Working from home has become more of the norm than a passing trend since the pandemic. If you haven’t returned to the workplace yet (or if you ever will), or if your employer lets you work in a hybrid model, your home is now your satellite office. It’s time to make this new “now” work for you!
I was recently hired by a pharmaceutical sales rep to do just that. Her work requires her to be out in the field with clients, but she must also maintain a lot of paperwork, files and office supplies that would ordinarily be kept in her company office. She was frustrated by having to look at all of that paper and office supplies in the sanctuary of her own home.
We solved this problem by corralling the supplies, creating a system for filing paper and containing it all in aesthetic storage solutions. Goal: to keep paper and supplies at bay, but at the ready. We were delighted with the results!
Step 1: Review & Sort
Our efforts centered around her desk area and a bookshelf, where she stored a lot of her files and papers.
Our first step was to sort her paperwork. Was it active or archival? Active paper means that an action needs to be taken on it, like paying a bill, RSVP-ing to an event, or having it available for an ongoing work project. Archival papers are items you hold on to for reference like tax returns, insurance policies, birth certificates or warranties.
Step 2: Categorize
Next step was to assign her paper into general categories like work, finances, home or personal. We then identified which categories need to be accessed frequently or almost never at all.
At this stage, we also decanted all office supplies from a multi-drawer unit and grouped like with like: pens & pencils, tape & glue, instruments & tools and folders & binders.
Step 3: Organize
We chose 2 general types of organizing solutions to contain the paper and office supplies: either open magazine holders or closed boxes with lids, all in a shade of color that would match her home.
Paper that is consulted often and updated regularly was placed in open organizing solutions. Paper that is rarely consulted and kept for safekeeping was placed inside closed boxes, either hanging file boxes or document boxes with lids. And all office supplies were placed in small boxes by category.
Step 4: Install
The next step was to install these organizing solutions on her bookshelf. We placed the open magazine holders with more active files on the lower shelves, and put reference/archival paper in document boxes or hanging file boxes on upper shelves. Office supplies were put in a shelf above her desk where items would be more accessible.
We also streamlined and reorganized the items in her desk drawers, allowing for easy access to the items she would need most often.
Step 5: Label
The final and most important step when organizing – especially in opaque storage solutions – is to label everything so you know what each box contains.
With that, our feat was complete! Now, a peaceful bookshelf sits quietly in the corner of her home, exuding serenity and calm while holding troves of information and instruments for success.
Work from home? Mission accomplished!
For more tips on working from home, discover your ideal workspace:
Quest for the Perfect Home Office >>