Sometimes I wish I could hire myself.
Don't get me wrong. I use the same organizing principles and techniques in my own home that I teach my clients. What I can't bring to my own situation, however, is objectivity and a fresh look.
As a result, I tend to get stuck in outmoded thinking. Here's an example.
I have owned a magnificent computer armoire for the last ten years. Originally, it was a way to keep the computer and printer and all of those wires out of sight (and safe from my then 3-year old). Now that I work at home, it is the nerve center of my business.
One of the features of this armoire is a slide-out printer shelf, just below the keyboard tray. I bought a color inkjet printer some time ago and it fit perfectly on that shelf. It was a great printer -- for its time.
I had been dissatisfied with the printer for a while now. For one thing, it was so slow. That was fine when it was only for casual weekend use. But now that I run a business and write manuals and presentations (and a 100-page e-book), it's a real liability.
The other thing that bothered me about the printer was that if I wanted to print on both sides of the page, I had to do it manually. That meant printing the odd pages, reversing the order, and putting the pages back in to print the even pages. If two pages stuck together (which happened frequently), the whole thing needed to be redone.
Needless to say, this printer was starting to cause me a lot of aggravation.
I started looking into a new printer. I discovered that there were a lot of great printers out there, and they weren't expensive. I could get a very fast color inkjet printer, with duplex printing built in. No more flipping pages!
In addition, if I got a printer that was an all-in-one, it could replace my flatbed scanner. And it would have a page feeder!
Here's the problem. The new printers were too tall to fit into that nice slide-out shelf in my computer armoire. Several times, I searched for printers on-line and then abandoned the whole thing because I didn't want to have to put my printer outside the armoire. It will ruin the look of my living room, I thought. So I forged on with my old technology.
The straw that broke the camel's back was the night that I suddenly remembered I need to copy a 30-page, two-sided document. I remembered this at 11 pm, and I needed to have it ready first thing in the morning. I stayed up until 2 am scanning it page by page on my flatbed scanner, and waiting for it to come off my slow printer.
That was it. The next day, I committed to finding a new printer. After much searching on the internet, I chose an HP Office Jet 6500 (Series 709n). I was concerned about the decorative implications, but went ahead anyway.
I've had the printer now for about a month, and I am in love. Not only does it have the features I already mentioned, it is also wireless, which means my husband and my daughter can print directly to the printer without having to use my computer to do it.
I've also redeployed the space taken up by the old printer and the scanner by bringing down to an easily accessible level things I use frequently that were higher up in the armoire. It's so much more convenient now!
As for the decorating crisis I had feared? Frankly, it's not even an issue.
Had I been one of my clients, I would have listened patiently to my litany of woes, and then said, "You need to get a new printer -- now!" I would have assuaged my fears about the decorating issue and enumerated all of the time savings that would result from the switch.
Are you making self-defeating decisions as a result of outmoded thinking? Have you been doing things the same way for so long that you can't even imagine there is a more efficient way of doing them? Take a look at places where you are bogged down and see if you can benefit from some out-of-the-armoire thinking.
Sharon Lowenheim, MBA, MSE, is a Professional Organizer and owner of Organizing Goddess, Inc., in New York City. Since 2006, she has taught organizing skills to individuals and groups in their homes and their offices. She can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (212) 249-3537. Visit Sharon on the web at http://www.organizinggoddess.net.