Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Favorite Organizing Products 2 & 3

I must apologize for the brief hiatus ( I have been insanely busy!) I am going to let you know of 2 other of my favorite organizing products, enjoy!

Small Expandable Files
I love these small expanding files. Small enough to fit in your purse or car. I use one of them for grocery coupons and another that I always keep in my purse for the following:
  • Clothing and Shoe Store Coupons
  • Restaurant Coupons
  • Office supply coupons
  • Craft/ Hobbie/Home Decor Coupons
  • Bookstores
  • Health and Beauty
  • Home Stores (Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc)
  • UN-used Gift cards

I keep this one in my purse always so I am not out somewhere and realize I have a coupon at home that I forgot to bring. I clean it out about once a month.

This makes it easy to remember all those other coupons while shopping at various stores.

Poly Envelopes I love these poly envelopes. They are great to store stamps and return address labels. They are also great to keep in the car to keep track of receipts and other important papers that should not be lost.
I feel very blessed this year, my business is growing steadily and I have a wonderful husband and son! Thanks to those of you who follow this blog, I love hearing your feedback and what things have worked for you in your life.
May you all have a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah and may each of you have a very joyous New Year!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Favorite Organizing Product No. 1

This is one of my most FAVORITE organizing tools! I use this exact bin and its from http://www.thecontainerstore.com/.

This is the bin I featured in my very first organizing tip about Go Backs ©. These Bins come in the assorted colors above and also collapse for easy storage. I use them for toys, books, clean-up, sorting and of course THE CAR!! (See organizing tip No.1 for info on Go Backs).

These bins are also inexpensive and worth every penny!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

7 Easy Ideas for Organizing Kids Artwork (Tip No. 10)

In school, kids are encouraged to create, draw, color, paint and build. These activities can certainly stimulate children, and help them grow.Very often, these masterpieces that your children create are brought home and proudly displayed. But what do you do when all of the artwork begins to take over your home? Here are 7 great ideas:

1. FIND THE DIAMONDS. Rather than keeping every single piece of artwork your child creates, sit down with your child on a regular basis and ask him to choose the one or two he likes best. By the end of the year, you should have no more than 5 pieces of artwork that your child believes to be his 'best' pieces. This will help keep the artwork under control, and will still give you an opportunity to save his creations for future memories.

2. A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS.Take photos of the artwork that your child creates and keep these photos in a scrapbook. This way, even if the artwork is discarded for space purposes, you'll still have the memory!

3. KIDS FILE STORAGE BOX. Office supply stores carry portable file boxes that hold hanging file folders. These generally have a cover and a handle for easy portability. Help your child create her very own filing system. Perhaps one file folder for 2nd grade artwork, one for 3rd grade artwork, and so on. Now, all the drawings, and any type of artwork that lays flat, will be kept safe and organized. You'll even be teaching your child filing skills! It's never too early!

4. KEEP IT CONTAINED. For other artwork that does not lay flat, the perfect container may be a large, plastic container with a lid. Your child will have a space for shadowboxes, and other artwork that won't fit into a file folder. Again, be choosy. If you keep every single piece of artwork your child brings home for the next 15 years, your house is going to be overflowing with it.

5. HANG IT. Get your child his very own artwork bulletin board so he can display his favorite artwork in his bedroom. When organized on a nice cork board, this really adds a nice touch to a child's room. Plus, your child can very easily switch one piece of art, with another.

6. SUPPLY MANIA. If your child produces a lot of artwork at home, she probably has tons of crayons, markers and other art supplies. Keep it all in a portable box, light enough for your child to be able to transport it from one room into the next. In addition, separate and organize the supplies into separate Zip-lock baggies before putting them in the box. This will keep everything organized and easily accessible.

7. THE PERFECT GIFT.Kids artwork makes the perfect gift for grandma, grandpa, sister Jane, Aunt Sue, Uncle Jim, and so on. Rather than buying gifts for your child to give to family members, encourage them to give their creations away as special gifts to special people.

REMEMBER! If you save the art in a keepsake box, scrapbook, or file, write down the date, event, and age of your child when the artwork was done BEFORE storing it, otherwise it is very difficult to determine when the little masterpiece's were created (believe me I've forgotten a few times and had to guess when the artwork was done). The 30 seconds of jotting down the info. before storing it will save you time and headache than waiting till later to write it down.
Tune in next week when I start my Ten Favorite Organizing Products!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Common Space Bandits (Tip No. 9)

Seeking less stress and more space? Here are 5 common space bandits that can take your space captive. Rally today, and get that space back!

1. Clothes-If you're like most people, the clothes you wear on a day-to-day basis come from a mere 20 percent of the clothes in your closet. In other words, 80 percent of those clothes are just taking up space and never worn. Go through your closet and remove jeans, sweaters, blouses, skirts, dresses, shoes and coats that you never wear. Donate them today. Your closet will be ready to store any outfits you feel wonderful wearing, and you'll be helping out someone who could be making use of those unused garments.

2. Appliances-Bread machines, juicers, griddles, mixers and other similar appliances are wonderful--if you use them. However, if you have some, or all, of these appliances, and you haven't used them in, conservatively speaking, a year, chances are, they'll never be used in your lifetime. Say goodbye to them today, and you'll be freeing up cabinet and counter space.

3. Magazines- Do you keep every single magazine that enters your home?If you do, you most likely have a few piles growing throughout your home or office. Try to go through your magazines and cut out and file, only the articles or recipes, etc. that most interest you. No sense in keeping the entire magazine, once you've read through it and have chosen those pages that you'd like to keep for future reference.

4. Mementos- While it's fine to keep some very meaningful things stashed away in a mementos box, if you've accumulated more than one or two boxes of these treasures, you may be going a bit overboard. Being sentimental is wonderful, but not when it's at the expense of your living space or storage space. Go through these boxes of stuff from time to time, and weed out the things that no longer have significant meaning to you. Commit to 1-2 boxes at the most, and you'll have lots of memories to look back on in the future, and lots of new space now!

5. Furniture- Is your home or apartment filled to the max with furniture you never use? Perhaps it was passed down from a loved one? Or maybe you recently made a move to a smaller place, but brought all of your big furniture with you. If it's not functional or you truly don't have the space for it, consider letting go. Imagine all the free space you'll have when it's gone.
May you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the day with the ones you love!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weekly Family Caucus. (Tip No. 8)

As a couple / family or individual, set aside time once a week to communicate and update one another or yourself on upcoming activities, plans, and desires for the week. Let this be a fun time to connect with each other and update calendars and lists. Clear and Simple ©

I can’t tell you what a difference this makes. I know in my house if we do not have a weekly caucus, things tend to get a little chaotic, appointments are forgotten, and things are scheduled at the same time something else is going on, etcetera, etcetera.

Sunday or Monday night is usually the best nights in our family to do this. It only takes about a half an hour on average.

So, create one, that’s right ONE Universal Calendar and post or hang it where everyone in the family sees it. I put EVERYONE’S activities on this one Calendar. I even add when Library books are due, when school reports and projects need to be done, and when I need to return DVD’s or games so I won’t get charged.

You may choose to have a personal planner or a Calendar in Outlook on your computer or even on your mobile device in addition to your universal calendar. Be consistent in updating all your activities from your universal calendar to these alternative places or keeping these Calendars are a waste of your time.

Also with this Calendar I have an extra page to put the following numbers:

Emergency numbers (police, fire, power, gas, doctor, insurance agent, etc)
Emergency Contacts (for the babysitter so I don’t have to write it out every time)
Our address, phone numbers (again for the babysitter)
Coaches names, Dance Teachers, etc.
School Phone Numbers and/or teachers.
Dad’s work Mom’s work or cell.
A list of my son’s favorite friends and their numbers
Retail / Grocery Stores we frequent
Restaurants where we get take out.
Local Pharmacy

This saves a considerable amount of time when all of this is located in one place. It took me about a half hour to add all theses numbers to an extra page on my Calendar. It has saved me so much time not scrambling to find the number I need.

When the average person in America spends 2-4 hours looking for things each week, spending one half hour and writing down all these numbers one time can save an enormous amount of time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

10 Minute Organizing Tricks (Tip No. 7)

Whoever thought you'd be able to get organized in just 10 minutes?! Here are a few simple ideas.

10 MINUTE CHORE BOX: Rather than spending hours organizing, and doing it all yourself, create a 10 minute Chore Box for yourself--and one for each family member, if applicable.Each person's box would contain specific chores or tasks that need to be completed. The chores are written on slips of paper, and take a maximum of 10 minutes each to accomplish.You can gear the tasks towards the person's abilities (e.g. while older kids can help out with vacuuming, a 3 year old may instead be responsible for putting away his/her toys.)Each day, as a chore is completed, that slip of paper is placed in a holding envelope until the Chore Box is empty. Then, when empty, the boxes are refilled, and the system starts over again. This also works well at the office!

10 MINUTE 'WHEN I HAVE TIME' GOALS: One of the oldest phrases in the book is, 'I'll do that, when I have the time.' Problem is, that time never seems to come.If you REALLY want to do something, the time can generally be found pretty easily. For example, if you just won an all-expenses paid trip to the land of your dreams, you'd probably find time to fit it into your busy schedule without much of a problem.So, it's time to begin fitting in those things you want to do, and 10 Minute Goals can help. Schedule 10 minutes a day to catch up on your reading, or to begin learning that foreign language, or to simply spend having fun with your children. Then, work on those goals when the schedule date and time rolls around.
10 MINUTE LUXURIES: Don't forget to schedule a few 10 Minutes Luxuries per day to do something nice for yourself.Sometimes the day is so rushed and chaotic, that it's easy to forget the really important things like family, health, spirituality, personal time and so on.Take that 10 minute vacation every day. You deserve it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Find Everything You Need When You Need It, Get Everything Done When It's Due. (Tip No. 6)

Many people think that getting organized is about being neat and tidy. On the contrary, a person who is not very neat or tidy can be very organized. Being organized actually entails 'finding everything you need when you need it, and getting everything done when it's due.' If you can master these two things, you are well on your way to being organized.

OK all you ladies out there who think my house is clean and tidy every minute I have news for you: My house is not perfect! But, I feel like I have achieved for the most part finding everything I need when I need it. This is simply being disciplined enough to have a home for everything and returning it to that home after you use it. It's achievable!
As far as getting everything done when it's due, that can apply to not only bills, it should apply to returning library books, DVDs, and anything that has to be done or taken back on a specific date, should have a designated home even if it is temporary.

The other thing I find helps is when I put things in a certain place, I make it easy for someone else to find it. So if my husband or son needs masking tape or file folders or refill staples, their is a specific home for each of these items. It does not happen overnight, if you are consistent, it will happen!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Think Quality Over Quantity (Tip No. 5)

Clutter and chaos go hand in hand. The more things you have, the easier it is for clutter to form and grow. Always remember to place your emphasis on quality over quantity. In other words, it's not important to have a lot of things, many of which you never use. It's more beneficial to have fewer things, all of which you use and/or enjoy. Simplify your life and you will get and stay organized!

For instance, yesterday, I went through a bunch of my 6 year old's toys. He just had a birthday and had received some fun new toys. So we worked together and I gave him two options; Keep or Give Away. I had to coax him on a few decisions but mostly he made the decisions on his own. He knows that these items go to charity for kids that do not have as much as he does.

We got rid of about 20 cars, a couple of trains, and a few other items that he said he really didn’t want anymore or didn’t play with it. I then took him with me to donate the items so he could see where the items went and how the process works. Teaching him this life skill will hopefully help him to always purge when he receives something new.

The more regular you are about doing this, the easier it will get for your children. The tears will end (some won't cry at all), and you will also teaching them another great life skill; giving to those who are less fortunate.

In these tough economic times, those of us who have excess (and most of us do), can help those who are less fortunate by choosing quality over quantity.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Nightly Ten Minute Blitz (Tip No. 4)

This is a similar tip to the “go backs©,” bin but you use it in your home.

We all know at the end of the day there are toys, shoes, laundry, papers, books, etc., to be put away. I make a conscious effort to try (I don’t always succeed) to have a picked-up house when I got to bed. It makes mornings so much easier! For a long time I found myself gathering things up in my arms to the point of dropping things just to avoid making multiple trips when putting things away. Weary of all the trips I was making, I devised my own system of putting things away in a faster more efficient manner.

My brother calls this “the ten minute blitz,” (thanks Mike!). It really it only takes about that many minutes to have things put away for bedtime.

So say there's a little mess in every room? Take a laundry basket into the living room and put in everything that belongs someplace else, then move on to the dining room or kitchen. Take out everything that belongs in that room, put it away and pick up items that go someplace else. Do this in every room in your home. If you have multiple levels, go level by level, thus making the trips up and down the stairs less of a hassle. Two trips around and everything should be back in order. Get the kids involved (my son loves helping me, he thinks it is a game).Then when you wake up in the morning you can start your day with a clean slate.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

When you get out of Bed; Make it! (Tip No. 3)

This tip is more psychological than anything and it's a tip I learned from my amazing Mom (thanks Mom!).

We all have days where we feel we have done NOTHING productive the entire day. In reality we have probably done more than we want to believe, it just doesn't feel like it. This is where
making your bed everyday helps.

At the end of the day when you head to bed, you can go to bed knowing "at least you made the bed." I have offered this tip to many clients and every one of them has told me the same thing; Making their bed everyday makes them feel that at least they accomplished something!

I always know when my Mom has had a bad day; She tells me she didn't have time to make her bed!
So spend the 5 minutes to make your bed every day and your day will begin with something accomplished! As always, send me your comments and tell me how this has worked for you!

The 60 Second Organizing Tip (Tip No. 2)

Part of any clutter clearing is the need to make decisions about your clutter quickly. Having categories set up before you begin makes decisions about clutter easier to make. Pick one drawer or shelf in your home to begin with. Don't try to tackle an entire closet or dresser in your home. Simply pick one small unit to practice with. Sort the items into 5 piles.

1. Give Away
2. Sell
3. Store
4. Keep
5. Trash

Throw away the trash. Box up the storage items. Box up your donation and sales items. Only put the keep items back in their proper places.

Accomplishing one small area of your home can give yourself the confidence to do more. Try to make your decisions quickly and you will be less likely to hang on to something you don't need. Make sure to maintain the organization of that one clutter free space.
Good luck and happy sorting!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The "GO BACKS©" Bin (Tip No. 1)

This is one of my most FAVORITE organizing tools! I use this exact bin and its from http://www.thecontainerstore.com/. All you busy Mom's out there, this keeps the clutter from becoming chaos!

So here's what you do (see below)!

Create a “GO BACKS©” bin, store it near your front door, or the door you come in and out of most, or in your car for the following things:

· Friend’s toys/clothing that are left behind.
· DVDs / Videos that need to be returned.
· Library Books.
· Small Items to give to Good Will.
· Newspaper or magazines that need to be recycled.
· Letters to be mailed
· Bank deposits
· Items that need to returned to a store.
· The uses are endless!

It also comes in handy once you have finished your errands and the bin is empty, you then remove all items that don’t belong in your car (toys, shoes, socks backpacks, food, etc),at the end of the day. This eliminates kid’s school papers, bank receipts and other things that may come up missing. Thus cutting down on the “I can’t find this,” common syndrome.

So, pick a bin, basket or whatever kind of container that suits your personality and get started, you won't believe you ever lived with out it!

Plus, send me your comments and tell me how it has helped you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Next Television Appearance: July 30th, 2009

Upcoming Television Apperances
Thursday, July 30th, 2009
Time: 11:00 am
Theme: Organizing on a Budget; Re-purposing things you already have to organize something else.
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