Whether you have an entire office dedicated to your business or just a small space for your paper work chances are you have some sort of “work space” where all the behind the scenes magic happens. Sometimes we get busy and the last thing on our minds is to clean up and organize. Here are a few tips that may help you control the chaos and clutter.
1) Start with a clean slate. – Clear everything out and find a place to temporarily sort through the clutter. Wipe down your desk and shelves, and vacuum/sweep/mop the floors.
2) Put an organizational system into place. If you’re going to clean off your work space you might as well do it right the first time. Putting a system into place will allow you keep things clean! Essential organization tools include:
a. An “inbox” – This will house any incoming items. (Ex. Order forms you haven’t gotten around to entering yet, receipts that need to be recorded and filed, etc.)
b. An “outbox” – Just as important, this will house those outgoing items. (Ex. Any paperwork that’s finished and ready to be filed.)
c. Trash bin and shredder. – If I were to bet money on it I am sure there are plenty of items taking up valuable real estate on your desk that could be recycled or trashed. Having the nearby visual to trash and recycle will encourage you to dump the unnecessary items as soon as they are no longer needed.
d. A filing system. – This may depend upon your person preference. There are plenty of filing systems out on the market whether you like folders, hanging files, or a filing cabinet it is essential to establish a system that works for you. There are certain items you need to store for documentation. Having an efficient filing system will allow you to readily access these items if needed. Come up with a system to organize within your filing system – color coded, numerical, by date, alphabetical- decide what works for you.
e. Storage area. – As Origami Owl Designers we have a lot of display items. These sometimes clunky oddly shaped statues and necklace holders become clutter when they aren’t being used. Buy a large Rubbermaid container and safely pack away these items that are likely only needed 3-6 times a month for your jewelry bars.
3) Go through everything. – That’s right everything. Place any items that do not belong in your workspace in their own pile and put them away later. As for paperwork, ask yourself the following: Is this necessary to keep? (Receipts, tax documentation, etc.) Is this something I will need in the future? Do I have a place to keep this? Any items that don’t have a yes response should be tossed or shredded.
b. Things to save:
i. Tax returns and documents (checks/receipts)- 7 years
ii. Pay stubs- 1 year
iii. Bank statements- 1 year
4) Clean up your computer.- Create a system similar to your filing system only for your desktop. Create folders within folders to store any digital files for your Origami Owl business. For example, consider having a folder for each month- within that each jewelry bar – and within that each guest. Recycle those old files you no longer need. Now is a great time to consider backing up your important files to an external hard drive or online storage service. If you’re feeling really ambitious you can even go through your email and create the same filing system.
5) Free up wasted space. Move your personal items to a more appropriate place. It’s nice to look at family photos, greeting cards, souvenirs, awards, etc., but are they really serving a purpose on your work space? I’m not saying you need to get rid of them, but why not create a more effective way to show them off! How about creating a bulletin board, hanging your frames on the wall, or creating a shelf for those souvenirs? This way you can still look at your sentimental items without having them take up that valuable real estate on your work station.
6) Clean out your “junk drawer”.- We all have one- that drawer where all the little odds and ends end up. Organize your pens, pencils, paperclips, post it notes, etc., etc. Find some cute containers that can hold all of those little odds and ends so that they stay organized and don’t wind up back in a giant clump of chaos.
7) What’s on your to- do list? – How have you been keep tracking of meetings, projects, and other upcoming events? If you have a system that’s working, great, stick with it. If not, consider implementing a system. I like to use a classic planner that I can take with me wherever I go. I write down everything; upcoming jewelry bars, deadlines, to-dos, bills, appointments, you name it! If that’s not your style consider a paperless calendar on your cell phone or a dry erase board; there are plenty of options to look into.
8) Maintain every day. – Take 5 minutes at the end of each day and tidy up. Refer back to your organizational system. What can you add to your inbox or outbox? What items can be trashed or recycled? What items are ready to be filed away? Not only will your work space stay cleaner but you’ll be able to return the next day to a pleasant place ready to grow your business.