How to Organize When You Are Overwhelmed

The New Year is that time of year when everyone begins setting goals.  Some of the most common goals for the New Year include losing weight and getting organized.

As someone who loves to organize this puts a big smile on my face, however, many people don’t feel the same way I do about organizing.  In fact, they find it dreadful.

A common problem people have when it comes to organizing is they are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.  When you feel like this, you have no motivation even to get started. Then, just like that one of your goals has gone down the drain.

You can stick to your goals for the New Year, and you can get organized!  Here’s how you can start:

Start with Highest Traffic Area in your House

The entryway is typically the highest traffic area and is usually the best place to start.  Analyze what you use every single day.  For example, I need my handbag and jacket every day.  Our kids need their jackets every day right now as well since it’s winter.  We have created a hook system on the wall where it’s easy to hang up our daily items.  The kids’ hooks are lower so they can learn to hang up their own jackets.  Wall hooks are a great organizing tool to use because they are very easy to use and don’t take up too much space.

Where to Organize When You Are Overwhelmed

Create a Command Center

After your entryway has been updated, work on creating a command center that fits you and/or your family needs.  Create a central place where you can manage your mail and calendar.  Use a chalkboard or dry erase board for a calendar.  Having a visual calendar will help keep your life organized.  Even if you only use a digital calendar, establish a visual calendar for your household so that it’s always in front of you. Our household uses the following:

  • Calendar Dry Erase Board- We write out our calendar on a dry erase board so we can see every day what is going on for the month.  It’s easy to update when needed and color code it so it’s organized and easy to read.
  • Tack Board-  This is where we keep photos, kids’ art pieces, important coupons that we want to use.
  • Magazine Holder– This is used to store magazines that come in the mail.
  • Hook Holder With Tray-  The tray keeps the dry erase markers stored there, so it’s easy to update the calendar.  The hooks are used for the kids to hang their jackets there.  These hooks are great for key holders as well.  Our kids are too young right now to store them there; we’d never find our keys 😉
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Create a Household Binder

Paper still exists in our lives. Creating a binder will serve as a resourceful resource.  The binder will become your go-to guide.  It will be your Home Bible.  It will keep you organized and allow you to become more productive because all of your important resources will be in one place.  Time will no longer be wasted searching for documents or wondering what the password is to an account. You’ll want to place it where it can be easily accessed every day, like the inside of a kitchen cabinet or on an office desk.  Keep it in the same spot, so you always know where it’s located.

Where to Organize When You Are Overwhelmed

Declutter Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the most commonly used and gathered area of the home.  Having an organized kitchen makes things more enjoyable and perfect when an unexpected guest stops by.  Depending on the size of your kitchen, break it up into sections: Drawers, Cabinets, and Pantry.  

 Start each section by decluttering it first.  If it hasn’t been used in the past year or it’s broken, get rid of it.  Once you have finished decluttering each section, then you’ll want to analyze that space and figure out organizing products to use for that space.  If you are organizing your drawers, make sure to use drawer organizers to help keep items in their appropriate space. 

Acrylic clear drawer organizers work the best because they give you the best-organized look and feel.  They also match well with many different drawers. For the cabinets and pantry use baskets where necessary and label them.  Use the same bins for a consistent look and feel.  Wicker baskets or white bins work very well.  Also, get rid of any type of dishware that doesn’t match your current set-up.

Declutter Your Closet

We wear clothes every day.  You should love every single piece of clothing you own; it should make you feel good.  When you feel good, you put your best foot forward whether that’s in your work or other areas of your life.  Here are some tips to help you with your closet:

  • Get rid of something if you have not worn it in the past year.
  • If it doesn’t make you feel good, get rid of it.
  • If it’s too small or big, get rid of it.
  • Anything that needs repair (button needing to be sewn, etc.) and it’s been longer than six months, get rid of it.
  • Color coordinate hanging items starting with the red and move through the rainbow.
  • Use felt or wood hangers that are all the same to give you a consistent look and feel.

Now you might be overwhelmed by this list and where to start.  Start with the first point and then move to the next one.  Give yourself a week for each point, and in a month, you will have made a good dent in getting your household organized in the New Year! For more organizing resources, you can visit Organized Marie.

Organized Marie

Meet the Author

Marie is an innate organizer and planner. She is a working mom to two with a third on the way and a veteran of Corporate America for ten plus years. Marie is a Fargo native and sports lover.

The Organized Planner was designed for the working mom to help manage and organize personal and work life.

Organized Marie is a place for working moms to create simple, everyday organizing solutions for their home. Every working mom can have an organized, stress-free home.

Want to read more from Marie? Check out these links: The Organized Planner, Organized Marie.



How to Organize When You Are Overwhelmed

4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Whether it’s a whole room in your house or apartment, a carefully proportioned square in an office building, or something in between, odds are you’re spending a substantial portion of the day in your office. Because of that, your office space – like you – has a lot of work to do. It has to be a productive space, but also one that inspires, keeps you healthy, and is generally as pleasant to be in as possible.

There’s no reason to spend 8 hours a day in an unpleasant space. So, if you feel like your workspace isn’t all it should be, read on to find out a few areas you can look to for improvements.

Hang It Up

First things first: No matter how big or small your office is, one thing you’re always in absolute control of is what’s on your desk. And if that’s a bunch of clutter, it could actually be hurting your productivity. Learn more about decluttering your desk here.

One way to fix that is adding storage, of course. But if you’ve got limited space, and no room for shelving? Try hanging things up – keys, headphones, and similar items can go straight onto hooks. Get a hangable container for your pens and other writing utensils. Anything that helps you get the random items off your desk immediately improves your workstation. 

4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Write It Down

In some ways, this is a lifestyle change. I won’t spend a lot of time convincing you; I remember a time in my life when I laughed at people for being so organized to carry a planner. Now? My planner never leaves my side. Let me at least say this: Writing things down gives your important tasks a physical space and keeps them from zooming around in your mind all day.

This is another simple upgrade because it’s hard to start writing things down if you don’t have the materials. And those materials come in many forms: a planner, a calendar, sticky notes – it’s all a matter of what works for you.

Feel like you’re wasting paper? Try a whiteboard for your lists. There’s nothing more satisfying than erasing items one at a time until everything’s cleared.

4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Add Some Life to Your Office Space

This isn’t an organization technique – it’s a way to improve your mental state. You could take this literally, and grab yourself a potted plant. If your office lacks much light, a shady plant is great – alternately, it’s hard to kill a cactus.

Of course, pictures take a lot less effort. You could hang up scenic photos, an image of your favorite painting, or even a movie poster of one of your favorites.

Adding life could mean adding bits of your own life, too. Try dedicating a space in your office to some personal effects. Photos of hobbies, a statuette of a musical instrument you play. For me? It’s a small shelf just above my desk with a handful of my favorite novels that I’ve read dozens of times.

Get creative with your space, and it’ll be a much nicer place to be.

Take A Stand – Or A Better Seat

On a more sobering note, the research is in – and sitting is truly terrible for you. To that end, I can’t stress enough the wisdom of investing in a standing desk – or, for flexibility, an adjustable one.

Still don’t like the idea of standing? You can at least make sitting healthier and more comfortable. If your back is hurting while you work at your desk, it could mean you’re not sitting correctly. Sitting properly depends on a number of factors, and it can at least be partially addressed by getting a better chair. So, make yourself comfortable in your office – it’s good for you.

Is your office space hurting your productivity? Pick at least one of these simple upgrades to implement into your own office!

Meet the Author

This post was written by Issac, a Director at 3 White Hats, a New Zealand based online marketing agency.



4 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Office Space

Six Steps to an Organized Filing System

Keeping your documents organized and easy to find is super important! I mean, some of these are legal documents. That’s not something you want to lose or misplace! If you don’t have a filing system, let’s get you one! Keep reading for the perfect filing system! This article includes affiliate links.

Step One | Find A Filing Container That Works for You

Do you have a lot of filing or just a few papers? Does your filing need to follow you around? Do you want to customize your cabinet? These are some of the questions that you need to be asking when you’re picking a filing system. Here are some of the most common filing system containers, their pros and cons, and some examples as inspiration.

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Filing Cabinet

Filing cabinets are the bulkiest option; however, they hold the most. If you have a lot of documents, then you probably need a filing cabinet. You can find standard-sized cabinets with three or four drawers at any office supply store. Similarly, you can find smaller one and two drawer cabinets. Size and appearance are up to you.

The good thing about Filing Cabinets (next to them being larger in size) is customizability! You can buy these in various colors and styles or you can paint them, and add detailing! Check out these 15 Fabulous Filing Cabinet Makeovers compiled by The Melrose Family!

Filing Box

The next option is the filing box. The filing box is nice because it is more mobile. I feel like I am moving at least once a year, so I have gone for the filing box. I have one that keeps my documents, and a second that stores my spare office supplies.

The filing box option is a little less customizable than the filing cabinet. To make up for customizability, the box comes in a dozen different styles and sizes. Check out some of the adorable and practical options I have found below! I prefer the lidded option, but a desktop option is great if you do not have a lot of filing.

Expanding Filing

The expanding filing sounds kind of silly but is practical for small amounts of paperwork. This option isn’t as sturdy as the other options. But it is perfect for easy-to-grab, often-used documents.

The expanding file can be both mobile and fixed since there are a variety of styles. Some have handles and others snap shut for mobility. Still, others are meant to sit on a desk or shelf. Check out some of the accordion filing systems I have found.

Desk Drawer Filing

This option only works for someone with a desk drawer that would fit some hanging files. The desk drawer is also not mobile and the size depends on your desk. Here are some desks that have filing drawers.

You can also make desks using filing cabinets. Check out this tutorial done by HomeTalk.

Step Two | Organize Your Documents

Organizing your files is the most important part of this whole process and it is the backbone of your entire system. But don’t let that scare you, organizing your files can be made simple with my FREE File Planning Workbook.

The first step here is to make a list of your main categories. These are broader categories that may or may not have subcategories (we’ll get to subcategories in a minute). Once you have made this list, keep a few notes that describe what exactly goes in this main category.

For example, in my main category, Finances, I keep anything related to my money, banking, and loans. Basically, if it involves my money, it’s in Finances.

Once you have your main categories designated then it’s time to figure out your sub-categories. Sub-categories are more specific categories that fall under your main categories. Sometimes you are able to figure out your subcategories by your description (like my Finances example). That isn’t always the case though.

Sometimes it is easiest to figure out your subcategories by looking at all the documents that you plan to put in your main categories. If you see a trend, then it is probably subcategory worthy!

There are cases where a subcategory isn’t necessary. For example, my Taxes file doesn’t need any subcategories because it is already so specific and archive-ready (archiving is Step Four, stay tuned!). Not having subcategories is perfectly okay!

Now that we have all our categories sorted we need to file it! That leads us to step three

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Step Three | Decide How You’d Like to Keep Your Files Organized

You may be thinking, what do you mean decide how to keep my files organized, we already decided our categories didn’t we? Deciding how to keep them organized is another layer and there are a few ways to do this. The first way is to use different colors.

Color Organization

When you use different colors for each main category, it is much easier to navigate your filing at a glance. At-a-glance navigation is so much quicker than staring at your files trying to find something.

Color Coordinated Labels

One way to organize by color is to label your categories in certain colors. This is nice if you already have colored pens or markers to use. If you don’t happen to have colored pens lying around but would like to color coordinate your labels, check out my favorite labeling pens!

Colored File Folders

Another way to organize by color is will colored file folders or hanging files. You are able to assign each of your categories a color based on colored hanging files. Doing this allows for extremely easy to scan files.

A Combination of the Two

You are also able to place only very sensitive file categories in a color such as red, and files that do not get archived (keep reading to learn about archiving files) in another color such as purple or blue. You can then leave the rest of your files in generic hanging files and use color coding on all your labels. This method allows for easy archiving.

Sorting

Deciding the order in which you file your categories really depends on what is most functional for you and your files. Here are three ways to sort your files.

Sort by Topic or Category

Sorting by topic or category is the easiest way to sort your files because you have already organized your files into categories. All the work here is done, just plop your files on in by the categories you’ve already picked alphabetically.

Sort by Relevance*

This is the sorting method I use, I find it most handy when reaching for my documents. When you sort by relevance there are three sorting categories to keep in mind. First, you want to keep your most frequently used categories at the front. This means you refer to them more often than your other categories.

Second, your almost-never-used files go at the back. If you don’t need them very often, you don’t need them blocking the files you do use a lot. These categories might include Memory Items, Misc., and Instruct. Manuals.

And last is everything else gets placed in the middle.

Sort Chronologically

Chronological means that the categories are sorted by most recent at the front and least recent at the back in the order in which they occurred. Timelines are a great example of something chronological. Chronologically is most handy in archived files because these files are kept by year. If your filing categories allow for chronological sorting, then go for it!

Step Four | The Rules of Labeling

One of the most important ways of organizing your files is with labels. There are different labeling products to choose from, here are some of my favorite labels.

When you are writing or typing up your labels, be very specific. The label is only so big and you want your labels to be readable, and being specific makes it easier.

Write one or two-word labels for maximum benefit. Using one or two words allows the label to be kept on one line. This also allows the label to be bigger and more readable. You want your labels to be seen without getting close or squinting, so the bigger you can write them, the better.

Like I mentioned, keep your label on one line. Doing this allows for greater readability. Sticking to the 1-to-2 word rule makes keeping your label on one line really easy.

Sometimes the words being used on your label are too long and you need to use two lines. FALSE. If the word is too long, shorten it. For example, Instruction Manuals is pretty long even though it’s only two words. You can keep this label on one line easily by shortening it to Instruct. Manual. This shortens it just enough to fit on one line!

You might also shorten your label by taking out small words like the, of, etc. or replace small words with symbols (i.e. and becomes ‘&’, inquiries become ‘?’—get creative).

Label in all capital letters. This, again, just makes the label easier to read at a glance because the letters are all the same height.

My last labeling rule is to use good handwriting or type it. The reality of it is, that if you don’t have good handwriting, then your labels won’t be easy to read at a glance. So, if your penmanship isn’t great, try typing out your labels instead to keep them readable. To make typed labels easier, try these label sheets. They fit into your printer like a normal piece of paper and come with a website that provides the Microsoft Word template.

However, if you have good handwriting, then there is no reason you can’t write your labels out.

Step Five | Archives

The archives are everything in your main categories for the previous years. You don’t want all your finances from 2012 mixed in with your finances for 2017, that will just cause chaos. With archived files, you can be assured that each year’s information is all in the same place, allowing you to go back a year or two if needed, but also allowing you to find this year’s information more easily.

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How to Archive

Archiving is super easy. At the end of each year create a subcategory for that year (under the main category: Archives). For example, this subcategory might be 2016. Then you create second level subcategories using the previously determined categories. Are you following me? Perhaps the graphic in my FREE File Planning Workbook can help you to follow along, I’m a visual learner too.

You can choose to keep your subcategories by allowing them to become third level subcategories, or you can choose to remove them all together. This is up to you. I keep my original subcategories, as is depicted on page 10 of the Workbook.

Categories That Don’t Need to Be Archived

I keep a file labeled Information. This file is comprised of mostly handouts and printouts with information that I found helpful or wanted to keep handy. These documents do not need to be archived because they are relevant every year and if they become irrelevant, I probably need to go and find an updated version to replace it.

Another category that might not need to be archived is Instruction Manuals. These are manuals that come with all your appliances, toys, and electronics. These are nice to keep around (assuming you still have that product) in case you need to figure out a setting or learn how the product works. But these, again, are not relevant to only one year. The Manuals are only relevant as long as you have the product, and if you don’t have the product, then trash the manual.

Step Six | The ‘To-Be Filed’ Bin

A To-Be-Filed Bin is a place or container that you keep on your desk or on your filing system. The purpose of the bin is to keep handy documents that you are still using, but that need to be filed when you are done without damaging or losing them. Keeping this bin within reach of your desk or filing system is important to prevent damaged or lost documents. Check out These paper trays.

Read more about desk organization here.

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