Clutter is not cute or trendy. Thankfully there are professionals like Julie Morgenstern to help. Julie's working with Staples to help tame the paper trail and clean up the home office. Last week I got to see some of the useful products that Staples offers at an exclusive blogger event in NYC.
First you should know I am an office supply junkie. I live for my label maker and love my binders. This event was very much in my sweet spot.
?A well-organized office helps you find what you need and to work efficiently, which reduces stress,? said Julie Morgenstern, an internationally known organizing and time management expert. ?More importantly, staying organized lets you to spend more of your valuable time on what?s most important to your business.? I want to share some of the key tips that I learned from Julie & Staples:
1. Define your treasures. Before getting rid of anything, consider your work goals and roles to assess what items will help you and those that won?t. When facing intimidating piles and drawers, ask yourself?if all this were gone tomorrow, what would I miss? Write down the list that comes to mind (e.g. original signed contracts, key contact info, handwritten notes) on a big sticky note, and post that on the wall of the area you are about to de-clutter. This will guide you in separating treasure from trash.
2. Create a no-brainer toss list. Minimize the number of decisions you have to make by creating guidelines for stuff you don?t have to think twice before shedding. Immediately toss old manuals & reports that have since been updated, documents that someone else has the original of and you can replace if necessary, printouts from the web, out of date information, duplicates, etc.
3. Check retention guidelines. Going through your legal files? Call your lawyer. Old payroll? Ring the accountant. Remember that 80% of what we file we never look at again. So be sure that it?s necessary for you to keep anything and everything that will take up valuable space in your file drawer. Don?t save things you ?might? need someday if they are easily replaced.
4. Zen with a daily paper cleanse. We all love the satisfying hum of unnecessary paper disappearing through the blades of shredder-permanently purged from our lives. Take your low energy time of day or the week to routine shredding, so the paper doesn?t build up. The top pick is the Staples 10-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder with new features including a convenient pull out bin, and a lockout key that functions as a master power control and renders the shredder non-functional until the key is replaced. ($99.99)
5. Delegate the big jobs. If you have large volumes of papers to shred, don?t let them sit around for months cluttering up your space (and messing with your mental clarity). Take your boxes to your local Staples Copy & Print; you?ll simultaneously save time and money while making space for what?s more important ? growth.
6. Keep core info within arm?s reach. Place your most frequently used files, binders and items within an arm?s reach from where you sit. This will save time when you are retrieving and it makes putting items back in their home a snap. We love the Martha Stewart Home Office? with Avery? collection for this. A top pick is the accordion file, which is perfect for tax organization. (Starting at $11.99)
7. Memory-proof your system with labels. We?re all way too busy focusing on how to do our jobs to have to also remember what?s inside a folder, drawer or binder. Label your system clearly?with professional looking labels to make your system visually appealing, crystal clear, and easy for others to find information in your absence. I use binders to keep things organized. Staples recently launched its Binder Recycling Program, which gives customers $2 off the purchase of a new binder for each binder they bring in to a Staples store to recycle.
8. Back it up. Use flash drives to keep important documents in a second, safe, and mobile home. Extra points if the flash drives are color coded to match their content. This tip is extra relevant because my mac just crashed a few weeks ago. I had backed up my to my hard drive-- whew!--not all was lost! Invest in an external encrypted portable drives. Staples has a great assortment of encrypted drives. Starting WD?s 500GB My Passport ($79.99) and up to two terabytes ($149.99).
Momtrends was not paid for this post. We did get a swell goody bag at the event.