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Friday, July 31, 2009

How to Overcome Organizing Obstacles - Part 2 – Too Much of a Good Thing

The only way you can truly get and stay organized is if you have a system for storing things where you can easily find them again. A closet full of unmarked boxes is just chaos waiting to happen, and if you are even considering storing something in a bag that was designed for collecting garbage, you need to think long and hard about whether you really need to keep that item.

On the other hand, if you’ve acquired so many storage boxes, baskets and bins that you’re running out of places to put them, you’ve got the right idea, you might just need to do some editing.

Keeping things contained is only half the battle. Before you purchase even one more storage box, think about how and where you’re going to use it.

Try these tips…

  • Storing your storage. Look for file boxes that fold flat when they’re empty, sets of nesting baskets, and bins that fit inside bigger bins when they’re not being used.

  • Make every inch count. Delivery trucks and warehouses are loaded with an eye towards using every inch of space. While you might not want to pack your closets or shelves quite that snug, with a little planning, you can maximize your space without making your home or office look like a stockroom. Corral small items in lidded boxes that can be stacked on a shelf, and use magazine files to keep catalogs and directories handy.

  • Hang it up. Wall-mounted message centers, hooks, magnet boards, and file collators are a great way to get notes, lists, and receipts off your desk. Mount them at eye level so you don’t forget to look at your reminders.
    Once you’ve got everything in it’s in place, make a concerted effort to sort through cabinets, closets and drawers from time to time to be sure you’re not keeping things you no longer need. You just might have more space than you thought you did.

For more on How to Overcome Organizing Obstacles check back with us for Part 3 in this 3-part-series.

If one of our ideas or products works for you, or if you have a solution you’d like to share, please let us know at

Friday, July 24, 2009

How to Overcome Organizing Obstacles - Part 1 – Living in the Real World

In a perfect world, your meetings and appointments would be scheduled in manageable intervals, your paperwork would be carefully filed in color-coded folders, and your home and office bookshelves would be so neatly arranged they’d make the Library of Congress look like a rummage sale in comparison. In the real world, half your clients are on east coast time, the other half are on west coast time, your file purging project was postponed when your 9-year-old called crying because her puppy ate a tray of chocolate cupcakes (foil liners and all), and your books, binders and catalogs are crammed on shelves in more or less the same order they were in when you unpacked them from moving boxes…three years ago. While there’s a lot to be said for learning to just ‘go with the flow’, by overcoming some common organizing obstacles you can make your home, office, and schedule a little more predictable and a lot more productive.

Try these tips…

Picture this. One of my favorite features in decorating magazines is the “Before and After” shots. You can use this same technique to help you with your organizing efforts. Take a picture of your current space to get a good look at what others see when they walk into your home or office. Once you’ve had a chance to tidy up and make a few improvements (like replacing that old coffee mug full of ballpoint pens with a designer pencil cup and matching paper tray, take another picture. Keep your “Before and After” shots in a desktop folder to inspire you to keep your living and working areas looking picture perfect even on your most hectic days.

Measure twice, move once. If you’re planning to give your office or a room in your home an organizing makeover, keep notebooks with detailed sketches that include the size and location of windows, doors and electrical outlets. Check your notes before you buy something new, or move something from another room only to find it’s not going to fit.

Have a master plan. Put together a “sketches and swatches” binder before you make major changes. Include design elements from magazines and catalogs, paint chips and fabric samples. Don’t lay down a drop cloth until you’ve got a clear idea of how it’s going to look when you’re done.

For more on How to Overcome Organizing Obstacles check back with us for Part 2 in this 3-part-series.

If one of our ideas or products works for you, or if you have a solution you’d like to share, please let us know at