Wednesday, July 30 2014
Even though it's Summertime and we intend to be lazy, it can sometimes be the crazy days of Summer instead. The kids are out of school, we are running from one activity to another to keep them busy, we are planning and going on day trips or vacations and we just can't find the time to get organized.
Not to worry. You don't have to wait until the kids return to school. You can still do some simple things to get on the road to organization now.
I have some suggestions that will take five minutes and help you out:
1. Hang Some Hooks - They take very little time to install and are a quick solution for getting things up off the floor - towels in the bathroom, camp bags in the mudroom, clothes in the bedroom, etc.
2. Do A Hanger Purge - Hangers that are laying around are not being put to good use. Gather the extra wire hangers and give them back to the dry cleaner. Refuse hangers when making a clothing purchase at the store. Keep hangers on the rod for clothes that will be returned from the wash to mark the space where they belong. One hanger per item is all that is needed. The rest can go!
3. Eliminate Junk Mail - While bringing in the mail each day, identify the junk mail before it even enters your home. Keep a recycling bin and paper shredder near the entrance to your home for easy disposal.
4. Take It With You - Whether you are leaving a room in your home to go to another, going upstairs from the first floor or downstairs from the second floor, take something with you that doesn't belong there and put it away. This applies to your car as well. Before you get out of the car, take your trash or other items that do not belong there.
5. Create A Donation Destination - Pick a room where you can have a container for donations. A great place to keep a donation box is in a closet or the laundry room for clothing that no longer fits or that you no longer like. Other suggestions are for toys that hte kids outgrow or no longer play with. Add to the box as you go and when it is full, take it to your local Goodwill or other non-profit charitable organization.
So, no matter how busy you are, you can still find ways to get and stay organized with just five minutes of your time.
Which tip did you like the best? What other ideas do you have for five minutes of organization?
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help. I have lots of great ideas for you to create A Better Space anywhere in your home. Contact me! I am here to help.
In the meantime, enjoy your Summer!
Monday, May 19 2014
I don't think there is anyone these days who does not have a cell phone. We eat, sleep and do everything with our cell phone by our side. It has become our life line.
I bet, however, that you never realized some of the things your cell phone can do for you. It can be a mini-survival kit, life saver or emergency tool kit.
These are some things your cell phone can do for you:
1. EMERGENCY - Did you know that there is a worldwide Emergency Number for cell phones? The number is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, simply dial 112 and your phone will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you. Interestingly enough, this number can be dialed even if the keypad is locked!
2. HIDDEN BATTERY POWER - You discover that your cell phone battery is very low. You can access a reserve by pressing the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged the next time you charge your cell phone. This could definitely be a life saver!
3. DISABLE A STOLEN CELL PHONE - First, check your Mobile phone's serial number, and key in the following digits on your phone. *#06# A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your phone so even if a thief changes your SIM card, your phone will be completely useless. You might never get your phone back but at least you know that whoever stole it won't be able to use it or sell it. Just imagine if everyone did this, there would no longer be a reason for people to steal mobile phones!
4. DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE FOR FREE - Cell phone companies these days are charging between $1.00 and $2.00 (or more) for 411 information calls. Most of us don't carry a telephone directory in our vehicle. I don't even keep one in my home anymore! Instead, when you need to use the 411 option, simply dial: (800)FREE411 or (800)373-3411 and you will not incur any charges. Program this number into your phone for safe-keeping.
I found these tips very helpful and simply wanted to share them with you. These are great to implement now before the Summer vacation season begins.
Feel free to share this blog with your family and friends so that they can utilize these tips as well.
If you want more tips on getting and staying organized or find that you are overwhelmed by your clutter, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I hope you are having an organized day!
Sunday, July 07 2013
We are currently in the midst of the Summer season which prompts a lot of people to take vacations. Vacations can come in many forms but one thing tends to be true. When you travel, you stay at a hotel.
Those travel-size shampoos, lotions and soaps found in many hotel rooms can easily accumulate when traveling and even easier to become clutter in your home when you return home.
I am not saying that you should not take them with you when you go home but over time, an overflowing stash of these freebies can outgrow your space or take up room that other important items should be occupying.
So, in order to avoid this conundrum, I recommend that you repurpose them.
Here are six suggestions:
1. Keep them in your purse or handbag. Whether you walk, bike, drive or take public transportation, you tend to have a bag with you. This is a perfect solution for storing your mini-sized toiletries and having them easily accessible.
2. Keep them in your desk at work. For easy access while on the job, keep a stash in your drawer of your desk and simply grab what you need when heading to the rest room to freshen up.
3. Keep them in your car. Do you spend a lot of time traveling in your car? Put some lotions, mouthwash or even a sewing kit in your car's glove compartment.
4. Use them at the gym. If you regularly shower at the gym after a workout, travel-size toiletries can be very useful and don't take up a lot of room in your gym bag.
5. Use them on your next trip. Are you staying at a vacation spot that does not involve a hotel? Keep a bag in your suitcase or backpack for camping with the other items you use most. Use a few of those shower caps to pack your shoes next time to keep them away from your clean clothes.
6. Donate them. If you find that you do not have a need for the amount you have collected, donate them to a shelter. Clean The World accepts unopened or unused bars of soap and shampoo for distribution domestically and internationally. The Global Soap Project also collects and reprocesses soaps into new bars.
Of course, you can avoid having to make a decision about what to do with them by leaving them behind during your next hotel stay. However, just in case you need to know what to do with all of those hotel toiletries, I hope this helps.
Friday, June 21 2013
Today is the first day of Summer! So exciting! However, with Summer sometimes comes emergency room visits - heat stroke, broken bones, severe cuts, head trauma, etc.
Are you prepared for that trip to the Emergency Room of your local hospital? Here are five things you should have ready to go:
1. Your medications - "It is extremely important to know all of the medications you take, how often you take them, the dosage and when you took them last." according to Barb Taubenberger, RN, director of Emergency Services at Doylestown Hospital. Keep this information in your wallet or purse for easy reference. Usually a small index card will suffice.
2. Your insurance information - In an emergency situation, a hospital will treat you whether you have your insurance card or not but carrying it with you will save you from having to make numerous phone calls afterwards to work out the billing. If you are not currently insured, let the hospital know before you leave so they can connect you with a financial counselor who will help you in making payment arrangements for your bill.
3. Your medical history - Knowing your medical history helps to create a complete overview. If your primary physician is on staff at the hospital or if you have been treated at that particular hospital before, they will be able to pull up your records on the computer. If not, you will be asked about your medical history at triage. Include previous surgeries, allergies or other chronic conditions you have.
4. Your emergency contacts - Have a list of your emergency contacts easily accessible. If you do not have contact information with you, it is a challenge for the staff. Elderly patients, for example, might be transported by ambulance and need a ride home. They might not remember their contact information details of the person who would be driving them home. Creating an emergency contact list and placing it in your wallet or putting it in your cell phone under "ICE" (in case of emergency) is a helpful tool to use.
5. Your discharge instructions - Sometimes, upon discharge, you are not feeling well and might have forgotten the details of your discharge instructions or the fact that you need to transfer your medical records. Some hospitals are equipped with a central phone number to call. Be sure to ask for this information upon discharge.
I certainly hope that you have a safe and healthy Summer, but just in case, this information will help to make the emergency room experience more organized and less stressful.
Have a great week!
Thursday, May 31 2012
The summer season has unofficially begun with Memorial Day Weekend and the official start is just around the corner. I am thinking that this is perhaps a good time to re-group.
With the start of the new season, the kids will be getting out of school and a more relaxed way of life can begin with the lazy days of Summer. Hopefully this time of year means less schedules to comply with and less structure can mean more relaxation.
This is a good time to consider your priorities and "re-group". Are there projects you have been meaning to get to but because of the craziness of the school term, you haven't found the time to get to them?
Take some time to consider what projects you would like to get off your "to do" list and then create a plan to get them done. Does the school paperwork need to be weeded out? Does the garage need to get organized to allow for Summertime toys (and maybe even that car!)? Does your wardrobe need to be gone through to determine what to keep, toss or donate to make more room in your closet?
I would suggest taking a tour of your home and creating a fresh new list of things to tackle. Walking through your home can provide the clarity you might need to create that list.
If you are in a state of overwhelm and don't know where to begin, contact me. I will be glad to help you "re-group" to get those projects taken care of so you can enjoy the rest of your Summer.
In the meantime, enjoy your week!
Friday, July 22 2011
It's that time of year when we tend to spend a lot of time in the car. We take the kids back and forth to summer activities, camp, go on vacation, visit friends and family, take day trips. You name it, it involves the car. So let me ask you...
If you had to produce your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance in a hurry, could you? Many of us don't give a lot of thought to controlling clutter in our cars. We spend so much time in our cars and yet we often don't think of it as a place for organizing.
The best place to start is removing the clutter. Depending on the time of year will determine how you tackle it. If the temperature is warm (right now it's broiling hot where I live and you can't even stand to be outside for more than 5 minutes!), it’s not a problem working outdoors. If the temperature is cold, you may want to put everything into boxes and take it indoors.
Once the car is empty, vacuum it out thoroughly, clean all the windows, wipe down the dash and console and clean leather seats. Stores sell cleaner made for upholstered seats as well.
When you begin to sort through the boxed items, sort out the trash and of course, trash it. Then sort through the remaining items. There will be items that won't need to go back into the car and you can put them into a ‘goes somewhere else’ container. These can be put away as part of your cleanup.
Some of your 'return to the car' items can go into the trunk. You will probably need a way to contain them. Standard items generally consist of a small tool kit, jumper cables, a flashlight, and if you live in cold area of the country, emergency supplies like water, high-energy snacks and blankets. These can be contained either in a collapsible open top container or in a container with a lid. This will keep all of your supplies in one neatly contained area in your trunk.
Inside the car, you can contain items to keep them safely stowed, yet accessible. Things like your car’s care manual can go into the glove box or console. A small tissue box can go into the console, along with antibacterial wipes and such. Keep some reusable canvas bags to cart things in and out of the car.
Don't forget to put a little sack or plastic bag in both the front and back seats for trash. You could also store a couple of extra collapsible crates to allow you to carry your groceries into the house in fewer trips.
Don't neglect this important area of your life. It is just as important to organize your car as it is to organize your home.
If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact me.
In the meantime, keep cool and have a great week!
Saturday, June 25 2011
It seems impossible, but it can be done. Some time ago, on the final installment of The Early Show "Get Organized" series, professional organizer Peter Walsh shows how to pack for a week's vacation in just one carry-on bag. His secret? Streamline and focus.
It really all comes down to being practical but frugal, and thinking in miniatures, Walsh says. It's nice to have lots of options of things to wear each day, but you're sacrificing a light carry-on bag for a heavy suitcase in order to indulge yourself. Truthfully, a lot of people over pack and then end up only wearing the bare essentials, anyway, so you could have saved yourself from lugging a big bag in the long run.
Technically, in order to have enough clothes for a week, all you need is either 2 pairs of pants or 2 skirts (or one of each), and three tops. That's it. As long as all the tops can go with both of the bottoms, you have given yourself 6 combinations to wear. Then throw in a week's worth of underwear and socks. You can decide if your tops should be short or long-sleeved, depending on your destination. Then, pick two pairs of shoes that go with everything, and you can wear one pair plus your jacket while your travel. It's as easy as that!
As for your toiletries and cosmetics, the key is to have the small plastic bottles instead of regular sizes. Buy travel-size tubes of toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. You can buy small plastic jars and bottles for your favorite lotions and potions and then label them so you don't use body lotion as hair conditioner. Filling bottles with your own products can make you feel more comfortable while you're away, and you're able to save so much room by not bringing all of your full-size bottles.
A few things that are important to remember, too, are bags. You should bring along a light weight bag for your laundry, so you're not throwing any of your dirty clothes back in with your clean clothes. Also bring an assortment of Ziploc bags, because you never know when you may need them. They're great if you have a wet swimsuit or in case anything leaks. You can also use one for your jewelry or accessories to keep them together.
As for luggage, Walsh's tip is to have a very bright, neon luggage tag. Today, so many people have bags that look the same that an easy-to-identify luggage tag is a must.
I think these tips are great and can really help you save you money, especially when it comes to travelling via an airline that wants to charge you per bag!
Try them out and let me know what you think!
In the meantime, have a great week!
Thursday, June 09 2011
School is letting out soon, if it hasn't already, the kids are home and the toys are everywhere! What is a mother to do? Get organized, of course!
All those summertime toys can get out of hand if we do not have simple tools in place to keep them under control. A few rules for the kids to follow is helpful as well.
First, I want to go over some simple tips that you can begin to utilize immediately to keep all those toys under control.
1. Limit the number of toys your child owns. This might seem like a no-brainer, but those toys have a way of multiplying before our very eyes. I suggest that you start off by evaluating what your child already has before making any additional purchases. When you have a good handle on what they already have, you will avoid duplicates and lots of toys that are similar. Look to see if any toys are broken or if your child has outgrown them. If you are not sure what they want or don’t want, hide them away for a while and see if they ask for them. If they don’t, consider donating them, if they are still in good condition, to a local charity or selling them at a garage sale. (If you need tips on how to have a successful garage sale, I can help you with that.) This will be helpful when you are trying to decide what type of storage you need for the toys you want to keep, as well.
2. Be selective. When we are in the store, with or without our kids, we see those "bright shiny objects" that we just know our son or daughter has to have. Try to avoid temptation and be more practical. Consider purchasing toys that are most beneficial to your child; that promote imagination and creativity. Make sure your purchase is age appropriate.
3. Don’t buy toys that take up a lot of space and are difficult to store. I know that this can sometimes be a challenge, especially with outdoor toys. They tend to be big, plastic and oddly shaped. I would suggest limiting the amount of items that fall into this category and consider purchasing toys that can be more easily stored. If your child insists on big toys such as a play tunnel or a play house, make sure to purchase the one which can be disassembled easily and stored compactly, if at all possible.
4. Stop giving toys as gifts. It’s their birthday. What is the first thing most people think to get the kid - toys! However, when you get to the point where you have enough, stop! Don’t buy any more! Give your child a gift card for a restaurant or an activity they can enjoy, instead. Also, ask those relatives and friends who want to always supply your kids with toys, to purchase something else instead. I truly believe your child will get more out of spending a day doing a fun activity with you at an amusement park, gym or at the movies. It’s a better alternative than filling your backyard and garage with more toys!
5. Create a system for organizing toys. One of the first things you need to do is review some simple rules with your children when it comes to cleaning up their toys. Although having a good system for storing toys does not guarantee that the toys will not invade various places in your home, regular clean up is necessary to avoid having toys scattered all around the house, inside and out. Train your children to put their toys away.
So now that we know what toys we have, we are now ready to find solutions for putting them away. There are many options available, especially when it comes to outdoor toy storage. Here is a list of options to consider:
1. Bike racks to keep the bikes from laying all over the garage floor;
2. Sports racks to hold basketballs, soccer balls, baseballs, hockey sticks and bats. A good wall mounted sports ball holder can be found at ww.ballclaw.com
3. Deck boxes for larger items. (These can also be used to store outdoor chair cushions and umbrellas as well as pool equipment.)
4. Big plastic toy boxes such as those sold by Little Tykes.
5. Rubbermaid containers with lids.
6. Milk crates or laundry baskets to carry toys as they are being picked up.
7. Pop up net laundry bags to hold small balls and other items.
8. Large trash cans on wheels for larger sports equipment.
9. Back packs to store a swimsuit, towel, sun screen, flip-flops, etc.
10. Labeled bins for the younger children to easily sort their things.
We all know that it can be difficult at times to keep that toy collection under control. Without a good toy storage system in place, the toys will undoubtedly take over. Having a good system in place for storing your toys is one way to ensure that your home and yard are kept organized and you can enjoy spending more time there.
Lastly, enjoy your summer. It goes by quickly!
Friday, May 27 2011
I am about to go away and take a "well deserved" mini vacation this Memorial Day weekend. I have been working almost every day this month and decided to take advantage of the three day weekend and head to the Pocono Mountains of PA.
Even though it is only a "mini vacation", I began several weeks ago compiling a list of things I needed to purchase, things I needed to pack and things I needed to do around the house to prepare.
I cannot imagine getting ready for a trip, large or small, without the use of a list. I have always done this and assumed that everyone else does so too. Not the case.
I am surprised to learn that many people, especially men, do not pack for a trip with a list in hand of what to take. I can only imagine how many times they get to their destination and say to themselves "Oh, I forgot to pack the...."!
When I go away, I like to make sure I have everything I need when I need it. I try my best not to overpack and end up removing about a 1/3 of the items on my list (especially clothing) when it comes to getting it into a suitcase.
By creating a list, you can take some time to think about the items that you need, even down to a pair of scissors and be ready to go when the day arrives.
Do yourself a favor. The next time you take that trip, whether it be a day trip with the family or an extended vacation, make a list and check it twice and you can rest assured that you have what it is you need, when you need it.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Saturday, June 12 2010
My fondest memories of summer when I was a kid was going to summer camp. I loved it! Making new friends and doing lots of activities during the day in a structured environment suited me perfectly. I got emotionally attached to my camp counselors every year and cried on the last day of camp every single time!
I went to day camp, Girl Scout camp and overnight camp until I got too old to go.
This is the time of year when school is drawing to a close and you might be sending your kids off the camp. Whether it's day camp or overnight camp, it takes some preparation.
Are you ready for Summer Camp?
I found some tips from the American Camp Association that might help you out.
Plan Ahead - Your happy camper will be living out of a duffel bag, trunk or suitcase for the duration of their camping experience. If you pack light, it will be easier for your camper to keep track of their items and helps them handle their own luggage at camp.
Review Camp Packing Lists - Each camp should provide a recommended camp packing list, complete with any equipment they require, including recommended footwear, etc. Carefully review that is needed and pay special attention to the items that are not permitted. Before packing your child's favor hand held gaming system, make sure the camp permits electronic items. Many do not. If you're not sure, speak with the camp director to get clarity.
Label Everything - You can use laundry pens, iron-ons and press-and-stick labels to distinquish your child's items from other campers. Most camps ask that you label each and every item, including clothing, personal items and toiletries. Make sure your child knows where the label is located on these items.
Break In Shoes and Boots Before Camp Begins - If you are purchasing new sneakers, boots or any other type of shoes for camp, make sure they wear them at least once before they pack them to be sure they will be comfortable. The last thing your child wants to do is have to sit out on an activity because they new hiking boots make their feet sore.
Prepare Together - Make sure your camper knows what is being packed and where so they can find what they need when they need it.
If you have a specific question, don't hesitate to contact your camp director. They are there to help you and your camper prepare for an exciting and fun experience.
If you have any questions about how to get organized or are too overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, don't hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to help!
Have a great week!
Sunday, August 02 2009
It seems like yesterday we were getting ready for the Summer season. The time is flying by but you still have time to organize the time that remains.
Summer is my favorite season of the year. I love the warm summer days, outdoor activities, the fact that the sun doesn't set until about 8:30 and the natural beauty of my backyard on a quiet summer evening. It is a wonderfully lazy time of year.
However, it doesn't mean we can't be productive at the same time. Here are a few examples to help you organize so you can chill out this summer:
1. Plan your dinner first thing in the morning. Make it a crock pot or grill meal. Defrost your meat in the refrigerator overnight. Get your veggies washed and ready early in the morning. Plan your dessert --something cool and fresh. For example, fruit, pudding, Jell-O, or a simple scoop of ice cream or sherbert.
2. Pre-cook or pick up a rotisserie chicken. Use the chicken for a dinner or lunch during the week. It's quick and delicious!
3. Do the laundry in the morning. Before the heat of the day sets in, you will be done. If you can, hang clothes outside to air dry. There's nothing like the smell of freshly aired sheets on a bed.
4. Use bath towels a couple of times before washing them. Have each person hold on to their towel for a couple of uses if possible. Designate a different color for each family member. Put hooks on the back of bathroom doors to hang them to dry. If the kids are in the pool, have them put their towels over the railings or a portable drying rack to dry, and use them again. Less laundry in the summer is great.
5. If you are planning a trip to the beach, have everything packed up and in the car the night before--including non-perishable foods. If possible have all the perishable foods prepped and ready to grab from the refrigerator and placed in your cooler before you leave. This will save the last minute hassle of loading up the car in the morning so you can get to the beach earlier!
6. Plan some short distance or local places to visit. Visit an amusement park, a museum, or public park. Pretend you are visiting a new city and look at it with "new eyes", even if you have been there before. Exhibits change often, or perhaps they are a favorite exhibit that you enjoy seeing over and over again.
7. Have a picnic dinner one evening each week. Sit outside and have sandwiches--perhaps the kids can help prepare them. Serve quick-to-prepare items like fruit salad or pre-made potato salad from your grocer. Be creative! If the weather doesn't cooperate, throw a big blanket on the floor and have a picnic in the family room or living room! It is the "being together" that is important.
8. Store some home decorations away for the summer. The house will feel more roomy for the summer. There will be less to dust and clean; more time to play!
9. Plan on doing yard work either early in the morning or in the evening to avoid working in the heat of the day. Also, it's best to water your plants at these times of the day. If it is hot, remember to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated. Don't forget your sunscreen before going out in the sun!
10. Enjoy not having plans a few of days a week. Sleep later and just enjoy the day, read, or work on crafts. When you make your schedule for the week, leave a day or two open to just relax and enjoy without making concrete plans.
11. Have the kids' clothes laid out the night before going somewhere. Avoid running late in the morning, and get on the road to your destination on time so you can take advantage of the full day.
12. Have a movie marathon. Make a simple meal that includes finger foods, make some popcorn and sit in the family room and watch movies together. Have each person suggest a movie and then you can all decide on the ones to rent.
13. Each week, exchange a meal. Cook a double-size meal for your family and give half of that meal to a neighbor. Then your neighbor does the same for you. Do a pot luck in the backyard with some friends and neighbors and enjoy those great summer evenings together.
By using some or all of these suggestions, you will be able to relax and enjoy the lazy days of summer - before the kids go back to school and the crazy routines start up again!
In the meantime, if you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Enjoy the rest of your Summer!
Wednesday, July 08 2009
Now that the kids are out of school and summer is in full swing, we don't have the time or want to take the time to clean the house. We want to be outside, on vacation, taking day trips and participating in other summer time activities.
But -- we still need to clean the house. How do we do both? We "speed clean"!!
I have compiled some Quick Tips for A Better Space which are great time-saving tips and techniques for cleaning your home in less than an hour. You can do it all at once or select several rooms a day to do a quick cleaning. By using these techniques, you can be sure that your home will be clean and you will be ready for summer fun.
Bedroom - Make your bed first thing in the morning, put your clothes in the hamper, straighten up your night stand and bureau surfaces. Then quickly dust and vaccum.
Bathroom - Wipe down the shower door or tub surround when finished with your shower. Spray the entire shower and curtain liner with shower mist (the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner works well). Take a disinfecting wipe and wipe the sink and faucet, counter top and toilet seat and rim. Vaccum the area rug and wipe the floor with a damp mop. (I like the Wet Jet system for quick clean-ups.)
Living Room - Pick up things off the floor and use a handheld vacuum to pick up crumbs and dust bunnies. Fluff pillows and throws. Straighten up books and magazines, throwing away newspapers and store ads. Put away CDs and DVDs after each use. Dust from top to bottom, saving the vacuuming for last.
Kitchen - Start with the sink and wipe it down after doing the dishes. Wipe down the stove top and counters. Wipe the table. Use a dust mop, Swiffer Sweeper or vacuum to clean up crumbs from the floor.
With these suggestions, you will find that your home will remain clean and organized and you will have more time to spend enjoying the Summer!
If you have any questions about this topic or have any other organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Have a great week!