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May All of Your Organizing Dreams Come True: The Top 10 Tips

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In Los Angeles, April showers were a blip on the screen but May flowers come up
anyway. Ya gotta love L.A.!

With a play on the word May - our organizing theme this month is simple: May you
find the organizing system that works best for you!

Not all organizing systems are appropriate for all brain types. Left-brain dominate
people may do well with a file system where papers are out of sight. People who
rely upon visual cues may create a "piling" system instead. Knowing your brain type
will increase the likelihood of maintaining a successful organizing system

1. The point of having a filing system is to find and retrieve the information you
need when you need it. An effective filing system will save you time and minimize
the chance that you will lose important documents and records. Filing is most effective
when clearly labeled tabs contain the information on the label. This may include
an array of information from finances to recipes. Keep like information together
and file paper as soon as you need to. Nothing is more frustrating than not being
able to find important records when you need them.

2. Binders are great visual file systems for everything you can imagine: tax information,
emergency contacts, car maintenance, children's artwork, medical information etc.
Be sure to include tabs, sheet protectors, labels, and anything else you will need
to keep things in a clearly labeled and easily accessible part of the binder. The
binder will only be as effective as you make it. For example, shoving papers in
the binder without putting them in the proper section may lead to more disorganization
and frustration later on.

3. For those that have a difficult time putting things away, clearly labeled piles
may be helpful and require less effort. A paper tray helps keep piles organized.

4. How are you supposed to remember what's in the bins or boxes in your home if
they are not labeled? There is a difference between a box with "tree ornaments"
and a box with "house decorations." The easiest way to identify what you need when
you need it is to make clearly identifiable labels.

5. Any drawer can become the "junk" drawer where finding items may be difficult.
Drawer organizers are great for organizing everything from office supplies to socks.

6. Create a family calendar with a "to do" check list. If you are in charge of managing
multiple schedules, keep all activities in one place to avoid overbooking and overstressing.

7. Bookshelves aren't just for books! THey can be used to fit bins that contain
items off your dressers and floors. Find what works best for you.

8. Create zones in your place, like with like. Every item should already have a
designated 'home' so it can be put back instead of placed into a pile or left on
the floor. Use vertical space, cabinets and shelving to create zones for your files,
supplies, mail (envelopes, stamps, checkbook) and resources (books/research).

9. Paper: Don't keep what you don't need. The majority of what is filed never sees
the light of day again. So before you put something away, avoid the "this may come
in handy one day" syndrome. Ask yourself: Can I find this information anywhere else?
If the answer is "yes" then discard the item.

10. Use technology to help with your organization. With technology and websites
like NeatReceipts, CardScan, Intelliscanner, and ScanDigital, you can get rid of
business cards, receipts, archive papers and photographs. Your smartphone also
has a calendar and notepad for you to jot on-the-go notes you need to remember later
one.

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