Note to Self: No More Paper Notes

  • By birdie@getorganizedcolumbus.com
  • 15 Aug, 2016
Notepad
I always tell my clients, “a note to self now, is a growing pile of something that needs attention later.” Many clients who struggle with paper management keep loads of paper with randomly written notes. This is practiced without acknowledging the lack of time or desire to later decipher between which note matters. In reality, very little of it actually matters if it […] 
I always tell my clients, “a note to self now, is a growing pile of something that needs attention later.” Many clients who struggle with paper management keep loads of paper with randomly written notes. This is practiced without acknowledging the lack of time or desire to later decipher between which note matters. In reality, very little of it actually matters if it can’t be easily found. True action items have to be dealt with more readily, and in today’s world–without scrap paper. Here are a few tips we hope will help keep you mindful of when to take a note, and when to replace the habit with a different behavior to reduce your paper piles and that overwhelming feeling of “what is this, and why did I write this down?”
  1. Randomly written notes are not good for tracking things that require immediate action. Instead we suggest using a calendar (paper or electronic) to list your daily/weekly action items. If you use a list tool like one available in your phone, then be sure to delete it each day when you prepare a list for the next day.
  2. Do not write down phone numbers and addresses or keep business cards. If you have email or a cell phone, you have access to a Contact database which eliminates the need for kept paper. In addition, any legitimate business will have their phone number listed on their web site. Business cards need not linger around. Also if you own a scanner, many programs will let you scan the card directly into the database.
  3. Recognize when you are taking a Reference Note that requires no immediate action from other types of notes. Say for example, you wanted to write down an author’s name that you heard while talking to a friend. Now where are you going to keep this that makes sense in your home? Reference items are space stealers and are rarely found again to use. We suggest adopting an electronic note system like Evernote or the one built into your phone to keep things for reference of minor relevance. To avoid electronic piles, it is important to create reference categories such as: Reading List/Recipes/Favorite Wines, etc., and then date new entries under each category. I personally like to use my time in waiting rooms to clean up any old electronic notes I no longer care about.
  4. Do not keep cards and envelopes to remind you to write thank you notes. Upon receipt of a card, make sure the name and address is in your contact list. Recycle the envelope. Enjoy the card. Create a separate action item in your calendar or to-do list titled: “Thank You’s {date}” and list the names of those to recognize. Paper be gone!
  5. Resist the urge to keep mailed advertisements as reminders to call or research a service. Instead, send these directly to your recycle bin and make an electronic “Call” or “Research” list. It is important to put dates on these entries as months can go by before ever taking action.
  6. The dreaded grocery list need not be etched on paper. Notice I say List, singularly. If you use an electronic tool for this, be sure to delete each old list and replace with the most current one to stay up to date. You should really have only one functional grocery list at a time. Or check to see if your favorite grocer has an app that will allow you to create the list within their database. This will help you match discounts and coupons to the items on the list.
You might be asking if it is ever good to write anything down–and the answer is YES! It is good to write down passwords, account numbers, and personal identification information in the event that electricity is interrupted or databases are compromised. But these items should be kept together in ONE place.
We hope you feel inspired to challenge yourself–drop an old habit and pick up a new one; and leave all that paper behind. For more information about organization, visit us at http://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
By Tera Harmon 16 Nov, 2017

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.
More Posts

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
More Posts
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