Posts Tagged ‘office’

Controlling Paper Clutter

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

controlling-paper-clutterIs paper clutter taking over your entire house? Are there piles of bills every week that you have no time to keep up with? Controlling paper clutter is one habit that you can begin so that you have more control over your life. You will feel caught up and fresh and light. It’s worth doing.

Here are my secrets to how I stay on top of paper clutter:

  • Get a filing cabinet or a copy paper box if you have no money for a file. (You can cover the copy paper box with lovely fabric to match your decor if you’re into that sort of thing.) Put dividers into your filing cabinet, with a label for each kind of bill.
  • Sort all your stacks of papers into piles on the floor in front of you. All the telephone bills go in one pile, all the Visa bills in another, dentist stuff in another.
  • Catch up on all your filing.
  • Now every time a new paper comes through the door, deal with it right away. Throw it in the trash, pay the bill, or file the paper. Since there are only a few, if you get into the habit of doing it immediately, you will always stay on top of it.
  • If you have no money to pay a bill, clip it to your bulletin board and pay it as soon as you can. If you have a paper that is the schedule for your children’s basketball games, clip that to the bulletin board or post it on your fridge. It helps to transfer the dates onto your calendar so you don’t miss the practices and games.
  • If you have no time to sort mail when you bring it inside, put the mail in one pile and deal with it as soon as you can, like right after dinner. If there is a designated time to deal with it, it will get done. I just remember back when I was a teacher, I would come home and need to lie down for a few minutes before I could do anything else. So just deal with the pile as soon as you get some rest and food in your stomach. You could even set out a basket for incoming mail on your counter so that the stack doesn’t look so hideous until you can deal with it.

Covering a Bulletin Board with Cloth

Monday, January 14th, 2013

covering-a-bulletin-board-with-clothSince I love decorating as well as organizing, one way to make a bulletin board look lovely is covering a bulletin board with cloth that matches your decor. For example, if you have deep red in the room, find a fabric that contains those colors for the backdrop of your bulletin board. A good color that will match any room is black, since it provides contrast to help you see what is pinned up.

In the video, my husband shows you the steps to make a beautiful cloth-covered bulletin board. First you should gather your supplies: a bulletin board, cloth that is slightly larger than the bulletin board, a metal spatula (used for painting), spray adhesive, fabric scissors, and a silver Sharpie marker. The bulletin board should have a frame on it.

  1. Set the cloth down on the table, wrong side up. Place the bulletin board on top of it. With the silver marker, draw a line around the bulletin board.
  2. Grab the scissors and cut half an inch inside the rectangle. (Watch the video to see what I mean. It’s not hard.)
  3. Shove one end of the cloth under the frame at the top of the bulletin board with the metal spatula. When it is all even, use the spray adhesive. Spray evenly all over the bulletin board, and lay the cloth down over it, making sure the cloth is long enough to fit under the frame on the bottom. If not, pull it slightly down, making sure it’s still tucked in at the top.
  4. Shove the bottom of the cloth into the frame. Continue with the sides until you have a finished frame. Now hang the bulletin board on the wall.

Covering a bulletin board with fabric makes your bulletin board looked dressed up and will make you feel more organized as you stay on top of your to-do’s.

At this point, take all the junk off your old bulletin board, and then only put up the things that are relevant on the new bulletin board, throwing the rest away. This might mean that you need to do a few chores, like pay a bill or make a phone call, but you will visually feel more caught-up if your bulletin board is in order and looking lovely.

Linked to Tackle It Tuesday

Re-organize Your Office

Friday, August 24th, 2012


A fun way to re-organize your office is to empty the room completely and give it a fresh coat of paint. Then put everything back into your office exactly where it belongs. Suddenly your office is more organized than it’s ever been, and it has a new, fresh look.

That is exactly what my husband and I did one Saturday afternoon this summer. It was completely unexpected, but my husband wanted to change the light fixture in the office because of poor lighting. I said, “Shouldn’t we repaint the ceiling before changing the shape of the light fixture? Otherwise it will be harder to paint later.” You see, the ceiling was blue, a bold blue that used to match the nursery decor back when this room was a nursery. Now for five years it has been an office, an ugly blue office that we had always planned on painting but never had the time.

My husband answered, “I guess you’re right. Do you want to help me paint the office?”

“Sure,” I said, and off he went to buy the paint. While he was gone, the children and I emptied the room, except for the furniture. Those my husband scooted into the center of the room, covering them with a drop cloth. I started putting blue painter’s tape around the window frame and door frame. When my husband got home, we started painting.

By the time we went to bed that night, the office looked completely different. I found a stack of un-filed papers three feet tall. Our file was completely full, so this is why it was impossible to file our paid bills. My husband and I started shredding older papers that weren’t needed. Then we decided that burning the papers would be better than shredding them, so we threw bills from as far back as the 1980’s into the fireplace. It felt fresh and clean to be caught up on our filing. All the necessary paperwork was filed properly, and it barely fit. There were no stray papers in the entire office.

The next day we put all the office stuff back into the office. Many items belonged in the garage or other rooms in the house, not in the office. When we were finished, the office had less in it than ever before, and we knew where every single item was located. I have smiled every time I’ve gone into the office ever since.

For more ideas on organizing your home, watch Organizing for a Fun Homeschool.

Organizing the Office

Friday, January 7th, 2011


My husband told me in no uncertain terms that I must not organize his office, or he won’t be able to find anything. Out of honor to my husband, I decided to leave the office out of the double video workshop “Organizing for a Fun Homeschool.” Well, I found another office-looking area in our house. It is a built-in desk connected to the kitchen, where my oldest son does his math, and where I edit videos to put into YouTube. It is this office space that I recently organized.

First of all, office supplies like pencils, pens, paper clips, and rubber bands can be placed into a drawer organizer that you can get at an office supply store. It really is easier to find supplies if there is a designated area for each thing. Many people prefer to have a pencil holder on the top of their desk, like a can or something similar. For me, the fewer things that are out, the more restful I feel. I try to clear off everything I can and not have any brick-a-brack cluttering up my space, which would cause me not to have enough room to work. Many times I need to set down a binder or a camera, and there needs to be plenty of space around the computer to work. Simplicity is the key.


Secondly, a large bulletin board above your desk area is a great way to organize your to-do’s. Just pin something to the board if you don’t want to forget it. For example, I needed to make an appointment for my son’s teeth to be extracted by the dentist, so I pinned that paper to the bulletin board. The bad part of doing this is that the bulletin board inevitably becomes overcrowded, and you can’t find things very well. (I’m embarrassed to say that I have an example of an overcrowded bulletin board in my YouTube video “A Typical Homeschool Day.”  Just look at the opening scene, and you’ll know what I mean.) When it gets this bad, all you have left to do is sort through and accomplish whatever you were supposed to do.


A secret that I just made up, which will help you to have a neat and tidy bulletin board, is to use staples instead of pins for items that are more permanent, like phone numbers you use all the time. You will notice a big difference on how fresh and clean your board looks just with this small tip.

I always have a calendar connected to my bulletin board. I do NOT have a daytimer. I don’t believe in them. If there are too many activities to fit into a normal square on my calendar, I need to cancel something. Honestly, I don’t want to live like a chicken with a head cut off. Also, the entire family’s activities are on there, so I rarely have a schedule conflict. I always check my calendar before committing to something. Plus, my husband needs to know what I’m doing, and I wouldn’t want him rummaging through my daytimer. (Once again, I don’t believe in daytimers, but I think it would be weird for someone to be pawing through my stuff just to figure out our schedule.) Simplify, simplify, is what I say.


Thirdly, I found a plastic magazine rack (like a short shelf) to go beside the computer. I put my son’s math workbook, his nature journal, the book he’s writing, and any other stuff he’s working on, in this schoolwork shelf. You could do this with each of your children that you homeschool. I’ve also seen shelves that mount to the wall, like hard plastic pockets drilled into the wall. That might be another idea for storing the children’s school books.

Fourth, we have a wooden hanging shelf for keys, envelopes that need to be mailed, a place to put a wallet and cell phone, and anything else on its way out of the house. This is helpful for finding spare keys when you lock your keys in the car, or to make sure you mail your bills.

Organizing the office doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you ignore your filing cabinet. Okay, okay, I admit that the office is the most difficult room to clean in the house because of all those papers that need to be filed. Go ahead and file your paid bills, receipts, and tax forms. Find out how long you need to keep each paper, and shred the rest. An end-of-year statement trumps all 12 monthly statements, which you can safely shred, for example. I admit, this is a headache, so give yourself a huge reward when you’re done!