How to Set Up an Office Organization System That Lasts

Do you look around your office and feel overwhelmed by the mess?

If Marie Kondo pranced into your office would she feel that most things didn’t “spark joy?” It could be the case that you’ve turned your productive space into a pig sty and you need to make a change — or perhaps several!

So what do you do? What’s the best way to organize a desk, store paperwork, and ensure your office is a pleasant place to work from?

Here’s how to organize your office:

Find a Way to Store Paperwork

You want to have a quick location where you can grab your paperwork. If needed, you can have several compartments for different categories of paperwork.

For example, you can have one compartment for forms, another for contracts, and a third for notes. You can use custom index tabs from TabShop to organize your paperwork in the filing cabinet.

There are many ways in which you can store paperwork easily. You can consider buying filing cabinets. Each cabinet will have a label identifying the category of paperwork.

Make sure you first store paperwork in folders to keep them safe from damage. Afterward, keep these folders in the filing cabinets. You’ll have to empty these filing cabinets at least once per quarter.

They can gather dust rather quickly. You want to ensure they remain clean so your paperwork doesn’t get damaged easily.

Organize Your Books

If you have several books then they must always be kept on a bookshelf. If you have additional space, you might want to consider having a library room in your office.

But what happens if you only have a few books lying around? You don’t want to keep them lying around but you still want them within arms’ reach.

It’s best to keep it at the front of your desk. Use bookends to keep them upright at all times. Make sure the book spines are facing your chair.

Organizing Your Stationery

The next step is to organize your stationery. The first thing you should do is declutter and throw away what you don’t need.

Chances are, you have more pens and pencils than you need. Throw away or give away most of them.

Only keep what’s essential. At best, you only need to have 2 pencils. You might want 2 black pens and 2 blue pens and potentially, one red pen.

You can also have one or two highlighters. If you buy any new writing utensils, consider giving away an existing one. You don’t want your workspace to be cluttered due to these writing utensils.

Keep it simple and put these writing utensils in a pencil holder or case. Don’t keep them in a drawer as it’ll feel untidy.

Keep only one sticky pad on your desk at all times. Any extra pads should be kept in your drawer.

Organizing tools such as folders, sheet protectors, etc. should be kept in a drawer. Keep other tools such as staplers and hole punchers on your desk at all times.

If you have additional space, keep your stationary in a cupboard. If you share your office with others this is the best option.

Assign someone who’ll replenish the supplies each month and will put them in the cupboard.

Action Items

Your office will likely have action items that you need to access urgently. These can include mail, files, invoices, etc.

These should all be kept in a small tray. If you work by yourself, keep this tray on your desk at all times. Otherwise, they should be on a desk in your office’s reception area.

Make sure you organize your action items from MOST URGENT to LEAST URGENT. An invoice that has to be paid by tomorrow should be at the top of the pile. A reminder to send your Christmas cards in 6 months should be at the bottom of the pile.

Even when this tray is full, one can forget to tackle urgent tasks. You might want to add a sticky note to each action item. For example, you can put a sticky note and write: INVOICE PAY ON MARCH 9.

This lets you take a glance to understand what action needs to be taken. On a busy day, this is much easier than having to look through the pile meticulously.

Keeping Up to Date

The next aspect of organizing your office is to ensure you and your colleagues know the date and time.

Make sure there’s a clock on your wall that’s visible to all your colleagues. Ideally, this clock should also display the date. Next, you want to place a large calendar on your wall as well.

You can also keep a small desk calendar if needed. This is placed on your table as a placemat. You can write on it as needed. You can also keep a small digital clock so you can quickly glance at the time while deep into your work.

If you have a particularly busy schedule, you can also keep a diary. If you have space, keep your diary on your desk. If not, keep it inside a drawer that you can grab at a moment’s notice.

Other Reading Material

Your workplace is often a great place to catch up on reading. You can choose whether to focus on entertainment reading or work-related reading.

Entertainment reading is if you want your colleagues to be able to take a break from work. If they’re taking a break from work, they might want to read a novel, magazine, or even a comic book.

If, however, you want them to always be on top of their game then you need a different approach. You want to keep reading material that offers professional education.

For example, if you run a copywriting agency you might want a copy of Brilliance Breakthrough on the bookshelf. If you run a law firm, then you must have a copy of Black’s Law Dictionary.

You can keep this reading material in a special section on your bookshelf. You can also keep them on a coffee table. The latter is the best option if you have a small team. Consider having a sofa or a few chairs near the coffee table.

Food and Beverages

A lot of our lives are spent at the office. This is now especially true in the era of remote work — when lines between our work and home life are blurred.

As a result, you have to think about your health at the office. You’ve also got to take care of your colleagues. You can set up a mini-fridge in your office.

A great location is right next to your work desk if possible. Or keep it in the corner of your office. Always keep it stocked with bottles of water. You can also consider juice and a few cans of soda.

On top of your mini-fridge, you can place a small basket. In this basket, add snacks and fruits. This is a great way to feel nourished during a long day of work.

Digitizing Your Documents

Let’s return to your paperwork for a moment. One of the best ways to keep your office organized is to digitize your documents.

This doesn’t mean that you must destroy your paperwork. But you want a backup in case you need to. The best way to do this is to use a scanner to digitize your documents.

If you don’t have space for a scanner, there are many smartphone apps that can do it. You want to store your digitized documents in several places.

Store these on external hard drives, on your computer, and on a cloud storage server. Your external hard drives should be kept in your drawer. If you have a safe in your office, then store the hard drives there.

Make sure you digitize your documents at least once per month. After digitizing, you can decide if you need to keep your paperwork or destroy it.

Best Practices

Let’s end with a few more quick tips on how to organize your office. You must have a shredder and garbage can in your office.

The shredder is for when you need to destroy paperwork. The garbage can needn’t be large. However, you shouldn’t choose one that holds less than 30 liters of trash.

Make sure you always keep spare batteries in your office. This is needed for your clocks. Use surge protectors to keep your electronics working in case of harsh weather.

You should also ensure that your office has an A/C unit or fan. You want to ensure there’s always fresh air circulating.

That’s How to Organize Your Office

Now you know how to organize your office and ensure you build a productive space.

Use filing cabinets to best store paperwork. Consider digitizing what you need. Make sure your desk isn’t cluttered and only has the essentials.

You’ll need to ensure that you have a mini-fridge for constant nourishment. You’ll also need to store your reading materials on a bookshelf. This is crucial for further study or recreation.

If you need even more tips on being productive, you must get busy and check out the other articles on our website.

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