How to make filing a breeze!

 

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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?

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Want a simple project today? Clean out your medicine cabinet

Go through each medication (both prescription and over the counter) and check:

  •  Expiration Dates
  • Prescription Dates
  • Viability (dry, unbroken)
  • Appropriateness (children’s meds don’t work for teenagers)
  • Leftover medication from a long-over illness

When in doubt, throw it out!

What is the status of your medicine cabinet?!

 

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?

Email overload? Sub-divide your Inbox!

If you are like me, you have more than one email address (sadly I have 5).  This makes keeping up with everything extremely challenging so I decided many years ago to “sub-divide” my Inbox(es). This allows me to move something into a folder that I might not need to access immediately anymore but might need to reference at a later date (airline tickets for example).

Here is an example of how my Personal Email Inbox is divided up:

  • Gators (football)
  • Jordan (daughter)
  • Peyton (son)
  • Cirrus (dog – yes in my world the dog ranks enough to have his own folder…)
  • Travel
  • Online orders
  • Photos (these are from family/friends that I might/might not download onto my hard drive at some point
  • Meekster (my nickname and where I put nice notes from friends or funny jokes, etc.)

When I’ve read and replied to an email but I don’t want to delete it I can move it into a “sub folder” and know it will be there when I might need to reference it.  That is one of the ways that I “keep myself honest”, it doesn’t leave my Inbox until it’s been replied to/dealt with and from there it either goes in the trash or one of my sub-folders.

I follow the same format & rules with my business emails too.  What do you do to keep your emails organized?

Forgive yourself for getting disorganized

If you read my blog post about being humbled recently  you will most definitely appreciate this one too.

Each and every one of our clients is certain that we’ve never seen anything worse than what we are looking at in their home or office. It amazes me how high we set the standards for ourselves but with 24 hour HGTV and Martha Stewart, Real Simple, etc. out there it’s hard not to want to aspire to that 24/7.  The only problem is that just with fashion magazines, sometimes the setup isn’t realistic and/or budgets were obscene to begin with or my favorite: they had an entire design team at their disposal and they got it done in less than a week.

Personally I find that “org porn” is pretty hot, but it’s just not realistic.  Anyone can come into a space and organize it but unless YOU are there giving suggestions and working through everything with a Professional Organizer it won’t make any sense to YOU when we head out the door.  It’s your house, you need to know where to find everything, not me!

The guilt that comes along with disorganization can be debilitating and it’s also like dieting, if I blew it by mid-morning when I had my Snickers bar then why bother the rest of the day.  Just do one thing today towards the path towards overall organization: forgive yourself for letting it get disorganized and just move forward one step at a time on a positive note and before you know it you won’t be getting in over your head anymore. Change takes time but stick with it and you’ll be amazed how much more on top of things you’ll feel.

What are you struggling with organizationally today?

Big o’ slice of humble pie….

017_meek_0612_print_4646Over the past few weeks I have been feeling completely overwhelmed with a few big projects and was feeling quite disorganized and “over cluttered” myself.  One of my Associates does “home staging” for realtors and I thought she would be perfect to help me thin out a few things in our house.

We have lived in the same home since 1998 and I have raised my two kids there so we’ve gone through several “purges” already in getting rid of the baby stuff, then the toddler, etc. BUT, I didn’t realize how much other stuff we’ve accumulated over the years.  I was always able to find it but given our busy life I was feeling like it was controlling me vs. the way it should be.  Susan to the rescue!

I was reminded in a very blunt fashion how overwhelmed our clients are with their “stuff” and truth be told, I felt like I was the shoemaker with no shoes, here I am a Professional Organizer without a labeled pantry, laundry room or office storage space, GASP!

My kids and I spent a wonderful week in Texas last week and I let Susan have complete control of my entire house, she was in charge and as I’m sitting on the plane writing this post, I’m very sad to leave our friends in the Great Lone Star State but I am excited to see what I’ve got waiting for me at home.  Even the Pro’s need a hand every once in awhile and it never, ever hurts to ask.

What is overwhelming you at the moment?

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