Home Office Organizing Tips

Taxes, filing, inventories...sometimes you need to organize before you can start organizing!!

To help you make home office and home organizing a little easier, we spoke with Lisa Kanarek, home office organizing expert and author of “Home Office Solutions: Creating a Space That Works For You”.

Here are her top recommendations about the things you can do today to get organized, save money and get ready for the year ahead:

WHN: How do you advise home office owners/homeowners on how to do a home inventory of their office?

Lisa K.: Start by listing all the important equipment you own – computer, fax, printer – it probably won’t be much [in your home office]. Write down the year, when and where you bought it. I tell home office owners to [videograph] everything: grab a camera and just start taping everything. Keep one copy [of the footage] in your office and another offsite, in case a disaster hits your home.

WHN: Should you back-up your computer files, just in case?

Lisa K.: Every week you should do a back-up of your hard drive. You don’t have to do everything, just do the new things you added in the past week. I use a flash-drive and do two back-ups and keep one on site and one offsite.

WHN: How should one get organized for tax time?

Lisa K.: Set up a filing system. Accordion files work well and label them according to month and category. If you’re not sure what categories to use for labeling, look at your tax return from last year to see the categories you listed as deductions.

WHN: Should you keep receipts? How long should you keep files for?

Lisa K.: Keep a copy of all bills paid or at least keep a record. The IRS suggests you keep copies of important bills and financial files for at least 7 years.

WHN: What are the top three things someone should do to prevent identity theft?

Lisa K.: Have a cross-cut, confetti shredder and just get in the habit of shredding documents. You should shred free credit card offers immediately because those are dangerous – they have your name and your address and the offer. Someone could open a credit card in your name right away. I was in the grocery store, in fact, and saw a lady who was using one of those offers’ envelopes and on the back she had written her grocery list! Also, remember to check your statements before paying them. There could be charges listed that you didn’t make.

Last Updated: 5/2009