Category Archives: Office

NeatReceipt is … well … neat

I spent an hour or two today in our office, inserting collected receipts and important documents or business cards into a slim white scanner. They pulled through, quickly and quietly. If I inserted a piece of paper a bit skewed, it self-corrected.

Insert receipt. Push scan. Watch it glide through. Catch the paper. Set aside. See it come up on the computer monitor. Repeat.

It worked like a charm.

We’re on our way to being (almost) paperless in our office.

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Filed under Office, Organizing, Paper

You Can Do It: Conquer Paper Clutter

Today’s guest blogger is Daniel, an IT consultant extraordinaire and all-around geek, who blogs about business, life, and coffee (not necessarily in that order) over at his blog, BrameStorm. I have to admit: I think he’s pretty amazing. Granted, I’m a little biased, since he’s my husband. Daniel’s been a trooper during the process of getting our home organized and I’m very blessed (thank you, God!) that he a) doesn’t think I’m crazy, and b) actually wants to contribute to and maintain the organizational efforts that I’ve put in place. He’s paid particular interest in efforts to organize files and technology … In fact, when I mentioned I was asking blogging friends to contribute to a guest post series, he suggested that he could write a post describing how he’s ended his “paper pandemic.” Considering that so many entrants in my book giveaway last month said that their chief organizational challenge was paper, I accepted his offer gladly, and am excited to share his results with you!

{Image: Kate Ter Haar}

As a generally technical sort of fellow, I have a deep-seated hatred of paper.  It stacks, piles, gets ripped apart by the dog, and may yet still contain valuable information to be perused.  No matter how far technology advances, I just can’t totally get rid of the stuff.  Therefore, I decided that it was high time that I designed a filing system that worked.

In general terms, I have three filing locations:

  • A single “Inbox”
  • A filing cabinet
  • The trash can / shredder

When I come home, my first instinct is not to sort through my paper.  I want to dump it somewhere until I can deal with it.  That place is the inbox.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  I use a simple wire basket.  The idea is that when I intentionally sit down to file mail once every couple of days, I can process the pieces one at a time and decide precisely where it goes.  A lot of this has to do with whether or not it’s actionable or not.  If I can do something with it, it becomes a project in the filing cabinet or gets done on the spot.  If I can’t do something with it, it gets filed as reference or sent to the mighty trash gods.

I’m not going to reiterate a lot of this process because David Allen does a remarkable job of explaining this thought process in his book, Getting Things Done:  The Art of Stress Free Productivity.  Instead, I’m going to focus on reference filing, as that tends to be the sticking point for most individuals.

Warning:  Coming from the digital world, I’m used to acronyms.  I’m comfortable with them.  I love them and they love me.  It was inevitable that I made them part of my filing system.  While this may not totally work for you, it might give you a starting point.

Moving on…

I needed a way to establish some control over the types of information that came into my world.  Sure, alphabetizing files are a given, but what about the titles themselves?  I needed something reproducible that gave me a degree of granularity while maintaining scalability.  That’s a tall order…  I came up with something like this.

PER.INS.ATO

In human language, that’s Personal Auto Insurance.  After about fifty attempts, a useable pattern started to emerge.  Here are just a few of the tags that I used.

PER.TAX.2010 / Personal Tax Return from 2010

BIZ.LGL.LIC / Business Legal Licenses

BIZ.INS.ERR / Business Errors and Omissions Insurance

I could then file them alphabetically by section and subsection.  It was easy, extensible, and short.  There was still a challenge, though.   I needed details on what was in the file.  I already had a sharpie in hand at the time, so I did what any lazy programmer would do.  I started scrawling out lines that detailed the documents inside of the files in order of appearance.

Problem Solved!

Below, you can see a few examples of my filing system.  I hope this helps you in your own quest to kill the Evil Paper Monster of Doom ™

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Filed under Balance, Drawers, Office, Organizing, Paper, Sorting, Storage

Laundry, Dishes, Paper

These are the three things that are my nemeses. I have won battles, but the war is still going strong.

2012, please bring me systems or solutions, or just plain self-motivation to get them done in a continually ongoing and efficient way. My year of organizational endeavors is almost up, but those three things still mock me from the counter or bed or hamper or office desk every time they pile up and become the Goliath to my David.

I’m claiming the victory as mine!

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Filed under Cleaning, Home, Kitchen, Laundry, Office, Paper

Moving in Progress Update

Well, folks, it’s been three weeks since we moved into this house and one month since I quit my day job. Here’s the progress, to date:

  • Kitchen fully unpacked. Still some organizing to do.
  • Living room unpacked. We plan on purchasing a rug and selling our current coffee table/end table combo; for now, though, they are doing just fine holding up coffee and lamps.
  • Dining room mostly unpacked. I’ve been ignoring the two upright laundry hampers that hold all the odds and ends we took out of the old house in a panic at the last hour. I should probably unpack those. Oh, and Daniel would probably appreciate me moving the broken down boxes and packing paper in a trash bag out of there. Probably.
  • Bedroom has two boxes left to unpack and a ton of clothing to figure out where to put it. Maybe I’ll just take it all to Goodwill. Oh, and I am storing ALL of our wall art in the bedroom, propped against walls. Again, Daniel would probably appreciate me moving that. Somewhere.
  • Office is 3/4 painted. We just have the IdeaPaint and green accents to add. Currently, it is a little crowded with all the vintage things I’m taking pictures of for my new little Etsy shop. Oh, you didn’t know I had a new little Etsy shop? Why, take a gander by clicking on this link or the one on the top of the lefthand sidebar. Please and thank you. Otherwise, and this will sound like a broken record, Daniel would probably appreciate if I put all those lovely vintagey things back in their storage space.
  • Second bedroom (oh, how I love having a three bedroom home now!) is sort of our storage facility for the time being. It is mostly inhabited by stacks of books on the floor and a large air mattress for guests. One day it will be a clear floor and a real bed. And probably storage for my Etsy stock.
  • Outdoors. We love our new grill! It’s grill out time in the Brame household at least once a week these days, while we stubbornly hold onto the last warm vestiges of Fall in Tennessee. I should probably rake those leaves.

And that about sums it up. Our current organizational progress is mainly of the “figure out where everything goes” category. The GREAT news is that we have only 8-10 boxes, total, that are still unpacked, and most of those are crafting and art supplies that are being stored on a huge industrial rack in the garage. We really only have 4 boxes unpacked in the house itself. So, technically, we’re pretty much moved in.

I have some Craigslisting of our furniture we’re selling to do, and I have some decorating to do, and I have some cleaning schedules to figure out, but for three weeks later, it ain’t too bad to have the house in livable condition. I’m thrilled.

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Filed under Dining Room, Home, Kitchen, Living Room, Moving, Office, Painting

Our New Office

Ever since I first began browsing through home decorating magazines (before blogs were popular) and then blogs, and then Pinterest, I have loved the look of white-on-white rooms, especially loft apartments or offices. The blank canvas of the walls would always be accented by punchy graphic prints and colorful art or quirky eclectic collections.

That’s why Daniel and I chose Behr Polar Bear white for our new office paint color. (With the exception of one wall which will be 75% Idea Paint whiteboard paint and 25% nearly-lime-green aka Behr Japanese Fern or something like that.)

Today is my man’s 30th birthday (Happy Birthday, Babe!) Last night I stayed up waaayyyy late to get our office ready for his first birthday present. He’s been really wanting our office to be completed. So I finished the last paint touches on all but the soon-to-be-whiteboard wall and dressed the place up with already existing pictures and items we had on hand.

Ta-da!

I have to admit, this is my favorite nook! The typewriter is an Underwood and was passed down to Daniel by his grandfather. The “art” is a T.J.Maxx pet placemat for the floor that I framed. The plant I got from the Nashville Farmer’s Market. I got it months ago and haven’t killed it.  This is amazing.

Slightly blurry view of the desks … sorry. Still getting used to my iPhone.

Other view of the office, birthday edition!

Print station, with Kenyan Rhino carving

Sock monkey!

Hatch Show Print find

Limited edition Princess Bride  print from Movies In Haiku at Etsy.

And finally, my favorite birthday boy in his new office …

The weather was beautiful and warm today, the leaves were gorgeous, our celebratory pumpkin cheesecake and coffee with caramel creamer was delicious, and the company was fantastic. Really, I couldn’t have asked for a better first day in the new office.

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Filed under Balance, Budget Decor, Home, Office, Organizing, Painting

Day 7: In Search of a Useful Paper Organizational Method

Paper is my nemesis.

Let me say that a little more vehemently: PAPER IS MY NEMESIS.

I love paper. I hate paper. I keep paper. I throw out paper. I find papers I shouldn’t have kept in every box, every closet, every drawer, every shelf, every random place paper shouldn’t be. I’m a writer … paper happens.

I am on a hunt to find The Perfect Paper Organization System. Part of me wants to just give up and throw it all out (Sorry, Uncle Sam), but the responsible adult in me is horrified by the idea.

While I’m attacking the areas of my life and home that are easier for me to handle (closets, drawers, cupboards, etc.) I am doing research on systems that could help me. I’ll keep you updated on what I find, and I’ll start with these first few resources after the jump.

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Filed under Office, Paper

Day 1: Office Desk Makeover

Mess-o-rama.

 

Believe it or not, this is actually looking GOOD for our office. Our office/craft room/guest bedroom/storage closet has, to paraphrase something I once heard on Clean House, “a lot of slashes for one room.” It’s a workhorse.

My husband Daniel and I were married just shy of a year ago, and our combined household stash of random furniture, junk papers, old college textbooks, outdated “important” files, tools, and dead batteries was mind-blowing. Out of desperation, we shoved it all into our second bedroom and hoped for the best.

Needless to say, it was crowded.

After three months in our first apartment, we decided we hated where we lived and had to move ASAP (yes, we moved TWICE in our first year of marriage), and so the first of several huge purges began. If you think the pile in the image above is big, you should have seen that first pile! I swear we keep Goodwill in business.

Fast forward nine months. We’re finally settled into our second apartment and it is a great place to live, but we still have to work on the nitty gritty organizing. Today’s project: the office desk. Here goes nothing …

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