Organizing Your Office

Is your home office in a corner of the family or living room? Here are some ideas to help you organize your home office, no matter where it’s located.

Invest in Adequate Furniture
Above all, offices need a clear work area. You need adequate space for computer hardware and peripheral equipment, reference materials, your files, and supplies and paper. When purchasing office furniture, whether its bookcases for your library or a file cabinet for your important papers, your priority should be making sure it has ample space for work and storage.

Establish Activity Centers
For an efficient office, create different activity areas. Designate a “work center,” which should include a clear workspace, the computer and frequently used office products. You should also have a “reference center,” where you can store binders, manuals, a dictionary and professional books and materials. Office and paper supplies can be stored in a “supply center.”

Properly Place Your Hardware and Peripherals
Your computer equipment should be positioned according to frequency of use. If you use your printer on a daily basis, make sure it’s within easy reach. For those of you who only access the CPU for troubleshooting, store it under or next to the desk. Likewise, if you seldom use your scanner, place it outside the work area. When you are setting up your hardware, keep access to drives, trays and cords as open as possible. Finally, keep those tangled cords away from drawers and out of your leg room.

Establish a Paper-Processing Area
There should be a place within your work center for those papers that need immediate action. Find an accessible place within your view to store those papers associated with clients or ongoing projects. It’s helpful to establish a permanent file system for any papers you may need to occasionally reference.

Contain Unruly Wires
A great tip is to fold mailing labels back on themselves around each cord and then label the wires. This can be done for any cords to the electric supply, as well as for cords that connect different components to each other. Cut down on cord clutter by bundling like wires together. For instance, bundle your computer wires with your stereo speaker wires.

Take Care of Your Media and Computer Equipment
Be sure to use a surge protector for any delicate electronic equipment. Just make sure it’s UL listed and is a transient-voltage surge protector. Here it’s better to go high-end. These are built with replaceable fuses and will last a lot longer than less-costly models.

To clean your CDs and DVDs, a used fabric softener sheet makes an ideal lint- and static-free rag. Cut down on fingerprints by handling CDs by the rim. Clean the backside of the CD, as that’s where the information is stored. Start at the center of the CD and stroke out to the edge, rather than cleaning in a circular motion.

To make the most efficient use of your office space, you often need to stack your equipment. Don’t stack anything with venting on the top, such as amps or satellite receivers, because they might get too warm. Rather, simply use small plastic cups, or chair-leg protectors, as spacers when stacking.

Keep your computer screen clean with a lint-free cloth, such as an old T-shirt. Spray water directly on the cloth and wipe clean. Don’t spray the screen directly. An abrasive substance should never be used. Window cleaner is another no-no. Just stick to a lint-free cloth and water. You can always consult with your monitor’s manual for the proper way to clean the screen.

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