Organizing spring and summer projects

Published 3:39 pm Monday, May 16, 2011

By LISA PHILLIPS / Guest Columnist

Projects, projects, projects! Most disorganization and clutter in our homes and offices come from projects left abandoned versus completed. Think about that and then look around your own home and desk. Do you cringe at the thought of painting the bedroom or updating your landscape or cleaning out the garage? If so, your “to do” list may still have projects on there from last year. Or do you love it so much that you have two or three projects going on at the same time? Whatever your pulse is, when it comes to pushing up your sleeves and getting started, knowing how to keep track of the details is what will help make any project go smoothly. Let’s talk about landscaping; however, you can adapt these same basic principles for anything you are working on.

-Keep everything together: Simple pocket folders are great for keeping receipts, care tags from plants, sketches of the flowerbeds, etc. Put brochures, magazine pictures, and business cards that you have picked up into the folder. This is your “go-to” folder for anything that is current for the project. Always include a few sheets of paper for thoughts, ideas, and questions that pop up.

-Keep everything separate: Make sure you keep the green landscaping folder only for the yard improvements. Updating the bathroom gets another colored folder.

As soon as you begin to think of a project, create a folder to write down the great brainstorming ideas you have. Your enthusiasm is the highest at the beginning of a project — the minute you come up with the idea! Even if you don’t plan to start immediately, you will want to remember the creative ideas and strategy you have now. Write them down and stick them in the folder, adding to it as you shop, daydream and plan. This is also helpful in case the project gets delayed for a few days or weeks due to lack of money, energy or time. It will be easier in your mind to “finish up” if you are not thinking you are “starting over” again in remembering what store had what item, where you were going to put something or who you needed to call for help.

A folder system for projects is very simple. Once the job is completed, file away the entire folder with other reference files. When you have finished projects, you have less clutter and disorganization around you. Gather up those receipts, shopping lists and seed packets and put them in a folder; your gorgeous backyard is in sight!

Lisa Phillips, owner of SimpleWorks,, 205.981.7733.