A Simple Strategy for Becoming An Organized Email Maven

We have so many gadgets nowadays on which to read our email. I applaud this technology for its efficacy. But it can be tiring living in a world that’s always on. There has never been a better time than now to conquer the chaos in your virtual mail box. Using the 6 Basic Principles of Organizing, you can keep your Inbox empty for the long term.

Create 4-5 folders in your e-filing cabinet located in you email program. Start sorting the items you are keeping with generic labels, such as New Folder 1, New Folder 2, et cetera. Use generic labels first because to create a functional system, labels must match the actual content of the emails rather than imposing a system of labels. Content guides the creation of the system. Use the Trash and Archival functions for non-active items that you no longer need or want to store. Categorize by choosing general subjects into which each email fits and putting “like with like”. Chances are there will start to be a pattern. Once you’ve completed the drag and drop sequence, all of the emails will be contained in your e-filing cabinet, as well as the Trash and Archival functions. read more

The smart home

I checked my mail the other day and saw the new 2012 IKEA catalog sticking out of the pile. This time it wasn’t the trendy and organized room on the front cover that caught my attention but the quote: “A home doesn’t need to be big, just smart.”

To me this sentiment sums up what an organized home is. Organization doesn’t have as much to do with the size of your space as it has to do with how you use it. You can have all the room in the world in a huge home, but if you fill it with clutter all the organization products you buy will not help. read more

Do You Love It?

At a recent presentations of Inherited Belongings given by Erin Elizabeth Wells of Living Peace, I was enlightened by some insights brought to my attention.  The topic focuses on how a parent’s downsizing, moving or death can result in accumulation of belongings that end up cluttering yourlife.

There are a lot of questions we can ask ourselves when we are trying to decide what to do with all the inherited “stuff.”  One questions that resonated with me was, “Is the item something you find aesthetically pleasing and would be inclined to buy if you saw it in a store?” This could be a quilt, dresser, chair…the list goes on.  This is a good way of looking at an item in question.  We may hold onto items that we do not love because we feel a sense of obligation.  If you don’t how something looks, you can always consider changing its purpose or look with some paint.  This may change how you feel about an object altogether. read more

Weeding the Files

A well-tended file drawer is a lot like a well-tended garden:

  • It has lots of colors. (See this vlog post about using different colors of file folders for different categories of files)
  • It has labels. (Is that place for the green beans or the pay stubbs- I mean the pea pods?)
  • It needs weeding often.

Weeding your files simply means removing the papers that are no longer relevant or useful.

Weeding files prevents your files from becoming too cumbersome. The file drawer is only so big, so if you only add papers and never take any out, then you’re going to eventually reach full capacity.  That makes filing new papers really, really difficult.

Weeding papers also saves you time in the long run. When outdated and irrelevant materials are removed from your files, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for more quickly. read more

Wallets in China Armoires: It Doesn’t Always Have To “Make Sense”

When working with a client recently, we tackled a china armoire in her dining room.  We were able to remove paper, jewelry and loose change that had been dumpted there over the years.  Then we decided what items would go back into the armoire.  The china, candlesticks and silver made sense to me.  Then my client handed me her late husband’s leather wallet and asked me to tuck it into the side of a shelf.  My first thought was confusion.  What is a wallet doing in a china armoire? I was afriad she was trying to “hide” the wallet so as not to deal with it. read more

Incentive to File: The Smile at the Bottom of the Stack

Filing used to be one of my least favorite tasks.  Three things changed that.

  • I got my filing system in order so that it’s easy to file things.
  • I’ve gotten in the habit of filing as I go, rather than let the “To File” pile get overwhelmingly big.
  • When the “To File” tray does get full, I’ve given myself a little something at the bottom to look forward to.  A smiley face note.  It may seem silly, but it works.  I get some positive feedback for emptying the tray- and for keeping it empty!
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    Modeling Organization for Our Kids

    I was organizing with a client a while back. We were working on her upstairs craft room, trying to take it from a space without a defined purpose to a child-friendly room her kids could use to easily work on all their projects and models. Throughout our time together that day her young son worked along side us as I asked, “So John*, what is this toy? What is this paper? Do you use it? Need it?”

    His mother began to make it a point to ask herself and him those questions as the day moved along and I gradually removed myself from the purging process that afternoon and into the planning of the final room layout. read more