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Stay organized

This set of tips comes from Janine Adams of Peace of Mind Organizing® [Click here to go to her website]

Janine says, “Being disorganized is expensive.  It hampers your productivity and costs you time when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Just think what you could do with the time you now spend dealing with your stuff. If you’re disorganized in paying your bills, you might be paying late charges and higher-than-necessary interest rates on credit cards. Freeing your time and your mind by overcoming your barriers to getting and staying organized can pay dividends you can’t even anticipate now.”

How to manage too much to do and not enough time?

“The recipe for stress and anxiety is simple: too much to do and not enough time to do it. When your obligations are overwhelming, take action with what professional organizer Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management from the Inside Out, calls “the four D’s.”

Delete things by removing them from your list, or delay them by rescheduling at a better time. Diminish a task by ignoring that perfectionist drive to craft the perfect e-mail or create handmade place cards for your holiday dinners. Or delegate it to someone who’s capable, like asking your teen to make lunch for his little sister.”

Clutter robs you of energy

“Disorganization is not just about where you put things, although being able to locate items when you want them makes life go more smoothly. It’s really about the atmosphere that messiness creates. A big pile of clutter creates disarray, making people feel guilty, depressed and incompetent, explains Adams, of St. Louis, Missouri. Cleaning up takes a bit of effort, but the results will revitalize you from the inside out.”

It’s easier to keep tabs on important papers if you have an organized filing system. Janine recommends the following set up: 

  • A two- or four-drawer filing cabinet. The most efficient have drawers that pull out all the way to fit more files.
  • A filing system. Adams recommends a system from FreedomFiler that includes files, labels and a specific filing method.
  • A shredder. To protect against identity theft, Adams recommends shredding everything, including credit card offers that come in the mail. If you have a lot of old records to dispose of, consider hiring a commercial shredding service to do it for you.
  • Long-term storage. Keep files you consult often close by. For everything else, a spot in the attic or basement will do. If you’re in a flood-prone area, keep records off the basement floor or in water-proof containers, Adams says.

Are you or a loved one a hoarder, or chronically disorganized?

“If you’ve struggled with getting and staying organized for a long time and if being disorganized affects your daily life, then you’re probably chronically disorganized. You may have felt at times that you’ll never get organized. But that doesn’t need to be true. If you work with an organizer who specializes in working with clients who are challenged by chronic disorganization, you’ll have the opportunity to develop organizational systems that work for the way you think. If you have difficulty letting go of items (many chronically disorganized people have a special relationship with their stuff), a trained organizer can help guide you toward making decisions to let go of things that aren’t actively adding to your life.”