Post-its: Organizational Tool or Clutter Creator?

One of my favorite products is 3-M’s Post-its. I use these little guys just about everywhere and for any reason. I have quite the collection at home which you can see from my picture. I also always use them at work. It’s fun to collect the different colors and styles, as well as the specially shaped Post-its.

Some professional organizers don’t like Post-its, pointing out that they create more clutter. This can be true. Whether or not one should use them depends on the person and his or her organizational style. If you’re someone who needs major help organizing your home or office, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them unless you are a visual person and need to have reminders in front of you at all times. But this only works if you actually look at them on a continual basis. Otherwise, the more you have, the more you use, and does something like that really stick out at you if you have a hundred of them posted to your computer monitor?

But if you are already organized or don’t use them ad nauseam, they can be really useful. I have and use just about every style: notes, flags, pockets, even the Windows Vista version of the digital notes. I have yet to try the labels (which I could use for many things) or the craft paper. It appears as though the craft paper is mainly used for scrapbooking purposes, which I don’t do. But I thought that maybe I could use them in my planner, possibly for something similar to Silver Elixir’s project. Seeing as how I’m not a terribly crafty person, this may take a lot of practice and patience. Who knows if I’ll actually get to something like this? But it’s worth a try some time in the near future…

So what do I actually use my Post-its for? I use them to leave a note for my husband. I use them for little reminders to myself. And of course, I use them in my planner. I don’t use them for a to-do list because I keep those kinds of items on the day in which they need to be done. I basically use them for reminders or a quick something that needs my attention separate from everything else I have in my planner. Here are my uses:

1. On the monthly dividers, I keep a list of items that must be done in that month. So for February, my list consists the following: Sex and the City DVDs (a little something for me to enjoy while my husband works late during the month), make a manicure appointment, and some banking that needs to get done.

2. I use small Post-its as reminders for when books or movies come out. Often these are little notes to put a book on hold at the library or to purchase if it’s one from my favorite authors. As for the movies, it’s a note to remind myself to make plans to see it, whether it’s a date with my husband or a night out with my girlfriends. I use these also if an author is coming to my local bookstore – I don’t actually put this kind of event in my planner until solid plans are made for it. Rather, it’s just a reminder that the event is happening and to possibly make plans for it. Any other random reminder would go on something like this as well – for example, for an up-coming special yoga class I have a reminder to bring my mat, a towel, an eye pillow, and a blanket. I carry a few of these in the front pocket of my Filo to use when needed.

3. On a square yellow lined Post-it, I keep a list of the things I want to buy. This helps me keep track of what I want or need to get the most during my credit card cycle so that I don’t over-spend or buy something unnecessary over something more important. I cross off the items as I get them. I can then move the list to the next month, or if the list gets too long or too messy I will rewrite my items on a new Post-it. I keep a second list of items to buy as a separate Filo sheet in my “List” section but those are more someday purchases and more often than not for the house. This Post-it list is for things that need to be purchased soon and usually things just for me.

4. I will use larger Post-its (usually theme related – winter, spring, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc) because I have so many of them) for additional notes when needed. These are usually for something quick that needs get done that has more than one step to it. Or it can be for a piece of information that needs a permanent home elsewhere but gets put on the Post-it as a holding place until I can move it to the appropriate place. I carry a few of these in the front pocket of my Filo as well.

5. Also in my Filo, I carry flags. I have two kinds: one is a bit bigger that I can actually write on. I use this to make a note of something that needs my attention at some point. It’s kind of like a temporary label. For instance, I have one attached to a piece of note paper in my Filo that says “Music.” I have a small list of songs that needs to be transferred to my master list of music to download to my iPod. I put a flag here to remind me that this needs to be done and I wrote “Music” at the top so that I would know what that paper contains without having to go to that page every time. It’s also a quick trip to that page should I need to add to it. The second type of flag is the multi-color pack. This packet contains small blue, green, yellow, orange and red flags. I rarely use these but it’s good to have them to mark something that needs my attention but doesn’t require a written note of any kind. In my main stay-at-home Filo I keep a list of different resistance exercise circuits, one circuit to a page. I use a red flag to remind me which circuit should be done on my next resistance day.

So many Post-its, so many uses, so little time and space to use them all at once.

How do you feel about Post-its – organizational tool or clutter creator?


  1. I use them as information gatherers, you can quickly note things down during phone calls, pop them in to your planner for transcribing with neater hand writing later. I like the lined ones best because I find they control my poor hand writing better!

    I've never looked at the full range of post-its only what's in the stationary cupboard at home or work...

  2. I enjoy them. They go between scrap paper and expensive unused paper. I use them a lot to leave notes on papers/files that I pass out to people, and to jot ephemeral information down on. I have colored pens to match my colored post-its. That makes me very happy. I also have a few fun ones for when I am writing something not serious and want to make a coworker happy with it. It's funny, but I don't like the lined ones because it takes away my freedom of filling them out and gives me rules. Post-its shouldn't have rules!

  3. I like your idea, that Post-its shouldn't have rules - very true! Though I do prefer the lined Post-its at work. My handwriting is all over the place on the blank ones, and the lined ones allow me to be neat and write more than I would be able to otherwise. I do have some lined ones at home, though I prefer the cool designs and shapes for my planner.


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