Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How to get organized

You are probably not going to get completely organized in one day so work on it a little at a time. Break up your organization project into zones. For example, your kitchen is a zone, your garage is another zone and your closet is a zone. Then, you can tackle one zone at a time and make your project a little less daunting.
Once you've chosen a zone to start on, sort everything in that zone into two piles. One pile is all of the stuff that you have used in the past year and plan to use again in the next year. The other pile is for stuff that you haven't used in a year. If you haven't used it in a year, you probably aren't going to.
Now, organize your zone by priority. Start with the pile of stuff that you have used or will use in a year and put it away in your zone. The stuff that you use often or plan to use often should be the easiest to get to. If it is going back in a drawer for example, pull the drawer half way out and put away the things you use most. Then pull the drawer out more and put away the items that you use less often. Think in terms of "in front" or "on top" for the items you use most.
Storage bags are a great way to organize loose parts that are similar. For example, the receipt, warranty card and manual for an electronic gadget. If you have a junk drawer full of loose items, put them in bags based on similar use like stamps and envelopes, needles and thread, nail files and clippers.
Now for the next pile. If you haven't used it in the past year, do you really need it? Could someone else get some use out of it? Think in terms of reduce, reuse and recycle. If you don't need it, you should reduce the clutter by getting rid of it. If someone else could use it, you can donate it or sell it to someone that can reuse it. And if it is made of metal, plastic, paper or some other recyclable material, then recycle it. That way you can feel like it is still going to good use and you won't have to fill up the landfill.
Make "to-do" lists. Either on a scratch pad or computer program, it's a good idea to make lists to organize your time and thoughts. Some of the newer phones and personal digital assistants have task lists, use them. If you have a pocket pc or smart phone with windows, you can sync these lists with your computer. There are also online companies that offer to do lists and calendars for free. Microsoft works that comes with most windows computers has a task launcher. Even something as simple as using a notepad file saved to your desktop and naming it "todo.txt". Make a list for each day, make it manageable and stick to it.
Use a calendar to organize your time. As I said before, you can even use an online calendar or a computer program like Microsoft works. Choose a calendar that you are comfortable with whether it is a monthly view or daily planner, find one that fits your lifestyle.
Remind yourself. This can be done in a lot of creative ways depending on your lifestyle. You can simply leave yourself a note on paper or, if you are away, you can call your home or office and leave a message to yourself. If your phone has email capability, you can send yourself an email reminder that you will receive the next time you are at your computer.
Get what you need to get organized here.

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