It seems as though no matter how hard we try to get organized, some little gremlins must be working against us because we never quite achieve our goals. These small creatures can creep through both offices and homes. Their tricks create lots of stress for us. Only by applying organizing solutions can we get rid of these pesky creatures and treat ourselves to a calmer environment and reduced stress. These are some of the disorganization gremlins' favorites:

Office tricks

• Tuck extra computer parts and supplies in corners.

• Stack papers on the desk and/or the surrounding floor area.

• Frame the monitor with Post-It notes.

• Make the phone number you need disappear.

• Fill up file cabinets so you can't add papers.

• Cover all available surfaces with photos, knick-knacks and "freebies."

• Leave obstacles on the floor so you have to detour around them.

Home tricks

• Spread the daily mail across the kitchen table.

• Surface the refrigerator with magnets, photos and reminders.

• Hide tabletops and counters so that it is impossible to dust.

• Create a confusing filing system where no one can find things.

• Misplace homework papers.

• Bury reminders for your child's dentist appointment.

• Lose the schedule for the soccer games.

The best way to get rid of these disorganization gremlins is to create an organizing solution that works for you. The little fellows can't thrive where there's a routine and lack of clutter. You can tell that the solution worked when it is a treat to enter your office or return home each day. The following are some of the things you can begin to implement as you defeat those gremlins:

Office solutions

• Keep just one calendar to eliminate conflicting appointments.

• Set up a place for every paper coming across your desk.

• Use one system for tasks and follow-up activities.

• Discard anything that is obsolete or duplicated.

• Establish guidelines as to what can be tossed from files.

• Eliminate objects around that don't pertain to the work at hand.

• Leave a cleared desk at the end of each day.

Home solutions

• Eat at the kitchen table without pushing papers aside.

• Have a spot for the children to leave school papers.

• Be ready for school or work the evening before.

• Maintain an action filing system for daily mail.

• Involve everyone in scheduled cleaning and chores.

• Track the family's activities on one calendar.

• Walk through the house without tripping on anything.

When we don't deal with the first signs of the disorganization gremlins, their tricks seem to multiply exponentially. Then one stack becomes three, and suddenly there are 10. One file drawer becomes full, and then the whole file cabinet can't be used. The bookshelves fill up. Finally, everything starts spilling onto floor space.

Mentally it makes such a difference when we clear out the disorganization. It does initially take some time out of the daily schedule, but you quickly gain that time back and more.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is the author of Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey. She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. Reach her at (602) 412-3876 or

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