Organizing A to Z

Mounds of paperwork, piles of unused material, missed meetings or appointments, endless clutter… Sound familiar? If so, it could mean that you need to get organized. But how do you start? You’ll find it’s as easy as A-B-C.

Organizing really can be as easy as A-B-C. Here are 26 organizing ideas–one for each letter of the alphabet:

A: Act – Don’t put it off until later. If you want to do it, act on it now.

B: Break It Down – Anything you have to do is easier, if you break it down into manageable parts.

C: Containerize – Separate and organize your things by storing them in see-through, plastic containers.

D: Delegate – You don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegate to work associates or family members. Use an outside company to outsource some of your work. Or use technology to your advantage, by delegating to your answering machine, your computer, etc.

E: Eliminate – Get rid of clutter–both physical and mental. You’ll breathe easier and feel a sense of freedom.

F: File – Don’t let that paperwork grow into a mountain. File it away in an appropriate place if you need to refer to it again.

G: Give – Give the things you no longer use or love to a favorite charity organization, a family member or a friend. There are many people who will be thrilled to receive your gifts.

H: Home Sweet Home – Find a home for everything you own, and keep it in its place. When you need something in the future, you’ll know its “address.”

I: Identify – Before putting items in boxes for storage– or when you’re moving–be sure to identify the contents by labeling the outside of the box. Identify papers in file folders, by clearly marking the tab of the folder.

J: Judgment – Use your best judgment to prioritize your life. Be sure you’re spending the majority of your time on the important stuff.

K: Knowledge – Knowledge is power. In order to effectively organize something, be sure you’re using the organizing systems that will work best for you.

L: Lists – Make lists for things you have to do now, and in the future. Master Lists and To Do Lists will help you get things done. Packing lists will ensure you never forget something again when you travel. Shopping lists will ensure you get everything you need at the mall. Telephone lists will remind you of everyone you have to call this week.

M: Motivation – A huge part of getting organized is motivation. Once you’re motivated, there’s no limit as to what you can accomplish. Get motivated by designating pending rewards for your accomplishments, involving family members or friends in your goals, and by making getting organized a game. And definitely stop by the Get Organized Now! Discussion Forum for lots of inspiration and motivation.

N: No – It’s so easy to get stressed when you have a million things to do on your plate. If you’re beginning to feel burdened with too much to do, learn to say NO to some of those things.

O: Order – Rather than living in clutter and chaos, vow to live a more orderly life. You’ll know where everything is, and you’ll complete whatever you start.

P: Plan And Prepare – While spontaneity every once and a while is fun and perfectly fine, having a good plan and effectively preparing will help you reach your goals and deadlines so you can enjoy maximum accomplishments.

Q: Quality, Not Quantity – It is much better to have a few treasures that you love and enjoy, rather than having lots of things you don’t particularly care for. Always think quality, over quantity, and you’ll simplify your life. Of course, this doesn’t apply to money 😉

R: Reminders – Use little reminder devices throughout the day to help you stay on track. Alarm clocks, timers, e-mail reminders and sticky notes are all excellent memory joggers.

S: Sell It – Why not make some money by selling some of those possessions you no longer want? Try a rummage sale, consignment shop or an online auction company.

T: Toss – If you don’t want it, and you can’t give it away or sell it, toss it. Make room for the things that you really enjoy, or that make your life easier.

U: Unused Space – Don’t forget about the space in your home or office that is often forgotten about, such as wall space for shelves or hooks for hanging, or space under the stairs.

V: Visualize – Picture how wonderful your life is going to be when you’re organized. Then strive to put yourself in that picture every day.

W: Write It Down – Don’t try to keep everything you have to remember in your head. Simply write it down and refer to it when needed.

X: X Marks The Spot – Place an X next to each item you accomplish on your To Do List. At the end of the day, add up your x’s and celebrate for getting so much done!

Y: You – Don’t forget to make time for YOU. Remember, an appointment with yourself–time for you with no interruptions–should be one of the most important appointments in your day.

Z: Zone In – Really define what you’re trying to accomplish, so you have a clear picture in your mind.


Maria Gracia is an author, speaker, consultant, and professional organizer. Specializing in peak time and space management, Maria has over 15 years of organizational experience. Her broad range of skills covers clutter control, planning, scheduling, peak productivity, records management, space planning, time and paper management, filing systems and computer oriented organizational systems and more. Visit her web site at for information on her free newsletter.

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