Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS
Certified Professional Organizer®
Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist®
Ways We Can Help
You can save money. You'll know what you already own, eliminating the need to buy duplicate items. A professional organizer can help you find the perfect organizing products for your space and lifestyle, so you stop wasting money on things you don't need or won't work.
You can become more productive and efficient. A professional organizer can create order and structure out of chaos. You'll receive systems that work for your dominant learning style, your lifestyle, your needs, your challenges, and your dreams.
You'll have a positive self-image and ditch the shame. Once your home or office is neat and tidy, you won't feel embarrassed to have guests visit. The guilt will fade away as you take pride in your surroundings.
You'll have a healthier environment. Physical and emotional clutter obscures your surroundings. An organized home and office is more easily cleaned. Lose the clutter and cut down on time spent moving piles of paper and stuff around.
Your stress level will decrease dramatically. When you can find what you need, are on top of your to-dos, and arrive on time, you'll feel calmer and have more peace of mind. No more feeling overwhelmed by life -- you'll be the one in control.
You'll discover more time for yourself. When you're organized, your days go as planned, and you get a lot more done. That leaves more time to indulge in a little "me time."
Your energy will shine.
Clutter is a mask and a professional organizer can help you take off that mask. Once the clutter is removed, you can showcase your talents, skills, and personality and have the life you deserve.
Could someone on your list use a gift that can help them de-stress and spend more time doing what they love?
Contact us now to give someone the gift they can benefit from all year long. |
Real Order e-Newsletter
The Paper Chase
Taking Control of the Paper in Your Home or Office
"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it's not all mixed up." - A.A. Milne
I read this quote recently by the author of Winnie the Pooh and thought it was brilliant. In this line of work, I often witness situations in people's lives that are simply not working for them. It's exciting and fun to be a part of the solution when someone is truly ready to change and move forward in a positive way. Sometimes I get to share from a personal perspective why being organized makes sense on so many different levels and how the fingers of it affect everything in our lives. I've often said that if being organized didn't work so well, I wouldn't be bothered. And that's really the truth. It's what keeps me doing the little things that can turn into big problems if neglected. So I think Winnie the Pooh had it right when he said life is easier (and more fun) when it's not all mixed up. Well said indeed!
Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS
Real Order Professional Organizing, LLC
Paper Management, Step by Step
First, gather file folders, hanging file folders, a felt-tip pen and large garbage (or recycling) bags or boxes. Every household or office also needs an appropriate type of file cabinet or box; the size will depend on the amount of papers you must keep. Make a commitment to work on this project for at least one uninterrupted hour. Enlist a friend or professional organizer if you need help or encouragement.
Determine where to start: Start on desktops, countertops or urgently-needed surfaces. Your most recently-received papers will be here. Resist the urge to start with the papers on the floor or stuffed in paper bags or boxes.
Determine the types of papers you receive on a regular basis as you start sorting. Create a neat pile of the papers on the surface you're working on. Pick up the top one. Ask yourself, "What is this? Do I need to keep it? Do I need to take action on this? Or do I just need to file it in case I need to retrieve it later?" Toss as much as you can.
As you encounter papers that need to elicit an "action," put them in a folder labeled "TO DO" (i.e., class to sign up for, RSVP to send, etc.)
As you encounter bills to pay, separate them out by putting them in a folder labeled "BILLS TO PAY." (Try a bright red folder.)
As you encounter papers that simply need to be read and then disposed of (magazine articles you clipped, newsletters, etc.), put them in a folder labeled "TO READ." Tip: Take this folder with you when you'll be waiting (e.g. doctor's office, dentist, bank, mechanic, kids' soccer practice, etc.)
As you encounter papers that need to be discussed with your significant other or co-worker, put them in a folder labeled "DISCUSS WITH XXXXXXX."
Everything else should be either thrown out or filed neatly according to subject. Sort into simple categories that make sense to you. For example, some home categories might include: medical, pets, taxes, hobbies, outdoor activities, utility bills, car, home improvement, credit cards, insurance, 401K, education, projects.
CONTINUE AND TOSS
Work on getting all surfaces clear of papers using the above techniques. Then, conquer the remaining piles (if any) from the floor or elsewhere. You should find these piles contain more papers for your "toss" category. Remember, only 20% of the things we file will ever be retrieved again. When in doubt, throw it out!
From here on out, manage paper daily. Sort mail immediately. Toss out junk mail. Put remainder into "TO READ," "TO DO," or "BILLS TO PAY" folders. (Keep these folders in an easily-accessible spot, i.e., the kitchen.) Make time every week to file everything else in your filing cabinet or box.
© 2009 Articles on Demand™
February is National Archive Your Files Month and as you prepare for tax season, it's the perfect time to clear out your working files, get rid of papers you don't need and store away those that you need to keep.
Archived files should be stored in a safe place, protected from moisture. If you don't have room in your home or office, use an off-site storage facilty. They will catalog and safely store your paper, retrieve a document any time you need it, and can destroy your records once they have outlived their usefulness.
The amount of records you need to keep is more limited than you probably think. Consumer advisor Clark Howard gives the following advice. Keep in mind these are general guidelines and are not cast in stone - check with your accountant or attorney if you have questions.
RECORDS TO KEEP
Tax returns, keep forever
Tax return documentation, for six years
Real estate records, forever
Last pay stub of a job if you leave that job
Last pay stub of the year for your current job
All mortgage payment checks (statements), until mortgage is paid off
All student loan payments, until loan is paid off
Car loan payment stubs, until the car is paid off
Cancelled checks, for 7 years
Bank deposit slips, for 7 years
Bank statements, for 7 years
Home improvement records, ownership period plus 7 years
Investment records, ownership period plus 7 years
WHAT YOU CAN TOSS
Credit card statements that are more than three years old
Past insurance statements
Old utility bills, except the most recent one from your old address if you've moved
Recently paid bills (statements), once you have something saying they've been paid
Source: www.clarkhoward.com and Online Organizing.
Take control of your paper in style with products that blend functionality and fun.
Colorful and decorative file folders are available from many online retailers:
For a complete ready-to-go filing system, check out My Vital Files
. Files are pre-labled, color-coded and alphabetized into categories. Blank folders and labels allow you to customize your filing system.
|Bills, Bills, Bills
Are you losing money each month to interest charges and late fees on your bills? Reduce the stress of bill paying, as well as keep some extra money in your pocket, by establishing a system and schedule for paying your bills.
Keep your bills in one place, separate from other mail and papers. File them there as soon as they arrive. Bills won't get misplaced and you won't waste time searching for them when you sit down to make payments.
Set a regular time to pay them; for example, every Wednesday or the 1st and 15th of the month - create a schedule that works for you. Make bill paying a part of your regular routine and it will be easier to stay on top of it.
Consider setting up a bill-pay service through your bank. Bills can be sent electronically to you or to the bank. You can then pay online, or set up regular automatic payments through your bank's bill pay system. No paper bills, no checks to write, no stamps and no late payments.
Budget billing from your utility providers will help to balance your costs over the year. If your utility providers offer this service, they will look at your usage for the past year and average your billing over 12 months so you pay the same amount each month.
Source: Online Organizing