Getting Your Home Office Organised for Recycling
More people than ever are starting to recycle. Councils provide a wide range of assorted bins and receptacles to use for this purpose, but most of them are designed to sit outside your home. You still need a solution for recycling indoors so you don’t have to go out to the bins each time you have something to throw away.
If you have a home office this is a great place to start. The more you use it the more rubbish you are likely to generate in there. Finding practical ways to deal with it will make recycling so much easier to do.
Let’s focus on how to introduce this aspect into your office, so you can keep it neat, tidy and well-organised at all times.
Get started by de-cluttering
You might be surprised to see this as the first item on our to-do list. When you think about it though you’ll see it makes sense. It is particularly good to do if you’ve been putting off de-cluttering for a while.
Depending on how good (or bad) the office space is, you might want to allocate a day or even a weekend to tackling this job. Start by sorting everything into piles. Make one pile for paperwork you need to keep: you can sort this out in more depth later. You then need a pile for everything you need to get rid of. This will include junk mail, scraps of notepaper, basically anything you can happily get rid of instead of filing or dealing with at a later date.
You’re doing this as a simple act of de-cluttering, but there is another reason for doing it too. It helps you determine how much storage you will need, as well as how many recycling bins you’ll require. De-cluttering also makes it possible to see how much space you have to work with. Sometimes your home office might seem really small, and yet when you tidy up and have a clear out you could be surprised that it looks a lot bigger than it did before!
Assess how much recycling material you’d have in the average week (or two)
Now you have sorted through all the items in your office, it’s time to think about recycling in more detail. When you’re doing this, it helps to bear in mind how often your recycling collections take place. In some areas it might be every two weeks. In others it could be every week. This, and the amount of recycling materials you have amassed, will help determine the size of recycling bins you need for your office.
In fact, now you have tidied your office and done a spot of reorganising, you may want to hold off buying recycling bins for a week or two. This will allow you to see how much paper and other items you amass in that time period. You can always use a cardboard box for paper during this period, and then recycle that once you buy your bins. There is nothing worse than rushing into buying something too small and finding you have a constant overflow.
Consider other recycling needs other than paper
It’s easy to assume the only thing you’ll have to recycle is paper, but this isn’t usually the case. Most home offices have computers, printers and all sorts of supplies such as pens, ink cartridges and so on. You’ll recycle more than you might think once you get started, so consider your options carefully.
Ink cartridges can be recycled, as can the plastic packaging they usually come in. Both of these items will need to be taken into account when considering the best bin combination to buy. Oh, and don’t forget a bin for all those items that cannot yet be recycled in any way. When you get into the recycling frame of mind it’s easy to forget everything else.
Now consider the amount of space you have available
De-cluttering helps you figure this out, because now you’ll be able to see how much space you actually have in your home office. We mentioned this briefly above. Depending on the dimensions of your home you might have a generously-sized office complete with a sofa, or you could have something equating to a broom cupboard.
Either way, take the time to stand in the doorway of the room and take a look around. Where do you have some space to accommodate some recycling bins? You might also want to think about sitting in your office chair to see where the easiest location would be. Depending on how much you do in your office you might want something very close to you so you don’t have to keep getting up and down all the time. On the other hand if you want the exercise you might like the idea of having your recycling bins on the opposite side of the room! What would work for you?
Consider buying a shredder
No home office should be without a good quality shredder. Consider the amount of personal paperwork you would shred before buying one; you might be better off with a more robust model if you shred a lot. You should never throw personal documents away before shredding them for security purposes.
If you do have a shredder or you decide to get one, make sure you position your recycling bin right next to it. When the bin for the shredder gets full, you can tip it straight into the recycling bin next to it and carry on shredding if need be. Making the recycling process as easy as possible means you’re more likely to do it and keep it up for the long term.
Incidentally you can go one step further with your shredded paperwork if you have a compost bin. It’s essential to have a good mix of ingredients to get things ‘cooking’ inside the composter. Shredded paper is great to put in there in small amounts every now and then. You might find every third bin full of shredded paperwork is ideal to use in your composter.
Think of your recycling bin as the last destination for paperwork
Whatever type of work you do and however much or little paperwork you generate, you should always view your recycling bin as the final place your paperwork will end up. You’ll have plenty of paperwork that needs to be kept of course, but you should make time to create a good filing system that will help you organise it all. Hopefully you will now have plenty of ideas for making this work in your office, regardless of its size or how much or little you have to file.
It will also be easier to keep your office tidy for the long term if you resolve to handle each piece of paperwork as it comes in. Shred anything you know you don’t need to keep. File away important paperwork that has been dealt with and set aside anything you need to do something about before you file it or shred it. Do this daily to keep the amount of paperwork down as much as possible.
Get started now to create a home office you love
Once you know what your own personal requirements are with regard to recycling, it’s time to buy some bins. Think about the space you have and how big the bins will need to be to accommodate your recycling and other items.
Ideally you want to get matching bins. Not only do they look good, you can also get colour-coded ones for ease of use. There’s nothing more frustrating than throwing something away… only to find you’ve thrown it in the wrong bin. You can get bins that look exactly the same but have different coloured lids for easy identification. It’s even possible to get stickers to ensure you can see what goes where. You probably won’t need them after a while but it does make life easier to start with. You can easily identify where to put paper, printer cartridges, cardboard and anything else you might have.
Recycling is just one element of a great home office. The idea is to create a space that works for you. With the right bins and an easy to use system you’ll actually enjoy using, it could be a lot easier than you thought to start recycling in your home office.