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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Stay-cation this Year?

July 17, 2009

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Have you heard the new vacation term this year?  Stay-cation?

Stay-cation is taking time off, being on vacation but staying local.  When I grew up it was no big deal and it was just called “day trips.”

Many people are staying home this year because of the lacking economy.  But just because you are not going some place by plane, train or automobile you can still have a great time.  I am sure. there are so many places in your own area that you never venture to.  I live in Boston and we had never done many of the “history” tourist tours such as The Battle of Lexington & Concord and the Mayflower until we had a cousin from Texas come visit.  So glad we did!

Think of the places you have always said “Oh, we should do that some time” or “that is an interesting place.”  It can be a museum, a beach or simply an area of the city that you have never explored.  Visit some relatives you never have time to see.  It is up to you.

Some may be taking time off and will work on their “to do list.”  Sometimes getting things done around the house can take a weight off your shoulders.

To make the most out of your “stay-cation” have a plan.  You don’t want Sunday to come and you feel like you just wasted time and didn’t either do anything fun or get anything done.

  • Make a list of what you would like to do.
  • Plug it into a calendar.
  • Hop on line to check out any hours of operation that may be applicable to your activity.
  • Go on line and research the many “free” fun things to do.  Your local library may also have passes to various museums and attractions.
  • Make a list of what you may need and shop.  This can be extra sunscreen for the beach or a laundry list of materials you will need from Home Depot for home repairs.

Most of all, enjoy the time off.  Try and unplug yourself as much as possible from the various technologies that suck up your time and stress you out on a regular day.

Have fun!

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Don’t Waste Time!

July 6, 2009

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Bad news:  My cat has gotten into everything today.  He thinks everything should go in his mouth or be a toy.

Good news:  I took a piece of paper out of his mouth, and it was from my desk.  A quote I love but have not looked at in a while.

“Regret for wasted time is more wasted time”

by Mason Cooley

Thanks Sam the Cat for reminding me of this important lesson!

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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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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