Take My Quiz: How Organized Are You?
- Are you wasting time going through stacks of paper to find
- If the IRS says you are being audited,
could you find your 2002 tax documents?
- Does the mail
feel like daily incoming chaos adding to your overwhelm?
you know how to minimize your risk of identity theft?
you like to keep your car in the garage and off the street?
you getting hit with late fees on your bills?
- Do you know
how to rid yourself of receiving junk mail and telemarketing
- Are you frequently late because you cannot find your
eyeglasses, keys or wallet?
- Can you serve dinner at your dining room
- 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
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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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