Good Questions: Office Organization Help?

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Hello AT,

I know that AT is for Apartment Therapy and not Office Therapy, but I am an avid reader of your site and I was hoping to get some ideas from readers for office organization.

I currently use a fairly functional system of filing past projects in file cabinets plus putting stacks of related papers on top of my desk and window ledge...

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I like this because it allows me to see exactly what projects I need to work on at any given time, but I don't like the way it looks. Any suggestions?

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I would like to stay away from things that block the view from the desk to the two chairs across the desk. Other than that, I'm open to anything! Thanks for any ideas...

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Hannah

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Dear Hannah,

Of course, everything that works in the home also works in the office and because you spend more time in the office, you should be able to affect more change more quickly.

At the office, we like to keep our desk clear but also to keep ongoing projects somewhat visible just as you do, and we've found that a few things work well for us.

1. designate your desk as a "clear" space and keep it that way (quick clear it each day and give it a deep clearing - so it's totally clear - every Friday before leaving)

2. designate one other space as a "project" space and allow yourself to keep stacks of papers - in neat order - in that space. You might prefer some type of organizer for this, but we prefer just a simple stack on a clean surface. We are not fans of doodads.

3. Outside of these two areas, keep everything else tucked away in files. This means that you really have to decide which stacks are "hot" stacks (you can leave these out) and which are "coldish". The coldish ones you need to put away in files to get them out of your eyesight.

We find that a majority of our stacks are coldish and really could be filed without sacrificing comfort or efficiency. In essence, stacks are really just an avoidance or fear of the filing process (which no one likes to do), but your office will benefit if you do some regular filing and putting away (weekly is good). AND with files, you really will be able to find everything again.

Anyone else??

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.