Articles & Advice

The Art of Finding Lost Things Becomes Easier with Less Clutter

I recently came across an article that talked a bit about clutter in a new way.

It put a smile n my face when Findologist Michael Solomon stated that there is nothing in your life that is lost, or no missing objects, simply an unsystematic search and/or clutter.

The art of not losing things within your life is to have a designated ‘home’ for everything. I am sure you have heard the phrase – ‘everything should have a home with a ‘yard’ around it’.

In case you are wondering what the ‘yard’ around it means, think of it this way; I you create a designated place for an object and it only fits that object, what happens when you add a second similar object?

Your system breaks down, right?

So having a ‘yard’ around each designated home will allow you room to grow because, let’s face it, we always grow and add more objects to our homes!

Also there is a great explanation of “The Camouflage Effect” and how to eliminate searching and not finding your lost objects!

Read more within this article, It will and make you smile and begin to feel less frantic when the day happens that you really cant find that super important item that you know you just saw!

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Organizing Tips and Tricks For Hosting a Party

Summertime is the perfect season to host outdoor parties and BBQ’s.

Throwing a party is not difficult but planning a party that will impress your guests is not that easy. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to throw a party that keeps everyone talking even after years to come?

With a small bit of pre-planning, your parties can be organized, fun and easy with a minimal amount of stress.

So here are a few organizing tips to get ready for a fun party.

1. Decide what type of party makes the most sense for you and your budget. For instance, will you provide all food and beverages or do you want to ask guests to participate?

The easiest party to organize quickly is to host a potluck where you ask each guest to bring a dish to add to the table.

Or, if you have the menu planned and don’t mind cooking or catering the food, you could also ask your guests to bring their favorite beverage.

If you need to save time or money, both of these strategies will help!

2. Another important consideration is your venue. Is this a backyard party or will you host it off-site in a park or another setting?

Whatever location you choose you will need sufficient tables and chairs as well as a toilet facility close by.

If you choose a park, you can ask your guests to bring their own lawn chairs or picnic blankets.

You will need to make sure that you have a fold-up table to hold the food if there isn’t one on site. If you are using a park table, make sure to bring along a tablecloth to cover the surface.

Having the party in your backyard, makes it much easier to supply all of the food, beverages and utensils.

Speaking of utensils, plastic ware saves time during cleanup but does have an adverse impact on the environment. Consider using bamboo flatware.If you want to learn more, click here.

3. Double check your guest list for food restrictions. Is anyone on your list on a restricted diet? If you have vegetarians or gluten-free guests, make sure to provide those options when planning your menu or at least discuss what they need before you finalize your menu.

One of my friends has such a limited list of acceptable foods that she can eat, she simply brings her own food to our parties. Whatever happens with your guest list, make sure to find out in advance of there are any allergies or food concerns that you should be aware of.

The process for creating memorable, stress-free parties gets easier as you develop your own party-hosting style. The main reason we have parties is to have fun with friends and family so ‘ stress too much. Plan a little in advance and you are on your way!

For more great tips about planning your outdoor party, click here.

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Do you use your inBox as a task list?

Has the concept of using your inbox as a task list ever crossed your mind?

The sad truth is if you have never thought about it, you probably are doing just that!

Over the years as a Pro Organizer, I have learned that most of my clients keep emails in their inbox as reminders of things that they have to do later.

While this seems like a simple solution, emails quickly pile up and the tasks and ‘to do’s’ that remain in the inbox get buried quickly.

A recent article titled Simple Tips For Getting Amazingly Organized published in Forbes Magazine explains how and why you should use every day tools like your inbox and phone reminders to streamline your life:

What are some simple ways to get and stay organized?

“You’ve done checklists, to-do lists, countless scheduling apps, and the latest in memory tricks. Yet, it can still sometimes feel as though your desk is cluttered, your inbox full, and your calendar is a mess. Are there any tips to getting (and staying) organized that are easy to implement and maintain?

Beth Beutler is the owner of H.O.P.E. Unlimited, providing collaborative virtual assistants and business soft skill education for overwhelmed professionals so they can excel. She’s also the author of 52 Ways To Be More Organized. I recently interviewed Beth on the LEADx podcast to learn a few of her go-to moves to staying on target. (The interview below has been lightly edited for space and clarity.)

Kevin Kruse: What are some of your favorite tips for people who are super crazy busy?

Beth Beutler: Well, let me give you a couple of practical ones. One tool I have found helpful is to keep a small dry erase board at my desk. So often, we take sticky notes and pieces of scrap paper and jot things down real quick and all that, and they end up staying on our desk and cluttering up the visual field of our desk. And they may be old and we don’t need them anymore, but we’re just used to them being there. With a dry erase board you can quickly jot down that number and then erase it when you’re done or transfer it to something on your computer. So that’s a real practical one.

Record reminders to yourself on the fly. Almost all of us carry smartphones now and have either have OK Google or Siri or some kind of assistant like that, that you can just say, “Hey, remind me…” You know, you think of things sometimes in an impractical place and so if you can pull your phone out and say, “Hey, remind me of this particular person I need to call or task that I need to remember.” Now, I wouldn’t do that for a recurring task, you need to manage those probably with a task management system, but we all need those occasional things that say, “Oh, it’s my friend’s birthday, send her a text later.” Things like that that you can record or message.”

To read the entire article click here.

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Want to Create More Hours in Your Day?

To create more free time, it helps to become aware of the energetics created by our routines, our stuff and our surrounding environment.

You see, we can protect and even boost our energy levels by creating systems to handle the minutiae and diiligently eliminating our excess stuff!

This planet is currently experiencing an information and technology overload.

There is so much noise in the world it is hard to pay attention to the important things. The things that will bring us success. The things that will bring us joy and peace.

Let’s face it: We spend so much time accumulating possessions, interacting with technology and shuffling paperwork that we often lose track of what we need to do in order to keep our life in balance.

It is easier now than ever to become unbalanced and overwhelmed.

Do you have days where at the end of the day, you wonder what you actually did? It happens to all of us.

There are many proven techniques that you can use to create balance, have more time for fun and even increase your prosperity.

Here is one routine to incorporate into your life and a sure-fire way to take contol of your time:

Stop letting your inbox zap your energy and suck the productivity out of your day. Take control of your email addiction and never check your inbox first thing in the morning!

I know you might have heard this before but do you understand why it is important?

When you jump into your inBox before you plan what you need to accomplish that day, you will get sucked in and inevitably delay tackling your current projects for an hour or two.

Why does this happen? I am not sure if you have thought about this, but here is the truth about emails:

Every email sent to you represents someone who wants you to do something. Someone who wants you to take some type of action. So – guess what?

When you begin reading your emails, you immediately go into reaction mode. You either spend time responding immediately or figure out that you dont have time to respond and table it for later.

Once tabled, the email/request stays there demanding your time and energy later. Does this make sense?

So this is your challenge, should you accept it, for this week: Don’t open your inBox until you have planned your day and know exactly what you wish to accomplish. Once you are crystal clear about the direction and schedule for the day, you will know how much time you can spend there and what time is the appropriate time to open your emails and check your inbox.

Try being intentional with your inbox this week. You will be amazed how your stress level lowers and how much more you will accomplish.

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You Can Use Moving as a Catalyst for Downsizing

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Most of us have clutter lying around the house: trinkets we don’t remember how we obtained, broken or worn items we’re never going to use again, things we were gifted but never wanted, the list goes on.

Moving is a great catalyst for getting rid of things you don’t want or need. A new home is a blank slate. You can start anew with only items that benefit your life. Below are some tips for using moving as a catalyst for downsizing your possessions.

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Decide What’s Important to You

The first step to downsizing is to analyze your viewpoint on possessions. What sort of items do you want in your life? Obviously, items you use on a daily basis will stay. These items make your life easier and contribute to your happiness and well-being. When it comes to décor and other items, think about whether you notice them often and if they make you smile. We all want a positive vibe in our living space, but too many trinkets can actually add stress to your life instead of bringing joy.

You’ll also want to think about what you want your new home to look and feel like. This means getting rid of items that are broken, damaged, or just don’t contribute to your space. As you pack, you’ll want to think about every item. Does it add functionality or positivity to your life? If not, strongly consider leaving it behind.

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Purge Your Belongings

After you’ve decided your standards for keeping and getting rid of items, it’s time to start the purge. Here is a great article with tips for purging your belongings before a move.

As the article states, you’ll want to be very intentional in your organization. Designate piles and boxes for items you’re keeping, items you’re donating, and garbage. I suggest creating these groups in piles first, then packing your “keep” pile a few days later. This will give you a second chance to analyze whether each item truly positively contributes to your life.

You should get rid of:

Items you haven’t used in over 6 months

Items you’re only keeping to make someone else happy (gifts you never wanted)

Anything that is broken (if you haven’t fixed it yet, you probably never will

Clothes you haven’t worn in 6 months (with the exception of seasonal wear)

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Keep the Momentum Going

Once you’ve moved, you have a chance to keep the momentum from your purge. You can do this in several ways. The first is to resist the urge to fill your new space with clutter. Keep your home organized and only buy things that you actually need.

The second trick is to pay attention to what items you’re using. My favorite trick for keeping the closet organized is to turn the hangers backwards when hanging all your clothes. Then, after you wear them, re-hang the item the opposite direction. In 3 months, you’ll be able to quickly see which clothes you haven’t worn. If they aren’t seasonal, there’s a strong case for donating them.

Sometimes it’s easy to get in a funk with clothing. You wear the same clothes over and over again because you like them. But then maybe a certain shirt gets really worn. You keep wearing it because you used to love it, but you no longer feel confident in it. Learn to purge clothes as soon as they don’t make you feel good. This includes shirts with un-removable stains, clothing with (un-fashionable) rips and tears, and jeans that no longer fit properly, resulting in the zipper constantly sliding down. Removing these items from your closet will result in a functional wardrobe full of clothes you truly enjoy wearing.

These are just a few ways that moving can help you be more intentional in how you view your belongings. Do you have any downsizing tips? Share in the comments!

Moving-truck

* Contributor Jeriann Watkins blogs at dairyairhead.com. As a crafter, she knows the challenge of wanting to keep items for their potential. You can see her organization tips and downsizing successes on her blog.
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Recycling Your Old Batteries Is Easy

A client recently made this discovery about how to recycle her old batteries. My clients are so smart and savvy!

The Waste Management program here in San Diego makes it super simple.

On recycle day, you can put your old batteries in a ziplock bag and leave it on top of your recycle bin and they will take them away and dispose of them properly! How easy is that?

If you don’t live in San Diego and want to learn how you can recycle, contact your local waste management company. From what I have learned, this process is available almost everywhere in the US. Also libraries and other public facilities now have bins where you can drop off at no charge.

There are also other resources listed in the infographics below. Use your mouse to enlarge:

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This is the process that happens when you recycle:

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Thanks for doing your part to recycle and protect Mother Earth!

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4 Tips to Keep Your Car Organized (+ Bonus Video to Organize Grocery Shopping)

Cars that used to be luxury items are now turning into on-the-go dens and mini-offices. Whether you play the role of mom chauffeur or work on the road, you need to implement a few tricks to keep your clutter at bay.

Let’s face it, kids in and out, spending time in school lines and working from your car will add wear and tear on the car and also add wear and tear on you – the driver!

Sticky seats, pens without caps, stale coffee mugs and other nasty items can gross out even the most seasoned traveller. So what to do?

Follow these 4 steps to keep your ‘home on wheels’ in good condition

1. Keep your car tidy by always taking something with you when you go from your car to your home. And ask everyone (kids, spouse) to take something, too!

2. Use storage and organizing containers on the back of your car seats and in the trunk.

3. Keep reusable bags in your car so you are ready for eco-friendly shopping at all times.

4. Keep a trash bag in the car so that trash has a place to live other than your floorboard!

Watch this video to learn many other grocery shopping and meal preparation tips for staying organized:

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How to Increase The Storage Space Within Your Small Closet

What’s the best way to manage the limited space without having to do renovation work on the house?

Clients frequently ask me this questions and I solve this challenge with a few different organizing tricks.

One of the most common tips I recommend is to convert your single rod into a double rod by adding a drop down hanging rod.

These are available at most department stores, are super cost effective and do not require tools to assemble.

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Once you have doubled your hanging space, make sure to look up and see what type of extra space you have above your shelf. You can easily add another free-standing shelf on top of your shelf for more storage area. I have used the inexpensive shoe shelves to add more shelf space above the traditional single shelf.

If you don’t want to install another shelf, use containers that are more tall than wide to use as much space above as possible.

If you have a two sliding door closet with pockets of unused space on either side, purchase a shoe carousel that secures itself floor to ceiling on a rod.

The seemingly useless pocket of space to the right or left of your sliding door can then be used for shoe storage.

If you don’t have space in the corner for this solution, use hanging shoe bags which will drop down off your hanging rod to hold 10 pairs of shoes in a 4-5 inch area. I once used 4 of these to organize 40 pairs of shoes. The hanging rod space required was less than 20 inches!

If these tips don’t quite finish your organizing closet project, leave a comment or question below and I will offer you even more solutions based on what you are up against.

Thanks for reading!

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Two Sisters Get Organized, Decluttered and Moved into Seperate Bedrooms

UGH!

I recently had the pleasure of helping two girls move into separate rooms.

These 2nd and 4th grade girls had spent their entire lives sharing the same room and now that they are older (and all grown up, they say!) the oldest gets to move into her own separate bedroom.

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There were three stages to this project:

1. Sort through clothes

2. Sort through books

3. Sort through toys and papers

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STAGE ONE – Clothes Sort

The first step taken to separate the clothes was to figure out:

#1 Whose clothes were whose

#2 See if they still fit the owner

So to start, each girl went through the closet and decided either to keep, toss, donate or handed it off to the other sister so she could proceed with the same process.

After we sorted clothes, we moved the 4th graders clothes down into her new room so I could determine what type of organizing supplies were needed to set up a system within her closet.

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STAGE TWO – Books

Following the same process, we continued into both steps of determining who owned what and eliminating the unloved or unused books from their gigantic collection.

By the time we made it to stage two, the girls were feeling a bit ancy so we decided to up the fun factor and have a book auction!

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This is how it went:

I held up a book and each girl could vote for it if she wanted it.

The first hand up – got the book.

If no one raised their hand it went off to charity for some other young child to receive who normally could not afford new book.

If there was a tie, the girls had to barter among themselves for what was fair and if they could possibly trade out later.

The funniest thing happened during this process! I was holding up what appeared to me to be a great reference book on animals. When neither of the girls raised their hand, I asked will you possibly need this for future class projects? The second grader looks at me in disbelief and says ” there is such a thing as the internets you know!” I think I will always remember that day!

Kids are truly tuned in, tapped on and hooked automatically into the internet! Isn’t it great? Thinking about it now, I think it is such an advantage for any school report – most of the information in the world is literally at our fingertips x 100,000 or more!

After these two steps, we called it a day and set up our next appointment so we could tackle toys and finish setting up systems within each room.

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STAGE THREE – Toys, toys and more toys!

On the first day we did a rough sort of toys and placed each sister’s toys put into boxes and then moved them into each closet so we could sort later.

Now it was time to sort, eliminate and organize all of the other toys throughout the house.

Dad did an amazing job gathering all random toys and setting us up to sort them in the den.

IMG_2203 IMG_2205 To keep it fair and make it more fun, the girls wanted to do another auction – this time with Barbies and all of her accessories. Dad suggested that we use a giant bin for donations and he was definitely correct! with all of the small pieces, shoes, clothes and Barbies, we filled up a giant bin for donations. The girls did a great job!

After sorting, we jumped into containerizing and decide if the toys should live in the bedroom closet or the newly designed toy closet.

IMG_2216 Oila!

SETTING UP THE TOY CLOSET

In between appointments, he also purchased and installed two new shelves and a rolling cart for mom’s work out equipment so it would fit within the toy closet.

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The rolling cart is such a smart idea! When mom wants to work out, she simply rolls it out of the toy closet and all her weights and belts are right there and ready to use!

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All in all, this project turned out great and the girls were so much fun to work with, even when they got bored and restless! They are great sisters who truly love and respect each other.

As an author and lover of books, I am also relieved to see that even with the ‘internets’ they are avid readers of “real” books with covers and actual paper pages inside!

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Spring Cleaning Goes Faster With The Proper Home Cleaning Kit

WANT TO MAKE CLEANING YOUR HOME EASIER?

This home cleaning kit was created by Melissa J. Will, The Empress Of Dirt. I love these recipes! When you are armed with the best supplies to get the job done, it’s much easier to quickly grab the kit and dust or clean. Here is an excerpt from Melissa’s blog:

12 Home Cleaning Kit Essentials: eco-friendly homemade cleaning recipes plus recommended supplies to keep your home sparkling clean

Make It Easy To Maintain A Clean Home
A smartly-stocked cleaning supply kit is the key to making regular house cleaning a whole lot easier.

This kit would make a wonderful house-warming gift (for people like me who enjoy practical and useful gifts).

The items in my cleaning kit are good quality but still frugal, use gentle cleaning ingredients you can find at the supermarket (eco-friendly, non-toxic—of course!), and make it (almost) enjoyable to maintain a clean home.

I’ve provided the recipes for my favourite cleansers (glass, tile, disinfectant, and general purpose) and links to all of the products I like. I strongly suggest you invest in longer-lasting equipment (it doesn’t cost much more) because that difference in quality really speeds up a lot of cleaning chores.

By having all these little tools at your fingertips, you can deal with any problem areas you encounter right away.

If you like your cleaning products scented, you could add a few drops of favorite essential oils.

12 Home Cleaning Kit Essentials: eco-friendly homemade cleaning recipes plus recommended supplies to keep your home sparkling clean

A lightweight cleaning supply caddy makes it really convenient to grab the kit and work on a few areas each day. I have no interest in perfection, but I do enjoy a nicely maintained home. Or that’s the plan, anyways. We all know life happens.

Make A Home Cleaning Kit includes recommended supplies and eco-friendly recipes

CLEANING KIT SUPPLIES

It does not cost a lot to get better quality supplies and they last a lot longer and are therefore more frugal.

Spray bottles – Pick different colored tops so you know what’s what

All purpose cleaner | 1 teaspoon dish soap: 4 cups water

Disinfectant | 1 part rubbing alcohol: 1 part water

Glass cleaner | 1 part vinegar: 1 part water

Tub & Tile cleaner | 1 part vinegar: 1 part dish soap

Degreaser | 1 part vegetable oil: 2 parts baking soda

Thanks Melissa! I love these recipes and am going to switch to these all- natural cleaning supplies this week.

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