Don’t forget Vertical Space

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My clients hear me refer to “valuable real estate” when mapping out the best way to organize their space. We need to maximize the space that they have and work with what we’ve got, it doesn’t stop at counter space or work surfaces, walls help too!

 Putting files “upright” instead of flat will give you about 8.5 x 11 more inches of space, yup, that’s right!  Another bonus is that you will have it more visible in case you need to find it in a hurry. You can see it easily sitting up instead of just in a pile.

One of my favorite wall pockets are either the copper or wooden ones from Ballard Designs. I’ve had mine for about 8 years and they look just as awesome as the day they showed up on my doorstep. In all honesty, this is a must have for me now, not sure what I’d do without them. Everyone has a pocket, one for each of the kiddos, one for receipts, one for pending projects and one for travel. I can put paperwork in there and know that when I need it, I’ll be able to find it in no time.

So, when you’re running out of work surface, look up!  See if you can utilize the space on the wall around you or just stack things on their sides and see how much more space you can open up as a result. Let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear if this worked for you!

When was the last time you looked up?!

Don’t get discouraged…

I love the Chinese Proverb that says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” This can be applied to so many things but in particular I like to apply it to getting organized. If it took a while to get messy, I’m afraid to say it’s going to take a while to get yourself back on your feet and organized someday.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to take small steps and be sure to reward yourself frequently. Even if it’s just sitting for a cup of tea and watching your favorite TV show in the afternoon after an organizing session, whatever works and whatever makes you happy, I’m all for it!

Take your time, it’s well worth the effort in the long run but don’t be a “weekend warrior” organizer. Instead, just pick up the socks and dirty laundry off the floor of your closet and make a conscious effort to make sure you don’t just throw it on the floor at the end of the day. Sometimes it’s just that simple or as the proverb says, just that first small step will show you how to move forward towards a more organized life (and ultimately a more efficient lifestyle)…

Be honest… are YOU a weekend warrior?

 

Beware of Energy Vampires!

For a very big part of my 30’s, the more I talked about the things that bothered me the grumpier that I became.  I have always noticed that when one person starts to complain it doesn’t take long for someone else to follow suit and before you know it a complete “bitch-fest” is going on.  Face it, we all have our own problems, people that make us crazy, family stuff to get over, etc.  The problem is that we don’t need to make it everyone else’s problem while we’re at it.  I’m not suggesting that you bottle this up, you need to be able to talk to a good friend or sometimes even a therapist but complaining and moaning to anyone that will listen will only serve to make you feel worse the longer it goes on.

This can also go another way… is there someone in your life that constantly complains? They can be just as draining (if not more so). Your time is very valuable so choose how you spend it wisely. I’m not saying we can avoid those “energy vampires” completely but we can certainly minimize our time spent with them!

Do you know someone that sucks your energy dry?!

How to make filing a breeze!

 

LNM Front Porch

I am always asked by my organizing clients whether or not it is good to have “too many files” and most people “over file” (which means they have a file for everything rather than in general). I advise you to start with the following hanging file folders so here is a pretty simple and somewhat Foolproof system:

 Home:

  • Indoor File (cleaning service, appliance repair, security system, etc.)
  • Outdoor File (landscaper, Trash company, etc.)

Family:

  • One file for each family member – eventually you might want to break these files down to individual Doctors, Dentists, etc. Remember though, Social Security cards & birth certificates should be in your fireproof safe and if they aren’t here is my recommendation from Staple’s…..

Utilities:

  • One for each utility company (Telephone, Gas/Electric, etc.)

Insurance:

  • Auto & Homeowners (or Renters)

Taxes:

  • File by year and then break down into 2 files from there titled:
  • Year Taxes (Example: 2011 Taxes)
  • Year Donations (Example: 2011 Donations)

Finances:

  • Bank
  • Investments

Expand on this as necessary. You might have another house, you might travel frequently and need one for your frequent flier information. You also might have a boat in which you can add the insurance in your insurance file right away. You could also just have a “Boat” file too.

Files are a fluid concept and will need tweaking from time to time as your life changes. Also, now a days we are able to download our bank statements online and therefore don’t need to file years of bank or investment statements anymore (yippee). I recommend downloading and saving anything that you can on your computer and you can use the same system above for your “digital” files as well.

I hope this motivates some of you to get started on your filing. It isn’t my favorite task but it is definitely one that is important. I think having my filing done is a really good feeling.

Does this motivate you to get started?

Do your most dreaded task first

I am not the best at returning phone calls (ask any of my friends & family) but it is an extremely important part of my business. When faced with having to make a call to a client or anyone else for that matter I try to make the phone calls the first thing that I do once office hours are “open”.

One of the reasons for this is that my energy is highest in the morning along with the fact that I can get de-railed very easily with my day if something comes up that needs my immediate attention.  I want (and need) to make phone calls a priority so that I am able to think quickly and give my clients the attention that they deserve.

What is your least favorite task and how do you go about taking care of it when you need to?