10 Tools to Get Yourself Organized Now
If there’s one thing I miss about my home in California, it’s the multitude of closets, shelves, nooks and crannies. Everything had a place. Aside from the mess of kids toys, I never felt like my life was filled with clutter. Yes, we had lots of stuff, but it was neatly tucked away on shelves or organized in drawers.
If you looked at my desk now, you would wonder how I manage to find anything or get anything accomplished. It’s pretty simple, I’m a stacker. No, not slacker. Stacker. Everything is in a pile somewhere. It looks like a mess, but I know what is in which pile. Nobody else can make sense of it except me. It’s not a good system, but when you don’t have a good system of organization and a serious lack of storage space, you find ways to make due.
In conjunction with Staples, we decided it is time to unpile, unstack and unclutter. As an accountant, I like to keep things. Probably more than I really need to, but that’s neither here nor there. The key is that what I DO keep, I need to get organized and maintain some organization. Here are 10 tools to help in the process.
Not everything needs to be kept. Actually, quite a lot can be tossed. However, anything that contains pertinent, personal information should be shredded. If you’re unsure whether it should be securely disposed of or not, tear it apart. As an example, whenever we receive something in the mail, we remove the address portion of the envelope or packing slip, send it through the paper shredder then toss the rest in the recycle bin. We also go through our files every once in a while and shred things (we have previously decided to hang onto) that now aren’t worth keeping.
We’re living in a digital age. There is a lot of paperwork that can be converted to digital format to save space while allowing for easy future access to the information. If you haven’t already started receiving bills and investment paperwork in digital form, it’s worth considering. Saves space, is easy to organize and (as a bonus) is better for the environment. A quick search will turn up a number of fancy document scanners on the market. I’m going to tell you why my favorite is an HP Envy All-in-One printer. It is a multi-purpose addition to your home workspace. Not only is it a printer, it also doubles as a scanner. As a bonus, you can print the latest crossword puzzles, coloring pages or even photos straight from your smart phone. The primary purpose of the HP Envy 5530 is as a printer. The fact it scans also is icing on the cake.
External Hard Drive
If you start going paperless and plan to utilize digital storage options, you’ll want to have a backup plan. Literally. In addition to the copy on your computer, save a backup copy on an external or portable hard drive. If you prefer to keep your computer’s hard drive from getting too bogged down, save the original to an external hard drive with a second portable hard drive used as a backup. They aren’t very expensive and the value of having your data backed up is priceless.
Let’s face it. Some things have to be kept in their original paper form. We currently maintain original invoices/bills, warranty information, investment paperwork, medical records and tax documents.Thank goodness for file cabinets to keep it all neat, orderly and easy to find.
Heavy Duty Shelving
When we moved into this house, industrial shelves were on the top of our priority list. It was one of the best things we purchased for getting organized. Quality shelving can hold off-season decorations, canned goods, keepsakes, games along with cookware, bakeware and small kitchen appliances that aren’t used very often.
Shelves stay organized better when items are individually separated. A child’s keepsakes, family photos and equipment owner’s manuals can each have their own bin. It makes for easy access when you’re looking for something in particular. Smaller plastic bins or even decorative bins are perfect for organizing linen closets and first aid area. Someone get a cut? Grab the bin that contains the antibiotics, peroxide, bandages, scissors, gauze pads and tape.
You don’t have to go overboard like Sheldon and label the label printer, but there’s definitely benefit to identifying other things. Those storage bins on the shelves and in the cabinets are easier to grab when you know what is in each. Use the label printer to tag anything that has a specific place, including files, file drawers and shelves. One of my favorite things to have labeled would be cords and cabling. From the cords running behind the desk to the random charging cables in the drawer, if they are labeled there is no question as to what they are for.
If you’re going to save something, make sure it is being stored in a way that will keep it together in the long run. In other words, multi-paged documents should be stapled together. Preserving a receipt for a high value purchase? Staple it to the warranty paperwork or owner’s manual. Prefer to store the actual receipts instead of converting them to digital? Want to guess what I’m going to say? That’s right… staple it to the credit card statement. A stapler is your friend.
Random clippings, articles and recipes clipped from a magazine don’t need to be stray. Grab a 3-hole punch, a piece of paper and some tape. Organize the items in a way that makes sense then put them into the binder. As an example, if you’re looking to get in shape, cut articles, exercises and recipes from health and fitness magazines then compile them in a binder.
Document what your processes are, what you’re keeping where and why. If someone needs to take care of things during a time of need, having things organized for them to find (and complete properly) can make a big difference. A journal can include important information about where specific documents are stored as well as emergency contact information. We maintain an emergency list that includes phone numbers including our cell phone numbers, doctor and dentist, poison control, non-emergency police number along with pertinent information regarding the kids. This includes height and weight, allergies and medications.
Whether you incorporate only a few of these 10 tools to get organized or all, anything you do to organize your physical world will help your mental world stay organized as well.
What is your organizational weak point?
33 thoughts on “10 Tools to Get Yourself Organized Now”
These are some great tips for me right now–I’m 40 weeks pregnant and “nesting.”
i like the idea of using a binder to hold all the articles that I rip out of magazines.
Need a stapler :/
I have a paper shredder but I hardly ever use it. I need to utilize it more to get myself organized.
I have a document scanner and we started scanning more and more things. Sure makes things easier to find and eliminates a bunch of paper clutter!
I need more storage bins for our albums and other docs. These are great tips!
I definitely need a heavy duty shredder–I also need to get reliable back up systems in place. Stapler and binders and file cabinet I have!
I really need to get organized! I think going digital is a great idea. I can certainly use it for all my receipts!
I recently moved to a new home where I actually have an office and I’ve put organization at the top of my to do list. I’ve got everything on your list except for a shreader and a label maker. I’ll have to add those soon!
You forgot to add miracle to this list! I have all these things and still have a hard time keeping everything in order! I do love Staples though!
These are all excellent tools to help folks get organized. We love storage bins in my household because you can use them in so many different ways… I’m a fan!
We have a paper shredder and a few external hard drives. Another good item to have is a fireproof file box.
Great tips! My weak point also has to do with lack of space… We need more storage!
I feel rather confident in myself right now- I have everything on your list!
Label makers are my organizational bff! I love how they help keep everything in its place!
These are great tools!! I love shelving its a great way to see everything that you have on hand.
I love these tips especially because I just went through my home and went on an organizing spree! Haha
I like the idea of a label maker. It would make my teaching binder look a lot more professional with tabs!
These are all great ideas to get organized. I would like a document scanner myself. I think it would help me a lot.
I have a small home office area and could really use a few of these necessities! A filing cabinet would be amazing.
I agree with all of you tips. I keep a binder for certain papers that I need from time to time and I also keep a shredder as soon as I finish with a document I shred it right away.
Sometimes even the most basic tools (like a stapler) make a huge difference in how organized you are. I need to buy a document scanner to get rid of all the paper and business cards!
I have *most* of these things so I guess I’m not doing too bad! haha. I could definitely use a nice filing cabinet!
These are all great ways to get and stayed organized! I need a new shredder badly!
I have been wanting a paper shredder forever but my husband is super picky about shredders and the kind we want seems to be hard to find. Your idea provides a solution however about cutting the address portion off! Love it! I also am in desperate need of a filing cabinet too! You made a lot of excellent suggestions because like you, I too am a stacker!
Our external hard drive broke… well we can’t get the stuff of it! But they definitely are useful still!
I love your Binder idea! My kids call me a ‘paper collector’ so I’m going to do the Binder idea ASAP!
My organization weak point is that I don’t have any organization skills at all!! I am highly unorganized and ADHD. These suggestions will help me!!
i am disabled and in the bed almost all the time.. that would be wonderful to have the HP envy all in one printer.. i know my daughter has a printer/fax machine that she can do from her phone.. that wold be perfect for me.. now if i can figure out how to pay for it i would be in great shape!! i would really love to have a copier that i know that would be.. my husband has receipts that we have to keep for income tax.. some by the time the end of the year is here you cant even see them.. this would be perfect for that!!! thank you for helping us…i appreciate it and you have us motivated now..
I agree with and try to utilize most everything on this list! I have always been a “collector” (hate the term pack rat!), but as I get older (and more buried in paperwork), I am learning to let things go… In fact, this weekend (Labor Day – how appropo!) I am trying to clear out some clutter (and non-clutter items that I just don’t use/need!), and organize what isn’t… This list gave me a boost to reinforce what I need to do!!
I think a document scanner and external hard drive are two great ways to organize. This gets rid of the paper clutter and makes it easy to back up!
I am a teacher and I use almost every one of these items to stay organized in the classroom!! I keep all of my master copies in a binder instead of filing them. They are much easier for me to find that way!