I love organization. If you’re organized, you’ll have more time. And more time is time to write.
Rule one. Get rid of all the junk. It isn’t as scary as it sounds. Start with three bins—I use small laundry baskets. One for trash, one to file or look at in more depth and one to recycle/shred/donate* depending on what you’re sorting. (*Note: if you give things to the Idaho Youth Ranch, you get a tax credit.) If you try to do it all at once, it will make you crazy. Put a few files by your favorite chair and sort through them at your leisure.
Rule two. Don’t let it pile up. Magazines are the worst. At the end of the month, remove the articles you’re interested in or plan to keep and recycle the rest. Instead of a daunting pile, you now have a more manageable volume. If the article is something I want to keep (recipe, how to, or my favorite—an organization tip), I three-hole punch it and put it in a binder labeled accordingly.
Rule three. This is an old one, but most likely the best. Have a place for everything and keep it there…even if this means beating the kids and bribing the husband. Once they’re trained the “Mom,-where’s-whatever’s” will be reduced. A couple of years ago, my husband got me one of those labelers. I love it. I label the boxes or bins where I want things. I did stop short of labeling the pets. Their things yes, them no.
Rule four. Get rid of the stress. This may not seem like an organization thing, but it is. If your mind isn’t cluttered worrying about things you can’t do anything about, you’ll have space for the things you can do something about. And clutter is clutter. Last year, I subscribed to two services. One backs up my computer every night. No more worries about losing the book I’ve worked on for the last six months. The other is an identity theft insurance group. It not only cuts down on the worry, it got rid of almost all the pre-approved credit card offers which cuts down on mail sorting time and shredding time. Besides, stress dries up creative juices. And that’s not good.
Rule five. Make and keep lists. That means keep them with you. Grocery lists, things you’ve got to do now, things you need to do when you get to them, and the list goes on. I use a calendar that is sturdily bound. I clip everything in it. Then there are the writing lists, but that’s for another time.
Rule six. If you haven’t used it in a year, pitch it. This is the one I have the most trouble with. I’d rather sort it, file it and keep it than let it go. One never knows when that article on decorating will come in handy. Actually, if you put them in a binder you can refer to it when you’re stuck for description.
Rule seven. Procrastination and rationalization. I am the queen of rationalization. I can come up with a fairly valid reason for keeping just about anything. Ask yourself if you really need it or you just want it. If you come up on the want side, get a fourth laundry basket. Go back to it later. Sometimes I look at the item and wonder why I thought I needed it. Procrastination: Do it a little at a time. If you wait until you have time to do it all, you’ll never get to it. A good example is after Christmas. You have to put you decorations away anyway, take the extra time to toss what you don’t use and label the boxes/bins. It will take less time than you think and next year…wow! It won’t take any time at all to decorate.
Rule eight. Don’t collect things. They just gather dust and take up space. Hobbies don’t count, but keep them organized. I have a weakness for office supplies. Staples loves me…a lot. I buy binders and dividers by the case. In January, I go through my desk and donate what I’m not using. You know that thing that looked so handy and isn’t. It does one major thing. It leaves more room for new and better office supplies. Wait, this could be a hobby. See rule seven… rationalization.
The bottom line is to get rid of what you don’t need. Know where what you do keep is and you’ll be more in control. The more organized you are, the more control you’ll have and the more time you’ll have to use wisely.
What do you do to be more organized?