Organize Your Desk and Office

Many readers of the Organizing Blog are now gathering up all of their W-2s, receipts and bank statements in order to file their income taxes. And many are likely finding that their offices and desks leave a lot to be desired when it comes to #organization.

If you’re like most people (busy), chances are that you’ll have to shuffle multiple stacks of papers or go on a last-minute hunt for an essential document when any deadline approaches. And even if you’ve gone all-digital, those pesky stacks of papers somehow still form on top of your desk.

Simply being able to locate what you need when you need it can pay for itself quickly in terms of time and perhaps tax savings, too. That’s why it’s time you organized your desk and office or home office for maximum productivity.

The first step in any #organization push is a good #decluttering. Purge the office of any inactive items, Lifehack says: “Declutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?”

Once the clutter is gone or at least diminished, establish work zones and stock them with the appropriate equipment. Label drawers and file all inactive folders out of sight. Create a temporary folder for work(s) in progress.

In the digital era, good filing extends to devices, too. Is your desktop cluttered with files you didn’t put away? Do you have hundreds of old or unresolved emails? Use 15 minutes of downtime every day to sort those into their proper places on your hard drive.

Stuff keeps coming in, of course, and if you don’t address it immediately, you can easily lose track of whatever it is. To handle this, Inc. recommends the classic two-tray system — an “In” or “New” box for new tasks, and an “Out” or “Old” box for anything requiring further action.

Inc. also says to get a bigger trashcan. “Because a large trashcan is more visible, you tend to think of it more often. When unnecessary paper comes into your workspace, you’re more likely to place it in the [larger] trashcan than to stack it in a disheveled paper tower of “No clue what to do with it.”

At tax time or any time, you can benefit by streamlining your workspace. Get your office organized now, and you’ll be better prepared for every project, presentation or accountant — and life in general.

Keep Your Second New Year’s Resolution

According to Google data, “Get Healthy” is the No. 1 New Year’s resolution in the United States this season, with 62.7 million searches through the first of the year, a 13.8 percent increase over last year. “Get Organized” came in second, however, with 33.2 million searches; if that’s one of your goals, the information that shares this month will help you cut the clutter while funding valuable veteran’s programs.

It’s time to transition—goodbye, summer and hello, fall!

It seems like we were just having our garage sales and greeting our kids as they got off the bus, ready for summer. While some of us are scrambling to get in that last minute vacation, many children only have a few days left before a new school year is underway! Translation—fall is upon us.

If you checked out our back-to-school tips, you’ll remember that we talked about the clothes shopping excursions that typically accompany a new school year. Sure your children (and yourself!) may only have gotten a few new items for their wardrobes, but you’d be surprised by just how much space a couple pairs of jeans, some sweaters, and new coats will take up in your closet. Not to mention, you have summer clothes you still need to keep out—where do you put it all?

Our friends over at The Huffington Post have some great tips for helping make that summer-to-fall closet transition a little easier. Here are their suggestions:

1.)    Go through your summer clothes. Now that the season is (almost) over, try on everything. If you don’t wear it or it doesn’t fit anymore, put it in a plastic bag for donation. Then go to our website, fill out a donation pickup request form, and we’ll pick the items up for you!

2.)    Don’t pack it all away yet. The weather is still warm for the rest of August and most of September, so only pack up a few items. Keep any pieces that can be worn in the fall easily accessible in your closet.

3.)    Evaluate old fall clothes. Just like your old summer clothes, try on these fall items. If they are too big or no longer fit your style, donate them to us! We’ll be happy to help those pants and sweaters find a home in a new closet.

4.)    “Hang fall clothes, organizing by type.” By keeping flannel shirts separate from the big sweaters and jackets, you’ll be better able to see smaller items. It also lets you see all of the pieces you own, to keep you from buying things you don’t need!

Now that you have the knowledge you need, start getting your closets prepared for fall today!

All Aboard the Vacation Express!

Now that you’ve spring/summer cleaned, you’ve had your garage sale, and you’ve sorted through your kids’ used and unused school supplies, you deserve to relax. More specifically, you need a relaxing summer vacation. With many summer school classes, camps, and activities winding down in mid-July and early-August, this is the perfect time to pack up the family and head out for an adventure.

While you’re packing everyone’s suitcases, planning the best route to get to your destination, and figuring out who to visit, you may become stressed out. You may ask yourself, “Isn’t this vacation supposed to be relaxing?”

Yes, it is, and we’re here to help!

Helping kids pack is stressful in and of itself. Many times to kids, the “essentials” rarely include toothbrushes, underwear, extra shorts, and swimsuits. To make this process smoother, allow them to pack their own bags, but have a checklist to assist them in packing. This will give them guidance, while giving you the freedom to finish up tasks at work or around the house before leaving on vacation.

Another reason you may have a difficult time packing is because you have uncovered even more items that missed the garage sale. Rather than leaving these belongings to collect dust (and risk forgetting them again!) for another year, put them in a donation bag or box. Then, give a call, or go online to schedule a pickup time, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Allow to make planning your vacation a more relaxing experience!

Let Your Garage Protect Your Car—Not all of Your Stuff!

You may have already done your spring cleaning and had your garage sale, but often times there is one spot people forget to clean: the garage. This seems like an obvious place to clean and organize, but for many people, the garage is a place where things get stored when there’s no other place to put them.

This means that items actually meant to be in the garage—cars, yard equipment and power tools—become displaced because there isn’t room for them. Does this sound like your garage? Have no fear! We’ve done some research on the best way to tackle a garage that is overrun with clutter. Thanks to our friends at This Old House, we’ve been able to put together some helpful ideas for taming your garage.

  1. Pick a day to clean your garage. Circle it on your calendar, put it in your smartphone, or write it on a sticky note. Setting a specific date will ensure that you will actually clean your garage and not put it off.
  2. Go through everything. No box, crate, or storage shelf is off-limits. You never know what you’ve put in your garage. Think of all the hidden and forgotten treasures you can find!
  3. Put your findings into four piles: “keep, donate, sell or toss.” This will help you stay organized, and it will allow you to easily see what you have. Some items may be damaged beyond repair, so it’s best to ditch them. Some gently used items, though, would be great for donating!
  4. Place your donation pile in a box or bag. Then, give a call, or fill out a donation pickup form online. We’ll come to pick up your donation, and we’ll make sure your items go to a loving home. The best part is that your donations help fund programs for our veterans—your contributions won’t go unnoticed!

These are just a few ideas for cleaning out your garage. What are you waiting for? Go uncover your buried treasure now!