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Let’s Get Organized at Work

 

The new year is a good time to start fresh both personally and professionally. When your peers and your superiors see an organized office, they see someone who is productive and in control. You can find thing easily thus improving time management and can work more effectively. Let’s see how ClutterBGone can get you better organized at work.

Stay focused on one task

Although we think we can work on more than one thing at a time the fact of the matter is we can’t. Dividing your concentration and efforts on more than one task reduces the focus you put on a project which reduces the quality of work. organized officePrioritize your tasks and give each one the full effort they require.

What is your peak time?

We’re not all morning people, or afternoon people for that matter. I normally need a couple of cups of coffee and a bit of time to reach my optimal working time. Know what yours is and save the most important tasks for this time if you can.

Clutter is a distraction

I’ve seen a lot of desks with an enormous pile of paper scattered everywhere on them. These people typically don’t know where to start and waste a lot of time just getting ready to start a project. A lot of time is also wasted looking for files, reference materials and office supplies. Handle the paper once when it comes in. Devote time each day to paper if you need to.

Do you have home and office balance?

A lot of studies have been done confirming that people who have a balance between the office and home typically are less stressed and we know what stress can do to the body. organized officeThey also feel more in control of their lives and feel more successful. Work is something that can easily consume us and have a negative effect on our personal lives so find the right balance for you. Maybe it means limiting the evenings per week you will work late or perhaps you can let go of some of the less important projects to staff. Whatever it is, find your balance for less stress in your life.

Set your goals and write them down

Set your goals and revise them often. They could be daily, weekly or monthly goals. Write them down and leave them where you will see them. Without setting your goals how else will you know what needs your attention and what you have accomplished? Block out time for the really important stuff and let people know it’s “do not disturb” time.

We all want to be successful at work. Use these tools to bring more balance to your life, be more productive and stay organized. Let ClutterBGone into your office to help you get organized as we have done to others. Just reach out to us here.

 

Where to Start When Organizing Your Home

organizing your home

When you finally decide to start organizing your home the first question that comes up is “where do I start?” Is there a certain order to follow? Do we start with the largest rooms? The most used? The most cluttered? Unfortunately, it all depends on who you speak to. Each professional organizer will have a different viewpoint. It also depends on you and the resources you have available. How much time do you have to devote to this? Do you have anybody to assist you? Will you be hiring a professional organizer?

Here is where we at ClutterBGone would begin the process of organizing your home.

Which room gives you the most grief?

We always ask our clients which room they would like to gain control of the most. organize your homeIt’s easy to say the whole house but there is one room that is causing you the most grief. One room that is resulting in more misplaced items, more lost productivity, one room that became a drop zone, maybe even one room that looks the worse than the others.

How much time can be dedicated to the task?

Each room you work on will require a much different amount of time. Kitchens will often be the most cluttered room but can be organized rather quickly because we are working in a smaller area with many of the same items such as dishes, spices and the likes. Bedrooms on the other hand can take a lot more time. ClutterBGone receives a lot of requests to organize bedrooms, and bedroom closets in particular. Each item must be looked at to make a decision on whether to keep, donate or toss. Then, it all has to go back in a way that is organized, with a system that works for you.

Do you have the space for storage?

organize your homeOnce the organizing process starts you are going to have items that you want or need to keep but rarely use. These items will need to be stored away. Do you have the space for the storage of items? Do you have the materials required to store items like shelving or containers? The area that you use for storing unused items must also be organized in a way that makes it easy to find and retrieve items.

Slow and steady wins the race

All that clutter wasn’t created overnight so it’s going to take some time to gain control of your room and home. Keep the end goal in mind and recognize the small victories as they occur, like an organized drawer or a cleared surface. Dedicate the time that is needed. Enlist the help of family or friends or a professional organizer to help with the task.

Overcoming clutter and getting organized again will take some time and dedication on your part but the results will wow you with a transformed living space and a feeling of accomplishment on your part. ClutterBGone has seen this time and time again.

If you are about to start the decluttering process to get your home organized give ClutterBGone a call at 647-642-5669 or click here. We can help you decide where to start and have your home organized in no time.

 

 

The Negative Side Of Clutter

Clutter is negative

I doubt that anyone has ever thought of clutter in a positive way. Even the real hoarders would admit there is nothing positive about clutter. Clutter affects our lives in a host of negative ways. Let’s look at the negative side of clutter that has a negative impact on our lives.

Clutter Frustrates

Your looking for something that you need now. It’s important and needs to be found. Having to sift through clutter is time consuming and annoying. It raises your frustration levels and anxiety, neither of which are good for your health.

You’ve started a project outside and its starting to get late. You need something you know is in the garage. With all the items that you’ve put in the garage you have a tough time finding it. Dinner is ready, the kids need to be fed and you still haven’t found what you need. Again, frustration sets in ruining the rest of your evening.

Clutter is distracting

Clutter keeps you off your A game. It distracts you.clutter is negative Clutter and disorganization at work reduces your productivity. You spend more time looking for things and less time actually working on that project with an impending deadline. How many of you have started working on one thing only to get distracted once you start sifting through clutter that is around you? Not very productive is it?

Clutter is disruptive

Few things impede forward progress like clutter. It kills momentum in its tracks. In the distraction of looking for what you need, you get side tracked into tending to another issue or losing interest in the one you needed to complete.  Often times, that momentum is hard to get moving again in the right direction.

This happens everywhere. At the office. In your bedroom closet. Your desk. The kitchen. Every time you have to sift through the clutter to find what you’re looking for, you lose momentum. This often leads to another unfinished project left hanging over your head.

Clutter costs you money

Over 20% of North Americans can’t locate their bills and end up paying late fees because of it. Over $1 billion is not redeemed annually because of gift cards that can’t be located.clutter is negative Talk about a waste of money. Your time is worth something too. The average person wastes almost an hour a day looking for items that they have. What else could you do with that time? Are you one of the millions that rents an outside storage locker for items that can’t be stored at home? Being disorganized can hit you right in the pocketbook.

So, you see, there is a lot of negativity surrounding clutter. ClutterBGone has seen firsthand the effects of clutter and has helped many clients eliminate their clutter and create a system to stay clutter free. Give us a call at 905-642-5669 or contact us here to discuss how we can reduce the clutter in your life.

 

Organize Your Paper Mountain

organize paper

Whether you go to work in an office or work from home, chances are you have a small mountain of paper that needs to be addressed. Did you know that a sheet of paper is roughly 0.004 inches thick? Hardly noticeable but when you start piling paper up it can be quite messy and ominous to tackle. ClutterBGone gets a lot of calls to help with paper. Here’s our tips to keep your paper from becoming a mountain.

Act on it right away

When paper arrives don’t let it rest on your desk or table. Create a system to get that paper off the surface. Use a labelled file folder, an in-box or any other system to move the paper along. Keep trying a system until you find one that works for you.

Delegate

Whether at work or at home there will be somebody who needs to know that, that piece of paper has arrived. organize paperWho pays the bills? Who responds to invitations? Whoever is responsible for the paper or the accounts or whatever action needs to be taken needs to know what has come in and needs an action. Pass it along, with a note if needed, so it doesn’t rest on your desk needlessly.

Make a decision right away

A lot of the paper that crosses our desk is not needed at all. I go to my mail box and most of what is in there is junk mail – flyers and ads. Out they go right after a quick peek. Don’t hang on to them for others to see unless you really believe they will be worthwhile or used.

Out with the dated

If you still have magazine and paper subscriptions consider an electronic version. organize paperIf you still need the feel of paper (and I do with a good book) ensure the previous issue is recycled when the new one comes in. If you really need to refer back to an article or story then take a picture of it with your phone. It doesn’t take up any space.

Set aside a bit of time

This would apply more for the office but set aside a bit of time to ensure that your desk or workspace is cleared of paper each day. You will feel more organized and productive when working at a clean and organized work area.

Go digital

A lot of us are still receiving statements and paying bills via paper. I myself switched as much as I could to digital copies. I can receive and pay bills online and electronically “file” a copy of the bill on my computer. It’s always there in case I need it. With the vast majority of paper that we file never getting looked at, doesn’t it make sense to go digital at home?

Even in this electronic age, paper is everywhere and accumulates quickly. If you don’t stay on top of it you will have a mountain of paper before you know it. You don’t have to scale that mountain alone. ClutterBGone has assisted many homes and offices in reducing the mountains of paper that come and go and devising systems to keep it that way. Just reach out to us here to see how we can help you.

Time To Get Your Taxes Organized

Well, February has passed and you should have all the documents you need to get your taxes prepared. Whether you do your taxes yourself or you have someone else do them, just getting your documents ready can be a stressful time. Taxes are something that you should be thinking of throughout the year but unless you are running your own small business I’ll bet tax time is the only time you think of them.

How long do I keep my tax records?

Keep your tax records & supporting documents for six full years.

Even if you do not have to attach certain supporting documents to your return, or if you are filing your return electronically, keep them in case your return is selected for review or audit. Revenue Canada may request documents other than official receipts as proof of any deduction or credit you claim, such as cancelled cheques or bank statements.

This six-year period starts at the end of the tax year for which you are filing. So, if you are filing your 2017 taxes shortly you will need to keep files from 2017 back to 2012.

What do I do with older records?

After the six-year mark (2011 files can be safely disposed of after your 2017 taxes have been filed) you can safely destroy older files. organize your taxes

Ensure that they are properly disposed of by shredding them! Do not leave anything to chance. If you don’t own a shredder most office supply stores will provide a shredding service for a nominal fee. I recently stopped into my local office supply store and had a box of documents shredded for just a few dollars.

Notice of assessment

You will receive a notice of assessment from Revenue Canada once your taxes have been filed and reviewed. It will confirm that your return was assessed and whether you owe taxes, whether a refund is owed to you or if there is a zero balance. If there are no discrepancies between your filing and this notice, then file it away with the taxation year that it applies to. You will need it for your next tax year when you file.

Filing throughout the year

Throughout the year you are going to accumulate receipts for many different items that you may or may not require for tax purposes depending on your individual circumstances. Open a file and label it according to the current tax year.organize your taxes Papers and receipts you need for taxes should be placed in this file. This current year folder will make it a lot easier to keep track of important documents you get throughout the year, like donation receipts, etc. All the papers you need to prepare your taxes will all be in one place.

You can even go one step further, especially if running a small business, and separate your tax receipts into categories like health expenses, business expenses, car expenses, office supplies, etc. to be even better organized for the upcoming tax year. You may want to separate your paperwork this way anyway if you want to track the cost of running your household on an annual basis.

Tax time can be pretty stressful but if you plan ahead and have an accessible file with everything you need, things will go a lot smoother. ClutterBGone loves organizing paperwork. It’s not too late. Tax time is here, are you ready?

When Is It Time To Organize Your Office?

organize your office

The environment in which you work has a drastic affect on your productivity. Working in a messy, disorganized space is distracting and will have negative effects on work results. What signs do you see that tell you it’s time to organize your office?

You can’t see your desk

OK, this sign may seem obvious to most of us but many of you work at a desk that is literally covered in paper and your excuse is that you work better in a cluttered state. The simple fact is that mess leads to stress. Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity and sends signals to our brain that the work is never done.

You can’t find the tools you need

How much time do you spend looking for your pen, stapler or whatever else you need to do the job? Having to pause what you’re working on to find something breaks your concentration and increases the amount of time you need to complete the task at hand.

You’re in and out basket is 3 feet high

I’ve seen it. You get busy and so your inbox becomes a drop zone. organize your officeYou’ll get around to sifting through it to see what came in that is important. Likewise, your outbox should be labelled “I’ll get around to filing sometime later” box. There are important items in each of these boxes and putting it off only creates more stress and decreases productivity having to look through for something you need later. More importantly there may be important items you haven’t seen that are needed to produce quality results. Set up a system that allows you to address both of these boxes daily.

Where did your screen saver go?

Putting shortcuts on your desk top is a great way to save time. Too many can have the reverse affect when you can’t find the short cut or file that you require. Limit these shortcuts to just the really important files that you access daily.

Organize your email

Your electronic files may be more important than your paper files. We constantly access our email throughout the day. Organize your email just like your paper files to improve productivity. If you don’t need an email delete it now. Schedule times throughout the day to review your email and turn off notifications so you can concentrate on the task at hand.

A well-organized work area gives you a sense of accomplishment. It also allows you to be more productive, accurate and to complete the task quicker. ClutterBGone has organized offices for home and for small businesses. Contact us here to see how we can make your more productive in the office.

Time Management And Getting Organized

Organized home office

We love working with small offices in the Greater Toronto Area to help you get organized so you can work more effectively, find things easier and work in a less cluttered state. Once this is done the challenge now becomes how to manage your time as time management and organization do go hand in hand.

Here are some time management tips to get you on the right track.

Busy vs. overwhelmed

You are normally judged on the actual results you produce rather than the number of hours you spend doing something or “looking busy”. Stay focused on the task at hand and minimize multi-tasking as few of us are actually very good at being able to give your all to more than one task at a time. Clutter around you is a distraction that often interrupts your focus and reduces your effectiveness on the task you’re trying to complete.

Priorities and prime time

You know when you are at your peak during the day. Time managementWhen do you feel the most productive working? Are you a morning or an afternoon person? Save the really important stuff for this time so you can give it your best. If it is really important don’t give it anything less.

Maintain balance

Work easily consumes you and can have a negative effect on both social and family lives. A Boston College Center survey confirmed that executives who are able to balance work and personal life are less stressed, feel more successful and can manage both their work and personal lives much easier. Whether you’re working in Toronto or York Region, find the balance, reduce the stress and enjoy life!

Benefits of setting goals

Whether it is your business operating in Toronto or Richmond Hill or any other area of York Region, or your personal life, setting goals is important for all aspects of your life. How else can you identify the priorities or the things that require your time now and what can wait?

Schedule time for yourself, write it down in your planner, and use that time to work on those priorities. Block this time out and ensure that you’re not disturbed. Setting goals will make you work smarter and allow you to manage your time more effectively. Achieving those goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and increase your chance of success in your personal and business life.

Personal policies

It’s very important to establish your own personal policies in both your personal life and your work life to stay organized.  These policies can help you achieve your goals and should be policies you believe in and live by.

A business policy to stay organized, decluttered and functionally well could be simply that you will not work on weekends or no more than 2 evenings a week in order to help balance your work and family time. Or perhaps you’re always working on large projects so one project must be handed off if another more important project is brought to you.

Personal policies can include not snacking after dinner or donating a certain amount to your favourite charity each month. Policies should be used as guidelines and feel free to change them as circumstances dictate. There may be times when working more than you want to is required and will benefit the family life.

Use these tools to bring more balance to your life in Toronto, to get you more focused and organized and to reduce stress. Let us know how you make out!

5 Steps to Control Your Paper Monster

organized office

Now is a great time of the year to gain control of your paper monster at home or in your office. Do it now before the end of the year arrives with all that it brings. New technologies were supposed to reduce the amount of paper we create but I’ll bet if you are anything like me you haven’t seen a decrease in the amount of paper that comes in your home or that you generate.

Follow these steps to control your paper monster in your home or office.

Gather it all up

Get all the papers together. organized officeCheck all of your drawers, coat pockets, desks, bags or piles you have lying around in your home or office and put it all in one place. If you have already filed a lot of paper away that’s great. We are just talking about all the papers that you have lying around.

Can you define what you really need to keep?

Now separate this big pile into two piles. One pile for what you need and one for what you don’t need. It may seem like common sense and easy to do but many of you hang on to paper for many reasons. “I may need to refer to it”, “maybe I need to return it” are reasons I hear a lot.

Take a good hard look at each piece of paper and put it into the appropriate pile. Anything in your discard pile should be shredded just to be on the safe side.

Receipts are a major source of paper clutter in many homes. If you have purchased a piece of clothing and it fits or you have consumed a food item then you don’t need to hang on to the receipt unless you need it for tax purposes.

Speaking of which, anything you need for tax purposes should be filed in your tax file right away. When you get home take the receipts out of your coat, pocket or wallet and slide it into your current year tax file for your accountant to deal with next year.

Which filing system is best for you?

Now you can divide your keep pile into categories. There are many different ways to file paper but I personally like to file them according to the type of paper that they are. organized officeFor instance, I have a Utilities section where I have created files for cable TV, hydro, etc. I have an Employment section where I have opened a file for every member of the household to put their pay slips, reviews or anything else employment related. I prefer this method as you can zero in on the category and have fewer files to go through to find what you need.

Label your files clearly and ensure you have enough room so you are not jamming the paper into your file folders. Your files should move freely in your drawer.

Assign a space for new paper

In order to keep your home free of paper clutter, assign a place for all paper and mail to be placed upon arrival into the home. This can be a small tray, bowl, basket or anything you like.

Stay on top of it

As you file your monthly statements or bills away you may want to discard the oldest one so that only the last 6 months are always on hand. Don’t forget to put discarded papers through the shredder for privacy.

Paper clutter is a common sight in many homes and a major contributor to clutter everywhere. Don’t let the paper monster get a hold of you. Contact ClutterBGone to see why we love attacking the paper monster.

Develop These 5 Habits For A Clutter Free Office

clutter free office

Offices can be one of the most cluttered areas. Whether you work from home or go to an office each day, it’s so easy to accumulate clutter, which affects your productivity. Here are a few simple habits to adopt to keep your office clutter free.

The one touch rule

This is an easy rule. When you touch something, act on it. You can delegate it, toss it, file it or recycle it but if you can follow one rule, this is the one. This simple rule alone can eliminate future accumulation of clutter. ClutterBGone has implemented this rule many times.

Set times for daily tasks

Your email, the snail mail that comes in, filing. All of these daily tasks need to be done but don’t necessarily need to be done as soon as they come in. home office organizingSchedule to look at your email at 2 or 3 set times per day. Schedule to open your snail mail at the same time each day (and remember the one touch rule). You have several tasks that you take for granted and perform each day. By scheduling these you’ll be more productive and accumulate less clutter.

Limit computer distractions

Just having a cluttered looking desktop can cause distractions. Keep your screen wallpaper simple and keep any icons to a minimum. Email notifications are the worst. Turn them off unless you are waiting for a life or death email to arrive. It’s too much of a temptation to look at your email too frequently. Things get left undone, you start working on something pertaining to the email and before you know it you have a cluttered desk full of unfinished work.

Keep a clear, unobstructed work area

You know what you use several times throughout the day. organized officeKeep these handy and put everything else away. Files you aren’t working on should be filed away. Unless you’re an artist you don’t need 10 pens on your desk. Staplers, coffee mugs, personal photos, newspapers, etc. all add to the cluttered look. With a cluttered work area it becomes too easy to add to the clutter and greatly reduces your productivity.

Set aside time at the end of each day

Set aside just five minutes to clear your desk or work area and prepare it for a clean start the next day. Your office will stay more organized, there will be less clutter and you will feel more productive the next morning. We implement this at all offices we work with.

Adapt as many of these 5 habits that you can for a clutter free office. Contact us to see how we can reduce the clutter in your office.

How To Know It’s Time To Organize Your Tax Files

The date for receiving all your T4 slips and contributing to your RRSP’s has past. Perhaps you owe the government money or are waiting for a refund. It may seem a bit early to focus on this year’s receipts and paperwork but the earlier the better. Avoid a mountain of paper next tax year and the stress of tax season.

Do you need to create files for your receipts?

Receipts and statements are accumulated throughout the year. Without a proper filing system, you, or your accountant, are going to spend hours sifting through mountains of paper and sorting into categories. Time costs you time and money. Let ClutterBGone show you how to set up a filing system that will save you time and expenses later in the year.

What’s your year in review look like?

Do you have all your statements and receipts in one organized file? Is everything you need for one year in one place so you’re not scrambling looking for your papers?

organize taxes

We hope so as any questions or an audit (!!!) can be solved quickly and easily. We have performed this task for many clients and it has saved them so much time and expense. Just ask us how.

Are you in the digital age?

For those that are in the digital age there are a lot of apps that allow you to scan and store your receipts in the cloud. If you do your own taxes, some accounting software comes with apps that will do this. Keep in mind that clearly legible electronic receipts are OK with Revenue Canada but they can ask for the original during an audit and some receipts fade over time.

organize tax

We at ClutterBGone know that some people are comfortable with new technology and some are not. We work with the system that works best for you.

Do you maintain your filing system and paperwork for tax season?

Your filing system only works if you use it and maintain it. Leave your newly created tax file in a place that is easy to access and place your receipts and statements in the appropriate file folders when you get them.

At ClutterBGone we can help you be prepared for the next tax season before it’s arrival. Tax time is stressful enough without the stress of having to find information and dig through mounds of paper. Be organized and be ready. Contact us to learn how we can assist you and ease your stress levels.