Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beware...Flat Surfaces!

Every flat surface in your house -- tabletop, desktop, kitchen counter -- should have a caution tape over it saying "do not pile stuff on top of me!!". Often when we put something down on a flat surface, the item goes into the netherworld of NoCanFindItVille.

I joke with clients that I'm going to put down the strip of spikes they put on the tops of buildings to keep the birds off, just so that they don't use the flat surfaces as resting and often staying places for things to be put away (p.s. I just found out that those spikes are called "steel bird spikes roost inhibitors" -- what a mouthful!).

Files, not piles. According to eHow, here are steps to tackle the piles:

  1. Deal with new papers first. No matter how high the old piles are, begin by devising a system for the new arrivals.
  2. Decide immediately what to do with each piece of paper that comes across your desk. Do not postpone these decisions. Paper piles are messy monuments to a long series of small procrastinations.
  3. Act on each decision. Pick up that piece of paper and sign it, forward it, scan it, file it or trash it. Decoupage a wall with it, if you like, but don't toss it onto a pile.
  4. Use a stepped desktop file if you're determined to keep some papers close at hand. But don't just stuff the file sections with loose sheets. Put them in labeled folders first, then in the stepped file.
  5. Take a deep breath. Once you are faithfully dealing with new papers in a systematic way, haul out all the unfiled, deeply piled older papers and--in either one marathon session or a series of shorter ones--take each ancient sheet through your newly devised system.