Going Paperless

We live in a digital, electronic world, but many of us still struggle with paper clutter. Whether it’s our bills, or junk mail, and old files and papers, paper can build up and quickly become overwhelming. If we have a goal to become paperless, or as paperless as we can be, there are a few things we can do today to lessen the paper we have coming in, so we can handle the current paper we already have.

Change your mailing preferences.

One of the simplest things you can do right now is to set your mailing preferences, specifically for your bills, to email only. How often do you keep these papers long term? Do you look at them to pay your bills or just log into your online account?

Choose to be emailed receipts on checkout, or at the doctors office.

Nowadays, we get asked if we want a paper receipt, emailed receipt, or both. Ask to be emailed the receipt instead of ending up with a pile of paper receipts. You need the receipts for taxes, or a business expense? That’s fine! Now you already have the receipts uploaded into one place and you don’t have to hunt those receipts down when you are reconciling your account. Most systems ask us to upload the receipt anyway, so why not save a step! (Please check with your accountant if you are keeping receipts for tax and business purposes about the best way to hold onto your receipts.)

Have a filing system.

What? If I’m trying to go paperless, why do I need a filing system? There are things that we do have to keep as a paper version. We must have a filing system in place that can house these items in an organized way. We also will inevitably receive paper items that we need to hold on it, at least for the immediate future. To help lessen the paper clutter, having a simple filing system – or even folder, can create an organized space to house these items. I have shared this before, but I have 3 folders on my desk for my paper, receipts, etc. – Action Items, To Be Entered, and To Be Filed. I tackle this folders on a regular basis and it makes it easy for me to know exactly what I need to do with the items in the folders. It’s simple and it works for me.

Create a habit of sorting those files on a regular basis.

It can be simple to create folders and set up the filing system, but it doesn’t work if we don’t make it a habit to actually put things in it and sort through them on a regular basis. If we don’t go through the files, they can become as messy as our paper clutter on our desk once was. Whether you sort once a week, or once a month, find that habit that works for you to keep that clutter under control.

Sort your mail.

An overlooked step to tackling the paper clutter. A lot of mail we receive is often junk mail, and if we don’t handle it right away, it can build up fast. Go through it when it comes in – keep what needs to be kept, and dispose of the things we don’t need right away. Tackling that mail pile on a regular basis can help tame the clutter.

How can we make that huge step towards being paperless?

There are two steps to creating that paperless system. First, we need to know what we have and what things need to be kept. Are we keeping receipts? Bills? Information? Take a look at the paper clutter you have and the paper items that you need to/ want to keep and start there. Organize it, sort it by topic, year, etc. Once we know what we have we can set up our digital filing system. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post on setting up your digital filing system!)

From there, we start creating and building habits to keep our digital filing system up to date and consistent.

 

The path to going paperless is not quick, and it’s not always easy, but it is possible and can help create a calmer environment for your home.

Good luck!

 

Setting Your Space

Setting up your space, whether it’s your room, your office, anything, should take time and thought to set it for you and your life. We won’t always get it right the first time, but we will move things around, add things, and take things away, as we set our most useful, productive, and calm space. We don’t want to become overwhelmed by our spaces, we want them to be places where we are comfortable and breathe easy. How do we go about doing that? What do we need to ask as we set our space?

What purpose does this space serve? What do I want it to serve?

How do I envision the space to look and feel?

What do I need to have this space?

What do I want to have in this space?

How do I want this space to feel?

Ask yourself these questions as you set the vision for your space. Don’t rush the process and try to avoid buying something you think will work there because it looks functional. Yes, maybe it does work, but envision the space first, set goals and priorities and then create it from there.

Our spaces can very easily get cluttered or feel overwhelming without much effort. When our spaces feel cluttered, we feel stressed. If we feel stressed by our spaces, anything and everything can feel stressful more quickly. Let’s set ourselves up for success and start setting our physical spaces to clear our mental spaces.

Start setting your space, envision how you want it to feel, and then start decluttering and organizing it. Release the stress and clutter from your space and your life.

Happy organizing!

 

Setting Goals in the New Year

It can be easy to go about our days just moving through the motions without having a clear picture of our goals and priorities. We know we have things we are working towards but we can get stuck in the routine of our days. Taking the time to think about your goals, priorities, and even how much time you truly have, is crucial to set solid, realistic goals.

If I don’t have goals that come straight to mind, how do I know how to set my goals?

First, make of list of all of the things you do throughout your days, and all of the things you WANT to do but maybe haven’t done it yet. This list should feel like a complete brain dump of information. Try not to think too hard about it, just write what comes out as you think about your days.

Are there things on your list that you are completely satisfied with, are there things that you want to build or do more around? Once you have the list, take the time and think about each item on the list.

Prioritize. What on your list is most important to you? Does any of it have a deadline? Can some of them be broken up into multiple pieces? Is there anything that you can let go of from your list?

How does this list help you create goals for your year?

You can’t set goals without knowing where you already stand or see how things are right now. Once you have a clear picture of what you currently have on your plate or on your mind that you want to do you can start to make positive changes. You can set goals to start the things you’ve wanted to and to build the things you already have.

Break your goals down into manageable pieces. Set deadlines for yourself so you can truly see them through and hold yourself accountable. Dream big and take it step by step.

 

Getting Organized for the Holidays

The holidays are almost here. Not only is is the perfect time of year to get organized, but with the holidays can bring a lot of clutter and stress. What can you do now so you can have your least stressful holiday season yet?

 

Spend some time cleaning out the most cluttered places in your home before anything else. Clear the spaces that stress you out the most so you can start off less stressed, and minimize the clutter before more comes in.

 

We often switch our wardrobe this time of year, now is a perfect time to clean out your closet. It is also a great time of year to donate, find organizations that you care about and see what they need this holiday season.

 

Pick a space to “manage” your holiday items. Whether it’s for card writing, present wrapping, list making, etc. have a place (or a couple of places) that will be your holiday space.

 

Keep your holiday items together – year round. And most importantly, label your boxes, know what you have so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every year.

 

Make a list. Don’t shop without purpose, know what you are looking for and see if you can minimize trips by finding more at less stores. Of course, there is always online shopping from the comfort of your couch!

 

If your time is limited and you are at stores, get everything gift wrapped in store. Make sure you note what is in the boxes, but it will save you time, and many stores offer free gift wrapping, now you even save money on wrapping paper!

 

The clean up after the holidays can also be stressful. Go through your things mindfully, are there things you didn’t use that you may not need to keep anymore? Go through everything before you put it away. Make sure you label your boxes as you pack away the holiday items and keep it all together (if you can). Make sure it’s accessible, but doesn’t need to be at the front since you won’t need those items again until next year!

 

Take it slow, and take the time to prepare before diving into the holidays!

 

Good luck!

Email Overwhelm: Tame the Clutter

How many emails are in your inbox? Are you overwhelmed by what is in there and the constant thread of unread emails you have? Our digital clutter can often be just as, if not more, overwhelming than physical clutter. We live in a time of technology overload, and almost everything we do is always right at our fingertips. That leads to clutter in our digital platforms. Email is one of our primary forms of communication. Since it also serves as our primary tool for people and companies to advertise to us, it is also a place that gets cluttered, and quickly. We don’t even realize how many email lists we are a part of, and often don’t pay attention to how many emails we receive a day. Office workers receive, on average, 120 emails per day (!!!), in addition to our personal accounts. Here are some tips to help minimize the clutter in your inbox.

 

My inbox currently (and always) has less than 50 emails in it at all times – how is that even possible you ask! Here are my best recommendations to tame that clutter.

 

 

  • Unsubscribe.

 

 

Unsubscribe from email lists. Most likely, you don’t read the majority of the emails that come through, stay on the lists for the emails you do read. Nowadays, many lists let you pick and choose which emails you receive. Minimize the emails coming into your inbox, so that each email serves you.

 

 

  • Filter your emails.

 

 

Are there emails that can be filed away without you needing the address them? Are there emails that can be filed away immediately so you can deal with them at a later time? Filtering your emails essentially makes a rule – i.e. all emails from “Mom” go into the “personal” folder; all emails from “verizon” go into “bills” folder.

 

 

  • Delete.

 

 

Delete all emails that need to be deleted. Delete the junk, delete old information, don’t hang on to clutter.

 

 

  • File emails into folders.

 

 

When your emails are taken care of, the task checked off, file the emails into appropriate folders – i.e. bills, loans, personal, school, etc. We know that we need to save some of the things we get even when we’ve completed the task, so take it out of your inbox, minimize the clutter there. Bonus tip: Dependent of the emails you keep – personal or business – you may need to keep everything in your email; if you don’t save the emails as PDF files if they contain important information or are receipts, and file them on your desktop.

 

 

  • Star emails that need to be addressed.

 

 

Either star emails or create a separate “to do” folder in your email – depends on how your email system is set up visually. You ideally want to label them in a way they can be seen almost at all times. Marking your email in this way reminds you of the action you need to take for the email. Perhaps you have to schedule something or are waiting on a document or need to complete something before responding, star it, make it an action item and work towards it. When you’re done, move it to where it belongs!

 

Need help taming your digital clutter? Contact me today!

Holistic Organizing

Holistic organizing – what does that mean! Let’s take a step back before we get into that. Organizing can be an extremely stressful and bring up a lot of emotions. Especially as we sort items that hold more emotions; or we are trying to dispose or declutter some of our items to make more space. This process can bring up a lot of emotions, and create more stress in our quest to be less stressed. That’s where we can take a more mindful, holistic approach to organizing. We are very conscious and aware as we start to clean out, but there are ways we can create a calm, less stressful environment as we organize.

How can we do that?

There are a number of ways to create this atmosphere in your home as you organize.

Diffuse essential oils.

Essential oils can encourage feelings of ease and lessen feelings of tension. You can diffuse them in the home as a whole, or in the room you are working in. If you need a little uplift and energizing space – use a citrus oil. If you are looking for a something more grounding and centering, try a blend that contains warm, woody aromas.

Inhale essential oils.

Sometimes, the diffusion of the oils can be overwhelming for some of us. That’s okay. Keep a bottle nearby and when you need a break, let one drop of the oil come into your palms and rub the hands together – then take a deep inhale and let the breath go.

Practice breathing techniques.

Practice breathing exercises can have a variety of benefits for the body as a whole, but it also helps us to calm the body. Have you ever been really stressed, angry, or frustrated, and then you instinctively take that deep inhale in and sigh it out and you feel a release almost immediately. Practicing breathing techniques as we organize and declutter can help to increase your energy to keep moving forward, it slows your heart rate, and helps to reduce anxiety.

Do some yoga.

When we organize our space, we tend to be either stuck in one spot, moving around, or standing on our feet for long periods of time. All of these things can have a stressful effect on our bodies. Stop and take mini breaks, stretch it out, twist, bend, and move the blood flow in a mindful way.

Bring some more mindfulness into your organizing projects, find a little more ease as you go through the process, and take it one step at a time.

 
(Important note about essential oils: Know the oils you are using, I don’t recommend picking up oils at the grocery store or another store. Different brands source their oils in different ways and there is only one company that I trust and would recommend – doTERRA essential oils. If you have any questions about doTERRA or essential oils in general, please connect with me – I’d be happy to talk more about them and how they can help!)

Shannon is a RYT-200 Registered Yoga Teacher and Wellness Advocate with doTERRA essential oils. For more questions about yoga, essential oils, and organizing, connect with her today!

 

The Organizing Cycle

Getting organized and staying organized are two very different things. Getting organized can definitely be a project, and it can be a long one or a short one depending on your goals. The process of cleaning out and decluttering never stops. You have to maintain your organization once you find the system that works for you. This is “The Organizing Cycle.”

 

Step 1: Decluttering and sorting.

This can be the most overwhelming step, so take this one piece by piece. Declutter and sort the areas that are causing the most stress to your life. Move slow and ask for help if you need it – sometimes a clear set of eyes can help you work through the process and minimize the overwhelm and stress.

 

Step 2: Creating a system that works for you.

As you organize and sort, think about your process for the way you do things already. Creating a new system often means creating a new habit, this takes time, but keep it simple. If you always go to the kitchen when you get home, put your mail sorting system in the kitchen.

 

Step 3: Adjust the system if its not working.

Often times we put in a system and it works at first but its not working in the long term. That’s okay! Notice what piece of the system/ process is not working and adjust. Maybe even change it completely. The process of organizing is a often a constant test of trial and error.

 

Step 4: Maintain the system daily, weekly, monthly.

Maintenance is a crucial step of the organizing cycle. It is what makes it a cycle. Once you organize, you are not done, things are still going to be coming in and needing to go out. This is where the maintenance comes in. This is the clearest step to see if the process and system you’ve created is working — are you able to maintain it? This can take time, you have to create new habits, and often update the system as you notice what works and what doesn’t.

 

Organizing is a cycle, it’s creating habits, and adjusting for your life. It ebbs and flows. Just keep moving through the cycle.