Pam Condie
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Pam Condie

Take my Quiz:

How Organized are you?

View my free article:
5 Fears About Organizing Your Home or Office...

Take My Quiz: How Organized Are You?

  1. Are you wasting time going through stacks of paper to find things?

  2. If the IRS says you are being audited, could you find your 2002 tax documents?

  3. Does the mail feel like daily incoming chaos adding to your overwhelm?

  4. Do you know how to minimize your risk of identity theft?

  5. Would you like to keep your car in the garage and off the street?

  6. Are you getting hit with late fees on your bills?

  7. Do you know how to rid yourself of receiving junk mail and telemarketing calls?

  8. Are you frequently late because you cannot find your eyeglasses, keys or wallet?

  9. Can you serve dinner at your dining room table?

  10. Have you missed social events because the invitations got buried under a pile of papers somewhere?

If you discovered that you are less organized than you would like to be in your home or office, read on for some tips that address these issues.

Tips on Getting Better Organized

Questions 1-3

Do you find that papers multiply on their own?  They need to be contained in files, and all files need to be in a system. When you create a filing system keep in mind that it should be thought of as a "finding" system. File titles should be meaningful to you and in whatever words can easily trigger your memory. A file index is essential so that you will know what you have. Store the index on your computer and put a printout of it in the front of your filing cabinet's top drawer.

Question 4

There are things you can do to control your exposure to identity theft. Any paper you are discarding that contains sensitive information, i.e., your social security number, bank or other accounts including your utility bills, should be crosscut shredded so that the shredding strips cannot be reconstructed by a "dumpster diver." 

Question 5

Interestingly, most garages have become dumping grounds for things we have not dealt with and want to ignore. Whether you want to use the garage as an office, hobby facility or car storage unit, I can help you make the best use of the space.

Question 6

One way to avoid late payments is to make a date with yourself once or twice a month. If you write it on your calendar, you will remember to pay your bills on time. Set the date or dates so that you can pay the bills and mail them in with plenty of time to meet their due dates. Paying on-line or setting up automatic payments at your bank will save you time as well.

Question 7

Save time and annoyance by drastically reducing junk mail. Write a letter to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association (DMA), P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY  11735-9008 and request that you are taken off advertiser-member mailing lists. Include in your letter all the names of people who live at your house as well as the usual misspellings of their names used on mail, and your address. These lists are scanned by DMA members once a quarter and therefore will take about four months to kick in. Your request is good for five years. Since about 75 percent of direct mailers belong to DMA, you will get rid of most junk mail with this method. Click here for a free form to mail to the DMA.

Cut telemarketers out of your evening meals. Call (888) 5-OPT OUT or (888) 567-8688 and wait for the option for the longer period of time to opt out of offers of credit. Otherwise you will only opt out for two years.

Question 8

Getting organized begins with the willingness to accept change in your life. Making decisions and establishing new habits are two vital steps to getting organized. Deciding where you will store each of these three important things and making sure at the end of each day that they are where you always put them will give you a head start on the next day.

Question 9

Putting stuff in a temporary place "for now" frequently means "forever."   For many people the dining room table has become a way station for clutter, particularly for incoming mail. If you clear the table of its paper burden and decide to use it for dining, it is vital that you not let it return to its cluttered state. Before each day is over, sort and put away everything that does not belong on it.

How you use any tool, such a table, is up to you. You get to choose its highest and best use. I know artists who have given up their dining rooms in order to have a studio at home. They eat in the kitchen or elsewhere. 

Question 10

Clutter can cause shame even if no one outside your family sees it. It is embarrassing not to show up at an event just because of losing an invitation in a pile of papers. When you receive an invitation put the event on your calendar and RSVP immediately. Once the event (and directions to get there) are on your calendar, you can recycle the invitation.


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"I needed professional help in clearing my clutter and 'putting my house in order' after a two-year illness. Pam's non-judgmental approach made me feel completely comfortable. I feel she has given me my house back."

Susan Emmons
Retired Horticulturist
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