How to organize a filing system

  1. Before you start, I suggest getting all of your supplies ready. If you’re starting from scratch, you’re going to need: a box of standard hanging file folders, a box of standard hanging file pockets, a box of third cut manila “interior” files, and a box of file labels or a label maker.
  2. The next step is to empty the cabinet completely. Yes, completely. Everything out. This is important as this allows you to see everything that was in there and determine what should and should not go back. You can put everything into a bankers box while you’re going through your files.
  3. To create more space, look for any items that can be tossed, shredded, or archived such as old tax records. Archived files should be placed in a properly labeled Bankers Box and stored somewhere else. If you are storing these boxes in a basement or attic or offsite storage facility, you might consider buying airtight storage bins to protect your archived items from the elements. They cost more but it’s worth it if these documents are important and need the protection.
  4. There are many ways to categorize files, but what I think works best is to break things down into five or six major category sections for easy identification.
  5. I also recommend using different colors of third cut manila files so that it’s easy to differentiate between the different categories. For example, for Active Files use – Red; Financial Files – Blue; Personal & Family – Green; Home & Personal Property – Orange, and Legal and Taxes – Purple.
  6. Each section is then broken down into sub-categories which can be alphabetized. For example, under Active Files (Red files), you might have the following sub-categories: Bills to Pay, To Do List, and Upcoming Events To Attend.
  7. Name your categories or sub-categories according to how you will look for them and try – whenever possible – to use generic folder names. For example, under utilities, name the file “Telephone” rather than “Verizon.” This is so that if you ever switch companies, you don’t have to create a whole new file. Simple, right? One more important tip: avoid vague names for your files. For example, don’t name any file “miscellaneous”! Why? Because it will wind up being a catch-all for all items.
  8. Once you start putting files back into the cabinet, be sure to leave plenty of space so that you can easily find and file documents.
  9. Finally, go through the contents of your files approximately 2-3 times a year. This will help you to stay organized especially around tax season.

The most important thing is that it should be organized in a way that is easy for you and makes sense to you.

Remember to keep it simple!

How to organize a bathroom vanity

Before you start, make sure to have all of your supplies ready. There are so many great organizing products on the market, however, I like to try and use items that I already have. For example, you can use a lazy susan to make things easier to reach under the sink. You can hang a hook inside the cabinet door to hang a hair blower, use empty bottles to corral small items, store toilet paper in a basket, or use a bucket to corral cleaning supplies under the sink. Of course, bins are always a good option as well but make sure they’re clear so you can see the content. If you’re handy, you might even consider installing a roll-out storage shelf under the sink.

  1. The first step is to empty everything out completely. Yes, completely. Everything out! This is important as it allows you to see everything that was in there and determine what should and shouldn’t go back there.
  2. Next step is to sort everything into categories keeping like item together: all lotions together, all hair products together, all grooming supplies together. You get the idea.
  3. Now go through everything and purge! Toss out any empty bottles, expired lotions and, of course, anything that you no longer need or use.
  4. Utilize your organizing products to corral the items that are similar (see #2 above).
  5. Now for the fun part, at least for me, is putting everything back in an organized way so that you can see what’s there and get to it easily.

Remember to keep it simple!

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to schedule a ½ hour consultation.

How to organize a linen closet

The first thing to do in any area that you’re going to work on is to empty it completely. Yes, completely. Everything out. This is important as this allows you to see everything that was initially in there and determine what should and should not go back there.

Once everything has been emptied out of the closet, sort everything into categories. For example: all the towels in one place, all the sheets in another, etc.

Now it’s time to purge. This means that anything either ripped or stained or no longer in use needs to be thrown away. If you still have twin sheets but no longer have a twin bed, it’s time for those linens to become rags or be donated. By the way, a great place to donate used linens is pet shelters.

The fun part is putting everything back in an organized way so that you can see what’s there and get to it easily. Before you start putting things back, take a minute to think about how you want this space to look when you’re done. There are two ways that I recommend organizing linens:

  • One is to tie a ribbon around a set of sheets so that they’re all in one neat package.
  • The other way is to put a set of sheets into one pillow case so the entire set is in one easily accessible bundle.

I suggest keeping two sets of linens for each bedroom so that there’s always another clean set. You can also change linens without having to do laundry right away.

As for the towels, there are several ways you can organize them.

  • If there are several people in the house, I recommend assigning each member of the family a certain color so that everyone knows which towels are theirs. If this sounds right for your family, assemble sets so that each one includes two towels, one hand towel and a washcloth.
  • Another way is to just put all the bath towels together, all the hand towels together, and all the washcloths together.

Put the items you don’t use frequently on the highest shelves, like your extra blankets and pillows.

Then begin putting the rest away by grouping similar items together; sheets on one shelf and towels on another.

You may want to invest in shelf dividers. Having the ability to divide blankets from duvets and comforters is a nice touch and will help make everything easier to find as well as just make everything look a lot neater.

Finally, don’t forget to label the shelves so that anyone can find what they’re looking for and put them back where they belong.

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to schedule a ½ hour consultation.

Getting organized and staying organized

When you make the decision to get organized it will be easier because you have a goal in mind. The goal is getting organized.

The key to getting organized is to have a designated place for everything. There’s a popular saying amongst organizers: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” If you don’t have a designated space for something, the rule of thumb is to either make a space for it or get rid of it. If something doesn’t have a home, it will always be considered clutter. If you want to get organized and stay organized, this premise will help you to cut down on clutter and know exactly where to find things when you need them.

Another important key to being organized is maintaining the systems that you have put into place. If you don’t want to keep starting from scratch, you’ve got to maintain your systems.

My advice is to designate a few minutes every day for maintenance so that things don’t get out of control. In the beginning, you might want to try setting aside time and marking it in your calendar just as you would any other appointment. As mornings tend to be the busiest, perhaps you can spend a few minutes when you get home or before you go to bed at night picking up after yourself:

    • Hang up the clothes you wore that day and throw the dirty ones in the hamper
    • Clean the dishes and/or put the dirty ones in the dishwasher
    • Go through your mail and remember to do the following:
      • Toss the junk mail
      • Shred any mail that has your personal information on it that you don’t need or want
      • File the things that you can
      • Put the rest in action files (Bills to Pay, Events to RSVP To, To Do File, etc.)

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to discuss how we can help you get organized and stay organized.

before after

How to organize an entertainment center

You may want to consider getting some supplies for the process. I like to use pull out drawer systems, like the Elfa Systems, as they are easy to put together and provide easy access to everything.

The first thing we need to do is to empty it out completely. Yes, everything out. This is important as this allows you to see everything that was in there and you can then determine what should and should not go back there.

Now that everything is emptied it out, start to purge! Go through your old tapes, CDs, and DVDs. Toss or donate the old tapes if you no longer have a tape deck in your home or car; donate the CDs or DVDs that you no longer want or need. While you’re at it, toss the clickers from old TVs or other electronics that you no longer own.

The next step is to sort the remaining items into categories keeping similar items together. For example, keep all remotes in one place, all CDs in another, and so on.

You can now start putting everything back. The important thing to remember is to keep similar items together.

Depending on the amount of room you have, you may want to use one shelf for your CDs and the other for DVDs so that you can find them easily. You might even consider breaking it down further by alphabetizing your CDs by the last name of the artist or sorting them into musical categories.

Finally, remember to label the shelves or drawers.

The most important thing is that it should be organized in a way that is easy for you and makes sense to you. Remember to keep it simple!

Traveling tips for your summer vacation

messy office

While going on vacation is exciting, I think we can all agree that returning to work after a vacation is usually stressful.

There’s a lot of mail, a ton of emails to go through and dozens of other things you need to get to that have been piling up while you were gone. It can almost seem like a punishment for ignoring your responsibilities.

Hopefully you will be relaxed and ready to tackle the many tasks that have been waiting for you upon your return. However, just in case you get overwhelmed, here are some tips to help you ease back into reality:

  • Notify people you regularly interact with that you will be unavailable and away from the office. If people know you’ll be gone, they (hopefully) won’t try to contact you which will significantly reduce the amount of voicemails and emails.
  • Clear the inbox on your desk and your email inbox so that the new items you must attend to when you return will be obvious.
  • Wrap up all of your “To Do’s.” This may be difficult depending on the type of job you have, but do the best you can.
  • Make sure you don’t have any meetings or appointments the first day (or two) when you return to the office. You will definitely appreciate the time to get caught up.
  • Arrive an hour early to work. Use this time to check your schedule, messages, mail and e-mail before co-workers get in and start asking about your trip and giving you more things to do.
  • Take an extra day before heading back to work to regroup and catch-up on your life. Use the extra day to get things done at home so that you can focus on work when you return to the office.

Okay, now go and relax and know that when you get back from your vacation, you’ll have everything under control. Have a great trip!