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GettingOrganized MAGAZINE


tips for a

perfectly organized




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Welcome to Getting Organized Magazine! Organized eak peek at Getting sn e siv clu ex an to d You’re invite to helping you solve tion solely dedicated ca bli pu ly on e th , Magazine t a small hint is digital preview is jus Th s. lem ob pr ing all your organiz 2012 when the first come starting January to s ing th t ea gr ny of the ma edition is printed. strating and that’s n be difficult and fru ca ed niz ga or ng tti We know ge ke it fun, easy and as ng Organized—to ma tti Ge g hin nc lau ’re why we me to the endless the closet in your ho om Fr u. yo r fo ble how-to as possi have e apps available, we test organizing mobil ea gr e th to rk wo at emails s on how to the latest products, tip of s iew ev pr t ge l u’l it covered. Yo disorder s like attention deficit ue iss on e vic ad es, pil conquer your paper re. (ADD) and much mo

Stacey Anderson is a Professional Organizer, speaker, author and publisher of Getting Organized Magazine.

Organized sampling, but Getting nly l-o ita dig a is ek pe Our sneak rm starting January in print and digital fo le ab ail av be ll wi ine Magaz helpful videos, to find ed niz ga or ng tti ge w. 2012. Visit ww experts and more. Getting Organized a moment to preview ing tak r fo u yo k an Th topics you would ack and ideas for any db fee ur yo me lco we Magazine. I future issues. like to see covered in Magazine Getting Organized

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GettingOrganized | Fall 2011


Getting Organized Magazine 15600 NE 8th St. Suite B1 #602 Bellevue, WA 98008 (360) 499-6260


Publisher Stacey Anderson

Board of Advisors Stephanie LH Calahan Debbie Rosemont


Lisa Quinn Whitney Keyes

The Perfectly Organized Life

page 4

Expert Contributors

Stephanie LH Calahan Calahan Solutions, Inc. Shana Cassidy Chaos Defeated

Paper Problems page 8

Sandee Fahlen Priorities First

Quick Tips

Frady Moskowitz Uncluttered Domain Inc. Helen Preston Rise & Organize, LLC Debbie Rosemont Simply Placed Harold Taylor Taylor In Time Hazel Thornton Organized for Life Maria White Enuff With the Stuff

page 10

Kids’ Art What’s New page 6 Books Challenge

page 12

page 14

page 15

Fall 2011 | GettingOrganized







hen I talk about getting organized, I like to use the example of a grocery store. No matter which store you walk into across the country, they make it very easy to find things. How? Signs. Above every aisle is a sign that tells you exactly what is in that aisle. For instance, the cookie aisle. And when you get to the cookie aisle what do you find? Cookies! They go even a step further and label each shelf to help you find the specific type of cookie you are looking for: vanilla, chocolate, filled, etc. If there is a label on the shelf and no product you know exactly what is missing. How does this compare to other shopping experiences such as a big box store? Ever try to find what you are looking for there? Any signs to help you? They actually make it a part of their marketing strategy to move things around to keep you moving throughout the store. Now which world do you want to live in? The time efficient, well-organized, labeled grocery store? Or, the ever changing, time-wasting, confusing world that is the big box store where you can’t find anything?

Here are the 10 Secrets to Getting and Staying Organized

1. Have a home for everything. An item should live in one place and one place only. That place should be labeled and shared with everyone who uses the space. Nothing else should accidentally land in that spoteven if it is empty. 2. Put things back. Create the habit- every single time you use something, put it back. It may only take a second or it could take several minutes, but put it back. Create the habit of cleaning up after yourself. It takes 28 days to create a habit so this may take some work on your part, but it will be worth it, I promise! 3. Set Limits. One in… one out. Yes ladies that means when you buy that fifth pair of black sandals, 4

GettingOrganized | Fall 2011

one previously purchased pair must go. Determine what is reasonable for the space and what you can live with. Do you ever wonder how people wind up on the show “Hoarders”? Well, keep bringing things into your home without taking anything out and I can get you booked no problem. Reason states, that if something comes into the home, something must go out. 4. Contain items. Yes there is a store dedicated just to containers! There is a reason for that. Take everything in your junk drawer and put it all in containers. It may not be more organized, but it is taking up less space and is easy to find. Containers are very important in the organizing process. 5. Small steps = large gains. When organizing, the mistake most people make is to block out a huge portion of time or select an entire room to work on. Smaller steps will gain you larger results. There are two great ways to decide what to organize. The first, is to time

By Stacey Anderson

10 SIMPLE STEPS FOR GETTING (AND KEEPING) YOUR HOUSE ORGANIZED yourself. Set the timer for 30 minutes and work as hard as you can. When the buzzer goes off, you are done. Just walk away. No, not everything will be done but you will have started. The second is to choose one small section. Perhaps one drawer or one cabinet or just 10 file folders. Again when you complete that area, walk away. Completing these smaller tasks on a regular basis will be easier, more fun and will create greater success than trying to tackle a full garage in a weekend. 6. Keep one small spot organized at all times. Success is often hard to come by in organizing. Pick one spot that you will keep organized. For me it is the kitchen sink. I hate to do dishes, but when the sink is full and I walk by, I feel depressed and miserable. I made it a point to do the dishes more often and guess what? When I walk by the empty sink I am in a much better mood! It can be anything, your nightstand, your desktop, your car- whatever you want. Just spend the next few weeks keeping it clean and organized. You will be amazed at what that success will bring. 7. Do it now. When has later ever come? And yet we all say we will do it “later”. No- do it now. Not in five minutes not in a day- NOW! Put that item away, read and respond to that email, file that paper. Do it now. If there is only one tip you remember let it be this one.

8. Follow through completely every time. Do you ever get close to the end of an organizing project and can’t figure out what to do with those last few items? So you leave it and move to the next project? And then what are you left with? Several, miserable, nearly done miscellaneous projects that you dread. When do you think you will do those? Never. As hard as it can be, finish the organizing project completely every time. This will not only give you a sense of accomplishment but you won’t have projects hanging over you and stressing you out. 9. Reward yourself. How many times have you worked and worked on an organizing project only to be tired, defeated and frustrated. Now, how badly did you want to do that again? Organizing is tough enough, but if it is a miserable experience you won’t want to do it again- ever! After working on a task, take the time to reward yourself. Call a friend, eat that cake, read a book, whatever makes you happy. If you have a positive experience you are more likely to do it in the future. 10. Make adjustments. Getting organized is a lifelong project even for someone like me who does it for a living. Things will constantly be coming in and need a place to go. You can’t organize an area once and think it will stay that way for life. You will need to make adjustments. Making adjustments does not mean that you did it wrong, it means you need to adjust. Fall 2011 | GettingOrganized



Taming the

Now N ow that the kids are back in school, are you overwhelmed with art projects and school work? No problem! Here are some great solutions for keeping and displaying your child’s Picasso-like pieces.

Laminate them and make them into placemats.

Scan your children’s artwork and make them into greeting cards. The kids and the recipients will love it!

Purchase fun Art Clips like the ones from Land of Nod and hang the art in a special place. Work of Art Clips $14.95

Take pictures of the important pieces, and send them to an online retailer like Snapfish ( They can make a hard-covered book with your pictures in it. Having their artwork “published” can make children feel very special.


GettingOrganized | Fall 2011

This children’s art frame is a delightful way to add personality to your home or office, while showcasing the budding talent of your favorite artist. This unique artwork frame displays one “masterpiece” at a time, but stores up to 50 more behind it for later display. Dynamic Artwork Frame $24.99-$34.99

Store their artwork and school projects in a fun folder like this one from Leaps and Bounds. Kids can learn to pick their own projects to keep and help organize them by putting them away. My Art Kids Portfolio $17.95

These Polaroid-style frame wall decals are great because they don’t require a hammer and nail. They are reusable peel-and-stick wall decals that allow you to pick and choose where you hang this week’s masterpiece. Frames Wall Decals $18.00

Fall 2011 | GettingOrganized


Eliminating the

By Stephanie Calahan




our desktop and frankly any other horizontal surface are the hardest places to keep clear. Bills to pay, to-do lists, event invites, magazines you have been meaning to read, orders you need to fill, and the list goes on and on.

Often, we keep things “out” - either spread around or stacked - on our desk and other surfaces because we don’t want to forget to do something that we have deemed important or don’t want to forget. Today I’ll share 3 tricks that have worked for me and my clients.


h i n k V ER B.

Rat her t han t hink ing of your papers in terms of a topic or a list of t hings t hat you need to do, t hink in terms of “next act ion.” You may have many t hings t hat ult imately need to happen wit h a part icular piece of paper, but by only t hink ing of t he next act ion, you can eliminate over whelm and process and eliminate your paper faster. ( If t here is no act ion necessar y, sk ip to trick #3)

Paper Pile Elimination Trick No. 1

Ask “What is the Next Action?”

Once you have determined the next action, either write it directly on the paper, or attach a sticky note to the page with the next action you need to take. If you know the information, also write down how and when you will best perform that action. By writing down the action you need to take, you will save yourself loads of time later when you pick up the paper again! Why rethink about an action over and over when you can decide once and move on? Example: I was work ing wit h a client t he ot her day and we were going t hrough his paper work. He picked up a piece of paper t hat contained a name and phone number of a contact. He told me t hat his next act ion was to make a phone call to t hat person for a project t hey were work ing on toget her. I t hen asked him if he had ever y t hing he needed to make t he call successf ul. No. He didn’t. He had to do some quick research f irst. So, t he next act ion was not t he phone call, it was t he research. 8

GettingOrganized | Fall 2011


nce you know the next action needed, sort / organize by VERB. When you have action items, it is OK to mix various project or topics as long as they are organized by the type of action you need to take.

Paper Pile Elimination Trick No. 2

Create an Action System

Create an Action System! Action Systems come in a number of different forms. One way is to label file folders with each Verb and store your papers in those file folders on your desk in a vertical file holder (the graduated kind where you can see all of the file tabs is best) or you could use the Pendaflex PileSmart Organizer. This way, the items are stored in an orderly fashion until you make time to take action. You might have something like this: • Call • Write • Review/Decide • Pay For a detailed look at how that might work for you, visit www. for the video, "Creating an Action Filing System for the Way You Work." The Action System is great to keep things looking neat, but you must actually open the folders and take action to get the full benefit! By taking action by verb or type of action, you will eliminate multi-tasking, save time and increase concentration. If possible, it is best to empty each folder in one sitting. Once you have completed the action, ask “What is the next action?” and file accordingly. Example: The paper my client had identified with the contact and phone number originally went into a “Research” folder.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Once he had completed the research, he added that information to the paper and moved the page from “Research” to the “Call” folder. When the call was complete, he would either toss the paper, or file it into permanent reference or assign it a new action based on the results of the call.


ometimes we keep papers on our desk because there is information that we want easily accessible but there really isn’t an action needed. Start by making sure that the information really is needed for quick reference. If you don’t need the information on at least a weekly basis, file it away in your permanent reference files.

Paper Pile Elimination Trick No. 3

Create a Quick Reference

The fastest way to create a quick reference system is to get a 1 - 1 1/2 inch binder and a numbered tab system. Either 3-hole punch each page or put them in sheet protectors. Each topic gets its own number. At the front of the binder, have an index to tell you what each number represents. You might have something like this: 1. Emergency Contacts 2. Service Providers 3. Passwords 4. Product Codes and so on. Once you have your Action System and Quick Reference system in place, it is a matter of consistently asking yourself “what is the next action” and then processing the paper. These small decisions will help you keep the paper piles under control and eliminate avalanche concerns. Before you know it, you will be getting things done rather than pushing papers around your desk!

THE IMPORTANCE OF WRITING THINGS DOWN Writing things down insures that they are not forgotten. Memory capabilities are usually overestimated. Trying to keep track of things mentally makes it more difficult to focus on the task at hand. Writing things down relieves anxiety & avoids the nagging fear of letting something slip through the cracks. Writing things down encourages us to be proactive. Seeing things in writing forces us to plan ahead. Writing everything down allows us to prioritize our work and allocate appropriate time for each task.

By Harold Taylor

Fall 2011 | GettingOrganized


Quick Tips

The amount of hours of unfinished work on the average employee’s desk at any one time.

7 QUICK TIPS TO SAVE YOUR DESK – AND MAYBE YOUR JOB For most of us, our desk is where we spend the majority of our day. And because of that, it is important to make sure that your desk is an efficient, productive place to spend your time. Here are seven quick tips to help make that possible. 1.

2. 3.


Keep knickknacks and non-essential work items to a minimum – your desk is a place to work, not to store things. Take the time to tame electrical cords, or better yet go wireless for your accessories so there is no cord clutter. Don’t hoard office supplies. You don’t really need ten rolls of tape, three staplers and an entire carton of paperclips.

GettingOrganized | Fall 2011





To make even more space on your desktop, consider using wall space for storage. Perhaps mounting shelves or a using a tall bookcase. Desk space is precious, if you have a computer monitor on your desk raise it up off the desk using a shelf or monitor mount arm. Make sure to have a recycling bin and a shredder near your desk for immediate disposal of papers you no longer need. Rather than mountains of papers piled everywhere, use an upright desktop sorter to organize your paperwork.


EXCESS EXCESS BLOCKING BLOCKING YOUR YOUR CAREER CAREER LADDER? LADDER? Do you have piles of paper, folders, tchotchkes, and other materials covering your desk? A new CareerBuilder study shows hoarding can result in a negative impact on your career.




y are of employers say the eone som te mo pro to ly like less zed ani org dis a who has or messy work space

of workers say they tend to be hoarders


Nearly two-in-five employers say piles of paper covering a desk negatively impacted their perception of that person 27% of employers feel they are disorganized 17% of employers sense they are just messy

of workers say they have paper files from more than a year ago


of worke files datin rs have g back m ore than 10 y ears

of workers say that between 50-100% of their desk is covered with work and other materials

38% 16%

While chaos on your desk space can indicate a busy workload, it can also imply a lack of organization. The good news is that workers can fix this problem quickly and reverse any negative perceptions of their performance.�


of worke rs have fi les that are five y ears or o lder

of workers said 75% or more of their desk is covered



Schedule time with the office recycle bin.


Work on one project at a time.


Don’t be a digital hoarder.

Rosemary Haefner

VP Human Resources at CareerBuilder

Fall 2011 | GettingOrganized

This national survey was conducted between May 19 and June 8, 2011 among 2,662 U.S. hiring managers and 4,912 workers.


What’s new Never quite sure where to post your to-do list or creative thoughts? Here are two great solutions from a peel-and-stick whiteboard and chalkboard. They are as simple to install as a sticky note and as effective as a notebook. Whiteboard panels- $58 (Qty 4) Chalkboard- Rococo model $36


GettingOrganized | Fall 2011

Rubbermaid is launching a fantastic new product- the Bento Box, that allows you to customize it to your needs Bento’s Flex Dividers allow you, the user, to customize the inside of the box, creating organization solutions that are perfect for your specific needs. Flexible dividers pop open when needed, and simply pop back when not in use. $8.99-$27.99

Fall 2011 | GettingOrganized


Books The Fast and Furious Five Step Organizing Solution by Susan C. Pinsky is all about efficiency; it describes and encourages organizational systems that require the fewest steps and the least effort. Pinsky is leery of those systems that divert efficiency in favor of other traits like beauty, super vigilance, hyper-frugality, or over preparation. She wants to reduce your workload –no more than two minutes to pick up any room in your house, no more than ten minutes to do the dinner dishes –allowing you to spend your time living rather than doing unnecessarily complex maintenance chores. Pinsky’s methods are quick and simple, but also subversive as she rejects a lot of the standard organizing practices. The before and after pictures show real homes, not magazine photo shoots, while the text describes how the owners learned to weigh and balance beauty, cost, stress, time, and effort as they organize their homes. Susan C. Pinsky $19.99


GettingOrganized | Fall 2011

Classrooms are busy places full of people, activities, and materials. Keeping them organized can be a challenge. But an organized classroom is essential and allows students and the teacher to fully focus on learning by eliminating distractions. Organized Teacher, Happy Classroom provides practical, proven methods for maintaining an organized classroom throughout the entire school year. Whether you teach primary, intermediate, middle school or high school, this book will help you organize your time, paperwork, and classroom spaces. Melanie S. Unger $16.99

CHALLENGE: Keep one small spot organized at all times. For the next month pick one spot that you can keep clean, organized and free of clutter. Don’t worry about everything else, just concentrate on that one spot and make it the best it can be. Visit our Facebook page and share which spot you chose and how it is going. GettingOrganizedMagazine

Fall 2011 | GettingOrganized



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Getting Organized Magazine  

Getting Organized Magazine will launch its printed issues in January 2012, but we couldn't wait to share the magazine with you. Here is our...

Getting Organized Magazine  

Getting Organized Magazine will launch its printed issues in January 2012, but we couldn't wait to share the magazine with you. Here is our...