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Five Ways to Organize Your Home Office for Under $50

Owning a home office can be an inexpensive investment with these easy tips. See more home office decor pictures.
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Reams of paper piling up? Towering files threatening to tip? Pens aplenty, just never around when you need one? If this sounds like the situation in your home office, you're in serious need of some organizational know-how.

Having trouble locating an important document or tracking down the phone number of a key contact can be critical factors in the success of an entrepreneurial endeavor. So to get your ducks in a row, try these five tips that are sure to have you breathing a sigh of relief while sparing your bottom line.

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If you're looking to increase the organization in your home office, a wastebasket is your best friend. That's because one of the biggest issues in home-office organization stems from an overabundance of paper. Some things should be saved and filed away, but others should go straight in the trash - or, better yet, the recycling bin. It's important to learn what needs holding on to and what doesn't.

So, although you likely already own a wastebasket, start being a little more generous in what you feed it. If you somehow overlooked this must-have while setting up your home office, by all means purchase one that's solely dedicated to your work area -- cheap ones will only set you back about $10.

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And don't forget to check your city or county guidelines for obtaining recycling bins.

One of the most important purchases you can make to organize your home office is a file cabinet. Everything that doesn't go in the garbage should go here, and the best strategy is to do it right away. Dealing with things as they come up -- all the way from start to finish -- is a great way to improve productivity and up your organization.

Even though a file cabinet takes a big chunk of change out of our $50 budget, consider splurging a little of the surplus on color-coded folders. They're handy for making files easy to find, and you can never go wrong with labels. These are both sound solutions that help keep important information at your fingertips.

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Apart from a filing cabinet, it's also a smart idea to have a desktop file-sorting system. When it comes to stuff that isn't ready to be archived -- separate it into different stacks. One can be for things that have just come up, one for things you've started to deal with and put on hold, and one for things that have to wait in line.

There are lots of products available for under $20 that can fit the bill here, so take your pick. Whether your style calls for a set of bins, crates or baskets -- made of wood, wire mesh, canvas, bamboo, plastic or metal -- you'll be able to find what you need and stay on budget.

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Scribbled notes can get lost in a hurry, so having a memo board gives them a place to call home. Someone leave a message? Tack up the details of their call if you can't get back to them that instant. Got a conference call or an online meeting that keeps slipping your mind? Write it down so you see it frequently and won't make the entrepreneurial faux pas of seeming flaky.

Some dry-erase boards are calendar style, some are stylishly fabric-covered, and others feature pegs to help keep track of keys or folding panels for additional items like directories and reference guides. Others are a combination of magnetic and write-on: perfect for families who use the home office for many different purposes.

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Best of all, all these options are easy to find for well under $50.

If it seems like you're always out of space, try going vertical with your home office organization. Shelving units - even a simple three-shelf system you assemble yourself allows you to organize files resources, computer equipment and books efficiently.

Whether you want to sort stuff chronologically, by order of importance or by frequency of use, it's easy to adapt any system if you've got the right tools. So without breaking the bank, try some of these cheap products that pack a big (organizational) punch!

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