Basic Organizing Principles

So you've decided to get organized, but you just don't know where to begin. Here are four basic organizing principles that will help you regain control over your schedule, your environment, and your life:

1) Clear Out the Clutter

We suffer from overload in our society -- too much stuff, too many obligations, too much information... Clearing out the clutter means getting rid of ANYTHING that is extraneous and unnecessary. Clutter takes up either TIME, SPACE, ENERGY, or MONEY without providing you any benefit. You can find clutter in many places -- relationships (people who don't support your goals and drag you down), finances (wasteful spending patterns), physical space (posessions you have no real use for), schedule (interruptions / time wasters), and emotions (guilt / jealousy / unrealistic expectations) Make a plan to clear out the clutter in each of these areas, one at a time.

2) Have a Place for Everything

What is the number one reason for physical clutter? Most people don't have a set place for things. Your belongings are a lot more likely to end up back where they belong if there is a clearly designated storage area for them. Clear storage containers and labels are the best way of insuring things end up back in the right spot. Also, use the following principles when looking critically at your storage:

- store items nearest where they are used

- keep like items grouped together

- keep climatic concerns in mind

- make often-used items more accessible

3) Develop Systems

You can go about your daily activities in one of two ways. You can either do things in a "random manner," meaning you have to spend time deciding how to do the activity every time you do it. Or, you can work "systematically," where you have a set way of doing things each time. This can apply to any activity -- cleaning the house, buying groceries, preparing a report for work... When you work systematically, you don't have to put a lot of energy into deciding how to do something. That part becomes second-nature. Your time and effort is focused on completing the task, and finish much more quickly.

4) Review and Revise Your Systems

Setting up a system is a wonderful step toward becoming better organized. However, if you are using the same systems you put in place 10 years ago, chances are they aren't meeting your needs as well as they used to be. Every few months, you should ask yourself these simple questions about your daily routine tasks:

- Does this job even need to be done? (don't let "busywork" fill your day)

- Does this job need to be done by me? (learn to delegate!)

- Is this the most efficient way to do this job? (is there a quicker, easier way to do this?)

All it takes is a few simple steps to get any area of your life in order. Good luck!

Ramona Creel is a Professional Organizer and the founder of OnlineOrganizing.com -- a web-based one-stop shop offering everything that you need to get organized at home or at work. At OnlineOrganizing.com, you may get a referral to an organizer near you, shop for the latest organizing products, get tons of free tips, and even learn how to become a professional organizer or build your existing organizing business. And if you would like to read more articles about organizing your life or building your business, get a free subscription to the "Get Organized" and "Organized For A Living" newsletters. Please visit http://www.OnlineOrganizing.com or contact Ramona directly at [email protected] for more information.

In The News:

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Home of the Week: A three-bedroom Cape has a mudroom fit for diehard organizers - Buying, Home of the Week  Boston.comTo get the true experience of living in this Cape, it's best to enter from the side door. This entrance opens into a sunny, cubbie-lined mudroom and then into an ...
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The Best Makeup Organizers on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers  New York MagazineHere at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we'd like to, we can't try everything. Which is ...
5 organizing tools to bring out your inner Marie Kondo  The Seattle TimesTools to help you tidy up and get organized as part of your spring cleaning ritual.
Fourth BRAVE Summit fosters community, strength  The Georgetown VoiceStudents and community members gathered March 16 for the fourth annual BRAVE Summit. The summit was held in the Hariri Building and featured mainstage ...
The Wing and Time's Up are joining forces  Fast CompanyThe women's coworking space and social club will now provide space for Time's Up meetings and organizing efforts to make work spaces safer and more ...
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Amazon and Union at Odds Over Firing of Staten Island Warehouse Worker  The New York TimesAfter the company's plans for a big New York presence ran into labor issues, a union says that an employee was fired for speaking out about working conditions.
Organizers unveil plans for Memphis bicentennial celebration  WMCCity and county leaders revealed the plans for Memphis' big, bicentennial celebration Thursday.
DSGO organizers not concerned about competing with Woodstock 50  WBNG-TV(WBNG) -- Great music is coming to our area this summer with the Dick's Sporting Goods Open and the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Only problem is, both.
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Olympics organizers unveil robots to aid spectators, workers  Kyodo News PlusOrganizers of 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics unveil robots that will be used as part of its efforts to make the games "the most innovative ever"
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Georgia Democratic Party offers paid opportunity for students  KSU | The Sentinel NewspaperThe Democratic Party of Georgia announced its participation in the Democratic National Convention Organizing Corps 2020 on March 8 to recruit, pay and train ...
3 Best Back Seat Organizers (2019)  The DriveLooking for a back seat organizer? Our team of experts narrowed down the best back seat organizers on the market. Read this review before spending any ...
Malaysia: Drop Investigation of Women's March Organizers  Human Rights WatchThe Malaysian authorities should halt the investigation targeting organizers of the Women's March in Kuala Lumpur on March 9, 2019.
Boston organizers serve the community In honor of Black Panther...  LiberationThe Day of Unity was not merely a depoliticized charity event, but a celebration of Black History Month, the Black Panther Party's famous survival programs, and ...
#MeToo and Grassroots Organizing  Penn: Office of University CommunicationsIn recognition of International Women's Day, international scholars join for a panel moderated by Penn Professor of Anthropology Deborah A. Thomas about ...
Derby Festival President Recounts Decades Of Service, Talks Future Of Festival  89.3 WFPL News LouisvilleOn WFPL's In Conversation, host Rick Howlett talked with outdoing Derby Festival President Mike Berry about his 33 years on the job.
Organizers of Bix 7 kick off 45th year with new announcements for this summer  OurQuadCitiesOne of the biggest races in the Quad Cities kicked off its 45th anniversary on Wednesday and runners can expect some new additions this summer.
Take #trashtag to the next level by signing up for the annual river cleanup  Daily HiveThe City of Calgary is looking for volunteers to take part in its annual pathway and river cleanup, and registration is currently available.

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