Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Organizing The Home Office

I don't know what it is about this time of year but throw in the extra pregnancy hormones and my "Spring Cleaning/ Nesting Instinct" is in full force. We're faced with eliminating the room we currently use as an office to make space for Eli's "Big Boy" room and the task of pairing down has really made me confront how unorganized we have been in this area of our lives.

Since we're going from a whole room of office space to just an Ikea Hemnes secretary in our bedroom, functional organization has become a top priority.  I took a few weeks to mull things over: evaluating what roles this small space needed to tackle and came up with the following:

Ingoing/Outing Mail
Command Center 
Electronic Storage 
Office Supplies 
Coupon Staging & Storage 
Record Keeping

The "Incoming/Outgoing Mail" station was the easiest to establish since the Hemnes comes with two perfectly positioned cubbies to fit this need. I made a central command station for bill paying items like checks, envelops and stamps and stuck a few our our favorite pens in that caddy as well. I moved right along to the condensing and storing of office supplies but I had a slight panic attack upon discovering that Ikea no longer sells the Kasset paper boxes in the 8.5X11 size. Luckily, I have always been the type to pick up an extra pair of something I truly love and had four Kasset paper boxes on hand from my college years. I labeled these boxes for Supplies, Stationery, Notepads and Printer Paper.

Next up on the list was a place to store our various electronic items like computer accessories and cables. I found the perfect boxes at Staples, which were designed to store greeting cards but  perfectly housed our wares without taking up a large footprint.

To give you a grasp at how ambitious my "Coupon Storage"  undertaking truly was, let it be known that I had over 50 lbs of filed coupon inserts to downsize and cram into a single file box. While most of those inserts were expired, I did manage to collect and file all the current ones in this clear file box for easy access.

I also devised a new system for my "Sporadic Coupons" {yes, I realize the irony in planning to be sporadic}. Deals pop up on a moment's notice and I like having a selection of high value coupons on hand in case the opportunity strikes. I also find it much easier to clip and keep on hand coupons for products I know we frequently purchase. To address this need I repurposed a poly envelope and turned it into my mini coupon stash for my diaper bag. I was able to save $3.50 on today's shopping trip just by using "Sporadic" coupons I had on hand!

The "Record Keeping" binders were my favorite thing to tackle. I've collected magazines for years and finally needed to let that bad habit go. I once started a magazine tear sheet binder and this new need to downsize made that solution the perfect answer. I labeled a 1" binder as " Inspiration" and just added a few dividers labeled with my favorite clear tape and filed all those earmarked pages in one easy to reference spot before carting all those old magazines to the curb.

I used a  1" binder to store our "Records and Receipts" and we'll use this to house everything from charitable giving to voter registration cards and copies of our passports and driver's licences.

 I used a 2" binder to house all of our "Warranties & Manuals" which will hold our big ticket receipts along with their respective warranties and product guides. I've had a lot of success writing in on warranty claims and having one central location to store the warranty information and proof of purchase is really making me feel pretty dang "on top of it all". Don't worry if you haven't done this with all your big ticket items, most manufacturers would rather keep you as a loyal customer than to lose you to the competition. Case in point: when our Crane humidifier bit the dust at barely 9 months in, I emailed their Customer Service asking for a second chance. Since I didn't have my original receipt they just asked me to send in a screenshot of my baby registry along with a section of the humidifier's cord. Less than 2 weeks later I had a brand new $50 humidifier and they even included some awesome sample products that aren't even available in my neck of the woods {Did you know Crane sells aromatherapy oils for their humidifiers?}. And even though I'm sure this might just be my paranoia taking over: it's also really nice to have all our expensive proof of purchases in one place for insurance purposes or in the event that an item is recalled, it will be super easy to compare the model number off our filed product manuals.

So there you have it, just one way I'm turning over a more organized leaf in time for this next kid to make his debut!
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