How to keep your desktop sanity
Until the day we can finally celebrate the dawn of the paper-free office, keeping control of the hard copy bits and pieces that consume our desktops is just something we have to live with. In a busy home office, pruning, sorting and storing documents requires discipline. After all, any distraction seems far more attractive than re-arranging office clutter.
However, once you’ve learned to tame the paper flow with good habits and great storage, you’ll discover your desktop can actually work for you, not against you. And once that happens, you’ll have more time to mow the lawn – or recline on it in your favourite chair sipping on an afternoon cocktail.
Managing paper rule number one
Try to handle every piece of paper just once. Pick it up, read it and then either act on it, file it, delegate it or ditch it (in the recycle bin or as extra printer paper of course!). “What about the ‘to do’ tray?” we hear you ask. Flick through the pile sitting in there already and see how many pieces of paper have been sitting there for months. Or even years. Do you really need it?
Managing paper rule number two
Ok, there are times when the “handle once” rule really is impossible. If so, save yourself time and more mess by noting in your diary the next action date for that piece of paper and stick to the timing. Then file it or throw it away.
The last thing you want in a small home office is to be swamped by reference material. Documents you “might need one day” can quickly take over limited storage space at the expense of your real work.
Avoid “just in case” reference clutter by hording as little as you really need. Keep articles, not entire magazines. When stories or research material appears online too, just save the links or create a PDF file. And when you do keep hard copy reference material file it straight away – not later. Then regularly check your collection for dated information and prune the overgrowth.
Desktop accessories that reflect your style
Once your paperwork is under control, you only need a few desktop accessories. Home office organisers don’t need to be grey and boring. Desk displays in rich textures add personality and professionalism.
Howards has a range of desktop organisers including the colourful Bigso Box range, the Faux Leather range or earthy, eco-friendly Bamboo Desktop Office Organisers - all of which provide a contemporary and practical organisation solution to any workstation. The formal Black Ash Organiser set includes a practical charge station and computer hardware stands to give your gadgets extra special treatment.
Blend your desktop look to match your home décor, or choose contrasting styles to distinguish your home office as a separate space.
I can see clearly now the plastic
Good, clear desktop storage gives your home office more of a professional, organised feel and is great for productivity. If you have documents that you need to keep and find quickly, store and stack in clear plastic Easi Store File Boxes. Lids can be labelled to show what’s inside. Storage boxes from the Bigso or Viola range look great and come in the right sizes for documents and office gadgets and gear.
Save space with upright file holders for reports, magazines and work in progress and archive them later. With document or magazine spines on show, identification is easy and you’ll save time when you’re too busy to search for what you need.
Finally, when you’re fitting an office space into the boundaries of a house or apartment, flexible solutions are important. A few easy ways to make your office space bend to your needs include:
- combining accessories that fit into tight places or are mobile, like drawer office trolleys
- stacking lidded file storage boxes that you need to only access now and again
- storing electronic gadgets in smaller boxes so ugly tangles are out of view
- standing magazines and reports in slim holders
- fitting custom shelves in corners to save on bulky furniture
- installing an elfa easy-build system with airy slide-out baskets to create a sense of space and let you see what’s inside