Minimalist Home Office Organization Hacks
I have a confession to make. My husband and I have a paper problem. For too long we pilled, filed, and boxed paper bills, insurance policies, and receipts. Eventually our home office was exploding with paper. It took a serious minimalist effort to overcome the paper bomb, but that’s a story for another blog post. These home office organization hacks that can help you nip office dis-organization in the bud.
Sign up for paperless billing
When it comes to preventing paper clutter, the easiest things to do is sign up for electronic billing. So long as you check your email regularly, you should sign up for paperless billing. I used to worry about having a paper record for everything. Then I realized you can save as/print to PDF any bills which you want to keep on file.
My husband and I have a joint email address to which all our paperless bills are delivered. We have the email account set up on our individual phones, so we both receive notifications when the bills come in. If either of us reads the email but doesn’t take action, we mark it as unread. A joint email account works really well for us! I strongly advise it, especially if you are a military family subject to deployment. If you set your bills up to go to a joint account from the start, then you won’t need make changes pre-deployment.
While I never had a joint email account before getting married, I also think this could work for roommate situations. If you’ve tried it please let me know how it went.
Pro tip: cable and internet providers often set you up with an @provider.net email address to which your paperless bills are delivered. You should to go the extra mile and set up your ebill to go to your regular email address. You should also want to check your bank statements monthly if you have auto-pay set up.
Cable companies are notorious for signing customers at promotional rates. The rates rise without warning some time later. Reviewing your bank statements will help you catch the price increase immediately.
Get a desk that hides clutter
Chances are, there is paperwork in your house right now that you have not dealt with. I bet you have opened or unopened mail sitting on your desk right now. Am I right?! Here’s the thing, it doesn’t need to be on top of your desk because it can be inside your desk.
I recently watched a minimalism video on YouTube, that advocated “putting your things inside your things.” For home office organization, this means putting paperwork inside your desk. A desk should have more storage space than a single drawer for pens, staplers, and post it’s. A desk needs to have a drawer big enough to store papers too. If you pick the right desk for your needs, you might not need a filling cabinet.
I’m a fan of wider pullout surfaces instead a regular executive desks. The wider pullout surfaces allows you to spread out administrative papers instead of pilling them. This gives you a visual reminder of what you need to do. I’ve had two minimalism desks like these in my lifetime. One from Amazon and one from Target. Minimalist desks are particularly well suited for styling a into another room if you don’t have a separate office space.
Digitize papers (and do it immediately)
Even when enrolled in paperless billing where offered, you can’t eliminate important paper mail entirely. Many important documents like medical benefit explanations and bills still come via snail mail. If you want to prevent a messy office digitize everything you can as soon as possible. OVERTIME PAPERS MULTIPLY! Before you know it your home office may look like it was paper bombed, like ours did.
If you have too many paper documents like we did, even owning a desk that hides clutter won’t cut it. Yes, there are many documents that you need in paper copy. However, our problem was having unnecessary paper copies. I was holding on to papers that I thought I might need later down the road. It doesn’t make sense to have paper copies of documents that you MIGHT need again!
If it’s a birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, or insurance policy you should file the paper version. But medical documents can be scanned, e-filed, and shredded. The same goes for receipts you need to retain for tax purposes. Scan and shred them immediately! It will prevent you from having to spend hours separating, scanning, and shredding what you can digitized in the future. My husband and I have this compact scanner and it works for us, but one day (when our printer dies) we might upgrade to a printer, scanner, copier.
If printing then recycle
I feel like this goes almost without saying, but my father’s office would say otherwise. If you are going to print something out to read, then recycle it as soon as you finish. Paper is recyclable and laser printer ink is cheap! Okay laser printer ink isn’t always cheap, but it is when you buy it from the right vendor. Cough cough Amazon.
When you’re trying to maintain an organized office, don’t feel guilty if you print and recycle more than once. It’s better to print-recycle-print again, then to print-pile on top of your desk. Paper is easily biodegradable, so if you want to save the earth there are much better places to start.
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!
Do you have an additional home office organization hacks?