You’ve Got Mail

July 23, 2009

Now what?

Don’t let that mail pile up! Attacking your mail each day only takes a few minutes.  Really…follow me!

#1 Pick up mail

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#2 Open mail, separate by category (55 seconds)

Here are my categories:

  • recycle (all envelopes, marketing stuffers, junk mail)
  • shred (credit card offers)
  • publications to read
  • bills to pay

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#3  Place piles in their “homes”  (1 minute, 5 seconds)

I traveled to:

  • paper recycling bin in laundry room
  • magazine basket in living room
  • “to shred” box in office
  • “action, bill ” center in office

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See, literally minutes.

Having “homes” and a process set up will help you do this in minutes as well.  Clutter is delayed decisions.  When people don’t have a system, they will tend to leave items, like the mail, where they land.  Entry tables, stairs or kitchen counter tops become overwhelmed by mail piles.  Take a few minutes to set up a system.  It will be worth it!

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Old news is No news…

June 16, 2009

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Last night I had a good newspaper catch up night.  I was bound and determined to have all the newspapers that were backed up be in the recycling bin by end of the evening.  Last week was a busy week and I did not get through them all.

Many people keep their newspapers  for weeks and months on end, thinking that they will get to them.  But even if they did, the information is old.  Do you want to spend your precious time in June reading about the Inaugural (happened in January) or who won the Kentucky Derby (last month)  about the Swine flu outbreak (a month or so and it changes every day?)

Many people I know just keep getting the daily newspaper because it is just something they have always done.  But it adds pressure to the day.  The stack sitting there saying “read me, read me.”  Here are a few tips to make getting the newspaper a less stressful experience:

  • Think about how much you really sit and read it.
  • Consider subscribing to less days per week.  Perhaps Thursday – Sunday.
  • Each day remove sections you know you will not read and put in recycling right away.  For me it is auto, sports and classified.
  • At the end of the week, recycle anything you have not read.

I still enjoy flipping through the newspaper, especailly the “local” one.  I hate the thought of newspapers coming to an end as we know them.  But that said, narrow down what you read, and spend quality time with it.

Off to the recycling bin….

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School is Out!

June 11, 2009

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Many school systems are either out for the summer or will be with in a few short weeks.  Some kids will be staying home and others are off to camp or a combo of both.

But mom or dad…you are not done yet.  There is a little wrap up yet to be done.

Now is the time to go through the kids paper and artwork from this year.  Many families don’t make the time and this can be a yearly or multi-year collection.  Take the time now and go through them.  You’ll be amazed at how much you have kept is no longer of interest (aka trash or recycling.)

When choosing the “keepers,” think about when you moved out.  What would you have wanted to take with you?  You can let the kids help choose too.  What we may think is important  to them, really is not.  It is important to us.  Keeping a few from each year that are creative, funny, representative of a milestone or a super achievement is fine.  Keeping every math test is not.

The same goes for art.  Remember you can photograph artwork easily.  This takes up less space and you can keep a digital, printed album or print and frame.

Create an “archive” area that is free from the elements to store.  Create container for each child.  Store “keepers” by year.  Each year end it is good to look through the previous years to edit out ones that may not be so important now.

Also, think about how you managed the kids paperwork this year.  What worked, what didn’t, what backed up?  Use these lessons for creating a better system for the Fall.

Wishing all the kids out there very fun and safe summer!

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Licensed to Drive?

June 9, 2009

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In an effort to save money by the state of Massachusetts, the Department of Motor Vehicles will no longer be sending reminders to drivers that their license is up for renewal.

Without peeking…can you accurately tell the date and YEAR that your driving license expires?  I can’t!

If you live in Massachusetts, take a minute, pull it out of your wallet and put the expiration date in your calendar.  If you don’t live in Massachusetts, it is a good idea to do it as well in case your state makes similar cuts or changes to policies or if your reminder gets lost in the mail.   You won’t want to have to go through the pain of  “sorry officer, I didn’t  know…”

Don’t let “I’ll never get stopped” keep you from doing this either.  A recent study here  showed that there were over 20% more people being pulled over on the highways as a way to increase state revenue.  So with these changes, it is more likely that you will be pulled over, and more likely that you may not have an up to date license.

It is a good idea to review the other documents or  licenses that need renewal.  Put the expiration dates on your calendar. Actually, putting a flag in your calendar earlier as well will help you schedule time to deal with the renewal.

  • Professional licenses
  • Passport
  • Business licenses
  • Car Inspection

Off to get my passport renewed…

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Hey Mr. Postman…

May 14, 2009

Did you know that the price of stamps went up this week?  It is now 44 cents for a 1st class stamp.  If you planned ahead and bought a bunch of “forever” stamps you are all set.  If not be aware.

It is a good time to remind folks to create or maintain a “mail center.”  In one place (kitchen drawer, desk drawer, etc.) keep what you will need for mail.

  • Return address stamp or stickers
  • Stamps
  • Extra blank envelope

Following are some other helpful tips regarding stamps…stamps

  • You don’t have to save EVERY free address label you get from charity, etc.  There are only so many you will use.  Remember, they sent them to you without you asking for them.  It is ok to get rid of them…
  • Never have time to get to the post office or when you can the lines are just too long?  Many post offices have self service centers.  They are fast and easy to buy stamps and mail packages.  You can also purchase stamps on line at the USPS website.
  • Keep all stamps in one place.  Once you gather, see what you need to use them.  You may need some stamps to make up the difference from various prices increases.  Right now, you may need some 2 cent stamps for the recent increase.  Make an effort to go to the post office and get.  That way you will use them up.  The US Postal service has a \”Make Up Package\” on line where you can purchase 2 cents stamps.
  • Paying bills on line will cut down on purchasing stamps and all the organization that comes with it.  It will also save a lot of trees, gas, man-hours of processing paper bills.

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Some may say all clutter is negative, but there is clutter that is without a doubt, 100%, truly negative.  It can be physical clutter or emotional clutter.  Either way, it is time to clear it out!

Especially if you have a hard time letting go of things, start with anything that has a negative feeling, memory or experience attached to it.  For some reason we hang on to these items just like we do the positive ones.  Why?  Would we continue to eat something if it tasted bad or made us sick?  Would we continue to do activity if it hurt or harmed us? Start by removing anything that has negativity to it.  Make room for the important and positive things in your life and your space.

I’ve worked with clients who have kept medical letters of former dire circumstances.  They remember the pain all too well without the need of this piece of paper as a reminder.  Let those go.  Photos of relationships that was negative, say bu-bye.  I myself found a legal letter this week that was from a very painful experience.  I actually thought I had thrown it out years ago.  Nope, it was still there.  Was, key word.  I have released that negative energy and it is gone.

Toxic, negative people in your life?  Remove them too.  I call that “people clutter.”

Grab that trash can and start having more room for positive memories, people and energy!

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Oprah Organizes – Again

February 18, 2009

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O is for Organizing

Set your DVR for Oprah for tomorrow (Thursday.)  Her guest will be organizing expert Peter Walsh.  It is part of their road show series.  You can get some excellent tips from Peter and if you feel that you are disorganized you will also see that you are not alone!

The Container Store is a sponsor.  You can check out their site for air time and also, check back after the show or on the Oprah site.  Last time they offered 20% coupons for the store.  Not sure if they will this time  Now remember, only buy what you NEED.

The Container Store – Clean Up Your Messy House Tour

Have fun watching and saving…and look for a fellow New England organizer Elizabeth Selders in the audience.  She was there an spoke on camera, hopefully she makes the final cut!

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