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Justin Klosky is back for our "Talk Takeaway" series to share his tips for spring cleaning. Justin is the founder of a company named O.C.D., "Organize and Create Discipline." It specializes in simplifying businesses and lives by creating more effective systems for optimal living through organizational discipline. He discusses how to eliminate stressful clutter, prioritize items and simplify your life in both your workspace and your car.
GET RID OF UNESCESSARY ITEMS.
Rolling index: Rolling indexes are an ancient way of organizing your phone numbers, birthdays, anniversaries and addresses. Who wants to spend hours updating address cards when you can update your smartphone or computer only to find that the same information has synchronized itself throughout your entire digital life. Say goodbye to handwritten rolling indexes and say hello to the digital age. There are even apps which will allow you to take photos of business cards and instantly transform them to downloadable virtual business cards for your smartphone.
Paper documents: Paper documents pile sky high and who wants to deal with piles of documents on a beautiful spring day. Who is interested in having a filing cabinet taking up precious space in their home or office? I use my shredder at least 4 times a day as I make a habit of shredding most of the things I scan. Anything that comes in that has personal information on it can be shred and anything that is certified and notarized, you should always hold onto. Most of the documents we tend to save and file away we never look at ever again. Start thinking twice before you spend hours upon hours reorganizing and filing documents in your file drawers. Scan and save documents like tax returns, medical records, any kind of certificate. 95% of the documents we might need again can be found online also. Utility bills, phone bills, credit card statements. You get the idea.
Receipts: Receipts can be tossed the moment you get them, UNLESS you will be using the receipt to return an item or for tax purposes. Always keep receipts that have a warranty with it, especially an extended warranty. Cash receipts for tax purposes can be notated on the back, reconciled with your finances and then filed in an envelope or box with the appropriate year or scanned and saved. You usually will never reference your cash receipts until tax season and 99% of the time never again after that. You are required to hold onto them for up to 7 years after your taxes are filled, but they certainly do not need to be taking up space in your everyday life. Get them off your desk and out of your way.
GO DIGITAL WHEN STORING KEEPSAKES.
Books: that are valuable to you or collectors’ items should be displayed in your home and taken care of properly and possibly even insured, but books that can be replaced without major expense can be bought digitally these days. I always tell a client that unless the book has significant value or they have an extensive library collection that they should pass their books along to friends which will make room for new things in their lives. If you are thinking about buying a book for a friend, ask them their preference…digital or hardcover!
Photos: Organization has come a long way in the last 10 years meaning there used to be a surplus of 4x6 pictures hanging around the house and unfilled albums. NOW, there are tons of little memory cards hanging around without a label with thousands of pictures waiting to be discovered and organized. A simple tip to battle this and save you time during your spring cleaning escapade is to stay disciplined through the year! Like any O.C.D. practice you must take your memory card and upload to your computer after each use. Rename all of the files in your favorite photo program with a description of your trip, file your pictures away on your computer and erase the card and put it back in the camera. You will always be ready for your next trip, with a full memory card and a clear view.
CONCEAL ITEMS THAT CAUSE CLUTTER.
Printers: Printers should be wireless today. If you have a home office and don’t have room for your printer there, find a spot where you don't always have to look at it. Also, look into a printer that is economical and has a strong ink to print ratio. Ink can be expensive and unless you are printing some serious photos we don’t need our airline boarding passes in 300dpi resolution.
Shredders: Shredders are a must in my home. Scan and throw away hard copies that you no longer need. Most shredders can easily be stored underneath your desk and out of sight.
Cables and cords: Cables and cords should be hidden as much as possible. Before setting up anything on your desk think about the length of cable you will need and make sure you have a way to hide your cable. Installing simple piping under your desk is a great DIY way along with a power strip under your desk to minimize all of the power cords coming down from your desk.
ORGANIZE YOUR DESKTOP COMPUTER.
Desktop: Just like a physical desktop space your computer desktop should be clean, clear and completely visible. There is nothing comforting and simple about a desktop cluttered with icons, files, pictures, videos, music. Everything should have a place and think of your desktop as the beginning of the journey for your file. All you need is five things on your desktop: Picture folder, video folder, document folder, recycle icon, and hard drive icon. Save anything you like to your desktop but make sure that everything finds a home and at the end of the day. Picture to the picture folders, music to your music folder you get the idea. You can have a few shortcuts on your desktop, but that really should be all.
STREAMLINE WHAT’S IN YOUR CAR.
Glove compartment: The glove compartment of your car should house only the necessities. Business cards, a pen, phone charger and a utility knife. Go ahead and take the car manual out of your glove box if you are lacking space and file it with your books in your home. You seldom need your car manual. Of course a clearly marked envelop with your registration, insurance and a copy of your driver’s license is a must. You want to always seem as organized as possible when you are dealing with the law, especially if you are the one at fault. Don’t make a habit of throwing things into your glove box because you don’t know where they belong.
Center console: The center console is usually a receipts graveyard and ends up collecting trash in most cars. Keep it clean and simple. If you lack the overhead sunglasses compartment the center console is a great place for sunglasses' storage as well as a GREAT place to store your phone while driving. This can be a smart way to stop yourself from texting and driving. Keep some chewing gum or mints, in the center console along with some lip gloss, cologne or perfume. You never know when you need to freshen up.
Side door compartments: The side door compartments of the car should store a small umbrella for those downpours and a schmata, which is the Yiddish word for a raggedy old cloth. I like having a cloth available to wipe down the windshield or any area of the car that might need a quick clean. Depending on your change situation you can keep silver change organized in a cloth bag in your side door compartment, but if you noticing anything sliding around while you are driving relocate it to either the glove box or center console. You don’t want any object moving around while you are in motion. For the most part your side door compartments should have a minimal amount of items.
Backseat of the car: The backseat of the car should be free and clear of mostly everything as well. You don’t want passengers getting into your car and feeling uncomfortable. You also don’t want to have to move items from place to place when guests are getting into your car. A lot of people use their car as the place they put things to get returned or done. If you are doing this make sure it’s a priority and things are complete within a week. If you have children the storage areas behind the front seats can house a few books for them or a small tablet for in car entertainment. Whatever you store back there make sure it is hidden and not bulging out from the back of the seat.
THE BEST WAY TO ORGANIZE YOUR TRUNK
Car trunk: Our most frequented storage space in our cars are our trunks! Trunks can be a dumping ground for to-do items, children’s toys and clothes. Under the trunk divider you should have a new spare tire, pumped up and ready to rock along with the tools to change your flat. Don’t forget those jumper cables. The only 2 items that can LIVE in your trunk are an emergency bag with a change of clothes, shoes, a $20 bill, and a bottle of water AND a bin for children’s go to toys on the fly. Make sure the bin is light enough that you can pull it in and out of your car for times where you need all your trunk space for that long road trip or picking the in-laws up from the airport.