Before you clean a single thing off your desk or floor, remember that you need somewhere to put all that stuff -- and some rational system for organizing everything. Chances are if you need to organize your home office in the first place, you're working in a state of partial or total clutter right now.
You can use a variety of tools to organize your office, including:
- An inbox you can use to put assignments, bills, letters and other projects on your to-do list. Remember that this isn't a permanent storage container: If a piece of paper has been sitting in your inbox for more than a couple of days, you need to either file it or trash it. While you're at it, you might want to add an outbox to handle paperwork that's finished but still needs to be filed.
- A file rack to hold current projects
- A trash basket, recycling container and shredder
- A filing cabinet
Next, establish a workflow. When a project comes in, you might start by putting it in your inbox. Within a day or two, it can move to your file rack of open projects. After the project is finished, it goes into the filing cabinet. After a couple of years (depending on your business and how long you're required to keep documentation), it should move to its final resting place -- the recycling bin.