In my Book, How To Be Smart, Successful, And Organized With Your Money, I spend a chapter on organization. The first part of the chapter deals with steps to take:

  • Throw Out Your Junk Mail: You need to be merciless when freeing yourself from this unsolicited nuisance. That’s why I recommend opening your mail while standing over a shredder.
  • Keep a Clean Desk: I know first hand that keeping a clean desk allows you to get things done faster and better—which is why I have always subscribed to the old adage: “A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind.”
  • File it, Keep it, Toss it: When a new piece of paper comes into your office, you should deal with it immediately—whether you file, keep, or toss it.
  • Trash It: Holding onto things you don’t need is how clutter thrives and reproduces. Don’t be afraid to throw out unneeded or unwanted things.

Everybody wants to be organized, yet our actions often contradict this noble goal—and often for what seem like good reasons. For example, the desire to save every receipt, bank statement, or bill because “I might need it for [insert reason here],” is in itself a (well-meaning) act that is actually the antithesis of organization. In the second part of the chapter, I detail some things not to do:

  • Bank statements are not necessary to archive since most banks allow you to download statements for up to seven years.
  • Credit card statements do not need to be retained unless you are disputing a charge, returning an item, or you made a charitable contribution during that billing cycle.
  • Vendors’ monthly statements do not need to be retained.

The overarching theme to getting and staying organized is summed up best by an old military saying: Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS)! Of course, that’s not to say my readers are stupid—rather, it’s meant to say without education, we ALL act stupid sometimes. On that note, have a great day!