6. Q-tips/cotton-balls/toilet paper/tissues
6. Q-tips/cotton-balls/toilet paper/tissues
I have been taking an informal poll for a while to see how everyone keeps track of their contacts, business cards, clients, auto and household repairs, numbers and passwords.
So many people forget to record a name or number so when they get a call back from a client, they need to make a repair or find the person, it’s such a struggle to retrieve the information.
In this society of hacking, we do all have to be super careful with passwords and accounts, so I do recommend a password manager like Dashlane or Last pass to keeponline IDs and passwords secure.
If you really want to stay old school with your important data then keep the listing of everything at home in a safe place, but if you need anything while you are out or traveling you have to go home first. You could repeatedly say you forgot your password and update as you go along too.
Many of my clients collect business cards at meetings, on trips or just throughout their days. I see many bagfuls and at this point it has become a big project to figure out what you will actually still need and what you will really use again. Some say they use Camcard, but this still requires you going to the app and taking a photo etc.
Why not just either make these numbers and names into your contacts as you go or if this is not possible then gather this pile and visit it weekly or at least monthly.
What I mean is to go through these notes, scraps, cards and save the ones you will “realistically “ use again on your phone with name, business name, number, and email. Under the note area put a small reminder of why and what they do. Then let the rest go.
Now you will always have this with you and you can quickly update them as needed.
They say “the devil is in the details” and maybe this is true, but in the long run you will save time and feel less stressed.
Why is it a good reason to update your contacts? Because Benjamin Franklin said a long time ago that “for every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned”
Have an organized Spring!
Every January 1st comes the big pressure for New Year resolutions. Everyone starts a new slate and wants to change and do things that have been put on the back burner for the last year and maybe even for the last decade. I think that is too much to ask of anyone especially after surviving the stressful holiday season. All we can expect as human beings is to balance our everyday lives and try to do better and not strive for perfection. One tip which could help everyone is to read your mail everyday!!!! Make decisions and take action!!!
How long could this take? 5-10 minutes, right? Don’t you receive a lot of junk mail? If it says “presorted standard” on upper corner – it’s not really for you, it’s for whoever will read it. LET IT GO! Stand by the garbage and TOSS IT or if it is recyclable put it in the bin to go out with recycling.
If it is important or personal stuff or bills, put it where it goes to be paid or keep it in your important slot, envelope, file, in-bin, or how ever your brain is wired to remember to go back to it before your bill is late etc.
If you still receive print newspapers or magazines, cap off the read time at 3 months and then recycle and be done with it because it will begin to cloud your peaceful surroundings.
There are too many other things that we need to make decisions about everyday other than mail. Remember that simply “less is more.” It’s a proven fact that clean and less cluttered surfaces definitely give us a more peaceful feeling in our home living environments.
Why not make February 1st your realistic deadline for starting this new normal.
I have asked my clients this question many times: “If a hurricane comes tomorrow what would you take?”
I believe this helps the client to begin to access and think about what really matters in life.
What is most important to us? What is absolutely sentimental and a part of us? Many of us have accumulated so much and it sometimes consumes us.
I had to ask myself the above questions when preparing for Hurricane Irma earlier this month. Yes, there are evacuation lists and hurricane preparedness lists, but what is my list for life? I left my house with the mindset that I may only come back to a shell of a house based on the category 5 storm heading for Miami. My house is a two story and my upstairs is wood and not mad of concrete block. I do have impact glass windows and a 25 kw generator on a slab in the yard since Hurricane Wilma left us without power for over 2 weeks in 2005, but I live in an evacuation zone near the coast. We evacuated.
The storm went west affecting others so horribly, but kept my house standing with debris, discoloration and really only a big mess to clean up. I could unpack what I brought and begin to get back to somewhat normal. The psychological component continues. I am not sure why. I do know not much matters as far as stuff. Being safe and having what you need is all that matters.
Be safe and organized! My thoughts, prayers and healing wishes to all affected by Harvey, Irma and Maria this season.
I was reminded lately of the quote that Ben Franklin said so long ago: “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Who knew that what was important in the 1700s is still so relevant today!
This idea of having a designated space for the things you need every day and if possible, for most things, is terrific for children, college students, and adults.
If the space is labeled or everyone in the home, dorm or apartment has communicated about the placement, it makes evenings and hectic mornings better for all.
Stay in touch with the kids and adults and be sure to make eye contact for better retention of information. Make a routine of catching up on any details for school, work or life in general on Wednesdays or Thursdays to make sure your week is finished so all deadlines can be met. My daughter recently wrote a blog post for her job, which correlates to getting ready for back to school and fall life.
The end of summer can be full of mixed feelings as we approach Labor Day. I always associated the beginning of the carefree lifestyle with Memorial Day and the need to return to structure and more routines to be by Labor Day.
Let’s take a minute to say it’s been fun basking in the summertime and let’s look forward to what comes now.
Wishing you the best as you transition and embrace Ben’s words!
Now you are allowed to dream, contemplate, search for serenity and breathe. Take a vacation or a staycation and just be. What do you want to do for enjoyment? Fish, bike, swim, dive, garden, BBQ, sail, hike, golf, read, take an art class, drive across the USA, be a tourist in your own town or just chill.
For many school is out, business schedules aren’t as hectic and it is ok to visit that summer feeling of sun and fun or cool and relaxed! You have earned it and when the beginning of August arrives and it’s back to school and the structured rat race is near, then you can revisit the organizing plan again.
It will be time to reassess clothes, kitchens, patios, garages and any piles that may have accumulated in cars from the carefree summer days just to name a few! You will be ready after recharging and punching out for awhile. Studies have shown that people who take a break and take a vacation are happier in life and perform better throughout the year.
When you step away from the hustle you are able to experience another perspective on what is really important and why you are driven to do what you do all year.
Face it you have already gone through half the year and you want to be in gear for the fall season, the new school year, new work contracts, new clients, associations, teams and whatever else will lead you into the end of 2017. Before you know it the Holidays will be upon us!
Ask yourself is my schedule controlling me or am I controlling my schedule?? Where did the first half of this year go? Now go ahead and take time to be off the grid today and in the coming weeks. Lets make a plan to catch up and do some organizing and streamlining towards the end of this summer.
Your brain is an organ and a muscle that sucks up a huge amount of energy.
Our brains go through a natural cycle every 90 minutes according to the Organizational Dynamics publication, so pause and think relaxation. Go for a walk, talk to a friend, watch a funny YouTube clip or do 3 yoga poses.
Aren’t making decisions sometimes fatiguing?
What to wear?, What to cook?, Where to eat and How to schedule the week?
Are you guilty of multitasking?
This is also a big challenge for your brain.
Have an energized and organized day!
The first cold front just came through Miami recently and don’t laugh, it’s exhilarating for me because of the clear, clean feeling! Hearing, smelling, and breathing outside fresh air calms me down and I can sleep and breathe better. There is so much more clarity and vividness with cooler air.
While people in cooler climates are packing up their lawn furniture, closing their pools, and covering their BBQ’s we are ready for outdoor time. Bugs are gone; we need to check and prepare our plants, landscaping, outdoor furniture, fire pits, relaxing areas in our yards, patios, and balconies.
I recognize that humidity is good for our skin, joints, muscles and perhaps more, but it really makes the outside seem muddled and a bit foggy. We can’t even crack open our windows for months because of the extreme humidity and heat. We have a need for our air conditioners to be running as efficiently as possible with no air escaping or humidity coming in for us to remain comfortable for months.
I know you may think- stop complaining ! Many people welcome and love this heat constantly. I view this scenario as similar to the winter when much of life is inside for a few months. I remember growing up in the north east during winter with the heat on, the windows closed, and cars heated up before entering and bundling up for months until spring air allows the windows to be opened once again.
Yes there are summer activities that cool you off and there are amazing winter activities that thrive and thrill with cold air. My message is to just enjoy this time of year, be prepared wherever you are and be present so you can enjoy these seasonal moments .
Breathe deep Miami, get outside, open the windows and clear the air in your homes!
How organized is your kitchen? That is a great question for me, because it is my favorite room in a house to organize, reorganize. or unpack. This is probably because my top hobbies are cooking, wellness and nutrition. I also spent many years in the food business, so I have a passion for kitchens and the contents of kitchens.
How many people don’t know how many vegetable peelers or cheese slicers they have?
No one is going to wake up on a Saturday after working all week and say wow I can’t wait ! Let me see how many duplicates I have in my kitchen? let me scale this back and rearrange all of my kitchen stuff so I know what I have! Don’t laugh I would!
Many times we received gifts over 20 years ago and have never used them or save them thinking one day we will use them. Some examples are the vase, platter, appliance , fondue pot or sterling silver piece from Aunt Bee. I want to let you know it is ok to say goodbye to these items and no guilt is necessary . If you are not using these items there are plenty of people in this world who will.
I give you permission to reduce the quantity of all things in your kitchen . Believe me you will finally know what you have, where to find it, where to put it away and won’t have to buy another one since you didn’t know where it was.
Tips for starting this project besides calling me, begin with taking everything out and putting like things together. Next step is to evaluate, make decisions and reduce. After that take a look to see where the items can fit together in a place that makes sense. You definitely want to keep items you use daily in a convenient place ie. coffee maker , coffee and mugs near each other and dishes and glasses near the dishwasher. Items used less frequently can be put over the refrigerator or up high or down low in the back of a cabinet.
Yes you can have a junk drawer, but put some sort of divider in there so it won’t get out of control .
My new go to place for spices is inside a draw lying down so visibility is terrific. If there are additional bigger rubs ,spices etc that don’t fit, use the cabinet near your stovetop that has oils, vinegars, sauces, salt and pepper and put them there.
We all have to eat, so why not make it easier, more organized and fun to spend time in our kitchens.
How can it be ‘back to school” time already? By now you have probably shopped during the tax free time for supplies and have hopefully taken a day or more to decompress and relax during these lazy days of summer. Summer is also when some projects are planned and meant to be completed, but either way time has passed and now it’s crunch time.
It’s a fact that life is fast and everyone is working more and making less and everything is a click away. Getting stuff may not solve problems, but some say it can make you feel better. In reality this is not true, because the more stuff you have makes it harder to be productive in the daily routine of life. Choosing experiences over things could help in reducing the clutter.
Why not take a walk, spend time with friends, read or journal next time you are compelled to hit click.
In the SpareFoot.com (the largest storage marketplace) back to the grind survey, 45% of Americans believe fall months are the best time to get organized. They also reported that in less than two weeks after tidying up for school 55% of Americans feel disorganized again. 80% say it takes about five to ten minutes longer to get ready in the morning once school starts.
The following are some tips for staying organized and on time for the fall schedule:
1. Post a daily routine in a central location for homework, reading and bedtime
2. Set up and make breakfast and lunch the night before whenever possible
3. Label boxes, bins and your time, so that daily to-do lists work
4. Clean as you go
5. Make space for daily items i.e. lunch boxes, shoes and backpacks
6. Consider a parents’ bin or cubby for paperwork, $ for books, info for nurse, sports, music, art or any other required items to be returned to school
7. Go to bed gradually earlier each night of the week before school starts to prepare for the early morning grind
8. Set a timer each day for 15-20 min to keep up with mail and a once over throughout the house to keep clutter under control
I wish you a smooth transition as summer comes to a close.
I can’t say I am paperless, but I do try everyday to some degree. I have recently had many clients who are trying to do the same. It has been said that clutter is a result of postponed decisions and I have to agree.
I know some perfectionists get lost after a trauma or something devastating. Since they feel like they can no longer be perfect, their decision is to just to do nothing which is a decision in itself.
I feel passionate about helping people realize that life isn’t perfect, but having too much paper around is too stressful. I ask my clients if a hurricane comes tomorrow what are you taking with you? What really matters? Why is there such attachment to stuff?
Barbara Hemphill says in her book,Taming The Paper Tiger, that four out of every five pieces of paper saved in the typical file cabinet will never be needed again. You think oh, I may need this or that. I am not sure if we will all be paperless one day or not, but I am trying to decrease my own by paying bills online, not printing what isn’t necessary, banking and shopping with an email receipt only, reading from a kindle and sending less greeting cards. Also, as a rule of thumb, try to recycle after two weeks for a weekly item and recycling after two months for a monthly item. I also try to keep junk mail at a minimum online and snail mail by unsubscribing or dragging to my junk file. You may ask after minimizing paper, how to manage digitally as well?
I say one step at a time. In all areas strive for less in general. Spend a little extra time this summer to stay neat in Miami.
I recently attended a National Association of Professional Organizers conference and the speaker really got in my head when he mentioned “cognitive distortions.”
This means our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true. These thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking.
How many times do you have self doubt and compare yourself to others without knowing what they are carrying around with them???????
Yes this is brain trash, rubbish and junk! Why do we hold onto emotional clutter?
Clarity is seeing things as they are. Isn’t this what we all want to truly see?
It’s pretty common to go with our feelings instead of facts and this is where the distortion comes into play. The speaker Scott Greenberg made reference to The Giving Tree book. I am sure at some point everyone has read this.
The main premise is to have gratitude or in other words, want what you’ve got.
In order to ignore and clear out the mind trash, we have to focus on something bigger than ourselves. Face your fears and go for the action anyway. This will lead us into making connections. No matter what you do for a living this will put you in a better place. You won’t be worried about yourself. Facts and confidence will replace the rubbish.
This is when you can exist in a peaceful space both inside and out.
Practicing mindfulness or a brief 5 minutes of meditating everyday would be great too.
How many times have you moved the same item and then never wore it or used it?
I have many clients tell me that ‘this and that” (even expired food) has gone around the country and then we meet and decide together to finally take some action and say goodbye. They always say it wasn’t so hard after all.
It costs about $50 to move a box of stuff that can probably be replaced for less. Why not save money, time and space so you can live free with less. Consider the people who could benefit from having your items that no longer work for you.
I was very impressed with the “Resource Depot” in Palm Beach where our local chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers met this month. This nonprofit donation based creative reuse center diverted 95 tons of unusable materials from the waste stream last year!!!!!!
(Some examples of what this place takes are: parts of notebook binders, shoe boxes, games with missing pieces, nails, screws, folders, erasers, gift wrap, plastics, CD cases, tubes, wood pieces etc)
That is just one of sooooo many places to pass on your items. Check out Lotus House, JAFCO and any other place you may feel passionate about. If are meaningful items you just can’t part with, this is when you box them up and label them memories or memorabilia. We are allowed to be sentimental too.
Take the time now and your stress will be less when you unpack once again.
Contact us today to get started organizing!