Home Office Organization on a Dime

by Katie Kemple on May 13, 2009 in Work

after office

Kemple's new home office

No matter how small your home office space, there’s room to be organized. Take it from me, a woman whose office is about three feet square.

I’ve already explained how Kacy Paide, founder of The Inspired Office in Washington, D.C., helped me designate and arrange an area in my den. But the next hurdle is building an infrastructure to keep it organized. Many of her go-to solutions are so inexpensive, even the unemployed can afford them.

Translucent file pockets.  If you don’t have desk space, go vertical. Tack see-through file pockets to the wall and sort away. ($9.99 for a pack of two at The Container Store)

Boxes. Short on drawers? (Or even space to put drawers?) Clear off a shelf and use some attractive boxes to stash papers and supplies. ($9.99 for a pack of two at IKEA)

Magazine holders. Not just for magazines anymore. Arrange them on a bookshelf with the open end facing out, then file paper and folders inside. ($7.99 each at The Container Store)

Sticky tack. “I use this for so many things,” says Kacy, who refers to it as her “hammer.”  She uses it for everything from hanging papers and photos, to stabilizing rickety statues and furniture. ($2.79 on Amazon.com)

Clear plastic folders. Durable, transparent, and portable, these folders are the best choice for urgent items. “If you can see something that requires action, you’re more likely to follow through,” she says. ($6.99 for a pack of five at Staples)

After my consultation with Paide, I had to restrain myself from running immediately to the nearest store. She has a way of making organizing sound simple, and—dare I say it?— fun.

A week later, I was sitting in my new office space, situated in the far left corner of our den. I have file pockets on the wall, magazine holders on the bookshelf, and plastic file folders in both. What I love about Paide’s system is that it keeps paperwork top of mind. Everything is in reaching distance from my chair, which means I’m actually using them.

In total, my new office cost: $108.89. I feel noticeably more motivated. The stacks of networking fliers, business cards, work samples and resumes that had been floating around the kitchen and living room now have a permanent, respectable home. And with a comfortable, private, well-organized space to arrive at each morning, the only thing left to do is work. Great.

Katie Kemple is a PR/marketing professional who now divides her time between job hunting and writing. You can read more about her adventures in unemployment on her blog, Love Your Layoff.

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