Simple tips on getting organized

Photo: “Chaos” by Charles Starrett licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Link to Flickr

Photo: “Chaos” by Charles Starrett licensed under CC BY 2.0

Yesterday I felt so smug. I finally took time to declutter my space and it felt so good to just get started.

You’d think that since my mom was a housekeeper and my dad a janitor, cleaning and organization would be close to the top of my to do list. I think my teen rebelliousness is still operating on some level in my brain.

I’ve probably read every best seller about organizing. So far, I haven’t found one that’s changed my habits. Perhaps you know a good one that turned you from a mess to a neatnik. I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

After travelling recently, my place had taken on a life of its own. There were papers everywhere – stacks I’d created before I went away. I promised myself that when I came back I’d tackle those stacks!

So for a couple of days, I circled around the piles looking at the towers I’d created – which were somewhat loosely organized: creative with scripts and treatments; various financial piles; and, of course, my receipts from all the travelling.

Yesterday it was time. Enough of the procrastination even though the Sunday papers beckoned. Without glancing at a single headline, and after mainlining some very strong coffee, I was ready to begin.

Just start

Sometimes you just can’t wait until the cleaning/organizing spirit moves you. I reach a point where I just have to go through things. I have to start first thing in the morning – usually a weekend – but sometimes not being able to find things becomes too frustrating to ignore.


This part is the most fun. Just the act of sitting down to do it gives me a strange sense of satisfaction. I’m dealing with it. I’m not ignoring it. I usually like to set a time frame and have a little competition with myself to deter from distractions. I’m easily distracted going through papers. I might have been a hamster in another life.


I usually find there are three piles: one for the recycling bin; one that needs action; and one to file. Of course this assumes you have a filing system that makes sense!

Reward yourself

Rewards are a big thing for me. I need a sense of accomplishment. If I’ve filed away all the papers and now have a fresh pile of things to do, I can read or sit and just relish the peace I’ve had in doing this. It may not be perfection, but it is done!

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