I know its Springtime but I just didn’t want to write about Spring Cleaning. Everyone else is and you probably have your own way of going about your Spring Cleaning anyway. Also, I’ve written about Spring Cleaning in the past so you can access my words of wisdom on that subject on my website.
I’ve been trying to come up with an interesting topic for this month’s newsletter and thought that The Fundamentals of Organizing would as good as any. So, here goes…
When organizing, and it doesn’t matter what it is that you’re organizing or want to organize, the fundamentals are really always the same. Of course there’s many different approaches to organizing but, again, the fundamentals (the basics so to speak) remain the same.
- Choose an area. For example, instead of organizing the whole house, choose an area in the house. For the purpose of this article, let’s say you choose your home office.
- Get all of your supplies together. You’ll need bags for trash, a box or 2 for donations and a rag to wipe down the areas that have been cleared off.
- Break the task down further. For example, the office has many things going on. There might be an abundance of books on shelves; there might be piles of paper on the desk; there might be a storage cabinet for your supplies. So, pick an area within the office to organize. Again, for the purposes of this article, let’s choose the storage cabinet.
- Make sure that you set aside a chunk of time, at least a few hours, to get the job done. Preferably the time you set aside will be, for the most part, uninterrupted. The more distractions you allow, the slower the process will be. If you only have a few hours set a timer or alarm to keep you on track.
- I know this is going to sound crazy and overwhelming but trust me, its the best way. Clear everything out of the storage cabinet. EVERYTHING!
- Start purging. Throw away anything that is broken, missing a piece, expired, no longer working. Put anything that is no longer useful, to you or anyone else, in the trash. Remember you have a trash bag (see #2 above) so just put these items directly into the trash.
- Donate: Anything that you no longer need or want but that is still in good condition and someone else can use can be donated. For example, you may have recently purchased a new automatic stapler so perhaps you can donate the other older staplers. Put anything that you no longer need, use or want in the box that you have designated for donations (see #2 above). Put a post-it on the box indicating that it is a “donations” box so nobody mistakes it for trash.
- Sort. Put things into categories. For example, put all tape and glue together, put all small supplies together (ie, paper clips, binder clips, staples, thumbtacks); put all writing utensils together (ie, pens, markers, pencils, erasers).
- If there are random things that don’t necessarily belong in the storage cabinet but do belong in the office, put them off to the side in something (think small box or canister or tupperware) until the other areas of the office can be organized and you can figure out where they should be.
- Like with Like! Place like items in a container or baggie or basket. For the small items like paper clips, use a plastic baggie. For pens, markers, pencils use a small box. I like to use the boxes that I get from the bank with my checks as they’re the perfect size. You can use tupperware as well. Whatever gets the job done!
- Put everything away. Put anything that you use frequently on the shelf that is easiest to see and reach in the storage cabinet. Important: place heavy items on the bottom shelf so that they don’t fall off and hit anyone.
- Clean up. Take the trash out. Put the box of donations by the front door or in your car so that you don’t forget to take it with you when you leave the house.
- Now that you’re finished organizing the storage cabinet in the office pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Then, set aside some time to organize another area. Put the date and time in your calendar and make sure you keep the appointment with yourself. This will keep you motivated and keep the process moving along.
- Follow the same steps as above when you move on to the next area.
- I HIGHLY recommend that you continue working on another area that needs to get organized in the office or whatever room you decide to start in. In other words, finish one room before moving on to another.
If for some reason, you can’t or don’t want to do this alone, why not get help? WE’D LOVE TO BE OF SERVICE! Give us a call. We’re ready when you are…