Physical and Visual Clues of Financial Organization

Today’s blog is dedicated to my Grandma Lois, who’s birthday is today, June 22. She’d be 114 if she were still alive. It was she who taught me how to balance my checkbook when I was 18 years old; we sat at her very organized desk as she led me through the practice of reviewing my bank statement and filling out the reconciliation form on the back. Little did I know, way back then, that the skills she taught me, and the values she instilled in me would be the foundation of the work I love today.

Financial Organization is Physical

Last time we tackled organizing the small spaces we carry around with us like our wallets, purses and briefcases. One area that I find that often hinders my clients to financial organization is the physical space where they manage their finances. Some lucky clients have a room dedicated to a home office, complete with filing cabinet, desk and bookshelves. Others have limited space, and they need something small and portable. Regardless of your space situation, keeping things simple and uncluttered is the key.

According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), “there are no cookie-cutter solutions to any organizing issue because we are all unique. ” That’s why one organizational system works wonders for one person but fails miserably for another. NAPO describes getting organized as a journey, one that requires an investment of time and self-reflection.

  • What does your current space say about your financial organization journey?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What gets in your way?
  • What’s working?
  • What can you eliminate?
  • What do you need to add?

Financial Organization is Visual

Take some time to visualize the space you really want. Imagine paying your bills and other financially related tasks. How does that make you feel? Write it down, as those feelings will give you clues to how your physical space can support your financial organization journey.

If you get seriously stuck, then it’s time to call in a professional. There are 4,200 professional organizers to choose from, and you start by using NAPO’s website to search by zip code.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of an organized and uncluttered space to work in. Visual clutter is even a study topic at MIT, where they are developing ways to measure it! If you need more ideas on how to tackle that office clutter, check out this article by Janet Taylor on 25 Tips to keep your office organized and running smoothly.

Do you have any organizing tips to share? How have they helped you to a more financially organized life?

1 comment

  1. Thanks for this very interesting post. Oh, this is so, so true about the physical space.

    My tip? Use a Brother labeler for the tabs on any and all files. When I first read that tip in David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, I thought it was ridiculously fussy and time consuming, not to mention expensive (the tape is pricey!), but because all of his other advice was so good, I tried it and found it wonderfully calming– the labels are so easy to read! It’s as if, by being machine-printed (and therefore quite perfect) the letters take all the effort out of looking at them.


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