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10 Tips For Getting Organized
by Jenifer Nipps

January belongs to the realms of ancient history at this point in the year. Once again, my goal of getting organized has fallen by the wayside. At least, it had until now.

A small tornado has gone through my office. Papers and books are everywhere. My submissions and query "files" are falling out of their folders. The only clear space is right in front of the keyboard. While I can ignore it, I can't work with it any longer.

Here are some tips I have found in my search for the perfect organizational system (if such a thing truly exists).

  1. Invest in a kitchen timer. Both FlyLady.com and The One-Minute Organizer suggest using a timer and beginning by working in small increments of no more than 15 minutes. Do not do what I did. I bought the timer and promptly lost it in chaos.
  2. Get your tools together before you start. Your needs should be basic: Your timer, a trash bag, a container to hold things that belong to a different home, and a container to hold things to be given away. This isn't counting any shelves or baskets you might decide you need for your space.
  3. Start slow. Focus on one area at a time. Looking at the whole room can be overwhelming. Don't expect miracles and don't expect to get it finished all at once. We're not experts here. (You might be, but I'm not.) Speaking of experts, some recommend starting your organizing efforts at the entry of a room. Do whatever works for you. The desk is what gives me the most stress so that is where I'm going to start.
  4. Retrace your steps. Once you have an area organized, don't ignore it. Keep it free of clutter. Otherwise, when you "finish" the process, you will find yourself needing to start over again.
  5. Reward yourself. Organizing is hard work! Figure out what your milestones are and reward yourself when you reach them. One milestone for me will be decluttering (word courtesy of FlyLady.com) the immediate area of my desk (including drawers), file cabinet, and printer stand.
  6. Keep the momentum going. If you finish a designated area before your time is up for that particular session, don't quit early! Move on to the next area.
  7. Throw it away. When you have something you know has to be thrown away, do it. There is no sense in holding on to a newspaper from 1996 because you might want to refer back to it. Clip the article holding your interest and throw the rest away.
  8. Put it up. At the end of your session, take the items in your box of things that belong in a different place and put them there. You may have to deal with them again when you declutter that new area, but it will be where it belongs and easier to manage.
  9. Give it away. Remember those things you put in the box to give away? Do it. Don't hold on to them for very long because you'll be tempted to keep them. If your sister wants that picture of your grandfather that you don't want to hang on your wall anymore, let her have it.
  10. Repeat as needed. One session does not make an organized room. Keep going until you have it done. Then decide how often you need to revisit it to keep it decluttered.

The best advice I have ever come across is to be patient with yourself. You're undertaking a large project. Nobody expects perfection the first time out. I only need to remember that when dealing with my own mess.

Helpful Websites

FlyLady.net: www.flylady.com
Organizational tips, the FlyLady store, a free newsletter via YahooGroups. With the exception of items in the store, signing up on this site is free.

Planet SARK: www.planetsark.com
Workshops, newsletter, calendar, etc. This site is a subscription service.

Organizing Network: www.myorganizedlife.com
Subdivided into areas of self, finances, family, home, and work. There is a free organizing newsletter.

© Copyright 2008, Jenifer Nipps

Jen Nipps is a freelance writer in south-central Oklahoma, where she splits her time between reading, writing, beading, and with family. She welcomes visitors to her blog at http://jensorganizedwriter.wordpress.com or to her website at www.jenifernipps.com.

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