Prioritize the list of what you wish to have organized. If you need help with this step, check out the blog ‘Here’s How To Get Your Head into Organizing‘. The Organizers Northwest professionals have been at this for years and are thrilled to share the following tips to make your home or office organizing project a success.
Tip #1: Get Prepared
Before getting started, be sure you have all necessary materials ready. This will save you time and energy. You’ll need plenty of garbage bags, bins for sorting, and sticky notes. Have your Project List on hand and remember to take before photos. These will help you later on down the line, I promise. As George Allen Sr said: “Winning is the science of being totally prepared.”
Tip #2: Organize First, Shop Later
Don’t get me wrong, I love a shiny new organizing tool as much as the next person. But unless you do the work of organizing and de-cluttering FIRST, you’ll be spending your hard-earned money on the wrong items. You may also find that you can repurpose items that you already have to suit your needs. Moral of the story: purchase product after you have done the work. Think of it as a reward for your perseverance!
Tip #3: Don’t get “Sort Remorse”
As you’re sorting through an area and choosing which items to toss, donate or recycle, be mindful not to get caught up in the organizing portion of the task until you have actually finished sorting. You want to avoid spending 20 minutes shifting items around to make room for something that you may ultimately throw away in the end.
When organizing your paper, remember what David Allan says there are only three things you can do with paper. You can either FILE it, ACT on it or TOSS it. Keeping this in mind will help you to stay focused on the end result. If the paper requires an action, write that action directly on the paper (or on a post-it) and add it to your action file or inbox. The rest should be filed for reference or tossed.
Tip #5: When in Doubt… Put it in a “Maybe” Box.
If you’re having trouble letting go of something, put it in a “maybe” box with the date written on each item with a post-it. That way you can review the items from time to time and see whether you’ve missed or thought about them. If it’s been 6 months since they went into the “maybe” box, consider getting rid of it!
Tip #6: File it to Find it
When choosing what to name a new file, consider how your future self would look for it. Would you search for “Toyota”, “Prius” or “Car”? Or perhaps you would simply look under “Insurance”. Our 5s lean office training tells us to keep file names broad and simple. It’ll take less time looking through a folder containing more paper than to search multiple files for a complicated file name. You should also avoid pre-made file labels; everyone’s filing needs are different and using generic file names will not necessarily suit your needs or be sustainable in the long term.
January is National Get Organized (GO) Month! This blog is the second of three posts by professional organizer Veronica Bishop that are full of our all time favorite tips, tricks and other organizing solutions to help you start the year off with a bang. Please let us know what you think by commenting below.