Welcome to the Plan-and-Organize-Life.com Newsletter. I hope you enjoy getting the newsletter and that it helps to keep you on track with your organizing goals. Remember, you can get a lot done in only 10 minutes of decluttering and organizing!

Table of Contents

-Did you know?
-Monthly Mission – Kitchen
-What’s New on Plan-and-Organize-Life.com – Recent site additions
-Revisiting the Home Filing System


If you recall, last month I mentioned that to get and stay motivated you should tackle that most visible pile of clutter that calls to you. So, how did you do? It’s amazing how a small change can make such a big impact. One cleared table that was once covered in stuff can feel so good! Just today I worked on an area of our living room that has bugged me for a long time. It wasn’t a big mess, it’s just that the furniture and the tables and the stuff in that area didn’t flow right and felt wrong. Today, we moved a couple of things, changed out a table and it is so much more inviting. And after that I was all excited to work on another area of my home. Also interesting, less stuff just looks so much nicer. Really!

Did you know…

According to a study done by the National Soap and Detergent Association, cleaning professionals say that getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in an average home.

That’s a lot of time savings. And I can totally see it. It’s so much easier to vacuum, dust, wipe down or whatever when there isn’t a bunch of stuff in your way to deal with. “Ugh, I need to move this and that in order to dust. Maybe I’ll just do it later.” And later may not come for a long time. I hate cleaning, and anything in my way definitely deters me from doing it.

So, let’s continue on with our year of the purge and clear some space for ourselves and our cleaning ladies (for those of you who have them). And maybe you wouldn’t feel so inclined to clean before they come??!!

The Monthly Mission – Kitchen

This month’s mission is all about the kitchen, the center of the home. If your kitchen is in good shape, give it a nice wipe down instead. Or, select another area of the home to focus on. To read more about how to make things more organized and functional in your kitchen, click here.

Recent Site Additions

Here are some of the more recently added pages to the website you may have missed.

Spice Rack - See before and after photos of my spice storage including my new spice rack.

Garage Makeover - before and after photos of my personal garage makeover. See how we tackled the problems and ended up with a functional garage.

Streamline Your Morning Routine - Ideas to help you get out the door in the morning and be on time for work or school.

Storage Shed Organization - Before and after photos of my storage shed reorganization project.

Toy Organizing Project - After Christmas I had to do some toy re-organizing. Here is a before and after of my little toy organizing project.

Bathroom Drawer Make Over - How to organize a bathroom drawer, an example with before and after photos.

Stop Clutter - Quick simple tips on how to stop the clutter from coming into your home in the first place.

Organize Your Junk Drawer - take control of that drawer you toss stray items into. Give it purpose with a few minutes and a little organization.

Revisiting the Home Filing System

Getting and staying organized is a constant ongoing process. New stuff comes in and if you don’t let things go, you’ll simply have too much stuff and end up bursting at the seams! You need to set your limits, set up an organizing system and stick with it, maintaining it regularly. This includes papers.

I know I’ve talked about filing papers in the past, but this is one of those organizing issues that everyone deals with and needs to be checked in on regularly. I was having some struggle with my filing system. I don’t like my filing cabinet and it’s FULL making it near impossible to file any more new papers. And even though I purge old paperwork every few months, this cabinet seems to be getting fatter! I have a “to be filed” pile that gets quite big mostly because I know actually filing them is not going to be easy, so I put it off. Sooooo, it’s time to reevaluate my situation and see how I can make it work better.

What’s your current paper filing situation? Do you have a home filing system? A cabinet and folders? Do you purge it regularly so it doesn’t become overfull?

I have tidied up my filing system and it feels so much better! Now, if you haven’t even got a filing system other than the piles of papers on flat surfaces of your home, you might want to go here to see how to get started.

Here is what I did to revitalize my filing system getting it to function better:

Purge unneeded papers – Go through your files and purge anything that’s old or no longer needed. Typically you only need to keep a few months of statements. Other paperwork you may need to keep indefinitely. Click here for the guidelines.

Filing Cabinet/Box - Set up a filing cabinet or box that’s large enough to accommodate all your papers with a little room to grow and move around freely in. I’m not ready to go out and pay for a new filing cabinet today and the one I have, as ugly as it is, holds files just fine under our desk. Once I purged or moved some files, it had plenty of room for all my active files making it now easy to drop papers in when I’m done with them.

Archive vs. Active File - Keep an “active” file which you can easily access every day. Keep an “archive” file which stores older papers or things you rarely need to look at. I moved some of my files into my archived files box which is stored away in another closet out of sight. That freed up some extra space in my active file cabinet. The only things now in the active file box are my accounts that I file papers for on a monthly basis.

Maintenance - Maintain your files regularly. You could use the “one in, one out” rule with statements. Or, you can choose to file and purge monthly. Find a maintenance schedule that works for you and put it on your calendar. I have a “to be filed” file/pile that I try to get to weekly and I purge old statements about every 3 – 4 months. My goal now with the extra space in my active folder is to file papers immediately after I’m done with them. (But remember, we’re looking for progress, not perfection here!)

Make It Pretty – OK, so this is not a necessity. But in the couple of hours (over a couple days) that I spent working on my files inspired me to take an extra few minutes to put some new labels on the folders so the hand writing all matched and things looked a bit more uniform. It’s still a mishmash of colors, but it still looks so much better! And again, progress, not perfection. Do I REALLY need all my files to be color coded? You can decide that for yourself. Maybe you’d rather spend that time doing something more important or fun.

So get in there and revisit your home filing system if you’re having issues. Even taking 15 minutes once a month and focusing on a few files will eventually get you through them and keep them better maintained.

Remember, things change, so if your system isn’t working for you anymore, you need to adjust and change with your needs.

Until next time, happy organizing!


Tracy Greene

P.S. Sometimes links to website pages get broken. If a link doesn't work, you may need to copy and paste the entire link into your browser.