Organizing Your Paper, Spaces & Time 

Organized & Productive 
July, 2015    


Block Island sailboats


I can hardly believe that summer is so quickly slipping by.
My vow to tackle some of my own organizing projects,
Lisa S. Griffith
but also spend some quality time on the beach, has only
been partially fulfilled. So - time to buckle down,
but also to savor, enjoy, and relax for a few more weeks
in the sunshine!
Are you achieving your summertime goals?
It's not too late! Go, do, enjoy!



Top 5 Favorite Organizing Tools 


When people hear that I'm a professional organizer, they always want to know what my recommendations are for the best stuff to help them get organized. What bin, basket, file folder, shelf organizer, calendar, planner will make them better organized people, get more done, keep the clutter at bay? My first and last answer is always, "your brain." Because getting and staying organized and productive is always about HOW you do something, not necessarily WHAT you use to do it with. The key to organization lies in the process, not the product.


However, that being said, I do have a few favorite organizing tools that I use and recommend very often, and in varied situations. They are simple, easy to find, and multi-functional. I'm happy to share them with you, and hope that one or two serves you organizationally in a positive way! Here are my top five go-to tools:


This handy product, originally marketed to hang on the back of a closet door to hold shoes, can be used for a variety of purposes and in many locations, both at home and in the office. It usually comes with over-the-door hangers, but I seldom use them (they can be a pain, scratch the top of the door jamb, and become dislodged.) I usually just hang them from a few hooks or nails that I install at the top of the door. It can also be hung easily on any open wall space, such as on the side wall of a closet, or the wall behind a door. Use it in an office to contain office supplies, such as staples, tape, paper clips, post-it notes, pens, rubber bands, etc. Use it in a child's room to hold hair accessories, small toys (such as Matchbox cars or Polly Pockets), socks and underwear, or arts & crafts supplies. Use it on any closet door or wall to hold rolled-up scarves, hats, gloves, accessories. In the bathroom it can hold toiletries, hair brushes, and cosmetics. In a utility closet (especially in the kitchen) it can hold household repair supplies, batteries, tape, matches, glue - all of the little stuff that clutters up your "junk drawer." It comes in many types of fabric, but I prefer the clear vinyl kind, because you can easily see what's in each pocket. Labeling the pockets makes it even easier to remember what goes where when it's time for clean-up.


Zip-top poly envelope 

This inexpensive, simple tool corrals all of those little slips of paper that accumulate in your purse, briefcase, or car. Use it to hold receipts, coupons, business cards, blank index cards for quick notes - anything that floats around loose and clutters up whatever you carry around with you on a daily basis. At the end of the week, empty it out, file, toss, shred, etc. It's an easy, safe way to contain all the little stuff where you know you can find it until it gets to its permanent home.


Tickler File 

This 43-pocket accordion file goes by many different names, but is commonly called a tickler file because it holds paperwork in dated sections to "tickle" your brain to remember something. Search for it on Amazon or office supply stores under names like "monthly daily file", or  "1-31 Jan-Dec desk file and sorter", or "1-31 Jan-Dec file." It consists of 31 sections labeled 1-31 for the days of the current month, and 12 additional sections labeled Jan. - Dec. for each month of the year. It's a great place to keep paperwork that you will need at a future date, such as theater or sports tickets, medical forms for upcoming doctor's visits, notes for a future meeting or conference, or travel documents. If the paperwork is needed on a specific date in the current month, it goes in one of the numbered sections. If the paperwork is needed in a future month, it lives in that month's section, then can be transferred at the beginning of that month into the daily dated section. Some people like to use it for reminders of actions that need to be taken on a future date - jot down whatever you need to be reminded of on an index card, then toss it into the appropriate section. Using the tickler in this manner requires that you check it every day. Some folks love it, others prefer just to use it to house documents that they know they will need at a specific time (as I do.) If you've ever misplaced important paperwork that you need to produce on a specific day (think tickets, of any kind), you will find a tickler file to be incredibly helpful.  



The organizer's best friend! My husband often jokes that when I die, he's throwing my label-maker into the casket with me, since it's in my hand so often! I've found that slapping a label on a drawer, bin, file, container or cabinet helps everyone remember what goes where. Finding what you need quickly and being able to return it to its home is crucial to staying organized, and a label can make it easier and quicker. There are many makes and brands out there, but my recommendation is to buy the simplest and easiest to use. Complicated label-makers only make things more challenging, and isn't that what we're trying to avoid?



There are tons of time management tools out there, and everyone has their favorite, both paper and electronic. My go-to calendar is my Google Calendar, and I keep my "address book" in Google Contacts, since they sync easily between my mobile phone, Ipad, and my laptop at home. They are cloud-based, so if anything happens to my computer or phone, I can easily retrieve the information from anywhere online by just logging into my G-Mail account. And it's free :-)  If you like to keep your to-do list electronically (I'm a paper gal, but I have many clients who prefer the digital option), try Google Tasks. Also free, syncs automatically between all devices, and cloud-based.


So, there are my five favorites. I hope that you find at least one of them helpful for your organizing journey. My criteria are that they are easy to use, inexpensive, and multi-purpose. As you work through and with your organizing systems, you will find that you will come across tools that make life easier for you, too. I'd love to see what you use - share with me on my Facebook page!


 "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

(Leonardo da Vinci) 


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South County Hospital's  

Women's Wellness Day 

Saturday, September 19, 2015
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Newport Marriott
25 America's Cup Ave.
Newport, RI

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In order, in joy, 



Lisa S. Griffith, CPOŽ 
The Organized Way
Organizing & Productivity Specialist/Speaker 
Phone:  (401) 289-0042
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