Well, congratulations to me: now into my 12th year with Sensible Organizing Strategies! I've loved every bit of it, including what my BFF calls the 'administrivia'. THAT means all the minutia and paperwork involved in not just running a business but handling our every-day obligations to family and friends. So, please let me share ....
My 92-year-old mother is in Assisted Living in western Washington, where my brother, sister and their families handle all Mum's local needs. Being six hours away from that traffic (on a good day!), I handle all the paperwork, phone calling and such. There isn't a day when I go to the Post Office to retrieve our mail that I don't have at least 2-3 pieces of paper for our mother. This, after having as much electronic as I possibly can!
So, as paper goes, the file where I keep all her documentation was exploding at the seams. Oh, you can relate?! Of course! What do we do when that happens? You who have been listening all these years know ... you must purge and shred or recycle, right?
1. But where to start? Right again, you know: doesn't matter - just pick something and get going on your project! Yesterday I did just that: after deciding that all the categories were still necessary and pertinent, I went through that traveling file-box and pulled out everything from 2015 - 2018.
2. You must keep macro-divisions, not tiny sections for single sheets of paper. You'll never get a handle on things of you do that! This project for my mum's paperwork was so fun (!), that, in needing room to file what I had removed but was keeping, I went through my mother-in-law's retained documents, too, which were all handled by my darling Jim. He wouldn't listen to 'the pro,' so I found numerous file dividers with only one piece of paper in them! Really?? No!
3. Take a look at what you truly need to keep for future reference and plan to shred or recycle the rest. Remember, too: "What's the worst that would happen if I got rid of this piece of paper?" Generally - nada! You can call the vendor, the bank, the doctor, get any recorded document, even the IRS! It may cost a bit IF that EVER comes up, but it generally won't.
4. Guess how many paperclips, binder clips and file folders I now have to use elsewhere? Bonus! That note to 'buy more paperclips' is now in the garbage!
5. This is also a great time to re-assess the entire process: have I 'macro'd' too much? Are there folders that I haven't used in years (get rid of them!)? Is the entire system working well? If not, what little thing needs to change? In working with folks and their paperwork over the years, I've found that the tiniest thing, like which side labels are on, their color, staggered or not, might be the entire issue as to why a file system is not working. Again, what IS the reason for filing? Future retrieval, NOT storage, so your plan needs to work for YOU!
6. A side note on shredding: I personally believe that one of the biggest hold-ups for folks in cleaning up their paper is the personal shredder. It only works for 6-8 pages at a time so you just 'save it up to do on commercials' and that never happens! I have discovered that my time is SO much more valuable than that, so I bundle all my shredding up and take it to my nearest office supply store or such and for about $1 a pound? GONE, and safely! That's where all this 'mother' shredding is going tomorrow.
7. So, done and done! However, as is the norm in any organizing project, one thing spawns another, right? In putting away both our mother's extraneous paperwork files, I noted that our warranty files in the garage (where I keep ALL this sort of thing that doesn't need to take up valuable real estate in the house) were getting full, so cleaned those up, removing info from items we no longer have or whose warranties have expired, etc. Yahoo!
What an awesome feeling to have everything put away, in a logical manner, and have room to put current documents safely and properly away, where they belong, for safekeeping and confidentiality! Ahhhh..... This process is handled similarly for all things that come to you electronically, but let's tackle that next month, OK?
Now, haven't I earned a reward for all this? Of course! So, lunch and then a Netflix movie, to wile away the afternoon, enjoying the beautiful scenery in our yard, robins and snow everywhere!
Here's to you and your tax-season and year-end filing clean-up project - I KNOW you can do it!
This great old cartoon tells you where I'm going with this month's newsletter, and haven't we all been here?! Yep - this is exactly what I teach you all, here and as clients, but I also have a bit of 'me, too' about all this. My coaching tells you that you have an ever-changing, every-evolving persona, and we need to be ready for that and embrace these changes. That includes adjusting your space and everything in it to suit The New You!
One of the biggest changes for me was the realization, many years ago now, that I was no longer going to reside in the Corporate World. I gladly donated/sold my beautiful suits, got rid of the high heels and nylons and all the paraphernalia that goes along with that. One last thing, though, took me a long time to finally ditch: my brass name plate! Can you just imagine how silly that is? Sheesh ....
It was, truly, acknowledging that part of my life was over and done with, and I most certainly didn't need it on my desk as a solo-preneur! Can't remember what I did with it - it's probably in a landfill somewhere (my bad) - but I remember the relief in acknowledging that a 'new me' was now ready to blossom and grow. Hooray!
So, one more pile to deal with now, related to the above cartoon: years ago, I purchased and enrolled in a productivity certification system that seemed like it might take my business to 'the next level.' Not only did I dole out over a $1000 for the program, related books and materials, but I convinced a colleague to do the same! And, then? The team involved decided to retire and all was for naught! UGH!
While we might have been allowed to profer some of the materials and coaching within specific parameters, just the thought of presenting any bit of it out of those parameters was legally daunting. I did not need a lawsuit over something that like! So, for years the pile has sat in my bookshelf, taking up needed space!
OK, heed my lesson here: GET RID of stuff that causes you any sense of negativity or angst! Meet the New You with excitement and have the space allowed to do just that! I'm doing that today, before I even get showered and into my day, and then can rearrange the books I do refer to, read and reread in the space I've so needed, instead of being on top of other books!
WOW! Do I feel better? Do I feel powerful? Do I feel ready to meet new challenges and adventures, instead of grousing on 'what might have been'? You bet! Regrets? Not a one!
Here's to your success in jumping in and finding something that's been bugging you! Onward toward positivity in change and owning your present, instead of being bogged down by your past!!! Yahoo!!!
While a friend was wishing me a Happy Birthday last month (yep - 29 again!), he shared a news clip from CBS Sunday Morning. I want to forego my regular sharings this month so that your time can be spent on this great review of all-things-organized-and-how-to! It's about 7 1/2 minutes, so I'll leave you to it! Any thoughts or comments? Be sure to share with me: I love that!
Wishing you a wonderful Mother's Day; spring picnic weekend; success in getting a handle on the last of your yard clean-up (sure....)!
The bulbs are popping up everywhere .... leaves are emerging from all the trees ... pretty soon you won't want to be inside for months! So ....
'Git 'er done!' Go through that dresser drawer right now!
So, it's been a while since my last missive, hasn't it? With days on end of 100+ degrees, I've just been stymied trying to get much done - outside or inside. Are you feeling the same way?
Yes, this weather and all the fun that summer traditionally bring have brought full-force the recognition of situational disorganization. This, as opposed to chronic disorganization, when no matter what, you just can't seem to get a thing done, year after year after year. Heat or cold; life's events - happy or sad; looking for permanent vs. temporary fixes - situational disorganization comes and goes. I've been facing that in droves of late!
Up at the crack of dawn just to get walks in or some gardening done before we get to 90 degrees, and working long into the evenings, with a lot of 'dead time' in the middle of the day, right? The desire to just go-go-go has sort of gone recently, but I know to be kind to myself and am dealing with any guilt by reminding myself to just be present, be mindful, be grateful. Sound a bit woo-woo to you? Don't worry - your get-up-and-go will return as we put away the iced teas and jump into fall, which is just around the corner.
In the meantime, please remember that there is no such thing as perfection, so aim for good enough to get the most mundane tasks done. I'm talking about the laundry, ironing (what's that, millenials might ask?), housekeeping, shopping and cooking - keep it easy and just 'git 'er done! Salads have been our main fare lately and that's not only healthy but less expensive than many food options, so all's well. Looking for the 'easy way out' always works, and fits right into the 'good enough' philosophy. That said, remember that 'good enough' isn't to be equated with being sloppy or slovenly - just cut yourself a break on any and all 'rules' you may have been raised with or concocted over the years. Be easy on yourself - be easy on yourself - I can't repeat that enough!
Yoga and Pilates have been our exercise recently; lawn care is hired out; reading has taken on new importance; gardening is just what must be done - watering and deadheading, early in the day. Guess what? There's nothing wrong with wanting to slow down and move more slowly through these heated days. Watching our cats is always a good lesson - running around early and late in the day and that's it for any major progress. Nothing wrong with this, right?
So, there! Have I made you feel less guilty about your lack of progress on that To-Do List? Aim for 2-3 items per week, maybe, instead of 2-3 per day - the Completion Police are on vacation, too! Handle The Musts and then enjoy the rest of your day - speedy times are coming when vacations are over and the kids head back to school.
Recognize this bit of wisdom from Oprah: "The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." ENJOY, and we can all get busy next month!
Here's to seeing the balance in all and taking in each moment!
Providing Peace and Harmony for your Home or Office. Tips on getting organized and staying organized. Cleaning up the clutter in your home or office.