Organize for the New Year
Did you resolve this year to finally get organized at home or at the office? Here are a few suggestions from America’s top organizers to get you started:
- Keep track of your stuff. You don’t have to buy expensive software packages to organize using your computer. Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express come installed on most computers. These programs include electronic address books that can organize virtually everything in your life. For example, if you have an item you use once a year for decorating but tend to forget where you’ve stored it, create an entry in Outlook’s address book under the name of the item. Type the location (i.e. front hall closet in box, third shelf down) under “Contact Information.” — Suggested by Bill Adler, Jr., author of Outwitting Clutter
- Find out what your clutter is worth. You may be more willing to part with something if you can get money for it. Go to www.ebay.com to find out how much you could make by selling certain items. If the going rate doesn’t impress you, figure out how much you could deduct from your taxes by donating the items to charity. The software package ItsDeductible (www.itsdeductible.com, $19.95) can provide more details. — Suggested by Barbara Hemphill, an organizing consultant and author of Taming the Paper Tiger at Work.
- Think outside the box for clever home storage. A few ideas: 1) If you keep plastic grocery bags, stuff them into cardboard paper towel tubes to conserve space and keep things neat; 2) Buy a small photo album with plastic pages to hold driving instructions. After you complete a trip, slip the directions into the album. You could also put your road maps there.
- Keep things where you need them. For example, keep coupons in an envelope in your car’s glove compartment or a travel toiletry kit in your suitcase. — Suggested by Barry Izsak, president of the organizing firm Arranging It All.
- Don’t spend more than 15 minutes at a time organizing. It can take a lot of time to organize a closet, desk, room or garage. That’s why many of us put it off. By committing to just 15 minutes a day, you can complete the job without burning yourself out — Suggested by Pam Young, co-author of Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise.