Some Rules of Organization

23 Oct

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?



10 responses to “Some Rules of Organization

  1. Corina Mallory

    October 23, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    All great tips! I used to have a huge problem with mail piling up, and then I moved to a place where I needed a P.O box. Now instead of getting piles of junk delivered to my house every day, I stop at the post office on my way home from work a couple of times a week (or even once if I’m busy) and sort my mail there. Everything that’s junk goes immediately into a secure recycling bin and never even gets the chance to sully my entry table. It’s a small thing, but it’s amazing how much less clutter I have to deal with.

    • Peggy Staggs

      October 23, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      Great idea. It’s all those small things that mount up to a mountain.

  2. Meredith Allen Conner

    October 23, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    I just posted a chart list (homework, chores, etc . . .) for my girls. Now I don’t have to pester them. i just ask them to check the chart and make certain they’ve done everything they need to for the day 🙂

  3. Peggy Staggs

    October 23, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Bravo! Great organization and great parenting tip. You’re girls will be self-sufficient and productive.

  4. Judith Keim

    October 23, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Wow! I thought I was organized but I can see I’m not as well organized as I could be. I like to have my space tidy so I’m good with piles of things but I can sort through those piles to make it easier down the line. Having moved a lot and now recently, I will say that it feels good to downsize. Good post, Peggy!

  5. Peggy Staggs

    October 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Just be careful not to toss something you need. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that. It makes me crazy.

  6. marsharwest

    October 23, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    What a great post, Peggy. Can you repeat this a couple of times a year? My husband and I are both soooo bad. In one cleaning spree–they do hit us now and again–I found the little book on Getting Rid of Clutter. It had become part of the clutter. 🙂 I do more folders than binders. Actually have one for articles in More Magazine. However, I mostly just keep the magazines. I need to do better. I will do better. I will do better. I will do better.
    My office, desk area, gets out of hand because I still make a hard copy of things I really thing are important and file them. (Not as much as I used to.) Problem is I don’t file them immediately. Periodically, I have to go through them all and stash or recycle. It’s a little like cleaning the refrigerator. If you leave something in there long enough, it ‘s easy to throw out. LOL
    Before I start a new work, I always have to get the area cleaned and organized. As time goes on, well, let’s just say this is always a WIP for us. Thanks for great tips. Now I just have to apply them.

  7. Peggy Staggs

    October 23, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    I know what you mean about the solution becoming part of the clutter. ; )

    Right now I have a bunch of totes stacked in the garage…empty. I just went through all my old recipes. I did a lot of head scratching and asking, why did I keep this? The good news is one more stack has hit the recycle bin.

  8. Janis McCurry

    October 23, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    I break things down into smaller jobs.

  9. Peggy Staggs

    October 23, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Good plan. I tend to jump in head first…but then you know that.


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