Slow Home BootCamp Task 9/20: Establish an Admin Area

Create an Admin Area and Say Goodbye to Paper Clutter

Way back in Task 4 you started to see the importance of establishing a landing strip for your home. But I think I made a mistake…

To remind you, I outlined that a landing strip is somewhere to open and sort your mail, drop your purse and keys, hang your bag and hat, sit down to remove your shoes, etc.

I made it sound like it all had to happen right inside your front door. All in the same place.

But that’s not the case.

Many of us don’t have the space in our entryways for the jobs a landing strip entails – storage, a seat, hat stand/coat rack, mirror, exit drawer, shoe storage, key holder, mail opening and sorting etc. In fact, most people don’t!

Divide and Conquer

In most cases it’s much more feasible to divide and conquer these tasks. Maybe you have room somewhere near your front door for:

  • a stool, some hooks on the wall and a small basket to hold your shoes/toys/gumboots?
  • a small shelf and hooks, where you could place your purse, keys, bags and umbrellas?

These much simpler, smaller solutions would give you somewhere to put your handbag, wallet, phone, sunglasses and keys when you come home – somewhere dedicated – so you always know where they are.

Because not spending ten minutes searching for your keys before you leave the house does make your life infinitely simpler!

Create a Specific Admin Area

Have a separate place for administrative tasks like:

  • opening and sorting mail (you should have three categories: things to recycle, things requiring action and things to file away)
  • keeping a notebook for your to-do lists, working out your budget and keeping the diary updated
  • keeping your calendar or diary up to date
  • your home management folder (if you use one)
  • paying bills online
  • transferring funds
  • sending emails
  • charging phones, laptops, iPads, etc

Why Do I Need A Specific Admin Area?

If you’re anything like me, you may recognise this sequence of events:

  1. Collect the mail from the letterbox
  2. Dump it on the kitchen bench
  3. Open mail, leave it in a pile for a few days
  4. Move it to the “office” when tidying or if guests are visiting
  5. Form another pile
  6. Lose track of what is in the pile
  7. Forget to pay bills on time
  8. End up with a huge stack of paperwork to file
  9. Rinse. Repeat.

You may also put off writing emails and doing the internet banking, because you have nowhere dedicated for your computer, or it is out of the central flow of your home. And, inevitably, the kids always manage to need you if you try and slip into the office for five minutes. (Is that a Universal Law of Parenting? Please tell me it is.)

So what does that mean?

Simply put, having all these tasks centred on one space makes it easier and SO much more efficient to get through the everyday jobs that come with managing a home.

 

What is Included in an Admin Area?

This will depend on what you need from your admin area and how your home is set up, but to use our house as an example, it holds:

  • your computer
  • a charging station for your devices
  • the home phone
  • a notebook
  • your home management folder
  • a paper diary or calendar
  • a place for paperwork requiring action (bills to be paid, receipts that need claiming, forms that need completing)
  • a place to hold paperwork that needs to be filed (bills that have been paid, bank statements, tax invoices, etc)

Where Should the Admin Area Be?

This admin area can be anywhere in your home – providing it works for you. Some common places to consider include:

  • your home office
  • a bench in your kitchen if you have the space
  • a nook in the living room or study
  • a specially created shelf desk in your living space (more on this below)
  • somewhere “hidden in plain sight” like a foldaway desk

It’s just important to have a dedicated space for these tasks, and preferably one that is within the central flow of your home.

If it’s out of that central flow, you are far less likely to use it regularly, and it may just become a dumping ground.

Again, what works best in your home will look different to what works in ours. But I want to take you through the admin area in our home – a very simple shelf-desk in the living/dining space.

A simple shelf-desk acts as the admin area

Details - Somewhere to keep filing, a cord tidy

Details of the Admin Area - A Nifty Cord Storage Idea

 

Previously all this happened in the “spare” room and outside the central flow of our home. And, inevitably, it was neglected most of the time.

So this centralised admin hub (what a sexy phrase that is!) brings all of those things together. And, unlike many of the best laid plans, this one actually works.

In our home, the admin area includes:

  • the laptop
  • the home phone
  • a place to keep paperwork that requires filing (I generally only file once a month, so keeping it all together but out of sight is really important)
  • a nifty little charger/cord tidy and charging station
  • an open spot for papers that require action (if I see it, I’m much more inclined to actually do it)
  • a notepad
  • a paper diary (not shown)
  • a couple of books and pretty things

 

This Week’s Action List:

  • Identify somewhere in your home that would be an efficient, useful admin area
  • Make a list of all the tasks you need to complete there, day-to-day (Hint: use the lists above)
  • Try it out! Move all of your admin-related items to your new admin area and see how it works for you. Give it a week and make adjustments as needed.

 

Remember – You won’t get this perfect right away, but you will see how much easier an admin area makes your job of running the house. Just keep working on it until you find the right combination for you!

 

Hi there! If you’ve made it here via Twitter, Facebook or a link from a friend, why not go ahead and enrol in the Slow Home BootCamp yourself? This is Task #9 in a free 20-part email course that will kickstart your Slow Home journey. You can find out more about the BootCamp and sign up here.