Earlier this year, my sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I could’ve said a purse. Some cute pumps. A gift card to my favorite store. But at that time, I was so engulfed in thoughts about the mess of having just moved in to a new apartment that I blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

“A paper shredder,” I said. My sister just laughed. And I explained that I had to get rid of a lot of papers and files, on top of unpacking and arranging my family’s new abode.

As a major multi-tasker and self-professed organization guru, I admit, I sometimes take the act of de-cluttering a little bit too seriously. But to me, organizing and multi-tasking go hand-in-hand. You have to keep everything organized, or you’re going to end up wasting a lot of time instead of being able to multi-task effectively.

And whether you’re an organizational fiend like I am or you’re just trying to balance your daily duties, there are some basic supplies that every girl needs. So, here’s my list of a few things I can’t imagine being productive without.

 

A Paper Shredder

According to stopjunkmailnow.com, junk mail “steals” about $550 million in American tax dollars for disposal fees.

As a journalist, I’ve been trained to question data from shady sources on the Internet, but I can’t help but agree with the underlying message of this piece of information: Americans receive a ton of junk mail. This not only includes ads from stores and local companies, but also mail sent from your trusted banks or other companies that you have accounts with, which often contains your account numbers, full name, and other personal information along with the promotional letters or advertisement.

Paper shredders really come in handy when you want to get rid of documents with personal information on it, especially from these direct mail advertisements that tend to reveal all. So do yourself a favor and purchase one. It will not only help with de-cluttering your home, but it also lessens the risk of identity theft—which is not only dangerous, but also a mess you probably don’t have time to deal with.

A Day Planner

I like to call my day planner “my second brain.” When there are dates to remember and important events coming up, I list them all in my planner—and if I don’t, I’m sure to forget. Often, when I sort through my files and mail or prioritize my errands, I find myself updating important dates on my planner at the same time. See a due date for a monthly bill? Write it in my planner. Need to buy stamps from the post office? Add it on my to-do list. My planner is the one place that my mommy duties, work deadlines, date nights, vacations, and social gatherings all unite. It helps me delegate and multi-task effectively, and it helps keep my stress levels in check when I see everything I have to do, all listed conveniently in one place.

Many people use their smartphones as a planner, using its built-in calendar feature to record deadlines and due dates. I prefer my 4 x 6 Blue Sky planner (available at any local office supplies store), which conveniently fits in most of my purses so I’m able to take it wherever I go. Whatever your preference may be, this item is key to keeping your busy life in order.

A Label Maker

It’s only the neat way of labeling things, as opposed to taking out a Sharpie and scribbling away. (And it’s particularly helpful if your handwriting sucks, and you want labels to look readable.)

What to label, you might ask? I label file folders for important documents like doctor records, tax documents, and car-related papers, so that they’re super-easy to locate anytime I need them. I label all the things my son takes to daycare with him, since there are two other little boys with the same name and it makes it easier for his teachers to see whose sippy cup is whose.

One woman I knew would label the food in her fridge, indicating expiration dates so she would know when to throw them out when the time came. At one point, I thought this was a little extreme—but she had seven kids and a constantly packed fridge, and her method worked seamlessly for her.

When it comes to handling everyday commitments, we have to find creative ways to do the things we need to do—even if it takes the help of a few supplies.

What are some supplies you use to help you stay organized?

Photo of planner courtesy of Shutterstock.