Clothing seems to find its way into closets and refuse to leave, despite how many new pieces find its way there as well.  It’s almost as if it multiplies.  Some pieces hide for years at a time.  Others make an appearance every 5 years or so.  Then there are the pieces that have not been worn since, say, High School.  These are the pieces that many of my clients cannot part with- parachute pants for instance.

But, let’s say that you are finally ready to organize your closet.  You are ready to part with some of the things that you have been holding on to. You are also excited to find a new wardrobe (this happens often when I do closets- people find clothes they forgot they had).

Where to begin?

First- DE-CLUTTER.  Take everything out that you know you can get rid of.

How?

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do I wear it? Have I worn it in the past year? two  years? – if not, consider saying ‘bye-bye’.

2. Do I plan on wearing it? If yes, when? Mark your calendar if you are serious.

3. Do I love it? If you don’t, but it was a gift, I give you permission to ‘let it go’

4. Do I feel good in it? If not, someone else may- so get rid of it

5. Does it fit me? (Now). Keeping around clothing that doesn’t fit is a constant reminder that you don’t fit into it, and promotes negative self perception.

6. Is it a good color and style for me?

7. Did I wear this when George Michael or Cyndi Lauper did?

8. Am I hanging on to it for ‘when I fit into it?’, or ‘in case’ it comes back in? Unless it’s a classic vintage piece, you may want to consider getting rid of it.

9. Is it stained, worn, ‘pilly’, stretched, torn? – If so, part with it.

10. Did it cost you a lot of money, but you never liked it that much?  If so, pass it on to someone who appreciates nice clothing.

The idea is to purge your closet of ‘stuff’ that you really don’t need or wear, and donate it to someone who can really use it (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Shelters, etc).  The goal is to make more space so we can later organize what you have left that you truly love. Stay tuned.

* If you have a knack for organizing closets- maybe you do it for your friends? Have you ever thought about a career as a Professional Organizer?  If so, find out more at:

http://licensingandcertification.eventbrite.com

 

Cluttered Closet

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Now that your office is ‘de-cluttered’ and organized, let’s look at some general system and time saving ideas so you are able to ‘de-clutter’ your headspace too.

Each interruption costs you or your business 6-8 minutes.  This means if you are on a project, the phone rings, you answer it and talk 2 minutes, it takes nearly 10 minutes of your ‘time’ or more for some, to recover. This makes for a pretty scattered and cluttered day. This applies to business or HOME.  Time wasted is time wasted.

 What can you do?

  1. Turn off all bells and whistles when working.  Even if you look at your phone or computer when it beeps at you, it takes you 6-8 minutes to recover
  2. Set aside time to respond to emails and stick to it.
  3. Set aside time for Social Media- especially Facebook.  This can consume you.  I often suggest setting a timer to limit yourself.
  4. Blog at the same time each week (or however many times per week you blog).
  5. Cross out things from your ‘To-Do’ list at the end of the workday, and make a new one for the very next morning so it is there when you get to your desk.
  6. Be selective in volunteering, signing up, doing trainings, and whatever else anyone is asking your to do.  When it comes to business, simply ask yourself if it will benefit your business.  If it will not, then do not do it. If it applies to your home life, ask:  Do I really WANT to be involved?
  7. Be intentional with your Marketing, PR, Networking, and spending for your business.  Your goal is to be successful, productive, and to make money.  Choices must reflect this and be balanced.
  8. Hire an assistant.  These can be virtual.  Once a month, I mail off all of my new contacts and business cards (yes, snail mail) to my virtual assistant.  Pay ranges from $6-$10 depending what state you chose. My virtual assistant adds all of my contacts to my database, and ‘friends’ them on Facebook. This is a great solution to following through on contacts made and on those business cards that you never know what to do with.
  9. Limit Distractions and be consistent. If you work from home, put a ‘do not disturb sign’ up until you are finished.  Set a timer to get up and eat, preferable away from your desk and even outside so you can walk for 15 minutes and be away form the home clutter.
  10. Keep your desk clean. This will set the tone for all other clutter in your office, and in your head

Now, if you are one of those people who could have written this, or has other ideas, or know someone like that, the Organized Connection’s Licensing and Certification Program ™ may be of interest to you.  For further information, please see:

http://licensingandcertification.eventbrite.com

 

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Now that we’ve completely de-cluttered, categorized, developed systems and organized your office space, the last step, and one of the most important is MAINTAINING your office space. Organizing is like cleaning, you have to keep doing it.  Therefore, if you hire a Professional Organizer to organize a space, know that either you, or they, must maintain the space and systems.  If you do not do this, you will have to keep doing the de-cluttering and organizing when it gets to a point where you can’t function.

Here are some suggestions for maintaining an office space:

1. Clean off your desk daily- usually at the end of the day

2. Update your ‘to-do’ list at the end of each day

3. File things as soon as they come in

4. Recycle, throw or shred things immediately

5. When you develop a system or routing, stick with it

6. Clean, or hire a cleaner as needed

7. Go through your ‘action pile’ or ‘important stack’ at least twice a week.

8. If your office begins to get cluttered, take a few hours and get caught up

9. Put things away where they belong immediately after using them

10. Re-do files in January of every year for the new year

Then your office space will always look like this:

Finished and Productive!

The good news?  You will have more time, have less chaos, and be a lot more productive!

Great work on the office space and business Andy and Gina!  If you would like to know all the legal in and outs of shredding and scanning, or improve your own shredding and scanning business contact:

http://www.copyscan.com/

'Stuff' from office

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As mentioned in a previous blog post, there are numerous types of filing systems you can use. In my 25 years of organizing, I have not had one client have exactly the same type of filing system or method.  We are all human beings with different perceptions, different jobs or ‘stuff’, and different needs.  Therefore, every filing system must be considered thoroughly before implementing it.

Obviously, we all know that it is important to have a good filing system.  It saves us time, stress, productivity, and is imperative to run a good business or home. Start as you mean to go on.

Things filed can be put in numerous ‘containers’.  You may buy a filing cabinet, a filing box, a bankers’ box, or even a bin of some sort.  I had a special box built by barnboyfurniture.com that doubles as a table and a filing box. Something like this is great for small homes.

file box/side table by barnboyfurniture.com

file box/side table by barnboyfurniture.com

There are numerous ways to file, but remember FIRST to determine your categories, like we did with all of the ‘stuff’ in your office. Some people like to have broad categories, and some like to sub-categorize endlessly. There is no right way to categorize, as long as you know where things are.

*keep in mind that if you sub-categorize in great detail, it is often helpful to have a key laminated in the front of each drawer so if someone needs to find a file, they can estimate about where that topic will fall in each drawer.

After you have determined your categories, you need to decide a general system you will use. Some suggestions are:

1. File in Alphabetical Order (first name, last name, company name, or however else YOU remember it)

2. File according to importance or priorities

3. File according to category– and alphabetize within (Marketing, Sales, Clients, Health are some categories.  Names of clients are w/in Client Category)

4. Color coding according to topic, name, or priority

5. File by place, geographical location, or size of client or job

6. File according to dates or Chronologically

7. File numerically (assign a number to a category)

Some things to be weary of:

* too many folder

*too many categories

* hard to read labels

* overstuffed folders

* too many colors, or mixing colors

Remember, as with anything, you MUST maintain your files.  It is easiest to do this as papers come in.  That said, I have clients that prefer to do it once a year.

Remember, these are your files.  There is not just one way to file.  The most important thing: That you can find it- OR someone else who needs to access your files can find it.

* if you are interested in learning more about filing, or you are interested in a career of PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZING,  please go to:

http://licensingandcertification.eventbrite.com

 

 

 

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We’ve spent the last couple of weeks De-cluttering, Categorizing, and ‘Organizing’ our Office Space.

It is now time to continue ‘Organizing’, while setting up any ‘systems’ you need.  We will have to talk generically here, since each of you has a different type of business.

Keep in mind, when putting things away in their ‘home’:

1. Things must fit, but still be able to be seen or easily obtained. (If not, find a new home or create one)

2. Things must make sense to you (do you need it out and visible, color coded, labeled, hidden, accessible, locked?)

3. Things must be ergonomically arranged (can you get it easily if you use it a lot)

4. Things must stay in the categories you arranged them in (you can combine here for the sake of space, but not to the extent that you create more clutter)

5. You are allowed, and encouraged, to continue to purge here or de-clutter- again.  (This process is on-going)

When you have put everything away, I highly suggest labeling what you’ve done.  Often times I even create a ‘map’ for an office and a ‘key’ for the file cabinet. This is especially beneficial when you have other employees or people helping you in your office space.

Systems evolve during this process.  A system is something that is useful to your business, predictable, and beneficial to you and the productivity  of your business and its day to day functioning.  Systems could be: (but are definitely NOT limited to)

1. Inventory or supply ordering (When something is low, or runs out, automatically order more)

2. Communication with clients, fellow employees, or business contacts- follow up!!!

3. To-do lists- and follow through

4. Calendars, scheduling, and events

5. Filing- purging, archiving, etc.

By the end of today, you should have every category in your office put away, whether it is in bins, boxes, files, shelves or cupboards. I suggest labeling as well. In addition, you should be following through daily on your ‘to-do’ list. Draw up a map or a key so you know where things are.

Practice giving directions on where things ‘live’ with a friend, family member or employee.  Direct them to something when you are not in the office, and see if they can find it. This is a sure proof way to be  ‘de-cluttered’, more organized, AND increase your productivity— which results in increased profits!

* for more information on this, and on the career of being a Professional Organizer, mark your calendar for May 10-13, 2012 for my Organizer Licensing and Certification Training or e-mail me at missy@theorganizedconnection.com for more information.

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Over the past week we have worked on:

1. De-cluttering our offices & purging our ‘stuff’

2. Categorizing our ‘Stuff’

Now it is time to begin ‘Organizing’ our stuff and setting up ‘Systems’.

I envision you sitting in your offices surrounded by boxes and bags with labels on them such as: Expenses, Clients, Marketing, Invoices, etc. Although this is part of the process, it can be quite unsettling attempting to work in these conditions. Hang in there, it gets worse before it gets better- but it WILL get better.

The next step in the process is the ‘fun’ part.  This is where we get to view our office space almost like a ‘puzzle’.  The amount of ‘stuff’ that you have in each category will often times dictate where the stuff will go.  Keep in mind you must consider location and ergonomics as well. If you need to access something a lot, keep it close to you.

To begin:

1. Look at your cabinets, shelves, drawers and boxes or containers and how much space they are taking up

2. Decide what category will go where as far as drawers, shelves, boxes, bins,  front, back, etc.

3. If you only use a file cabinet, then decide what should go in what drawer, and in what order (* we will have one blog dedicated to different filing systems in the near future)

BEFORE you begin putting things away, it is very important to sub-categorize and put things in chronological order.  For instance, you may have expenses for your business. These should be categorized by month. You may need to put them in envelopes if you have a lot of tiny receipts.  In addition, if you have one big box full of ‘client information’, it is now time to separate clients according to name or business. Get as detailed as you need to get for you own personal comfort.  The main goal here is to put things away in a HOME. Pretend you are laying in a hospital in traction with 2 broken legs and you must verbally direct someone to a certain file.

Again, please remember that you must continue addressing your ‘to-do’ list daily, as well as your time sensitive work. You job and productivity must continue throughout this process.

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Become more organized – OR experience a De-cluttered Calm Life

Become More OrganizedMissy Bystrom, professional organizer of over 25 years give you her insights and ideas on how to live a more balanced, and less cluttered and chaotic life. No workbooks, no ‘step-by-step’, just a simple common sense approach you can listen to and follow at your own pace. Listen while you are driving or at home, and get ready for a calm, balanced life!


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