Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There are no emails in your inbox folder.

Seven Simple Ways to Get Organized

While I realize there's no magic formula to "getting organized," this article caught my attention.  Any short list of organizing tasks probably would go a long way to making my life feel a little more "under control" and I decided to see how many I could cover.

Before I went into labor, I tackled Wednesday's task of organizing the closet.  Well, for us, it was actually the back stairway that we have turned into a sort of mudroom.  I'd had this task listed in my Cycles of Grace notebook for the Pascha season, and it had gone undone and been moved to the Apostle's Fast notebook.  With impetus from this article, I attacked our mudroom.

The bags of "give away" clothes and other items were resorted and moved to the garage to be donated.  The winter coats and boots went downstairs to a small closet in the basement.  The mittens, hats, and scarves were bagged and set with the other cold-weather items.  I reorganized the wire shelving unit that had held a jumble of hats, mittens, chalk, bubbles, and other miscellaneous items.  Now, the summer toys each have their own bins, and when the cold returns, summer items will move out to make room, once again, for the winter accessories.

Today, I finished Monday's task of organizing my inbox.  I've always attempted organization in broad categories, feeling like putting one thing in a folder would be a waste of a folder.  But after learning from my Cycles of Grace project, I find that it is much easier to find things if they are clearly labeled, even if that means using one tab or one folder for one piece of paper—or one email.

I decided that having a folder in my email account labeled "Information" was about as useful as packing to move and writing "stuff" or "belongings" on the side of the box.  I first went through that folder and moved address change information into its own folder.  I then created folders for life insurance, stock, classes and groups, and invitations.  Once "Information" was empty, I deleted the folder.  Then, one by one, I went through the emails in my inbox.  Most of them were comments on  my blog, group emails, or newsletters that hadn't been deleted upon reading.  A very few got filed away.  And yes, a few of the folders only contain one email.

Very early in the process, I realized I needed a holding place for emails I need to respond to but don't have the time to address right away.  If I didn't have that, I'd start filling up my inbox with unread emails again simply because a few emails awaiting my responses would be sitting at the bottom.  It would be like intending to quit making piles, only to leave out a paper or two "to deal with later," and then throwing the day's mail on top of it, quite burying the original papers and creating a mess.  My response to this problem was to create a "Reply Needed" folder and put "00" at the beginning so that it would stay at the top of my folder list.

It also occurred to me that many of the emails could be turned into word documents or downloaded and saved to my hard drive.  Recipes, pdf files, and medical records would fall into this category.  I think I have finally discovered a system I can stick with, so next time I get the urge to clean up my electronic clutter, I think I'll have the time to address these other types of emails.

For the rest...

  • Tuesday's task is to address the kitchen cabinets.  Most of mine aren't bad, but a few are organizational quagmires.  
  • Thursday's mission is the linen closet.  We don't have one of those, but I do need a new system for sheets.  At present they are in several different places.
  • I suppose Friday's assignment could be translated into a general bathroom declutter session.  Again, my bathroom isn't bad, but a few places (medicine cabinet?) could use some attention.
  • On Saturday, I am supposed to draft the family.  I'll have to think about that one a little before I tackle it.  Maybe my girls are old enough to begin having some regular "chores."
  • And I think I will leave Sunday's task until last.  It will be fun to think about some of the things we'd like to do later this summer when John is a little older.

Of course, right now, I'm all about doing the things (like cleaning out my inbox) that can be done while sitting, preferably while nursing or holding a sleeping baby.  ;)


  1. Good heavens, Patty! I did next to nothing after my last was born! (Well, we did plan a trip to Gatlinburg and do that, but that was fun stuff.) You're amazing...

  2. OK, like I said, this was done while sitting. I have to occupy my brain SOMEHOW with all that nursing and cuddling. :)

    Those other plans are just filed away for later!

  3. I always took the time while nursing to read without guilt. I stashed books around the house where I was likely to sit down so I always had a book handy. Sort of like some people do with bottled water.

  4. Yes, I did that last time. I read the entire Harry Potter series during my 40 days with Susannah. I think I was in a haze with my first and have no idea WHAT I did.

    I haven't figured out what to read this time. Any suggestions? I'm thinking some kind of classic novel or series....

    That would also motivate me to ignore the messy house and rest as I should.

  5. Patty, stop! I couldn't believe the date-stamp when I saw it. Even if you cleaned your inbox while nursing, you still took the time to write about it. Take a break, lady! Of course, I am a little envious. =)

  6. But, Laura, I wrote about it while still nursing the kid on my lap at the computer.

    Don't worry, I haven't even thought about the rest of this list since I posted it and probably will forget about it for several more months, unless someone else comments on it. :P


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