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The Home Office: Organize and Create an Organized and Efficient Area to Work In (and be able to find everything).

Objectives: At the end of the session, the trainees will be able to:

  • Define the concept of organizational design.

  • Identify areas of concern in the home office.

  • Develop ways to incorporate organizational design theory to the home office.

Activities: In groups, have the students write down 10 items from their offices that they can find within 5-10 minutes. Also, to make a list of 10 items that they would have to spend considerable time looking for.

Buy a bunch of file folders. You can buy 1", 2", enclosed, pretty flowery ones, regular plain ones....I don't care...just buy them.

Now, when you are working at your desk (and keep everything at your desk) stuff like bills, calls you need to make, projects that need work, tax info, letters to answer, old utilities, etc.

As you notice that you have a certain type of paper that piles up...take it, make a folder for it, file it. If you do not have a file cabinet, use a box, a plastic tub. I do not care...just start organizing things.

Make a folder for your utilities, maybe one for your phone bill, one for tax info, one for receipts, one for warranties (although what I do for warranties to buy plastic sheet covers, put them into a 3 ring binder and then slide the warranties into a plastic sheet so I can turn the pages and find what I need quickly).

Little by little, you will become more organized, it will be easier to find things, and life will become less complicated.

For those of you who scrapbook or have baby books, here is one thing I do.

I have two desk top tray files. They are on top of my file

cabinet and there are 12 trays.

There is one for each child,

each parent, and the family.

They are in order of age.

In other words, Tony's is the

first tray, Douglas, second, and so forth.

That way, when I have photos developed, or school work I

want to keep, programs from

school, letters, cards, awards, certificates...

If they are Felipe's they go in

Felipe's tray. If it is a card

Rebeca made for me and I want to keep it for her baby book...I simply put it in her tray.

That way, the items are already sorted by individual when I am

ready to work on scrap booking and not just tossed into a

drawer or box that I have to

sort through later.


This past week I did my taxes and some of my children's taxes and here are a few hints to make it easier.

All year long and especially beginning in the new year, make sure you file each item as you get it.

One of my children misplaced two of their W-2's and therefore, cannot file their taxes as they are waiting for replacements.

I have one folder that is labeled FARM TAX. During the year I keep receipts for feed, fertilizer, chemical, repairs, equipement, and other misc.

I have a drawer that I put stuff in when I am in a hurry (and don't want to file it immediately) and then once or twice a month, I pull everything out of that drawer and file it.

I am trying to get in the habit to file each item immediately so as not to have to do that chore.

I also have a folder that says 2010 taxes. As W-2's come in the mail, or 1099's, or whatever...I put those items directly into that folder.

I also have a business and do a Schedule C, so another folder for those items.

I have seperate folders for my income, my mom's income, and for Fito's income.

We put new windows in during the year and I knew they were a tax item this year so the info went into the generic tax folder.

When I go to do the taxes, I just grab my folders and I am ready to go.

One office tip is to always bring your mail straight to the office. Then, while standing right by a trash can, sort the mail.

Do not think too much or you will keep things you do not need. I do tend to open things, as in today's society important things sometimes look like junk mail and vice versa. But throw away magazines, fliers, and other stuff that might tempt you later. They also stack up and add to your clutter.

I also have one spot on my desk for bills and I immediately put all the bills there so they do not get misplaced.

You can use colored containers, alphabetical, numerical, or by category. Each person organizes differently and needs to find a system that works for them.

I have a recipe box and I use 3X5 cards to keep addresses on. I have many on the computer, many on my cell phone, but I still like my home system the best.

I have the alphabetized index cards and then I simply write down the name, address, phone number, name of children, birthdays, etc.

Whatever info that I want on the card.

Then I simply file it under the corresponding letter of the alphabet.

The reason this system works so well, is that if your computer crashes, you still have it. An address book gets really messy and ugly after awhile as you scratch out names or change addresses.

The cards are simple. Change of address?

Make a new card. Easy, simple, neat and clean. Going on a long trip? Grab the cards of people you might want to contact and when you get home, just file them back.

Another thing I do is at the bottom of the card I put 08, 09, 10 for the year if I received a Christmas card or some kind of contact from the person during the year.

I put a check by the year, if I sent them a card. That way, I keep track of everything in a simple, easy to change format.

I keep a tub of cleaning wipes under my desk.

That way when I am on hold on the phone, I can pull out a wipe and clean the phone, the desk, the keyboard, and so on.

Little by little, phone call or waiting for something to download, I can clean segment by segment of my office.

Receipts and Warranties. We all need to keep them. But how to do it in such a way that you can easily find it later when you really need it.

First of all, there are different types of receipts. There are those receipts that you keep for tax purposes and those you keep on products or services.

I have files in a cabinet right behind my desk. In this cabinet I have a FARM TAX'S file, a BUSINESS TAX'S file, a MOM'S TAX'S file, and a FITO AND TAMMY'S TAX'S file.

I file anything, not just receipts, that I might need for tax time into these folders.

I also keep a plastic expandable folder for receipts on stuff specifically for construction on the house, i.e., paint, shades, carpeting, flooring, shingles, etc.

As for receipts on products or services and warranties. I have 3"- 4", 3-ring binders that have 3-hole plastic sheet protectors in them.

That way you just slide the warranty, booklet, manual, instructions, receipt...whatever...down into the sheet protector, inside the binder/notebook.

When you need something, just flip through the pages and it is easy to see everything.

Organized and clean.

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