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I have been hearing from friends on the East Coast that they have started to switch over their closets for the warmer months.  I have begun the process with clients as well.  Here on the East Coast we have had a burst of record heat.  96 degrees yesterday!  I am sure there will be many folks wanting to pull out the shorts this weekend!

If you have a system in place to do this, it will be less painful and take less time.  For several clients, we’ve got it down to a science!

The process and the storage will be different for everyone.  There are many variables that come into play — closet size, storage space, Spring/Summer activity wardrobe, and even “how hot do you get.”  My condo stays very cool, I tend to get cold easily.  So I still keep light sweaters out.  Only the turtleneck cashmere goes away.  But for some, they run hot and they won’t need to have any sweaters on hand.

A friend in NY lives in a small space so their off season clothing actually lives at a relative’s house.  It may not be the most convenient, but it is the most appropriate use of his space, and he has a “system.”  Yeah for him!

Ready to switch over?  Here’s how.

  • Go through your current closet/drawers.   Remove any items that are “out of season” for you.
  • Decide now if anything can be donated or consigned while it is fresh in your mind.
  • Make charity drop offs or schedule pick ups right away.
  • Store anything that will be great for consignment separate from everything else.  This way you will be organized come the Fall.  Mark your calender for Sept 1 to drop the clothing off.
  • Make sure items stored for the season are clean.
  • Move “off season” to your off season area.  Depending on your space it can be binned in an attic or basement, hung in covered racks in basement or attic, in an extra closet such as a guestroom, outside of your home if you live in the city and have a very small space.  For some it needs to be in the same closet.  If this is the case, put off season in the area that is hardest to get to.  Label bins by person for family members.

Now it is time for the Spring/Summer clothing

  • If you already store away, bring those bins/clothing to your closet.
  • Now is the time to try on the previous year’s items.  Especially children.
  • Anything that doesn’t fit or you no longer like?  Charity or consignment.
  • Make charity drop offs right away or schedule pick ups.
  • Bring to consignment right away.  The season has begun.
  • Put all clothing away.   Like items together.
  • Once you put your Spring/Summer items away, you will be able to see if you are missing any pieces from your wardrobe.  Make a list of anything you may “need” for the season.  This will keep you from buying unnecessary items.  It will also help you wear what you have by completing outfits.

This process can take a little time…but it will be worth it.  Dragging it out will only take longer in the long run.  Spending time looking for clothing will waste time.  Buying duplicates or items you really don’t need will waste time and money.  You get the idea…

Happy switching!

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Something came over me this weekend.  Maybe it was because I had a busy weekend of work and play, maybe it was the fresh air getting into my brain or the wonderful sunshine enlightening me.  I decided that I was feeling a sense of  “information overload.”

I love catching up with friends, family, clients and colleagues via facebook.  I really do.  But do I need to check to see what is going on so often?  No I do not.  I should be spending that time on something more fun or productive or nothing at all …that can be healthy too!

I also love getting through my email daily and making sure I respond in a timely manner.  But so much spam comes through, so many things that are not time sensitive.  I think I will keep my Blackberry on silent just a little more.

There is so much “good” info out there.  But I am now re-evaluating the various newsletters, etc. that I have subscribed to.  I just can’t get through them all, and they end up being too much clutter on my computer and on my mind.  More of a weight on my shoulder than a source of enlightenment.

This morning I decided to try and be really good at managing my time, especially as it relates to my computer and my Blackberry.   Ok, basically practicing what I preach to clients!  I confess, I had strayed.

I did not check facbook until my priorities were done — when I was having a snack.  I am going to shut down my Twitter account for now.  It has been too much pressure.  Perhaps when I have some new business ventures up and running that are appropriate for that I will be back.

I am working from home today.  I also have turned off my email most of the day and have checked it periodically in between projects.   I feel so much more focused, less drained from sitting in front of the computer for so long and most of all feel that I have accomplished a lot!

So today’s reminder is on time management.  It really will help you be more efficient and feel more in control.

  • Shut off email when working on projects.  Focus your energy on the task at hand.
  • Shut off the phone when appropriate when you have other work to do.
  • Do the most challenging item on your to do list first thing in the morning.
  • Schedule time to check fun sites like facebook, twitter, and other informational websites.  It will be different for everyone, but set guidelines that are right for you.
  • If you post to blogs, facebook, twitter, Linkedin, etc. for business or marketing purposes, create a schedule of when you will be doing this.  Maybe you blog 2x per week.  Well,  schedule in when you will be doing this.  Some things may be spontaneous, but don’t keep going on to the sites until your priorities are out of the way.

Several years ago we were taught that multi-tasking was fabulous.  As it turns out it is not.  It actually takes longer to get things done.  The brain uses a lot of energy to go back and forth and re-focus.

Posting to my blog was one of my priorities today.  Done.

Ok, on to the next priority and I promise myself I am not going to check http://www.People.com along the way!

Have a good and efficient day!

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Organize a Bargain

April 22, 2009

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One of my frequent haunts for organizing and decor products is Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Love the skinny hangers that make more room in your closet.  Clear containers, always a staple.  I keep all of the 20% off coupons they mail and publish in the paper in my glove compartment. I actually to this with gift cards and all coupons, that way I have them when I am out shopping.  When I run into BB&B  for myself or a client, I can always get items on sale!

You may or may not be aware that you can use as many coupons as you want/have at one time at BB&B.  I used 7 the other day for a client.  You can also use expired ones.

But…a little Birdie in the store told me that the corporate offices have been hinting around that they are going to get a little more picky when it comes to coupons.   They may change it to a “reasonable time frame” for expiration dates, more details to come “they say.”  So next time you are in, be sure to use your oldest ones first!

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I figured I would give you all a few days to breathe and not think about taxes…

You are probably thinking “will she stop talking about taxes already.”  Well, unless you have put away your 2008 documents  in an organized fashion and shredded what you don’t need, then you are not done.  Consider lessons learned from this past year.  Do you need to set up a more efficient system for 2009?  Do you need to track any expenses in a different way?  Set systems in place now to make the process easier next year.

That is what I am going to do this morning before I head out to work.  Here is how it works at my house.

  • All back up documents and receipts I need to retain are put in a clear bin.  Label indicating the year is adhered to the front.  I keep mine in a closet in my office.  High shelf that is hard to use for anything else.
  • I will be shredding any receipts and documents I do not have to keep for tax record keeping purposes.
  • I keep a copy of my tax forms submitted to the IRS and State in a file in my filing cabinet by year.

So what do we keep?  It can be different for different people –based on what you claim on your taxes. You should check with your tax professional but the general rule is keep tax back up for 7 years.  I hear 3 years, I hear 7years.  Here is the scoop.  The IRS has 3 years to audit you for cause or a random audit.  But if the suspect someone has done something fraudulently then they can go back further.

You  want to keep anything that is back up to what you claim on your taxes.  I always think of it this way.  If I got a call from the IRS about an audit, I will need to show them a receipt or documentation for anything I have claimed.  Those are the receipts that should be in the “tax box.”  If you have receipts for expenses that are not claimed on your taxes, before you toss or shred, consider if you need them for any other purpose:

  • Insurance
  • Warranty
  • Legal

Be sure to check with your accountant or investment representative to see what you need to keep regarding your investments.  There are specific requirements relating to buying and selling of stock.

Here are a few links that can help you as well.

IRS – Record Retention

What to Keep

Ok, now I’ll stop talking about taxes!

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Sorry for the delay in posting…I guess I feel the Spring in the air and between clients I have been working on organizing myself.  Yes, organizers have to organize too! Well, at least do the maintenance to keep our systems in place and every now and then tweak a system to make if more effective!

And it is Tax Time, wrapping up mine today.  Next week we’ll have our final Tax Tip Thursday…what to do with all the paperwork once you have filed your taxes.  Ok, if you have not started your taxes yet, get off this blog and start now!

I had some time this morning and I had a little file purging session for myself.  A nice big bag of recycling and lots to shred.  It feels great!

More next week, I promise…  Wishing you all a Happy Easter and/or Passover.

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j0440914From large companies to the individual users, folks with computers around the world were wondering if the joke was on them this April Fools Day.  Luckily, there seems to have been little affect from the anticipated Conflicker Worm .  But some report the bad guys behind it have put it on hold because everyone is on such high alert.

Hopefully it will never come to fruition.  From what I have read, computers that are regularly protected will have a much less  chance of  having problems.  But the scare and they hype did teach us a good lesson.  It is important to make sure that your computer is protected.  It is very simple to keep your computer up to date.  You should install anti virus and anti Spyware software.

  • Set computer for automatic updates from Microsoft.  Many times they send “patches” when they know a problem is going on or  its way.
  • Set computer for automatic Spyware scans.
  • Be sure to back up your information.  Many options are available.  External hard drives, downloading to CD or automatic on-line updates such as Carbonite.
  • Scan discs and devices for viruses.
  • Be careful what links you open and forward.  Many viruses are disguised as something else.

There are a ton of reasons why being organized is a positive thing.  You must Organize for Disaster as well.  We all want to say, “oh, that won’t happen to me…” but when it does you want to be able to recover as quickly and as stress free as possible.