Office Mission #4: Office Wild Card

Filed under: Monthly Missions,Office — Colleen at 6:44 pm on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

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We’ve attacked the papers and we’ve addressed the desk. Now take a look around your office area and see what remains. Make a list of office projects you need to complete and then see this week how many you can get done. Here are some suggestions:

1. Declutter your bookcases.

2. Clear out old files on your computer.

3. Sort your coupons. For help organizing your grocery coupons, visit Coupon Mom. Coupon Mom has a search engine which lets you check whether there are coupons currently out for specific products-without searching through your piles of coupons. You can create a coupon binder and place each week’s coupons in a separate pocket. With Coupon Mom you won’t even need to clip!

4. Get caught up on your filing!

5. Assess the area for items that don’t belong in your office. Give them a better home.

Overwhelmed by this project? Set Me Free! offers hands-on help.

Are you motivated by this mission or have a great organizing idea that works for you? Leave a comment to inspire others!

Office Mission #3: Desk Decluttering

Filed under: Monthly Missions,Office — Colleen at 12:09 pm on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

messy desk.jpg

(If you’re new to the Monthly missions, click here. Want to receive my weekly projects by email? Sign up for my free newsletter.)

Now that you’ve gotten through your papers, it’s time to address the rest of your desk. (If you don’t have a desk, sort through the areas of your home where you store your stationary and office supplies).

1. Go through one drawer at a time, putting like objects together, throwing away trash, and donating unnecessary duplicates.

2. Create themes for each drawer, such as “stationary”, “office supplies”, “computer supplies”, “pens/pencils”. Be sure to put your most frequently used items in the drawers that are the most accessible.
3. If you pay your bills at your desk, place your necessary bill paying supplies (envelopes, check book, stamps) in an area of a drawer. If you pay bills on-the-go, put your supplies in a portable container.

4. Use drawer organizers. (Click here to shop for some) to organize smaller items. Or use containers your already have. Ice cube trays are great for storing rubber bands, paper clips, thumb tacks, and other small items. Be creative! Use gripping shelf liner to prevent your items from sliding around.
5. Clear off the surface of your desk. Can some of the items be stored in your drawers? Do you have too many knick knacks on your desk? Maximize your work space by minimizing these items.

Overwhelmed by this project? Set Me Free! offers hands-on help.

Are you motivated by this mission or have a great organizing idea that works for you? Leave a comment to inspire others!

Office Mission #2: Conquering the Paper Monster: Part 2

Filed under: Monthly Missions,Office — Colleen at 10:23 am on Monday, January 1, 2018

paperpile1.jpg

In Part 1 of Conquering the Paper Monster, we got control of our ACTIVE files. In this section, we will find a home for our REFERENCE files.

If you already have a filing system that works for you, spend some time getting your filing up to date.

If you are not sure if your filing system is working, set a timer for 5 minutes. Now try to find the following items before your buzzer goes off.

  1. Your birth certificate
  2. A copy of your last tax return
  3. Your favorite take out menu
  4. Your auto insurance policy
  5. The instruction manual to your vacuum.

How did you do? If you could find all 5 items, you’re in good shape. However, if hunting down these papers was more like a scavenger hunt, it’s time to create a filing system.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Reassess your reference papers. If you can find the information easily on-line, you probably don’t need to keep it. And you don’t need to keep EVERYTHING for 7 years. Here’s a chart to help you decide what to keep.
2. Review Monthly Missions Week 1 Orientation, step 3 “Create a Filing System” and get to work!

3. You can make the filing process easier by purchasing the Set Me Free Filing System.

4. If you’re overwhelmed, commit to 15 minutes a day until you get control of your backlog of papers. Or hire Set Me Free! to give you the hands-on help that you need!

If you are motivated by this project or have a great organizing idea that works for you, please leave a comment to inspire others!

January: Conquer your paper monster!

Filed under: Office — Colleen at 8:33 am on Monday, January 1, 2018

filing.jpg
This month, we’re conquering our paper monster, and all those other items that are cluttering our office areas. Whether you have an office, or you store your papers in a corner of your home, we’re tackling this often dreaded area of the home. Here are your 4 missions to work on this month.
Office Mission #1: Conquering the Paper Monster:Part 1

Office Mission #2 : Conquering the Paper Monster:Part 2

Office Mission #3: Desk Decluttering

Office Mission #4: Office Wild Card

Happy Organizing!

Colleen

Office Mission #1 Conquering the Paper Monster: Part 1

Filed under: Monthly Missions,Office — Colleen at 4:11 am on Monday, January 1, 2018

paperpile21.jpgIt starts with a single piece of paper, but before you know it, your desk and counters have been overcome by the paper monster! The paper monster can be scary to face, but with a few tips, you’ll be able to confront and conquer your paper monster.

#1 Contain your monster: Take a laundry basket and go around your home collecting all your un-filed papers, coupons, junk mail, etc. By collecting all the paper you are containing your paper monster into one (or more) manageable baskets. Your paper monster is no longer attacking your entire home!
#2 Sort: You’re probably panicking that that you’ll never find that “important” piece of paper buried in your laundry basket. Quickly go through each item in your basket using a “one-touch” rule, picking up each piece of paper and putting it into one of the following categories. (If you work from home, you may want to have 2 piles for each category, keeping your work and household papers separate.)

“ACTIVE” (papers that you need to respond to, act on, etc)
“DISCUSS” (If your household consists of more than 1 decision maker, place items that need to be discussed here. For example, estimates for home improvement projects, RSVP cards for weddings, donation requests, etc)
“BILLS TO PAY”
“TO FILE” (Information that you need to keep for long-term reference and cannot access some place else).
“TRASH”
“SHRED”

You may also want to create a separate pile for each member of your household or other appropriate categories.

#3 Create “homes”: Get rid of your trash, shred your papers, and put those “TO FILE” papers aside. (We’ll be addressing those in Part 2). You should be left with 3 categories “ACTIVE”,”DISCUSS” (if applicable), and “BILLS TO PAY”. You may also have piles for each member of your family or other categories you would like to add.

Now it’s time to create a filing or piling system that works for you. If filing doesn’t scare you, (and it does for some), consider getting a small desktop filing bin to keep these frequently used files handy. You may need to create subcategories such as “errands” “phone calls” “email”. WARNING: Be careful! Do not create a system that is so complicated that you need to be compulsive in order to maintain it. Your goal should be to create a system that allows you to find what you need when you need it AND that is easy to maintain.

Does filing scare you? Some people, (myself included), don’t do well with filing active files. Visual people need to see things in order to remember to do them–and it’s hard to see through a file folder! I have found that piling can be as organized as filing. I use clear plastic storage drawers. One drawer contains my “ACTIVE” papers, one drawer contains my “DISCUSS” category, and one contains papers “TO FILE”. I have a separate container that houses my “BILLS TO PAY”. Every day, I sort my mail into these categories. When a drawer starts to fill up, I am cued to sort through it, make my phone calls, pay my bills, etc. You can also use these drawers for each member of the household. I love this system because I can keep my “piles” organized, it’s portable (just grab the drawer you need) and it’s easy to maintain because it isn’t “over-organized”.

Here’s an example of my piling drawers:

piling drawers.jpgIris 3 drawer shallow chest. (staples.com)
#4 Now that you have homes for your files and piles, spend some time using the system. Complete your correspondence, pay your bills, and discuss necessary paperwork with your partner.

Next week, Part 2 will help you tackle your backlog of filing. Purchase a Set Me Free Filing System to make next week’s task a breeze!