Thursday, November 14, 2013

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How to Help Keep Your Home Office Organized in the Most Efficient Manner (#MC)


I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Fellowes. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

In many ways, a home office is even more difficult to keep organized than an office elsewhere.  It is difficult to separate mail, documents, and other work papers from those for the home.  I cannot tell you how many times I've searched through the stack of papers on my desk to find a school notice or a crayon drawing mixed into the pile.  It took us many years of trying different systems to keep everything separated and organized, but it turns out that the more complicated systems, even though they were perfect in theory, were the ones that eventually got phased out of our extremely busy daily routines.  Now we have adopted a much simpler system.

The main rule for keeping our home office from becoming overrun with clutter is to . . .

"Handle things just once whenever possible!"

When new mail or papers of any kind arrive, they should go directly into one of these places immediately:
  • Trash or recycling bin
  • In the paper shredder
  • In the proper file
  • In a bin for items that will need your attention in the near future (i.e. bills, coupons, school notices, etc . . . )
  • Into your child's backpack
You may have other needs, but those five categories should cover most of what comes into your hands.  If you get a credit card application in the mail you won't use, shred it on the spot.  Put the unwanted circulars in the recycling bin.  Sign your child's permission slip and hand it right back to them to put in their backpack.  Do not put any of it down on your desk, the dining room table, or anywhere else.  You may have good intentions to come back to it later, but the odds that you will be sidetracked are pretty high.

Handling as much as you can just once might take ten minutes out of your day and will keep you from staring at a heap of papers on your desk that you'll put off going through until who knows when.  There will be some items you will need to handle more than once, such as bills.  Once each bill has been paid, you should either file it away or put it into a bin to be shredded.  Then once a week or so, shred the small handful of papers and envelopes that have been collected in that bin.  Again, this should only take a few minutes of your time.


There are some things that you should obviously shred, such as credit card applications, expired credit cards, old checkbooks, bank statements, and so forth.  There are other things you may not think to shred.  For example, utility bills are often used these days to show proof of residency.  You probably don't want something like that in someone else's hands.  I also shred my old organizer pages.  I often jot notes, phone numbers, doctors' names, and other personal information in my organizer.  I also would not want a stranger to know that every Wednesday, I go to a specific place at a certain time.  It is just easier to shred all that information than to worry about who might get their hands on it.

Choosing the right shredder for your home will depend on your space, the volume and types of papers shredded, and whether you have children or pets.  We used to have a shredder hung on the wall in an out of the way place, but we found ourselves using it increasingly less because it was too far out of the way.  The Fellowes 63Cb Shredder seems like just the right shredder for us.  We keep it by our desks and made sure that it is in close proximity to the path from the front door, where we get our mail, to the kitchen trash and recycling.  That way we can pick up the mail, drop what we need in the "save for later" basket, shred what we don't want, put items in the recycling, and finally throw what's left away.

The Fellowes 63Cb Shredder has many important features, such as Jam Blocker technology, cross-cutting, and an Energy Saving System.  However, the main reason we are able to have this paper shredder in our home in a convenient place by our desks is because of its SafeSense technology.  The shredder knows when hands touch the opening where the paper gets inserted.  Once it senses this, the shredder is immediately disabled.  My husband and I have tested it over and over again, just to be sure that our children (and our cats) were well-protected.

To learn more about this and other Fellowes paper shredders, visit www.Fellowes.com.  The Fellowes 63Cb Shredder retails for $149.99 and can be purchased on Amazon, Office Depot, and Office Max this Holiday.