I’m a very organized male. I have many weaknesses, but disorganization is not one of them. (My friends say I’m a retentive.) Time is something that none of us gets back once we squander it. And disorganization is a big time-eating monster. When you are unable to find what you’re looking for, time is a casualty.
Being a messy is very costly.
There’s an old adage that goes “ a place for everything; everything in its place.” This is a real key. How many times have you gone to your local Wal-Mart or Home Depot to buy something you know you had around the house somewhere, only to find out when doing a thorough cleaning that you had three or four of the thing you were looking for?
Disorganization also costs money. I bet that got your attention.
Our public and collegiate libraries have very specific systems for classifying books—the Dewey and Library of Congress decimal systems respectively. Why? So patrons can get the materials they are looking for with dispatch and little stress.
You can implement the same kind of thinking to declutter your life and take better care of your stuff, your money and your time. And as a corollary, your life.
Here are some suggestions that have helped me. Perhaps they’ll help you.
- Allocate drawers and specific spaces in your house for your tools, clothes, cooking utensils. Try to keep each thing with its family. Sockets with sockets, chisels with chisels.
- Make files for nearly everything. Emails, news articles, documents, spreadsheets. Files are indispensible.
- If you’re a collector, alphabetize your collections by author or artist. I do this for my library and music. You can also classify by topic. I have different sections of my library—over 3000 books—and can point borrowing friends right where they want to look to find exactly what they’re looking for.
- Use your smart phone, a PDA, or a day planner to organize your days and appointments. If you use Microsoft Office Outlook, you can use the calendar to remind you with messages for upcoming appointments. As far as day planners go, if you like bulk, go for Franklin Covey. I used one for about sixteen years. Moleskine and others have scaled-down versions that are very helpful. Check out your local Staples or Office Max for a whole lot more.
- Use spreadsheets. Microsoft Excel has all sorts of neat features that allow you to keep track of everything from your stocks to collections to family budgets.
In coming posts, I will share more specific tips. You will find you get a lot more done in less time and have less loss as you get things in order.
Have at it!