Sue Rae is a Professional Organizer and the Founder of Sorted by Sue, which helps busy New Yorkers declutter, organize, and streamline their belongings, improve their space, and live a more meaningful life.
According to Sue, these are three ways to get organized:
1) Put time on the calendar. Everyone has busy lives and schedules. You might feel like you have no time to get organized—make the time! Block off a set amount of time for a specific date on your calendar. Think about what area in your home or apartment gives you the most anxiety and plan to tackle that space. Before doing so, prepare your materials. I recommend gathering two bags that you can designate as donate and toss. You will also have a keep pile. You should also bring another bag and label it “other rooms.” When cleaning, put items that belong in other rooms here and return them after you have finished organizing one space, so you do not get distracted. After exerting effort to organize a room, keep it that way by simply putting items back after you use them. Remember, the goal of organizing your space is to create a sanctuary in which you feel peaceful, and are surrounded by things you love.
2) Don’t forget about your desk. As students and professionals, we spend a lot of time at our desks, so it is critical to keep them organized. To do so, start from a clean slate. Remove everything off of your desk and clean it down. This creates a conducive area for being focused and productive. Then, categorize your items. Do you have project items, folders, or stationary items? Keep like materials together. Finally, determine what you need on your desk. This varies from person to person, so do what is right for you. Once your desk is physically organized, a great way to stay mentally organized is to avoid multitasking. Work on a single task and have only those items related to the task on your desk. Materials you are not using can be stored in your desk drawers or underneath your desk.
3) Manage your inbox. Digital organization is a three pronged attack. You need to focus on your email, calendar, and to-do list. For your email, archive the messages you do not need and unsubscribe from listservs that are no longer relevant to you anymore. This cuts down the noise to your inbox. For your calendar, schedule your entire day, including professional and personal commitments. This gives you a bird’s-eye view of what your day looks like and prevents you from stretching yourself too thin. You should come up with a system to color-code your calendar. Work events could be coded in red, while activities with friends could be coded in green. For your to-do list, generate a list with roughly 5-10 items. Your most important or difficult tasks should be listed at the top to ensure they get accomplished.
Sue Rae is a Professional Organizer and the Founder of Sorted by Sue. With 20+ years of experience as a Senior Executive Assistant, most recently working for 5 years at Google, Sue launched Sorted by Sue to help busy New Yorkers declutter, organize, and streamline their belongings, improve their space, and live a more meaningful life. Sue’s natural ability to create order from chaos was evident from a young age—her favorite games were Tetris and jigsaw puzzles. At boarding school, Sue was elected Head Girl, organizing and overseeing the lives of 300 girls between the ages of 8 and 17. Afterwards, Sue moved to London and, since then, has organized senior executives’ lives, calendars, workflow, and families in London and New York. Sue has worked for CEO’s, CIO’s, and VP’s at Google, Universal Music Group, Napster, PolyGram, Redscout, and P&O Containers.