I have often been called the Queen of Organization. My husband has said I am obsessive…which I happen to take as a compliment. I have found that
when things are unorganized, it takes twice as long, sometimes three times as long, to accomplish a task. Plus the frustration makes it not enjoyable and stressful. And for myself, if things are cluttered, I cease to function…yeah I will admit I am on the OCD side of life. Chaos only leads to more chaos. And over the years I have found that when you don’t keep it in check, it quickly becomes unruly and overwhelming and the task to get back to organized and uncluttered breeds an overpowering feeling that you are now surrounded by insurmountable disorder.
I was taught a long time ago that 10 minutes of planning can save an hour’s worth of doing. I was also taught two wonderful phrases that I try to my best, though not always successfully, to live by:
“To Completion” and “Everything has a Home”
These two phrases simply mean follow through. If everything has a home, then there is no need for it to be lying around or hanging around for someone to do something with it. If it doesn’t have a home, then it needs one and then it needs to find its way there. To completion really is as simple as it sounds. Finish the task you are working on before moving to another. For example, if you are paying bills, bill paying isn’t done until the bills are paid, AND the receipts are filed, AND payments and expense are entered in to your budget. Finish the task. If you get interrupted, come back as soon as the interruption is over and finish. I was really surprised how much I could accomplish once I started to follow this principle.
It is from my organization obsession and the mantra everything has a home that my Warranties and Manuals Binders emerged. Originally my everything has a home decided that they needed to be in a file. Manuals in one and warranties in another. This worked until my folders began to breed and become gluttonous. It bred frustration as it took hours to find something.
So the idea for the binders was born. I generally am not a fan of binders but the thought was that the binders would make them easily accessible, not take up valuable filing space and keep them organized.
Here are the supplies I suggest:
- 3 inch Binders – the amount depends on the number of manuals and warranties you have
- Clear Page Protectors
- 8-Tab Dividers
- Divider Labels
- Binder Cover and Spin Labels
You can find binders almost anywhere these days and depending on where you shop, most are reasonably priced. I would suggest that you by locking binders as they get pretty full and clear view so you can easily label them. I had plenty of binders around my house so I just used what I had. I then made covers for both the front and spin so I knew what they were. These can be made pretty easily in Word. They don’t have to be fancy but for myself, I like things to be “pretty” so I got creative in Photoshop. Once printed, cut to size and insert in to the binder cover and spin.
Next, you will want to assemble your tabs. I like the 8 tabs since for the same price you get more. I also choose the color because of the design I had done on my cover but they come in clear too. Again, I had several of these at home but they can be purchase at The 99 Cent Store of Dollartree for a $1. So not too expensive. You can either print your labels on the computer but it’s just as easy to hand write them. Plus, if you do it in pencil, you can always change them if you need to expand or divide categories. Here are the categories I used:
- Tools (This was any kind of household or garage or outdoor tool)
- Major Appliances (Washers, Dryers, Fridge, etc.)
- Small Appliances (blender, mixer, coffee maker, etc.)
- Electronics (TV, Computer, iPad, DVD player, Cellphones, etc.)
- Entertainment (Wii, Xbox, Crocket Set, etc.)
- Cookware (Pots and Pans, Pyrex and Corning ware, Tupperware, etc. )
- Hardware (Ceiling Fans, Heating and Cooling Systems, Garage Door Openers, etc.)
- Services (Security System, DirectTV/Cable, Internet)
- Exercise Equipment
- Collectables (I have our wedding glasses, figures, etc. in here)
You can adapt this list to meet your needs. I choose to expand some like small and major appliances. I received tons of small appliances from my bridal shower and I wanted to have better access to them. I also separated services from entertainment since we varying services that may not have warranties but do have “getting started” manuals. Having experienced enough system crashes, I want those easily accessible for when I have to trouble shoot items.
Lastly, its time to complete the assembly. Take your warranties and manuals and separate them first by matching warranty to manual, then by category. I always start from the back. I place some black page protectors for future manuals and warranties as well as the extra tabs for future categories that I did not anticipate. Such an instance occurred with “Collectibles”. Hadn’t even entered my brain until I needed a spot for our wedding glasses. After that more came so I was glad I had extra tabs.
Then I put one item’s warranty and manual in a single page protector. In the example our weed eater. It then is put into the binder along with all the other tools. Finally I put the divider on top. I repeat this process until it is fully assembled. You can assemble them in alphabetical order per category if you like but I have found that it’s just as fast to flip as your categories, if divided well, should stay reasonably small and therefore manageable. When I need one, all I do is pull out the binder, and ask first what is it to determine the category, then flip to the appropriate tab and pull out what I need. When I am done, I simply return it to its home.
If I get something that doesn’t fit into one of the existing tabs, I create a new one with a general enough title that multiple things could fit into the tab. For example, had I made a tab that said Wedding or Wedding Glasses, then when I found my Gone with the Wind figurines’ certificate of authenticities, then I would have needed another tab. But Collectables applied to both. Specific enough to define the type of item but general enough so that multiple items can be included.
Not a complex solution but it saves me time, frustration and clutter. Plus, I think it looks pretty on my shelf. Hope this can help you become a little more organized. See you next post.