Organizing Your Office 101

If you have a lot of clutter in your office, pace yourself and schedule two or three hour sessions daily or a few times a week until the project is complete.

Before you begin, clear one section of your workspace of ALL paperwork – even if this means piling it on the floor. Label file folders or boxes as follows:

To Do

Project and/or Client Files (establish these as you go along)









Sort your paperwork / clutter into each of these folders or boxes. Do not process any paperwork or browse through magazines as you sort, there will be time for this later. Once all of your paperwork is sorted into these categories, follow these guidelines:

To Do
Organize your To Do folder as follows:
• Staple or binder clip all related information together;
• Highlight pertinent information and write the deadline in the top right hand corner;
• Place the most urgent items on top.

As you process paperwork in your To Do folder, write detailed notes about the action you took, the person you spoke to, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc. and place it back in this folder if further action is required. To avoid a stack of random notes, carry sticky notes with you at all times and attach them to the corresponding paperwork. Start every day by processing at least one item in this folder.

Project / Client Files
Designate an area for current project files – the front of a file cabinet, a step file organizer on your desk or in a wall pocket. Create and staple a Project Detail sheet to the front of each file folder and check off items as they are completed.

In addition, keep a Client Profile sheet in each file. Customize the profile for your industry and include contact information, project summary and start and end dates, referred by information, charges, etc. Once the project is complete, file it alphabetically in a Client/Customer section of your filing cabinet.

A basket or magazine rack will keep reading materials off your desk. Schedule a time for reading daily or weekly so you don’t fall behind. Once you read something, file it, pass it along or recycle it. If you need to save an article for reference, clip out only the article and publication cover page for filing.

To avoid overstuffed filing cabinets, ask yourself “Do I really need to keep this?” If you own your own business, you are required to save receipts for seven years.

Keep your filing system simple and file by category. Here are some examples:

Hanging file folder labeled Receipts (by year) and archive these files at the end of the year along with your tax return.

Label file folders for this category as follows:
• Cash
• Checks
• Credit Card Statements and Receipts
• Bank Statements and Debit Card receipts.

Hanging file folder labeled Banking
Label file folders for this category as follows:
• checking account information
• credit card information

Hanging file folder labeled Resources
Label file folders for this category as follows:
• vendors
• subcontractors
• temporary help

Hanging file folder labeled Office Equipment
Label file folders for this category as follows:
• Receipts and owners manuals (tape the receipt to the owner’s manual)

Hanging file folder labeled Networking
Label file folders for this category as follows:
• Business cards and flyers
• Chamber / networking group handbooks

Archive and purge files at least once a year.

Before recycling paper, shred documents that include personal information (social security number, bank account numbers, passwords, etc.) Hire a shredding company for large quantities of paperwork.

Pass Along
If you come across items that would be of interest to your colleagues or friends, mark the item accordingly and mail it or schedule time to drop it off.

Donate / Consignment
If it is not broken, and you haven’t used it in one year, consider donating it to a local charity or take it to a consignment shop. Keep a bag or box in a conspicuous place at all times. When it is full, place it your car so you don’t forget to drop it off next time you pass the shop.

If you’re still undecided about some items, put them in this folder or box, date it and review it again in two months.

If your stacks are creating a fire hazard, it’s time to re-define garbage and reconsider what you keep. If your clutter is too much for the curb, consider renting a dumpster.

Either remove all personal items from your office or establish a section on your desk with a decorative box or basket or a portion of your file cabinet for these items.

In summary
• If everything has a “home” in your office, and you diligently place items in their “homes”, it will not end up on a stack.

• Set clutter limits for everything. For example, limit the amount of reading materials to one box – when that box is full, you need to purge.

• Schedule one or two hours a week to file and tend to your To Do file to stay organized.

• Edit and purge on a regular basis.

If you need help, we can either help you get started or see the project through to completion.

Sassy Spaces, Inc.
708.301.7474 Phone/Fax 630.207.8282 Cell


About sassyspacesinc

Sassy Spaces takes you from mess to success with a unique blend of Professional Organizing and Interior Re-Design services. We clear the clutter and add creative elements for a functional, as well as a beautiful space for work or play. We help our clients save time and money and decrease their frustration while increasing their productivity. We also provide QuickBooks training and assistance for small business owners. For more information, please visit our website at
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