Our clients often get ahead of themselves. I mean WAY ahead of themselves. We may be looking at 30 bags and boxes of papers and the client will ask, “Do you recommend color-coding my files?” What I’m really hearing in their voices is “CAN we color-code my files PLEASE?” It’s as if a magical rainbow of colors will make the 30 bags and boxes disappear.
I have written a lot on the subject of perfectionism-as-a-barrier. People often confuse organizing with a quest to be perfect and that’s a mistake. Organizing is more about managing priorities effectively. That said, although we usually don’t have the time to be perfect, there are times when managing priorities benefits from pushing things to 100%. Here are three examples.
It is impossible to stay organized without action. If there’s no action on paying bills, the mail will pile up; if theres no action on the laundry, the clothes will pile up; etc. Certain points of compulsion are necessary to ensure that these actions happen.
Much has been written recently about a study done by Kathleen Vohs, at the University of Minnesota, that finds a messy work environment promotes creative thinking. Here’s my two cents. I’m a fan of evidence through science, but I am skeptical of these results. Furthermore, I would argue that creativity is rarely the biggest challenge.
On the whole, I try to avoid negative posts, but I’ve had it these guys. The organizing solutions we provide, mostly come down to editing and approach, but sometimes they are purely structural. It could partly be that you are just using the wrong supplies. Over the last ten years of organizing, we have found these three culprits used in hundreds of homes, as indispensable organizing conventions. Indispensable they are not.
Does the bag, in this photo to the right, look familiar? I see so many bags like these in client’s homes that I have a name for them. I call them make-it-go-away bags. Mail and other junk tends to pile up on the dining table or on the kitchen counter and when company is coming over, this stuff is hastily swept into a bag, which is hidden in a closet, a cabinet, or a more remote room. While there is an impetus to create these make-it-go-away bags, there is no impetus to process them. The problem is, of course, these bags have a way of accumulating and important things can go missing.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!