Paper Organization, KonMari Style

After I graduated college and got a job in 2006, I got a two drawer filing cabinet for my apartment, determined to make sense of the piles of papers I had thrown into a hall closet to be dealt with at an undefined future date.

I read books about getting organized, my favorite of which was Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern. I labored over what the right categories would be for all my personal papers.

I’m sure I got rid of a lot, but I still held on to plenty of papers unnecessarily. I was confused and uninformed. I didn’t know what was essential and what wasn’t essential. I held on to things because I thought I was supposed to. Out of fear that if I got rid of them that there would be regrets and consequences. continue…

What to Do with Old Holiday & Birthday Cards

What do you do with all those holiday and birthday cards you have received over the years? Do you keep them in an organized filing system organized by year, toss them in a drawer or box somewhere, eventually throw them away, or something else?

Today, I would like to share my system for keeping (kinda) old holiday & birthday cards. continue…

How to Use Evernote to Organize Your Taxes

I am no tax expert. When I think about doing taxes, I always remember the episode of Roseanne where they have an overflowing shoebox full of receipts on tax day. Or the free Dunkin Donuts at the post office at midnight on April 15th when I was a kid. Apparently there are rewards for waiting until the last minute!

I am still waiting around until the last minute to figure out what I am going to do, despite my best intentions to be more on top of things.  I would like to think I am not the only one still operating this way, so on the chance that I am not alone in this, I figured I would share the system I started this year (ok, a few days ago) in an effort to get organized. continue…

A Warmup Activity to Start the Day

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron describes the idea of writing morning pages. The strictest definition of morning pages is handwriting 3 pages first thing every morning. There is no goal to the writing, other than to clear the mind.

Writing can be a great way to get out the thousands of thoughts in one’s mind, clearing space to get to the real work to do that day. You don’t have to be a writer to do morning pages either. This activity clears the path for creative ideas necessary for all different kinds of projects to flow into the mind. This is why I meditate, and this is why I write in 750 Words. continue…

Giving Gifts of Zenification

I received my first “gift of zenification” for Christmas last year. Since then, I have really liked the idea of giving this type of gift, but struggled for a while to get myself together to plan far enough in advance to complete the gift in time.

What is a gift of zenification?

collage - gift of zen - menus

The phrase “gift of zenification” was introduced to me last Christmas when Michael gave me the card pictured above as a gift. He had scanned in the pile of takeout menus that were sitting in a drawer in our kitchen to Evernote. Each menu is now in a notebook called “Culinary – Menus” in Evernote, with one menu to a note (the menus weren’t already available online). continue…

Extra Room Organization Series: Angels’ Den Closet Organization Part 1

Click here for an introduction to the Angels’ Den if you have no idea what it is.

I am wrapping up the series on the Angels’ Den with an in-depth tour of the closet. It is just a standard bedroom closet, so there is not much depth of space beyond what you would need to hang clothes, but the vertical storage has gone a long way in maximizing the amount of stuff that can be stored here in an organized way. continue…

A Trick to Start Good Habits

Some things that are good for us aren’t particularly fun. I don’t love taking vitamins or flossing my teeth, and even though I enjoy yoga and walking, many days I don’t feel like it. But I almost always feel better afterwards.

It takes work to maintain health and peaceful surroundings, but once the work is done, there are generous rewards to those who put in the effort. continue…

Daily Planner in Your Pocket: The Hipster

Planners have been an obsession of mine for quite some time. My first “hipster” was given to me as a birthday present a few years ago. The idea of a hipster is that you can completely customize a compact collection of information that you want to carry around with you at all times without the organizational limitations and expense of buying a planner.

I personally still like to call my system my “hipster” even though I have now transitioned to a digital platform, mostly because I think the name is cute and cool. Anyone could create their own homemade planning system and call it whatever they want. The point is to create something that you want to use, because that increases the likelihood that it will serve the purpose it intended: to make your life more simple, efficient, and peaceful.

Originally, my hipster was paper-based and had many categories. At the time that I first started using it, I did not yet have an iPhone. I had previously been using a Franklin-Covey planner system, and although I loved my planner and lived by it, my life felt extremely chaotic. Don’t get me wrong, my hipster wasn’t responsible for removing the chaos from my life, I did that after extensive personal reflection and carefully planned out choices, but the hipster now plays an even more effective role in my life now that I feel more connected to the categories it contains and the types of information I allow to get recorded in that place. continue…

Getting A Hold of the Clutter

“If your life seems a mess, it is because it is a reflection of your thoughts.” – Doreen Virtue

Right now, one of my goals is to organize my Evernote account, and other file folders on the computer that are not in their final home. Several years ago, I started digitizing almost all of the paper in my life. It was a very long process.

Just deciding what to keep and what to throw away can be paralyzing at first. Once I started trusting myself and my ability to decide more, it still took a very long time scanning in page after page after page of what I decided to keep. I have spent many hours with the scanner set up on the bed, scanning in anything I felt the need to keep, while watching a movie. I guess maybe it was actually kind of fun now that I think back on it! continue…

Simplifying Incoming Paper

“Find the elegance in the chaos, and simplify to the extent possible.” – Tim Ferriss

I was always a paper and pen diehard. I couldn’t imagine reading documents online, and wouldn’t dare dream of letting go of my paper to-do lists. I started to reconsider when I was introduced to Evernote. Evernote is like a digital filing cabinet – but better. You can save not only documents, but also notes, ideas, pictures – basically everything – in an organized and easily retrievable fashion.

I did resist going completely paperless at first. continue…