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I’ve got piles – not that kind of piles. If you look up piles in the dictionary it says 1: a long slender column usually of timber, steel, or reinforced concrete driven into the ground to carry a vertical load. Not that kind of piles either.

I have piles of disclosures to read, magazines to review, marketing plans to implement, files to clean out, mail to stamp, cards to send…I’ve got a lot of piles. Sometimes – usually Monday – I take all the piles and make one pile. Doesn’t matter the importance – the order of the pile is irrelevant. I just can’t stand all the little piles anymore, so I put it all in one big one. Then I start over creating little piles.

Oh, bills to pay go in that pile. Magazines and articles to read go in that pile. Meeting notes go in that pile…and on it goes.Then by next Monday, I’ll stack all of the piles into one big pile and start all over again.

Yes, that picture is of my desk. See all the little piles? Monday is almost here. I can pile them all up in one big pile again. And, yes, I watered that plant today.

Do you have piles too?

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Written By

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate



  1. BawldGuy Talking

    May 2, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Man, I’m glad The Boss doesn’t read other blogs. πŸ™‚ My piles have piles.

  2. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 2, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Oh Vicki, my OCD is flaring up all the way from Texas- I feel called to come get you organized! You KNEW I’d comment on this one, didn’t you? πŸ™‚

    Seriously though, cute baskets help- go shopping… having PRETTY things in your office FORCE you to want to stay organized. Or, you can just fly one of your best friends out to San Mateo for the weekend to help you……..

  3. Michelle DeRepentigny

    May 2, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I have piles on my floor, the desk, the credenza and everywhere I can set anything, but I do keep them in cute basket. This weekend is slow for showing property, so I grabbed two baskets or “To Read” & “To Blog About” and brought them home with me.

    Dear, Lani did’t mention this but the great thing about baskets and crates is that you can “pile” them up higher! πŸ™‚

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    May 2, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    TOUCH IT ONCE!!! Piles drive me nutz! I fill as if the walls are falling in on me when I see piles. I end up staying late on Fridays to ensure that I don’t come into “your” office on Monday. Wow, you’re a trooper! Hey, it’s your system….if it works for you – good luck! πŸ™‚

  5. Bob Schenkenberger

    May 2, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    No piles for me either, I’d spend all day cleaning them and getting nothing else done. By the way, your pictures need to be straightened up a bit also πŸ˜‰

  6. Benn Rosales

    May 2, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I have no piles, my pile killer is Lani, thank Goodness for pretty things in the office to keep me organized… *ducks for cover”

  7. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 2, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    hey, i’ll take it, man! if I AM the pretty thing in the office to keep everything at 90 degree angles and thrown away as quickly as possible (or put in a neatly labeled file), then so be it!

    vicki, you keep your piles… they must be workin’ for you since you’re one of the most successful agents I know!!!

  8. Vicki Moore

    May 3, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Sorry Jeff. Didn’t mean to almost out you to the Boss. lol.

    Lani – I love you but stay away from my piles!

    Too cute Michelle. I have plastic bins instead. We also share a pretty large closet that I didn’t show you. I’ve taken half – too bad there are three of us!

    Matthew – I have to let out a little secret – this is the result of basically being in and out – mostly out – of the office for nine days. I’m not usually this bad. πŸ™‚

    Bob – You’re too funny. I noticed that too – after I took the picture. They’ve been installing sprinklers in the ceilings of our building. The pictures didn’t handle it too well. You’ll be happy to know they’re straight now. πŸ™‚

    Benn – You’re lucky all the way around.

    I laughed the whole time I wrote this, took the pictures and posted. I think I’m so funny. Glad you guys did too.

  9. Mariana

    May 3, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Your desk looks like mine … only cleaner. I am jealous.

  10. Christina Ethridge

    May 3, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Vicki –

    I’m a piler too – and a former professional organizer (I owned a firm I sold – consulted for businesses). Anyway – pilers tend to be visual so ‘files’ don’t work (out of sight, out of mind – can’t find it again). One solution that might work and still allow you to have piles… use stacking letter trays – I’ve got two sets, side by side, stacked 15 high (and growing). A total of 30 trays and they look nice. They start at the floor. I just pop a post-it on each one with the ‘name’ of the tray hanging out. Then, I pile in those trays. Keeps me organized (so I don’t have to pile everything in one and get frustrated because I missed something important), keeps my office looking nice and helps me work better because something isn’t ‘nagging’ me in the back of my mind either about something I’ve gotta do, or something I’ve missed.

    For marketing things I want to review or implement, I have a drawer (a basket will work as well) full of ideas and things. About once a year I actually go through that drawer. I’ll either toss, keep or pick 1-2 things to implement.

    For ‘to read’ items, I have another drawer (or basket will work) for the same thing.

  11. Maureen Francis

    May 3, 2008 at 9:09 am

    i have piles everywhere. I need to fly in Lani too, but I think she would run away screaming after she saw the task. I did do some big purges recently.

    Christina, I love the letter tray idea. That would help me tons.

  12. Bill Lublin

    May 3, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Vicki – Thank you for making me know I’m not alone – The only advantage of my piles is that when I need something it is usually in one of them – my asistant loves when I’m away for an extended time because she and our company controller spend a day organizing the desk so that they can be sure there is still a desk there.
    My favorite reaction to the piles is when someone comes in to the office and peers at me over the piles and says “I bet you know just where everything is” and the thought goes through my mind “Sure I know where everything- is its in the piles!– there’s no organization there at all!” I guess they’re just trying to be kind.
    Lani & Matthew – I would invite you to Philly come over and make sense of the chaos, but it would only go back to chaos right after you left – And besides, San Mateo is probably a cooler road trip

  13. Kelley Koehler

    May 3, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    I started using baskets and trays and whatnot. Now I just have piles of baskets. And piles in baskets. And piles around baskets.

  14. Christina Ethridge

    May 4, 2008 at 10:00 am

    In any method of organization there is an element of self-discipline and habit creation required. It doesn’t come naturally to anyone (don’t let them fool you into thinking so). It starts with making yourself do your new habit at least 10 minutes every day. It starts small – until you’ve created a habit.

  15. Thomas Johnson

    May 4, 2008 at 11:46 am

    I guess we all need PILOT (pile-it) training.

  16. Vicki Moore

    May 4, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Mariana – I’m an overachiever.

    Christina – I’m super organized! I know where everything is – it’s all in those piles! Each pile has a purpose.

    Maureen – Just keep working on it. Some day you can be as organized as me! πŸ˜‰

    Bill – My mother used to tell me if you ever think you’re alone just go to the bookstore. There will be a book written about it. Or a support group. Thomas is starting one. He’s the managing director. We can meet on WebEx.

    Kelly – That’s why I like piles. Once they’re gone there’s no evidence remaining.

    Christina – Are you suggesting that I don’t have a viable system? LOL.

    Thomas – Hi. My name is Vicki. I’m a PILOT.

  17. Glenn fm Naples

    May 5, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Vicki – thanks for posting about your “piles” – I would prefer to call it organized chaos. LOL I am part of the club.

    A key element of organization is actually to touch a piece of paper only once. Can we really do that?

  18. Vicki Moore

    May 5, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Glenn – I actually read about that trick in Glamour magazine years ago when I really had a problem. It helped so much that I think I’m cured. πŸ˜‰

    Really though, the article said to put a little check mark in the upper right corner every time you touched the piece of paper. It was a huge wake-up.

    Maybe I should start PILOTs Anonymous.

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