If you’re looking to create some office space in your London home, it’s often tempting to go outdoors and squeeze an office into a shed or purpose-built structure in your garden. In London where outdoor space is at a premium, this unfortunately isn’t ideal and could even negatively affect the value of your home as your reduce your garden size. Simply Loft are encouraging people to look up when considering a home office and create the space using a loft conversion to turn dead space into a useful office that will give additional space (rather than reducing what you have currently) and even add value to your home.
If this seems like an option for you, it’s worth considering early on how you would organise the space to get the most out of it. The last thing you want to do is instantly clutter it with piles upon piles of disorganised paperwork that really needs to be binned, shredded or filed away.
But how do you decide what’s worth chucking out and what needs to be kept? And what’s the best way to store everything? We’ve put together a handy guide on how to organise your paperwork to keep your home office clutter-free and easy to navigate.
First of all is the cathartic part – binning what you don’t need. This includes junk mail, old leaflets and out-of-date or unnecessary catalogues. If it’s not of interest and you don’t need it, throw it in the recycling bin.
There are other documents that you may wish to throw away, but you need to be a little more cautious about. Check things like cash machine and shopping receipts against bank and credit card statements. If everything’s in order, shred any that you don’t need to keep – although remember to keep receipts for anything you may need proof of purchase of, such as electrical items still within their warranty period.
Organise and file
Once you’ve bought some nice files of different shapes and sizes to complement your décor (no sense in having ugly files spoiling the look of your gorgeous brand new loft conversion) you need to organise and file some of the paperwork you’re keeping. Have a file for each category and sub-divide using folders.
- Finances – this includes bank statements, credit card bills, bank account or building society details.
- Employment – here you should file payslips, P60s, P45s, pension details, tax returns and other employment-related paperwork.
- Car – use a different file for each vehicle your family owns and store items such as MOT certificates, service invoices and receipts, insurance details and registration documents.
- Property – this will include mortgage papers, building warranties, as well as contracts and invoices for home improvements.
- Bills – this category is pretty self-explanatory, but remember to separate again into energy providers, water, broadband, telephone, TV Licence, council tax and so on.
- Insurance policies – keep all of your insurance policies (except car insurance, which will be filed with car details, and home insurance, which will be explained further on) here, separated into categories.
- Family – if you have children, have a file for each with school records, medical documents etc.
- Instruction manuals and warranties – this is another self-explanatory category, although remember to throw out any manuals and warranties for products you no longer own!
- Medical – here you should keep things like NHS numbers, GP registration letters and European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs).
- Miscellaneous – keep an extra file organised alphabetically for anything that doesn’t fit into the above categories.
Of course, there’s no need to have all of these files on display. Many people use the eaves of their home to create additional storage space in their loft conversion. This has the benefit of making use of space that could otherwise be considered ‘dead’ due to restricted head room. Consider things such as built in cupboards or shelves in the eaves to store files away neatly without eating into the usable space of your home office.
There are some documents that are so important, you need to keep them in a fireproof box or cabinet. These are things that are hard to replace or that you would need in the aftermath of a fire.
- Birth, marriage, divorce, custody, adoption and/or death certificates.
- Exam certificates, qualifications and diplomas.
- Home insurance policy details – you’ll need these in the event of a fire.
- A copy of your will and those of other family members.
- Passports and/or visas.
- Savings books and/or share certificates.
Hopefully you’ll never need your fireproof cabinet, but if the worst were to happen, at least you could rest assured that vital documents were safe.
Keep it with the solicitor
There are some documents that you should keep with your solicitor at all times. The deeds for your house and the original copies of your most up-to-date will (and those of any other family members) will remain in your solicitor’s office.
Following this guide will get you a beautifully organised home office; just remember to keep it tidy and go through your paperwork every couple of months to check if anything can be disposed of.
If you’re thinking of having a loft conversion in your London home to create a home office space, contact Simply Loft to discuss your plans and take advantage of their experience in constructing beautiful, inspirational spaces.Share this: