Organizing systems are essential to getting and keeping you organized. This is true when organizing anything including paperwork, important documents, items in your kitchen, bathroom and garage, and your clothing. An effective organizing system is one that will allow you and others to:
- Retrieve things easily and when you need them.
- Return things to their “right” place or home.
- Maintain clear surfaces in any room.
- Save time rather than waste it looking for things.
- Save money rather than spend it buying duplicates of items that you already have.
Organizing systems – 3 Myths
“Right” place: The “right” place to keep things organized is the one that is easy for you to use. That is, you know what you keep organized in that place and can retrieve and return it to that place. If you open the mail in the kitchen instead of your office the “right” place for organizing your mail is in the kitchen.
Label everything: If you are able to apply logic to where and how things are organized you will be able to minimize the need to label containers. Items that are used frequently should be visible and whenever possible, at eye level. For instance, don’t put your daily and weekly files in the bottom file drawer. Using clear and open containers increases the visibility of what is in the container and decreases the need to label.
Color coding: Color coding is not important or even helpful if you are color blind! It can also be too rigid and overly detailed. Color coding file folders and other storage containers can be helpful in specific situations. For instance, larger containers used to store holiday items that are only accessed on occasion, are easily identified if the color is related to that specific holiday. Most of the time, clear bins enhance visibility and allow you to identify where the items that you need are stored.
Organizing systems – Maintenance
Organizing systems become disorganized when they are not regularly maintained. Organizing is a process similar to getting fit. This means that you are never finished and need to maintain the system. Organizing tips for maintaining your organizing systems:
- Declutter regularly. Don’t just keep adding things to folders and containers. Schedule time on a regular basis to review what is in the containers and get rid of unused and unneeded items.
- Adopt a less is more attitude. Remember that you don’t want to keep outdated information. For example, don’t keep old recipes that you will never use or don’t match your current dietary style. Downsize photos by discarding the duplicates and blurry ones.
- Use shallow containers to temporarily store reading materials so that the pile remains manageable. Read the magazines, newspapers and catalogs then discard.