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What worked for me on my first office job

savannamarie89savannamarie89 Enrolled Posts: 47
I had my first opportunity to organize an office last week, and I was very nervous because I had never done one and felt the process may be different from other spaces. This is what I ended up doing, and it worked very well for me, so I am hoping it may help someone else in the same situation.
The space had a large amount of clutter and files. She already had two work surfaces, so I cleared one off and had her sit there, but a card table could have been set up if that wasn't the case. I had several banker boxes lined up and labeled for sorting, and I gathered up the files and piles of papers and set them in from of her to sort, replenishing the pile as it went down. While she sorted, I grouped together all non paper items by category and reset the space as it cleared. This worked very well for the preliminary session. We set up a second session to organize the files and papers she decided to keep. We have a lot of extra room now after the purge. Hope that is helpful for those starting out. If anyone else has different suggestions, I would love to hear!!


  • Sarah StithamSarah Stitham Guest Expert Posts: 546
    Thanks for sharing your first office organizing experience. It sounds like it went extremely well. Doing an initial sort and purge (toss - keep) with papers, like you did, is really important, otherwise, it's easy for the client to get bogged down. It's also important to have a place to set the client up for this process. Sometimes, when there isn't any available space for the client to sit and go through this process in the office, I've moved everything to the dining room table of another place where there is room. Using a folding card table also works well. Please keep us posted on your progress.
  • ClaudiaClaudia Enrolled Posts: 156
    I'm going to be working with someone in a similar situation at her home office and appreciate that your sharing your experience and helpful tips. What categories did you decide to use on the boxes when you started and how were the categories decided? What types of non-paper items did she have? Did you bring the boxes with you or did she have them?
  • savannamarie89savannamarie89 Enrolled Posts: 47
    My method was similar to Sarah's. I had my client look at each piece of paper on the piles I set in front of her. I always bring a pack of those banker boxes with me to each job because they are inexpensive and easy to transport. For this job we had a trash bag and the boxes were labeled file, action, and move (things to go elsewhere to back to her home office). Some of the papers were just roughly categorized to be organized more in depth at the next session that I am doing with her today. She had a lot of misc things in her office that did not belong, which I gathered up and categorized so she could put them away elsewhere. Then I grouped together office supplies, electronic items and cords, manuals, books, empty files, and the array of organizing racks that weren't being used. I will let you know how this next session goes after we establish a filing system for her. This is her business office that we are working on today.
  • christina_lindsay85christina_lindsay85 Enrolled Posts: 50
    Thanks for the details of organizing an office. How did it all go with this client?
  • laurenmeyerlaurenmeyer Enrolled Posts: 646
    When the papers are put in the "act" box, what do you do with them?
  • oddyoddy Enrolled Posts: 173
    Thank you for the tips. I too am grateful. So helpful for me on my job just booked.

    Lauren, they are great stories to tell potential Clients when they hit a brick wall. You just never know what is buried in there.
  • Trudi BarkesTrudi Barkes Guest Member Posts: 8
    Love this post...so much information and good ideas. I had to look up banker's box so my vocabulary has expanded, too. This situation brings up some questions for me...Do any of you keep supplies on hand or do you just buy them as needed? Also, are your shopping hours paid for and when you do use your supplies do you just transfer the exact cost to clients or what? I am also loving the support and camaraderie that I am seeing on this site. Thank you.
  • laurenmeyerlaurenmeyer Enrolled Posts: 646
    I only have chalkboard labels on hand, I shop as the needs of the project become evident or after the consultation if the client needs something. I try to use what they have as much as possible. I charge for shopping usually. And I give the client the receipts for purchases so they can reimburse me.
  • melissamartinmelissamartin Guest Member Posts: 34
    I am doing an office organizing job tomorrow and will post before and after pictures. These tips and hearing of everyone's experience helps me go to the job tomorrow more confident. FILE. ACT. TOSS. will be what I put on the bankers boxes I'm going to pick up on my way to the client tomorrow. Thanks everyone! God I love this site! :smiley:
  • Sarah StithamSarah Stitham Guest Expert Posts: 546
    Good luck Melissa. Please let us know how your job goes.
  • Olga DeGourOlga DeGour Enrolled Posts: 13
    Love all this info. Will be doing my first office jobs in about 2 weeks. Reading up and trying to get familiar with organizing supplies and folders. Lady wants me to help with "paper flow". That could be tricky. Any one have ideas?
  • Cynthia MurrayCynthia Murray Administrator, Enrolled Posts: 1,058
    In addition to the information here, have training on organizing paper work and mail here -> http://profitableorganizer.com/m3-how-to-organize/paperwork-mail/ , as well as, a couple other videos in Module 3 regarding home offices.

    And here are a couple POA webinars recently by Lisa Woodruff that discuss paper flow. If you're a member, you'll have instant access to the webinars. If you're interested in signing up, there's info on the POA tab to help you! :)



  • Vicki KaminskyVicki Kaminsky Enrolled Posts: 32
    I am working on a very large office right now. On my initial visit I requested to take pictures of the inside file cabinets helping me know what was in the cabinet. I went back with a banker box and had the category file folders already labeled since I knew what documents were inside the drawer. The client would not let me move any piles of paper from the floor since she claimed she knew what each pile was and wanted to do this later so we only are going to do one file cabinet at time to get started, and then go through the files on the floor and purge and file them. Hope this helps.
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