One thing I have found to be extremely beneficial to the organization in my life is my workspace. I have found that I am more productive, organized and less stressed when I have a workspace. You might already have one of these and call it your home office or desk. Whatever you call your workspace, you should make sure it follows these two simple guidelines:
1. It is organized and free of clutter. You need to put the junk somewhere, and I will give you tips on where and how to do this.
2. It is personalized. You need to feel “good” and peaceful when you go to your workspace. Personalizing your workspace is essential to making it feel like it is yours.
How I Created My Workspace
I recently bought a refurbished desk at an antique store. If you live in Minnesota, you must check out Buffalo Nickel. The store has a huge selection of antiques from over 70 different dealers. Each room is staged differently depending on the dealer’s style. And it’s awesome.
The reasons I chose an antique desk versus a large unit from a furniture store were endless, but were mainly due to these three factors:
1. My house is old and small. With old small houses, you get tiny narrow doorways. I needed a desk that would fit.
2. Price. You can find great deals on older antique furniture.
3. I’m all about refurbished antiques. If it comes with an ornate handle, I am sold.
Now, one would wonder, where do you put all of your desk “stuff?” When you have two drawers to your desk, you are limited with storage space. If you create a workspace with an antique desk, you will need somewhere to store all of your papers, files, pens, etc…And this is how the second part of my workspace was created. My desk was put in a room with two closets, one that was currently in use. I used the second closet as my storage unit.
The closet was not “ready to go” in a storage space sense, so I recruited a little help from my husband, Seth. We went to Home Depot and bought shelves, and he helped me make the storage closet of my dreams.
The best part about having your desk storage in a closet is that you can shut the doors and you don’t have to see it all of the time.
Now, let’s go back to the two guidelines needed for a productive workspace and I will give you some tips and tricks to making this happen:
1. Organized and free of clutter:
- Only keep the essentials at your workspace. Since my workspace only has two drawers, I keep the basics such as paperclips, Post-its, tape and pens nearby. If you do not use certain things on a regular basis, you need to remove these items from your workspace.
- Keep the top of your workspace free of clutter. I have always found that the more “stuff” I have lying around, the less productive I am. And the research proves this to be true. Remove the stack of papers that has been weighing you down. Organize them in some type of filing system. For me, I have a fire-proof safe with my more important documents, and a regular filing cabinet, for less important materials.
- Organize the space where you are keeping all of your “stuff.” All of my stuff is in my closet, and the shelves give me space to separate and group like-items. When we were building the storage closet, I also purchased plastic and fabric bins to help with the organization. You can also label these bins, if you would like.
- Make a “To Be Organized” box. My “TBO” box is the key to my organization. When I get mail that needs to be filed, I put it in my TBO box. It doesn’t sit on my counter in the kitchen, my workspace or by the couch. It gets put in the box. I do this for everything I need to keep, including paystubs, medical receipts, even keepsakes (I’m a little crazy and save every thank you card and wedding invitation I receive). Every two months, I go through my TBO box and organize the pile. I file the items in my filing cabinet, fireproof safe and keepsake box. The key to having a successful TBO box is that you purge it on a regular basis. I can keep up with it and not feel too overwhelmed with the pile if I organize it every two months. Some people might find that it works for them to organize it every three months, and others will need to do it every two weeks. Whatever works for you, do it. I love my TBO box, because I do not feel pressured to file a piece of mail the day I receive it. I can simply throw it in the box and get to it when I do my purge.
2. Personalized and peaceful:
- Personalize your workspace with something that makes you smile. I have added a glass jar with buttons and a flower, a lamp, and a gold clock to my space. Why does this work for me? The flower and buttons make me feel good, remind me of my grandma and add a little color to my tabletop, the lamp gives off a warm light when I am working, and the clock lets me know the time. You can personalize your workspace in many different ways, including a framed photo, an award you received or your grandpa’s paperweight.
- Make sure you “feel good” when you sit down at your workspace. It’s weird, but I get really excited when I look at my workspace. I know it’s a place where I can be extremely productive. It’s cute and warm and totally me. If it makes you happy, you know you’ve created a great workspace.
Now is the time to create your own workspace. Start your own TBO box and watch your spaces become less cluttered. You will find that with an organized and clutter-free workspace, you will feel less stress, more happy and productive.