Paper filing system Paper filing system are time savers, easy to use and maintain, and contain only those items that must be kept for immediate action or future reference. As a Professional Organizer and Productivity Specialist I hear people complain that filing is boring, thus the piles of paper. Sometimes the culprit is that there is no filing system which makes it highly inefficient to use. Lack of regular file maintenance is another cause of paper clutter. Whether your office is at home, offsite, for personal or professional use the question to ask yourself is: Is your current paper filing system working for you? Answer the following questions. Paper filing system | Storage Questions to ask about your paper filing system: Does your system allow you to store papers and documents rather than leave them out in piles? Do your files fit in a designated space. If not, are there too many files or not enough space? Does the drawer or container that your files are stored in make retrieval and filing easy or is the space too full? Paper filing system | Retrieval More Professional Organizer‘s questions that you can ask to assess your file system: Are your files are in an order that makes it easy to find things quickly? What system do you use… alphabetical, color coded, numerical? Are your files labeled and ordered In broad categories and subcategories? Are you able to find documents within the files in an efficient manner. For example, current documents are towards the front of the file or in the back but not mixed.) Are the papers within each file facing the same way? Are multi page documents stapled (or clipped) so that they stay together and can be retrieved in whole. Are important and sensitive documents easily found in the… read more →
Common Organizing Mistakes As your San Diego Professional Organizer I can assure you that these 7 common organizing mistakes can be easily avoided: Buying organizing tools before you know what is needed. Mistaking containing items for decluttering and organizing items. Taking on too large a project; burnout. Underestimating how much time you need to organize. Trying to organize without help. Mistaking current financial worth based upon original cost. Letting “what if” concerns dominate decision making. Common Organizing Mistakes #1: Buying organizing tools before you know what you need. Avoid buying bins, containers, file folders, furniture or leasing long term storage space before you go through the process of purging. Getting caught up in the smaller details before you go through the process of purging, sorting and containing can be costly and overwhelming. Work with broader categories first. Make temporary labels rather than taking the time to print labels. Create organizing systems and use them for at least 2 weeks before making significant changes. Common Organizing Mistakes #2: Containing items before decluttering and sorting the items. Purge items before you contain them. There is no sense organizing and putting items into files or bins if you are not going to need them. It’s likely that you will end up with usable folders and containers after you declutter. The perfect example of this is during a move. Take time before packing and moving to discard, recycle, donate and shred what you no longer need. Avoid unpacking unneeded items and wondering why you brought them with you. It’s wasted time, money, effort and space. Common Organizing Mistakes #3: Taking on too large a project at one time. The best way to avoid burnout and overwhelm is to break a large organizing project into smaller ones. Give yourself shorter amounts of time on a… read more →
7 Unbelievable Storage Solutions | Organizing Tips Storage solutions are available for every space. As your Personal and Professional Organizer my goal is to help you find ways to clear clutter and create better flow throughout your home and office. Here are my 7 Unbelievable Storage Solutions and Decluttering/Organizing Tips:
Paper Clutter Paper clutter can easily sneak up on you. Paper clutter isn’t limited to your office either. I’ve seen paper clutter in: Bathrooms Garages Kitchens Bedrooms Cars Backpacks Purses Closets As your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer I suggest that you organize by room and focus on paperwork, only. Schedule 30 minutes on a specific date, at a specific time to: Discard, recycle, shred Sort, file Purge old files & papers. Which types of paper clutter drive you crazy? Let’s identify the culprits… Receipts Unopened mail Catalogs Unread piles of magazines Stacks of newspapers Unclipped and/or expired coupons; circulars Business cards Handouts from meetings, conferences Papers your children bring home from school Never ending to-do lists, notes Unused notepads Unpurged files Old tax records Boarding passes, tickets, maps In my series, “Things I’d Rather Die With” I’m going to give you lots of organizing tips to help you to get rid of clutter. I came across a terrific article that will help you with some ideas about how to declutter your paper situation: Taming Paper Let me know what you do to reduce the amount of paper in your life by posting on Outside In Organizer and Makeovers on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Clutter Trouble? What is all that clutter about? You want to let it go but something is holding you back. If you are truly troubled by the clutter that you are surrounded with it’s time to take this quiz. Don’t worry, it’s confidential. Go ahead and check all the following that apply to you: It’s difficult for me to let go of, or get rid of things, in general. I can’t let go of sentimental items and photos, specifically. I’m not ready to get rid of this. I’m worried that if I let it go I will need it later. I feel guilty when I get rid of things. I can’t let go of things that I spent a lot of money on. I’m saving it for my children (or grandchildren). You can never have enough. I don’t have too many things, I just need more storage space. I can’t afford to hire a Professional Organizer. I tried working with a Professional Organizer and it didn’t work. I’m embarrassed ask for help. I’ll never get organized. I’ve always been this way. I know that it looks cluttered but I can usually find what I am looking for. If I don’t find what I am looking for I buy another one. My mother (or another relative) was a hoarder. I’m just like her. I don’t have time to organize. I need at least a whole day (a week, a month, etc.) to organize and I’m too busy. I’ll do it when I have time. Organizing is boring. Clutter is a common problem for many people. Uncovering how it affects you and everyone that you live with is the first step. After that, you need to have an action plan and seriously consider asking for help from someone you can trust. Here… read more →
Organization Skills You have the organization skills that you need, everyone does. So how do you get started organizing? Plan, prepare, schedule time to organize, and employ my “1-at-a-time rule”. Looking at the before and after photos of the office that I worked in recently you can immediately see the big and little differences that organizing creates. As your San Diego Professional Organizer my goal is always to teach and empower, not just do the organizing for you. That’s no fun! First, we scheduled a date and time to work together. During that first session we confirmed our plan. In a 3-4 hour block of time you can’t do it all so I needed to know what the client’s goals and priorities were. To prepare we needed a large space to gather items that were alike (we used the floor in the adjacent room). We also needed containers for recycling, shredding, discards and donations. Preparation also includes adequate ventilation and hydration (we work up a sweat). Once we get to work it’s my job as the professional to ask the right questions. These questions enable you to decide what to keep and what to let go of. Since I don’t own the items and am not emotionally attached to them in any way I can remain calm and neutral for the client. A trained Personal/Professional Organizer knows how to guide you through questioning, gathering information, and offering options for the client. After some time it becomes easier and quicker for the client to make those decisions. When you use my 1-at-a-time rule you are able to see results quickly because you are not scattered, you are focused. Always get rid of the clutter in your space first because you do not want to store and organize items that are no… read more →
Now that you’ve sorted and organized everything on the surfaces of your office you are ready to go deeper! Wondering how to do this? During this step in the organizing process you are going to work in the individual drawers and files one at a time. This is generally a longer process so I recommend that you schedule a specific day and block of uninterrupted time to do this work. Establish your goals before you begin so that you will be able to plan ahead. Overall, the goal of this process is to thin out the amount of inventory in your office drawers and files so that you are organizing only what you need and use. However, you may want to focus on some or all of the following office organizing goals: 1. Create more digital and scanned records to reduce the amount of paper documentation. 2. Change the location of items and files in order to maximize easy retrieval and access. 3. Utilize systems and strategies that are aligned with your work and learning style. Are you more visual, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic? Work from your strengths. 4. Maximize storage space including vertical and wall spaces. OIOM TIP: Save horizontal space for the work and when you are done have storage elsewhere. 5. Decrease clutter with more efficient containers, a tickler file system, or remote storage. Supplies to have before you start organizing: • Single tab file folders • Hanging files • Empty file box(-es) to hold hanging files • Pencils, eraser • A clear horizontal space to work on How to Organize: Identify the drawer that you want to begin with and work only in that drawer. • Office supplies: Take everything out of the drawer and place all of the items on to your clear work surface.… read more →
Here are 3 guiding principles that you can post in a visible place and use to help you get out of feeling overwhelmed from the clutter in your life: A little bit of organizing is better than none. Set yourself up for success. Expect that you will go off course. A little bit of organizing helps you to see success more quickly and feel less overwhelmed. Doesn’t it feel great to start and finish a project? Don’t try to tackle an entire room. That can create a feeling of being overwhelmed and keep you from starting. Instead, clear out a specific space like an all purpose (aka junk) drawer. Set yourself up for success means that you want to learn to accurately estimate how much time something will take you. If you cannot complete a project or task in one sitting, it’s better to break it up into smaller increments. Rather than think you can reorganize an entire room in 3 hours, schedule an hour to work in one part of the room and see how much you accomplish in that time. Off course? Of course! Life is always changing. The key to effective organizing is to first have a system in place. When something unexpected happens to derail you from optimal organizing habits it’s easier to get back on track if you know where it all belongs. If you share the space, it allows everyone to put things back as well.
Ask your San Diego Organizer, “how do I get my office organized?” Here is what I would tell you: don’t just declutter! That won’t work because without putting your system in place the clutter will return. After you gather and sort (what to purge, what to keep) you want to make decisions about use and work flow (action versus reference, frequency and accessibility). Remember: there needs to be a place for everything, with everything in it’s place! Important TIPS: (1) Label items the way that you will remember them for easy, fast retrieval. (2) Ask yourself why you are keeping it, and for how long? (3) Take 10-15 minutes at the end of every work day to declutter, file, plan!
How to declutter spaces How to declutter spaces? As a Personal Professional Organizer my job is two-fold: First, to ask the “right” questions so that you can make the decisions. Second, is to help you to clarify your vision for the space. Every space needs to reflect how you will use it (function, supplies, storage) so that you can enjoy it (people). Save the aesthetics and decorating for after you declutter and organize the space. How to declutter spaces – Questions to ask yourself: Whenever you get started with organizing a specific area ask yourself declutter questions: Function – What is this space to be used for? What specific function(s) do you want the space to satisfy? For example, is your kitchen for entertaining, cooking and dining? Do you also want the kitchen to be your home office? Now, look around you to see if the space reflects that purpose(s)? Purge anything in the space that does not serve it’s function. Supplies – What do I need to have readily available in this space? List the items that you will need for efficient use of the space including furniture, equipment, or supplies. Find another location for anything that doesn’t belong there. Here are some great ideas in a video that you can use for organizing your makeup in the bathroom: Video People – Who else beside yourself, will use this space? Is the space shared by others? Do you have visitors or clients who will be in this space? You want to be sure to have all parties feel comfortable and have what they need in the space. Storage – Where do items need to be used, and how frequently? What the best types of storage containers that you will need for specific items. The answers will guide you in… read more →