There are a lot of mainstream organizing ideas (which are great) but I thought I would give you a couple from a different perspective–that of a right brain thinker. As the author of “Organizing From The Right Side of the Brain” (St. Martin’s Press) I think those of us who prefer to pile papers are looked down upon by those who file their papers. So . . . here’s my tips for the visual person who likes to flit from task to task and has several projects going at once.
1. Pile with a Purpose.
If you prefer to pile your papers, pile with a purpose. Create piles of things that are related and put them in a place that makes sense (a pile on your desk are urgent and a pile by the file cabinet are completed). Take a piece of card stock and fold it in half to create a tent and label your pile so others know what’s where. (It can also be a sort of table of contents.) Use colored folders so you can easily spot things within a pile. Lastly, set a height limit so once a pile gets too tall you must cut it down to size.
2. Instructions for Instructions.
It makes sense that the manual for something (a printer, television, computer) should be kept next to or under the item it goes with. Sure, you could file them away. But chances are when you need the manual you will be standing next to the malfunctioning printer, television, or appliance so simply slip the instructions underneath, taped to the back, or next to the equipment.
3. Color Me Organized
The things we use the most should be the easiest to get to and the things we almost never need are out of the way. That’s tried-and-true organizing advice. To take make this work for a right brainers, color coding is key. If we put our Halloween decorations in an orange and black tub (which are sold in the fall) and store it up and out of the way, we know in an instant what’s in that tub. If it were in a box with chicken scratch writing on the side we’d probably have to climb up and get it down just to be sure.