Office Organizing Tip #3 for 2013: Create Zones and Homes

Published on: Author: Anne Langton

There is one specific area where my skills as an office designer and professional organizer intersect perfectly.  This brings us to…Organizing Tip #3 for 2013: Create Zones and Homes within home and business offices.  As a designer, my focus is to create office space that FUNCTIONS as well as it looks.  As a professional organizer the goal is exactly the same.


Think back to your kindergarten class room.  Everything was divided into zones or “neighborhoods”.  There was the “reading corner”, the “napping area” and the “play area” and everything that was needed within the “reading area” such as books and cushions were located within that zone.  When organizing your office or work space think along these terms and organize the work space to store all the tools or data needed to complete tasks within that specific zone.  For example within the “Copy Zone” one would need paper storage, stapler, stapler remover, toner AND an available surface to assemble copied documents.   Consider also the adjacency of the zones.  Some activities are not complimentary to each other.  For example having the “Conference Zone” next to the “Copy Zone” could be disruptive from an acoustic perspective.  Zones vary from work space to work space but some examples would be…

  • Computer Work Zone
  • Copy Zone
  • Mail/Package Delivery Prep Zone
  • Conference Zone
  • Reading Zone
  • Telephone Work Zone
  • Filing Zone
  • Supply Storage Zone


If I were to describe one reason for lack of organization within home or business offices, without a doubt I would say…”things have NO HOME or the WRONG KIND OF HOME”.  Chances are if you have a pile beginning to grow on your desk as we speak, its probably because…

  1. …you have no idea where to put the papers (NO HOME)
  2. …you know where they go but it’s so hard to put them there (WRONG KIND OF HOME)

Let’s use sale receipts as an example.  Some are stashed in your wallet, some are on your desk, some are in the car and some are in the microwave (don’t ask).  The simple step of setting up a box where these can easily be tossed creates a HOME for these receipts and come tax time could save a lot of headaches.  IF however the box has a snap lid that is a pain to remove AND is stacked among other boxes…you won’t be inclined to use it.  On the other hand if it has no lid OR it is a drawer, you would tend to use it…so consider how many steps it will take to complete the task of storing before assigning a HOME.  Simpler is better…in fact don’t be afraid of throwing tops of lids OUT if they do not serve a purpose


And finally, make sure the HOME is properly located.  If it is not easily accessible to the task at hand it won’t be properly utilized.  Think outside “the box” so to speak!  Maybe the receipt box should be in your car glove box?  Maybe it should be just inside the door to your office hanging as a wall basket to act as reminder?  Important thing is to make the HOME easily usable and accessible…although I would not recommend using the microwave to store sales receipts no matter how useful it might seem at the time.


Langton Home Offices recognizes that life improves when working spaces work well and feel right!

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