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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


  1. the semikolon binders are so cool! i got each color!

  2. I am a former employee and although it was a bittersweet goodbye (I couldn't balance 2 jobs while being a full time mom & wife), I still love SJW's products. GREAT tips & advice (love how wittty the editor is!), fabulous, carefully chosen selection of office supply goodies that make women feel like office supply goddesses (I'm not over my acrylic stapler. Please bring anything acrylic back even if you think it's out... I can't finish my collection), and I absolutely LOVE the line by SJW with totally affordable prices for tres chic items that won't make you feel like you work a 9 to 5... how could you be glum if you walk in to a foam grey cubicle every morning to be greeted by hot pink & chocolate in & out boxes, brocade binders, and the perfect pen & paper (Russell + Hazel is nice for daily use, along with their binders and the binder labels-by another brand-) it's like the perfect pair of jeans- you feel motivated, sexy, ready to begin the day with full energy, and each time you're sporting them, your day just goes, well, in my term, "Flow-motion," where you move from one project to the next so seamlessly and cheerfully, and everything falls into place.
    I feel like a little girl shopping at the Sanrio Store again, buying my Hello Kitty pencil box and My Melody paper...(well, I admit, I still occasionally swing in there for a pen or notepad... OCCASSIONALLY... but SJW has upgraded me from girl to woman in terms of business, and in a very savvy, go-get-'em type of way.
    I'll be a client forever- as long as you keep the selection so carefully handpicked, and after price comparing, you don't sell it for any more than the name brands themselves do-

    See Jane Work is my one-stop candy-err-office supply shop!

    -Cheri Hartley