I am in the process of moving and it is a beast. Where to start? There are some ways to lessen the stress. Start out by decluttering. This is a very good time to donate or trash things you are not going to need in your new apartment or house. Then figure out what you are not going to pack and put that aside inn a duffel bag or a box.
Next, to save some money, check out Craigs-list for people who are giving away their moving boxes for free or at a low cost. There are also companies that deliver slightly used boxes for less money. I went with the latter route.
Label, label, label! Put the name of the room the box is going in and whatever is in the box. Be as specific as you can so you can find things quickly when you move.
Then, take a deep breath and call some friends, ask them to help pack, while you get them some pizza and beer! Happy moving!
Well it’s almost that time of year to start clearing out closets and bookcases and more. Some things always go to storage, while others should be donated and others still can be sold.
Why am I suggesting this? I always find that there are some purchases that either no longer fit, or I haven’t used. You don’t want to give them away. You other choice is an online auction site like eBay.
It’s very easy to do. Take a nice picture of your shoes, coat, drumset, etc. Then post it on eBay with a little information and you are in business.
To attract buyers, start bidding at a reasonably low price and keep your shipping costs free or low. I usually keep my auctions at about 10 days. The really interested buyers will come running at the end of an auction to get great deals.
One basic way to avoid clutter in your closets, is to take an honest inventory of your closet. Go through your clothes and get shopping. I’m sure there are things in your crowded closet that you have forgotten about entirely. There are gems and dunces in your inventory. Toss the dunces and keep the gems. Find your favorite charity and make their day!
I love flowers, but I don’t like the cost, the mess and the waste when they die, so I bought some fake peonies, which look beautiful. I put them in a pretty vase with some moss and voila, I have flowers year round!
This is just one way that I make my life easier. I have other ways in which I simplify my life.
I own a Swiffer, a Dustbuster and a mop with a flat washable cover that cleans hard to reach spots. When I want to a quick clean, I vacuum (invest in a good one with bags: cuts down on dirt flying all over the place when you empty it), use my Swiffer and Swiffer duster, the Dustbuster is for the corners of my house that my vacuum won’t reach and I mop with no water on my hard wood floors with Method floor cleaner. It smells like almonds. No muss, and no fuss.
I also get my groceries delivered by Peapod. I live on the third floor of a walk up and I don’t have a car, so this is an excellent solution. They bring your groceries, toiletries and whatever else you need, right to your door.
As I said, I don’t own a car. This is sometimes a pain, but it’s much cheaper to take public transit and I live in a city, so it’s pretty easy to get around.
When I want to send someone a card on a particular date, I use Punchbowl. I have a free address book with my free account and the cards are beautiful. I don’t always have time to make a card, or go to the store to buy one in time.
These are just a few ways that I make my life easier and more carefree. What are your ideas for simplifying your life?
It’s that time of year again! Time to get things in order. Out with the old and in with the new! It’s time to declutter and get things in order.
It may seem like a daunting task, but you can do it if you do it in small blocks of time. Set a kitchen timer for 30 minutes and start in one corner of a room. Have some boxes or bags handy for trash, things to keep and things to donate. As you work, have a dusting cloth in hand so that area can look clean and bright when you are done.
Make it a fun experience, by playing music that you like and maybe light a nice smelling candle. It doesn’t have to be drudgery. Think of how nice it will be when everything is in place and you can see countertops and find things that you’ve lost in the clutter.
What if clutter was ruling your life and you didn’t even want to go home to face it?
When I feel like I have too many things, I start to look around and decide what I can subtract from my life. I don’t have the time or energy to sell on Ebay or Craigslist, so I donate to my favorite charity. Once I give away the “stuff”, I feel like a load has been lifted.
So much of what we keep is stuff we no longer use or need, like old kitchen appliances, books we have finished and don’t plan to reread, old clothes, and even gifts we don’t really like or use.
What if you could subtract from your clutter and do a good deed while you are at it?
It is so important to take stock of your own happiness, versus the dollars and cents approach: “I could get $20 for this,”. Maybe you could, but only after a lot of your valuable time and effort has gone into it. I suggest that you value your time and the health of your environment by culling the things around you that give you angst and giving them to someone who may really need it and an organization that may really need the funds.
What things in your home need to be subtracted for your own well-being?
Often, when I work with clients, and even sometimes in my own life, I buy something new, when I already own it. I’m talking about things as mundane as tape, Qtips, and lip gloss.
Before shopping at the store, take stock of what you have. The best way to do this is to take everything out of a cabinet and take stock. It could be in your pantry, your bathroom, or closet. Often, you will find duplicates, or near duplicates of something you already have. Those duplicates can be labeled and stored, or tossed, so you can better find the things that you need. Maybe you only really like one of five mascaras. You can toss the rest.
Do you have a bunch of greeting cards, photos and ticket stubs that you don’t know what to do with?
A great way to put all of these memorabilia together in a fun way is to make a scrapbook. The latest trend is to put together a Smashbook. Here is a video of how it works:
I’ve done it and it’s loads of fun. You can make your own DIY Smashbook with a glue stick, some colorful envelopes, sticky tabs and an empty journal. You can find pictures and decorations online and print them out. I like BrainyQuote.com for fun quotes to put in.
It’s the beginning of a new year and I’d like to say that everything is perfect chez moi, but I decided it was time to get rid of some old things: donate, and toss other stuff. I took everything off the shelves and regrouped.
Books I don’t read anymore are getting swapped on Bookins.com and also some were donated to a local charity in Chicago. One special book from my childhood is getting repaired by a professional. It’s not just about getting rid of things, but also about treasuring what you do have.
Pictures are getting put up on the wall that have been gathering some dust. It feels like a new place!
I bought a filing system and put all of my important papers away, while shredding the rest. I found so much that I had been looking for! I’m almost ready for tax season.
I was running low on silverware. After a few moves, I didn’t have a full set, so I bought some on sale from Target. I got light bulbs and replaced the burned out ones. I even polished my pots and bans with SOS pads and Barkeeper’s Friend.
I had a few things that needed returning after the holidays and I crossed that off my list too.
So now my shelves are all organized and I know where everything is. It’s such a good feeling! What are your resolutions for your home?
In order to organize your desktop, you need a few good tools to help you on your way. If you have a place for everything, it will make it less cluttered and easier to find things.
For starters, perhaps you have a lot of magazines, or journals that you need handy. The first step is to get rid of anything you haven’t read, and probably won’t read ever. Then get some pretty magazine holders, like these from the Container Store:
You may also have a lot of odds and ends on your desk, like pens, a stapler and paper clips. Use something like this to help clear the desktop. Don’t forget to toss out any pens or other objects that you no longer use.:
Some things can also be put in drawers with dividers to keep them neat. These are custom drawer dividers that you can make any size you want to suit your needs.:
Next, you have all of these papers on your desk. Bills, important papers, but you can barely see your desktop. Try using on of these. Put only your action items here and file the rest.:
The most important thing you can have is a good filing system, that is well labeled and that is not so overstuffed that you can’t get at your papers:
Lastly, you need a good place to post things that you want at eye level. Magnetic boards are a great solution. This one combines being a magnetic board with dry erase and it’s pretty too.:
These are just some tools to get you started. The most important thing is to use them. You’ll be much happier when your desk is clear and organized.
I want to wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and a happy new year!
For me the holidays are about getting together with friends and family. I treasure those who are close to my heart this time of year. Let your to do lists take a break, enjoy those around you and count all of your blessings!
I use a free application called Remember the Milk. It also has an app for the iPhone. It’s incredibly useful. I can create customized lists for what I have to do. It allows me to set due dates and also the priority of the task at hand. It is much easier for me to just look at my phone to see what I have to do, than to carry around a tattered piece of paper.
I update it all of the time, because I am a busy person and it helps me tremendously. For example, when I have to travel, I make a customized list for what I have to do to get ready.
Try it out and let me know if you like it. What do you think of Remember the Milk?
Every week we have to do the same chores, but some of them can be made much, much easier. For example, in Chicago there is a service called Peapod that stores your shopping lists and delivers straight to your door, even if you live on the third floor, like me. In other cities, you have services like NetGrocer, mygofer, Schwans and many others.
With Peapod you can schedule regular deliveries so that you don’t even have to think about it. It is also very easy to make changes up until the day before your delivery.
Soap.com offers deep discounts to new customers who want items like laundry soap, toilet paper and all manner of household products. It is all delivered to your home, sometimes for free, depending on how much you buy. They also store your orders so you can have repeat orders scheduled.
Amazon.com has great deals on bulk items and if you are a prime member you get free super saver shipping. I’ve saved a lot of money this way. You do have to look for the deals and make sure, the seller has a high rating.
Another way to save time and money is to make your own holiday gifts through Shutterfly or Snapfish. Both companies offer great deals and coupons on photo books, calendars, posters, mugs, and more. I really like getting my gifts there, since they are truly personal and you can be very creative.
These are just a few ways to make at least some of your errands virtually effortless. Do you have some websites that you use to help you lessen your chores?
Digital Overwhelm - We all take tons of pictures these days. With digital photography and iPhones, it’s possible to amass quite a collection of photos of your family and friends. It can be very overwhelming. Where to begin? PLUS, turn these amazing moments into great gifts and keepsakes for your whole family.
We’ve all been there. You waited until there were piles of dishes in the sink and a zillion bills and piles of laundry to do.
What if, every day you did just enough to keep those piles manageable?
I find that when i pick up a little every day, my “major” cleaning days aren’t so bad. Try to carve out a little time for each task. For example, take 10 minutes to put away the clean dishes and throw the dirty ones in the dishwasher. take another 10 minutes and pay a few bills. Throw one load of laundry in the washer and when that’s done and you can throw it in the dryer, do one more load. While you’re waiting for that to finish you can put away a few things that are lying about on the floor (10 minutes tops).
You’ve accomplished a lot in only a few minutes! Think how much easier your week would be if you did just a little every day?
Fall...Winter: It's time to get warm and organized
Well, it’s getting cold and rainy out there in Chicago and that means it’s time to get out all of your winter gear and put away the summertime clothes and doodads. Don’t forget to toss out expired sunscreen and the like.
I put all of my scarves together in a bin, where I can get to them easily and the same with my mittens and hats. I have all of my sweaters together in a drawer and on hangers. Coats are all organized by warmness.
All of my summer stuff is in storage, except for my swimsuit, which I use sometimes in the winter.
When everything is in it’s place and you can find it easily it’s so much more fun to get dressed this Fall and Winter. Stay warm!
We’ve all got a drawer with miscellaneous stuff in it, that at some point got out of control. The only cure for this is to find a specific place for these little things that have accumulated. One very helpful solution is to put a drawer organizer in. It will give you compartments to put stamps, paper clips, pens and the like, so they aren’t just swimming around in a pile:
Axis Junk Drawer Organizer, Natural Wood
These are just three out of a plethora of options you can find online and in stores like Target and the Container Store.
Nevertheless, it takes more than a drawer organizer to tame an unruly drawer. It takes editing. Go through your pens and see if they still work. If they do, move some of them to your desk, or store them in a box that has extra office supplies. The same can be said for surplus tape, extra scissors, and other doodads that can be stored until you need to replenish the supply.
It’s very time consuming to go through a drawer and not find what you are looking for, so it is a good exercise to go through these junk drawers from time to time and be ruthless. Turn your junk drawer into an organized drawer!
As an organizer, I am always trying to find new ways to help people make the most of the space that they have. Honestly, the best way to find your way out of clutter is to stop adding to it and then to subtract from it.
A simple example is the bathroom. Do you really need 5 different shampoos lining the shower or a dozen different lotions and 5 mascaras? No, no you don’t. Once you cull through the maze of products in your medicine cabinet and your shower stall, you could be left with just the essentials. When I do a clean sweep in my bathroom, I always feel better. The shelves aren’t so crowded and it’s easier to clean.
Subtract the old sunscreens and nearly empty bottles of things you don’t use and you are left with a minimal approach to your space. That can be applied to your whole house. Just because Costco is selling a crate of Pantene shampoo, doesn’t mean you need to buy it.
You’ve noticed that you can’t find anything on your computer. There are 50 loose documents and pictures on your desktop. It is high time that they were filed. It slows down your computer and your productivity to have so many files on your desktop.
The first step is to create file folders on your computer in your Documents folder (on a Mac), that make sense to you. Here are some examples: Finances, Medical, School, Recipes and the list goes on. Documents from the desktop, ideally, should be put in those folders on a regular basis and any photos on your desktop can be added to your photo library in iPhoto.
Once you start getting in the habit of filing your documents, instead of leaving them on your desktop, your computer will feel less cluttered and you will be able to find things!
You’ve had it! You can’t find a darn thing in your purse because there is so much stuff in it: 3 lip glosses, 7 pens, wallet, a pound of change, old receipts, trash, lotion, sanitizer, random business cards, a book, another book and so on.
It’s time to reign all that junk in and be able to find things again.
1. Take it all out!
Remove everything from your purse and place it on a clean surface. Now the work begins.
2. Throw out the trash
Take all of those old receipts and little scraps of paper and toss them out.
3. Only the Essentials
Put away anything you don’t need every day. Leave yourself one lip gloss, instead of three. You need your wallet, phone, keys, a book and a pen. Anything else is just clutter. If you have a mini hand lotion or hand sanitizer put those in side pockets.
4. If you have a lot of purses…
If you have a lot of purses and you change them every day, go to the container store and get one of these handy purse organizers (The Container Store has several to choose from):
The clutter we find in our homes is nothing compared to the clutter in our heads.
I often talk to people who have incredibly long to do lists. Some of the things are attainable: do the dishes, wash the car, take out the trash and pay bills. Nevertheless, people also seem to add such ambitious things to their general to do lists, that they get frustrated right out of the gate.
For example, for a long time, I put “Learn Italian” and “Learn Salsa” on my main list. Every time I looked at those items I felt frustrated and a little mad at myself for not having achieved those goals yet.
I think that having big goals is important, but those kind of aspirations have no place on your day to day lists. Write down your dreams in a separate journal and when you have time, take a class, or buy a book to help you reach one goal at a time. Trying to achieve too many lofty goals might not be the most productive way to get to the finish line.
Our minds, according to scientists, can only remember about 4 things at a time. You can read more here, at a post written by Josh Hill.
Finally, conquer the overwhelming tasks of your day, by taking a few things off of your list. Buy a journal and write down your goals and dreams!
We all make to do lists and often they languish and don’t get done. I’ve gotten into the habit of making “Action” lists. I only write down what I know can get done. They are my high priority items. The list in the image is mine and tomorrow, I am committed to getting all of the things on my list done. It’s not a long list for a reason. I want to make sure that I achieve success. Success feels good!
How do you feel about lists? What is your strategy?
First of all, it’s normal to accumulate a bunch of papers and look at your filing cabinet with dread. No one likes to file, but there are ways to avoid making it an awful task.
Go through your papers and shred like crazy. You don’t need to save last year’s electric bills, or a bunch of junk mail that’s accumulated.
Recycle your old magazines, junk mail and anything that doesn’t have your address on it from years past. Unless you need it for taxes, it needs to go.
3. Paper Bags
Get all of your paper bags from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and get out a sharpie. Start sorting. Label one of your bags “Medical”, another “Mortgage” and so on. As you go through your papers, toss the ones you need to keep into the appropriate bag.
4. File and Label
Now you can file with ease. You have all of your papers sorted, shredded and recycled. Filing should be a breeze. Label the file folders accordingly and put things away carefully and in some kind of sequential order. If you find something you are unsure about, set it aside and deal with it after you have sorted the major categories. Make an action file, for those papers, and bills that you need right away. Putting them in files may make them hard to find, if you need to deal with them soon.
Now it’s time to celebrate! You have successfully done a very onerous task and you’ve done it well! Bravo!
"I believe in deeply ordered chaos."
- Francis Bacon
When I am feeling creative, I take out all of my art supplies and the more messy it gets, the better. I find beauty in the chaos and my mind is freer to paint and draw. There is nothing wrong with making a mess now and again in the name of creativity. Life gets messy and then you clean it up.