Whether you are moving your office to a new location or just trying to get organized, here are some no-fail strategies for making the most of your organizing project in your office.
How to Organize Your Office for a Move
First determine your goals. Are you going into a smaller space? Changing work responsibilities? Trying to move away from paper files? Wanting to keep items off your desk and in a more secure location? Get clear about what you are trying to accomplish before you attempt to organize your office for a move.
Go through the steps of SPACE to get organized (in this order): Sort, Purge, Arrange/Analyze what’s left, Containerize (put things away), Maintain (see last bullet below).
Sort into main heading (Leases, Banks, Vendors, Projects, Work History, etc), then by year or sub category. Use this format on your file headings: Example: Strategic Planning 2015.
Sort like files together, preferably by your main headings. This will make packing and unpacking your files a much smoother process.
Create a ready reference area for papers or notes you reference all the time. Generally this should include procedures or contacts, but not passwords. This might be a bulletin board, a flip-binder, or an easily accessed file folder.
Shift your space. Organize vertically, not in stack. Use step-folders, file frames, and wall pockets to keep things visible. Stacks always obscure whatever is on the bottom. If you can’t break the stacking habit, use visible Post-It Notes or tabbed clips like these Pendaflex Pilesmart Label Clips with Write On Tabs
to allow sorting.
Mirror your electronic and paper filing systems as much as possible to create ease of use. They will never be exactly the same, but try to have the main headings and categories align.
Use binders and files for their best purposes, as needed. Binders work well for keeping things in specific order, carrying into meetings, handling large volumes. They are freestanding, so work well when filing space is limited, they are easily purged by year and re-used. File folders are great for quickly grouping and labeling papers, are easily rearranged in a drawer or sorting system, are lightweight and inexpensive, and are easily color coded for function either on just the tab or by using a solid color file.
Maintain it. Block a time on the calendar with a recurring appointment to clear your floor, desk, and files. This could be weekly or monthly. In the past, a secretary might have done this, but now this falls to each individual employee. A 15 minute-2 hour block of time is reasonable for organizing. Just don’t get distracted while organizing, and don’t try to multi-task.