It sure is hard to keep track of all the office accessories these days. There are so many things that can pile up on a desk! Files, papers, and other general clutter — the list goes on. And if you live in an apartment, your office area may be in the same room as the living room or bedroom.
And the clutter may even overflow to other areas. To ensure that it doesn’t, it’s up to you to come up with some ways to stay organized.
Don’t worry; we have tips for you. These bright ideas will help you stay on task. After you’re through, every piece of paper and mail will have a home. You’ll also learn how to make your desk and surrounding space look pleasing to the eye.
Grab productivity by its horns! Start applying these five office organization tips STAT.
1. Back-Up Your Files
Losing your computer data is NOT a fun experience.
It can happen in a few ways. Maybe someone steals it or the hardware malfunctions.
Either way, losing data on your computer can be catastrophic. Not to mention, it can cost a lot of money to fix your computer and even more if you have to replace it.
Don’t allow this to happen to you.
To prevent a disaster before it happens, invest in an external hard drive. That way, you’ll have your files on another drive in case your computer malfunctions. Or, you can back up your files on a file hosting service online such as Dropbox or Google Docs.
Do whatever it takes to keep your files safe and backed up. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your data are correctly stored.
2. Sort Your Mail in an Accordion File
It’s too easy for a mail to pile up. Instead of ignoring your mail and forgetting it, create a designated mail station.
Here’s one way to create a practical mail station: invest in an accordion file. Make sure the accordion file you select has a place for labels and a separation of files.
Here are a couple of labels you can use:
- Incoming mail
- Outgoing mail
- Mail to file
Use this as a temporary holding spot for your mail. Since it’s an accordion file, it will likely fill up quickly. You’ll have to go through it regularly to keep it neat. That’s a good thing since the whole idea is not to allow your mail to pile up!
Keep the mail off your desk and in an area where you know where it is. Try to keep your files slim as opposed to bulky so that you don’t forget about any important mail.
If you’re able to go through it once a week, you’ll have better luck at keeping the stack to a minimum.
3. Clean Your Office Area Daily
It doesn’t matter where your office area is in your apartment; it’s up to you to stay after it.
So that your desk and surrounding area doesn’t become a colossal mess, come up with a plan. This plan should entail setting aside half an hour or so a week to straighten things up.
At the end of the week, look at your desk and catch the accessory stragglers. A few examples are too many pens, lip balms, sticky notes, or one too many coffee cups. Next, put them in their proper place. If they don’t have a home, find a spot for them.
But, don’t add random accessories to another junk pile, or you’ll be defeating the purpose. The idea is to stay organized. That’s why it’s essential to come up with effective ways to keep the clutter to a minimum.
If you’re a student, there might be some time between classes. Try to carve out 5–10 minutes each day to straighten things up.
Do your quick daily pickup, plus thoroughly cleaning everything at the end of the week. These techniques will help your office always stay tidy.
Straightening up your desk area will ensure you don’t miss any important mail. You would also hate to leave a vital paper behind on your desk.
4. Organize one desk drawer at a time
If you’re guilty of putting random things in your desk drawers and letting it pile up, you’re not alone.
There are some days you don’t have time to tie your shoelaces, let alone organize a desk drawer. But the problem is, if your desk area gets overwhelmed with stuff, it’s going to take away from your productivity.
Luckily, you don’t have to tackle the mess all at once. Instead, start small by going through one drawer at a time. As you sort through it all, move whatever is misplaced to another drawer. Like items should be in the same drawer.
A lot of disorganized office supplies may mean it’s necessary to sort things on the side. Take items out and start different piles, like one each for sticky notes and paper clips, for example. Slowly but surely, you’ll have a big enough pile to where you can put all your sticky notes in one drawer.
You’re bound to find items that are no longer useful, such as old papers or pens that no longer work, or a bunch of cough drops from when you were last sick. Get rid of them or move them to another spot in your apartment.
Invest in some clear organizer trays to help you sort your supplies and accessories so you can easily find them.
Keep things separate and simple to locate, and life will be a lot easier.
5. Go Through Your Emails
Office organization isn’t only about keeping the space where you work organized. It’s also about what occupies your time on your computer, such as email.
We all know how easy it is to get stuck with a ton of emails. All of a sudden, you can get hammered with emails from professors or friends.
Add that to the promotional emails you get from your favorite stores. Oh no, your email is entirely jam-packed!
First of all, you need to stop checking your email on your phone or computer every five minutes. Checking your email all the time is taking away from your productivity.
Second, create a list of your major to-dos as you read emails. Sometimes pinning an email to the top of your inbox isn’t enough.
Here are a few things you can do to improve the email chaos:
- Write down which tasks you need to do that day in a planner or a reminder app.
- Check emails that hit your inbox daily.
- Don’t allow the important ones to pile up.
- Don’t get distracted by promotional emails.
Different email platforms have various ways to organize your email. Here’s an example: If you have Gmail, organize your email by Primary, Social, Promotions, and Updates.
Improving your office space can be a lot of fun once you have the right tools in place. Sometimes keeping everything in the right spot is challenging, but you’ve got this!
Staying productive during the school year is of the utmost importance. That’s why applying these techniques is a must.
After sitting up an office area in the apartment, try to keep your desk supplies in the same area. In other words, keep the kitchen recipe cards in the kitchen and your CDs in the bedroom.
When everything is in its appropriate location, you’ll be more productive and happy too.
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management and works closely with Wildwood Baton Rouge to help them with their marketing efforts. He has over ten years of experience in the student housing industry.