The next challenge is inspired by a clean out I did on my own right after Christmas. One day, in the middle of a completely different activity, I got distracted by one of the drawers I have with electronic cords and chargers in it. It was pretty organized already; I have 5 of these drawers that stack on top of each other, and each drawer had its own purpose: chargers, phone stuff, cords, accessories, and manuals/software.
While i don’t quite recall what I was looking for at the time, I do remember being struck by the fact that I couldn’t possibly need all of this stuff. I rarely access it (everything significant and current in my electronic life has chargers accounted for elsewhere), and, upon closer review, I realized that I had lots of things I’d never access again. Fact is, we go through electronics enough (upgrades to our phones, new laptops replacing older ones, and accessories that went with each), but I hadn’t kept up with this supply so well.
Everything came out, and about a third of it went back in! We no longer had a PC in the house, so all that software and manuals could evaporate. Hadn’t used a blackberry in years, but still had plenty of chargers. An old phone, my old iPod, about 3 pairs of random earbuds from plane trips, etc., all went into the “toss” pile.
I made sure everything that was left, I *knew* what it was for (not always an easy guess), it was labeled correctly, and I didn’t have more than what I needed. I am *not going to need a random new printer cord, let alone two of them, for instance.
There are some great ways to corral your electronics that can really help keep your “keep” pile in order. One is to use drawers, like I do, where each is its own purpose. Another is to use a clear over-the-door pocket organizer, where you can see everything in front of you. Another is to use toilet paper rolls (empty, of course) or a wrapping paper roll cut up and stored in a box, where each cord or charger can be placed inside a tube.
And what about “toss”? Where will I toss them? Well, I have 2 options right now. One is to take them to Best Buy, which takes electronics recycling. Or you can check Earth911 to review their recycling guide for options local to you. Another option, for me and other local Massachusetts folks, is to attend the “Get Organized Month” Organizing Expo and Conference in Waltham, sponsored by the NAPO-New England Chapter. National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has events all over the country this month, so, if you’re not in New England or local enough to travel to Waltham on Saturday the 25th, check out your local chapter to see what they may have for you.
So, set your timer for 20 minutes, and have at that stash of electronic apparatus you’ve got somewhere… hopefully it’s all in one place; if not, go around and gather it all so you can sort through it all at once! Good luck!