A home office that works

Paper piling up? Here’s how to get organized

Robin Rodgers, the owner of Neat ‘n Tidy Professional Organizing Services, in her own home office. Her fax and shredder are shown below.

Robin Rodgers, the owner of Neat ‘n Tidy Professional Organizing Services, in her own home office. Her fax and shredder are shown below.

Photo By Tom Angel

You’ve been meaning to really, truly organize your home office. You know, that place where you do the bills, store receipts, keep pencils and tape and rubber bands. But January came and went, and then February, and that resolution has been buried under a pile of wedding announcements and dentist reminders.

You need professional help. So I’ve called on local entrepreneur Robin Rodgers, of Neat ‘n Tidy Professional Organizing Services, to help us reclaim our desk space, just in time for tax day.

“Everyone seems to have a dumping ground,” Rodgers acknowledges. “We are inundated with mail and papers every day. And in our busy lives, things just pile up, and before we know it we’re overwhelmed.”

The first step may seem obvious, but it’s critical: Determine the needs of the space. Is there a specific project that is tied to the area? Does more than one person use it? This will give a focus to the rest of the task, allowing you to better decide what needs to stay, what needs to be relocated, and what new items might need to be brought in.

Then the real work begins: clearing the desk. Papers should be put into piles as to priority. If a filing system is already in place, file them immediately so that “it’s not another pile that needs to be dealt with.”

If the amount of paperwork threatens to crush your body and spirit, Rodgers takes a mothering approach. “OK, don’t stress out over this. Take a couple files out at a time, sit in front of the TV set, or have cup of tea in the afternoon. Break it down into small steps.”

Once the desk is clear, larger changes may be made, such as the movement of furniture and shelving. Thinking outside the box of your home office may require a new set of eyes, one big advantage to hiring a little creative help. “I’m the objective person who can come in and see things other people can’t. … You’re in the space so much, you just don’t see a lot of it.”

In re-evaluating your space, consideration should be made toward your health. Long hours spent staring at a screen or completing forms can be hard on the eyes, so try to have a means of looking into the distance, like through a window. Wrist support is crucial for anyone using a mouse or keyboard for lengths of time. Also, look into purchasing an ergonomic chair that will support your posture and prevent muscle strain. Finally, practice a little aromatherapy, by utilizing candles or bags scented with lavender. Rodgers encourages “anything that you can do to make your environment a wonderful, peaceful space.”

Rodgers is a former social-services director who changed careers to follow her heart, which led her to Neat ‘n Tidy Professional Organizing Services. “I was born to do this,” she said. “I get in the car and I sing on the way home. I love what I do, and I love making people happy.”

Things Your Home Office Needs
• A cross-cut shredder (this is especially important for files that contain personal identification, like credit card statements)

• A desk-top file holder for current files (this would include paperwork tied to current projects)

• Reference books (depending on your needs, this could include a thesaurus, a software manual, or school textbooks)

• Frequently used office supplies (items like pens, tape, scissors, stamps, and a stapler should be readily available)

• Personal items (pictures of loved ones and little mementos make the desk a personal space)

• No window? Choose a picture of a favorite destination. This not only allows you to get away from stress at work, but it provides a needed rest for eyes.