There are two types of people, the Meticulous Marthas, and the Messy Marvins. Organization does not come naturally to everyone and I guarantee at some point in your life whether it was cleaning up the office or the home, you’ve thought about throwing it all out and starting over. The great news is that you don’t have to be a Martha to get organized. You don’t need to label everything in sight and you don’t need an unsightly mountain of storage bins. Here are some simple tricks that even the messiest of Marvins can use to get organized and stay that way!
1. Eliminate This is the best first step to get organized. Get rid of things you don’t need; shred outdated paperwork and files, remove broken electronics and tools, part with one-half of your duplicates, and get rid of clutter that you don’t need or want in your life. There is no reason to hold on to things that are only taking up space. Therefore, if there isn’t some emotional or functional need, then trash it or donate it.
2. Clean It Up Keeping up with your cleaning duties will help you stay organized. Take some time to dust, sweep, and polish. The better your finished product looks, the more inspired you’ll be to keep it that way.
3. Give it a Home My mother always said that everything should have a home within your home. She’s absolutely right! I’m not saying that you can’t rearrange your furniture when you get the notion, but giving décor, tools, shoes, computers, files, and everything else a designated place that you can return it to makes it easy to clean up when things start to get messy. The home should also be fitting because it doesn’t make any more sense for an elephant to try to live in a doghouse than it does for your paperwork to remain on the kitchen table. Likewise, if you start running out of homes, go back to step one.
4. Re-do What You Un-do Just like laundry, there are things that seem to reproduce overnight. Before you know it there is a stack of papers building up on that freshly dusted desk. It’s easier to do a little every day than to take on a hoarding situation. Now that everything is clean and has been assigned a spot, you’ll need to keep putting it back in that spot. Sort, file, and trash mail as you bring it in, clear off your desk at the end of each workday, put trash and dishes where they belong (hint: not on your desk), and check off to-do-lists.
5. System Creating a system that works for you and your daily needs is essential. Whether you prefer to color-code your files and paperwork or file by date, it needs to make sense for you. The key is that there is order and it is an order that you can keep up with. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; it just has to work.
6. Group Keeping similar items together will save you time and help alert you when supplies are low. Because, when you start thinking about it you are probably already doing this in your home. Do you place condiments or canned foods together in the pantry? Do you use different hampers for colors and whites? Bring that logic into your office. This needs to make sense to you so that you can keep it up. The extra staples may go with the stapler, or they may go with the refillable supplies like ink, paper, and tape. Similarly, group items together so that it makes sense to you and your space.
7. The World Wide Organization Don’t just keep the space around you organized; make sure to include your virtual and electronic world as well. Create folders in your inbox to help organize emails and notifications. Keep separate emails for work and personal needs. Create file folders on your desktop or hard drive to avoid searching through a long list of files. Separate clipart, family photos, and work-related pictures into different folders. Depending on your level of comfort or need, you can create sub-folders to make it even easier to get to exactly what you need even faster.