Monday, October 16 2017
I sometimes get asked how to plan ahead on a paper calendar or electronic scheduler. I am sure this is an issue for everyone.
Sometimes we have things we need to do so far into the future, we cannot put it on our current calendar, right? Wrong!
For example, you recently got your colonoscopy and will need another one in 10 years. You need to review your Will, Power of Attorney, etc. every few years. You need to change your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide protectors in your home every 10 years. How are you supposed to remember that?!?!
Typically, if you use a paper planner, you might not be able to add something to your calendar for 10 years out.
However, if you use a binder-style planner such as Day-Timer or Circa you could use a to-do list (or just a blank note page) to capture all these future to-dos and carry that list forward, year after year. At the beginning of each year, you could add any relevant items from that list to the upcoming year’s calendar.
I do the same thing with my annual wall calendar in my office. I make notes at the bottom in the Notes section and each year, when I am preparing for the New Year, I carry those notes over to the next year so that I don't miss a deadline to pay my quarterly taxes, renew a certification or a domain name, etc. You can do the same thing.
You simply need to jot it down on your calendar to begin with and then carry it forward year after year.
As a professional organizer, I provide many other tips and tricks just like this one to create an efficient and effective time management system that you can easily implement.
If you would like to learn more about how to make the best use of your time and get your tasks completed, contact me.
As always, I am here to help.
Thursday, May 05 2016
Mother's Day is only a few days away.
Due to the fact that I work with so many moms, I am aware of how little so many of them value themselves. Yes, they recognize that they wear many hats, such as caregiver, chauffeur, chef, cleaning service, bookkeeper and do so many things to keep the household running.
As Mother's Day approaches, I am wondering whether you and your family know how valuable you are.
As you may know, one of the most common issues I deal with in my clients' homes is paper management. Having a background as a paralegal working for an estate attorney, I am aware of the legal documents everyone should have, as well as having a life insurance policy.
So many times, I hear that my clients - the busy moms who are trying to balance all of their responsibilities and are just too overwhelmed to get and stay organized - do not have a Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney or a life insurance policy for themselves.
So many "stay-at-home" moms do not recognize their own value and don't think it's necessary.
Let me ask you a question? What would it take to replace you if something should happen to you, leaving your family without a Mom?
The misconception that you need to work full-time outside the home and can simply rely on your spouse to provide the only life insurance for the family is a dangerous one.
As a woman who advocates for busy moms, I urge you to take some time to consider getting a Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney and life insurance policy to insure that your family is protected in case something should happen to you. Have a discussion with your spouse or significant other and take the steps necessary to put these pieces into place as soon as possible.
When I work with my clients, we have a discussion about the documents that might be missing. For me, it's not just about making the papers in their filing system look pretty. It's about the function and the whole picture, including critical documents they need to have.
Do you have them? Don't you think this is something you should think about and discuss with your significant other and family?
Consider this my Mother's Day present to you. I would love nothing more than to know that all moms are fully taking care of their families.
Have a great Mother's Day.
Tuesday, January 12 2016
I know it's been a while since I last wrote a blog. I have been spending some much needed time on my own home for a change.
I decided at the end of 2015 that I was going to go through my home and thoroughly declutter, clean and organize each and every room of my home. I had been so busy last year organizing others that I, unfortunately, neglected my own home. It was quite an undertaking, I must admit, but the results are great!
I feel so much better when I walk throughout my home now. I went through my second floor in November and the first floor in December and am finishing up my basement this month.
I took time to assess my possessions and ask myself if I really needed everything I had. The answer was an astounding "NO"! I went through my wardrobe, including my collection of shoes and accessories, got rid of old nick knacks that no longer represented who I am, organized closets, cabinets, shelves, drawers and hung some new artwork. I gathered quite a large number of items for donation and for sale and a lot for the trash.
I organized my home office to get ready to rock it in 2016 and moved old files and paperwork into my storage area of my home to archive. I went through all of my filing cabinets and got rid of four boxes of paperwork at a recent shredding event too.
One of the things I paid attention to was whether or not I needed to repurpose any of the areas of my home.
When was the last time you did that? When was the last time you looked around your home and identified areas or rooms in your home that no longer serve you?
Have your children grown up and no longer need a play room? Has one of your children gone off to college or gotten married and no longer lives at home? Is that well-intended exercise room no longer being used? Do you no longer spend time in the living room, but rather use the family room instead?
It is so important to use your real estate. If a room in your home is no longer being used as it was originally intended, it's time for a change.
Start to re-purpose a room by eliminating what no longer suits you. Determine how that space can be better used and re-create a room that you love. Add a fresh coat of paint and perhaps an area rug to give it a fresh look.
Perhaps you do not have a home office and the paperwork in the home ends up everywhere. Wouldn't it be great to have a dedicated room where all of the paper management in the home can live? You could turn your unused living room or a bedroom into a home office.
How about that sitting room you have always wanted? How about taking an unused bedroom and creating a dressing room? The possibilities are endless.
You don't need to have a living room if you don't use one. You don't need to keep a bedroom unused. It could become a home office, a work-out room, a sitting room or whatever you have envisioned that you would like to have.
Take some time and go through your own home and look at it with fresh eyes and see how you can repurpose your home. "The purpose" of your home is to create an environment that you use and love to spend time in.
If you need assistance creating a room that you love, some interior redesign might be the solution. Feel free to contact me to talk about your particular situation.
Until next time, happy organizing!
Wednesday, August 12 2015
As you probably already know, I focus my professional organizing business on residential organizing and helping busy moms and women with home-based businesses.
I not only physically declutter their homes but, often times, work with them to organize their paperwork. As a rule, I always ask them questions about various aspects of paper management, including financials. Usually we are creating a new filing system that reflects their specific needs, which requires me to ask about various aspects of their financial picture.
Quite often I meet with women who are unable to answer some of my questions when it comes to the household finances. Some do not know what bank accounts exist, if they have a life insurance policy, if they have an investment portfolio or what company holds their mortgage. I met with someone recently who could not even tell me if their house had been paid off.
Often I meet women who never get involved with their own marital financial assets. They don't pay the bills, ask about retirement, look at credit card statements, inquire about investments or bank accounts, and they let their spouses handle all financial matters.
It is hard for me to imagine that women are so trusting of their spouses that they simply let them handle everything without knowing what is going on. I find it frightening.
When I was 36 years old, my husband passed away, leaving me to raise my 6-1/2 year old son. I was immediately able to jump in and handle all of the finances and was able to quickly transfer utilities, investments, bank accounts, the deed to our home and other financial aspects to myself. Why? Because I knew where everything was located and what we had.
Ladies, as someone who has had personal, first hand experience with the sudden loss of a spouse, I ask you to please be informed. Whether because of death or divorce or even incapacity of your spouse, you need to always know what is going on. There is no problem with your spouse handling it all, but there is a problem with you not being informed!
Take time to look at bank statements, credit card bills, mortgage statements, meet with your financial advisor, ask questions and sit down with your spouse so that you can talk about all aspects of your financial picture. Be sure you know what your credit score is. Establish your own credit by opening a major credit card in your name only, if you have not done so already.
Continue the conversation from time to time with your spouse so you are always aware of your particular situation.
I cannot stress enough how passionate I am about making sure that we, as women, are knowledgeable about these matters. We cannot solely depend upon our spouses to handle it all and keep ourselves in the dark. Don't let another day go by without having the conversation. You have a right to know, so take the steps necessary. Knowledge is so empowering!
Tuesday, March 10 2015
Being a professional organizer and having a home office such as I do, I know how important it is to keep it clutter free and organized.
Paper clutter as well as computer clutter are both problematic for most people. It is vital to feel good about your home office environment in order to be productive.
Here are some tips you can use to get and keep your home office functional and enjoyable to work in:
1. Clear your surfaces. Paper tends to pile up on any flat surface such as a desk if it does not have a home. It can be overwhelming to get it organized and under control. So, the first step is the clear the surfaces of all paperwork and office supplies. Start with a clean slate.
2. Provide yourself with sufficient storage space in your filing cabinet. You need to have enough room to store active files and reference/archival files. If you do not have enough space for a good filing system, your paperwork might end up piled on a desk or even on the floor.
3. Keep it separate. Do not co-mingle your personal paperwork with business-related paperwork. They should each have their own zone. If it is not possible to have separate filing cabinets, then designate certain drawers in the cabinet for personal and for business.
4. Create sufficient room to work. If your PC is taking up a lot of space, consider using a lap top computer instead. Designate a portion of your desk for computer work and another portion for spreading out paperwork. Be sure to designate space for your printer, scanner, etc. A good option is to purchase a multi-functional printer/scanner/copier to save space. Make sure your equipment is placed where you can easily reach it from where you are sitting.
5. Out with the old and in with the new. On a regular basis, you should go through your files to clean out old, unused paperwork to make room for new materials either monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. This is vital to staying organized as your paperwork will always have a good home. This applies to your computer as well. Eliminate old email, folders or programs you no longer need or use.
6. Create an environment you enjoy spending time in. It is important to have the furniture, lighting and items that reflect your personality in your home office space so that you enjoy being in the space. This will help you to be more productive. Create a space that is functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Be sure to incorporate items that will not only be functional, such as a desk with drawers as opposed to just a desk surface and select a comfortable office chair to sit in. Add artwork or photographs to the walls that you enjoy looking at. Incorporate bookcases or shelving for added vertical storage.
The less you have out on your desk and work space, the better. You will be able to think much clearer and be much more productive when there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. Of course, you know, that is how you create A Better Space!
By using the tips mentioned above, you will be well on your way. If you are just too overwhelmed and need assistance to get it under control, I invite you to contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, Happy National Organize Your Home Office Day!
Monday, February 02 2015
Have you found during your lifetime that you have been organized and other times not? It is very common but can be frustrating. When your organizing train has derailed, how do you get back on track?
Here are a few recommendations:
1. When feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and just not sure where to begin, don't try to take on the whole project at one time. Make a list of the things you need to do to accomplish a task or project and do one step at a time. Stay focused on a particular task and it will get done before you know it.
2. Get the family onboard. Have a family meeting that focuses on the tasks that need to be accomplished and determine who will be responsible for those tasks and when. You can set a time each day for everyone to help get organized. For example, at 7:00 p.m. every night, everyone will spend 15 minutes putting things where they belong. Creating a reward system for the kids is a great motivational tool.
3. Taking that sentimental journey can cause the organizing train to be delayed. If you find that you are having trouble parting with belongings, keep in mind that holding onto belongings for the wrong reasons can create clutter. There is no need to suffer from "Gift Guilt". Set a timer to go through the items in small segments. Determine what is most important to you and only keep those items that mean something special to you. If you have inherited items, be sure that they mean as much to you as the person who passed them onto you intended. When your emotions are involved, it can be more difficult to part with items but be selective. Considering donating the items you choose not to keep to a charity so someone else can make use of them.
4. Stop drowning in paper. Your computer can be a huge paper clutter eliminating machine! Instead of a large paper filing system, consider purchasing a scanner and scan documents into your computer. Setting a limit on how much space you allow for certain paperwork will help, as well. Paper is something that is constantly coming through the door. You need to create a system that can easily be maintained. You need to go through your mail and other paperwork on a regular basis.
5. Someday Syndrome. Do you keep telling yourself "I will get to it someday"? If so, you have what I call "Someday Syndrome". If you find that you are having trouble getting started with becoming organized, perhaps you should consider contacting a professional organizer. A good organizer will help you identify the reason you are collecting and hanging onto your stuff and can customize a plan to get you onto the train to success!
There is no need for your organizing train to continue to be derailed. Get back on track. If you are having difficulty doing it on your own, I am here to help. Contact me and let's talk about what is going on and I can explain how I can help.
In the meantime, have a great day!
Wednesday, December 31 2014
Happy New Year! Are you ready for 2015?
This is a great time of year to not only eliminate clutter and get organized, but incorporate a little Feng Shui into your life and your home. I dabble in Feng Shui from time to time and use the basic principals when working with my clients in their homes.
This list was created by Kathryn Weber, Feng Shui Entrepreneur & Nationally Syndicated Columnist.
Notice that de-cluttering is at the top of the list!
OUT WITH THE OLD
Grab a laundry basket. Next, set a timer and take it with you from room to room. Set it for five minutes. Now, start throwing out old papers, magazines, empty bottles of shampoo from the bathroom, old clothes you know you’ll never wear again! Do it.
Got CDs you never listen to? Throw those out or donate them to charity. Have some old coffee mugs that don’t match or odd drinking glasses still hanging around in your cabinets? Pitch ‘em.
When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t forget to look under the bed, too! And toss that lipstick you haven’t worn in two years! Remember to clean out the pantry, too, and toss that half-empty box of Rice Krispies that’s gone stale.
2. Sweep or vacuum
Get the old energy out by making the floors clean.
3. Do the laundry
Don’t have dirty clothes hanging around. You can throw in a load or two while you declutter. Be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.
4. Clean the bathroom
Make it sparkle. You don’t want a nasty mess to greet the next year of your life!
5. Empty all trashcans
Don’t want last years’ trash hanging around, do you? Toss, toss, toss.
6. Clean out the refrigerator
Got a half-empty jar of apple butter? Get rid of it. You don’t want to go into the New Year with old food or a moldy science project lurking in the fridge.
7. Clear out visual clutter
Too much stuff everywhere? Clear off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchen. Clear off your desk and dust it. Pitch the sticky notes and papers and things taped everywhere! You can do it. Don’t forget the refrigerator! Make it a blank slate.
Make as much space as possible. You cannot bring in new things if there is no room for it and we want a fantastic year, right? Then make your space “open” for the abundance of the New Year!
8. Yard work
Make sure the yard is picked up and the front door step is swept and clear.
9. Change the sheets and towels
Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen. New sheets are even better.
10. Clean the car
This is what gets you around during the year. Drive through a car wash, take out the trash and do a quick cleaning.
All done? Wow, doesn’t that feel good! Now you’re ready for the next step.
IN WITH THE NEW!
1. Fill your pantry and kitchen
Stock the refrigerator with food and make sure the pantry is also stocked. It is bad feng shui to have an empty refrigerator and pantry. If you have canisters in the pantry or on the countertops, be sure to fill these.
2. Got citrus?
Oranges are excellent symbols for the New Year and the Chinese often celebrate the New Year by rolling oranges (symbols of gold) into the house. Place a big bowl of 8, 9, or 10 (the numbers of prosperity!) oranges in the living room or central location in the house next to dishes of nuts or candies to symbolize an abundant, fruitful home.
3. Buy a new plant
Put a beautiful new plant in the East (health & family relationships) sector of your house or office to symbolize a healthy beginning. You can also display some beautiful flowers here to symbolize your good health in the coming year.
4. Welcome good news
Place a golden bell in the NW corner of your home, office, or bedroom to bring good tidings from helpful people. Like old school bells? If so, place one of these in the NW corner of your yard for good news from helpful people.
5. Hang up new calendars
What better way to greet the New Year than by throwing out the old one? Take down all of last years’ calendars.
6. Fill your wallet
You don’t want to go into the New Year with an empty wallet. Put some money in your wallet — or better yet — go and buy a new wallet (red is the best!) or purse and start your financial off with new energy!
7. Invite a toad to your house
Place an old, broken clay pot upside down next to a water spout so a toad can make its home here. Toads are believed to invite money into the household; they’re especially nice by the door. You can also place figurines of toads by the door.
8. Feed the birds
Birds are excellent feng shui and believed to bring good news. Fill your feeders or put out a feeder for the New Year.
9. Have fun and celebrate
Fun is good feng shui. A happy vibrant home or space is a good space, so plan a party of some kind of happy gathering. Remember, a home or office with good feng shui is easy to spot it’s the one where everyone goes and doesn’t want to leave! Make your space that kind of place!
OR, as I say "Make your place A Better Space!
So, what do you think? I am not sure about inviting a toad into my house. I think I will go ceramic, thank you, but a little Feng Shui never hurt anyone! Go through this list and do the best that you can. Do one thing at a time to help stay focused and soon, you too will have A Better Space.
Wishing you a very Happy (and organized) New Year!
Thursday, August 21 2014
Not only do people need to have a home, but so does their stuff.
Interestingly enough, I was working with a client of mine the other day and we were discussing her cluttered closets in her home. She has clothes everywhere. Her dresser drawers are stuffed and she has clothes that she no longer likes or wears.
She asked me about helping her to create a laundry schedule because she feels she can not get a handle on it. Of course, I could help her with that. I have done it many times for many of my clients over the years.
She mentioned that she hates doing laundry. I asked "Why?", that the washer and dryer do all of the work. She said she agreed with that except for one thing. When it comes time to put the clothes away, she does not have a place to put them. Basically, her clothes are "homeless". There lies the problem. It's not the task that she dislikes, it's the frustration afterwards to try to put her clothes away; to give them a home.
It got me thinking. I have counseled clients over the years on how important it is to find a home for their things. It is beneficial in so many ways. Not only can you easily put things away, but you can easily find them when you want them. It is a tremendous stress reducer and applies to all aspects of your home. It eliminates procrastination in many instances.
Think about it. It is important to have a home for all of your paperwork in your home office, groceries in the fridge, cabinets and/or pantry, linens in the linen closet, clothes in closets and drawers, tools in the garage...the list goes on and on.
I have seen it time and again. When I work with my clients and we find homes for their possessions, they get an immediate sense of relief and reduction of stress. Their lives are made so much easier, just by being able to put things away where they belong.
So, I ask you. What items in your home are "homeless"? Are you able to find a solution? If not, contact me. I can help. My passion is to find homes for your possessions and reduce your stress so you can enjoy doing the things you like to do and have the time to be with the people you want to spend time with. You deserve A Better Space.
Let's knock out homelessness together!
Tuesday, July 08 2014
Even if you are not looking to take on a large organizing project, there are some things you can do on a daily basis to get and stay organized. The good thing is, little effort is involved.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Make Your Bed - This simple task will not only give your room a nicer look, but if you have pets in the home, it is especially helpful. Pets have litter, dirt, fur, dander, dust or other items on them that you don't necessarily want on your sheets. Take five minutes to make your bed first thing in the morning.
2. Determine Your Route - Are you running errands or taking a trip? Plan the best route you will take and know travel conditions before getting into your car. Getting lost or sitting in a traffic jam is not saving you any time.
3. Load The Dishwasher or Hand Wash The Dishes - Dirty dishes left in the sink, on the counter or elsewhere in the house is an invitation for bugs, pests and bacteria. A cluttered sink makes it difficult to prepare meals. Load the dishwasher throughout the day and run it regularly to keep your dirty dishes from building up. Wash your dishes by hand and let them dry in the drainboard as you use them. Put the dishes away on a regular basis to avoid clutter.
4. Open Your Mail - On a daily basis, bring your mail into the house and immediately sort through it, eliminating the junk mail by shredding and recycling. Open up the rest of the mail to decide what you need to do with it. This will avoid the build up of paper clutter in your home.
5. Lay Out Your Clothes - The night before, decide what you want to wear the next day, even down to accessories and lay them out for the next morning. This will save you time when you are rushing to get somewhere the next day.
There are many other ways you can do some "everyday organizing". Can you think of any?
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized or have a larger project you want to tackle, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I am wishing you an organized day!
Monday, June 03 2013
It's very common to add more to our lives by adding something - a bigger home, more clothing, more decorations, more, more, more...
However, the funny thing is - less is actually more.
Last weekend I decided to declutter and organize my own home. I had been spending so much time helping others get organized, I was neglecting my own space. Over time, things built up and it was time to do something about it.
Being a professional organizer, I know all too well that less is more. When you clear out the clutter in your home and in your head, you clear out the clutter in your life.
Sometimes, our clutter means that we have too many time commitments.
I decided to commit Memorial Day weekend to my own home and did not commit to any social activities. I knew that if I committed this block of time to this project, I would be able to enjoy the rest of the Summer. That was my motivation.
I systematically went through my home, starting on the second floor and moving down to the first floor, one room at a time; just like what I do when working with my clients when they hire me to organize their homes. I cleaned, I decluttered, I organized. I worked 12 hours a day for two days. It was a lot of work, but, oh, it felt so good! During this week, I am going to work on my basement and storage room. Then, my entire home will be organized!
Here are four steps you can take to create more with less:
1. Enlist an "accountability partner". Select someone who is committed to supporting you and perhaps creating change in their own life. This "accountability partner" can be a friend, family member or even a professional organizer like myself to keep you focused and moving forward.
2. Make a list. Break down the various areas of your home that you wish to tackle and create a chronological list so you can check them off as you go and get that wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end. As you think of things you need to do or want to purchase, write them down as well. This will keep you on track.
3. Subtract as you go. Look closely at what you have and eliminate the excess. It could be clothing, paperwork, old linens, pantry food items, etc. Take the time to truly evaluate what you need and will use. Don't create excuses for keeping something you know you will never use.
4. Find the additions. This does not mean that you find more stuff to keep. It means finding the joy in having less. Celebrate your successes by inviting people over to see what you have accomplished. Enjoy your new space and "live" in your home. Your have now created more space for good things to enter your life.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and need assistance in creating a home you enjoy living in and are ready to eliminate your clutter, once and for all, contact me. I can help you to create a step-by-step system so you can have A Better Space.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, March 24 2013
More and more people are starting home-based businesses these days. Did you know that it is expected that there will be more than 20 million home-based business in the United States by the end of 2013?
I have been in business almost nine years. I have found that there are some great advantages:
- I can create a flexible work schedule.
- I can control my work environment.
- I can deduct a portion of my home expenses on my income tax return.
- I have created a great sense of independence by being my own boss.
- I focus on doing what I enjoy the most - helping others get organized
- I find it easier to balance work and personal responsibilities.
- I have an overall greater level of fulfillment and satisfaction in my life.
However, there are some disadvantages that you need to learn to overcome:
- It can be difficult to turn work "off" when your workspace and personal space are intertwined.
- Working from home can be very isolating.
- Home-based businesses can cause stress on the family.
- It can be difficult to grow your business working as a solo-preneur.
- Depending on the type of business you have, you need to consider if there are zoning regulations you need to explore.
The key to running a successful home-based business is organization, commitment and accountability.
CREATE A SEPARATE WORKSPACE. It is critical that you have a separate workspace in your home away from your personal space. You can use a bedroom, a section in your basement or even change a formal living room into a home office. Find a location where your work will not interfere with your family life. At the end of the day, you want to be able to walk away from it.
YOU MUST GET ORGANIZED! It can be overwhelming but it is the key to your success. Create a space where you have everything you need close by to run a successful business. It is important to know where everything is located at all times. By doing so, you will stop wasting time. Adding up all the times throughout the day that you cannot locate something and having to try to find it will make you realize how much time you are wasting. Being organized with reduce stress. By doing so, you will enable yourself to think more clearly and make decisions faster.
SET A SCHEDULE. One of the biggest transformations that occurs when you start your home-based business is the difficulty in determining your work schedule. When you work from home, you are not necessarily working 9-5 like you might have in the past. Your day might be divided into chunks, especially if you have children. You might work in the morning and then when the children come home from school, you take four or five hours to be a parent. You will probably need to return to your "office" later that evening and work some more. If you are in direct sales, you might be doing in-home parties at nights and on weekends. You might need to attend networking events several nights a week. You should determine a schedule that best fits your needs for your business and your personal life.
UNPLUG. Besides closing the door to your office space, you need to unplug. It is helpful to end your work day by clearing up your desk and writing a "to do" list for the next day. Otherwise, your mind will race alll through the night with thoughts of what you need or want to do. You will feel overwhelmed and exhausted. If you don't take some "me time" at the end of the day, you willl burn out fast. That will take a toll on your body and in the end, will cost you money.
GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Find someone you can account to on a weekly basis. Decide what you want to accomplish. Let them know what you intend to do and the following week you can detail what you did in the past week. If you get stuck, you can bounce ideas off of them to get your past your obstacle so you can keep moving forward. Accountability is a powerful tool in growing your business.
When I work with people who have home-based businesses, I focus on paper management, time management and putting in customized systems to maximize potential.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized when it comes to your home-based business, contact me. I can help. I can provide you with a system made just for you and be an accountability partner so you can maximize the potential for growth in your business.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, February 24 2013
Last week I addressed the issue of spousal clutter. I explained the reasons why your spouse, partner or roomate might be causing clutter.
This week I would like to provide you with some routines you and your family can begin to implement to bust through that clutter.
- When you finish reading a magazine or newspaper, process the information and recycle the rest. Did you find a great recipe in your favorite magazine, an article your spouse might enjoy or a coupon for your local store? Pull them out from the magazine or newspaper and immediately recycle the rest. Stacks of magazines or newspapers cause clutter.
- Leave enough room in your coat closet for coats, jackets, boots and accessories. If your coat closet is too full, it's difficult to put things away and retrieve them easily. Clear out the items that do not belong in the closet. Create sufficient room for hangers, the floor and top shelf so that these items don't end up scatttered throughout your home.
- Keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bureaus and tables are all culprits for clutter. Having a home for paperwork is the key to success. Create a system that works and you will avoid flat surface clutter.
- Wash dishes right away. Do not put dishes in the sink after using them. Immediately handwash them and put them in a drain board or load them into the dishwasher. It will take less time than you think to do this. Otherwise, you end up creating a "project" and we just don't have the time for that! Take the time to do this as you go and you will avoid sink clutter.
- Take five and grab ten. It will only take you about five minutes to grab ten articles of clothing from your bedroom closet or drawers that you no longer want or wear and put them in a box for donation or in the trash if they are no longer useable. This will free up space for the clothes you do want to keep. This will avoid clothing clutter.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know which tips you plan to implement. If you need assistance in setting up some systems in your home to make these areas clutter free, let me know. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Saturday, April 28 2012
This coming Monday, April 30th, I am privileged to be invited to conduct my very first webinar in conjunction with ADD Resource. I will be talking about "GETTING ORGANIZED THE ADD FRIENDLY WAY".
One of the major topics I will be covering has to do with Time Management. Do you know what time management is and how effective it can be when working to get organized and reduce stress? Very powerful.
Did you know that the average person will spend one year searching through desk clutter looking for misplaced items?
One hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.
It costs over $200 in labor to track down a misplaced document or about $500 in labor to re-create it.
Anything you can do in your work day to improve efficiency and be more in control of your responsibilities means you are managing yourself in order to make the best use of your time.
One of the things I talk about in my upcoming webinar is doing what I call "The Brain Dump". I believe you should write everything down that is on your mind in order to eliminate the clutter in your head and the stress of trying to remember things.
The other thing I talk about is prioritizing. Planning your day to take care of the most important tasks and not wasting time on insignificant or unnecessary tasks will help you be more efficient.
Taking the time that is needed to focus on important projects and tasks and avoiding as few interruptions as possible is a great time management tool.
Having a good paper management system is place will reduce the amount of time it takes to locate what you are looking for.
There are many ways that you can better manage your time. These are only a few.
If you want to learn more about this topic and several others that affect adults with ADD, I invite you to attend my webinar on Monday, April 30, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. EST. It's free but the information I will be providing is so valuable.
Hope to see you on the call!
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, April 09 2012
Most people who plan to read through their stacks of old magazines never do, so why keep them?
Everyone has to deal
with general messiness around the house, but clutter can become overwhelming -- judging by the number of TV shows about hoarding! Whatever the level of disorder in your house, solving the problem starts with motivation. The problem isn't the possessions, but us. Once we get our thoughts straight about clutter, stuff has a way of finding its way out the door instead of in.
VISUAL WHITE NOISE
The problem with clutter is like the story of the frog in the soup. The unfortunate frog doesn't notice the temperature being raised a degree at a time until he's frog soup. In our homes, stuff can flow in until we're overloaded. Over time, we stop noticing all the clutter and it becomes visual white noise. Some of this is related to our best intentions. We believe that box of ticket stubs and postcards will make its way into a scrapbook one of these days, or that we'll read through that pile of gourmet magazines and rip out recipes, but somehow this never happens.
THE WAY WE WERE
Clutter often represents a personal history. and we hang on to that history, believing these items represent us. In fact, they merely represent a point in time in our lives. The joy of de-cluttering is the ability to feel unstuck, unburdened and moving forward again. Saving
a few special pieces is understandable, but be selective and only hold onto those items you feel strongly about or will actually use.
Getting a handle on clutter calls for an all-hands-on deck approach. Everyone in the family has to understand the toll that clutter can take on their time, energy and quality of life. Too often, clutter control falls on one person's shoulders, but any mess created by two or more people requires everyone's efforts. That's why getting the whole family involved, including children, is more effective in the long run.
Even small children can help pick out organizers for their toys and sort them into tubs. Older kids can learn the joys of selling their unwanted video games and making some money. There are few better incentives for kids or adults than turning their excess stuff into money.
REDECORATE TO UNCLUTTER
Since de-cluttering is seldom seen as its own reward, a fun redecorating project could just be the ticket to get everyone motivated to spruce things up. In the end, you'll have a new look, better organization and extra space, proving that the secret to clutter is all in how you think about it.
(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her Web site, www.redlotusletter.com
Monday, February 27 2012
There are so many options available to us these days to help us get and stay organized. I love options because everyone does not function the same way. Some people are auditory, some are visual and some are experiential learners (hands on).
There are several ways to organize your paperwork if you like clear your surfaces (who doesn't) but still be able to see what you have. (Visual). One way is to make use of binder clips!
Here are some examples of how you can use Binder Clips to get and stay organized:
Use them on the back of a door, a cabinet, a bulletin board or a wall. Adding a magnetic hook or push pins to the mix are a good complement.
I like to take a label maker and put labels on the actual clips themselves to give them a specific purpose. You can even color code the binder clips as they come in so many different colors these days. You don't need to stick with black.
A use for color-coded Binder Clips is to use them for various tasks or for each family member. Assign a specific color to each.
You can clip recipes together for the week and hang them on the inside of a cabinet door.
Use a magnetic hook on the side of your fridge to hang the Binder Clip on for a shopping list with coupons.
Use push pins on the front of a shelf to hand the clips.
Hang a Binder Clip inside the door, under the sink in your kitchen or bathroom, to hold your rubber gloves.
Hang magnetic hooks on the side of a filing cabinet near your desk and create binder clips for "hot" action items.
You can also use a bulletin board with a labeled binder clip called "HOT".
If you can't locate your label maker, you can use a binder clip to clip a labeled index card onto the front of a small bin on a shelf.
If letter trays do not work for you to sort your mail, use a Binder Clips that are labeled "Pay", "Action" and "File".
For paper management purposes, Binder Clips create a boundary. They limit the amount of paper work that builds up. It forces you to create a limit as to how long you put off the inevitable. You will need to keep it under control!
As you can see, there are multiple uses for just a simple Binder Clip. Use your imagination! I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with everyone!
So, get out those binder clips and put them to good use in organizing your home and your life.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, January 02 2012
Happy New Year! I hope you had a great holiday season, but now it's time to get down to business.
As a women entrepreneur who began my Professional Organizing business over 7 years ago, I work with many other women entrepreneurs who struggle with time management and paper management in their home offices. As a result, I pay lots of attention to the struggles with growth and prosperity that entrepreneurs alike contend with.
There are many habits that can hold us back so I thought I would list some:
- Not returning phone calls.
- Being late for appointments.
- Not returning emails.
- Not having a schedule.
- Not filing important documents.
- Not saving money or paying yourself first.
- Failure to understand the law of reciprocity.
- Handling mail or email more than once.
- Forwarding nonsense emails.
- Not scheduling events.
- Not exercising.
- Lack of systems.
- Not choosing healthy foods.
- Not drinking enough water.
- Not taking time to rejuvenate.
- Watching meaningless television.
- Failure to invest in personal development.
- Failure to listen.
- Trying to be perfect.
- Waiting for the right moment.
- Failure to budget.
- Lacking or not providing sufficient or efficient communication.
- Having a messy or disorganized workspace or home.
- Unprofessional voice mail.
- Not having a dedicated workspace.
- Not having a business card.
Which of these apply to you? Choose two or three habits at a time and replace them with good ones.
If you need help with time management, paper management, or organizing your messy and disorganized workspace or home, contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, have a wonderful week!
Thursday, October 06 2011
Just how do you handle the onslaught of paperwork that comes through your door on a daily basis? Most of us hear the word "paperwork" and think of "work".
Well, it doesn't have to be that way! Trust me!
By creating a "Communication Station" in your home, you will be able to create a zone where all the daily paperwork can gather and have a home while it is active. The keyword here is "Active". This is not a place for old paperwork to gather and accumulate. There are other solutions for that.
The "Communication Station" is intended for kids' permission slips, bills, incoming and outgoing messages, mail and any communication among family members.
There are key pieces to have in place to make this area function as it should.
First, it needs to be in a convenient location in the home (like a kitchen or mudroom).
Second, use either stackable letter trays or wall mounted magazine racks for each member of the family to have their own slot for his or her papers.
Third, a large wall calendar that is color coded for each family member provides a clear view of the schedule for each person. Use it to jot down events that involve multiple family members (such as appointments that require a driver, etc.)
Fourth, a bulletin board (be creative with it if you wish) and use it for flyers, invites, etc. This will provide a clear view of the details for upcoming events or RSVP deadlines. You can add an envelope tacked to the bulletin board to stash coupons, gift certificates or other money-savers you might need to grab on the way out the door. (Be sure to clear the board on a regular basis to avoid clutter build-up.)
Keep a cup or pencil holder on the flat surface in this area for the various colored markers you are using for the calendar. Keep a note pad and pen as well as some post-it notes in this area as well.
Keep a trash can or recycling bin and paper shredder in this area to eliminate the "Junk".
Use letter trays to sort your mail DAILY into various categories for various purposes. Each piece of mail should have a purpose or it is trash!
By utilizing these tips, you can create your own "Communication Station" and eliminate the chaos of paperwork strewn throughout your home. You can have A Better Space.
If you are overwhelmed with the concept of getting organized, whether it be paper or any other type of clutter, let me know. I am more than happy to help.
Submit pictures of your "Communication Station" to provide others with ideas they can use. They might end up in my monthly newsletter "Organizing News You Can Use".
Not getting your issue? You can sign up right on this page!
In the meantime, have a great and organized week!
Saturday, July 09 2011
Are you in "disorganization" denial? Let's be honest. We get used to living a certain way and sometimes forget to look around and see what is really going on.
Have you gotten so comfortable in your cluttered environment that you cannot "see the forest through the trees" so to speak?
I think it's time to be honest with yourself. Take a good look around and really see what is going on in your home and in your life.
If you are not sure whether you have clutter and disorganization issues, I recommend that you check out my "Quiz" found on this website [the tab is at the top of this page] to determine whether you might need to get organized. This short quiz can be very helpful in doing so as it triggers in on main issues that you might be experiencing.
It might be time to stop living in denial and start focusing on improving your situation.
Whether you take on the task yourself or reach out to a professional organizer like myself, it's time to do something about it.
No matter how small or large a task you might think it will be, you can do it! If you are feeling too overwhelmed, there is help out there. You just need to ask for it.
Imagine how much better your quality of life will be when you don't have to continue to be stressed out because you can't find things in your home, you are late for appointments or the paperwork is piling up. Putting systems into place that are manageable are the key to your success.
You deserve a better way of living and getting organized can give you that.
So, are you ready to be honest with yourself and admit that you are living in clutter and disorganization? I challenge you to take that first step and admit that you might need to make a change.
Contact me if you do and I will be more than happy to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, October 08 2010
Ever since I can remember, I have always advised my clients that an important aspect of paper management and budgeting involves keeping an eye on your provider billing statements, your credit card statements and bank statements.
So many people do not take the time to look at the itemized bill or statement and that is a problem. The tendency is to look at the total and just pay the bill or not even look at a bank statement at all and just file it away. It’s important to understand that mistakes are made and if you do not keep track of your statements, the mistakes go un-noticed. As a result, you could be getting charged for items you should not be getting charged for or you could possibly not get credit for payments made.
A perfect example of this was mentioned in the news this week. It involves Verizon Wireless and how they charged millions of customers for services they were not receiving. Verizon Wireless is now required to reimburse those customers a total of more than $1,000,000.
Verizon Wireless was banking on the fact that so many of their customers do not check their statements and just pay their bills based on the total. It is your responsibility as a consumer to make sure you check your bills, credit card statements and bank statements each and every time you receive them to make sure they are accurate. If you don’t, no one else will.
So, do you check your statements? If not, start now. The next time a bill or statement comes in the mail or is sent to you on line, take the few minutes necessary to make sure your statements are accurate.
Until next time, have a great week.
Tuesday, February 23 2010
Since we are well into tax season, many people tend to refocus their attention on their workspace where they pay bills, run a home-based business or correspond with friends and family.
For this reason, I thought it appropriate to provide some tips you can use to create an organized and inviting workspace. After all, who wants to work in a space that is cluttered and, therefore, uninviting?
Whether you're sitting at the kitchen table writing out bills, working at your desk in the home office, or writing a note to a friend on the computer, a pleasant, organized environment will allow for both productivity and creativity. Focus on the following suggestions and you will find that the productivity and creativity will become established.
1. Eliminate the chaos. If you have a disorganized work area, it will reduce the physical space needed for productivity, block your creativity, and increase the chances that you'll lose something which will dramatically increase your stress level. (No one needs more stress.) So, clear the clutter. Provide yourself with plenty of empty space. Keep a wastepaper basket near your workspace to encourage daily decluttering and clean-up. Don't overload the space with nicknacks and picture frames. Only keep those few inspirational pieces that you enjoy seeing in view, but out of the way.
2. Stock your workspace for its main functions. Determine what you need to use in the space and plan around that purpose. If you use a desk at home to write out bills, make sure you have a few pens, a calculator, some postage stamps, envelopes, address labels and other necessary supplies right in, or near, that work area. This will help make the task much quicker and easier. Your filing system should be close by as well.
3. Use those organizing tools. Using appropriate sized baskets, stackable trays, letter trays, pencil holders, paper clip containers, file folders and other organizing tools can help you get your workspace organized. Before buying any of these tools though, be sure to take the time to think about why you need that tool and if the tool you're thinking about is the best one for the job. For example, a decorative container on your shelf might hold all of your office supplies, but a drawer organizer can allow you to put more like items together for easier access.
4. Think ergonomics. If you feel physically uncomfortable in your workspace, you will not be able to focus and will therefore be less productive and creative. Do you suffer from eye strain? Do your muscles ache from constantly stretching to reach something? Do your wrists hurt from them being on a wrong angle for too long? Does your back hurt because your chair is not comfortable? Then, it's time for you to re-think and rearrange your physical workspace for health and comfort. Make sure there is sufficient lighting conditions. If not, you should consider adding some overhead track lighting or additional lamps that provide good task lighting. If your chair is not right for you, perhaps the seat should be raised or lowered. If your wrist hurts from using the computer mouse, get yourself a mouse pad with cushioning. Lastly, make sure your computer monitor is positioned correctly, either at or below, eye level, at a comfortable distance.
5. Put stuff away at the end of the day. This is very important! When you're done using your workspace for the day, put everything back in its place. Don't leave this area in chaos. This way, the next time you return, you'll have an inviting space that will allow you to get down to work without delay. Who wants to start working in a chaotic and cluttered environment?
If you follow these simple tips, you will find that you will have an organized and inviting workspace in which to work.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, however, don't hesitate to contact me. I will be glad to get you on the road to life long organization.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, April 14 2008
Enough about taxes already! Hopefully you can put them behind you until next year at this point and move on to more important things. However, keeping in the same vein, a few Quick Tips for A Better Space when it comes to storing Appliances Warranties is worth mentioning.
When you purchase something that is covered by a warranty, tape or staple the receipt to the inside cover of the owner's manual, and write the date the warranty will expire on the cover, preferably in red.
For example, your mixer might have a 5 year warranty, so just add 5 years to the date of purchase and write that in red on the cover. Then, if something breaks, you can quickly see (without trying to read the fine print and the faded receipt) if the item is still covered.
In addition, I suggest storing the owner's manuals in a 3 ring binder with plastic pockets, near the point of the product's use.
For example, all kitchen appliances, such as the coffee maker, microwave, etc., can be put into a binder in the kitchen near your cookbooks. Another binder in the garage can have the manuals for the lawnmower, the leaf blower, and other garden and yard tools.
For major appliances that will stay with the house if and when you sell, can be filed in a folder in your file cabinet, so you can pass them onto the new owners.
The new owners will be so thankful to know when the furnace, water heater, alarm system, etc., were installed, and who did it. It can make it much easier to know where to get the right replacement parts, who to get for service, and so on.
Hope these Quick Tips help! Let me know what you think!
If you have any suggestions of your own, send them to me and I might use them in future blogs to share with others.
For more information and assistance on this topic or any organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help you reach your goals for organization and make your place A Better Space.
Have a great week!
Wednesday, January 30 2008
This weekend I am giving a seminar on paper management at the Newtown Hadassah Career Women’s Network brunch in Newtown, PA. I thought this would be a good time to pass along some Quick Tips for A Better Space relating to the topic of reducing your junk mail.
Do you have piles of mail that you can never seem to get through on a daily basis?
These are some secrets you can use to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive in your mail box on a daily basis:
One of the ways to get through it quicker and more efficiently, is to have less coming into your mailbox in the first place!
First, ask to be removed from mailing lists. Write to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735. Be sure to provide your name, street address and zip code. Request that they instruct their members to remove you from their mailing lists. Once you write, you'll remain on the opt-out list for 5 years, at which time you'll have to write again. The Direct Marketing Association estimates that listing with their mail preference service will stop 75% of all national mailings. You should notice a reduction of your junk mail within 6 months.
Second, ask for privacy. Every time you provide your name and address to receive a product, magazine or service, there's an excellent chance you're being added to one or more mailing lists. Whenever you have to give your contact information to anyone, always request that your information is not to be shared or sold. Most reputable companies will respect your privacy.
Third, watch out for the phone book. If you're listed in the phone book, your contact information for all practical purposes is public record. Consider an unlisted number. Or, at minimum, request that the phone company publish just your name and phone number, and exclude your address.
Fourth, return to sender. When you receive mail that is clearly junk mail that you don't want, write to the companies and ask to be removed from their mailing lists. Most will comply, as it's expensive to keep mailing to you if you're never going to buy. Envelopes with "Address Correction Requested" or "Return Postage Guaranteed" can be returned unopened by writing "Refused-- Return to Sender" on the envelope. The company will have to pay the return postage.
Fifth, don't register your new product such as electronics and major appliances. Avoid sending in product registration cards, unless there's a good chance the product may be recalled on a safety issue. In most cases, when you register a product you purchased, the information you provide is used for direct mail purposes.
Sixth, contact your credit card company. They probably sell your name and address more often than any other company you deal with. Call and tell them that you don't want them sharing or selling your contact information with anyone. You can also call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT. Your request will be matched up with the credit bureau’s records. Visit www.optout.com for more information.
Seventh, you can request that a company stop sending you catalogs that you are not interested in. A quick way is to go on line to a brand new site called Catalog Choice. Just visit www.catalogchoice.org. It was recently featured on the Today Show and it’s free! Just select the catalogs you no longer want delivered to your home. If the ones you are interested in stopping are not listed, you can suggest others. It will take approximately 10 weeks for it to take effect, so be patient.
Eighth, avoid contests, sweepstakes or sign up for free or trial offers. Anytime you fill out an entry form to win something or get something for free, your name and address are likely being sold to other companies, which will result in unwanted mail.
These quick tips will result in a noticeable reduction in the amount of junk mail that comes through the door. At the same time, you will be helping to save the environment by reducing the amount of mail that is sent out! It’s a win, win situation!
For more information and assistance on this topic or any organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help you reach your goals for organization and make your place A Better Space.