I don't know about you, but my office and desk get organized about two times a year. It's not that I don't like an organized space, it just seems to always end up on the bottom of my "to do" list. Then comes winter or summer break, and I find myself elbow deep in papers to file, old notes to throw away, and oh-my-goodness is THAT what happens to grapes when you leave them in a plastic container for a month?!
(Don't judge, but yes, that happened.)

With that said, I have developed some techniques over the years to help keep my space a bit more organized throughout the year, so when break does come around, it isn't as overwhelming to tackle. I want to pass along some tips that have worked well for me, in hopes that you may also be inspired!


Create a “Don't Forget" wall
Do you ever think to yourself, "Aww, that's a great idea!" but now is not the right time to approach your staff members or boss? Maybe you run into a scenario that occurs once in a blue moon and you are afraid you might forget it in the future? Then consider devoting a space in your office with these items readily in view, so you don’t forget about them!
A cork board may work best, but, if that isn't available, grab some ribbon and tape a square to your wall to put up post it notes (You may need to add a little extra tape, though).
As an addition to the "Don't Forget" wall, I also keep a running Google doc of little random facts and troubleshooting options for working in the office.

Establish a "To File" pile
Instead of letting documents pile up all over your desk, create two to three desk trays with different "To File" categories. For myself, I have two piles: 1) Student Employee paperwork and 2) Admissions Documents. Of course, how you categorize your piles can change depending on your job responsibilities...but first determine how you plan to organize your "To File" pile.
Ideally, I’d like to sort through my "To File" pile once a month; realistically, it occurs about four times a year. For myself, the best method has been to use a filing cabinet, but if one isn't available, standing files or binders can also assist.
Another important part of filing paperwork is to take a couple of minutes to sort out old information. This is up to you and your office policies, but I hold onto old prospective student information and student employee paperwork five years before shredding. For admissions brochures, notes, etc., I do a quick scan of what I already have filed to see if I have duplicates or outdated information.
Also, take a moment to ask yourself, “When will I use this?” or “Do I really need to keep this?” It’s OK to purge every once in a while!

Hang up stuff you want people to see
Ever feel guilty throwing out that cute thank you note you received from a group of middle schoolers, or have a publication you created that you are proud of? Display it, don’t hide it! Head to Hobby Lobby to pick up a $3 roll of twine, and Dollar Tree for $1 laundry clips and now you have created your own office showcase!

Have items easily accessible
I don't know about you, but whenever I take a phone call, it's like all my notepads and pens suddenly jump up and run away! To eliminate that problem, I created a little command station with all the supplies I need at the ready. Rather than leaving items in a desk drawer to pile up on each other, by having them out I can physically see items for last minute grabs and can easily see when I am running low on supplies.

Create the illusion of organization
If your desk allows, consider investing in a curtain rod and buy some cheap fabric at Walmart where you can hide your travel bag, admissions folders, purse, etc., when you have appointments. Voila! Clean space!

Got any tips to share? We’d love to hear them!
Happy organizing this summer!