In Los Angeles, April showers were a blip on the screen and May flowers come up anyway. You gotta love L.A.
With a play on the word May – our organizing theme this month is simple: May you find the organizing system that works best for you!
Not all organizing systems are appropriate for all brain types. Left-brain dominate people may do well with a file system where papers are out of sight. People who rely upon visual cues may create a “piling” system instead. Knowing your brain type will increase the likelihood of maintaining a successful organizing system.
May all your de-clutter dreams come true.
1. Filing system. The point of having a filing system is find and retrieve the information you need when you need it. An effective filing system will save you time and minimize the chance that you will lose important documents and records. Filing is most effective when clearly labeled tabs contain the information on the label. This can include an array of information from finances to recipes. Keep like information together and file paper as soon as you need too. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find important records when you need them.
2. Binders. Binders are great visual file systems for everything you can imagine: tax information, emergency contacts, car maintenance, children’s artwork, medical information etc. Be sure to include tabs, sheet protectors, labels, and anything else you will need to keep things in a clearly labeled and easily accessible part of the binder. The binder will only be as effective as you make it. For example, shoving papers in the binder without putting them in the section they should be in can lead to more disorganization and frustration later on.
3. Piles. For those that have a difficult time putting things away, clearly labeled piles can often be helpful and require less effort.
4. Labels. How are you supposed to remember what’s in the bins or boxes in your home if they are not labeled? There is a difference between a box with “tree ornaments” and a box with “house decorations.” The easiest way to identify what you need when you need it is making clearly identifiable labels.
5. Drawer organizers. Any drawer can become the “junk” drawer where finding items can be difficult. Drawer organizers are great for organizing everything from office supplies to socks.
6. Family Calendar. Create a family calendar with a “to do” check list. If you are in charge of managing multiple schedules keep all activities in one place to avoid overbooking and over-stressing.
7. Bookshelves: Bookshelves aren’t just for books! They can be used to fit bins that contain items off your dressers and floors. Find what works best for you.
8. Zoning: Create zones in your place, like with like. Every item should already have a designated ‘home’ so it can be put back instead of placed into a pile or left on the floor. Use vertical space, cabinets and shelving to create zones for your files, supplies, mail (envelopes, stamps, checkbook) and resources (books/research).
9. Paper: Don’t keep what you don’t need. The majority of what is filed never sees the light of day again. So before you put something away, avoid the “this may come in handy one day” syndrome. Ask yourself: Can I find this information anywhere else? If the answer is “yes” then discard the item. Be sure to download my “Paper Clutter: What To Keep and For How Long” to help you.
10. Use technology to help with your organization. With technology and websites like NeatReceipts, CardScan, Intelliscanner, and ScanDigital, you can get rid of business cards, receipts, archive papers and photographs. Your smart phone also has calendar and notepad for you to jot down on-the-go notes you need to remember later on.