8 Organization Ideas for Making the Most of a Small Home Office Space

Here in Toronto many homes don’t necessarily have a large space for an office (or don’t have a designated office space at all!). But not to worry,.  With these organization ideas you can make the most of a tiny or non-existent space for a great work environment at home:

1. When you can’t devote an entire room in your home to a home office, you can save space by opting to go desk-less. Instead, you can use sturdy shelves (Ikea has some great customizable and affordable options) to store your computer and other office necessities.

shelves as a desk

2. Integrate your work area into another room― for example, a double-duty guest bedroom and home office combination ―by sticking to a consistent color scheme.

small-office-toronto-bedroom

3. When space is tight, be on the lookout for multi-functional pieces. For example, you can find a desk with a pop-up mirror and use it as a vanity as well. Another great option is an ottoman with a top that lifts to allow for extra storage and additional seating.

desk-bed

4. If you have no choice but to have your home office in a shared room in your home, a folding screen is a great option to create some privacy. There are lots of sophisticated and trendy options on the market. You may opt for one that has a blackboard finish or even a cork board that can act as an inspiration board.

chalkboard screen

5. If your office doesn’t have a lot of horizontal space to work with and can’t spread out, why not go up? There are lots of ways to make great use of vertical wall space. Consider building shelves from the floor to the ceiling to allow for more storage space. You could also place shelves slightly above your desk that can hold your printer, books, and other office supplies. This way, everything you need will be within easy reach while sitting at the desk, without minimizing your prized work area.

wood-shutters-wall-organizer

6. If you have some wasted space underneath your desk, you can use it to store boxes or containers filled with office supplies, documents, bills, and etc. But be careful not to overdo it here – in other words, don’t put something somewhere because “it fits.” Consider when and where you would want to look for those items and organize your space accordingly.

under-desk-organizers

7. Don’t let the space behind your office door go to waste. To optimize the space, you can hang a shoe organizer on the door to store office supplies.

organizing incoming mail

8. Minimize paperwork and unnecessary clutter by storing as much as you can on your computer. This will give you more space to work with and keep your space looking tidy with minimal upkeep requirements.

cloud-storage-options

Thanks for reading – I hope you liked these ideas and perhaps they sparked some new ideas of your own. Remember, the end goal here is to create an efficient and functional space that’s organized in a straightforward and simple way. Let me know if you have any comments or questions in the space below.

 

10 Quick Things You Can Do To Organize Your Home Office This Weekend

organized-home-office-torontoWe all dream of living a clutter-free existence.  When it comes to our home office, we dream of papers neatly filed, office supplies tucked in their little organizing compartments and being able to see every square inch of our desk.

Yeah right.

While that’s the ideal, the reality is that most of us make a mess throughout the day – sometimes cleaning it up at the end of the day, other times leaving it for a magic fairy to take care of the mess while we sleep.

It’s a new year, why not start with a clean slate and make it less cluttered year than the last.  While organizing your home office might seem daunting after 12 months of neglect, there are some quick and easy things you can do to get you started.

Start with a clean slate

If you are like most people, there are likely several piles of paper on your desk, perhaps so many that you can’t even see the desk. The first thing you should do is clear off the clutter from your desk. Take off all paper, desk supplies, etc., leaving only your computer and the phone on the desk.  Better yet, go paperless by using a cloud service like Google Drive or Evernote.

Get (or start using) a filing cabinet

If you don’t have a filing cabinet, invest in one with several drawers so you have plenty of room and won’t have to cram papers in there. Use labels to identify each drawer, such as one for personal documents, one for finances and one for work documents.

Label file folders for your cabinet

Purchase some hanging file folders and use a label maker to identify the documents that are going to belong in said folder (it can also help to get different colored folders for certain drawers). By properly labeling each folder you know where to quickly store and access any document in your house when you need it.

Throw out the clutter

As you sort through the papers that were on your desk and begin to allocate them into their new home in your filing cabinet, be sure to toss out things that you don’t need. Junk mail, old newspapers, outdated statements, etc. However, remember that you should shred any personal or professional documents before throwing them out.  If you feel you may need any old documents in the future, make a digital copy of them with a service like Evernote before shredding them.

Get a desktop calendar

While some people prefer to use their phone or tablet for their daily tracking, having a desktop calendar can also be a great help. Remembering important dates and deadlines that come up can be easy when you have a great big reminder on the desk in front of you. It’s also a great way to get rid of some of those reminder post-it notes that can gather around your PC or laptop.

Figure out the cable situation

A massive jumble of cables in your home office isn’t just an eye-sore, it can also be a fire hazard. Be sure to remove electronic equipment when you are done using it, such as a radio, and for those cables that you need, use a zip tie to keep them neatly rolled together or grouped together.

Get a desk drawer organizer

By purchasing a container to keep your paperclips, staples, post-its and other desk supplies organized it makes finding them a cinch. If you don’t really want to splurge, you can always use ice cube trays to house those smaller items that are all over your desk.

Use a mail organizer

Many of us are guilty of getting mail and simply throwing it on our desk to cause further clutter. This year, use a desktop mail organizer to have a designated place for incoming mail, outgoing mail and even one for things requiring your attention.

Create a space in your office for personal items

We all have places in our office where we keep pictures of our kids, favorite pet or even just an inspirational message, which is great. However, you shouldn’t take up valuable workspace with these items. Instead choose a place in your office, such as a shelf or above your filing cabinet, where you can house these items safely out of your workspace.

Get your computer organized

While you are starting off the New Year fresh, don’t forget to get your computer organized as well. This means creating proper folders for documents, pictures, home videos and a separate area for all your work items. Be sure to back up all your files to a jump drive in case your computer crashes.  A service like Dropbox will automatically backup your files to the cloud for safe keeping.

Ok, so it looks like a lot of work, but if you dedicate a few hours this weekend you’ll be surprised to see it really doesn’t take very long.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, same with organizing your office, but it’s a good start!

Have questions about organizing your home office?  Feel free to contact me here.

3 Tricks to Travel Big and Save Space

travel slidesTraveling is always fun until the time when you need to figure out where to store all your luggage and other travel related accessories that you use all the time.

One of the challenges of course is that suitcases take up a lot of space when not in use.  Most people try to hide them in the furnace room, a basement storage area or even up in the rafters in the garage.  None of these spaces are ideal because it’s not only inconvenient to retrieve them but they are not typically the cleanest areas in your home.

Let’s think about this.  If you are packing in your bedroom, shouldn’t the suitcases either live there or somewhere on the same floor as where you pack?  Wouldn’t that be so much easier than lugging them up the basement stairs?

Here are a couple of tricks to make packing fun and storing easy.

Invest in good quality

There are many on the market, however one I found is particularly interesting because it uses an innovative concept of folding technology so that your full-sized, wheeled suitcase turns into a compact, easily stored bag.Biaggi luggage

The company is Biaggi (www.biaggi.com) and they make lightweight, durable luggage that folds down into half its original size. This is great so you can actually store your luggage under your bed with ease.

Be a road warrior

Another idea is to use the Road Warrior M Series luggage. Again, this luggage requires half the storage space compared to standard upright suitcases.Road warrior luggage

When not in use it collapses such that you can stack it on a shelf, slide it under your bed or even hang it in your closet.  Check out www.roadwarriorluggage.com.

Create a “Travel” bin

In terms of travel accessories, we all have them.  This includes your sun protection, airplane pillows, earphones, travel size games, binoculars, travel pillows, ear plugs, etc.  Essentially everything you typically take on a trip.  And what about all those travel size bottles of lotion, shampoos, etc., not to mention those travel grooming bags, travel iron, or hairdryer? Most people have all these items stored in various places throughout the home rather than keeping it all in one place resulting in your scurrying around trying to remember where you put everything.

What I recommend is that you create a Travel bin and label it “TRAVEL”.  Your bin should ideally be a sturdy plastic with a lid, similar to a Rubbermaid tote.  The amount of travel accessories you typically use will dictate the size of your travel bin.  If you have children your travel bin will likely be much larger than for someone who does not.  In your travel bin you would place all travel related items so that the next time you are going on a trip, everything you need is in one place.  When you return from your trip you simply take all those accessories and put them back in your bin. No more hunting around looking for that special travel sized game, or those neat little toys the kids love to play with on the airplane.

Make your next trip go smoothly from beginning to end by investing in some innovative luggage and some organization. I’d love to hear what tips you use to make your travel run smoothly!

 

5 Tricks for Organizing Your Home Office

Is your home office an unorganized mess?  Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be!

Your home office is intended to be a place that you go to when you need to focus and get work done. But, if you are anything like the majority of individuals trying to get work done at home, then you know that a cluttered office doesn’t make for easy concentration. Having a clean and organized home office is the best way to not only get work done, but to truly allow yourself to focus and be in a space that is geared toward getting work done.

home-office-organizing toronto

Fortunately for those who can’t seem to keep an organized office, there are some great tricks for getting your home office in perfect working order, take a look!

  1. Reduce the Clutter – Before you can start getting your home office a little more organized, you have to get rid of all the items that don’t belong in your space or aren’t getting used. Whether it’s junk mail or pictures that your child brings home from school, the clutter that doesn’t have to do with work should be put in their appropriate homes before you can get organized.
  2. Create a Filing System – Having a functional filing system is crucial to sorting and identifying the documents that you need access to quickly. Folders with labels with everything from previous household bills to proposals for work can help you to get organized and stay that way. Filing cabinets or drawers are great ways to help get rid of the piles of paper that often land up on your home desk.
  3. More Storage is Better – Creating storage options goes a long way in a space as multipurpose as your home office. Not only are you going to want to find a means of storage for your papers, like a filing cabinet, but you also want to be sure that you keep your work materials sorted and ready for work when you are. Use desktop and in-drawer organizers for your smaller items, like paper clips and pens, while storage bins in a nearby closet can help to house extra printer cartridges or USB chords for cameras and other devices you have.
  4. Use a Calendar – A clear calendar system can help you to keep your home office organized and your personal and professional life in line. Whether you use a PC based calendar or a large desktop version, your calendar can help you to sort through items and keep what you need in the near future in mind.
  5. Make a Home for Everything – Having a specific home for the items in your desk is necessary to have the organization you want in your personal office. Labels and clearly set up drawers can help you to quickly find the items you need and return them to their respective homes when you are done. Items that you feel don’t have a home in your office shouldn’t be in your office then.

While you might need to spend a weekend afternoon to help get your home office in an organized state, if you can keep it that way your time will certainly be well spent. Remember that once you get organized you are going to have to work on maintaining your office. But, if you can pick up after yourself and organize a little everyday then keeping your office in this condition will be simple.

Have questions about organizing your home office?  If you live in Toronto or the surrounding GTA, feel free to contact me here.

5 Steps to an Organized Home Office

No matter what you use your home office for, one thing always remains the same.  It’s hard to concentrate and get quality work done if your space is a cluttered mess. But don’t worry.  In this post I’ll share 5 simple steps to help you organize your home office and make sure that it stays clutter free.

Remove Everything

An effective way to start the organization process is to first remove everything off your desk (other than your computer, monitor, and heavier items like a printer) and to lay everything out in piles on the floor. You should also do the same with your desk drawers, cabinets, and shelves.  Now is also the perfect time to properly dust, clean, and wax all surfaces.

Organized home office Toronto

Group Like Things Together

Once you’ve removed everything from your desk, drawers, cabinets, and shelves, begin to group like things together: books with books, bills with bills, office supplies with office supplies – you get the idea. Not only will this help you figure out how much space each category of items requires, but it will also help you sort though duplicate or outdated materials that you’ve accumulated over time.

Organized home office desk

Prioritize

At this point you should have gotten rid of any items that you don’t need. Now you can start moving all of your essential items back to your desk, shelves, cabinets, and drawers. Your desktop should have as little on it as possible – otherwise it will look cluttered and will leave you with inadequate space to work. Make sure to give everything a specific place so that you can always find it easily. Place all of your frequently used items in easy to reach areas and stow away items that are not used frequently in less accessible areas.

organize files home office

Go Paperless

One of the best ways to prevent clutter and piles of paper is to opt for the “paperless” option when it comes to your credit card statements, cell phone bills, and so on. Remember, you can always print out any essential items. Worried that you’ll miss a payment if you don’t get your statement in the mail? You can set up automatic payments. Consider using a cloud service such as Evernote or Dropbox to organize your documents.  I’ve written about Evernote before, you can read some great ways to organize using Evernote here.  Once you go paperless, you won’t ever want to go back!

Using Evernote to organize home office

Set Aside 10 Minutes to Clean

Congrats, your home office is now clean and organized! The goal is to keep it that way, right? To do that, try setting aside ten minutes at the end of each day to tidy up your space and get ready for the next day. This isn’t the easiest habit to form, but believe me; this pays off in the long run!

Organized home office desk Toronto

If you follow these 5 easy steps, you should be well on your way to getting your home office organized, and more importantly, keeping it organized. And to make the process more fun, take a look at my previous blog post, 3 Free Applications that Make Organizing and Cleaning Fun. Let me know in the comments below if you found these 5 steps helpful or if you have any questions you can contact me here!

Creating organization out of chaos in a 2 bedroom home

Dining LR Before The wonderful aspect of my career in organizing and downsizing with clients is the tremendous and positive feedback received during the entire process. One client in particular that I have been working with for the last few weeks has experienced an amazing transformation, both in her space at home and in her personal life in general.

Embarrassed and unable to enjoy her home

Before she picked up the phone to call me for help she had been living in her rented 2 bedroom home for a few years without being able to actually cook meals in her kitchen, sit down in her living room or work in her office. She rarely had friends or family over as she was embarrassed by the condition of her living space and felt socially isolated in this regard.  A professional career woman with an active sports life, she was not only rarely home to tackle an organizing project, but she was also challenged with complicated family and work issues that appeared to overcome her ability to live in a healthy and functional way.

The beginning of change

Her phone call to me changed her life. Finally being able to see the problem, having the support of family and being in a position to want change to occur she called me for an initial consultation and needs assessment.

She presented as a wonderfully kind and funny individual with a great sense of humour who was clearly struggling to get her life in order.  During the assessment she became quite emotional at times, identified her embarrassment at having me see her place in the state it was yet was excited to get the project started.

Where do we start?

It was easy for me to see where we had to start in her home.  There was an extremely limited amount of storage space available so creativity was the name of the game and we targeted the only actual “storage room” (the furnace/dryer area) to begin. This cluttered, small room was the first space one actually viewed when coming in the front door.  This room had no door itself and with no effective way to store items, everything was haphazardly tossed in with little room to even reach the dryer for laundry. It certainly was not a nice view for the client when coming home from a hectic day at work.

First order of business is to create some storage space

Therefore, before we could even start to organize any other space in her home we first needed to create some functional storage in this particular room.  It currently only had one small shelf and a hanging rod which was beginning to loosen from the wall. In the space was also the dryer, hot water tank, a plethora of sports equipment, clothes, cleaning supplies, foot wear and miscellaneous items that were not readily accessible.

It’s hard for me to explain how excited I was to begin this project. I had wished I could begin that very day however there was some planning to take care of, some homework to assign the client as well as some preliminary items for me to pick up on behalf of the client so we could get that particular space set up, organized and ready for the storage of items that were in fact relevant to this client’s current life.

My client was completely on board with the project, expressed a great amount of enthusiasm and we were both itching to get started! I’m so lucky to be able to make such positive change in my client’s lives. My next few posts will follow this project along as we give this wonderful lady her life back!

Organizing Your Home Using Velcro

organizing tools and emergency equipment using velcroVelcro can be such a wonderful tool for organizing your home.  Once you play around with it you’ll realize there are dozens of ways you can use it to keep things nice and organized.

Where did Velcro come from?

After examining the burrs left on his clothes while hiking, a Swiss engineer thought that the concept of using hooks and loops to temporarily fasten things together could have commercial use.  Velcro was invented in 1948, though it didn’t see commercial applications until the late 1950’s.

Creative uses for Velcro in your home

While there are lots of creative ways you can use Velcro in your home, below are five organizing ideas that will help get your creative juices flowing.  If you’re going to be using Velcro to attach small and lightweight items, regular Velcro is fine.  For larger and heavier items I recommend you use an industrial version of Velcro.  You can find industrial Velcro at most major hardware stores and you’ll be amazed at how strong it is.

Organizing Your Computer Desk

Oranizing office with velco for hard drive

Computers are great, the cables attached to them and all of their peripherals are not.  You can buy Velcro straps to organize your cables, but you can also use Velcro to organize your power strip, modem and more!  Attach Velcro to the back of these devices and mount them to the underside of your desk and keep your floor neat and free from cables.

Keeping Emergency Tools Handy

organizing tools and emergency equipment using velcro

This was a great tip from Marthastewart.com.  The last thing you need during a blackout is to fumble around the house looking for a flashlight.  Why not keep them handy and within reach?  Keeping a flashlight handy by your electrical panel, at the top of your cellar stairs, and in the garage, is a great way to keep you safe the next time you lose power.

 

Keep Your Drawers Organized

Organizing drawers with velco

Drawer organizers are great, the only problem is that unless they are custom fitted for your drawer, they tend to get banged around every time you open and close the drawer.  Use Velcro buttons to secure your organizers to the bottom of the drawer and have a tidy drawer every time you open it!

Organize Your Crafts

Organizing crafts with velcro

Crafts are fun, though organizing your craft supplies can be quite the challenge.  Keep your craft supplies organized and ready for use by using small Velcro tabs to mount them for easy reach.  Here’s a neat way to mount your Stickles Glitter Glue using Velcro tabs and an acrylic sign holder.

Organize Your Spices

organizing spice rack using velcro

If you love to cook, keeping your spices organized is a must.  Unfortunately, you may have outgrown your spice rack and don’t have the room for your excess spice jars.  You have a lot of available space in your kitchen for your spices, you just need to be creative.  From your cabinet doors to the inside walls of your pantry, those little spice jars can be mounted and organized just about anywhere in your kitchen.

Do you use Velcro to organize your home?

As you can see, there are lots of ways Velcro can organize your home and I have given you just a few suggestions.  Do you have creative ways you’re using Velcro to organize your home?  Leave them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!

Five Ways to Transform Your Basement Into a Home Office

Basement office ideasWorking at home can be a wonderful privilege for people who have commitments close to home.Whether you’re at home or in an office building, a dedicated workspace is a must.

Working in a cold basement with linoleum floors and exposed insulation probably isn’t very inspiring or appealing, even if it is the only place in the house that’s unoccupied. However, with some creativity and hard work, that dingy basement can be transformed into an enjoyable, efficient home office suitable for everyday use.

Here are five different ideas for transforming your basement into a comfortable environment for productivity during the day:

The Office in the Closet

This is ideal for the basement that’s already being used for other purposes. A small walk-in closet can easily double as a small study. With mounted shelves (one for a desk and one or more for books and supplies) and a small chair that can be tucked beneath the lowest shelf, you can easily create a work cubicle free of distractions from whatever else is in the basement.

 

The Murphy Bed Office

This office can quickly transform into a guest bedroom. The flip side of this desk, as well as the shelves, actually contain a Murphy bed that can be pulled out and tucked away as needed. Filing cabinets on wheels can be used for additional storage that’s both mobile and efficient.

Source: sunset.com via Mary on Pinterest

 

The Room Within a Room

Perhaps the most ideal type of basement office is the type that’s enclosed within its own room in the basement. The enclosed office can benefit from:

  • Sound proofing.  The walls can be sound proofed so as to avoid disruption from activities happening in the rest of the basement. In addition, the basement ceiling can be sound proofed. Even the type of door chosen for the office can make a difference.
  • Different flooring.   Carpet may seem desirable in this respect. After all, you’re at home, and you want to be comfortable. However hard floors are a better choice for office chairs with wheels, and are more durable. It’s easier to take yourself and your work seriously in an environment that is slightly removed from the rest of the house. After all, your non-working life is just beyond the office door.

 

Source: bhg.com via Jennifer on Pinterest

 

The Alcove Beneath the Stairs

A simple home office design that utilizes seemingly unusable space and allows for a private space for working. A desk, shelves, and storage cabinets and drawers can all coexist to provide an efficient workspace. Or, the entire alcove can be used for storage, and a desk can be placed up against the adjacent wall.

 

The Open Concept Office

Perhaps the simplest design is to have an open concept office in the basement without any walls or doors sectioning it off from the rest of the basement. In the event that the entire basement cannot be used solely for the office, a corner or wall can be used to clearly designate office space. Computer monitors can be mounted onto the wall, along with shelves, in order to save space. The desk can then be placed against the wall, or it can be created with a lower mounted shelf.

 

What Kind of Basement Office do you like?

As you can see, there are lots of great ideas for a basement office.  Which office style do you prefer?  If you would like more great ideas for creating a basement office, check out these great ideas from Pinterest.

Shannon Ryan is the online community manager for the Nusite Group, a Toronto waterproofing company.  You can find more ideas about home renovations by following Nusite on Twitter.

 

Organizing And Tracking Inventory For Businesses

messy inventory room

If your business involves stock, whether it is products for sale or for manufacturing, keeping track of stock inventory is critical to know what you have, where it’s located and the value of the inventory you have on hand.

Not only is organizing and tracking your inventory important for customer service (to have inventory when you need it), but it’s also important from a financial perspective so you know the value of your inventory. Keeping track of your inventory will alert you to when you need to re order and give you an accurate snapshot of your inventory at any given time.

Maintenance Requires Discipline

Maintaining any inventory system requires discipline in entering all of your transactions and staying current with them. It is recommended that you set aside a few minutes each day for this critical clerical task. Of course, all stock requires a part or stock number with each transaction being posted to your system. If, even just once, you forget to enter stock coming in or going out, the entire system fails.

Inventory Software

Anyone who owns or manages a business that has inventory should consider using inventory software. The best products will allow you to enter and view items using part numbers, let you attach important notes to each item, and help you manage recurring orders that you may have.

What to Look For

If your company keeps an inventory you definitely need to have inventory software to help you stay organized and on top of your stock of products. Inventory software can provide the basics of just keeping track of your inventory, but it can also help you manage customer relationships and even provide you with a calendar for purchasing goods.

Some of the best inventory management software is equipped with a low-level warning system that will alert you when your stock is getting low so you don’t run out of something that is selling well. You also have the ability to see, in real time, what stock you have on hand at another location and keep track of it.  If you offer item kits it’s important to use a program that will allow you to keep an eye on your sales and inventory so that your kits are all accounted for.

Other Features

When searching the for the best inventory program you should consider looking for one that will allow you to build and save your customer and supplier databases. In addition, you should have the ability to set user access rights for employees who need access to the database but don’t need to see sensitive information.

Another important feature is the ability to create and print customized reports, and you should be able to import and export inventory files and reports.

Ease of Use

Your inventory program should be easy for anyone to use. The best inventory software will offer tutorials and on-screen setup guides that will help you to incorporate all of your important information. You should also be able to find help on the manufacturer’s website with ease. Products that offer support without forcing you to buy a separate support package are also something to consider.

Options

There are many affordable software systems available for small businesses. A manual system is one option (the old Kardex system comes to mind) but with software costs being what they are today they are not recommended. Following are three options available to organize and track your inventory.

Inventory Pro ($150.00), rated 5/10, covers all the basics including PDF capability for sending invoices, but does not handle bar codes which is generally not an issue for small business.

In Flow is another option, priced at approximately $300.00, is rated 10/10 for small business but will not run on a Mac.  It does have kitting and financial options available.

Lastly, there is Small Business Inventory Control.  Priced at an affordable $100.00 this program is rated 7/10 and allows for planning as well as lets you know what item or items are slow moving so you can adjust your purchase orders.

So now you have a few ideas to organize and track your inventory.  Ultimately the one you decide to go with depends largely on the volume of your stock and your budget.  Do your research and get the best inventory management system to organize your business inventory.

 

Be The Most Organized Person In The World [Infographic]

Who wouldn’t want to be organized? From your closets and cupboards to your computer and workplace, being organized can save you a ton of time, money and frustration and make your life easier.

If you want to take your paper piles to files and go from clutter to calm in your home and office you’re in the right place. Your computer is a great place to start, moving from desktop to actual file folders, using a variety of digital applications to help you along the way. And when you are finished with your computer and office, move on to those other clutter hotspots such as your  bedroom, kitchen etc., where clutter and “stuff” tends to pile up when there is no organizational system in place.

There are so many Apps now available to make your life easier and clutter free, why not take advantage of all that is offered up to you!

Check out the Infographic below, on How To Be The Most Organized Person In The World, courtesy of thegreatist.com

 

Infographic on how to be super organized