Organizing Your Contacts


I coach women on various homemaking skills through speaking engagements and social media

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4 Responses

  1. Gilbert says:

    Decided to take that test you’ve been hinting at for awhile now and I’m supposedly a “Cricket”. Here is the description from the results:

    A Cricket is a really organized bug! Because they like detailed mirco-organizing solutions, they tend to pile until they can organize “properly”. Crickets tend to be very logical and like things in a certain order.

    Once the perfect organizing system is set in place, the Cricket will have no problem following it. Unfortunately, there is usually never enough time to setup the perfect system for everything in our home! Crickets are often quite organized and maybe even a bit over organized. Perfection can sometimes be paralyzing.

    The best solution for a Cricket is to let go a little bit. Try “Macro-Organizing” your piles instead of “Micro-Organizing”. Good enough organizing today is better than perfect organizing tomorrow. You can always go back and tweak and perfect another day, but in the meantime, at least it is put away.

    Checkout great tips for organizing at

    I then looked at this link – the one on the line above, and there were some solutions to my style of organizing and are as follows (my comments are between the { } in each entry.

    Here are some good organizing solutions for Crickets:

    Setup a paper filing system. Create a “Short Term” filing system for your monthly bills and statements and a “Long Term” system for your contracts and papers you need to keep long term (like taxes). Be sure to create a vertical paper filing system, such as hanging file folders. When it comes to paper, VERTICAL IS VISIBLE AND HORIZONTAL IS HIDDEN. This is why we often “forget” what is in our paper piles. Label each file folder. Use general categories (Financial, Utilities, Insurance, Auto, School etc) to start until you have more time to make a detailed filing system. Paper is a Cricket’s biggest organizing issue. Make time to set up a system today.
    {Been using these tips for decades. I learned in the military a style to label and organize folders in a file cabinet – enhancing on the system I was already using. And yes, paper is my biggest issue….that’s why I just scanned in about 1,000 pages into my computer these last few days. All the papers that have information about me on them will be shredded in the next few days, once I’m completely done with the organization part of this project.}

    Be mindful of other “ClutterBugs” in your home or workplace and make sure that your systems are easy enough for them use.
    {Not to be concerned with this one}

    Set a timer when organizing to encourage you to move fast and stay focused.
    {I use timers all the time, but not for times when I’m organizing. However, I will move from the organizing project, if large, to other things. This keeps my mind fresh on that large project when I come back to it. Prevents getting overwhelmed.}

    Use stackable storage solutions that are solid colors and have smaller containers inside. If you do use bins and baskets, label, label, label for the other “Clutterbugs” who may also be using your system.
    {I use stackable storage solutions for items in the garage. All seasonal items are in buckets and clearly marked with the contents. All folders in my file cabinet have typed labels.}

    Place open baskets or bins on your desk or kitchen counter to hold you piles until you can get to them. This will be a visual reminder that your stack is getting too big for the basket and it is time to put it away.
    {No need for this one. I have two small piles on my desk and I go through them every few days. If they happen to be something I want to keep – I will either file it or scan it into the computer for easier reference.}

    Make yourself a to-do reminder on your phone or computer that automatically reminds you of the tasks you want to complete each day.
    {I use the Google calendar and it is on my computer and phone. Reminders for everything are set when those entries were entered into the calendar. Five colors are used for entries: Green (holiday or significant event that day), Yellow (family or friend’s birthday), Red (an appointment for Kathy and me), Purple (an appointment for Kathy), and Light Blue (an appointment for me). Until the calendar was cleared of all our activities (because of the COVID-19 virus) our calendar looked like Walt Disney had tossed his cookies on the screen. There were a LOT of entries as we are quite busy.

    Turn off distractions like your phone, email and television when starting a project.
    {Depends. Television and music are not turned on during organizational time periods. I can then concentrate on the task at hand and the chance of mistakes is lessened. I ignore the phone, email and Facebook until I’m ready to take a break.}

    A labeler is your best friend. Label containers, file folders and just about everything else to ensure that you (and your family members) put things away properly.
    {I don’t use a labeler; rather just print from my computer. All file folders are labeled and folders are organized by categories.}

    Paper is your nemesis! Invest in a paper shredder and use it….often!!
    {I wear out my paper shredder every two years or so.}

    Bento box style organizers are made just for you! Fill them and stack them with all of your smaller belongings.
    {My system is better!}

    Embrace “good enough” organizing. Letting go of perfection can help you get so much more accomplished.
    {I will “let go” for a time, maybe because a project is done in steps over a period of time. That is the only way to deal with this “good enough” business. Eventually, the system I use may not be perfect in the general sense, but it is perfect for my lifestyle.


    One thing to add – when a person does the same types of organizing over and over throughout their lifetime, that skill becomes easier and second-nature. Like my cleaning of the house, top-to-bottom. I do that thorough cleaning once a month and it only takes about 90 minutes to do. I have my system and I do it when Kathy is out of the house for at least two hours (so the floors can dry from being mopped). I do this every month, the routine is quick and easy.

    Same with organizing other things in the house. Things may appear cluttered for a short-time, but only because a project is in progress. This organizing I’m currently doing, going through a box of papers, is taking me about 30 hours to do. I determine what needs to be saved, what can be scanned into the computer and tossed, or simply just tossed. Then, the task of scanning items, renaming the scanned files, filing them in the appropriate folder on my computer takes some time (I’ve spent more than six hours scanning in the past two days alone). Now I’m going through other files, magazine and newspaper articles, and such. What I can scan will be done and if something is too large to scan – I take a picture of it (like scanning) and file that on my computer. So, while this project is in progress, my two offices are rather cluttered (at least from my perspective). By the end of next week, all will be good.

  2. Gil Helland says:

    Cleaning up and organizing one’s personal information can be daunting – a real challenge. I’ve digitized most things that can be digitized. More than 50,000 film negatives, more than 5,000 pictures, military records (I kept copies of the ones that had seals on them), and articles I’d accumulated in my life on sports, gardening, recipes, computers, photography, hobbies, and so much more.

    My two four-drawer file cabinets are now down to just two drawers in one cabinet. Boxes filled with papers I’d saved are gone. All of that is on my computer. And yes, everything is backed up – several times over in fact.

    However, there are items that I’ve kept originals of – even after scanning those items into the computer. Like Linda mentioned in her posting, there are some things that hold memories. A scanned version of a Rolodex set of cards, for example, can surely be seen from my computer screen. But maybe those cards hold memories that a scanned version of it just won’t bring back the memories they hold.

    I will always be one to look for ways to digitize things from my life. For me, it keeps a cleaner and more organized house, my system of organizing files on my computer means I can find things quickly and easily (unlike digging through boxes for things and hoping to find what I’m looking for), and once I have things digitized I can share whatever I want with people in my life.

    I did just that with the last item in 2019. I had a couple dozen 16mm reels of film digitized. Those reels of film were between 55 and 63 years old. They were of times in my family from when I was born to when my youngest brother was about four or five years old. There was no way for me watch those films as I didn’t have a projector. Even if I did, would the film on those reels crack or break or be compromised in some way when viewing them. Instead, I sent those reels of film off to Kodak and had them digitized. It was somewhat expensive, but how can one put a price tag on the times in our lives from so long ago and the memories they bring back. Once digitized, I shared them with my siblings, who I’m sure had no idea they even existed any longer. I had toted them around the world for decades, waiting for just the right time to have them digitized.

    So, the point of all of what I wrote is simply to organize things in your life and decide what you want to do with them. Find a “system” that works for you. My “system” is one where even my wife has difficulty with because it doesn’t work for her. She has her own “system”, one that works for her. While I’ve incorporated much of my computer organization to her computer (mostly with pictures in our lives that have been digitized or taken with digital cameras), she has her own way of storing things for documents, like crafts, recipes, family matters and whatever. Her organization skills have spilled into physical things in her office/craft room. She has craft stands with drawers that hold many different things. On top of those five craft stands are wooden cabinets where she stores colored paper in slotted shelves, she has two other stands with drawers where she keeps jewelry making items – all organized in little plastic cups by the types of beads or whatever, and she has ten cubbies that have four compartments. In each compartment is a cloth bag with cardboard sides and bottom and holds more craft items. She has organized her craft room and office in a way that works for her.

    While my wife isn’t blessed with having OCD like I am (haha) – we both benefit from being organized. We hardly ever have to look for anything for more than a very short time because of how things are organized.

    To conclude – our contacts are in an Excel spreadsheet, where numerous columns for each person in our lives is listed – in alphabetical order. Names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, webpages (if applicable), Facebook pages (if applicable), and a comments column. All organized nicely! And with that spreadsheet, if we ever want to create a mailing list or set of mailing labels – we sort who is to be on the list, which columns are to be included and then it is put into a .pdf file. From there, that list can be printed. Quick and easy!

    • Linda says:

      Sometimes I wish I were OCD like you. I’d also need that organized mind of yours, though!

      You mentioned that you have one organizing style and your wife has another. One thing I didn’t mention because it wasn’t the focus of the blog itself, was learning that there are 4 really distinctive styles of organizing. People have criticized me for mine because I’m not “like them,” so it was good to learn that I fit perfectly in one of those four styles. I learned so much from Cas Aarssen, creator of the ClutterBug system. If you’re a “butterfly” or “bee,” you don’t fit the ‘normal’ clutter type. Most decluttering and decorating styles will not work with those styles AT ALL. And it’s just trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. You feel bad. You might feel something is wrong with you. You can’t keep it up, then you feel worse. Cas never ever makes you feel that way. In fact, she is so upbeat that you might want to watch her videos after you’ve had your first cup of coffee! You can find her at I recommend taking the quiz right at the top of the homepage. She then tells you what “bug” (style or type) you are and how to organize for that type. She even has lessons on how one ‘bug” can live peacefully with another. That would have been nice to know years ago!! Hint: We all start out as Butterflies and develop what we like later. It’s just how the mind works at that age. As a parent, learning that and how to organize for children, will save you a lot of frustration!!

  1. January 28, 2020

    […] I buy too much and keep too much. I know I am sentimental about “stuff.’ Just read my Organizing Your Contacts post and you’ll know that’s true. But to fill a dumpster? I don’t think I would […]

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