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Back To School Organizing, Z to A

Over the weekend I made the mistake of going into Staples for some boxes I needed. As I should have anticipated, the store was overrun with back-to-school shoppers. As I waited in a very long line, I couldn’t help but notice how similar the stacks of new spiral notebooks I saw awaiting purchase resembled the stacks of used spiral notebooks I see in my clients’ basements and attics.

6

Finding Space in Your File Drawer

One of the many factors that compromise productivity is an overwhelming pile of papers on one’s desk. Often the cause of this excess, is a lack of space in one’s file drawers. That’s a pretty easy problem to solve. Here are three tips to create file space.

6

“You Wouldn’t Believe How Much I Have Already Thrown Out!”

I’m in my tenth year as a professional organizer and clients have told me this statement more than any other. You wouldn’t believe how many times people have told me, “You wouldn’t believe how much I have already thrown out!” First, I would. Second, it’s roughly the equivalent of a smoker telling me, “you wouldn’t believe how many times I quit smoking.” It’s irrelevant. Unless you analyze the reasons for the bad habit and develop a realistic plan for maintaining a good one, the bad habit will most likely return. Here are 7 tips to make your next decluttering efforts really count.

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My Case Against Bulletin Boards

OK, how can I possibly take issue with an organizing institution as common as the bulletin board? It’s because a bulletin board is a nice idea for organizing, that doesn’t actually work.

Getting Organized for 2014

Getting organized is a very popular New Year’s resolution, but like so many resolutions, it can be a very difficult one to keep, without some simple guidelines. Here are some simple guidelines.

Why You Have More Space in Your File Cabinet Than You Think

The term “thickening agent” generally refers to paint and food products, but you might be surprised at how many thickening agents are in your file folders. Unlike gumbo, however, your files are much better off without these thickening agents. Here are six examples:

4

Creating Calm from Chaos

A Guest Post from Arline Melzer

I’ve seen firsthand how Matt Baier Organizing works to create calm from chaos. He helped a client sort through a desk piled with papers, notes, wires, calculators, and bills, some that were time critical to get her children into summer camp.

4

What’s Missing From Your Organizing Systems

Actually I have no idea what’s missing from your organizing system, but today I want to talk about a couple of likely candidates: a shopping file and a pending file.

1

Why the Only-Touch-a-Piece-of-Paper-Once Rule Isn’t Working For You

Are you familiar with the only touch/handle a piece of paper once rule? Many professional organizers and time management experts recommend it. I don’t. Their thinking is that, you don’t get anywhere by shuffling papers from one pile to another. True enough. Their answer is to make a decision on one piece of paper at a time before moving on to the next piece. You may decide to read, act, file, delegate, or toss, but you MUST decide!

1

Product Review: 3M 1.5 X 2 Post-Its

I know what you’re thinking. “Really? Those nasty little notes that litter my husband’s computer monitor and desk?” No worries. I don’t like that look either and I don’t like what it represents: inaction.

What I do like, no, LOVE about the mini Post-Its is when they are used well. They are used best when they facilitate flexibility.

6

The Secret to the 10 Minute Purge

You know those magazine articles or online features that offer “Great Organizing Tips!”? They almost always include a tip that says something to the effect of: “Spend just 10 minutes throwing out unwanted items.” Often they advise to “just start with the junk drawer!”

A ten minute purge can be very unsatisfying without three key guidelines. So the secret to the 10 minute purge is actually 3 secrets:

Product Review: The Doxie 1 Scanner

This is my third scanner review and for a very good reason. People hate paper! If I had a dollar for every time a client asked about ditching the paper and scanning everything, I would have about $34. (I’m not prone to hyperbole.)

1

Do You Have “Dishes in the Sink”?

As I’ve so often stated, my central organizing philosophy is circulation prevents accumulation, but what exactly do I mean by this? Effective organizing solutions must be built on movement. There must be a reliable advancement from one manageable stage to the next. If this circulation is blocked by an unmanageable stage, the whole process starts to fall apart and an accumulation of clutter is inevitable.

“Papers? I’ve Gotta Go Through Those MYSELF.”

Sometimes when we are sorting and purging our client’s stuff, we come across some bags of papers and the client will tell us “I’ve gotta go through those myself.” I’ve challenged this argument so many times, I thought I’d blog about it. What follows are the reasons for their argument and why they don’t hold water.

3

Strawberry, Chocolate, or Manila?

Today I want to boldly confront one of the most controversial issues of our time: file folder color choice. I know there is a school of thought, that says if your file folders are a variety of stimulating colors, they will encourage more use, but I want to make a case for the classic manila folder. There are reasons why it works.

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Inbox or Invitation to Disaster?

Beware the inbox. On the face of it, an inbox makes sense. It provides a single collection place for your unsorted items. The problem is that you gain a false sense of organization, because while there is an easy plan for entrance, there is no easy plan for exit. The best solution may be no inbox at all.