Be smart, be organised

I’ve recently moved to a new home in another town (now you know why I vanished for a while!). My entire home is being organised at the moment and, as part of the spring cleaning that is taking place, all my teaching/learning materials are being carefully separated, labelled, donated or thrown away.

For a long time I kept many handouts, booklets and books that I would never consult again. I am not alone and I want to share with you guys some of my tips to keep materials in order and not lose track of what you have:

1 – Watch your space

Even if you have a spacious bedroom or a large office for your materials, it does not mean you should gather as much stuff as you can. It is not about space available, it is about knowing what you have and keep what you need. Donate, throw away, recycle, trade and give away. Do what it takes to maintain areas free and with minimal storage.

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2 – Label your materials

Label folders, shelves and CD/DVD cases that have no identification. If you keep things identified, you keep them visible. Therefore, you know what you have. Labelling is for everyone else around you too. If you need to ask someone to enter your office or room they should be able to find anything you ask them.

3 – Keep electronic records in order

Organise emails and folders. Delete what has been sorted out. If it is really important to keep some emails arrange them in folders. Have a good portable drive or use what is available on the net (Google drive, for example) and resist the temptation to print everything. You might never need the material in question. If you do, you will have it online. If you do not want to keep a digital record, great. Remember that you can find nearly everything on the web these days. And what about the handouts? Scan those you like and recycle the paper.

4 – Think before buying

Experience varies from person to person, that is why it is good to share them. Here in IrelandI have moved eight times in less than five years. I cannot buy things on impulse. I can, but then I will have to deal with them and make decisions later. You can buy loads of books in the second hand shops. We all feel great making a good deal. But I have learned that good deals exist only to make people feel smart. But smart are those who think before buying and buy only what they need and when they need. If you do not want to think, then allow me to give you a piece of advice: get rid of something (maybe two items) that you have when you purchase something new. Or change plans. Keep thinking about your space and the queue of ‘materials to read’ you already have, for example. You might have to re-prioritise your ‘to-read list’. Use libraries more, buy less. Books have to be returned and you commit to read them in a certain slot of time.

5 – Be sensible

For many it is not easy to get rid of things. We tend to keep some items that send us straight back to good times in the past, special people and happy memories. But be sensible. Should you keep all those handouts from the fifth grade or that book you do not like just because it was a gift? You decide what to do, but be reasonable. If you are in doubt whether to keep an item or not, it is time to discard it. Ask for an impartial opinion. Outsiders might see things differently and that may help a lot.

6 – De-clutter regularly

Plan big clear-outs. When you get into the habit of organising, it will become pleasure. You see the immediate benefits of knowing what you have and where to find things. You save money (remember those times you bought something you already had just because you could not find it?), you have less stress and have more time for different activities other than spending hours looking for items you are not even sure you have. Again, keep things visible. Also, include in your diary your de-cluttering sessions, their results and actions to be taken. Catch the bull by its horns!

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Well, I could go on and on talking about organising. Just remember the golden rule of organising and de-cluttering: a place for everything and everything in its place.

Share your own thoughts and tips to keep your materials organised and clutter-free.

Happy organising !


Erica De Monaco Lowry

Erica De Monaco Lowry has been living in Ireland since 2008. She is a teacher, an interpreter, a translator, a tour guide and an insatiable learner. Her favorite pastimes include reading, travelling, socialising and catching up with her family.

Mostrar 21 comentários

  • 30/10/12  
    Junior diz: 1

    Hey Erica!

    That’s a great post! Congrats for that!

    I believe that organizing is one of the keys to success. People are always asking me how I can be engaged in so many different activities, and the answer is quite simple: organizing.

    Indeed, when we have a good schedule for our activities and all of our things organized — materials or not –, it’s easier for us to concentrate on our work, studies, hobbies etc.

    Anyway, congrats again for the great text!
    I’m looking forward to reading your next posts.

    • 31/10/12  
      Erica diz:

      That’s so true Junior. Thanks for your comment. When we become really organised we have more time available and manage things differently. Production levels soar and we have more control over our daily activities. Life becomes easier and less stressful when we know how to use time more effectively and keep what is essential. ;-)

  • 30/10/12  
    Wender Freese diz: 2

    Hey Erica, I’ve a natural impulse to join some papers, books, cd’s and dvd’s, can you imagine as I’ve kept my room???
    Good Tips.

    • 31/10/12  
      Erica diz:

      Hi Wender. You’re not alone. Books, CDs and DVDs become easily collectibles in the house. And that can be a problem. I have a list of these items and I check it periodically and get rid of , trade or donate some of them each time. By doing this you’ll always know what you have and what could be used again – either by you or by someone else. :-)

  • 30/10/12  
    Teacher Flávia diz: 3

    Nice article!!!! Being organize is an easy thing if you have it as a habbit already… And good luck in the new town!

    • 31/10/12  
      Erica diz:

      Thanks Flavia. Carlow is a nice town. Easy to get to know new people. I believe that decluttering is more challenging than organising. We can organise things and never deal with clutter. But once we tackle the problem we’ll never go back to packed wardrobes and piles of unused papers. :-)

  • 30/10/12  
    Walmir do Nascimento Silva diz: 4

    Wise “lessons” and very useful advice.
    Congratulations for knowing how to live well with your stuff.
    Being organized is a virtue, I think.
    DIVINÓPOLIS- Brazil.

    • 31/10/12  
      Erica diz:

      Hi Walmir. De-cluttering is one of the best habits one can have. For me, it’s more important than organising as you keep the essential stuff and then organising and cleaning become a lot easier and quicker. To make my life easier is what I want! :-)

  • 30/10/12  
    Wees diz: 5

    Great article, it will help so much ;)

  • 30/10/12  
    augusto monteiro diz: 6

    A dica é boa, mas o texto em si é muito melhor
    apesar de curto, um excelente texto pra exercitar a leitura e compreensão enquanto se aprende palavras que novas e expressões interessantes.
    Textos como esses (de uma gramatica impecável) são muito bons para termos como base de referencia de uma boa escrita

    • 31/10/12  
      Erica diz:

      Thanks Augusto. Hope you will always benefit from the texts here. :-)

  • 31/10/12  
    Ezequiel Castelhano diz: 7

    Por que você usa “organise” com “s”. Tenho dois dicionários em meu iPhone e apenas um tem a palavra com “s”.

  • 31/10/12  
    sandrom diz: 8

    Hi Erica,

    That´s the biggest challenge in my life. After moving from a house to an apartment, organizing became necessary to survive.

    Precious tips. Thanks.


    • 31/10/12  
      Erica diz:

      That’s great Sandro. So many lessons to learn from organising. Life becomes easier when we live with the essentials.

  • 03/11/12  
    Elisa diz: 9

    Love the article! It was very clarifying.
    I have moved a lot too, about 7 times within 16 years, so I can assure everyone the importance of being organized, always.
    Here in Brazil, apartments use to be small, then, when one move from a house to an apartment, or a big apartment to a small one (like me), it is very hard to adjust to the new space, but we develop more objectivity, a better sense of priority, and so far… making our lives easier and lighter after the big cleanings.

    • 05/11/12  
      Erica diz:

      Hi Elisa! That’s a good think to remember – prioritising. If your things are organised that becomes a lot easier!

  • 05/11/12  
    Nancy diz: 10

    I enjoyed the article, it´s excellent to training the listening, but I must confess that is very difficult to me discarding many old thing, such books, letters, etc.

    • 13/11/12  
      Erica diz:

      Hi Nancy. You’re not alone. If you start separating, donating, giving awaya and throwing away bits here and there, you’ll see quick progress and that will motivate you to keep up the good work.

  • 05/11/12  
    Nancy diz: 11

    Please show the original in English that I´ve written.