Organizing Books | Giftie Etcetera: Organizing Books

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Organizing Books

Brien asked me which organizing/time management book he should read. (Getting Things Done by David Allen...clearly the Brien choice.) I had about six books I could think of, off the top of my head, four of which were on my bookshelf. I immediately knew which system was right for him (job with lots of meetings and projects and little to no flexibility). And I started assigning books, in my mind, to other people I know. (Ebeth and Krumply need 7 Habits by Covey, Rachel at work needs Organizing...Inside Out, Michelle needs Time Management Inside Out, and I LOVE The Organized Executive - combined with GTD from above.)

Had sad is it that I know this? How sad is it that I considered going to Monroe to coach Brien through organizing, for FUN? (My birthday is a long weekend because of MLK Day, but Alan probably won't go for that and Brien is really busy at work...clearly..LOL.)

I'm obsessed.

Oh, and feel free to post your organizing dilemmas. I might have a brilliant solution, that works for your particular situation, hiding in my brain. ;)



Stac Cole said...

Ok, I got one for you. I have the worst habit of just throwing everything away. And I put the important stuff in a place that I won't lose it, and forget where I put it. The really important stuff is stacked up in my bedroom and the extremely important stuff is in a fire box in my closet. Throw in the obstacle of having kids that leave their school papers and everything else everywhere, and dogs that love to eat paper and boxes, and give me a solution. Oh, and filing won't work. I'm too lazy. :)

Giftie Etcetera said...

Most stuff isn't that important and should just go in the trash anyway! ;) I suggest six boxes, of sizes about the size of the current stacks. Label one box "Toss in 6 weeks." Label another "Toss in a year." Finally, a third should be plastic and permanent, and really important stuff (that doesn't make it to the fireproof box) should go there. Then, as you enter the garage/kitchen/storage spot for your three boxes, toss stuff in there. (Note it on your calendar first if you must do something! Call your work voicemail and leave yourself a message if you are too lazy to write it down at home.) As you toss the stuff in the first two boxes, pencil the date of tossing so you know when one year or six weeks have passed. No filing required, but at least you'll know where to look in a pinch!

The other three boxes should be small inboxes for the kid's papers. They put their stuff in the in-boxs for your review and response (or toss) under threat of bodily harm. :? They (except Bren) should think it's pretty cool to have an in-box, if you sell it right.

Mommy said...

For me, Organization is easy once the clutter is gone. I really really liked "It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff by Peter Walsh"

I'll add your recommendation to my to-read list though.

Frog said...

that is funny! I'll have to read your recommendation. Any advice until then?

Mathochist said...

Oh, how I need you HERE!!!!!!!!!! Ever think about vacationing in CO??? Free room & board! Lots of room & toys for the kids to play! Jetted tub in your bathroom!

Where to start? Hmmm... Organization is a foreign concept to me. I like *being* organized, but the process of getting there is downright painful. I cannot follow a schedule to save my life. I can make lists all day of what needs to be done, but the list is ususally lost before I can cross off the third thing. I am out of sight = out of mind and in sight = in mind. So usually my mind is so cluttered I can't even start. Don't even know where to start.

It is difficult (near impossible) for me to be of the mindset throw anything out (grew up with a family full of packrats)... Plus I never know what *can* be thrown out... I am OK at sorting things (paperwork) in to urgent, timely, and no hurry piles, but then never even get to the urgent piles. Or by the time I think to get to them, I can't find them... Between me and everyone else in the house, I cannot keep my desk uncluttered. Or any other horizontal surface. Including the floor.

I have read most of the books you listed and while they all make sense in theory, I cannot seem to put any of them into practice. I think my answer lies somewhere between EBeth's book, A Mother's Rule of Life, and maybe the FlyLady. REALLY what I need is someone to come hold my hand and help me go through all the boxes and baskets and piles, and teach me how to decide what is OK to keep (and where it should go) and what I should get rid of. I hired a lady to do this once, when I was still working. Paid her a lot of $. And bless her she tried. But none of the ideas stuck... At least we got rid of a bunch of stuff in the process, though!

Giftie Etcetera said...

LOL. You sound just like Alan.

Some tips, that might or might not help:

"I cannot follow a schedule to save my life."

Then don't. Make silly little rules for yourself (and for your kids, if you'd like), like Commercial Clean-ups, where you clean frantically during commercials and previews in movies. Erase the evidence when you leave a room and have your kids play detective and try to figure out what mommy just did (took a bath, cooked dinner, got dressed). While cooking, play like you are on a cooking show and clean the area while you cook. The kids can be the "audience" and you can talk them through each step of the cooking.

"I can make lists all day of what needs to be done, but the list is usually lost before I can cross off the third thing."

I actually only make lists of what MUST be done. Lists, for me, are three types.

Master lists, like grocery shopping lists or packing checklists. Those go in my pda and are used only and only, but often only used right at the needed time. For example, I pack my bag, then consult my Master List for anything I might have forgotten. I pack those things, except for the three things I can't pack until it's time to leave (like my cell charger, toothbrush, and pillow). Those get written on a sticky note attached to the suitcase.

The second type of list is the current project list. For example, when I hosted Thanksgiving, I made a list of what I had to do, what people were bringing, and what I had to cook. That way, I didn't forget anything, like buy butter or call mom to borrow extra table.

Finally, I have my to do list. And not everything goes on it. Cleaning the kitchen, for example, must be done, but never goes on the list. Only must do tasks go on my to do list, like "buy birthday present for niece." keeps my to do list short.

'I am out of sight = out of mind and in sight = in mind."

Label everything in closets, then, or you won't know what you have. Don't try to get through the backlog, though. Instead, from now on, label everything BEFORE you put it in storage. Then, when you label it, peek in one other box and label it. Eventually, you'll get caught up. And no pretty, time-consuming labels. Get out one of your kids' colors or a Sharpie and write on the box.

"...what is OK to keep (and where it should go) and what I should get rid of."

Everything I have goes in the trash or to Goodwill. I just found that if I put something aside for e-bay or freecycle, I never get around to it. I keep a Goodwill box handy, and when it gets full, it goes in my car and another box gets put out. Most things I can get rid of! But, if you are like Alan, you might need therapy for this one.

I hope you get at least one good idea from this comment. If not, someone will. I know you read this stuff alot already, so you might have tried these things and they may or may not work for you.

Mathochist said...

"no pretty, time-consuming labels. Get out one of your kids' colors or a Sharpie and write on the box"

Wait a minute!!! Have you been spying on me?!?!?

(Yeah, I'm not sure all of what you said even makes sense to me, much less how to apply it to me... And I probably *do* need therapy!)

Here's one you maybe CAN help with. Our file box & filing cabinets are all letter-sized. Where/how can/should I store the few legal-sized documents we get? (Mostly mortgage paperwork.) They just don't fit anywhere. Drives me crazy!

Giftie Etcetera said...

Honestly, I fold that stuff in half and put it in a labeled (with Sharpie marker) manilla envelope.