The Number One Organizing Mistake

By Joshua Zerkel

“I am an office supply junkie!

I love to go to the office supply stores and get all the matching organizers like pencil cups, paper trays, folders, covered memo boards…you get the picture.

It all looks so nice and neat in the store, and I can just imagine my stuff in them.  I know that once I buy all this stuff, I will finally be organized and I can get on with my day.”

Sound familiar? This is one of the most common mistakes we make – we confuse buying “stuff” to get organized with actually organizing our things.  We waste tons of money on things that really won’t help us get organized.  Ask yourself this question, “Do you struggle with how to make that new organizing ‘thingy’ work with your stuff?”  If the answer is yes, you purchased the wrong item. You can’t buy yourself organized.

Truth of the matter is, most of us don’t need to spend much money, if any at all, on organizational tools.  The first thing you need to do when organizing your space is determine what you need BEFORE you go to the store.  That way you will have a plan of what you will do with your new purchases and won’t be swayed by great displays or helpful sales people.

For example, if you have a ton of paper on your desk that needs to get organized, what do you really need?  Maybe just a box with hanging folders will do.  Or maybe you have tons of receipts; maybe you just need an accordion file to organize those receipts for tax time.  Whatever your organizational challenge is, take the time to analyze what you need first, then decide if you need to buy something to help you get organized.

If you already have too much organizational stuff, and it’s just getting in the way, consider getting rid of it.  You can either sell it at a garage sale, or invite some of your friends over for an office supply swap.  That’s a great way to recycle your unused items and get together with friends!

So, before you buy another organizational tool, follow these action steps:

  1. Determine what particular challenge area you’re going to work on.
  2. Evaluate your challenge to find out what supplies you’ll need to get organized.
  3. Look at everything you have to see if you can use it to organize your stuff before you buy anything new.
  4. If you have to buy something to get organized, make a list before you go shopping. To reduce impulse organizing buys, go online and shop for the one item you need and only purchase that item.


Joshua Zerkel

One Reply to “The Number One Organizing Mistake”

  1. Amen! Only recently did I finally realize that the source of all the clutter on my desk at work was all of the organizational products I\’d bought! Way more than I needed! I liked the style and design of them and thought they\’d look great, but they were simply too much for the cube I had at work. So glad I cut back when I moved to a new job!

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