Written By: Erin of Home Organize It! (c) copyright 2008 HomeOrganizeIt.com

The "Serious Season" is upon us again. Lazy summer days have become a distant memory as we've headed back to school, work and schedules. It's a season when being organized can make a difference on whether or not you find any discretionary time.

With the world experiencing economic concerns, it's also an ideal time to pull back on bringing more "stuff" into our homes and maybe even doing the opposite... by sharing what's not being used with others who could benefit from it.

Do you find it interesting that when we experience an economic downturn, people tend to become more generous? Rather than stressing about financial struggles, soaring gas prices and what our countries might be headed for, let's attempt to make the best use of our time on what we hold closest to our hearts... friends and family.

The Home Organize It! motto is...

Make More Time For What's Important... Get Organized!

Make this season one where you really do make more time for what's important. In this issue I'll cover three tips that can help you have more time...

Papers, Papers and more Papers!

Declutter and Donate

Enter Room, Leave It Better

Papers, Papers and more Papers!

Paperwork is the number two issue that visitors write in about on HomeOrganizeIt.com. Can you guess what number one is? The key to not letting paperwork take over your time and your home is to simplify the way you manage it... and of course to reduce the paper that comes in as much as possible.

While working with organizing clients who were struggling with the "paper challenge" I quickly realized they needed an easy and fast solution. None of these moms were going to set aside hours per week in order to have perfect filing systems. So I turned to one of my favorite places for finding ideas... the Internet. After researching some pricey solutions which required a learning curve and costly supplies, I thought about creating my own system for clients.

That's when the somewhat radical idea of "Pile Don't File!" struck me. Of course this approach doesn't mean that you'll keep piling up papers endlessly! Read more about "Pile Don't File" and get your paperwork in control.

Then once you've piled it's time to... file. Wait! Don't click away now! I don't mean endless sorting, time consuming, really boring filing! The reality is however, there are some papers you should file. Medical records, school documents and tax information are just a few. This won't take long especially with my organizing colleague Debbie's creation called the EasyFile Home Filing System.

EasyFile uses a Straight-Line Filing System which has many advantages, such as allowing you to add or remove any file without disrupting your pattern. It's user-friendly, easy on the eye (personally I love the symmetric look!), and convenient to work with.

It will take you a half hour or so to set up, and then depending on how many "important" papers you have to file, another 15-30 minutes. After that, it's a breeze! No more looking for those documents at the last minute and no more papers everywhere! All you'll do is occasionally look in your "keeper paper pile" (which is kept with the most recent papers on top). This approach may seem a bit unconventional but it's the one that the majority of busy clients stick with.

Declutter and Donate

You may be feeling the "pinch" but there are millions of people who are experiencing hard times and your gently used "stuff" could really bless them!

Set aside some time this week to declutter an area in your home. Try to choose an area that holds unused items that you could give to someone in need. Maybe it's the coat closet or the kid's room, the attic or the basement. It's amazing how much easier it is to declutter when you are motivated by generosity! For tips on decluttering quickly or to learn how to get and stay decluttered for the long term, check out my Declutter ForEver page on Home Organize It!

Enter Room, Leave It Better

Most of us don't have time for daily deep cleaning and organizing. Start making this one simple tip a habit, and within a week, you'll be surprised at the difference it makes!

I'd like to thank an anonymous reader who submitted this wonderful organizing tip...

-- "Every time you enter a room in your home, for whatever reason, ALWAYS leave it better in some way than when you entered it. It might be as small a thing as shutting a closet door, fluffing a cushion or taking an empty coffee mug out with you, but make it a fun challenge and a habit.

Those little improvements add up in a day, and they take up minimal time, because they happen as you go about doing your everyday activities." --

After reading this tip, I thought... what a smart idea! It's amazing how we can get so busy that we race through the rooms in our homes and think things like "I'll pick that up later" or I'll do that this evening".

So I decided to try always leaving any room I'm in a little better than it was when I entered. This could mean, putting something away, picking up something off the floor, taking something out and putting it in a give-away box, whatever.

Within a week, I began to notice a difference. Then I shared this tip with my children and asked them to make an effort to do the same. Of course they needed frequent reminding as I really wanted them to make this a semi-habit (I'm being real here, after all they are kids!). I also knew I'd have to actually make them go back and hang up that towel, or put the snack bag away. I stuck with it and it's paying off in spades!

It's been about a month now since I seriously implemented this easy tip. I'm happy to report that although my kids still complain some of the time, they know I mean it when I ask them if the room they were in looks better than when they entered. :-)

Try this "enter-room-leave-it-better" tip and let me know if it makes a difference for you too!

If you'd like to add your own organizing tip to homeorganizeit.com, I invite you to do so here.

Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you on HomeOrganizeIt!.com!

All the best,
Make Time For What's Important... Get Organized!

Click here now to learn how I'm beating the financial crisis and how you can too.


Next issue...

Budget Makeover: Living comfortably on less. If the economy has caught up with you, we'll show you some great ways to trim the excess and find more to give!

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