Today, I wanted to help with some guidelines to putting order back into your business. I gathered seven basic principles which will help you begin to sort through those piles of paperwork and other clutter.
- SET A GOAL – Take the time to picture how you want the end result to look and function. Write down a few notes about it and keep this posted in a prominent place where you may refer to it while you create this.
- KEEP ONLY WHAT IS USEFUL OR LOVED – Pare down by keeping only the things that you use or bring you joy by having them in your space. Keeping lots things for a “might need it someday” will only serve to create clutter, unless you have a more specific need identified.
- GROUP LIKE THINGS TOGETHER – Even if you have a lot of one thing, such as financial papers, it is easier to go through one file with ten pages, than it is to go through ten folders with one page each. Likewise with any other item, going to one place is easier and faster than looking in many different spots.
- KEEP THINGS WHERE THEY ARE USED – It is a big time waster having to go from your office to your kitchen to get the stapler! Keep things in the room where they are used so everything can be accessed where it is needed. This eliminates the chance of getting side tracked while making the trip to get the needed item.
- A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE – Your grandmother was right! Unless items have a place to be put away, they will have to be left somewhere that they don’t belong. This is a sure recipe for clutter. Once a place has been created for everything, put everything into its place. Cleanup will then take only a few moments to put things away.
- VISIBLE Vs. HIDDEN – Many people put things away only to forget they exist. If you are a visual person, you may do better with shelf sorters, or cubbies for papers instead of putting things in file drawers. An item stored and forgotten is only taking up space and has lost its usefulness.
- CLEARLY MARKED AND TAGGED – When storing items, be sure to clearly mark the outside of the container (whether it’s a folder or a box) for easy retrieval. Much time can be saved by having to read the tags rather than having to open things to see if what you need is inside.
These are basic rules to keep in mind, but by having a perimeter to stay within, it’s easier to determine where to begin.