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Author: Sherry CastaldiClutter Document Management Filing General Home Office Organizing Project Management

3 Simple Steps to an Organized Desktop

Neat and orderly desk with only the essentials.

Does the thought of organizing your desktop bring music to your ears for the anticipation of the neat and orderly results of this accomplishment or does it bring painful groans of displeasure wondering how you will accomplish this seemingly impossible task for your desk?

As is the case with many tasks and projects, if we break it down into smaller parts then it’s not so overwhelming. Of course, there is always the super easy way out and that’s the complete one swipe and into the box removal. Quick, easy, and painless but I don’t think that’s really what you want to do. Especially not on National Clean Off Your Desk Day! So let’s take a look at a more organized and orderly approach.

1. Assess
First, take stock of what is on your desk. Consider what items you need to address such as: paper, files, and office supplies — along with any random items on your desk.

2. Store
Next, decide how to store these items that are currently on top of your desk.

  • For example: if you have piles of papers that need to be filed, it’s understandable you may not be able to file them all at this moment. However if you can, go for it right now and file them away! If not, consider a folder or letter tray labeled “TO FILE” so you can organize those papers into one designated area. Now remember, at some point you will need to actually file those papers.
  • If you have mounds of files and are working on multiple files at one time, you may not want to put them all back in the filing drawer and that is ok. However, to store those files in a more orderly fashion, you may want to consider a file folder for keeping them upright or letter trays to keep them tidy and easily available to you without each and every single file stacked high on your desk.
  •  How about supplies? Do you have notepads, pens, pencils, paperclips, etc, strewn about your desk? Consider a desk organizer to keep those items neat and contained yet easily accessible.

3. Remove
Finally, remove miscellaneous items that have no relevancy to your work area. You may even find some items that are trash which is a super quick removal.  Here is where the one swipe and into a box is a handy option. Make sure to return all of those random items such as books, magazines, empty coffee cups, etc. to their designated homes.

There you have it: 3 easy ways to tidy up your desktop! Optimize your productivity while at your desk by using 3 simple steps — Assess, Store, and Remove — to keep your desktop neat and organized.

Author: Anna SicalidesDocument Management Donating Family Filing General Goal Setting Home Office Organizing Productivity Receipts Tax Prep

I Love the End of the Year!

I look at the last week of the year as a super productive week since I am not scheduled to work, and I can spend time getting myself ready for the new year. I want to be as organized as possible before January 5, 2015, which is my first day back to work! Below is a list of suggestions that may help you start your new year off a bit more organized.

Donations Donation-Tips 1
-If you want to maximize your donations for the 2014 tax year, take one more look through your closets, bookshelves, cabinets, attics, basements and garages to pull anything out that needs to be donated. Children’s toys and books are usually a gold mine for most donation establishments.
-After the holidays, as you integrate your new gifts, take stock of your duplicates, triplicates or otherwise unwanted things that can be better utilized by others.
-Keep in mind that you shouldn’t wait until December 31 to drop off your donations, because if the center hits their capacity level, they may stop accepting donations.
-Some donation centers will pick up your unwanted goods as long as you are on their schedule. Some donation center choices are GreenDrop, Vietnam Veterans of America, The Salvation Army, and Impact Thrift Stores.
-Make your final online cash donations as soon as possible since you don’t want to get stuck with slow or crashing websites at the last minute.

Files Files
-Assuming that you have them, the end of the year is a great time to purge your old files and create new ones.  If you need help creating a filing system, a professional organizer can help. You can go to the ‘Find an Organizer’ tab at the top of this page.
-Go through your 2014 bills, pull them out of their files, and clip or band them together if you are going to need them for your taxes. If you don’t need them for your taxes, I would suggest shredding anything that has personal information or account numbers. Most of my clients shred their department store bills and hold onto some of their utility bills for another year (I think they just want the security of having them…just in case).
– A filing cabinet or file box are both great choices to keep your files organized and accessible.
-If you scan your bills and receipts, remember to create new files on your computer.

Hopefully, there is something here that will help you start 2015 off with a little more organization in your world.

Author: Rie BroscoClutter Document Management General Home Office Organizing Paper Procrastination Productivity

Help! My Office is a Mess!

“Help! I can’t stand it anymore! My office is a disaster. Papers are piled everywhere. I don’t know where things are. I don’t know what supplies I have until I run out. My bulletin boards have announcements for events that happened two years ago attached to them. I’m behind on my work, and I hate being in my office. My life is a mess!

“Was this a phone call I received from a potential client?” you may ask. No. This is what I said two weeks ago when I felt like I was drowning in paperwork, and my life was a mess. “But wait,” you exclaim. “You’re a Professional Organizer. You know how to organize stuff. Why can’t you just organize your office?” The answer is that even we, who are experienced and proficient organizing other people’s things, sometimes cannot do it for ourselves.

Every morning I would walk into my office with incredible determination. “This will be the day that I finally and completely organize my office and my life!” But when I walked into my office, something happened. I looked at the piles of paper and the disorganization, and I became paralyzed with dread.

It doesn’t matter whether the area that is disorganized is an office, a kitchen, a bedroom or a play room. Sometimes it just feels as though as much as you really, really want to get organized, you’re just having a hard time doing it. So I asked myself what I would tell a prospective client if they called me with a similar situation.

  1. Just because your (insert name of area here) is disorganized, it doesn’t mean that your entire life is a mess. Remember, you can gain control over the disorganized area.
  2. Set aside a time that you want to do some organizing. Find a timer (a kitchen timer or one on your cell phone works well). Set the timer for five minutes. Yes, I realize that’s not a whole lot of time and that you won’t get a whole lot of organizing done, but it is a manageable period of time to start the process.Untitled
  3. Choose a very small section to work in. Remember, you only have five minutes.
  4. Get rid of the easy stuff first. You know, the stuff that is out of date, moldy, torn, or the thing you just never really liked anyway. Take these items and either recycle or trash them.
  5. By now the timer has probably gone off. If you are on a roll and you don’t mind going further, set the timer for another five minutes. This may seem like an arbitrary amount of time, and it is, but I have found that five minutes of doing almost anything seems easy.

But what do you do if you can’t get yourself to commit to tackling that cluttered area for even five minutes? Take a tip from a professional who has been-there-done-that. Either call a friend who is nonjudgmental and willing to help or call a professional; which is what I did. I figured that if I call a doctor when I’m sick and go to the dentist when I have a toothache, I should call a professional organizer when it feels like my (insert name of area here) needs organizing. What about you? Take just 5 minutes and call for help. Now? Yes! If not now, when?

Author: Ellen FayeDocument Management Electronic Organizing General Goal Setting Home Office Productivity Time Management

How High Performers Get Their Important Work Done

So much to do for busy professionals.Every email that comes in is an opportunity.  Every Facebook article is a worthwhile read. Every free 60 page ebook is a life saver. But come on now, if you read everything you could read you would NEVER BE DONE and on top of that YOU WOULD NEVER GET TO WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT.

I’ve been a long-time advocate for short and sweet, so I always try to keep everything I share manageable and digestible in 5 minutes or less. That’s what I can do for you.

What can you do for yourself?

  1. Delete email articles you didn’t ask for: Just say no – Let them go
  2. Disregard free or low cost deals you don’t have time to use: Just say no – Let them go
  3. Ignore electronic chain letters and social media games – no the baby bunnies in your yard won’t turn into mutant ninja rodents and take over your life: Just say no – Let them go
  4. Skip networking events with people that don’t match your target market: Just say no – Let them go
  5. Don’t attend free webinars and classes that have nothing to do with your short-range priorities: Just say no – Let them go

If you choose to spend your time on things that just pop up and come your way you will NEVER get to the work you want to do. To be a high performer be clear on what is important and spend your time on what matters. All the rest?  JUST SAY NO – LET THEM GO.

Author: Darla DeMorrowDocument Management General Home Home Office Paper Recyling

How to Use a Home Paper Shredder

How to Use a Home Paper Shredder-2

Are you one of the (scientifically identified) 6 million people who avoids shredding your sensitive documents because of your home shredder. 5.9 million of that number have actually burned up at least one home shredder at some point. 5.8 million have burned up more than one. (I might have made those numbers up.) It might be twice that high. Most families should own a cross-cut personal shredder. They are actually very easy to keep in good shape.
Here’s help on how to use your home paper shredder.

  • Buy the best home shredder you can afford, without breaking the bank. You can find many options under $50. If you work at home or like to shred a lot, you might need a higher capacity machine costing between $50 and $200.
  • Know your sheet capacity. If the shredder says, “Max. 8 Sheets,” like mine does, it really means 4-6 sheets of regular copy paper at a time. It does not allow for heavier paper, plastic, brochures, or folded items.
  • Don’t try to shred everything. Don’t just shred everything because it has your name or address on it. Information anyone can get from a quick Google search or from the phone book doesn’t need to be shredded. However, anything with financial account numbers on them (like your bank statements and brokerage accounts) should be shredded. Your grocery store junk mail, just because you may have a frequent shopper club number there, is not sensitive information. Really, it’s not. Nor are most of your utility bills, believe it or not. Don’t make your little household shredder work harder than it needs to. Use it only for what needs to be shredded.
  • If the shredder is usually unplugged for safety or other reasons, then you’ll probably be batch shredding. Your machine will only shred for 15-20 minutes before it overheats. Just give it a rest, and finish your batch another day, or after the machine has had a chance to cool down. Better yet, stop when you hear the motor or the blades laboring. That “rrr…rrr…rrr” sound means you are either feeding it too much paper, or the machine needs a break.
  • Occasionally, give your shredder a little treat and lubricate the cutting blades. You can purchase special feeder sheets or shredder oil for this purpose. I’ve used my sewing machine oil with good results. You only need to do this a few times a year.
  • Don’t keep shredding if the bin is full. The already shredded paper will jam up against the rotating blades, over-heating the shredder faster than needed. Empty the bin often.
  • Unless your shredder specifically allows for it, don’t feed plastics through the machine. They tend to gunk up the blades. I’ve had to surgically remove hunks of melted plastic from household shredders. If your shredder is equipped to shred credit cards and/or computer disks, empty the basket of paper before shredding these items. The paper is recyclable with household recycles in most places. The disks probably aren’t. Throw plastic bits out in the trash separately from the paper.

If you follow these guidelines, your home shredder should do the job for many years. However, if you regularly have more than 2 shopping bags full of material to shred, you can search for free or low-cost community shredding events in your area. Just Google “shred events” and your city, zip code, or region. You can find a current list of shredding events in the greater Philadelphia region

Author: Darla DeMorrowAnnouncements Document Management General Home Office Paper

2014 Shredding Events

Here is a list of breitling replica shredding events in the Delaware Valley. If you are planning to attend an event, it’s wise to check the website or to call or e-mail to make sure the event isn’t canceled due to weather or other circumstances.

If you can’t wait for an event, try drop-off shredding services from Staples, Office Depot, Wiggins, or Mail Source (Springfield) for about $1 per pound.

Happy shredding!

Saturday, May 31  10 am – 12 pm  Philadelphia
Passyunk Square Civic Association (PSCA)
1400 East Passyunk Avenue & Reed  Philadelphia, PA 19147

Community Events

Friday, June 6  3 pm – 5:30 pm  West Chester
West Chester Wiggins Auto Tags
1301 West Chester Pike  West Chester, PA 19380
2 paper grocery bags are $10.00
http://www.wigginsshredding.com/residential/tear-fests.php

Saturday, June 21  9 am – 12 pm  Glenside Residents Only
Copper Beach Elementary School
825 North Easton Road  Glenside, PA 19038
http://www.montcopa.org/DocumentCenter/View/6715
http://www.shredone.com/community-shredding-events

Saturday, June 21  10 am – 12 pm  West Chester
West Chester Wiggins Auto Tags
1301 West Chester Pike  West Chester, PA 19380
2 paper grocery bags are $10.00
http://www.wigginsshredding.com/residential/tear-fests.php

Saturday, June 28  9 am – 12 pm  Doylestown
Doylestown EAC Central Park
Wells Road  Doylestown, PA 18901
http://www.titanshredding.com/Community-Shredding-Services.aspx#calendar

Saturday, July 12  9 am – 12 pm Abington Residents only
Abington Township Public Works
2201 Florey Lane  Abington, PA 19001
http://www.shredone.com/community-shredding-events