I don’t know about you guys, but I already feel more organized. I mean, I have thought long and hard about what I would put on my to-do list, if I made one. And when I threw yet another business card onto the tornado-aftermath that is my desk, I felt a real twinge of remorse. So now that my work life is my organized, I’m ready for Sushene’s tutorial on how to organize the home. I’m never going to trip over a pair of my shoes in the middle of the night again …
Well, I hope you liked Organizing Your Life so far, because we’re about to embark on Part II: more fun tips to organizing your life, and mind.
Well, let’s be real here – keeping your work life organized is a bit more important than your personal life, right? If you fail to meet a hard deadline because you forgot, you not only have a pissed off boss but you have to live with the fact that it was very preventable (by your just writing it down). If you forget to buy laundry detergent and have a closet full of stinky clothes that practically walk around by themselves, no one will know, so who cares, right? Well, I find that having an organized home makes you better at work. Less to think about, less to worry about, and generally, you feel better about yourself knowing that everything is in order (or at least I do). Sigh.
Anyway, most of my tips from Part I were specifically related to work, but the following are general organization points, to be used anywhere you see fit!
1. Wanna know what the best invention ever is? The Post-It. I happen to know that Art Fry invented Post-It Notes. If he were alive, I’d give him the biggest, juiciest kiss he’s ever had. Wait – is he still alive? In that case, I’ll just marry him. Post-Its remain my favorite supply item, for the home and the office. They are everywhere in my life. If you walk by my desk, you cannot miss the dozen or so Post-Its on my wall, the stacks of Post-It pads on my desk awaiting use, and the many more that are filled with… you guessed it, to-do lists. Even at home, each weekend, I make a list of what I want to accomplish. Again, if for nothing else than to make me feel like I accomplished something. My typical weekend to-do Post-It will contain items like “Laundry, go to bank, get cat food, do work, grocery shop, call mom”. Now, these items do not take very long to do – a couple of hours, tops. But having crossed them all off my list, I give myself free reign to sit on the couch and catch up on a week’s worth of tivo… or take a three-hour nap… or party like a rockstar. I’m guilt free! It’s great. You should try it.
2. File folders. Another great invention. Although I don’t love this inventor enough to initiate any sort of physical contact. You’ve seen ’em. The manilla folders with the little tab… yeah, those. They’re great. If you don’t already have a file cabinet, get one. They range from the very cheap to the large, bulky and expensive. But get one. See findingDulcinea’s Shopping Guide
if you need help finding one. I have a 4 drawer file cabinet at home, and I keep all of my paperwork alphabetized in manilla folders in it – taxes, utility bills, birthday cards that you feel too guilty tossing out, college transcripts… they all go in the cabinet.
3. This is a biggie, so listen up. Email. You either love it or hate it, or both. But I see most people’s email boxes and I run away screaming. Some people, and I’m not naming names (rhymes with “schmoran”) have thousands upon thousands of emails in their inbox. How do they find ANYTHING? As a point of reference, hold on, let me check… as of this second, I have 14 emails in my work inbox and 5 in my gmail inbox. Yes, that’s it! In each of my email accounts, I create folders to organize the types of emails I receive and file them there once I’ve read them OR acted upon them, if need be. Don’t fret, I’ll explain. Within my gmail, I have the following folders: Confirmations, Family, Friends, Save, Super Important. Each email I receive is categorized and archived to the appropriate folder. I know this seems useless because I can just search my folders to find something – but there’s more to the story here. How many times has someone been like “dude! I emailed you today and you didn’t reply!! What the #$!” and you’re like “Oh, I didn’t see it, sorry. I was too busy.” But in reality, you just didn’t notice it because it was buried beneath the mounds of emails you receive and so sadly neglect each and every day. Here’s the inside tip… drum roll please… my inbox is my “email to-do list”. I know, that was anticlimactic. But deal with it. This is my exciting life. I only keep items in my inbox that I need to either 1) reply to, 2) take action on, or 3) follow up on at a later date. For example, right now I have an email in my work inbox from March 18 relating to new ad tags for our Web site
and I need to remember to follow up with Robert and make sure that he sets up the ad tags properly. I know I need to do this because I see it every day in my inbox. Each time I receive a new email that doesn’t fit into one of the three criteria I mentioned, I file it in the appropriate folder. Easy-peasy.
4. Mini-storage, a wonderful thing. If you live in NYC, you know about mini-storage because they advertise (provocatively, I might add) in every corner of the city. This is a great place to keep things like holiday decorations, bulky Winter sweaters, or the old furniture you don’t have room for but don’t want to toss. And it’s cheap people. It’s cheap. Share a space with a friend if you need to save some dough.
5. Excel can be your best friend. It’s mine. I do everything in Excel. For example, New Year’s 2007 my boyfriend and I went to Sweden (the Ice Hotel to be specific). There were so many cost facets to our trip – airfare, trains, hotels, excursions – and we wanted to split the costs fairly. Well, what could I do but create a wonderful spreadsheet that listed the dates, the company/vendor, the details, the cost, who paid for it so far, and a split of who owes who what. Well, crazy as that spreadsheet seemed to my boyfriend, it worked and there were no awkward “oh, you got this one?” moments on the trip. There are a lot of great budgeting tools out there as well. As Rachel can attest to, since I helped her create one to manage her personal finances. Seriously, if you don’t already know how to use Excel, sign up for an online course right away! It’ll be the best thing you ever did.
Lastly, I want to make it clear that these are just basic tips. There are OH! so many more aspects of my ridiculous life that I could go into. E.g. closets, kitchen storage, etc. In the meantime, we have a great Guide to Home Organization
, which I’ve personally used. It has great resources, including tools to help you decide what to throw out and what to keep. Now everyone needs one of those tools.
So, in conclusion, just do something. Anything. Just adopt one my tips, and I promise you’re life will immediately feel like a more serene place. Happy organizing!