Thursday, January 31, 2013

Use a rule of thumb to decide what stays, and what goes.

Ask yourself, "how many pictures do you need on your desk?  How many magazines of each subscription do you need?  How many staplers do you need on your desk?"

Once you make a decision about how much you need, you will have the basis for allowing yourself to give things away.  Decide who you want to give things to.  Are you a veteran?  Do you want to give things to a woman’s shelter?  A school?  I usually find that preschool teachers can use everything.  After all,  small children are learning how to be grown-ups, and they need everything that grown-ups have to learn how to do this.

I once worked with a woman who owned 3 iPads, but wasn't using any of them.  Clearly this was too many.  Clearly she should return or give away 2 of them!

The trick is to decide how many of an item you need, and then discard any amount over that.  For example, if you decide that you can keep 13 issues of any magazine subscription, when the 14th issue comes in, the oldest one must go out. 

If you decide that you can only keep 50 Tupperware containers, then when the 51st one comes in, the 1st one must go out.  Likewise, staplers (simply decide how many you can keep) and other items.  You can use this rule of quantity for every area in your life.  Personal as well as work.


Keep only those things you know to be useful, or believe  to be beautiful.  Discard or give away the rest.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

“Keep only that which you know to be useful or beautiful.” 

Don’t clutter your desk and work area with items that are just things.  Everything on your desk should have a reason for being there.  The ideal desk is a clear desk.  Aim for this.

You may decide you have to have a telephone on your desk.  You may decide you want to have an in-box on your desk.  One family picture or a pencil holder may be OK.  More than that, and it starts to look like junk to people who don’t have an appreciation for each item.

If you must keep extra things near you - family pictures, trinkets, souveniers, and reminders — keep them on a shelf, a credenza, or a windowsill.  I have seen beautiful displays take up one shelf of a bookshelf, leaving the work area clear for work.

If you have so many "trinkets" that you can’t fit them all on one shelf,   consider rotating them.  Box the excess items and put them away for awhile.  Every other month, rotate your treasures. 

They will always look new, they will always be appreciated, and you will enjoy them even more when you can see everything.

Try to keep your desk clear.  It is suppose to be a work area, not a storage area.


Get things you seldom use out of your way, but still keep them within easy reach.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thank you so much for all of your questions re: the File-Pile!

Instead of answering them all individually, I will use this blog space to answer your questions.

Here are my answers:

Q - Do you have to punch 3 holes in every page to put it in the 3-ring notebook? 

A - Unfortunately, yes... unless you are going to use plastic sleeves.  It's easy as long as you are prepared.  I keep my 3-hole punch about 12" away from me on a shelf, and I use it constantly.  When I'm through punching the page, I simply, always, put it back in it's home.

Q - How do you handle different sizes of paper than 8-1/2 x 11 inches?  

A - If I want to save something that is small; a business card, or a random note, I will staple it to the clear side of a used piece of paper from my printer.  (Of course, you could use a blank 8.5 x 11 piece of paper also).  Then I use a baby post-it-note (I think they are about 1" x 1.5") as a tab to label the piece of paper.

Q - All of my pages are not the same size.  I have 8.5 X 11 pages, and lined notebook papers that are a little smaller.  If I put a tab on the lined pages, the tab won't show up.  

A - In order to solve that problem, I either stick the tabs out more and secure with a piece of scotch tape, or I staple it to the edge of the blank side of a used piece of paper from my printer.

Q - How many categories should I use?

A - I only use three.  The one across from the top punched hole I use for business items.  The one across from the middle hole I use for personal items.  The one across from the bottom punched hole I use to flag something that needs action.

Q - Instead of using a 3-ring binder that you have to keep opening and closing to use  and SEE what's there, I wonder about using the "tube clip fastener" but am not sure what this is, how to use it, where to get it.

A - I don't know anything about it either.  But don't worry that you have to keep opening and closing the binder rings.  Use that as an opportunity to remember that it's there.  If you don't use it, soon you will forget about it and it will become another unused system.  We don't want that!
I hope it works for you!  Keep sending questions about anything related to organizing, and I will try to answer it in this blog... and you can remain anonymous!  

It's a win-win, because when you ask me questions, I know what you want me to write about.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Finding humor.

Procrastination 1
Organizing doesn't have to be depressing.  We make it that way.  We attribute much more emotion to our lack of organization that we should.

Sandra Felton,The Organizer Lady (R) says,  "The difference between organized people and those who are not organized, is that organized people just do what they have to do, and dis-organized people have to FEEL like doing it first.

That means, we attribute unnecessary emotions to rote activites.

Taking out the trash does not require an emotion.  It does, however, require an action.  If you have to feeeel like taking out the trash before you can do it, or if you have to feeeel like hanging up your clothes before you can do it, you are attributing unnecessary emotions to tasks that just need to be done.  

The emotion of not feeeeeling like it is unnecessary, and causes problems.


When you find yourself having to "feel like" doing a necessary chore, stop and reflect.  
Think.  Is this emotion serving me? 
Stop. Do the activity any way.  Just do it.
The only way to stop getting held back by unnecessary emotions is to practice acting in spite of them.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Like with like.

Everybody knows this "rule."  Here's how to apply it.

1. When you are deciding where to put things - you want to put them with other things like them.  That way you will always know where to begin looking for them.  (Example - automotive section, tools, painting supplies)

2. When you are deciding where to file papers - you want to put them with papers that are similar   (Example - house papers, vital documents, interests)

3. When you are deciding how to organize your time - you want to group similar activities together.  This will save you time. (Example - places to go, people to call, things to buy).

By putting like things with like things, you will find that it's faster and easier to locate things.

In order to put like things together, though, you have to have created places for things to go in the first place.  This is where your schematic comes in.  Use it for deciding where things go.

Make a plan, and stick to it.


Use your schematic to plan where things should go in your home.  This should be done away from the messy area. After you make the plan, begin implementing it.  You can make changes as you go along.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tired of junk mail?

I know you are tired of having your mailbox crammed with unsolicited mail.  I know you are fed up with getting telemarketing calls (just as you're sitting down to dinner).  And email has become a nightmare, full of unsolicited advertising and spam.  

You don't have to be a victim.  Did you know that you can cut down on the number of unsolicited mailings, calls, and emails you receive?

If you don't want to receive prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices: You can opt out of receiving them for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently.

To opt out for five years: Call toll-free  1-888-5-OPT-OUT ( 1-888-567-8688) or visit The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.

To opt out permanently: You may begin the permanent Opt-Out process online at To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request.

If you don't have access to the Internet, you may send a written request to permanently opt out to each of the major consumer reporting companies.
Experian Opt Out, P.O. Box 919, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Name Removal Option, P.O. Box 505, Woodlyn, PA 19094
Equifax, Inc. Options, P.O. Box 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374
Innovis Consumer Assistance, P.O. Box 495, Pittsburgh, PA 15230

The federal government's National Do Not Call Registry is a free, easy way to reduce the telemarketing calls you get at home. To register your phone number or to get information about the registry, visit, or call  1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register.

You will get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number. Telephone numbers on the registry will only be removed when they are disconnected and reassigned, or when you choose to remove a number from the registry.

The Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS) lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years. When you register with this service, your name will be put on a "delete" file and made available to direct-mail marketers and organizations. This will reduce most of your unsolicited mail. However, your registration will not stop mailings from organizations that do not use the DMA's Mail Preference Service. To register with DMA's Mail Preference Service, go to, or mail your request with a $1 processing fee to:

DMAchoice, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512

The DMA also has an Email Preference Service (eMPS) to help you reduce unsolicited commercial emails. To opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial email from DMA members, visit Registration is free and good for six years.

Have a terrific day!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Organizing Quotes:

Here are a few of my favorite organizing quotes.  I hope you enjoy them!

  • Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it's not all mixed up.--A.A. Milne
  • A place for everything and everything in its place.--Mrs. Beeton (The Book of Household Management, 1861)
  • Organize your life around your dreams - and watch them come true.--Unknown
  • all our efforts to provide "advantages" we have actually produced the busiest, most competitive, highly pressured and over-organized generation of youngsters in our history and possibly the unhappiest.--Eda J. LeShan
  • One person's mess is merely another person's filing system.--Margo Kaufman 
  • Have a time and place for everything, and do everything in its time and place, and you will not only accomplish more, but have far more leisure than those who are always hurrying.--Tryon Edwards
  • Early in my career I felt that organization would destroy my creativity. Whereas now, I feel the opposite. Discipline is he concrete that allows you to be creative.--Verna Gibson
  • Begin at the beginning," the King said gravely, "and go till you come to the end; then stop. --Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)
  • Organization isn't about perfection; it's about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money and improving your overall quality of life.  Christina Scalise


Write down quotes that inspire you and make you feel good.
Put them where you will remember to look at them occasionally.

Have a terrific day!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Remember the song, "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush?"

Well, in that children's song they assign different chores to different days.  There is a wash (laundry) day, a day to scrub the floors, a day to clean the kitchen, etc.

It's a great idea, and you should do it.


Make a list of every room in your house.  Make a list of the days of the week.

Depending on the size of your house, list one, two, or three rooms that you will devote some time to on each day.  For example, on Wednesdays, I devote some time to my kitchen and my master bedroom closet.  This way, an entire week won't go by without every room having been given some attention.

Even if you can only give a room 10 minutes, you will know where to start the next time you want to do some organizing in there.  A little bit at a time, and eventually you will start to see some changes.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What does your ideal day look like?

Have you stopped and thought about what an ideal day looks like for you? Or are you so busy that you haven't spent the time to think about it?  Well... stop and think about it.  Here's why.

In order to have an ideal day, you have to know what it looks like.  Would you spend it with your children?  Would you go for a walk?  Would you read?  Write?  Go shopping?

If you don't know what an ideal day looks like, how will you know if you have one?  And even more, how can you duplicate it?

When I ask the people in my classes to describe their ideal day I get responses from, "I don't know," to "my days are inconsistent," to "I never have time to think about me."  Well, let's change that right now.


, list out a few elements that you would like to add to your day. Think about it like this... what would make you feel good if you could place it in your day? Meals with your family?  On time meals? Time to exercise?  Time to spend with my friends, or my significant other?  Make a list.

Second, what are some things you would take out of your day?  Waiting in line?  Grocery shopping?  Email?  Homework?

Third, make up a make-believe day.  Just play-pretend that you could have a wonderful day with none of the bad things, and two of the good things.

Fourth, how can you squeeze something you want to do in your day?  Can you get up 15 minutes earlier to read?  Can you write during your lunch break?  Can you sign up for an exercise class in the evening?

Fifth, how can you avoid doing something you don't want to do.  Can you hire a service to handle some things for you, perhaps pick up and deliver your laundry?  Can you swap chores with someone?

Last, try making one small change.  Be consistent.  If that works, make one more... then one more... then one more.  Soon, your days will become more like you want and less the way you don't.  Eventually, your days will all be ideal days.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Do you spend a lot of time looking for things?

Let me help you out.  The main reason you can't find what you need when you need it is because you
a. don't have a place for it (a "home") in the first place, or you
b. didn't put it in the right place
This can be very confusing and frustrating, as you well know.

In order to stop having this problem, you have to first make a plan, and second, follow the plan that you made.

1. Draw a schematic, indicating what types of things belong in what areas.
2. Use your schematic when placing things where they belong.
3. Use your schematic when looking for things.

Lose the "just for now" mentality.  If you hear yourself saying, "I'll put it here just for now..." you are heading for disaster.

Take the time to put things in the right place.  That extra 35 seconds now could save you hours later.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"It seems like every time I clear off my kitchen counters, "stuff" reappears.  I'm so frustrated, because I can't seem to keep my kitchen organized!"


Organizing is about surfaces.  When your surfaces are clear, you feel organized.  You feel serene.  Other people compliment you.  You feel proud of your  home.

When your surfaces are messy,  you feel embarrassed.  You feel overwhelmed and incompetent.  You feel ashamed.  I understand.  I've walked in your shoes.

When trying to clear off kitchen counters, start with one counter at a time.

Step 1 - Visualize it with nothing on it.  This might seem silly, but it's the most important step.  You have to see in your minds eye where you are headed, or you will never get there.

Step 2 - Divide the counter into fourths.  Start with either the left most quadrant or the right-most quadrant, and clear it completely off.  (You can replace a few things when the counter is cleared off.)

Step 3 - You will have three categories of things.
I - Things that belong elsewhere.  Put them there.  These things already have a "home." They were just on the counter for  no reason.
II. Things that can be trashed.  Trash them.
III. Things that have no home. (The counter was their home.)

Once you have handled I and II, it's time to handle III - Things that have no home.

1) Decide if you really want these things on the counter.  If not, where else could they "live"?  If so, how many do you want to stay on the counter?
2) If they are big (like blenders and such), can you create pantry or shelf space for them?
3) If they are small (like spices and such), can you gather them in a plastic shoebox and put them on a pantry shelf?
4) If they are unnecessary decorations (that rooster statue from your grandfather), consider putting them elsewhere.  Maybe you could create a space for kitchen decorations.  Maybe you could consider that you don't need them anymore.
5) If you have no idea where you want them to go, or what you want to do with them, put them away to decide about later.  (You should have no more than three "undecideds" per counter.)

When your counter is clear, keeping it clear will become your next challenge.  At this stage you must "guard it like a bulldog"... especially from yourself!

Don't allow ANYONE to put ANYTHING on it for ANY REASON!

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Organizing is so hard to do!

It seems like it should be easy... just throw out what we don't need; keep what we do.  Use our space to determine how much we should keep.   But is it so so so much harder than that!

Here are some thoughts to help you when you are struggling to part with things.

  • Do I want it? Why?
  • If I couldn't find this and I was looking for it, where would I look?
  • If I hadn't seen this today, would I miss it?
  • Do I have other things like it?  
  • How many of these do I need?
  • What's in that box?
  • Do I like it?
  • Does it have pleasant memories?  Or negative memories?
  • How much would it cost to replace it?
  • Can I gift it to someone else?
  • Can I bless someone else with it?
  • Does it still look good on me?
  • Is it in good repair?  If not, am I going to fix it?  Really?
  • Does the person who gave it to me care if I don't have it anymore?  Would they want me to keep it if they knew it made me miserable?

You get the picture.

These things that we don't want, don't need, and sometimes don't even like are in our lives, and we can't let them go.

Want to give you a challenge.  Pick an arbitrary number.  I use the number 7 because my birthday is on July 7th.  Select your  number, and every day for the next 7 days, I want you to throw that many things away.

Send me an email and let me know the 7 things you toss every day for the next 7 days!  (Toss can include giving to charity, gifting, selling, or throwing away.  The only requirement is that it leaves your home or office.)

Take my 7 day challenge!  The winner will be entered  into a drawing to win my brand new book, "5 Days to a Clutter-Free House!"

Have a Terrific Day!

Marsha Sims

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

What happens when you can't get all of those little pieces of paper off of your desk?  I found the greatest video called a "file-pile!' and I wanted to share it with you!

In 8 minutes, this guy explains our problem!  What do you do if you are a piler but  you don't want a messy desk?  How can you be a filer when you don't have time to make all of the files?  And, not making all of the files in a timely basis creates piles!

In comes the "file-pile"!  A system that combines both!

Watch the video, and I'll tell you how I modified it to make it work for me.

First, I purchased a very large 3-ring binder (3" or 4" binder).  

Second, instead of having 8 or so categories, I have only three.  The post-it's at the top are all for things that are related to Sort-It-Out (my business).  In the middle are post-it's for personal things... conversation with the phone company, brochure on a place I might travel to, information I'm holding for a relative, etc.  The bottom post-it note is for things that require action.

Third, I write on each post-it before I put it in my system.  That way, when I am scanning or looking for something, I can read the label.

With the modifications, the file-pile is completely useful, and keeps my desk clear!

Try it!

If you have questions, please send me an email and I'll be happy to explain how you can use it too!  

Marsha Sims

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Your desk area is supposed to be a work surface, not a storage surface.

But how do you know what you should keep and not keep?  Here's the answer.  You should only keep things that are useful, beautiful, or difficult to replace.  Here's what I mean.

Useful - a stapler  a holder for pens / pencils, an inbox.  These things should be near you, but not necessarily on your desk surface.

Beautiful - an inspirational plaque, a poster that makes you feel good, framed pictures of your family.  These should hang on the wall; not sit on your desk surface.

Difficult to replace - Vital documents,  copies of licences, etc.  These sometimes should be displayed (your honor certificates, rewards, certain licenses) but still don't sit on your desk.

What should sit on your desk?

Your computer, your telephone, and essentials.  Extraneous things and papers should NOT sit on your desk unless you are actively working on them.  When you are done with the item on your desk, it should be moved to another place where it can be stored, such as a file or a bookshelf.

Don’t clutter your desk and work area with things that are just things.  All items on your desk should have a reason for being there.  The ideal desk is a clear desk.  Aim for this.

If you must keep extra things near you - family pictures, trinkets, souveniers, reminders — you  might want to keep them on a shelf, a credenza, or a windowsill.  I have seen beautiful displays take up one shelf of a bookshelf, leaving the work area clear for work.

If you have so many trinkets that you can’t fit them all on one shelf,   consider rotating them.  Box  the excess items and put them away for awhile.  Every other month or so, you can rotate your treasures. In this way they will always look new, they will always be appreciated, and you will enjoy them even more when you can see everything.

Clear off your desk.  Leave only the essentials.  
Try to keep your desk clear.  Remember, it's supposed to be a WORK area, not a storage area.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Do I need another cup of coffee?
Or, do I just continue to stare at my wall of inadequacy?
I am unable to move.
Physically I suppose I could move.
Emotionally, I am trapped.

To the right are piles of clothes the children did not pick up.
I watch them step out of clothes and leave them.  
Step out of shoes and leave them.

I have not the energy or the strength to say, “pick them up.”
Thinking about it causes the despair to creep back in.  
So I refuse to think.
I blindly pick them up and put them in another pile.

To the left are piles of papers I did not have the energy to read.
I watch it pile up and up and I leave it.  
“Someday” I will handle it.  “Someday” never comes.

I have not the energy or the strength to handle the daily barrage of papers in my world.
Thinking about it causes the despair to creep back in.  
So I refuse to think.
I blindly pick up the days mail and put it in another pile.

In front of me is a kitchen piled with dirty dishes.  
Everyone ate.  No one moved a thing.
I watch it pile up for days at a time.
Sometimes three days, or four days, before I can drag in there and wash them.
Sometimes the food molds on the plates, and the stench makes me want to vomit.

I have not the energy or the strength to clean my house.  
I am unable to move.
Thinking about it causes the despair to creep back in.  
So I refuse to think.
I blindly stumble into the kitchen, and get another cup of coffee.

I don’t feel depressed every day.
Some days I laugh … or I sing
Some days I create beautiful things, and I notice a flower… or a child… or a breeze.

But those days are too few, because my world is too painful.

Thinking about it causes the despair to creep back in.  
So I refuse to think.
I blindly shut out my thoughts.  
close off my feelings.

And I stare at my wall of inadequacy. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Making a list before you go to the office supply store is just as important as making a list before you go to the grocery store.  The purpose?  To make sure you get everything you need, and to make sure you don’t over-buy.
The isles are filled with impulse items, and colorful items to encourage you to buy things you don’t need.  Resist this temptation.
You should have a list posted on your file cabinet (yes, magnets will stick to a file cabinet) for office supplies, in the same way you should have a list posted on your refrigerator for food items.  As you are running low on an office item,  simply jot it down on the list. 

When you go to the office supply store, simply check off the items as they are purchased.  This will prevent having to make more trips than necessary, and will prevent you from buying things you already have on hand.

If you are overbuying items, you are not doing yourself any good.  It costs you extra money, and if you don’t think through your purchases, the new green file folder holder can easily turn into desk clutter in the future.

Pre-plan your trip to the office supply store.  Make a list; check it twice.

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Income at HomeIn an ideal world, you should put your home office in a low traffic area.  You should set certain office hours and stick to it.  You should not bring your work into your living area, and you should not bring things from other parts of the house into your work area.  That’s the ideal.

In the real world, sometimes that is simply not possible.  But, there are some real-world suggestions that you should adhere to in order to make your home-office experience more workable.

1. Establish a place for everything, and put everything in it’s place.

2. Establish an area for each activity, and perform every activity in it’s area.

3. Store things at or near the point where they are going to be used.

4. Label everything.  Especially boxes and file folders.

5. Use one calendar for your work-life and your life-life. 

6. Keep your home area and your work area separate, if possible.  If it is not possible, try to have certain 
    hours for work.

7. If your children use your home office area as a homework area, have a special place for their supplies

8. Don’t let your children answer your business phone.

When you set up your home office, take traffic patterns into consideration.  Be flexible.  Remember why you are working at home, and make the best of it.

 Have a terrific day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Don't lose important documents!

My favorite suggestion for invitations, tickets, and papers you are afraid to lose, is to designate a special file folder for these papers.  I like to call this file my “pending” file. 
When an invitation, or other time sensitive document comes in, make a note of the event in your planner on the correct day and time.  Then under the events entry, write “tickets filed in pending.”   It will look something like this:

“Name of event” - “invitation (ticket, flyer, directions, etc.) filed in pending”

It is important to keep your “pending” file close to you in your temporary files — and it is extremely important that you put all of your invitations, event tickets and directions in this file.  This is so you will always look in the same place for these important documents.  If you put them in more than one place, you will eventually get confused about which place you are using.

If you decide to use this system, you must really use it, or you will forget about it.  If you do use it, you will find that it will eliminate the problem of losing important papers.

I call this my "pending file," but you can call this file anything you want.  Select a word that works for you.

Put time-sensitive documents, like invitations, where you will be sure not to forget about them.  Every time you put a paper into the pending file, make a note in your planner so you won't forget.  Soon, losing important papers will be a thing of the past! 

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Is it realistic to touch every piece of paper only once? For most people, the answer is NO!

But you also shouldn't have to continually shuffle the same piece of paper over and over again, either.  So what’s the solution?

Try setting up temporary files for the papers you need at your fingertips.  You can set up temporary categories such as “to write” “to do” “to file,” etc.  Simply look at your major categories (determined by the piles on your desk) and make temporary files for each group of papers.
Then for your active projects, label a hanging folder with the name of the project, or action that needs to be done:
“project about xxxxx, due on xxxxx”
“write letter to xxxxxxx”
“give papers to xxxxxxxxxx”

Set up these files near you in your desk file drawer or in a file crate right next to, or right under your desk.  These will become your action / project files.
They will provide a home for all of the papers that would normally get piled on your desk.  Then when the new papers come in, either put them in the existing file folder with other papers like them, or make a new label and put the new category in a file folder.

You will feel wonderful when you get ready to work on a project and all of the associated papers are together.

Set up your temporary action files.  Put urgent to-do's in the front, and all other to-do's after the urgent ones.
Use an action folders instead of piles. Keep them near you so you can use them easily.

Questions?  Send me an email.

Have a terrific day!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Yes - No - Maybe?

How do you make the decisions about what to keep and not keep?  How can you tear yourself away from the clutter when your emotions get involved and you can't process weeding through all of the piles of stuff? How can you clear up your clutter, when everything seems so important or meaningful in the moment?

Sandra Felton, The Organizer Lady, says we should only keep things that are beautiful, or difficult to replace.  If we all did that, we wouldn't have the clutter problems that we have.

So... What is the rule for letting things go?

Here it is:

You should keep what you want, and not keep what you don't want.  It's that simple.

We don't want it all... but the problem is... in the moment we can't let it go.

I have a method that seems to work, and I'll share it with you.  I call it, "Yes, No, Maybe."
  • Yes - I want it and I know where it belongs.
  • No - I don't want it, and it's going to charity, a designated person, or trash.  (In other words, it's leaving.)
  • Maybe - I don't know if I want it or not, or I want it but I don't know where it goes.

Here's how to clear off a surface using "Yes-No-Maybe:"

1. Select your surface
2. Pick up the first item.  Ask yourself, "What is it?  Do I want it?"
3. If it's a yes, put it where it belongs.
4. If it's a no, put it in the correct box (charity) (my sister) (etc.), or put it in the trash
5. If it's a maybe, put it in a box labeled "maybe" with the date and the room it came from.
6. Put all "maybe" boxes in a designated space.
7. After your surface is cleared off, you can go through the "maybe" boxes again using "yes-no-maybe.  You'll be surprised at how much you can let go of the second time around.

Doing this exercise clears off your surfaces and helps you develop your "organizing muscles."

Have a terrific day!

Marsha Sims

Friday, January 11, 2013

Decide the fate of every incoming piece of paper.

Do papers come into your office and somehow wind up on your desk? 

Look at the papers on your desk.  The reason it’s hard to move the stacks is because the stacks represent a myriad of postponed decisions.  There’s the paper that needs to be filed, the active current project, the bill that needs to be paid, the paper waiting for an answer, the invitation that needs an RSVP once you decide whether or not you want to attend, the memo, the phone messages.....

How did this happen?  The papers you put on your desk from that important meeting somehow got buried under the new memo which got buried under the latest report which got buried under... you know the routine.

So how do you handle this? How do you a) keep it from happening, and b) clear it off (for good)?  The answer lies in sorting. 

The way to keep it from happening is to put it in the correct place when you first bring it in. 


The way to begin the process of clearing off your desk is to sort the items into approachable stacks.  Put all of the active projects together, then label them and put them in a file cabinet near you.  Put all of the bills together then label them and put them in a file cabinet near you, etc.  The key is to label them so you can find them when you need them. 

This allows you to know where to put other like things when they come in, and allows you to be able to find your work when you need it, yet keeps your work area free.


New class: "Opening the Boxes," begins Tuesday, February, 5, 2013.  

Once you see what you really have, and everything is in a find-able format, you can begin to attack the stacks.

Sorting is the beginning step.  Have a terrific day!


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