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Organize + Energize: How are You Dealing With Article Clutter?

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


Many people struggle with managing all of the paper that enters their lives. Today I want to focus on one aspect of the paper: Article clutter. Yes, there is such a thing. If you love to cut out articles or have bunches of old magazines lying around, this article is for you. 

Information is coming at us from all different modes every minute of every day and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  If you don’t have a system to process articles that you’ve clipped from magazines and/or newspapers, it’s time to get a handle on it. This is not only an issue at home, but also in the workplace.

How can you get a handle on it? Ask yourself the following questions:

What’s in the piles? Your categories may range from recipes, crafts, to health articles a friend sent you to read. You may have accumulated articles to grow your business or ones that are related to the type of work you specialize in. I could keep going, but I think you get it. You know which types you tend to clip. Is all of this information thrown into random piles and mixed in with important information? 

Can I find what I’m looking for? Let’s face it, have you ever thought to yourself, I need to find the recipe for red velvet cake that I clipped, I know it’s in one of these piles. No, you probably searched the web for it and found it in a few seconds. How many times have you actually gone to look for one of the articles you’ve clipped? If you’ve searched for it, how much time did you waste looking for it?

Have I read any of them yet? You clip them stating you’ll read them when you have time. How long have they been sitting there unread? How many articles have been placed on top of them waiting to be read? 

Why am I holding on to them? These articles turn into a distraction and cause mental clutter. If you haven’t read them in a while and you haven’t developed a system for them, maybe it’s time to let them go. If they hold sentimental value, keep them in a memorabilia bin.

Is the information obsolete? Information is constantly being thrown at us. Are you in an industry where information is always being updated? Keep the articles on file and then purge then on a yearly basis. 

Can I develop a system going forward? If you want to continue to clip articles, (and there is nothing wrong with that, we all do it), you need to have a system to process these articles. There are many different systems you could create depending on how you function. You could create a binder for each theme. You could have one for recipes, exercise, and health. You could have one for the office. Once you create the binder, take it one step further and create categories and add labeled tabs. You want to be as efficient as possible. The fewer steps it takes you to find what you are looking for, the more time and energy you’ll save. If you don’t want to create a binder, you could scan the articles. If you go this route, thing about if scanning is really going to save you time and how long it will take you to retrieve something. 

Take a look at all of the clippings you have and magazines that are piled waiting to be clipped. How long have you been holding onto this stuff? Does it seem overwhelming? What would happen if you just threw them all away? Do you think you would miss them? I bet you wouldn’t! If you don’t want to throw it all away, you have to make a plan to tackle it. Take the piles and begin to make your themed categories. Throw away what you can and then think about how you want to function. Which system is going to work best for you? The maintenance will be the difficult part. You have to develop a routine to keep up with the rest of the articles that come into your space tomorrow.  

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to begin. She is also available for organizing workshops.


Related Slideshow: 5 Organizing Blunders

Avoid these mistakes and your project will take less time than you expected. You won’t be as stressed or as overwhelmed as you anticipated. You will be amazed at what you have accomplished. You will be motivated and energized to tackle another project.

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Not planning ahead

Getting organized is a process and you have to have a plan on how to conquer your project. You can’t tear apart an entire room all at once. You need to break the project down into small pieces. Plan to tackle your project in 3-hour increments. If you work longer than 3 hours at a time, you are setting yourself up for burnout. Plan ahead to try to avoid distractions and stay focused.

Click here for more tips on how to avoid distractions.

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Purchasing the incorrect supplies

I know you are excited to get organized, but don’t rush out to the store and purchase products just because you like the way they look. Get organized first. Figure out what you need to contain, and then purchase your container to match the items you need it to hold.

Click here for more on choosing the right container.

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Not letting others know about your system

Once you set up the organized system, you have to get everybody in your home on board. Show them the systems and how you are going to function with this system going forward. Label everything if you must, so everybody gets in the habit of putting items away. Remember, the simpler the system, the easier it’s going to be to maintain.

Need help creating those systems? Go here.

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Not maximizing your space

Use every inch of space and use it well. Take everything out of the area you are organizing. You can’t get a clear visual of the space if it is filled with clutter. Shifting items around is not going to work.

Here are more tips on maximizing your space.

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Repeatedly clearing spaces

You are creating more work for yourself if you continue to clear spaces once a month. Create a system and allow everything in your home to have its own place, and you will never have to clear a space again.

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Kristin Carcieri-MacRae

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. She has appeared on air on Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio and her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start. She is also available for organizing workshops. Tune into her weekly radio show, Organize, Energize! on Mondays at 8:30am on www.talkstreamradio.com.


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