organizing your work station


If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?

― Albert Einstein

After taking time to practice surface cleaning, it’s time to dig a little deeper into the nooks and crannies and start clearing the physical clutter that is causing all of that mental clutter. Once you have cleaned out a few drawers and cabinets, you’ll catch the bug and before you know it, your home will be a place of peace and tranquility!

You can start in any room that you like, but we tend to feel that starting in the home office, or with your home office station, is the best and most important place to begin. This is your command center. Everything that keeps your home, and your life, running smoothly should begin here (the kitchen is a close second and we’ll be working on that next!). Those piles of bills, junk mail, school notes and reminder notes are all stacked and tucked here and probably, in other locations of the home. Our guess is that it’s a BIG BLACK CLOUD over your head day after day and month after month. So what’s an empty desk, or should we say an organized desk, a sign of? A life of reduced stress and chaos, that’s what. What do you say? Let’s get it straight, keep it straight, and move on with life!

You will need:

1.  Timer, or use the timer on your phone

2.  Small bins, boxes or bags labeled:
• recycle • trash • shred

3.  File folders

4.  A filing system that works for you, ie: – file cabinet – transportable file box

5.  A sharpie pen or label maker

6.  Labels (optional if using a sharpie pen)

Set your timer for a reasonable amount of time to make a big dent in the process of organizing your work station. Be realistic to what works for you, you don’t won’t to burn out. Begin creating your files by making labels with your label maker or sharpie. Below is a list of ideas that work for us.

1.   To Do ( correspondence, school stuff, etc )
2.   Bills to be paid
3.   Bills paid
4.   Medical/Dental
5.   Home insurance
6.   Home repairs
7.   Any individual home files necessary that you want to keep separated, ie: cable tv contract, security system, cellular service contracts, specific warranties, etc.
8. *Individual family member files – include pets!
9.   Individual family member school files
10. Individual family member medical files –  You should include a list of all doctor’s and contact info in this file along with any medical information that needs to be kept. (No need to   make an individual medical file for your pet, their info can go into their one file.)
11. Tax file with year
12. Receipts

*Make a file or big envelope for important family papers like original birth certificates, passports, social security cards, wills and other documents like car titles and insurance policies, that can be stored in a home safe or safe deposit box at your bank. If you keep those papers, and other valuables, in a safe deposit box, make a list of those items so that you can refer to it when you need to remember what you put in your lock box. If you don’t have a home safe, look to invest in one. They are reasonably priced at places like Target and will you give you peace of mind in case of fire and flood.

Once you have created your files, it’s time to sort through all your piles and stacks. To start, grab your purse and clean out all receipts from your wallet and the bottom of your bag (we know they’re in there!).

• trash any receipts that you do not need
• file any receipts that need to go into your tax file
• put the rest in your receipt file ONLY if necessary

Next, begin sorting through your stacks piled up here, there and everywhere and either file, recycle, trash or shred. When the kids get home, go through their backpacks and get all important school papers and “parent to do’s out”. The school thing should be done daily to keep up with field trip letter’s, meeting/conferences, fees and paperwork that needs a parent signature. In addition, your other files need to be purged regularly, or at the very least, once a year!

Now this is the important part: Get your mail daily, and touch it once. Either file it, recycle it or trash/shred it right then. Do not put it on your desk to deal with later! Later becomes tomorrow and the next day’s pile ups!

Earth Friendly tips to reduce your mail:

• Decrease your mail by requesting paperless billing and pay bills online.
• Eliminate junk mail with help from Catalog Choice,  Green Dimes or OptOut Prescreen

How do you feel? Great I bet! You are going to function so much better that you will surprise yourself and your family. Everything is now at your finger tips. It takes practice to make filing a habit. But once you see how it changes your life, you will put the energy into it.

Give yourself a pat on the back and stay tuned for the next post on making your work station pretty. Now we’re talkin!


Liz & Kari

(photo source – Apartment Therapy)


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