|img via tumblr / graphic mine|
As an accompanying feature for last week's desk tour, I thought I'd get down in the nitty-gritty and share with you my favorite specific organization tips.
I'm pretty organized by nature. I jokingly say that "I can't think until everything's in it's place," and if I'm honest that's more truth than myth! But we all have our lazy moments, and even my natural tendencies don't override that. For example: I keep things clean without the drawers (i.e. the pretty, visible parts) but within could be any manner of chaos. Maybe you can relate? We can find our favorite fragrance or a statement necklace or a ring whenever we need it, but sometimes the paperwork all gets shoved in a drawer and forgotten about because, well, it's boring.
We all know that one of the best parts about being a creative is getting to run your office however you like, but if you can't find your tax forms because they're mixed in with your lipstick swatches, you're going to have more problems than an unpleasant aesthetic! Here's how I try to maintain the chaos that is the creative lifestyle, so that I can continue to live it.
1. HAVE A SYSTEM
If you just put all your bills, bank receipts and any other type of paperwork in one location, when you come looking for one, you have to sift through all the others, too. Sounds pretty basic, right? You don't have to have one of those big ugly filing cabinets (or, if you find a cute one, maybe you do!) to keep the legal stuff in order. A simple 3-5 folder system, lying flat in a drawer, can solve a lot of problems. One for completed paperwork (e.g. bank receipts), one for the paperwork that's still in process (e.g. checks to be deposited), one for records (e.g. bank statements). However you choose to do it, having a system will save you so much time!
2. PUT THINGS AWAY - RIGHT AWAY.
The minute you come home from being out, with your purse full of the odds-and-ends of the errand, your shoes, your sunglasses, your book, laptop - whatever you carry with you: resist the temptation to pop open your laptop right there and start responding to emails, and instead put everything in it's proper place first. Not only will this keep your workspace less cluttered, it also makes the atmosphere more conducive to productivity: everything has it's place, and you don't spend time rummaging among things that shouldn't be there. ;)
3. REGULAR PURGES
Even the best of us can't keep a clean desk 24/7: that's why I recommend regularly cleaning out your desk, throwing away old papers that are beyond their use (not the important ones, of course!) and rethinking what really needs to be there and what can find a home elsewhere. Since I spend so much of my day at my desk, it's easy for me to collect an army of random things (a sticky note to-do list that I haven't quite finished, a drawing I haven't found a place for, a book that needs to go back on the shelf...) and they really pile up over time. Sometimes, things that fit in one spot at the beginning of the month (read: your letter stash) may have grown over time and no longer fit there. That's okay! Scheduling regular clear-outs will help you avoid the dreaded end-of-the-year purge that too often results in piles of paper everywhere and feeling overwhelmed.
The moral of the story: cleaning your desk may feel like it's taking time from your real work, but at the end of the day it saves you time, making you more productive when you use that space. Tidy room, tidy mind - truer words were never spoken. :)