N is for NeatIn our wander through the serious and lighter sides of organising with The A to Z of Organising, we’re already over half way. Here’s to the letter N.

Naming Conventions – Giving your files, whether digital or physical, the right name can mean the difference between retrieving them in an instant and losing them to the depths of a filing graveyard. Good filing is about retrieval, not putting away. So, what makes a good file name? A good solid naming convention that everyone with access to the files and documents can understand and easily adhere to. For example, if dates are important, like for digital photos, use the date right at the start, followed by the name of the person or people and/or place pictured. A photo taken on Jane’s birthday (May 22nd this year) with John in Paris becomes “2022-05-22 Jane John Paris”. Here’s an example for insurance records. “Insurance-Home-Contents-Smith St”. The addition of the location is important if you insure more than one home. For car insurance use “Insurance-Car-1EH 9MH” with the inclusion of the registration number of the car, not “red Corolla”. In my family there have been many red Corollas. The important thing is consistency and ease of use. Use specific, plain language. Ask yourself, where would I expect to find this?

NDIS Funding – In Australia the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides funding directly to participants with a permanent disability for supports and services. Each participant is treated is an individual with their own plan which includes specific goals. Once the plan is approved, the types of supports that the NDIS may fund for participants include, among other things, daily personal activities and help with household tasks to allow the participant to maintain their home environment. Of course, there are many more services and supports funded, but these are the ones which may be associated with decluttering, organising and skills development in that area. For this reason, many professional organisers now work with people, funded through the NDIS. That’s the good news – that people who would not ordinarily have the financial means to access organising help may now have access to it. It can be life-changing and empowering. However, there is bad news as well. Unfortunately, the hourly rate deemed by the NDIS does not match the skill level required to do that work. Many organisers find themselves being asked to reduce their prices or having to negotiate complicated fee structures. I personally don’t. I work with NDIS participants, and I always charge my full rate. My discussions with the support coordinators and plan managers involved are always respectful but direct. I also take the view that it’s not up to me to know which “line item” to use on my invoices. I’m a good organiser. I don’t need to be an expert on the NDIS to do that. That’s someone else’s job.

Neat – When people hear I’m a professional organiser, they often ask “Is your house always neat and tidy?” The answer is no, it’s not always neat. But it is always organised. There’s a significant difference. Organised is being able to lay your hands on what you need when you need it. Organised is a safe home that’s ready to be lived in. But here’s something you may find hard to believe… a neat and tidy home can be disorganised. Imagine a beautiful living room with built-in cupboards. Nothing seems out of place, until you open those cupboard doors. Inside they’re crammed full of loose photos, wrapping paper, a few Christmas decorations, batteries (are they new or used?), compact discs and DVDs out of their cases. That’s not organised.

No – No is a complete sentence. A very useful little word, especially for time management. Before you say yes to any request for your time and energy, consider this handy little two-letter word. Only commit to those things which truly support your goals. And don’t be afraid to answer No.


If you’d like to catch up on past A to Z of Organising posts, here you go…


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