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How to Keep Your Home Office Space Free from Clutter

Katya Bowd

Posted on December 11 2017

If you have trouble keeping paper clutter under control, there is no better time to be alive. Welcome to the age of the Cloud. No more losing irreplaceable photos, necessary tax documents, notes of sentimental value, and the myriad of ideas that used to be doodled on the corners of napkins. For mums, keeping track of important information is… well, really difficult actually. Even just keeping the toddlers from turning your paperwork into makeshift colouring books is a full-time job. But with a proper system for keeping all of it organised in one place, it can be a little bit easier. Enter, the Cloud - the ultimate space-saving hack for organising your information.

It’s not a perfect invention - now instead of having piles of paper in every corner of the house, we often end up with backups of backups and no idea where to find anything in our numerous chaotic online storage units. So there’s a method needed for preventing the madness. Fear not, in less than a day, you can have your data well in hand and set up the future of your organisation efforts for success.

Give each cloud account a primary function. If you find you need more than one function performed, go ahead and open another cloud account, or pay for increased storage and set up a primary folder for this function. Think of each one as having a single job to do. As we look around our homes, we see the need to have a specific job for each room - a primary function. This is the groundwork for implementing effective home organisation ideas because it makes it easier to identify what is cluttering up the room unnecessarily. A cloud account needs to have the same parameters.

If you have a cloud account for the purpose of backing up your photos, take into consideration:

  • How many photos you have,
  • How much storage is offered, and
  • Whether you want to pay for additional storage or manage multiple accounts as you add more pictures

Repeat this series of questions for backing up videos, important documents, and anything else. The more you have an idea of the scope of your data storage needs, the easier it becomes to create an organisation system you can stick with for the long haul. Think of it as having sufficiently sized bins - if your bins are too small, you know you’re not going to use them, so plan ahead.

If you’re like me, and free is the name of the game, then select one cloud account to be for your photos, one for your videos, and one for your documents and other data.

Take time to think about how you look for things. Are you the kind of person who remembers what something is called? Or approximately when you put it together? Do you generally not have trouble finding things, or are you hopeless when it comes to putting your hands on something you had five minutes ago? Most of getting organised at home is a matter of understanding how your own brain works and establishing methods of not working against yourself.

There are online services that can make it easier to move items around that have already been saved to the cloud. It’s worth researching the options and finding the one that addresses your particular pain points when it comes to finding data you’ve saved when you need it. Some allow you to search by file type across multiple cloud accounts, others allow you to transfer the complete contents of one cloud account to another. But the nicest feature most of them have is that you can generally see all of your cloud accounts listed in one place, with the ability to expand the folders within them. It’s like having a library for your data. Just be warned - the initial setup of this catalogue is an involved process, just like revamping your pantry or your laundry room.

Sometimes large files don’t want to transfer properly. Make sure that when you upload something large, like a lengthy video, you have a designated drive and folder in which to put it - because moving it will not be possible later. Think of bringing a grand piano into the house; you will not want to move it more than once if you can help it. If you find you have uploaded videos to random places and you want to consolidate them, a pro tip for decluttering your data storage is to buy an external storage device, download large items, delete them from your cloud account, and upload them in the proper place. Inconvenient, I know. But it’s worth it to be able to see everything in a logical place and know exactly where to find everything at a glance.

Having everything on the Cloud is great. But it’s also not the end all. Having a backup of your data on an external drive is useful. If you have a laptop instead of a desktop computer, it’s definitely worth it to invest in an external hard drive. They are not outrageously expensive, and it helps prevent your computer from slowing down because it’s being weighed down with data. Being the size of a small notebook, they can be stored in a fire safe, giving you additional protection from a fire or flood destroying your files.

Keeping your home office free of clutter will more than likely require a combination of digital and physical tools. But between the cloud and three-ring binders, my information always has a place to go to keep it from piling up. If something does not yet have a place to go, it’s worth taking the time to create a place consistent with my system so I won’t have to go looking for it when it is needed. The last home organising idea for making all of this work together is to set aside time on a regular basis to process and purge. If your cloud account is starting to fill up, you more than likely have duplicates of files or folders. Don’t waste your storage space having a digital backup of a digital backup on the cloud! If you need an additional copy of something, just in case, use your external hard drive as the archive. Print items that can be organised in a binder without creating unnecessary clutter.

The moral of the story is, Have a Plan. When you set out to organise any part of your home, even the digital part, you need to have a plan. I hope these ideas have helped get the gears turning on what your specific solution should look like.

Here’s to your success!

Tell us what your other suggestions are for organising information to keep your office free from clutter. We can’t wait to hear from you!