When it comes to organizing your business (or organizing a home), it is not only imperative to create systems, but equally important to maintain your home or business once you’ve organized it.

As I’ve mentioned before, the first step is to DE-CLUTTER. You cannot have a productive life unless you are intent on creating balance.  If you have too much ‘stuff’, your drive, your productivity, and your energy will get stuck.  Balance will be non-existent, and most likely, stress will be high.

 

Stressful Office Space- Low Productivity

Once you’ve de-cluttered, and created your categories and sub-categories, and filed (creating a system that everyone understands), your next and only step is to maintain it.

The idea of maintenance can be different for everyone.  Suffice to say, it is best to set up a time each week, or at least each month where you file the ‘stuff’ that comes in.

I highly recommend to recycle and shred immediately when paper comes into your home or office. The papers that need to be filed can go into an ‘inbox’ where they sit until the action needed to be completed is finished- and then the paper can be filed.

In addition, it is best to purge and add or delete categories at least annually. Different categories must be kept for varying amounts of time. A good rule to live by, is that if it is a financial document or topic, you keep it at least 7-10 years. The rest can usually be shredded or thrown each year.

The most important take away? Keep the clutter low, the maintenance high, and balance and calm will follow.

Organized Productive Office Space after De-Cluttering

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

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Everyone perceives their filing system in different ways. The important point is that YOU understand YOUR SYSTEM. Now, keep in mind, that in a place of business, it may be important that your staff understand it as well.

I suggested that you first divide all of your papers into broad categories. These include, but are not limited to such areas as: Home, Investments, Medical, Marketing, etc.

The next step is to begin ‘SUB-CATEGORIZING’. Although this process is time consuming it is usually necessary.  I say usually, because there are some people that have so few categories and things to file, that the broad categorization will suffice.  This is usually not the case.

Sub-categorization involves going into each pile, and figuring out how to further divide it so that you will be able to quickly locate whatever it is you need. One example of this would be ‘Medical’. It is possible, within this pile you have 4 family member, a currently health issue such as an ongoing treatment, and may have an auto accident in which you got hurt. It is probably important to subcategorize these according to person and maybe even situation if applicable.

Once you’ve ‘sub-categorized’, it is time to grab a file folder, and label it.  But before you put the contents in, please make sure they are in chronological order: Newest to oldest.

You will do this exercise with each broad category. You may get as concise and detailed as you wish. Remember, there is no one right way to file or organize.  You are personalizing it so that it makes sense to you.

 

When determining where or how to file, you have many options. I have seen numerous tricks: colors, alphabetization, order of importance, order of accessibility and use. Again, there is no right answer. Simply arrange in a file box, a file folder, visible shelves or a file cabinet however you ‘think’ it should be arranged.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, if you run a business, and you need others to locate your important documents, it is imperative that they understand your system.  A good thing to do is to put a ‘key’ in the front of each drawer. This is a matted piece of paper with the categories that you have determined in the order you have them placed in the drawers.

Once everything is labeled and filed, your only job is to maintain it. I file on a weekly basis. Some people file every day. I suggest a balanced approach that will work effectively for you whenever you need to located something.

 

Andy PRIOR to The Organized Connection

 

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

 

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When paper comes into your home or business, always put it into 3 categories: Recycle, Shred and File.  This is something to continue on a regular basis to create balance and to have a productive life. Otherwise, all the work you have done in clearing out the ‘stuff’, will just begin to pile up again, and present itself as ‘clutter’.

In a giant sweep of an area that has gotten out of control, remember to get boxes, piles or bags, divided the paper, and act on it. Things to be recycled go into your recycling bin outside. Things to be shredded get shredded and disposed of.  If you aren’t able to do this, because you don’t have a bin or shredder, then put it into your car with a huge note on it that indicated ‘Shredder’ or ‘Recycle’.

The next project you will have is FILING. When you file, you automatically organize your business and home without even trying.  Your goal is to create a system that works for you.

Before the actual filing though, you must figure out your categories. These are different for each person based on their life and their business.  First, I suggest that they are broad in nature.  For instance:

  1. Medical
  2. Insurance
  3. Car
  4. Investments
  5. Home/Apartment

Sit on the floor or have a large space and put fluorescent sticky notes to indicate where the pile of papers will go. Do not try to remember categories. The notes are important, as ‘remembering’ just slows you down.

New broad categories may come up as you begin this process. Simply pull out a sticky note, write your new category on it, and continue.

At the end of this process, you may have 4-20 or so piles of broadly categorized paper.

The key to this stage of the process is to NOT overthink it. Now is not the time to determine sub-categories. Now is NOT the time to decide to keep something. It’s only the time to get things into broad general categories to get you prepared for further detailed organizing.

At this point, you are probably going to be tired, or a bit brain-dead. This is common. Don’t try to push yourself. Now is a good time to walk away. You may re-approach later in the day, or set some time aside to continue this process.

Keep in mind, Once De-cluttered and Organized, you must commit to maintaining your home or business. You want all the work and dedication that you have done to count.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

 

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It never fails! For the past 25 years, every evaluation I have done, whether home or business, people say ‘PAPER’ is their number one problem.

Today we will begin organizing paper that comes into households. In order to create balance and lead a serene and a productive life, we initially need to figure out what to do with all of the paper

The first step to address paper that is inside your home is to De-clutter the ‘stuff’ that is already there.  Simply get 3 boxes. Label them as such:

  1. Recycle
  2. Shred
  3. To Be Filed

Depending if you are organizing one area, one room or an entire home, the process is the same. Pick one place to start, and begin sorting the paper into the boxes. Move around the room and the home in a clockwise pattern. Stay focused on the area you are working on. Avoid looking around as it is often easy to get overwhelmed.

Overwhelming PAPER

Begin with the outside obvious surfaces first. Then go back and in the same fashion, and clear out the inside of drawers, cabinets and shelves.

At the end of this exercise, you will need to make a trip to your recycling bin or center, as well as to a shredder if you have more that you can shred on your own. It is VERY important that you do this immediately following the process. I have returned months later only to find that my clients still have these boxes, and have filled more unorganized paper on top of them. Get them out of your home NOW.

You will also be left with several boxes of ‘stuff to be filed’.  It is likely you will be exhausted and brain dead having completed this process. Plan another day to begin sub-categorizing and filing.

Stay tuned for following blog posts on how to create systems and files, as well as how to maintain your home or business regarding paper.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

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Each year the New Year comes and goes. We make resolutions. We have goals. We begin with the best of intentions. March arrives, and well, you know the story.

For 2013, I am committing to blog 2-3 times a week on the topic of de-cluttering and organizing. This is to help you be successful in your resolution to BECOME ORGANIZED AND PRODUCTIVE IN 2013.

These posts will encompass topics such as:‘organizing your business’,‘organizing your home’, having a ‘productive life’, ‘maintaining or establishing home or business systems’, ‘creating a less chaotic, more peaceful and a more balanced environment’, and the like.

I will offer you simple tips and ideas throughout the year. These will be geared toward people who are busy, overwhelmed, and possibly don’t have the time or energy to get organized. It also will apply to folks who just don’t know where to begin. It will be simple step by step advice that everyone needs.

Last, this years’ blog posts will be useful for individuals who have entertained the idea of becoming Professional Organizers. I guarantee it will be helpful for you to follow along.

Stay tuned, and hold on!  If you follow along and commit to taking on the advice given, you will FINALLY be organized, once and for all!

Enjoy the ride!

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

 

Feel free to consult my websites for further information or to ask questions. We will all be in this together.

 

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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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