How to Organize Your Home Office – Paper Trays


What better way to start out the New Year than with an organized home office!  This will be the first of several blogs designed to help you organize your home office.  There are certain key items that every productive office needs.  You may have heard the saying, “a place for everything, and everything in its place”.  This is a fundamental organizing concept.  Take a look around your office; specifically look at your piles.  If you know right where something belongs, it is easy to return it to that spot.

Usually the items that pile up do so because they don’t have a home.  Don’t leave any of your papers in your office “homeless” and piling up.  Paper Trays are the first tool to help organize your office.  Fortunately, has a variety of paper trays to choose from, whether you prefer plasticmetal mesh orbamboo construction.  There is no set blueprint for what an office should look like – the key is having homes for things.  Since most offices have paper coming in and out, and some files at a minimum (even if they have gone paperless), here is what I recommend to get you started with paper trays:

  • Inbox– It is imperative that you have a physical inbox in your office where you can put new items.  This could be mail, meeting notes, papers from school, etc.  You can’t always process them immediately, so you need to have a home for them until you can.  When you do have a few minutes, you will know right where to go.  You need to dedicate time to check this tray at least once each day.
  • Outbox – Dedicate a paper tray as your outbox.  This gives you a spot for the items that are ready to leave your office (e.g. out-going mail, notes for school, etc.)
  • ‘To File’ Tray – This tray provides a spot for the papers or files that need to be filed.  They might come from your inbox, or they could be papers or files that had been pulled and need to be re-filed.  Consider stacking three trays for your inbox, outbox and ‘To File’ trays to save space on your desktop.

In addition to the trays mentioned above, other uses for paper trays include: papers to scan, papers to shred, or printer paper (colored, white, 3-hole punched, letterhead).  You will be amazed at what a difference these little paper trays can make.

Donna Lindley is a Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Rochester Hills, MI-based Organize Your World, Inc.