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Organizing Your Desk Not As Hard As You Might Think

Organizing Your Desk Not As Hard As You Might Think

By Daniel Sorid - Associated PressJuly 1st 2007

The disorder in America's homes and offices produces enough stress and shame to sustain a whole industry of organizers. And that industry is growing. The National Association of Professional Organizers has doubled to 4,000 members since 2003, says Barry Izsak, their president. Izsak is a well known professional organizer in the US and abroad and his organizing company is based in Austin, Texas.


"Organization is about creating a simple system that works," he says. "Being organized is not about looking pretty."


Some tips for the messy office worker, from the pros. If you pile papers, pile with style. Pendaflex produces a line of products to organize piles, including document clips with attached labels that claim to speed your search for that buried document. They sell for about $3 for a pack of 12. Each can hold 20 sheets of paper, and is color coded.


Pile devotees should put that day's work in a "hot" pile, which they clear out before the day is done. And resist the urge to start a "miscellaneous" pile; you'll just be stacking with no structure.


Every paper that lands on your desk, and every e-mail you receive, needs a decision: trash it, refer it, act on it, or file it.

Referring papers to colleagues and bosses needn't take up much time. Start a folder or pile for each person on your team. Once a week, or more often, whip out the folder and use it to start a discussion. Hand over the papers, and be rid of the clutter.


Scared to throw out papers for fear your boss will come hounding you for them? Give each paper an obsolescence date by when it will certainly have no value. When you come across that file later, toss it.


The computer age has caused one big organizational casualty, according to Izsak, a specialist in office organization. Many people no longer have work spaces on their desks.


"Their computer is in the middle of their desks," Izsak says. "They have stuff all around them, and they don't have room to spread out and work on a project when they need to." One of the first things he tells clients is to move the PC, or to create a second space that's clear of everything. He recommends a 3-foot-wide space to work. Many, this Austin professional organizer says, "have nowhere to move, nowhere to breathe." 

The Arranging it AllSM team is mentored and trained by a Certified Professional Organizer.

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