Utilizing Your Office
Catherine L. Tully & J. Wallace
Having a writing business usually
means that you operate out of your home. This makes managing your space a
priority item. Here are some creative organizational techniques that can help
you win the war on clutter and stay organized:
1. The All-In-One Machine
Utilizing space wisely in your office area is important since there
usually isn't a whole lot of room. Julie Hood, founder of
buying an all-in-one printer, fax and copy machine. Eliminating the needless
clutter from having three separate machines can go a long way in giving you
more useable office space.
2. The Office Alternative
If you are pressed for room, don't despair. Hood has another suggestion
for those who need an office, but can't dedicate a whole room to their
business. She says, "If you are completely short on space, an office armoire
gives you a way to add an office but then close up the business at night." You
can post bulletin boards on the inside of the doors to increase your working
space without adding clutter to the room. Take care to measure any items
(computers/phones/fax machines, etc.) before you buy them to be sure they will
3. The Bulletin Board
Simply put, this item will make it less likely that you will lose things.
Phone numbers, business cards and notes written on scraps of paper can be
tacked up immediately so they don't get misplaced or moved. Set aside a little
time each week to clear the board, and you will be able to keep up easily.
To increase your efficiency, post
a list of frequently called numbers so that you don't waste time looking them
up. Include on your board a shopping list and add any office items to it as
you run out. If you are looking for an economical way to go, Ms. Hood suggests
using cork as an inexpensive choice for your board. She also mentions that you
can, "cover the cork with fabric to match the decor of your room." After all,
organized doesn't have to mean boring!
4. The Receipt Box
This box can be anything you like, from a fancy wooden box to a simple
plastic container. Place the box by whatever door you usually come in—which
will also save you more precious office space. Develop a routine where you
drop any work-related receipts straight into the box when you get home. Keep
the box small and once a week, bring it with you into the office.
Empty, file and repeat. This helps to keep all of those receipts from floating
around, getting lost, which ultimately costs you money at tax time.
5. The Planner
Try to keep every appointment, expense and hour worked logged in one
place. Some people like to use a large desk calendar. This is fine if you work
primarily in your office, just take care to keep it clutter-free. Whatever you
decide, just make sure that you have everything on or in it. Having multiple
calendars or planners can be confusing and add unnecessary clutter to your
office space. Try to keep it simple.
Using these strategies can help you create a simple work area that is
customized for your home-based writing business. Taking charge of the office
and getting organized can help free up both time and space so that you can run
things more effectively. That way you will have more time—and room—to write.
Catherine L. Tully and Joe Wallace
write about fitness/wellness, writing, marketing and the environment. You can
contact them at