Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Motivation from Miles Away

So far this week I have not done anything in the "Simplify" department. I have had sick kids and one bored little girl since her sister went back to school and left her at home. I guess I need to know that I don't have to simplify my life all in one week.
It's the word for the year Cara, not the word of the week!

Today I was talking on the phone to my friend Jen who I don't get to talk to very often but wish we could be neighbors. Wouldn't that be fun Jen??? I think we have been friends since we were nine years old. Is that right? Anyway we decided that it's much more fun and motivating if you can do a project together and even though we are in different parts of the USA that doesn't mean we can't help each other out.

We thought since our offices were one of our messiest places in the house but used the most we would start there. The garage is next - is that right Jen? Let's wait to do that when it warms up a bit! So to help with accountability we both agreed to take pictures of the "before" and not hide in our messes any longer.

I am taking suggestions on how to:

1. organize all my pictures - on the computer and stuffed in boxes and file cabinets

2. how to deal with all the paperwork that comes home from school etc

3. mail, mail and more mail

4. books - what to keep and what to sell/donate/give away

5. cords that go to the cameras, computers, laptops, ipods, cell phones, etc

Hopefully I will get this office in tip-top shape and my husband will be so happy with me!!! He is working from home more now so he would like it to be better organized. And truth be told.......so would I!!!
The 1st part to getting help is admitting you have a problem - So Jen, the pictures are proof - I am a clutter bug and I need help. Ü

Does your office look like this?

what do you do with all that office stuff?


Dancin Queen said...

Oh, honey, I'm in the same boat! My office is a disaster. My problem is that I need to break down and buy some office furniture. All of my stuff is piled on card tables. I need shelves and drawers.

As for the kids stuff, I take a picture of the cute stuff and then throw everything away. Is that bad?

Andrea said...

Good for you! But my desk looks WAY worse than yours! I am a paper clutter bug. I love organized spaces, but my desk is not neat right now (not for a while). Ugh! Now I have more motivation though. If you gals are going to spruce up your space, then why not me too! After all I have finally chosen my word for the year (haven't posted it yet) but this would really go along with that. Not posting my desk pics, but can't wait to see how yours turns out. BTW, I throw away almost all my kids' school papers. We hang up some of the art for a while but everything else goes. Had to, it got way out of control. Good Luck!

Erin said...

My office area is a total mess! If you come up with good solutions I would love to hear them!

Aprilyn said...

My mom had a "treasure box" for each of us when I was a kid. We kept them in our closet and they had school papers, drawings, old school pictures, etc. She didn't keep much..maybe 1 or 2 things from each year. Maybe not even that. Just some of our firsts...first picture, first time we printed our name...stuff like that. I loved pulling out my treasure box and looking at how I used to write and what I wrote about. I also kept my card collection in it.

As for the pictures, maybe you can save them to CD just in case something happens to your computer and then put the ones that are NOT on your computer in a photo album. I wish I could tell you that I go through and scrapbook every memory but with two kids, one of which is a 3 yr old child with possibly Aspeger's Syndrome, it's just not possible. Sorry for the long reply. I hope some of this helps. You should see my desk. OI!

Lizzy said...

This is a project i tried to tackle today (note to self it will take more then one day)but the house already feels so much better :) That is great you will have a friend to keep you going.

Crazymamaof6 said...

ok the things i ahve seent hat seem to work are. for the cords get some of the clear plastic boxes with flip open lids, and put all the camera cords and stuff in one. the chargers stuff in another and label the boxes. with a label maker. label what goes to what and put it in the bin. you can combine stuff or make separate boxes. but my sister in law did that and i was impressed. easy to see what is in each one. and it stays in the right spot.
she also uses a pizza box (inside out and new) each year per kid and they can keep whatever fits in the box, and she keeps them in their closet. I have those plastic storage drawers and i put 2 of the 3 drawer things stacked =6 kids. age order on down, and put any papers i am keeping certificates school or Church stuff, it goes in there. i write the date and kid name on it too. but it all goes in there limited sorting. i only keep the best stuff. the rest goes in the trash. it is working for me and easy.
my office is a pit too. i should tackle that but there are so many other pressing things it is on the back burner indefinitely.

Susie said...

Yes I am a total clutter bug!! I use the term pack rat--simply because I can't throw anything away.
The first thing I have done is to restore my spaces to sanity is to go and buy new plastic storage containers to hold everything. They are really cheap right now too!
For now they are sitting on the dining room table--waiting.
I'll keep you posted on what happens next.

Good luck with your project. Way to go making yourself accountable!

Cindy said...

Hi Cara,
I'm new to your blog and you have already inspired me a whole bunch!! First off, I loved your quote of the week. Just what I needed to hear. Also, I have an office that is a disaster too!! I need motivation to uncluttered it. I also love the 52 blessings project and would love to join to that, if it's not too late.

Pam said...

How is it that the office is always the catch-all? My answers to your questions

1. Scan in all of the paper photos and then put them into a box to last. I just made a book for my mom of all the pictures I scanned in and it is so much easier to look at and store.

2. I need to start this...get an accordion folder. Every day put the papers in the back and throw away the papers in the front. Keep only a few things a year. That way your kids don't just see you throw away their masterpieces.

3. Throw away all the junk mail as soon as you get it, and then designate a spot for bills, to dos and cards.

4. No ideas

5. Get rid of the cords you don't use. Set up a docking station where each of these things can be plugged in, but organized so when you need it you just plug it in and go. You could do this in a desk drawer so that they aren't visible. They don't move so you never lose the cords.

Melissa said...

Hi, I have been a lurker for awhile but wanted to add my two bit about this organizational mess! I have 5 kids and I use an accordian folder. One file for bills due on or before the 15th and one file for bills on or due before the 30th. I have an important papers file for kids papers that have to be signed and returned, school lunch menus and so forth. Also, important phone numbers are supposed to be in here and so forth. SO it is all neat and organized. This way the kids papers can be found, my counters look nice and I can sort through the file folder when it becomes out of control!! (Kids papers I keep goes to another box)LOL :) which lately has been alot!! Anyway. Good luck with whatever system works for you.

Jenifer said...

My desk is clean, but I have a HUGE cardboard box filled with bank statements, report cards, pictures, blah blah blah, that I can't seem to get too. You are very brave to post pictures. But it really doesn't look that bad! DOn't get rid of any books without talking to me first!

Webb Family said...

Man I so need to be working on my office too!
I do love my label marker, it really seems to keep things in the same spot. I keep threatening my family that I'm going to use the label maker in the pantry!
For the kids stuff I have accordion folders for each year for each child. They get one for the year & whatever they can fit in that they are welcomed to keep.
I really should not be giving advise. Good luck & I love the idea of putting pictures of before & after.

Jennifer said...

You know I'm in! Of course I'd love to be neighbors and yes we did meet when we were nine making you officially my oldest friend that that I still have regular contact with-wow! Should I reveal how many years that has been...Yikes!

AddiEphriaMom said...

you constantly amaze me. i know this has to do with your word for the year, but wow!. you always have something going on!!!

you don't really need my input, but i do have an idea for the school papers..... keep 1 a week. let your daughter decide which one. keep all of the papers from the week in a folder or something. at the end of the week go through and let her decided which one she wants to keep. put it in a binder (page protector or not- you decide)if one week they choose a blah one and you think there was another one that was especially cute. you secretly keep that one too. but don't influence them. that way they feel that what they have done has value to you AND they learn (hopefully) not to be a pack rat in the process. :)

for the cords- in the fabric section at walmart they have these great velcro zip ties. i use them for my curling irons and stuff mostly, but they are great for any cords. then put a tag on the cord with what it goes to written on it and put them all in basket or storage container. you know the kind of tag i'm talking about- the cheap ones that come like 2000 to a package. they have the string tied to it and you can loop it through to attach it to something.

that's all i got for ya.
good luck!!!

Lori said...

The best way to get rid of the clutter, is burn it. NO, I'm just kidding, but it looks like there are some great ideas already. I like the one where you use the velcro zip ties on the cords, and then label them! I have so many cords that I have no idea what they go to! As far as everything else, I'm a throw-awayer, probably too much. We have too many kids now to have an office, so I guess that helped get rid of my "office clutter"!! I have a white standing file cabinet thing on my kitchen counter that works great for all my "papers" going in and out of my house. It's very accecessable and I see it all the time, so I usually am taking care of those things I need to be. (But just don't open the cupboard doors above, YIKES!!)

Laurie said...

I love this kind of stuff...and looking forward to your grand AFTER photo!

Here's what works for me:

1. photos -- on the computer I have one folder for photos that has subfolders, one for each year and within those one for each month. It's so easy to find them when I need them. AND make sure to BACK THEM UP on CDs. I just about lost everything a few months ago. As far as loose prints, I sort of do the same thing - I have those shoebox photo files, one for each year, divided into months. The kids love to get them out (one month at a time) and look at them.

2. I have a box for each kid and put their stuff in there. At the end of the school year I go through it and toss the stuff that no longer seems significant and just keep the good pieces.

3. Mail - like someone else said - toss the junk as soon as it comes in. The rest goes in a basket on my desk and gets dealt with once a week, or every other week.

4. Books - if you know you'll never read it again or didn't love it then give it away.

5. Cords? Help me. This one I have no advice on. We have chargers coming out of at least one outlet in every room.