Time Saving Tips for Getting Organized in 2013


Having worked as a professional organizer, I can say with some certainty that everyone has a place in their lives that needs a little organizational tweaking. From closets to checkbooks, kitchens to cars, all of us have something (or maybe a few things) that are disorganized enough that we have written them off for good, or ignore them consistently.

The following 12 items are the things I most often worked on with clients.

1. Organize for 15 minutes each day

This could mean anything from sorting mail to throwing out mystery foods in the refrigerator. Just 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference over time.

2. Download Quicken (or some other money management program)

Quicken will make your financial life a million times easier to manage. It costs around $50, but its well worth the investment. From Quicken you can pay bills, download transactions from banks and credit cards, plan, budget, see what you are spending and what your overall financial picture looks like.

3. Make a simple sorting system for your papers

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It’s as easy as this: to do, to read, to file. That’s all you need to keep everything in order. Think about it — what else is there? Now use the 15 minutes as mentioned above once or twice a week to sort your papers. Some find stackable filing shelves work, others like to have upright files they can thumb through. The Container Store is a great resource for all kinds of organizational tools. If you want to fancy it up a bit, check out See Jane Work.

4. Keep a list of your passwords in a safe place

Remembering passwords can be a real pain, and a time waster also. There are many ways to keep your passwords in a safe and secure place — besides that list on the post-it near your computer — including Last Pass. Find what works for you and spend a few hours recording all of your vital information in an online location that you can access from anyplace.

5. Have a family information center

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Whether it’s a bulletin board in your kitchen or a google calendar that you all sync to and add to individually, it’s important that a family shares plans and information, such as times, dates, phone numbers and so on. Color-coding can take things even further, if you’re so inclined — each family member can have their own color, which is extremely helpful for at-a-glance info.

6. Find an online backup program and use it.

Carbonite, or SOS are a couple of good options, or a back up drive connected to your computer is an alternative choice. This is essential to your peace of mind regarding anything that you store on your computer — from legal documents to photos. With online backup, you can retrieve your files anyplace, anytime.

7. Be ruthless in your closet

Some quiet afternoon, maybe if it’s raining and no one else is at home, spend a few hours going through your clothes closet. Be honest with yourself about whether things fit, or you like them, or you’ll ever wear them again. If you have a friend you trust, try things on and get an honest opinion. Get those big green garbage bags (the best things for purging) and fill them up with your gently used clothing and shoes, handbags and accessories, ties, suits, whatever you’ve got, and take them to your local charity. Toss out torn, stained or ripped items. Now you will have a much more manageable closet, and people in need will have clothes to wear. Do yourself a favor and buy some Huggable Hangers — you’ll be amazed at the additional room you have. Doesn’t that feel great?


8. Check the expiration dates in your medicine cabinet and in your kitchen

You’ll be surprised how many things are not only out of date, but basically useless, too. Spices lose their flavors, pain relievers lose their efficacy. Get rid of any prescription drugs that you no longer need by taking them to a local pharmacy for disposal. Even canned goods have an expiration date. Unlike out of style clothing, do not donate out of date food!

9. Start scanning your photos into your computer

This is a long-term project and should be approached much like organizing itself — 15 minutes a day, max. Don’t set a deadline or pressure yourself to get it done quickly — just do a bit at a time.

10. Hire a professional organizer

If this all seems like too much to do on your own, hire a pro to help you. It’s much easier to get organized with someone cheering you on and helping you out. Go to www.napo.net (National Association of Professional Organizers) to find a person in your area. There are specialists in every field, from garages to computers.

Getting organized takes patience, time, and the ability to throw things away. Once you get started, you’ll feel so much better!



  1. says

    Organization is a wonderful thing. I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes wiht completing these tasks. Got a new idea or two as well – thank you! Well worth the repost. :)

  2. says

    It is always a struggle to clean out the kids’ toys around here–it seems they have a photographic memory when I try to donate their toys away– and they do not like parting with any of those toys. I almost always have to find incentives to do away with their old worn out toys!!

    Cheers, Jenn
    Jenn recently posted..ObscurityMy Profile

  3. says

    Love all of the tips, but you must must MUST add under #9 that if you do scan your photos into the computer, also get an external or thumb drive and back them up on it. If your computer’s hard drive crashes, without backup, you’ll lose everything.
    Patricia Petro recently posted..On the Road TogetherMy Profile

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