What’s giving you the most trouble right now?

I’ve been writing for Unclutterer for more than three years now. In that time, I’ve covered many aspects of leading a more organized, productive life, both at home and professionally. Often times, I’ll base an article on an experience or question I’ve had. Today, I want to turn that around.

Today I’m asking you: What is giving you the most trouble right now? What’s the aspect of organization or productivity that’s being a pain for you right now? Perhaps the thought of spring cleaning makes you wish we could just skip ahead to October. Maybe the kids’ bedrooms are a constant source of frustration. Maybe your digital photos are “scattered” everywhere, as it were.

Whatever your current sticking point is, describe it in the comments. I want to address your concerns directly in my upcoming posts. Spring is here, a new year is underway, the birds are chirping, and it’s a time for renewal. Fill the comments below with what’s bugging you and we’ll work it all out together, right here at Unclutterer.

56 Comments for “What’s giving you the most trouble right now?”

  1. posted by Bailey on

    Technology hardware is troublesome. Our houses weren’t designed around the portable gadgets that we now have! I’m constantly trying to figure out better ways to address this.

    For instance, a kitchen is used for food prep… but since it is by the back door it can also be the landing pad for the cell phones and their chargers, especially for folks who are visual and need the reminder to take it with them. I’ve emptied a kitchen drawer for cords, bluetooth, etc.

    Our big desktop computers used to be confined to the space created for them, but laptops and tablets end up all over the house, becoming visual clutter in the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

  2. posted by Pat on

    We have 2 adults and 2 high school girls in our house. I struggle with the “non office” areas. It seems like we don’t have an attractive space to keep printers, paper, office supplies, filing etc corralled. We use a standing desk for 2 printers and paper in a corner of the dining room and the family laptop resides on a small wheeled cart in the living room. Our papers and supplies are scattered between the kitchen and a cabinet in the living room. The girls like drawing and making crafts, so they bring lots of pens and supplies to the living room to work on things. I would love to find/re-purpose a attractive piece of furniture to put in the dining room to hide the printers, and store papers-what would you suggest? (most of our furniture is wood and simply styled-similar to mission style)

  3. posted by Kat on

    Clutter is tiring. Decluttering is tiring. Working 12 hours a day as a home daycare provider, caring for young children is tiring. Not just tiring but truly draining.
    Necessity and your column have helped me to streamline my daycare, in storage of crafts and toys, in a comfortable daily schedule that blocks the day into easy-to-manage sections, in having all my supplies (bibs, facecloths, diapers, stroller) neatly stored and easily accessible.
    But at the end of the 12 hours, when all the daycare children are picked up, I am utterly pooped. I hire someone to do the dusting and bathrooms and floors, but that creates pressure to have the house decluttered before she comes each week. I have boxes still unpacked in the garage from when we moved 3 years ago, and we can barely get into the garage if we need something from them. I have dealt with high pressure decluttering situations by piling high a laundry basket and hiding it in my walk-in closet – now no one can get into the closet. All the usual culprits – junk drawers, bathroom cupboards, closets, sheds, become repositories of clutter.
    While I feel we are coping with day-to-day life flow, I just cannot find a way to break this cycle and find the energy to tackle the big projects like the garage or closets. I know a decluttered life would give me more energy, but I’m so exhausted by work and parenting and life, that what tiny bit of spare time I have is used as down time to recover before I face the next 60 hour work week.

    Do you have any baby step suggestions for breaking the time/exhaustion cycle, and reclaiming my garage?

  4. posted by Kate on

    Some things I have struggled with lately include:
    1. Finding pockets of time in the day to do large projects when you have small kids around. For example, I am trying to stain our wooden fence on our own, but I have two under 3. How can I approach this messy process strategically?

    2. Overcoming analysis paralysis… how do I restore my decision-making confidence and JUST DO IT!? (For example, hanging art on the wall: it feels like a permanent choice! So I delay!)

    3. Thinking long-term about home projects, while on a budget. We plan to stay in our home a long time, but it needs some love. But our wallets are thin! What should we prioritize: remodeling the kitchen, or taking control of the landscaping? New interior paint job or pressure washing and reglazing the pebble driveway? What house projects are most important and have lasting impact?

    4. How can we encourage others in our life to take care of their clutter before they leave this earth and give all their clutter to us? This is especially a problem when they don’t think what they have is clutter! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thank you for asking the question!

  5. posted by Chantel on

    Moving tips – we are moving in 2 months from renting out of someone’s home that includes shared spaces, into an apartment of our own. I’d love to pack everything NOW but we’re using most of it still, and I’ve already packed the rest. I’m just a bit anxious on needing to get it all done in a weekend. Any thoughts?

  6. posted by Tara on

    I am mentally overwhelmed by my kids’ memorabilia. Years ago I had a friend help me organize shallow bins for each child that I keep in a handy cupboard with shelves where I can toss the items I want to keep (special programs, drawings, pictures, cards). The bins are great — out of sight, easy to access — but are now overflowing. Ideally I would like to put these things into scrapbooks (nothing fancy, no borders or special cut-outs or supplies) but the challenge of sorting the things and organizing them chronologically and making a big mess is daunting…

  7. posted by liz on

    I came across this company http://www.snappower.com/ for their nightlights/electric plug plates. I see that they are now fundraising for expansion to a charger plate. Both items sound encouraging since they hide visual clutter.

    My organizing or decluttering issue is the garden – I need to make the gardens a bit easier to manage as I get older. Some of it will be resolved by switching to services to do the work. In other places, it will be to simplify what I do. I am switching to taller raised veggies beds so I can continue to enjoy fresh veggies.

    For my home, it is also about decluttering, organizing and getting ready for “aging in place”. I want my home to be easier to handle if I get a medical problem. For example, if I am going to update my kitchen or bathroom, am I making the right changes for an elderly person.

    Of course, in some cases, this advanced-age thinking does make it easier to get rid of things. I’ve been involved with two estates – one was organized and one was not. Obviously, I prefer to be somewhat organized towards the end!

  8. posted by Autumn on

    I have trouble balancing traditional, pen and paper tools with newer, technological ones. My data entry is redundant because I’ll handwrite notes and keep paper files, but I also keep a fairly robust Evernote account. This means I’m often aware of a piece of data I want, but spend time searching for it because I can’t remember if it’s in my (organized) notebook or my (organized) Evernote account.

    I’d love some tips on how to manage this disparate data and good ways to compile it into a workflow-friendly system. Each system manages fairly well and I stay on top of organization so neither one is overwhelming, but it’s hard to manage everything when different tools handle different tasks better.

  9. posted by Judy on

    My judgment brother & sister in law are coming mid September. I have stuff, mostly papers everywhere. Also, I have some sentimental stuff I want to get rid of but feel guilty about. I’m employed full time & it feels overwhelming.

  10. posted by April on

    When plans change is my first answer (or question). I may think I’m going to have a chunk of time to tackle a project, but then it gets derailed by the kids needing me or something breaks or my sister calls…anytime I get derailed, my motivation is entirely depleted. What’s a quick fix to bring it back?
    There are several things where I just don’t know where they “belong.” And then I remember I have it, but have no idea where, and find it again when no longer needed and it still doesn’t have a home. How do I find homes for these odds and ends?

  11. posted by missy on

    Electronic file organization and backup, digital photos, password organization and protection

  12. posted by Normandy on

    Parenting isn’t difficult (I analyze it to death). Homeschooling is actually super awesome. However, I fear the skill I am failing at the most is TEACHING my daughter how to keep a home clean. The only things I am good at sticking to is making beds first thing in the morning and eating as a family/setting tables/using silverware. Beyond that the hoover bothers her ears and I feel like our apt. Never looks home -y despite the endless cleaning. How can I teach this to my daughter if this wasn’t part of my upbringing?

  13. posted by John Detter on

    I currently take care of my parents’ finances, and the biggest pain is a system that fuses the benefits of a traditional filing system and an electronic filing system.

    For my finances, I scan everything and maintain a rough filing system in Evernote. I don’t worry too much about the sorting since searching is usually the OCR allows me to search years of documents very easily. It works like a charm with very little maintenance needed.

    My parents on the other hand have NO existing filing system. They are extremely disorganized by nature, and asking them to locate anything is a nightmare. This is a problem since I’m dragged into many situations where they need my help but can’t find the appropriate documents. For example, it took them 8 hours to find all the documents needed to file a tax return (just W-2’s, and a few 1099s, they don’t itemize). They could benefit from a system like mine where everything is searchable and only loosely organized, but they are also a little older don’t know their way around a computer very well.

    I’m thinking of setting them up with FreedomFiler for their paper records, but would also like a searchable electronic copy too. Most of the time, I have to help them out remotely, so having an electronic copy that I could access from another site would be very helpful.

  14. posted by Patricia York on

    Getting old–realizing that stuff I used to be able to do I can’t now–EX. I can wash walls but am afraid of washing the ceiling. I don’t have the energy I used to–it takes me 3 times as long to do something I would have done in a day.

  15. posted by varun on

    Currently two things:
    1. Just getting into the mindset of uncluttering – even though I feel the amount of stuff is oppressive, actually doing the thing and the getting rid of seems impossible.
    2. I’m agonizing about how to setup my digital storage. I thought I had it all planned out, only to find out that the devices I was planning to shift to (Drobos) are notoriously unreliable and have notorious bad customer service. Sigh.

  16. posted by johncanon on

    @Chantel As early as possible before moving, rent a 10×10 storage locker near your new place and start filling it up. If you do it right, moving day just means the bed, the TV, bathroom stuff, and the coffeemaker. Then slowly put into your new place only the things that bring you joy. You will love the clear spaces of your new place. After a few months your storage locker will contain only items that mean nothing or that you have been meaning to sell, donate, or trash. Do it, close out the locker, and enjoy the transformation.

  17. posted by skiptheBS on

    My electronic filing systems are far from satisfactory. I’m eagerly anticipating USB-C charger cords so I can purchase a couple of adapters and junk a bushel of chargers.
    Tool storage is cluttered. Too many for a bucket and apron, not enough for a rolling cabinet.

    Pat-A buffet, Mission or Scandinavian, works well for office storage. Put the printer in one side, and use stacking bins or crates with Pendaflex folders on the other. I use a 1930s faux-Jacobean armoire for my printer, scanner, small laptop and other storage but ymmv.

  18. posted by GrammyLamb on

    I’m getting older, with a chronic, unpredictable illness. With my lighthearted, positive spirit I make plans and start projects easily. My lists are in good order. It’s my energy that won’t cooperate. Therefore the productive hours of my day are limited. My unfinished projects are starting to pile up, but I am not yet ready to give up on them. Any input on “pacing?”

  19. posted by teri on

    All manner of paper. It is constantly coming in from school, work, mail, receipts, etc. etc. etc. Despite scanning, recycling and shredding it keeps piling up. And trying to figure out what really needs to be kept in paper form is confusing. Oh yeah, let’s not forget about old technology and the cords, wires, and batteries.

  20. posted by Ebbe on

    “A place for everything and everything in its place”.

    Our problem is the first part of this rule:

    Finding out where or what that place should be for any given item is an almost insurmountable task. And that is the reason why we still have a lot of clutter in our home.

  21. posted by brooke on

    My issue is with toys and “kid stuff.” There are things I want to get rid of, but don’t out of guilt that it was gifted to us or – even worse – handed down to us. There are things I want to get rid of, but don’t because I think that my kids might be really into whatever it is at some point in the future. The piles of clothes keeping piling higher, but we are planning to have more children, so I don’t want to get rid of them and have to buy them again.

    I do a fairly good job of only keeping the most-loved and most-played-with toys in the living areas of our house, with “extras” in storage or in the toy room in the basement. But, I would love to go through the toy room and storage and just purge, purge, purge. There are many things that I know would never be missed, but…

  22. posted by Kasey Coff on

    A previous commenter (Judy) said “I have some sentimental stuff I want to get rid of but feel guilty about.” Two years ago I wouldn’t have had a clue. Within eighteen months I’ve inherited both my mother’s and my grandmother’s belongings. I have a small two-bedroom house with a tiny one-car garage. There are no valuable antiques among these things, no high-end furniture – just ordinary household items with lots of (my) memories attached. Because it’s all crammed in here higgledy-piggledy in boxes and stacked up, there is no order. It’s chaos and the mega-clutter is overwhelming. Where to begin? It’s so daunting I end up not tackling it at all. So whereas a couple of years ago I thought I had “my” clutter under control, I have to say I’m struggling now… definitely.

  23. posted by Seng on

    My biggest issue is the TIME with two toddlers. With a small little family that’s going to be soon growing, I’ve been trying to do small tasks every day but it seems like a never ending chore! Gah!!


  24. posted by Mary Reider on

    My husband insists on keeping various things by his recliner, on a small table, in the living room. Things like scissors, nail file, pens and pencils, two pair of glasses, toothpicks, nail clippers, bottle of water, Kleenex, TV remotes, files he is working on (self-employed), electric razor, vitamins, crossword puzzles, scratch paper, his laptop, current book he is reading…need I say more? Actually it is an old TV stand that he has repurposed and it has a shelf where he slides the laptop into. And there is some organization to all of the things mentioned. Some aspects of the clutter can be removed easily when company comes over as they are in plastic shoe boxes. Do other women have this problem and what do they do?!

  25. posted by Melissa on

    My biggest struggle is figuring out where to draw the finish line on household management. We are a two working parent household with two young elementary school age kids. Our house is always in a state of dynamic clutter and we have found that trying to keep up with it to the point of having a “clean” house in the sense that everything is “done” is very much out of our reach. We can (and have!) spend every moment that we’re not working or spending time with the kids doing chores, and they are never finished. Living like that just sucks the joy right out of our lives. I’d be curious to hear what other families have done to establish what is good enough.

  26. posted by Julie on

    I am drowning it stacks of junk: Keepsake items to save, mail to deal with, paper work, ongoing craft projects, thousands of photographs that are still on my computer and my child’s bedroom is a constant struggle. Trying to encourage a 10 year old to put things away is next to impossible- she’d rather stash it somewhere that it doesn’t go or just lay it in the floor.

  27. posted by KenG on

    Biggest organizational headache: finding digital files. I’ve tried every system I can find, but I still can’t find digital files easily. Tried tags, Paper Tiger, Spotlight (Mac), Yojimbo, aliases, etc. Any thoughts? (Worse, at age 70, the digital debris that I’m leaving behind will be a nightmare for our kids!)

  28. posted by Mascarah on

    I think the theme here is we’re tired, overwhelmend, and don’t feel we have the time.

  29. posted by Mascarah on

    I think the theme here is we’re tired, overwhelmend, and don’t feel we have the time.

  30. posted by Heather on

    I struggle with getting my partner to take the time to help me sort through stuff. I moved in with him last fall and a bunch of his stuff went into the basement rec room where it is still sitting. I can’t sort through it on my own but can’t seem to get him to commit any time to it. I originally asked for 2 hours every weekend but that’s only happened once. He also has hoarder tendencies and wants to hold onto everything even if he hasn’t used it in years or doesn’t have anywhere to store it just because he “one day might need it”.

  31. posted by Jade on

    I’ll second Autumn and GrammyLamb’s coments, I’m also having similar problems.

    But my biggest issue is getting to bed earlier. I know sleep is important, and when I get enough I am amazingly productive. The problem is getting enough. Not easy to go to bed early when you are a natural night owl waking up at 5 am for work… No, I’m not getting a new job, I love it too much to do that. But the sleep deprivation is killing me.

    I get home and I’m too exhausted to do anything, until bedtime, and then by brain won’t shut off!

  32. posted by lynn on

    Too many shoes and clothes and just not enough space. Living with people who don’t want to throw anything out. I just need to move.

    Also I’m also a night owl and dont get enough sleep which causes me to feel tired and not want to tidy up.

  33. posted by Mackenzie on

    I need a meal plan.

    Is there any service out there where you can check off some boxes (gluten-free, vegan, anti-green-vegetable, whatever) and have it generate a list of things to have for dinner this week, what groceries it’ll take to make happen, and hopefully it uses those same groceries several times throughout because having 3/4 package of spinach leftover sucks?

  34. posted by Tami Daniel on

    I just moved from a 2 bedroom 1200 sq foot apartment into a 1 bedroom 784 sq foot apartment. I LOVE my new place but to say “lack of storage” is an UNDERSTATEMENT. I have adequate space in the kitchen but I literally have NO linen closet, nowhere medicine cabinet, place for sheets, towels, just STUFF. I have a hall closet (which is where I have put my broom, mop, etc) and placed a basket up top for sheets to try and organize, and a closet for the washer and dryer (yet another basket system for cleaning supplies, meds, and odds and ends) but I KNOW there has to be a better way!!!

  35. posted by Mary on

    I haven’t read all the comments yet, I admit, so maybe this is a repeat, but I have boxes and boxes of family photos (some from the 1920s) I’d like to scan in and put on CDs (is that a good way to save them?) and also put on a website where family members can access them and print out what they’d like to keep. How do I even get started? How do I organize the project? I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it. Do I need a special scanner? What’s the fastest and best quality scanner? Can I save the photos on the cloud? Is there a way to record information I have about the photo with the scan? A lot was written on the back of photos – can both sides be scanned at once? Should I get rid of duplicates or bad photos to start off? It’s hard to throw away photos. Any suggestions, including new tech solutions, would be appreciated.

  36. posted by Carol on

    My challenge is storage in a small bedroom with tiny closet for my side sewing business. I have an Etsy site and always buy fabric on sale in stores or garage/estate sales. The volume and how to organize it all is so frustrating. Right now, I just throw fabric in the closet and shut the door fast! It’s almost paralyzing me.

  37. posted by Elaine on

    I have a specific need related to paper management – Recipes. I’d like to take all the scraps of paper with notes about recipes I have in books, torn out newspaper clippings, torn out magazine clippings, recipes from the inside of product packaging (like recipes on the inside of the cream cheese box) and get them organized digitally. It needs to be searchable which is why I haven’t just done some sort of scanning thing (and maybe I just don’t know how to set up searchability within a scanning solution)…What thoughts/recommendations to people have?

  38. posted by jc on

    I have a few big problems: getting rid of things (actually getting them out of the house), lack of proper storage, and the biggest problem- tidying/cleaning when there is no consistent schedule. I generally leave at the same time each day for work, but my hours vary as do the afternoon errands. My husband has no consistent schedule. Depending on the project he’s running, he gets up anytime between 3:30 and 6 a.m. He can be called into the field on short notice and be gone for several weeks at a time. Noisy chores cannot be done after people have retired for the night or in the very early mornings. I remember fondly a period of about three weeks some years ago when the schedules were all in sync for about three weeks. I think I need to time how long it takes to do tasks and then actually put them into a daily schedule where there is hope of getting them done. Unfortunately, the other members of the household do not like to be held to a strict schedule. I’ve only the summer to get things under control and running smoothly because I will be starting a 2 year certification program through the university.

  39. posted by Mary Reider on

    C-Pap Machines for sleep apnea…used every nite…sitting on a small table by my husband’s side of the bed and most visible from adjoining living room…long hose and face piece at end of hose…so ugly but so necessary…storage ideas but still convenient?

  40. posted by nana2much on

    I have also “inherited” my parents possessions. I have 5 siblings who have already taken what they want. They have helped some but they all live quite far away.
    My mother lived with us so everything ended up here. It isn’t just sentimental objects,but very old photos, some books with family history , many old Bibles,(my father was a pastor) some with family obituaries pasted in or notes written in them. So many letters and “artifacts” saved since my parents’ childhoods…some 90 years old. Many “sermons” my father wrote for individual funerals and memorial services. It is over whelming. Glass figurines, vases etc. etc.
    My father died 5 years ago and my mom 2 years ago. I have given away, donated, sold and even threw out so much but I am finding it difficult to figure out what to do with what remains.
    I feel like I’m supposed to be the caretaker of all this stuff. Very torn about it all.
    Any suggestions on how to continue this process?

  41. posted by Pat on

    My problem is I have many illnesses along with a bad back. My husband still works even after back surgery and after a 12 hour day, filled with pain he cannot come home and work. My illnesses involve chronic pain and I use very little pain medicine due to failing kidneys. We have lived in this house for 38 years and have gotten overwhelmed with stuff. We live out in a rural area where it doesn’t pay to have a yard sale so things have built up. I cannot do regular, daily housework much less declutter and now we are getting older and don’t know how to dig out of the hole. I have tried to do 15 minutes a day, but as soon as I pull out a few things I disturb everything and cannot work around it. We don’t have a garage to stage stuff until we can get rid of it.

  42. posted by Tam on

    My biggest trouble area right now is keeping track of bills. I’m using Evernote & FileThis for online statements, which is convenient and easy to use. But more than once I’ve found that I’ve paid one bill twice in a month and another not at all. I pay bills once a week but I have no tracking other than the UI in my bank’s online payment tool. I can’t seem to trust my short-term memory!

  43. posted by Becca on

    Paper. Sentimental (to me; clutter to others) objects. Things I might use someday. Procrastination. Antipathy toward all domestic tasks. Needing to help parents organize their lives so that when they’re gone, life doesn’t go from merely disorganized to completely chaotic (I’m their executor). The short-term memory of a fruit fly. There are probably others, but – see previous item.

  44. posted by JoDi on

    @Elaine – I highly recommend Paprika for recipe organization! I just started using it recently, and it is great! I have it on my laptop, phone, and tablet, and all my recipes are synced. I tried a couple of other methods before trying Paprika, and this has been the easiest one to use.

  45. posted by L. Charles Weinstein on

    David – Biggest problem and best tip: uncluttering analog photos and convert to digital files.

    Over the years, I have enjoyed reading your Unclutterer advice. While always relevant, a few years ago I saw a segment by NBC’s Al Roker on The Weather Channel that compelled me to act and organize stacks of photographs. Actually, more like boxes and shelves of pictures spanning decades. Digitally organizing photos is easy and I was please with the service they profiled. At first I tried scanning each picture, but that took way to long. Happy results from http://www.ScanMyPhotos.com

  46. posted by Chantel on

    @johncanon Thank you for the great idea! Now to get hubby on board… ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. posted by proelry on

    Kat, it sounds like you need to raise your prices. Fewer kids and/or higher income mean less fatigue and more income to hire help. Remember, those kids and their parents need you. Working yourself to death won’t help them or you, ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kate, large messy projects and kids under the age of three don’t mix. Anyway you could trade baby-sitting or play-dates with a friend or neighbor in the same boat?
    Mary, I hang my C-PAP mask on a hook beside the bed, but I’m lucky in that it’s out of sight. How about the simplest solution–putting a decorative box over it. If you feel energetic, you could fasten L-hinges to the top of the box and the wall behind it, and just flip the box up at night for easy access.
    Finally, as another night-owl who is chronically sleep-deprived, I find that scheduling unclutter projects on the third day of a three day weekend, after three full nights of sleep, makes a real difference in my energy level and motivation.

  48. posted by Sandra on

    se real comments, first as you age and you want yr house to be adaptable, please make sure you have wheelchair access to a bathroom and front door. My parents both passed away this past year and that was a big obstacle.

    Inherited items: I have four siblings and two have taken what they want, one keeps telling me to take pictures and hold stuff for her, and the other one doesn’t want me to touch the garage, nor has he moved his stuff out of the house from 20 years ago. Problem is, I need to put the house on the market soon and I am so emotionally attached. Siblings making it harder! Also spending so much time dealing with that house going that my house has become even more disorganized!

  49. posted by April on


    Have you tried plantoeat.com? It sounds exactly like what you’re looking for, for your recipes.

  50. posted by MrsMack on

    I second many others about having the desire to declutter, and possibly even the resources to, but lacking the time or energy. I have two toddlers and also work part time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to even keep up with everyday maintenance, let alone organization beyond that.

    My other struggle is with the GTD method. I’ve read the book and I think it could work really well for me, but the required cleared-schedule, back-to-back two days to get started is so intimidating and too overwhelming. I don’t have the liberty to turn my life off for two days to work without interruption. How can I ease into this?

  51. posted by Aileen on

    I just don’t know where to begin! I have bought lots and lots of books on decluttering and organising, I’m signed up to various websites and follow lots of decluttering and organising experts on social media – and I’m overwhelmed. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve sat down and made a plan to start tackling my messy, unorganised, bursting at the seams home, only to abandon my efforts because the task seems so immense. How do you get over that initial hurdle and keep the momentum going?

  52. posted by John on

    Under the house. I moved in about six months ago and took advantage of all of the under-house space in the new place rather than decluttering. It’s on my todo list, but just keeps getting pushed down.

  53. posted by Monica on

    I could use some assistance with a form of paper clutter. I have boxes of scientific articles and publications from graduate school that I still need to access for my profession. Scanning gets rid of some of the paper clutter, but now I have so many digital files and need
    1. a good way to name them – scientific titles are notoriously long and tedious to type out
    2. search by subject or author would be an awesome feature.
    Is there a good program that can provide library type organization without paying a monthly fee? I use Evernote, but would rather purchase software once and maybe update every few years. Thanks!

  54. posted by Scully on

    The most trouble right now gives me this: I have a lot of projects and todos on my list. Every day something new comes up. I immediately want to jump in and solve the new problems, get the NEW things done. The older the stuff gets, the less I can motivate myself to do them. Even worse: when a todo or project takes really long to finish I feel like I lose my stamina to finish it. Any advice is appreaciated, Thanks!

  55. posted by Meg on

    Response to Monroe about organizing academic articles.
    Mendeley or Zotoro are free reference management software.
    You won’t have to retype all the info. Use a few words to find the articles in Google Scholar, publishers or associations databases, etc, then use the ap from the software to drag into your collection. [Mendeley has “Add to My Collection” button for your toolbar that does this.]

    Does your public library have good databases, even if they don’t have the full text? If you note the journals or authors for your documents, you can search for material from those, then go back to your collection and check if you have a particular article.
    Does your college have a form of alumni access?

  56. posted by Jaclyn on

    I have a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Even though I graduated what seems like a lifetime ago, many of my old drawings, paintings, and prints lurk in a basement closet. I recently framed a pair of lithographs to hang over the couch, and they are a delight. However, I live in a relatively small house and have no desire to upsize any time soon, so even if everything felt worthy of public display, I wouldn’t have space for it. Some of my paintings are so big, I’m not sure I know anyone with a large enough home to accommodate them.

    I’m interested to know what other former art students have done, and what suggestions you may have.

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