Our home office is great for keeping all my projects in order and filing paperwork. I find that we also get a lot of rotating information that comes our way, like monthly calendars from school or our community that is pertinent for only a short period of time. For this reason, I have created a reference zone in our home office to keep important rotating information at our fingertips when we need it and toss it when it becomes obsolete.
What is kept in a reference zone?
Typically a reference zone would be used to store periodicals like magazines and catalogs that can be referenced when information or inspiration is needed. This zone is essential for every home office because we all have mountains of rotating information flying at us constantly. Just take a look inside your mailbox, there’s the newest magazine, coupons, invitations, newsletters and more. I’ll show you ways to begin your own reference zone so you can keep all that paper in order.
What houses rotating information in a reference zone?
What you use to house your rotating information will vary depending on your space and the media that you have to store. Here is a look at some options to get your own reference zone started.
For a smaller space, you can keep your rotating information in an accordion file similar to this one.
If you don’t have a spare accordion file handy, there’s always the cheap and easy binder with folders.
Typically a magazine file is used to store magazines and catalogs, and it is what I use in my home office. You can go big and fancy with it or you can go cheap and find cardboard files for as little as $1. As you can see in my reference zone above, I have combined both the heavier duty magazine files with a couple of fun cardboard magazine files I snagged at the dollar spot at Target.
My tickler file for rotating information
To meet our family’s need to tame rotating information, I created a reference file to house all those calendars, newsletters and other time sensitive news in one designated spot, I will refer to it as a tickler file. True to its name, you can “tickle” through papers that need to be referenced often and find it easily. A tickler file is best used for rotating information that is not needed for long-term filing.
In my tickler file I used one of my cardboard magazine files and paired it with my favorite new office find. Martha Stewart came out with vertical file folders and I about jumped for joy when I saw them. Then I scratched my head when deciding what I would use them for. It didn’t take long to realize the brilliance of vertical file folders in a magazine file to organize my tickler file.
With some simple labels I can now keep all my monthly and seasonal information handy and out of sight when not in use. I recommend using broadly named labels that can be used year round such as home, sports or school.
If you have multiple kids in varying ages, you could even label a folder for each child. If your family life is really complex, you may want to dedicate a whole magazine file for each child with a sports, school, or church file folder for their information. Make it work for your family, the possibilities are endless.
With all the information and comes through the house for everyone in the family, it is important to have one place to reference that information. My favorite part about storing rotating information in a tickler file is that I get to toss the old and put in the new. Not only do I get to keep our family’s information organized, but I can keep our home office clutter free by getting rid of information that is old.
How do you keep all the information that comes to you organized? Are you ready to try a tickler file for your rotating information? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Read about the other Home Office Zones:
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