Getting organized to write: create order out of chaos

Is your current work space in chaos?

If so, take some quality time to just sit and think about what works best for you.

basement officeI remember when our kids were small. We wanted them to set the table and empty the dishwasher when it was clean. But they weren’t tall enough to reach the cupboard where the dishes were kept. So I went into the kitchen and got down and looked at it from the perspective of my sons. After seeing the cupboards and the dishwasher through their eyes, I moved our dishes to a bottom cupboard. We were the only family I knew who had pots and pans in an upper cupboard and plates and glasses in a lower one. But for a number of years, that’s what worked best for us, so that’s what we did.

Over the years, I’ve had all kinds of writing spaces, from a chair or the floor in the living room when I was a teenager, to a desk with a typewriter in a basement corner in a house in Regina (left), to a small desk in our family room in Mississauga (below, right). Make efficient use of whatever space you have.

Look at your area. Examine each element. Study it. Does having a table in that corner take up a lot of space and not hold much? Could you fit a filing cabinet into the same space? Do you really like that plain wall and the one picture on it, or would a bulletin board be more effective? Have you simply added files to your computer as you worked on different things, or have you ever taken the time to think about what folders you actually need, and what categories they’d fit under? Do you have extra file folders and labels you could use to make new files? Do you have a lot of items you no longer need?

Then organize your room, your files, and your computer according to what will work for you.

Office in family roomI personally like to start from the big picture to the smaller one. First, moving furniture if needed. Then working my way down to the contents of each drawer or file.

As is usual in organizing things, you should have three bins or boxes with you: garbage, things to keep, and things to give away. If you are still creating a workspace, or if your possessions seem to drift, you may need a fourth box for things that belong in another location of your home.

Take a day if you can, or take an hour a week for as long as necessary, but keep at it until your work space is exactly the way you feel will work best for you. Even if you work at the kitchen table, you can have a plan and a portable office you carry with you. Yes, I’ve been there, done that. 🙂

 

Check the Category Lists at the top of the home page for more posts on this or similar topics.
To see my office and get more details, watch my YouTube video, “Organizing to Write: Your Space.”

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Donna Fawcett

Great article N.J. Looking forward to reading more.

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