When you live in a small house getting organized isn’t a luxury, it’s a must. In fact, I would even go so far as to compare it to cleaning the bathroom, it should be done frequently and thoroughly. Most experts agree that in order to stay organized you must “edit” your belongings. Over the years, I’ve come to accept this as a part of my daily life, for example when a new article of clothing comes in, another goes out. Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution, and I do have some weak areas. One of those areas is my book shelf. I’m a collector of information and I need my books and publications.
Information may seem like an odd thing to collect, but my collection has proven useful on more than one occasion. Information not only spurs my creativity, it allows me to feel helpful to those around me. I feel like the office darling when I can produce information seemingly out of thin air. Someone in the office is researching color trends, and I instantly provide three articles on that very subject. Another co-worker mentions an upcoming trip to Paris, and there I am with a dog-eared travel guide from my trip.
Although I love my collection, it’s useless if I can’t find what I need when I need it, so I’ve come up with some solutions to organizing books and publications in style. Here are a few of them.
• Create a travel box. Maps and travel guides are never sized to fit well on a book shelf. Label a See Jane Work Letter Box with the destination or simply “travel” and toss them in. The box will keep these items looking neat and tidy on your shelf.
• Label a Letter Box, pouch or file folder “to buy.” If you’re researching an upcoming purchase and find yourself holding on to related catalogs or articles, simply tear out the appropriate pages and place them in the file folder, letter box or pouch. It’s much easier than going back through all the pages of the magazines or catalogs.
• Create a theme binder. You may find yourself holding onto magazines, when it’s just an article or two you’re interested in. Get a few binders and a large stack of clear sheet protectors, and start tearing out pages of interest. Create a décor binder to hold magazine pages you’ve collected as inspiration for your next decorating project or dream room; you can also add pocket pages to hold swatches. Create a kitchen binder for articles about cooking or for recipes.
• Planning an event? Create a binder filled with inspirational pictures, articles, and brochures; you can even include blank paper for notes. For a large event, like a wedding, a binder might not be enough. Use a See Jane Work Art or Letter Box to store books, brochures, fabric samples and other event related material.
• Utilize magazine files. Sometimes a holiday or other seasonal magazine issue can be so full of information it is really necessary to keep the entire issue. Organize those magazines in magazine files so you can quickly find an issue.
• Check online. Many print articles are also available online. If so, don’t keep the paper copy. Simply print the online version to a PDF format and save it on your computer. I keep a folder on my computer called “Reference” then create subfolders for specific subjects.
• Instructions and manuals. These are almost always available online. Double-check before you toss them. If you find a few that are not available online store them in a See Jane Work Art or Letter Box.
• Odd size books. Odd sized books, manuals and other publications can make a bookshelf look messy. Group by subject and store them in a See Jane Work Art or Letter Box.
When you're feeling overwhelmed and having difficulty getting started, it helps to make a list. Get all that stuff in your mind down on paper. Limit yourself to one line per item, if you have a due date include that next to the item. Don't worry about priority or additional detail at this time, just get it on paper. Once you've finished, group items into categories by priority, then type, for example errands, calls, urgent, etc. Relief will come as you work through the list and cross things off. To read past Quick Tips click here