Tip Sheet -

10 Funny Tips for GETTING ORGANIZED by Liz Franklin

(In honor of all our messy friends, we respectfully submit this lighthearted piece on...)


10 funny tips for Get Organized Week from a veteran organizer  

(Approx. 500 words)

1. There is no "one-size-fits-all" organizing method, any more than there are "one-size-fits-all" underpants.

2. Every disorganized person has good reasons for their disorganization. Your reason might be as simple as, "I like things messy. It inspires my artistic side", or even, "I haven’t gotten around to cleaning up yet". Find your true reason and you’ll cure your disorganization for good.

3. Handling paper once doesn’t work. Handle it as many times as you need to in order to get the job done. The only paper you can handle once is Kleenex. And now I’m going to ignore that other thought you just had. . .

4. Want to murder your To-Do list? Use index cards instead, and write one task on each card. Then sort them by due date, by activity, or even color. When you’re done with one task, throw the card away. You’ll never write a To-Do list again.

5. Neatness is not the same thing as being organized. Neatness is only prettiness. Don’t get hung up on it. Focus on effectiveness. If people complain because your office is disorganized, tell them that's like criticizing Albert Einstein for his haircut.

6. Change the word "organize" to the word "access" and your cure becomes clear. For example, instead of saying, "I need to organize the stuff on my kitchen table", say, "I need better access to the stuff on my kitchen table." Many people are able to throw away their Prozac after a simple furniture rearrangement.

7. Is your reading pile too high? Rearrange it according to when each piece must be read, then put it in files, baskets or bins labeled accordingly. For example: "Read before Monday Meetings", "Read at night in bed", and "If I Don’t Read These Nobody Will Die".

8. Piles indicate the source of the problem.  Example:  A pile in front of the door means you can’t handle any more people coming in, a pile in front of the phone means you don’t want any more calls, a pile in front of the computer means you haven’t learned the new program yet—and don’t want to. Piles can also mean you’re just plain busy. If anyone complains, tell them they’re just jealous.
9. Allow a "junk basket" in every room.  You need a place for things to marinate until you’re ready to handle them. To think you’ll ever be "done" is ludicrous—you’re never done until you’re dead.

10. Forget the old saying, "Don’t put it down until you’ve handled it." Change that to, "Don’t put it down until you’ve verbed it." The fastest, cheapest way to organize a desk is to put a stickie on each piece of paper in such a way that it’s sticking up like a flag. Then write the pertinent verb and due date on each stickie. For example, "Pay October 15th", "Fax Friday 9/24", "Call Monday", etc. Verb and a date, verb and a date, verb and a date. This is now your new mantra. There will be a test.


© Copyright by Liz Franklin
Permission for one time use granted to professional media when you use the byline "used by permission of Liz Franklin, author of HOW TO GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT RESORTING TO ARSON"