Send Your Home Office to the Basement: Guest

Organizing expert Monica Friel says the best way to keep your business running smoothly is to organize it. Good organization starts at home. What follows is the latest installment on a series.

Even with the A/C blasting these days, the basement is alway the best bet to be the coolest place in the house. When it’s hot outside, beat the heat and head down to the basement. Is your basement too cluttered to carve out office space? Here are some tips to clear the clutter and create some workspace.

Don’t look at the big picture. Start in one area and focus your organizing efforts on one item at a time. Looking around at all there is to do will only overwhelm.

Eliminate unwanted items. Sort outgoing items into three categories: trash, donate and sell. Use your smartphone to quickly snap photos and easily upload items you can sell onto a local classifieds website.

Get like items together. When you’re organizing, remember to find place for everything and get everything in its place. For example, keepsakes, gift-wrapping, camping equipment, holiday items, etc. It all needs a place to belong.

Aim to contain. Determine what you are planning to keep and store, then purchase good sturdy containers to house those items. Find a good multi-purpose container that stacks well and holds plenty.

Shelves create easy access. Containers are great, but if you stack them too high, it’s hard to access that bottom container. Consider putting shelves in your storage area. Place the containers on them, label and…you’re organized!

Once you’ve carved out the space, set up shop by bringing down a desk or table and your computer. Now you can get to work in your comfortable and cool basement -- don't forget the oscillating fan and pitcher of ice-cold lemonade.

Monica Friel is president and founder of Chaos To Order - the Chicago area's premiere organizing company since 1990. Friel manages and trains a staff of professional organizers who specialize in everything from household clutter to corporate chaos.

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