Tales from a Chronically Unorganized Paper Shuffler

When I was a child, I took on the project of transforming our family’s extensive collection of books into a home library . . . and of my own volition! I labeled each book and cataloged them per the Dewey Decimal System. There was a check-out system in an index card box. I monitored the comings and goings of each book, much to the extreme eyeball-rolling of my three older siblings, as well as my parents.

Fast forward a number of years to the current vision of my unorganized, yet quite functional home. I have some books, but the only order is by an aesthetically pleasing size and color. And, to be honest, there aren’t really that many of them. My silverware is stacked by utensil type. That’s an organizational plus. Yet, I hang my head at the rest of my home.

I’ve made attempts. A dear friend organized my work-at-home files. File labels for every aspect. Documents filed. That was fifteen years ago. The files now consist of “The Pile That I Need to Keep Handy” and “The Pile That I Probably Should File.” 

But, here’s how I keep it from getting completely out of control. 

  1. 1. Dropbox.com – 
I have two jobs and sometimes do some consulting work. With Dropbox, I can access all of my electronic files from anywhere. The cost is about $100 per year for the space I need, but the help is priceless.
  2. 2. Google Calendar
 – I have a calendar set up for each job, one for personal, and one for my son; all synched on my phone. If you don’t see me put our meeting or appointment in my calendar, I probably won’t be showing up.
  3. 3. Online Banking
 – Snap photos of checks to deposit. Pay bills as they arrive. Set up automatic payments. And, it’s a free service from your bank. Don’t pass this up.
  4. 4. Immediate Recycling
 – Don’t let mail stack up. Open your mail at your recycling bin. Save the mail you actually need.
  5. 5. Minimizing
 – Don’t worry too much about organizing your closet. Just don’t have so much stuff. Make it a rule that when one thing comes in, one goes out. Or better yet, don’t get the new thing.

Lastly, try letting go. Decide that it’s ok to have those two anti-filing piles. You know which one is which. Be at peace. And, if you’re at the stage where you just can’t see a way out, it may be time to call a professional organizer to get you started. 

And yes, I still know how to set up a pretty functional library.