Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Organizing for the New Year!...

Several years ago I ran into a month by month organizing and storage plan at Better Homes and Gardens.  You can get a copy of it here.  It gives one room to organize and create storage (creative or traditional) per month--including the basement and garage!  So, after a year, you should be organized and stored.

I like to start this every January since the first month is the office.  If you have one, organize it and clean it.  If you don't have one, it has creative ways to carve out spaces for just about any space.  I really liked the recipe for a vintage home office.  One of the clever things that I saw was to use a muffin tin as a drawer organizer for office supplies.  Cute huh?  It has many other tips for any room of the house.

This is great because it is time for me to organize and get all of my tax figures ready for my accountant.  Yeah I know, I just said a four letter word!  Tax!

Okay, Tax isn't a four letter word actually, but I think it deserves to be in the four letter category--don't you?  ;-)

So, here is my desk area.  Remember, I live in a 5th wheel--and my 5th wheel doesn't have a desk area built in as some do.  (Note to self--next 5th wheel get the built in desk...)

So, I took over the dining table.  Gman and I haven't used the table to eat for years--even in our houses, so what the heck, right?

Do we all agree that it is time to find the top of the table again??????  Uh--Yep...

So, I drug in my personal shredder and a large trash sack and I am getting to work on all of the stuff.

This year I also invested in the Neat Desk scanner.  I LOVE IT!  I can say that if you don't have one and you have to do receipts and such for taxes, this is a LIFE SAVER!!!!

I am currently using it to scan in my genealogy papers as well so that I can clear out my file drawers to use them for other storage to get things out of sight--like copy paper and desk supplies as well.  It scans quickly and will also scan both sides of a paper so you don't have to run papers through twice.

I also have a flat bed scanner because there are just some things that need to be scanned on a flat bed or at a higher resolution than is available on the Neat Desk.

You can see on my desktop that I have gathered up all of the Christmas Cards that I purchased after Christmas for next year and put them in a labeled shoebox which is destined for the basement of the RV with the Christmas decorations.  Last year I bought extras and put them away where I could find them.

I have yet to find them!  LOL  

This year, I should actually find them before Christmas when I get the rest of the decorations out!    I should already have put away my Christmas decorations, but the weather decided to get cold!  I mean, we are in Missouri and it does get cold in January.  Last year it was frigid and SNOWY!!!!  This year it has been around the 40's and 50's.  yay!  LOVE IT!  But it decided to be 16 degrees on Jan 2 with a frigid biting wind.  The forecast is around high 40's later this week, so I am gonna put it away then.  Sounds good, right?

Aside from the physical cleanup, I try to clean out my computer files.

Some get backed up to my external drive and some just get more organized in the computer.

I recently joined the GeneaScrappers over at The Scrappy Genealogist.  We are taking our genealogical files and combining them into a scrapbook--two of my favorite hobbies.  You'll get to see the pages as I finish them on Scrapbook Sundays...I already did the Title Page and my Family Tree and Pedigree.  I should probably mention here that my Pedigree is happy MUTT!  ;-)

One of the first things we did was to do a family tree with photos of the people on the tree.  I found that it was quite a feat to find the photos that I knew I had.  It took FOREVER to find them on my computer.  Are they on this one, were they on the other one that died and I now have it's hard drive in an external case?  Are they on my backup drive?  Cripes!

I did finally find them--and felt like I should take a nap because it took so long!  LOL

As I was working with the PSD files that are used in the class templates, I found that Paint Shop Pro X3 (I have used PSP since it was PSP 2 in beta testing back in the early 1990's!) no longer handles the PSD files correctly.  It handled them just fine in PSP9 when Jasc still owned it, but since Corel purchased it, the files don't read the colors correctly or work with the layers the way that it should.  DARN!  Why did I upgrade?????

So, I downloaded the trial version of Photoshop Elements 10 so that I could work with the templates for the class and found that it also has an organizer.  Hmmmmm...

My tiny little mind started to whirl down the lane with what this could do and boy is it great!  It is so great I had to buy the program--if only for the organizer!!!!!!

I had all of my digital scrapbook files in a scrapbooking file on my computer.  Of course, it had a lot of files in it and I had to make copies of the files so that I could file them in the different categories.  This was eating my hard drive at a fast clip!

With the Elements Organizer, I found that I could take one copy of the file, drag it into the organizer and drag it into the different categories that it pertained to and then just store ONE file instead of 10 on my hard drive!   Now my scrapbooking file has only a few broad categories like Paper, Embellishments, Alphabets, Word Art and I can go into the Elements organizer to find the items I want.

So, let's say I want to do a New Years page.  I click on my New Years category in the organizer and find this.  Now it is easy to put my page together.

Or, let's say I want to do Thanksgiving...Voila!

Just want everything that has Brown in it?  Here you go...

Cool huh?  And NO DUPLICATES NEEDED!!!  (can you hear my hard drive sighing????)

I then started thinking about Genealogy and my recent search for those pictures.  Yikes!

So, I started a Genealogy file on my Elements Organizer.  Now, when I have documents and photos that belong to different people, I can store one copy on my hard drive in a file but drag it to all of the people to whom they pertain.  I have them categorized by year now on my hard drive instead of by family and sub family and sub sub family...

This works for all documents so now when I want to find all documents and pictures that belong to a relative, I just click on the relative and up come all of the documents associated with them--no matter where they are filed on my hard drive!

I can think of so many things that this is gonna help with!  Think about the census or wills or obituaries that have a lot of family members listed.  No more multiple copies in many family files.  Just one copy and the organizer!

Can't you think of a bunch of things that need to be organized into different categories for easy access?  Recipes?  Bills?  Receipts?  Whatever!

I am quite sure that the papers and photos from the family and scrapbooking will take more than the 30 days allotted by BHG for the office, but I have a system that I will work at as I have time.

So, how about you?  Any organizational ideas?  Do you have a system to get organized?


  1. You have given me great incentives. I have Elements too, and I REALLY need to get my photos organized and some backed up on my external. Thanks for all the great ideas. ALso thanks so much for stopping by my blog and giving me all the great info on the jar installation pic. That was amazing. Thanks so much for stopping by, great info and joining my followers....doing the same. Shari

  2. Well. Now I see this plan, after just writing a post for Thursday night about my little cleaning plan. Which pales in comparison. But I have a catchy name: OAAAT. One Area At A Time.

  3. Shari--I really enjoyed your site and was happy to help with your question as well! Can't wait to see it finished!


    Hillbilly Mom--I love your OAAAT! Great! :) Happy New Year!

  4. I am truly impressed with your organization! I have no excuses since I, too, live in a 5th wheel, right? Well, except that I live with "Messy Marvin", a.k.a. "Jim", my husband. I definitely want to work on the desk area. We can get rid of a LOT of stuff!