After years of shoulding on myself, I hired professional organizer Kathy Jenkins of Come to Order. In our initial phone consultation, she quickly assessed that I was a visual person. She asked about my filing system. I told her I had 3 fabulous file cabinets in my desk that I hadn't opened after setting up an initial system of files 6 months prior. "THIS time I'm going to stick to it!" I had vowed.
"No, no, no," Kathy said. "That won't work for you. Out of sight, out of mind. If you haven't opened a drawer that is at your knee for 6 months, you won't open it if I set up files for you in there. You have to see it or you'll forget about it." Yes! Someone who understands. We scheduled a 3-hour block of time. My homework was to get hanging files & a bunch of files in assorted colours: green for Financial, Yellow for Personal, Red for Household. She told me to get a pretty file box that I would like looking at. I couldn't find any, so I got a plastic file box and decoupaged it.
"You don't want to do that," said Kathy as she surveyed the stack of boxes in my office. "You might have something important in there, like a birth certificate." Oh.
So this is what we did: we set up the file system first. And she gave me a reference of what I needed to keep and for how long. And then we went thru a box. It was so easy to assess whether I needed to keep something or toss it. The other great thing was that because the file box was portable, I could take it to the living room with me and file stuff while watching TV. Now, when I do my bills, (always on the 1st of the month, thank you John Morgan) I just file things away immediately. No more piles.
And guess what I found? My birth certificate. :-)
I've had Kathy back 2 more times; all in my office again. We organized all my art supplies.
The last time Kathy came, we worked on my desk. She helped me set up a Tickler File. Now when I see the perfect birthday card for someone 5 months before their birthday, I know where to put it!
|I think in terms of weeks in a month, so I have Weeks 1-5; but you could do a file for each day of the month &then number files 1-31. And then I have a file for each month. There's a b-day card for Brother Atlasta already in Sept. :-)|
|Desk drawer. This is 2 months after the organization, & I've kept it this way!|
|I'm a big fan of sticky notes. Also postal-type stuff: stamps, address labels, etc.|
There are people who are born organized and to them, it is unfathomable how a person could not be organized. When things are easy to us, we think they're easy universally. I can whip up a painting or Martha Stewart my way thru creating a birthday gift. That's easy. To me. There's a saying that comparison is the thief of joy. I was comparing myself to uber-organized people I know and then beating myself up for not being like that. But they can't do what I do. We all have different talents and skills.
"Progress, not perfection."
This is what Kathy says. I have it written on my white board in the hallway as a reminder. Perfection paralyzes. I'll wait til I have time to do a proper job. Perfection judges. This isn't good enough (which can easily slip into I'm not good enough). Perfection is exhausting. Nothing is perfect, there's always more to do! I gave up perfection a long time ago. Progress I can live with!