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  • Adriane Weinberg
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messy desk, clutter, cluttered desk, office, home office, paper, paper clutterMostly, it’s a trick. I’ve worked with many people who post notices of every kind on all available surfaces. Refrigerators, cabinets, computer monitors, desktops, floors and bulletin boards are overflowing with papers. Why is this a problem? Because it just becomes visual clutter. The visual clutter becomes part of the landscape. Then they no longer see what’s there.

So why do people do this? They believe out of sight is out of mind. They reason that if everything is visible, it helps them to remember to do, to call, to see, to get. But they know where to find a coffee mug and dinner plate even though they are hidden behind doors.

The real issue is they do not have systems they can trust.

The tried-and-true systems work, whether digital or paper, but you may need to adapt them.  You “remember” appointments in calendars. You “remember” your past in photo albums. Using simple systems for reminders is an effective way to organize your life. Once they are set up in a way that works for you and maintained properly, you will no longer need to rely on visual reminders that clutter your home or office. Here are 6 tips.

  1. File business cards according to how you’ll find them. The Asian restaurant with the name you may not recall can be filed under Restaurant or Asian or Chinese.
  2. Put items to be returned in a designated container in a closet. Make a note in your calendar when you want to return something. The item will be in the container so no need to leave it out.
  3. Papers for school can go in the Daily File (see Product of the Month) or a desk folder labeled To School. No need to put them on the fridge or counter.
  4. Instead of writing sticky notes to call someone, note it directly in your calendar.
  5. Put papers in labeled folders rather than in piles on the desk or floor.
  6. Keep a bin by the door. In it, put things to take with you the next day.

Here’s the treat. Sticky notes are useful–in moderation. The same applies to leaving things out. The point is to have systems so there aren’t sticky notes and things everywhere. A few pictures or notes on the fridge (if you must!) are OK as long as you see them. When they blend in with the door, they’ve become useless.

Rules To Live By, as I call them, are meant to be flexible. In time, you’ll figure out what works for you.

Product of the month

1-31 File Sorter

With pages labeled 1-31, there is a place to put papers for every day of the month. Put backup papers you’ll need for the doctor, accountant, school or restaurant in the file sorter according to the date you’ll need it. For example, put your meds list for the doctor or the receipts for the accountant on the day of your appointment (or the day before if you plan in advance–good for you!). The signed permission slip goes in Monday’s slot to give to your son to take to school. Decide the likely date to go to the restaurant and put the coupon in that page. If there is a paper you’ll need the following month, put the date (month and day) in an upper corner and file in the correct slot behind any current papers. Click here to find this product at Office Max online.

Remember to check the sorter every day, either first thing in the morning or the day before.

Product suggestions are provided as a courtesy. No endorsement by An Organized Approach™ is made or implied.

Notable Quote

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. ~Socrates


Adriane Weinberg

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