glad I was the bearer of your inspiration/motivation that banished your procastination! :D Doesn't it feel great to get stuff like that accomplished? for the fire just blew your chance to see some beefcake...boy is Mom gonna scold you :P
Jan. 7, 2012 11:16 am
Oops..forgot about the garage statement... nope, hubs is not going to be writing/helping with that topic... I stay out of the garage, that is 'his domain'...I only go there when I need to put the garbage/recycling in the bins or put in/take out my car :) Nothing of 'mine' is in there, it is all his tools and stuff :P
Jan. 8, 2012 3:10 am
Yikes! It didn't cross my mind to TRY to look like the Sausage Lady! Boy, that would be liberating but kinda embarrassing this winter. And aren't you due for a holiday south of the border?
Jan. 8, 2012 6:36 am
What a terrific tutorial. Between you and RNG, there is no excuse for my paper trail. Thanks so much for the inspiration. Maybe I can be clutter free by the time my May blowout arrives. BTW I frequently rec. the for anyone who needs to get their house back on track. They do a great job of walking you through the everyday chores that need to be done. Thanks again Gitano & RNG.
Jan. 9, 2012 3:43 am
mickdee ~ yes, 9 more sleeps to Mexico!!! :D
Jan. 9, 2012 3:44 am
mauigirl ~ you are welcome! and I think I heard of a long time ago and forgot about it! Thanks for bringing it to the forefront again! :)
Jan. 9, 2012 8:24 pm
Thanks! This is timely and valuable exchange of information.
Jan. 10, 2012 4:46 am
Mamaw1 ~ Glad you could use the info! we all need to get ourselves organized after the Xmas Chaos! :)
Jan. 11, 2012 3:19 am
Will you come here and do mine for me pretty please?!!!
Jan. 11, 2012 3:42 am
:D Trishie ~ I will come and help you ANYTIME! xoxo
Jan. 11, 2012 7:23 pm
kinda thought this was a food blog
Jan. 11, 2012 8:58 pm
How can you cook if you aren't organized? Sharing talents is a good thing!
Jan. 12, 2012 4:11 am
Chefjohn ~ am I missing something here? where does it say I have to blog about food? If you participate in the 'Buzz' you would know that plenty of people post OT (Off Topic) subjects about anything and everything....I am sharing my organizational ideas for those that want to start their New Year off with a relative subject, which CAN be applied to your kitchen, not just a home office...and thank you Mamaw1 for sharing your point!
Jan. 12, 2012 4:24 am
Ha Ha Ha! I'm still chuckling over the "stuffed sausage"! Anyway, great blog. Started organizing yesterday. Today is a snow day so will have to wait for tomorrow to get back to it. Great ideas. Thanks!
Jan. 12, 2012 11:00 am
Thanks Mattsbelly! glad I could make you giggle thinking about stuffed sausage :D Good for you on starting to organize too! snowday? we are still waiting to see some in my part of the country...normally we should have at least 4-6 inches on the ground and temps well below freezing...but this past month has been so mild the grass is still green! crazy weather!
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About Me
I am a Real Estate Agent (visit, A Mom to two grown kids, A Wife and I love to collect recipes! I have so many creative outlets at the is a wonder I have time to work :) I knit all kinds of things, I design, create and sew custom-made Aprons, Totes & Vacation Handbags ~ for further info, please visit, I also JUST (Oct/13) purchased a loom and am learning how to weave AND I blog my heart out at I used to blog here on AR but felt the need to compile everything into one site, cooking, sewing, crafts, DIY, and funny cr@p that happens to me at our cottage and life in general. So pop on by and say hello!
My favorite things to cook
BBQ Chicken Penne Pasta - my husband ADORES it! Anything with rice or pasta, along with a killer bbq chicken pizza!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Easter Paska bread - my kids pester me every year to make it! It takes all day but well worth it.
My cooking triumphs
Anything that turns out well! ;)
My cooking tragedies
When I first got married many years ago, we got our first microwave and I attempted to cook carrots in a corningware dish with a glass lid...anyway, I inadertantly set the timer for 25 minutes and went out in the backyard, next thing I knew the glass lid of the corningware was a molten mass and the carrots had turned into little charcoal briquettes! My husband has never let me hear the end of that one! :)
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