How do you pick just ten products?
Picking just ten products is a daunting task, since each person has somewhat different needs. So I thought I’d share the top ten in my own office; that’s a bit more manageable! I’ll skip over the critical-but-uninteresting file cabinets and bookshelves, and cover some of the other things that keep my home office organized.
1. My MacBook. Not everyone will want to have a digital calendar, address book, to-do list, etc. But these computer tools work beautifully for me. And given how much I rely on my computer, good back-ups are essential; right now I’m using external hard drives and SuperDuper.
3. Wireless anything. Dealing with cords is a hassle; going wireless cuts down on cable clutter. For now, I have a wireless keyboard and mouse. I don’t need a new printer—but when I do, that will be wireless, too.
Other Practical Tools
4. My shredder. I have a Fellowes PS-79Ci cross-cut shredder. It takes many sheets of paper at once. It takes staples. It never jams. It has a shut-off mechanism if hands, paws, or tails come too close to the opening. It’s reasonably quiet. It was well worth the upgrade from my prior shredder, which wasted way too much of my time. It’s usually available for much less than the suggested price on the Fellowes web site.
5. File folders. I use straight-line filing, and my preferred folders have a straight-cut tab, running the full length of the folder; the tab is two-ply for sturdiness. The straight-cut tabs give me lots of room for labels—no figuring out how to abbreviate something! I personally dislike manila folders, so mine are colored. Mostly I use random colors, but all my client folders are lavender. This makes them very easy to spot, and it’s a color that’s pleasing to me.
My hanging file folders are nothing special, except I do try to buy ones made with recycled content. But I do use the larger-size tabs—1/3 cut rather than 1/5 cut—to provide more space for a meaningful label. Many times I use a hanging file with no internal file folder.
6. Labeler. I used to scoff at the idea of needing a labeler—and then I started using one with a client, and I was hooked. Now I own two: one for home, and one for client work, which stays in my car. My labeler of choice is a Brother PT-1950, which is an older model.
Places to Get Creative
But what about all those fun, creative organizing options I write about so often? There are plenty of places for those: staplers, tape holders, bulletin boards, wastebaskets, etc. Some of mine are as follows.
7. A favorite coffee mug, to hold pencils and pens. The supply of clever and beautiful mugs is overwhelming; you could buy one specifically to hold your pens—or you could just raid you kitchen cabinets, since most people have more mugs than they’ll ever use for coffee. The one I use special meaning to me.
8. Inbox. There’s no need to buy an in box at a big-box office supplies store. My in box is a big basket I got from Cost Plus World Market.
Not Strictly Organizing, but Closely Related
9. A desk that isn’t placed back-to-the-door. Near the start of my career, I hired a feng shui consultant who helped me arrange my office space. The first thing she did was position my desk so that my back is to a wall, and I face the door. A window looking out at my garden is on my right. The impact was incredible.
10. An ergonomic set-up. If you spend any significant amount of time on your computer, please invest in an ergonomic workspace. You really don’t want to get a repetitive stress injury. I have an external monitor, keyboard and mouse for my laptop, which makes it easier to be ergonomically correct—but you can be fine on a laptop without going quite that far. A good chair helps a lot, too; mine is the good old Aeron chair, size medium.