Meticulously dressed from head to toe, one would imagine that Nicole Gabai has her life perfectly organized and together – boy, does she ever! Owner of B. Organized, Nicole is a hands-on professional organizing consultant dedicated to helping people who want to improve their living and working spaces. Originally hailing from New York with a ten year background in TV production, and a fashion degree from Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, Nicole has spent a lot of her time designing, organizing paper work and creating time-managed schedules.
Seven years ago Nicole took a leap of faith and started her own company when a friend (a doctor with loads of paperwork) asked her to help organize her office. The finished product wowed her friend and Nicole has been helping people to organize and clear their clutter ever since. Through word of mouth B. Organized spread into a big production in New York. Nicole had 5 assistants on staff and found herself traveling all around the country and internationally organizing offices, closets, homes and her clients’ lives.
The fast pace of her successful business life left her a little burnt out and when her apartment in New York was damaged by a fire last June, she leapt at the opportunity to stay and unwind at her client’s beach house in Falmouth Heights. Nicole fell in love with the slower pace of life the Cape provided and the fresh calming smell of the ocean – she moved to Falmouth in October 2005 and never looked back on her NY roots. Now handling a smaller operation, Nicole enjoys a balance between her life and her work and makes sure to schedule time to relax and spend with friends.
When asked what piece of advice she could give a disorganized person, she laughed as she exclaimed, “hire me!” Nicole says that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. “If you’re overwhelmed then start with a small pile of paperwork today, file that and then do another pile tomorrow, soon all of your paperwork will have a home.” She continued, “Invest the time and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
As far as organizational rules go, Nicole says to first divide your space into zones. An office could have three zones and a room in your home may have up to five zones. These zones are designed to help you sort out the items you will need close at hand and those that can be placed farther away or filed. Secondly, “touch paper,” every single paper should be sorted through and either thrown away or filed in an easily accessible location. Next, create categories for your file folders. Make sure that when you are labeling your folders that the category isn’t too broad. For instance, instead of having one folder for all of your insurance needs, separate each of your insurances into varying folders – health, dental, home, car etc. Lastly, file for retrieval. Put some thought into what you will be looking for when you go to find your paperwork and label your files with that in mind.
To organize your office, begin by investing in a few simple products. Nicole recommends slanted gradient files because they are easily accessible and you can view the contents via the label. She states that these files are your “fingertip files” and should be used to keep all of your current projects and paperwork on hand. Make sure that all of your desk accessories are close by too, either on top of the desk or in a side drawer you can easily reach – a stapler and staples, tape, extra pens and highlighters, paperclips, white out – whatever you would normally use as you go through your day. Nicole also suggests investing in a Brother P-Touch labeler, “the more beautiful your files are, the more apt you will be to use them on a daily basis.” Nicole says the use of an in/out box is also helpful as long as you are strict about it. “This should not be your ‘catch-all’ tray,” she states. Lastly, make sure that at the end of your work day you take ten to fifteen minutes to get your desk “back to one,” that is, take the time to file any paperwork that needs filing and clear off any unnecessary junk so your desk is clutter free when you arrive the next day. “Organization is a learned behavior,” Nicole states, “Don’t be shy about it, use file folders for everything, every piece of paper in your office should have a home.”