← Back to All Columns

Columns

Ten Terrific Tips

How’s your New Year’s resolution to get more organized going? Sometimes, just one or two good tips will make your life more orderly and inspire you to keep moving forward. Here are some of my favorites.

• Label cords and chargers as soon as you buy a new electronic gadget.

• Keep multiples of inexpensive items in several rooms where they are used, such as scissors, pens, reading glasses, boxes of Kleenex, etc.

• Date any paper that you generate or that comes across your desk in the upper right hand corner with the date, including the year. You will never wonder how old it is or which version is the newest. Date everything from grocery lists to to-do lists, to pages you tear out of magazines.

• Keep a running grocery list by the refrigerator, with a pen, and note things you need immediately.

• Let go of as much technology as possible — we don’t all have to have every app ever invented. But do learn what you have. Read the manuals. File the manuals where you can find them.

• File alphabetically. Keep it simple. Don’t stagger the file tabs — it is a level of complexity that doesn’t pay off, which by the way, neither does color coding. If you can get your files organized alphabetically, you will be so far ahead of the game. To add staggering and color coding is just creating more work for yourself and more to remember.

• Don’t buy in bulk. Unless you are a member of the Brady Bunch, you don’t need that much of anything.

• Use the “one in, one out” rule. Sweaters, dish towels, books, mascara — it works for almost everything. Be hard on yourself. Most of us have too much stuff. (We know who we are.)

• Put stuff in containers and label. It sets limits and boundaries, and makes it clear where things belong. A junk drawer that has no dividers may be organized, but add dividers and the increase in manageability is huge and the more likely it will stay tidy.

• Keep like with like. Go around your house and see where things have strayed — candles, vases, cleaning supplies, clothing, etc. If you have outgrown a cupboard and start stashing things somewhere new, that’s the time to consider if you have to do a purge, relocate the whole collection so that it can stay together, or divide it into logical groups, such as Christmas candles (all stay together) versus all other candles (which can stay together in the original space).