Organize + Energize: What’s Going on in Your Office?
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalWorcester Organizing Expert
I want everybody to grab a pen and paper, walk toward your office and stop at the doorway.
Take a minute here and look around. You spend so much time in your office that sometimes the clutter starts to blend into the walls and you become numb to it.
At first glance, you see a cluttered desk, a bulletin board full of papers, cluttered bookshelves, and random piles on the floor. It’s chaos. Then you take a step into the office and stand over the desk. It’s cluttered with paper piles everywhere, random files scattered on the desk, chatzkies all over the desk and sticky notes stuck to the computer. Business cards are thrown all over the desk. A cup sits on the desk with above 20 writing instruments, half probably don’t work and most never get used.
Inside the drawers, it’s chaos. You’re not utilizing drawer organizers and you try to find a binder clip and it takes you a few minutes to locate one. You haven’t purged your files in years, there is no system and the files aren’t even hanging in the drawers. It takes you 15 minutes to locate an important file.
Now, you start to wonder if there is money in any form on the desk. You start to wonder if there are missed business opportunities in those piles. You think about how long it takes you to locate a file or important document. You start to sweat because now you’re thinking about all the time you’ve wasted due to your disorganization. You think about how much money you’ve lost and how many clients you may have lost due to your disorganization. How does this make you feel?
If this overwhelms and stresses you out, you’re not alone. Before you even think about getting organized, you have to get past this feeling. People get stuck in all different areas of the organizing process. You may have trouble getting started or you get started but get stuck with the process of decluttering. You may make it through decluttering but then you get distracted and lose focus and after an hour, you’ve moved onto something else. Some make it through all of this but then get stuck when they begin the organizing process because they don’t have the skill set. You may make it all the way through but the little things frustrate you and can’t figure out what to do with them. Then, there are the people who make it through the entire process, but just can’t seem to maintain their organization, which is one of the biggest steps in the process.
One of the first things you need to do is recognize where you get stuck. Once you recognize that, you can move forward with a detailed plan. You can’t tackle a large project if you can organize a drawer. Start with your drawer. Take everything out of the drawer. Make your piles of keep, toss, and move to another area. Wipe out your drawer and take measurements of height, width, and length. Take a picture of what you’re keeping. Look at the empty drawer and think about how you want to function going forward. Think about functionality and how often you’re grabbing these items and how you want to organize them. Go to the store with your picture and measurements and purchase drawer organizers to match what you need to hold that will fit the space. In a nutshell, this is the process to get organized. The process is the same for everybody, but when you start creating systems, that’s where everybody functions differently. Everybody’s system will be different based on how they function. That’s where you really have to start asking questions about functionality.
Don’t let the task of getting organized hold you back from functioning at your highest level. Don’t let this ruin you as a business owner. Make the time to evaluate how you’re functioning and put a plan into motion to get organized and become more efficient and productive.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.