Rooms are used for different purposes—often at the same time. In order to decide what should stay and where, you need to identify the different activities that take place within each room and divide them into zones. Once you begin organizing, these zones become the center for specific items related to the designated activity. Then, it becomes immediately clear where things belong, where to find things and where to return them.
Sample Zones for the Home Office:
Bill paying
Computer work
Mail files

Quick Tips for Your Home Office 
Start slow. It's taken months or years to build up the clutter. Organize one section at a time. Find out the best times of year to clean out the black holes in your home and more.

Create a paperwork zone. Designate places for the main types of paper in these spaces—unopened mail, magazines, bills and receipts, and important personal information. Put mail and bills near each other, along with envelopes, stamps, your checkbook and other items you need regularly. Find out the best time of year to organize your paperwork.

Keep horizontal surfaces clear. Keep your office uncluttered by ensuring that any desk surface, countertop or table is clear of paperwork. If you don't start piles, they can't grow.

Go digital. Organize your computer files, delete old ones regularly and back up important ones. Whenever possible, use the Internet to pay bills, which can help reduce paper clutter.

Minimize junk mail. Treat junk mail like the intruder it is. Get rid of it immediately. To minimize junk mail, contact the Direct Marketing Association at; to activate the mail preference service or call 888-5OPT-OUT to stop those annoying credit card offers.

Keep track of bills and receipts. Buy a 12-month expanding file, and file all bills or receipts monthly. You'll come back to each one a year later. If you haven't needed it by then, get rid of it!

Maintain a good filing system. A good system can keep anything organized. Suggested categories are: automotive, education, financial, health and medical, home and real estate, insurance, legal, work and taxes. Keep frequently used files handy.

Control scrapbooking and crafting. Many people use their home offices to do crafts and work on hobbies. Supplies for these hobbies can create a lot of clutter. If you choose a craft or hobby, then make sure it's something you really enjoy. Do it because you want to, not because others expect it of you or because it's something you once liked or because you don't want those materials you bought to go to waste.

How-to Videos
The Best Ways to Junk Your Junk Mail
Manage Your Magazines in 3 Easy Steps
Think You Need It? Think Again 
Excerpted from It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. Copyright © 2007 by Peter Walsh. Reprinted by permission from Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.


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