October 2005
Vol. 3, No. 10

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

“Anger is the only thing to put off till tomorrow.”
–Slovakian proverb

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Organizing your computer

Your computer is a great organizing tool, but only if you organize IT. Following are some simple ways to organize files.

* Foldering. I file documents in folders so that all related documents are stored together the same way they would be in a filing cabinet. I have folders for Books, Speaking, Organizing Resources, Cleaning Resources, and Personal files and then I folders within those folders. For example, in the Books folder, I have sub-folders for each of my books.

If you don’t currently have documents in folders, take a few minutes to create a few folders into which you can move related files including emails, photos, spreadsheets, and word documents. Folders will make it a lot easier to find files because you won’t have to search through long lists of file names or icons – just those that are in a particular folder that you have created for that subject.

* Google files. Here’s another helpful tool for finding files. You’ve probably used Google to search the Internet. It’s really fast, right? Well, did you know that you can “Google” your own computer? Go to http://www.Google.com, click on Desktop, and then search for a keyword or phrase and you will be directed to all the related emails, files, Web history and chats in your computer memory. You can even download this tool to your desktop so you just have to click on an icon on your screen to start the search (click on “more tools” at the Google Web site).

* Emails. If you need to save emails, save them to a folder with related information. Keep in your inbox only those emails that still require action.
Delete or file everything else. That way, your inbox becomes a reminder of things you need to do.

Next month: Cleaning up your hard drive


While frequent cleaning can help to alleviate allergy symptoms, the process of cleaning stirs up dust and pollen and other allergens. Plan to do your vacuuming, dusting and cleaning while allergy sufferers are out and allow at least an hour before their scheduled return.


Is your kitchen counter covered with mounds of paper? Do you frequently misplace important papers? The FridgeFile might be the perfect solution.

Made of strong flexible plastic with super strong magnets to hold it in place, the FridgeFile features four filing pockets that can hold a total of 40 pages without slipping. Dry erase tabs on each pocket allow you to customize the FridgeFile for your purposes; for example, for take-out menus, school schedules, individual family members, or whatever. And it also comes with an 8 1/2 x 11 dry erase board and pen for jotting quick notes and reminders.

Check it out at http://www.fridgefile.com

SURVEY RESULTS: Favorite organizing product

Last month, I asked: “If you could have just one organizing product to use in your home or office, what would it be and what would you use it for?”

As promised, here are the results of that survey:

– Palmtop for multitasking

– File pockets for filing standard 8 1/2 x 11-inch papers, newspaper clippings, business cards and other odd-sized papers that would fall out of a standard file folder

– Daily planner (3)

– Computer to organize family geneology records

– Two-drawer filing cabinet purchased for $5 at a thrift store to keep personal papers organized

– Shelves for everything (2)

– Large college-ruled spiral notebook to keep track of notes, shopping lists, and things to do all in one place instead of writing on scraps of paper that get lost

– Would like new type of wrapping paper organizer – the hanging kind, standing type and underbed organizers do not work for me.

– Family calendar (one reader specifically mentioned a 2′ x 3′ monthly wall calendar to organize schedules and activities) (2)

– Four-drawer cabinet to organize paperwork

– Date/alphabet file, also called a teaser or tickler file which is designed for temporary filing and easy retrieval of papers you need at a specific date in the future (2)

– File cabinet (3)

– Basket/hamper on staircase for lugging things between floors

– Storage boxes, clearly labeled

– Rolling file cabinet that I use for almost everything

– Desk Apprentice by Staples for my home office

– Would like a mail organizer – not just baskets

– Labelmaker for labeling containers

– Medium sized sticky notes

– Large black markers to label or underline information to save or reread

– Trash bags or boxes for discards

– Computer for electronic filing of correspondence and to pay bills and organize finances

– A butler/maid (3)

So there you have it. As nice as it might be to have a full-time butler or maid pick up after us, most of your favorite organizing products are fairly inexpensive and easy to incorporate into your home or office.

If you’re looking for more ideas, you may want to check out previous issues of this newsletter which are archived at http://www.unclutter.com. Use the Google search engine at the bottom of the home page to search for key words.

NEW SURVEY: What to do with do-dads and whatnots

A reader wrote to me recently asking if anyone has a suggestion on what to do with do-dads and whatnots.

She says,”I seem to find a lot of little things that I hate to throw away, because I know it belongs to something, but I just don’t know what right now. I have thrown things away only to find later that it was something I should have kept. Is there any way a person can keep these so you can find it when you do figure out where it goes?”

I thought it would be interesting to turn this question over to you. What do you do (or suggest doing) with do-dads and whatnots?

TO RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, click the following link editor@unclutter.comor send email to editor@unclutter.com with the words “October Survey” in the subject line and your answer in the body of the email. I will share the results of this survey in the next issue.

READERS WRITE: Instant cabinet storage

In our kitchen, we have cabinets that are deep, but not easy to access when you need the items at the back. Since we couldn’t afford slide-out shelves right now I decided to create my own.

I measured the depth, width and length of each cabinet and figured out how many clear plastic storage boxes I would need in each area and purchased the various sizes of boxes and “Voila!” I had instant slide out shelves to accommodate all my pots, pans, bowls and everything.

They slide easily, I can see into them to find what I need and they provide easy access. I put lids on the ones that I wanted to use as drawers for my recipes or whatever. I’m happy because I maximized my space while minimizing our budget!

— Submitted by Debbie Grilli, Sun City, AZ

WRITE TO WIN an autographed copy of my most recent book!

Do you have a really great organizing tip you would like to share with other readers? Or a question about an organizing challenge you have?

Send an e-mail to editor@unclutter.com with “Readers_Write” in the subject line.

If your question or tip is included in a future issue of this newsletter, I will send you a free autographed copy of my latest book, The One- Minute Organizer Plain & Simple. Check it out at


PLEASE NOTE: I get a lot of questions and it’s impossible for me to respond to them all. Please know that I do read them and try to answer as many as I can.

SHAMELESS PROMOTION: The magic of television

On the morning of October 25, I may be coming to a television near you. I will be doing a Satellite Media Tour from a studio in New York City, which will feed live to morning news programs across the country to share kitchen organizing and cleaning tips. You’ll have to let me know if you happen to catch the segment in your area!

These past two weekends I traveled to Denver and Chicago to sign copies of The One-Minute Organizer Plain & Simple for booksellers and librarians at their regional trade shows. What a great bunch of people. You really have to love people who love books.

Did I tell you I finished writing Cleaning Plain & Simple? It’s due in stores by the end of this year and I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. My goal was to write a book that goes way beyond cleaning your kitchen and bath to include cleaning everything in and around your home with lots of tips for allergy sufferers, pet lovers, gardeners, and anyone really who wants to have a cleaner home.

If you are looking for organization tips, look for my books in bookstores everywhere (including online bookstores) and in select Target, K-Mart, Staples, Discovery Channel, and Lowes stores.

If you would like a signed copy of any of my books, you can order direct from me:


Click on the SignedCopy.com logo to have a signed copy sent to you.

That’s it for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.