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Written by Victoria A. Wilson

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How to Organize

Written by Paul Holstein

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Handle it - This isrepparttar preferred thing to do with most stuff. For example, ifrepparttar 101909 item in your hand is a registration form you've been meaning to fill out, takerepparttar 101910 2 minutes and fill outrepparttar 101911 form, attach a check, recordrepparttar 101912 check, put it in an envelope and drop it inrepparttar 101913 mail box. I say this isrepparttar 101914 best option because it does two great things, 1) it eliminatesrepparttar 101915 item, giving you one less thing to worry about and it gives you an immediate sense of satisfaction. If you have an item that needs your attention, you need to determine if you can handle it quickly or if you need to file it. Obviously, handling it, isrepparttar 101916 best approach because then you only have to touch it once; however, you will find some items in your stack that would take too long to handle onrepparttar 101917 spot. For instance, you may find notes and an introduction to a book you've been meaning to write. It would clearly take more than five minutes to write your book so your next choice would be to file it.

File it - This isrepparttar 101918 choice many people resist. They reason that out of site means out of mind. This is true but there are ways to organize yourself so that you don't forget things. One ofrepparttar 101919 best options is to keep a to-do list. Before you file your manuscript, you should make a notation on your to-do list that says "finish manuscript." Then you should file your manuscript and go on torepparttar 101920 next item. Filing things does not necessarily mean that it will sit in a file permanently. In fact, it'srepparttar 101921 opposite. If you are planning on filing something indefinitely, you should consider boxing it up and moving it to storage or throwing it away.

So how long should you keep things? This issue keeps many individuals and businesses from cleaning out their files. I don't haverepparttar 101922 expertise to answer every question but if you do a search onrepparttar 101923 Internet for "record retention", you may be able to answer those questions yourself. When it comes to tax returns,repparttar 101924 IRS has 3 - 6 years to investigate your returns; therefore, you are probably safe throwing out your 1973 tax returns. Onrepparttar 101925 other hand, if you've kept them that long, you may want to give them to a museum.

The only things you should file arerepparttar 101926 things you could reasonably be expected to look at again withinrepparttar 101927 next few years. Otherwise, what'srepparttar 101928 point in keeping it? Filing something could also mean putting it in a temporary file. However, be careful about this. It is too easy to fill your temporary file and then it becomes a mess itself.

When you file things, you don't just stuffrepparttar 101929 item into a file and put it inrepparttar 101930 file cabinet. I recommend you labelrepparttar 101931 file properly. The easiest way to do this is to buy a label maker. They run from $25 - $50.00 and are very neat and practical. Then you should sort your files alphabetically. Make sure your file cabinet doesn't get too stuffed. If it does, it will discourage you from filing additional items.

Delegate it - Option three is to delegate your item. If you have staff who report to you, this is often easier than if you arerepparttar 101932 "low man onrepparttar 101933 totem pole." However, even if no one reports to you, you can still delegate things to others. Perhapsrepparttar 101934 item doesn't belong to you - return it. If your lawnmower is sitting in a state of disrepair, hand it over torepparttar 101935 mechanic to fix. In other words, if you don't haverepparttar 101936 time to handle something or don't haverepparttar 101937 ability to handle it, consider givingrepparttar 101938 item to someone else who can help you. Of course, you may also need to make a notation on your to-do list such as "pick up lawn mower." However, delegation can be a great way to get things done.

Get rid of it - There are three basic ways to get rid of something. You can give it away, sell it, or throw it away. Giving something away or throwing it away arerepparttar 101939 easiest things to do and should be done generously. If you have a four month old stack of newspapers, throw them away. You have to face reality here. If you haven't readrepparttar 101940 newspaper in four months, you aren't ever likely to read them. Simply throw them away and be done with it. Ifrepparttar 101941 item in question has some value, then you can give it away or sell it.

These days it is easier than ever to sell things. Simply visit and list your item. Of course, you have now movedrepparttar 101942 category torepparttar 101943 "handle it" category but, at least, you are on your way to getting rid of it.

The clean up process can take a lot of time. Obviously,repparttar 101944 biggerrepparttar 101945 mess,repparttar 101946 more effort will be involved in removingrepparttar 101947 items and applyingrepparttar 101948 four options to each item. However,repparttar 101949 reward atrepparttar 101950 end is well worth it.

Atrepparttar 101951 end ofrepparttar 101952 process, you should be left with a clean work area. The only things that should be left out arerepparttar 101953 things you are immediately working on. This is very important. Atrepparttar 101954 end ofrepparttar 101955 day, there should be nothing onrepparttar 101956 top of your desk except your monitor, telephone and minimal accessories such as two pens and two pencils in a holder. If you are cleaning up a shop area, there should be nothing left onrepparttar 101957 work surfaces. The only thing that should ever be on top of a work space should berepparttar 101958 one thing you are actively engaged in. Everything else that you are currently working on should be filed or delegated to someone else.

Paul Holstein is the developer of, a site dedicated to providing all the products you need to eliminate your cable clutter. Please visit for more information.

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