AdviceCareer Tips

Seven Organizing Tips to Rein in Career-Girl Chaos

If you’re anything like me, you know that keeping things tidy and organized is how I stay sane.  Building an efficient system reduces stress, prevents mistakes, and keeps projects on track.  Eliminating as much daily chaos as possible is the secret to success, and organizing can get you there.

I can’t be distracted from answering that e-mail by the dirty kitchen, if the kitchen isn’t dirty.  Organizing my daily pocket litter (receipts, business cards, etc.) stops me from searching the trash at 3:00AM for that post-it note I need.  Managing my inbox with folders and tabs prevents me from getting that annoying, “Hey, did you get back to Joe, yet?” text message.

Yes, organization saves lives.  And by lives, I mean time and energy.  Here are my best tips for staying organized and staying sane.

Corral Your Cords.  I love technology, but it just comes with so many cords.  My phone, smart watch, and laptop all have different cable and charging port to pack.  And there’s nothing I hate more than blindly fishing through my bag for them.

This printed pouch from Banana Republic is salvation.  Not only can I keep all of my cords in one place, it also comes with a hidden battery so I can charge my phone on the go.  Double bonus?  It’s chic enough to use as a clutch if you have an event that necessitates a reliable recharge.

To keep the cords organized, try these $2 leather clasps or this pack of $4 plastic clips.  Need more serious cord and cable management?  Try this CaddySack charger book.

Just Dock It. Have you ever searched your desk looking for your phone to discover it was under a pile of papers?  Or needed to check a text notification without getting distracted from the task at hand?  A phone dock keeps your phone at the ready and your screen visible at all times.

This clever design from Etsy works on any phone with a smaller than 5.5″ screen.  This multi-device dock from Urban Outfitters let’s you charge a phone, iPad, and Apple Watch all at the same time.  This $10 dock is an affordable choice that works with any phone.

Stow Your Rings.  I always leave the house wearing rings, but by 10:00AM, they’re all laying on my mouse pad.  Not the most secure way to store them.  These $5 ceramic ring holders keep them from being recklessly swept onto the floor or being left behind in the office.  I also like this little mouse ring holder.

Carry the Essentials.  Walk through the halls of the House office buildings at 3:00PM and you’ll see the legion of staffers headed for their mid-afternoon pick-me-up.  And undoubtedly, you’ll see at least one woman awkwardly balancing her phone(s), wallet, notebook, and coffee cup in a futile attempt to “travel light.”

This Dagne Dover Clutch ($79-$125) allows you to carry all of your “essentials” in one sleek package.  No more fumbling.  No more carrying your purse just to get coffee.  Now, everything is corralled in one wristlet.  If you need a little more storage capacity, this $48 “ready for anything” pouch is also worth a look.

Pick Up Your Litter.  You sit down on the last day of the month to do your expenses and realize that half your receipts are too damaged to read and the other half are in your laptop bag at home.  Oh, joy!  Keep track of all your important receipts, business cards, and slips of paper with this Loose Ends Organizer.  If you’re cheap (or just don’t need your monogram on everything you own), this $8 coupon organizer will work.

Divide It Up.  Do you have a large, shapeless satchel or tote that you just love but can’t use for work because there isn’t enough storage to keep your purse from morphing into a blackhole?  Lucky for you, Etsy is run by a cabal of middle class soccer moms who love pockets and straight seams.

This felt bag organizer has pockets for everything from you laptop to your coffee cup.  The seller also has other styles and sizes available.  I also found one that zips shut to keep your goods secure while carrying an open-top tote.

She’s a Shoe In.  One of my staff assistants used to keep a pile of shoes under her desk so big that it would spill out into the waiting area.  She explained that it made no sense to keep her heels at home since she only wore them at work, and couldn’t commute in them.  She wasn’t wrong, but if the area under your desk resembles the bargain table at a Payless Bogo event, it might be time to look into a better storage option.

These wire racks keep shoes off the floor and attach to the walls of your cubicle with adhesive strips.  This pop-up shoe organizer could be tucked under your desk, in a closet, or inside a large file drawer.  For something with more structure, this plastic shoe box will hold two pairs of ballet flats.

So are you a person who craves organization?  What’s your best tip for keeping things tidy?

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  1. thb says:

    Great Post! More than a few of these items are going to make their way to my little corner. I have difficulty functioning my best in chaos also.

    January 9, 2018/Reply

    Great post!! I just made a list of things I’ll be purchasing this week!

    January 9, 2018/Reply

    One more thing, I am so glad I’m not the only one who takes off their rings at work!

    January 9, 2018/Reply
  4. Sarah says:

    I literally need all these things.

    January 9, 2018/Reply
  5. Neens says:

    Great post!

    Any other pouch recommendations with battery packs? the print isnt my favorite but love the functionality!

    January 9, 2018/Reply
  6. BL says:

    Abra!!! This is a life changer. Will definitely be looking into buying some of these products. Yes, to the girl who trying to travel light is a mess!!

    January 9, 2018/Reply
  7. Kaitlyn says:

    I actually carry a cute zip pouch in my work bag with all “emergency” supplies that I created myself: nail clipper, portable battery for cell, lipstick, small toothbrush, xanax, advil, floss, hair tyes, samples of the makeup I use, bandaids, etc. It’s been super helpful and I can take it out of the work bag and use it in luggage or whatever!

    January 9, 2018/Reply
    • Anna says:

      This is basically what I do too, although I may need to rethink some of what’s in that bag!! Great suggestions!

      January 9, 2018/Reply
  8. Mer says:

    Just bought the BR cord pouch, looks perfect. Thank you!

    January 9, 2018/Reply
  9. JEnna says:

    Great post! More! More!

    January 9, 2018/Reply
  10. Jessica says:

    I LOVED this post–I’m obsessed with organization in a stylish, functional way and I clicked every single link on this page. In fact, I’ve been dithering over that very DD clutch wallet for months now. As you consider new content ideas, a feature like this (profiling useful, stylish bags/wallets/other organizational tactics) would be very welcome!

    January 10, 2018/Reply
  11. Michelle Seger says:

    Is there a clutch wallet/wallet on a chain that would accommodate those poor souls (like me) who have to carry two phones around? I love the DD one, but I am skeptical it could fit both phones…thanks!!

    January 10, 2018/Reply
  12. Beth says:

    How many pairs of shoes is too many to keep at the office? I keep two pairs under my desk – one pair of black flats and one pair of nude pumps… but is there another shoe that everyone keeps at the ready? Or do I have two too many stashed as it is?

    Also, I keep a couple blazers/suit jackets on the back of my office door, should these be kept in a garment bag?

    January 10, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Two is fine. I’d keep the suit coats in a bag for their protection.

      January 10, 2018/Reply
  13. Natalee says:

    I own the felt organizer! Once I left the Hill and got a “big girl job,” everyone was carringy the same large shapeless tote bag, and I knew I was destined to get one too. I struggled to make the purchase because I was so used to bags with multiple pockets to keep me organized (I’m looking at you, Dagne Dover, my love). But once I found the Etsy felt organizer, it changed my mind about large tote bags and I’ve never looked back. It helps my tote keep its shape and everything fits nicely in its place. I never have to hunt or dig in a bottomless pit of a bag to find what I need. I LOVE it. They can be pricey, but so worth it to stay organized.

    January 10, 2018/Reply
  14. Shelley says:

    So much great info here! Thank you so much. I love to organize and bought a whole bunch of kitchen gadgets to organize that room. It just makes me lighter. The cord organizers are a must and so is that bag organizer!!

    January 11, 2018/Reply