Get organized for new school year

Monday, August 25, 2014
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Start the new school year with a fresh clean slate

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The start of a new school year signifies a fresh, clean slate. One of the ways to get back in the swing of things is to organize.

The pros say a clean, organized space helps save time and money.

We started with ABC-13 reporter Patricia Lopez's desk, one that definitely needs attention. Under the desk, there are shoes, stacks of books, and loads of paper.

"Back to school give us that second chance to make things right, get things back in order," said professional organizer Elen Delap.

With Delap's help, we tried to make the mess into a more manageable working environment.

"I think we need to just evaluate what needs to stay out and what goes back in," Delap said.

The first problem was the mismatched items in a variety of colors.

"Bring more consistent of colors and materials that you are using in your office space, so you want to bring things that are together that are more attractive that helps you stay more organized," Delap said.

When you pick a color scheme, Delap says you don't have to make a big investment on supplies. She found baskets at Home Goods for $4.99 and $5.99 each.

Problem number two - Delap says get rid of the shrine. She calls it a common problem many of us have at our desk.

"The shrine is a set of pictures, a set of really special memories that you keep and they are really important but they don't need to be displayed at your office," Delap said.

Pick one to three memories to display, Lopez picked her kids, her wedding day, and a special picture of Walter Cronkite.

The third problem is just too much stuff.

"We only keep out what we use every day and store things with less access least," Delap said.

Throw away the old, donate the unused, and store items you don't need every day in drawers. Store items that you do need every day on your desk in their own compartments.

For Lopez, a coffee and tea station is a must, so it needs to be accessible. Her business cards are also important for reference, so she put those in a box, much like one for recipes.

If you want to really score extra points, label your compartments.

In just 30 minutes after adding a few compartments, we finished with a clean, organized workspace. The cost of supplies was just $35.

Delap recommends these five apps to keeping yourself organized and up to date throughout the school year:


It's all you need to get your news, traffic and weather!


Struggling with all those little bits of paper? Not sure what size your kids' clothes are? Lots of ideas for work? From short lists to lengthy research, no matter what form your writing takes, Evernote keeps tabs on everything. Create Evernote "notebooks" with information and search these to find what you need on your computer or smartphone.


Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again! You can access this from your computer or smartphone.


Create and share grocery lists quickly and easily. Whoever is out can pick up the groceries with this smartphone app.

Get a handle on your finances the free and fast way. Mint does all the work of organizing and categorizing your spending for you. See where every dime goes and make money decisions you feel good about. Available on your computer or smartphone.

For more from Delap, click here.