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A new year signals the start of tax season. It’s the time to begin gathering last year’s documents, so you can get them to your tax preparer or to prepare them yourself. In either case, you need an area in your home to store documents and perform tasks associated with tax preparation or other document related household maintenance.
Do you have a home office? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a room with a door. It can be a space in your home where you perform tasks such as bill paying, record keeping, scheduling, planning, filing, etc. Regularly performing these tasks is essential to every household. Paying bills late, missing or being late to appointments, and not being able to find documents when you need them, can become costly and cause unnecessary stress. A lot of us have dedicated space to perform these important tasks. If you don’t have an effective home office workspace, read on to learn how to setup a home office workspace in your home.
There are several things to consider in terms of requirements when choosing a location that will work. Availability is the highest priority. The best option is a room that you aren’t using. If you are short on space, an area of a room can be dedicated as your home office workspace. Make sure that the amount of space will provide adequate desktop space and storage for tools such as office supplies, a filing system, trash can and paper shredder.
Workflow & Workspace
Setting up your office space effectively depends on your specific workflow as well as the space you have to work with. At a minimum you need desktop workspace such as a standalone or built in desk. If you don’t have either of these options, an armoire or a small table can be repurposed as a desk. A typical workflow setup is as follows: inbox/outbox, action file, and desktop workspace on the right, computer on the desktop in front of you (laptop or monitor & keyboard, with the tower placed by your preference-on or under the desktop), and a few frequently used office supplies within reach also on the desktop, trash can & paper shredder under the desktop or against a nearby wall and a filing system also within arm’s reach on the left side. The flow of paper starts with the inbox, then goes to the action file, then to the desktop to work on, then out the door (outbox), to trash or to a filing system.
A filing system is a repository for document retention. Many people are moving towards a digital filing system and that’s great but there will always be documents that we need to keep in hard copy form. There are many great pre-assembled filing systems on the market that you can purchase; I recommend the FreedomFiler, maintenance free filing system. Or you may decide to make your own, such as a basic alphabetical system. Whatever you decide, it needs to be something that you will use.