You'd think I would be pretty good about putting my things in their proper places, what with my being an attention deficit disorder(ADD ADHD) coach and all. And I am. Unfortunately, I'm not so good about keeping them there. Like many of the adults with ADD whom I counsel, I have a problem with clutter — empty envelopes, important papers, bills, junk mail, and reminders seem to pile up on my desk.
At least that's the way my desk used to be. As I write this, my desktop is a model of orderliness. And this time, I'm confident that my desk will stay clutter-free. That's because I have armed myself with three of the most powerful anticlutter weapons known to man (after the wastebasket, of course).
You probably think of shredders as a means of guarding against identity theft — you know, by keeping confidential documents out of the hands of crooks. But for me, the sight of all that confetti has proven to be incredibly motivating. I see those little bits of paper and I am filled with the desire to do more shredding — and more decluttering.
My shredder is the OfficeMax TS6700. At around $60, it's a reasonably low-cost, high-capacity model. And there are plenty of other options that can handle at least 10 pages at once (if you have to feed the pages in a few at a time, you'll get bored) and are robust enough to chew through staples and paper clips.
There will, of course, be papers you need to hold on to. Enter my second secret weapon: the electric label-writer. By letting you create labels in a wide range of colors, sizes, and typefaces, a good label-writer transforms the label-making process from a study in tedium into a task that's downright fun.
Versatile and easier to use, electronic label-writers are more where it's at these days. I recommend either a stand-alone electronic unit (good ones are typically $30 to $50), such as the Brother PT-80, or an electronic unit that plugs into and prints from your personal computer, such as the Brother PT-1950 (expect to pay at least $60 for these).
For oversized or bulky documents that don't fit into regular folders, use three-ring binders. These can be labeled (with your label-writer, of course), and color-coded (red binders for coaching materials, blue for magazine articles, and so on) and stored neatly on a shelf.
I picked up a Swingline Electric Punch — 3 Hole (nearly $140), but several good models start at around $80. The more pages the punch can handle at once, the more likely you'll be to use it. As with shredding and labeling, punching is so satisfying it borders on addictive. Steer clear of battery-powered models, as these tend to be slower and more prone to jamming than models that plug into a wall socket.
Since I started using these three gadgets, I've become a paper-shredding, label-writing, hole-punching fool. I've never been so organized. If you give them a try, I’m confident your clutter will go away, too—and stay away!
NOTE: Product names, models, prices, and specifications were current as of print. Please leave a comment below if you are aware of more accurate and up-to-date information.
This article comes from the December 2006/January 2007 issue of ADDitude.