Author: Annie Amoon RichardChallenging Disorganization Clutter Document Management Emergencies Filing Paper Receipts Tips

EZ File Your Paper Piles

Everyone hates to file papers and we all have piles of them on our desks, tables, and any other flat surface around. No one likes to deal with all the papers that we still have even in our modern “paperless” society. Today I offer an easy, simple system that is not overwhelming and will have you binging Netflix in no time. The best part of this solution is that it’s only two steps!!

Even as a professional organizer, my ADHD gets in the way of keeping my attention on sorting papers for any significant length of time.  As everyone knows, dealing with papers is boring. It becomes overwhelming so we give up and give in to the piles. So, out of necessity, I created this quick and easy system for dealing with the paper piles.

Are you ready to change your paper filing system forever?  Here goes. Two steps. Two easy steps.

Step 1: Get 2 containers – boxes, plastic bins, baskets etc. to hold your papers.  They can be pretty or they can be from the liquor store. The look of the container is up to you.

Step 2: Answer one yes or no question for each paper: “Does this paper have anything to do with my money, property, legal identification, or taxes?” If the answer is yes, it goes in box #1. If the answer if no, then it goes into box #2.

That’s it, you’re done filing! Even if you never do anything else with either box, you will be able to find any important paper that you need, when you need it. Most papers that we think we need to keep are rarely, if ever, referenced again. 

If you need to find an important legal document, receipt or tax info you only have to look in Box #1. You don’t need to be distracted by all the non-legal or non-financial papers to find what you need. Your stress level is greatly reduced or even eliminated. If there is ever an emergency, storm, fire, or other need to evacuate quickly, you just have to grab Box #1.

Now, a lot of people would just not feel completely comfortable with this simple system. If you fall into this category, then take the next step. Get a 3-ring binder and some sheet protectors. Place all of the most critical documents – your birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, marriage and divorce documents, property deeds, college transcripts, etc. and put them into the page protectors in the binder. Keep this binder in or near Box #1 and let all household members know about it and where it is. Believe me, this will save you so much time and stress when you need to locate these documents.

I know that this system works well as I just completed the process of getting both my Real ID and my passport. It was so much easier knowing where all of the documents were and that they were all together.

Now that you paper piles are tackled, grab some ice cream and enjoy your favorite show or activity. Guilt free.  Now you are organized…at least with your papers!

Author: Annie Amoon RichardClothing Organizing Seasonal Storage

The Organized Way to Pack for a Trip

Here are simple ways to put the sanity back into the process of packing for a trip:

  1. Keep it simple; what do you really need to bring that won’t be available where you are going?  With all of the new rules and fees for traveling these days, it is wise to take only what is absolutely necessary.  Think of the stuff that you pack as paying to take it by its weight.  You are paying for everything you pack.  Choose wisely.  Is it worth its weight?
  2. Pack a “bathroom bag” with the toiletries that you use every day in your bathroom routines.  This is a great time to make use of those travel size toiletries you have saved.  Keep this bag packed and stocked at all times.  Then when you are packing for a trip, the bathroom bag just goes right into the suitcase.  No more unpacking and repacking for every trip.  This also comes in handy if you run out of your regular supply and forget to replenish right away.  I’ve done this for years and it really works.  An added benefit of this is that you can be all packed before you take your last shower before you go.  You don’t have to wait to pack your last minute toiletries.
  3. Invest in a few classic pieces of clothing that can be dressed up or down, depending on the situation.  Dress in layers for variations in weather/temperature can be unpredictable.  One good sweater or light jacket that goes with everything is a handy piece to have.  Assemble a wardrobe that can easily be mixed or matched to create several different outfits from a few basic pieces.
  4. Stick to the basics of neutral colors and dress up your outfits with accessories.  It takes up far less room in the suitcase to pack an accent scarf or tie, than it does to pack an additional outfit.
  5. Once you have packed, consider eliminating half of what you packed.  Don’t pack based on the “just in case” thinking.  Pack based on what you know you need.  If a situation arises, and you have packed based on the above tips, you will have what you need to be flexible.  And it is a lot easier to simply say, “I didn’t know I would need to bring that.”, than to pack for every contingency and be cranky because you had to pay a lot in baggage fees and drag around a heavy suitcase of stuff that you didn’t even end up using at all.
  6. Pack like things together.  Put all of your electronic gadgets and chargers, etc in one place.  Pack the snacks together, as well as the reading materials or work to do as you travel.   There are few things more frustrating than searching through multiple pockets or compartments to find what you need.  The “assign a home” concept of organizing applies to travel too.  If you use the same travel bags or suitcases, put the same things in the same places each time you pack, and you will find what you are looking for with a lot less stress.
  7. Be comfortable.  Bring what feels good to wear or what you feel confident wearing.

Stay true to yourself and you will always look fabulous!  It doesn’t make sense to go on       vacation to reduce stress and then pack in such a way as to cause you more stress.  Pack well and enjoy your trip.

Author: Annie Amoon RichardEmergencies Family General

Staying Sane When Life Takes A Detour

Life happens to everyone and that tagline, “Life comes at you fast” sure is true.

So how does one stay organized and sane during a season of diverted focus?

Some examples are planning for a wedding, birth, trip, or other big occasion, upcoming surgery, caretaking of a family member dealing with an illness or recovery process, or any host of other major life events.

Here are some things that I learned while preparing for my husband’s back surgery that may be helpful to others:

Be kind to yourself.

Everything will NOT get done during this time.  Accept it and do the best you can.

I often rely on the wise words of Art Williams, “All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough.”

Prioritize each day.

Or even each hour.  What absolutely HAS to get done?

Focus on those action items.

Make sure that critical bills get paid.

Set up automatic payments, pay ahead, or make special arrangements.

Make routine payments as easy as possible so you don’t have to worry about them.

You are dealing with enough; you certainly don’t need the added stress of a sudden episode of unexpected chaos or service interruption.

Enlist help.

Family and friends DO want to help; let them.

When people ask if they can help, say yes.

Give them a specific task you need to get done that you know they can handle.

Let them stock your freezer and pantry.  Maybe they can mow your yard.

Allow them to bless you with their help, and anything that they do frees up

your time and energy.

Get plenty of rest.

It is amazing what a 20 minute nap can do.

Just resting your eyes from all of the visual stimuli in our world helps.

Embrace moments of quiet.

Make time for fun and laughter.

Get away from the situation at hand, even if it is only for a short while.

Allow yourself to get your mind off of it and have some fun.

It will not be wasted time; it will work wonders for your mood and energy level.

When all else fails, have a good cry and a bowl of ice cream.