Some people like to keep up with the Kardashians, but my goal is to keep up with the Organized. Here are just a few tips that helps me stay organized in my home office setting. I am still learning to do this for myself and wanted to share what I have found to be very helpful. Currently I am keeping my office in a bag since my desk area is about to get a makeover.
Before you begin you will need to keep a few things handy, a trash can/shredder, donate box, file cabinet and/or file folders, markers, notebooks, your favorite music playing and a beverage. :)
Set aside some time when you will be least likely to be interrupted. For me it is early Saturday morning. Everyone is sleeping in and the phone seldom rings.
1. Papers- If you find yourself with a tall pile of papers stacked on top your desk, then take this approach. Take the huge stacks and put them on the floor, now clear off your desk. It is always good to remove everything and start with a clean surface. We are least likely to add messy piles to a clean surface. Next take a big stack and begin to go through it, placing important papers where they need to be by filing, tossing and a look at later pile. Decide what needs to be kept, for example, taxes should be kept for at least 7 years if not longer, bank statements for a month, check stubs keep them until you get your W-2. Do not get sidetracked with deep decisions. If there is a question about a certain document, set it aside. I always end up setting aside a small pile that needs more attention(notice I said small pile) and I save that for another time.
2. Snail Mail- I have a touch it once rule at my house. I usually shred unwanted mail on the spot, toss, and cut out the coupons and put them in my purse. Birthday cards are set aside along with personal letters and thank you cards. Bills and important mail need to have a place where they are easily accessible, do not shove in a drawer. Or in my case, in a bag, where they are never to see the light of day until it is too late.
3. Emails- Cleaning out my inbox is like being in a torture chamber, well, not really that bad but I hate it just the same. One very important rule is this: don’t just delete those unwanted emails, UNSUBCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE! If you still are unsure, you can always subscribe again. Don’t get too bogged down with non-paper stuff today. So my suggestion is to set up another time for just deleting emails, files and photos. When you are ready to do that, here are a few links to some helpful apps that can keep you organized. Dropbox is a great storage place and it’s free click here to begin. Evernote, icloud, and groovebook. More on keeping your computer organized in a future post.
4. Names of books, web addresses and the number for that plumber. I know there may be a better way to keep these things organized but I will tell you what I do. I used to carry around a small notebook to keep those things handy. Now I use my Notes section of my iPhone to keep names of services, web addresses, paint colors, recommended books and other important tidbits. I make sure to label them. Here are some of my labels: services, books, restaurants, favorite verses, local bands (I live in Music City, USA), new apps, web sites and paint colors. This app alone has kept my paper clutter under control. You can also use Evernote for this tip.
5. Business cards- Add them to your contacts on your phone, tape home improvement and services to the inside of a utility closet door or cabinet. Or you can add the name to your notes section of your iPhone (see #4). You can also use the app CardMunch or another business card organizer app. and toss the rest. In most cases you can find all the info on that person’s card online. So toss away.
Keeping up with everything that is thrown at us is hard to do and yet it takes so little time if we just do a little each day. Taking the time to enter that business contact in your phone and tossing the card may seem like a chore but if you do that times 20 cards, that will save you the hassle of messing with those cards later. Same thing goes for the mail. Touch it once and be done with it. Put it in its place.
Hope this was helpful. If it was helpful, please follow my blog via email below.