For most of us, messiness isn't an esthetic choice; it's more like a genetic curse. Thankfully there's now an entire industry of products, Web sites and professional organizers to make neat freaks of us all. NEWSWEEK surveys three areas to keep clean:
Work: "Messiness affects you mentally, it affects your work," says Lisa Kanarek, head of homofficelife.com, who has been doing organizational consulting for 15 years. She recommends using a strict triage system for files, and keeping only the essentials. To cut down on old newspapers, read the news online. Make sure, too, says Kanarek, to get a scheduling device that fits your style, whether it's a PDA or a day planner. For more desk space, a product like the silver mesh desk bureau (organize-everything.com; $11.99) takes up little space, yet provides slots for important papers.
Home: The key to home organization: maximize your space. Shops like Ikea and the Container Store sell products to make the job easier, including spacious toy bins, bed-risers to give more storage under the mattress and translucent "underbed" bags to go with them. It's close to a half-billion-dollar-a-year industry, says David Burkart, marketing director for organize-everything.com. He's seen sales shoot up 60 percent this year--thanks largely to the fact that organizational tools have become more stylish. Even products like grocery-bag holders can be design-friendly; consider the easy-to-mount stainless-steel model (organize-everything; $9.99).
Home Office: The spot where home meets work can be a frightening vortex. A quick fix to skip the clutter, and keep memos from blowing into the living room: do as much as possible online, and don't print out e-mails.