Organized & Productive 
December, 2012

As we head into the height of the holiday season, the barrage of television ads, catalogs, and enticing store displays increases every day. Since it all began as far back as September, it's no wonder that sometimes we all become susceptible to the onslaught of buy, buy, buy. Then, the post-holiday reaction sets in. We survey our homes filled to the brink with stuff, our bank accounts depleted, and resolve never again - at least until the next holiday season begins! I propose that instead of reacting after it's too late, we are pro-active,  

Lisa S. Griffith
Lisa S. Griffith

starting now. Consider a stuff-free, or at least a reduced-stuff holiday. Give the gift of time and experiences. Tickets to the movies or a sporting event, gift certificates for the spa or the zoo, a coupon that the bearer can redeem for your time and services, such as babysitting, or computer tech help. Grandparents and parents alike - what your children crave most is not another plastic toy or electronic gizmo. It's your time and attention! How about a "day out with Dad" coupon, complete with lunch and a movie?


Even more importantly, consider those less fortunate. A donation in a colleague's name to their favorite charity is so much more meaningful than another mug or CD. As a long-time teacher, my most treasured gift from one of my students was a donation to Heifer International, an organization that provides needy families in other countries with livestock, such as chickens and goats, that can feed and sustain them not just once, but indefinitely. One of the most significant gifts my children received one Christmas were "charity choice" gift certificates  - where they could choose the charity to which their donation would go. My eldest daughter, who had just returned from a semester abroad in Ecuador, was delighted to be able to designate her donation to a medical clinic there.


While I enjoy those thoughtful gifts that my loved ones have taken the time and energy to give, I most look forward to time spent with family and friends, good food, time-honored traditions and remembering my faith, the real reason I celebrate the holidays with such joy!


I wish you all the same -  

a holiday season not filled with stuff, but with joy, love and peace!


colorful storage boxes
A Place for Everything

  Over the past several months, I've been outlining the basics

  of my IN ORDER™ system for getting organized.


  The first part of the process - IN - covers the mental  

  preparation necessary for getting started:

  I = Invest your time, money and energy into the organizing


  N = Determine the area of greatest Need for organization in

  your living or working space.


  The second part of the process involves the physical steps

  one must take:

  O = Organize every single item in the space into categories,

  like items with like items.

  R = Reduce that which you don't need or use in your life as  

  you currently live it today.


That brings us to: 



After you've organized your possessions/papers into categories, you must designate a home for them in your living/working space. This is where those items will live each and every day - where you will be able to find them easily and quickly, and where you will return them after every use. Why organize items into categories? So that you can see how much of each category you have, figure out how much space you need to house them, and determine how often they will be used. Designate specific homes for each category of clothing in your closet, for the dishes & cooking utensils in your kitchen, for the papers in your office. Decide how often you use the items, and put the most-often used items in places that are most easily accessible. Use the front of your closet for the clothes you wear most often, mid-level drawers and cabinet shelves in your kitchen for the items you cook with every day, a desk-top file box for those papers in your office that you need to keep at your fingertips. Items that are only used occasionally, or seasonally, should be stored in less-accessible places since you don't have to retrieve them as often. Paperwork that needs to be saved, but not accessed regularly (think past years' tax returns) can go in the attic, or in a distant closet. Toys that are favorites, the ones your child reaches for again and again, need to go on easily accessible shelves in open bins. Regularly used items should be just as easy to put away as they are to take out (especially important when it comes to children and their toys!) If it's difficult to put something away that you must use regularly, you probably won't make the effort, and your space will quickly become cluttered and disorganized again.


Another benefit of designating a home for every category of items in your home or office is that it limits how much you accumulate and save. If you have designated a certain number of shelves for your books, or a specific drawer for your sweaters, or a file drawer for interesting articles, for example, make the commitment that once that space is full, you won't bring any more of those items into your space until you've made room for it. That means carefully considering what you use on a regular basis, whether it has relevance in your life as you live it now, and whether bringing an additional item into the space is worth letting an existing item go to make room. If you are able to set those limits and abide by them, you will easily be able to maintain your organized spaces. Remember that the less stuff you have, whether it's clothes, books, dishes or papers, the easier it is to maintain.


Making the decision to designate a place for everything,  

to put everything back in its place,  

and to limit how much you accumulate,  

will allow you to spend less time managing your stuff,  

and more time living your life!



Next month -



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 In peace, in joy,  


Lisa S. Griffith
The Organized Way
Organizing Specialist/Speaker 
Office: (401) 289-0042
Mobile: (401) 529-1674 
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