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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Freedom from Clutter

July 3, 2009

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Happy 4th of July!

4th of July weekend is perfect to spend quality time with friends and family and celebrate our country.  Celebrate the people who  have sacrificed for us and our democracy.  The “land of the free”…free is such a powerful word.

If clutter or disorganization is a cause of distress for you, you can start now, in the spirit of freedom, to declare your independence from clutter.  Taking the time to tackle these challenges will help free you not only from physical clutter, but emotional clutter as well.

  • Commit the time
  • Create goals
  • Make decluttering a priority
  • Enlist the help you need
  • Refer to this blog for tips on specific areas

Remember…

Organizing is a Process not an Event

You can start small with  1 drawer, the kitchen counter or the bathroom vanity.  Edit out what no longer benefits you and create a home for what does.  Free yourself from the clutter.

But first, have a great weekend…I am wishing you and yours a very happy and safe holiday weekend.

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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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I love the saying, “Organizing is a process, not an event.”  How true.  It is not something we do on a Saturday and it is done.  It takes ongoing maintenance to keep things in order.  Regularly making sure things are put away.  Re-evaluating systems to make sure they are working.  Donating or tossing items that no longer have a purpose in our life, are broken or damaged, etc.

It is much easier to put things away if items have a “home.”  I tell clients to do a sweep once a day for 15 minutes.  Put away anything that is left out, or has not been put away from coming in the door.  Working this habit into your day will help you maintain your organization.  I am more of a morning person.  My first priority of the day is to put on some yummy strong coffee.  As it is brewing, I do my “sweep.”  Some clients with children have the kids spend 10 minutes before they go to bed to put things away and make sure their book bags and backpacks are ready to go for the morning.  Pick a time that works for you and work it into your schedule.

Don’t want to be overwhelmed with a disorganized space?  Think of having “PEACE:”

Put

Everything

Away

Conquer

Every day

Peace out!

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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to Summer.  In my head Summer is Memorial Day through Labor Day, not the actual seasons on the calendar.  Are you “ready” for fun?

  • Find, try on and wash bathing suits.
  • Consolidate all sunscreen in one area. Throw away any lotions that have expired and re-stock.
  • Take a tour of the garage, basement or shed. Put like items (beach chairs, bikes, summer sport equipment) together for easy access.
  • Toss or donate any summer equipment you will no longer use or is broken, rusted, etc.
  • Create a beach bag – place toys, first-aid items, even fresh towels in canvas carry bags. Keep in car,  garage or other handy, easy access space.
  • Check current supplies of any first-aid items – band aids, Neosporin, sunburn remedies.

Many clients ask me if suncreen lotion expires.  Take a look at your lotion and see if it has an expiration date.  If it does, great the answer is right there.  If not, here are a few suggestions:

  • Some lotions have a number “12, “24” which indicates how many months it is good for.
  • If it is just about gone, be safe and get a new one.
  • You can try when you are going to be in the sun for a limited amount of time and check to see if it is still providing protection.
  • The Mayo Clinic says it should last 3 years…learn more about what they have to say about sunscreen here.

I am wishing everyone a wonderful holiday weekend.

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May 7, 2009

doublecornershelf_mI am working on a kitchen organization project tomorrow.  I can’t wait!  It is like putting a big puzzle together.

I’ll be brining a few supplies with me in case we need them.  Of course I will only use what makes the space more efficient.  So what are some of my favorite kitchen organizers?

  • Drawer separators.
  • Clear bins –with and without covers.
  • Under sink shelving.
  • Wire racks to add more vertical space to your cabinets.

The key if you have small space is to house what you use most of the time.  We all have appliances, serving dishes, etc. that we only use from time to time.  Store those in another part of the house, garage or basement.  Be realistic about what you really use.  And, we need room for food!  Most don’t have the luxury of having pantry space.

You want to keep like things together.  All baking together, all spices together and so on.  Many times I put some of these categories into a container.  This way when I am going to “bake” (my family reading this is probably laughing right now) then I can pull out the baking bin and all of my supplies are right there — sugar, vanilla, food coloring, etc.  I can use the items and when done, easily put back into the cabinet.

There are so many things that end up at the back of the cabinets that never see the day of light.  Take time every now and then and edit out what you are not using.  Kids not using certain types of cups any more — bu-bye.  Got a cabinet full of give-a-way mugs? Ok, how many do you really need?

The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in our house.  Make sure the space is used efficiently.

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