How To: Organize Your Workspace September 22nd, 2008 · 4 Comments by Krista Colvin, Ladies Who Launch member, Portland, OR She’s got it going on. Her business is thriving and she’s juggling it all. Her secret… her homeoffice is organized. Smart women know that being organized allows them to dream big dreams and live the life they imagine. Jayne, a handbag designer and Ladies Who Launch member, found herself wanting to work less and less in her studio. It had become a hodge podge of sorts and lacked the stylish edge she brought to her work. Here’s how Jayne got her groove back, and how you can too. Focus on these three areas: 1. Systems and storage 2. Style 3. Sustainability Systems and Storage Determine your needs, then decide which systems and storage will work best for your organizing style. Start by making a list of your problem areas (bookkeeping, marketing materials, supplies, projects, resources, and inspirational items top most lists). Here are some tried and true systems I suggest for creating a functional space: 1. For bookkeeping, keep it as simple as possible. Try decorative file folders clearly labeled with your tax categories: travel, professional development, services, etc. 2. Gather all the marketing materials you use/need in one easy-to-access location. If you display your products at events, create a “display box” in an easy-to-carry container that includes your promotional signage and a stash of your cards and brochures. If you are a regular guest speaker at events, be ready to walk out the door with all your speeches and cards in a stylish bag dedicated to this part of your business. 3. Create a supply box. Box up all those staples and the Costco-sized bag of rubber bands. Label it “Office Supplies” and store it in a closet or credenza. 4. Corral all those business cards in a three-ring binder. Categorize the business card pages by clients, professional associations, and vendors. 5. Create working space. Clear the top of your desk—if you don’t use your stapler and tape dispenser every day, then banish them to a drawer. Only keep what is truly needed at your fingertips. Storage choices are nearly endless, but finding space in your work area to put everything is another story. You can start creating more space by unclogging your file drawers. Purge and relocate dead files and old taxes elsewhere. Just be sure to clearly label them. I prefer shipping labels in a large, clear font over sharpie on masking tape or the tiny print of a label maker. Utilize your wall space for more than decor. A wall pocket file is perfect for active projects, giving you easy access while keeping the desk clutter-free. Style Your personal and organizing styles play a huge part in how you feel when you walk into a space. First determine your organizing style. Are you a piler, filer, or into binders? Yes, you can be all three! Forget color coding files and pick the style that works with the particular problem you need to solve. A natural piler will love dropping filing for piling when it comes to bank statements. Files are fabulous for client information and bookkeeping. A binder works great for items you reference on a regular basis and need at your fingertips. Is modern your look or vintage more your thing? Integrate personal style into your space through color and containers. Jayne loved vintage, so we shopped in antique stores to find just the right items. She splurged on one large, fabulous, and functional piece then ditched the hodge podge look forever. When Jayne’s new hutch arrived I received an e-mail saying she loved it so much she wanted to hug it. Simple is often stylish. Jayne had her luscious trims tucked in a drawer. Now, pinned to a board, she has easy access and gathers inspiration for her designs. Beads are stored in glass jars placed on shelf risers and lazy Susans for easy access. Fabrics now adorn the shelves of her new hutch. Her project table no longer faces the wall but is now turned sideways into the room, opening up the space while taking advantage of the view and natural light. Sustainability The key to staying organized is twofold: 1. Create simple systems that suit your organizing style. 2. Schedule an “office day” once a month to keep on top of the whole shebang. Sustaining the systems you put into place will allow you to continue dreaming big and living the life you imagine. Krista Colvin is a member of the Portland, OR, Incubator, founder of Organize in Style www.organizeinstyleblog.com , and creator of www.theShebang.com. For more articles like this, visit www.ladieswholaunch.com, the first company to provide resources and connections exclusively for women entrepreneurs.