How to Organize Paperwork in Your Homebased Office

Do you have piles of paperwork littering every surface in your home office? Are you afraid to open a window or switch on the fan in case your papers will blow everywhere into a big mess. Here are some fantastic tips to organize your paperwork and how you can become the most efficient person ever.

Firstly, decide what you really need to keep and what you don't. Do you see a reason to file things that you don't need? (Remember that you do need to keep financial records for tax purposes). A filing system is necessary to keep all that paper in order. What filing system you decide to buy or setup will depend on your budget and your space.

A proper filing cabinet is an excellent way to keep records because you can file your paperwork in a way that is easy to access. Those hanging cardboard folders with alphabetical stickers on the tabs will quickly show you where everything is. All you need to do is drop the sheet of paper into the correct folder. Always set aside 15 minutes of your day to file paperwork correctly. This will save you lots of time hunting for a file that has somehow disappeared -- even though you are sure it was right there yesterday.

If you cannot have a filing cabinet, then the next best thing is to have cardboard folders or even plastic or cardboard boxes -- with lids if possible -- on shelves. You can still use an alphabetical filing system by sticking labels on the edges of your shelves, or on the sides of the boxes. If you store your folders in a drawer, write the file name on the bottom of the folder so that you can see it when you open the drawer. Of course, you could store them top first- - but then the writing will be upside down.

You can purchase cardboard folders in packs of ten. You can make them more useful by turning up the bottom by about 5 cm and stapling it to form a pocket. Then your papers will not fall out when you pick it up.

You can also use large manila envelopes to file your paperwork. You can stick the gummed overlap down over itself so that it doesn't catch on the paperwork, cut it off and cut a u-shaped section out of the front so you can see what files are in there. This aids in extracting the file too -- you don't have to take everything out to find what you want.

Once you have everything in its proper place, you will be able to work more efficiently and quickly. And it will certainly look more professional.

With many home businesses it is necessary to meet with clients sometimes. You simply cannot expect clients or prospects to feel comfortable in your lounge room, surrounded by toys and kids. And the kitchen with its sink full of dishes has limited possibilities. Even if you don't have children, you need a space for your clients that suits them. This will help your clients feel that you are a professional at what you do and enable you to discuss business matters in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, free of interruptions.

The ideal solution is have an accessible office from outside. This will separate your personal life from your business -- a necessity when running a business from home. If this area can be at the front of the house, so much the better. You'll be able to have a visible sign directing your clients to the correct place. You can restrict family access to a side or back entrance. Your waiting room -- if you need one -- can be your front porch or even the foyer of the home.

To create a suitable meeting area in your office, you need to visualize what you will use each area for. You have your workspace -- which is usually occupied by a computer and chair -- and you have storage space that is close to the workspace. You can use the rest of the space for the meeting area.

You should design your meeting area with comfort in mind. Whether you have a sofa and easy chairs or whether you have a table and straight-backed chairs may depend on your space and your business. Try using straight-backed chairs. Try them out yourself first. Some are more comfortable than others. You may need a table to demonstrate something on. Or you may need to use a laptop or an overhead projector.

Make sure your client space is appropriate for the kind of business you have. If you need to simply talk to clients, then a sofa or easy chairs may be the best option. Two easy chairs are better than one sofa, unless you are likely to interview two people at once. You may need a small coffee table to provide tea or coffee options, but be sure this does not intrude on your available space.

For instance, instead of the usual coffee table in front of the sofa, try a small round one at one end. You can put two easy chairs along one wall, but you'll need to pull the far side of each forward slightly so you are facing your client, rather than both staring at the opposite wall. The obvious place for a small table is then between the two.

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