Although it seemingly comes from nowhere, our offices can quickly become overrun with paper. Catalogues, receipts, bills – both paid and yet to be paid – lists, you name it, have a way of taking over. My personality is such that once I see this, I want to address the problem before it gets out of hand. I have been able to get to a point where I spend just a few minutes a week organizing, rather than hours wondering why I can’t get anything done. If you are one of these people for whom the endless build up of paper is a problem, my hope is that my tips will help you minimize this annoyance today and forever. By doing so, you will see results quickly. Not only will your home office be clear of clutter, you will find yourself being more organized, which saves time and energy. What you are hauling to the trash is reduced, which helps our planet.
1. Make The Recycle Bin Your Best Friend
The moment you step in your office having just pulled your mail from the mailbox, take your pile to the recycle bin. With scissors in one hand and a catalogue in the other, remove your address label and recycle the catalogue. If you really wanted what is in them, you would go on line and order it.
2. Create Piles for Your Receipts
Initially this will be a big job, but in time if it’s done once weekly, it will eventually take just a few minutes. First determine which receipts you must keep (for taxes, to enter into your expense/accounting program or just in case you may want to return an item). Confirm there isn’t anything highly personalized on them (such as credit card numbers) and toss what can be discarded into the recycle bin. Once weekly go through the ‘save pile’ and enter them into your accounting system and then recycle them. Scan everything else. In the majority of cases should you need to return something, most companies will accept a scanned version of their receipt. To maintain order, by all means, file receipts by type: Office purchases and/or repairs, taxes, household expenses, etc. If you must keep paper copies of papers, such as warranty information, seven years of personal and business tax returns and contracts with vendors and clients, it’s best to maintain a simple filing system in your office, one which locks.
3. Shredding is Good for Your Privacy and The Environment
There are myriad reasons why you want to have a shredder in your home office. Companies routinely fish by sending out credit card offers that are pre-approved, catalogues and other things with identifying information. Both for your personal identity and that of your home-based business, it is best to shred these immediately. Doing so also minimizes what you adding to the recycle bin, which in turns keeps Mother Earth very happy.
4. Reduce the Number of Catalogues You Receive
When you receive catalogues in the mail, prior to recycling them, make a list of them. Once monthly or more frequently, call their customer service and ‘opt out’. Ask them to discontinue sending you their catalogue. Again, if you want to buy something from them, you can do so online. The goal is that in six months you shouldn’t be receiving any catalogues that only end up being recycled.
5. Request Online Statements of Bills and Accounts
If you haven’t already done so, request all your bills be emailed to you, rather than ‘snail mailed’. This reduces clutter almost overnight and is less that needs to be recycled weekly, quarterly or annually.
6. Pay Bills Online
You may hear people warning you that it isn’t safe to pay all your bills online. This simply isn’t true. Whether you are buying something online for your home office, paying a monthly bill or filing the company’s taxes, doing so online is the safest, quickest and most environmentally friendly way you can do this. You receive an instant receipt or confirmation, which you can copy and paste into the corresponding electronic file. As you can see, by taking these six steps, you can rid your home office of at least 75% of the paper that clutters it. It won’t happen overnight but one thing is certain: if you follow these steps, you can spend time in your office working, rather than feeling inundated with unnecessary piles of endless paper.
This guest post was written by Lloyd Burrell. He has a website which specializes in office executive desk furniture. Dmi desks , office desks with hutch, L-shaped desks, Bush furniture desks , U-shaped desks are some of the more popular choices. While there are many types of office desk to choose from Lloyd finds it regrettable that the choice of environmentally friendly recycled desks remains so limited.