Now What? A Great Planner for Students

May 27, 2015

I love a good planner and am always on the hunt for those which will help my clients feel more in control of their ‘to-do’ list. Here is a planner that I saw at the NAPO 2015 Conference last month.

I am  so excited about Order Out Of Chaos’ Academic Planner—A Tool For Time Management. This planner gives students a natural way to visualize time that helps them time manage and control their schedule. What makes this planner so special is the space at the bottom of the page for listing after-school activities and weekend plans. Students can identify if social commitments will interfere with school plans. Hence, at a glance, students can easily identify blocks of free time. With larger formatted pages, there is plenty of space to write assignment details as well as long-range events, like family vacations or camps.

 

For more information on the Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management, visit: http://orderoochaos.com/shop-products#!/~/product/category=5059090&id=34250373

Now What? Furniture Origami

May 20, 2015

Do you know what origami is? It’s the traditional Japanese folk art of paper folding. When I think of origami I think of intricately folded paper that resembles a swan, swallow, deer or some other graceful creature.

Never in my wildest imaginings did I think that a furniture company would name itself Origami. Well, this furniture company displayed some of their wares at the NAPO 2015 Conference in Los Angeles. The featured sturdy shelves that fold flat! These shelves can be installed in minutes because there is nothing to assemble. The shelves simply unfold and you lock them into place.

The company has a wide variety of shelves which serve multiple purposes. For instance, they have a Washer and Dryer Rack, a Mudroom Rack, a TV Rack, a Computer Desk and even a Laptop Trolley. I was amazed when I looked through their catalogue by the wide variety of shelving racks they offer.

StoreBack-Room-Display-Rack

Here’s a link to their site. http://www.origamirack.com There’s a video on the homepage which shows how easy it is to unfold the racks and pop them into place.

So, if you have a space that needs some shelving – particularly to use the vertical space. Investigate this option.

Let me know what you think!

Now What? Another NAPO 2015 update

May 13, 2015

Last week I told you about HomeZada – a wonderful computer program to help you with everything to do with your house and home. This week I’m reviewing the Purse Perfector. This is not a new invention but the company has been tweaking their design and this year I decided to really investigate it. This is the perfect tool to help organize your bottomless tote bag. You know the one you carry to the beach. The tote bag holds everything: your book, hat, sunscreen, water bottle and all the other various and sundry items we women carry in our bags. I don’t know about you but I always end up holding things in my bag for other members of my family too! Usually I am asked to please hang onto hats, sunglasses, other family member’s books or magazines so my tote bag is necessarily very big.

How do I find MY things amidst all these other belongings? Well, that’s where the Purse Perfector comes in very handy. It has pockets, sections, and slots to hold all my necessary items. It comes in two sizes: medium and large. It’s on sale right now in honor of Mother’s Day. Here is a picture from the website:

Large-Silver-Sage

I put my driver’s license, health insurance card and a credit card in the slots in the very front. My lip gloss goes in the little holder and right next to that I put gum or breath mints. I have room for a kindle or e-reader or small notebook in the center section. Behind that I put my reading glasses and sunglasses. Then I stash my keys in the section next to my glasses. This is how I keep my things all together and organized – even when they are at the bottom of a large tote bag!

The Purse Perfector comes in a variety of colors and you can use it in all sorts of different ways. It even zips apart if you want to use it in a small handbag. Check out their website for more information! http://www.purseperfector.com

Now What? Musings from the NAPO 2015 Conference

May 5, 2015

I’ve been home now a couple of weeks from the NAPO 2015 conference in Los Angeles. Can you imagine staying in a hotel with (I’m not sure exactly how many) about 600 or so professional organizers? It was a very large hotel and conference center. I get lost easily and so was thankful that the conference organizers had lots of signs directing us to various and sundry classrooms.

For us organizers (those new to the profession and those of us who are more experienced) it was a magnificent few days. It offered us time to connect with friends we really only talk to face to face once or twice a year as well as time to take classes. I made lots of new connections, took terrific classes, and visited with vendors in our expo hall to learn about the latest and greatest organizing products.

My head is still spinning from all the new information I acquired. I plan to take my time deciding how to incorporate this information. A few classes I took were focused on running a business. Even though I’ve been in business now for ten years (WOW!) the elements I took away from those classes will help me to run my business better and to better serve my clients. I’m excited about that.

My plan is to review with you some of the things I learned at NAPO 2015 that I plan to share with my clients. Maybe these are things you would like to implement also.

The first is a program you can download. I plan to use it myself. It’s called HomeZada. As I said this is a program you download but it is cloud based. So, it’s accessible from anywhere, anytime. This is important because the HomeZada program provides you with tools to create a fantastic home inventory. If anything should happen to your home because this is cloud based and you can access it from anywhere anytime you would still be able to provide the insurance company with an accurate record of the contents of your home. How fantastic is that! Also, a home inventory comes in very handy if you’re planning to move.

HomeZada also has a way to keep track of routine household maintenance schedules and renovations. You know that it’s important to have great records of any and all home improvements. With HomeZada you have a tool to record what you did, how much it cost, and when the renovation or repair happened. All very important details. The program does other things too but these are the functions that impressed me most.

I can’t wait to start creating my own home inventory. How about you? Are you interested? Does the thought of having a home inventory, maintenance records, home improvements, user manuals all in one place – thus easy to find and access – thrill you? Check out HomeZada at: http://www.homezada.com and let me know what you think!

Do Your Best

March 17, 2015

There are a few organizer sayings that I often hear and even more often repeat to my clients. One of them goes like this… It doesn’t have to be perfect, just make it good enough! The message behind this statement is fairly clear but in the interest of complete transparency let me explain it further.

When you begin a project you have a vision in your mind’s eye – a picture of how you want the project to look once completed. This vision is probably close to perfection, if not perfection. However, it’s not always possible to achieve that level of perfection. So, if you finish the project and you’ve done your best, be happy with good enough.

How do you know if it’s good enough? Well, you can ask some questions – and answer them.

Does the completed project solve the problem?

Will you be able to maintain the organization?

Does it make you happy?

Does it look the way you’d like it to (even if it doesn’t match the picture in your mind’s eye)?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions then it’s definitely good enough!

I always work towards doing my best. I firmly believe that is all anyone can ask of another. So, if you consistently put out lots of effort and do your best, be happy with good enough!

Do You Have Time?

February 25, 2015

Do you wonder how some people seem to have more time in their day? You know, these are the people who accomplish many of their tasks during the day. They plow through their ‘to-do’ lists and still have time to exercise or relax over lunch with a friend.

Other people struggle to get even two items crossed off their ‘to-do’ list. Why is this? We all have the same number of hours in each day to use so why is it that some people accomplish more in the same amount of time?

I think we’re all so busy – our days are jam packed full – that we forget to stop and ask ourselves is this the best use of my time right now. When you ask yourself that question you might be surprised at the answer you give yourself.

Perhaps, instead of spending your time running a quick errand now you can combine that errand later in the day with picking the children up from school. Then, you’ll have time now to work on the project at home that you’d like to complete by the end of the month.

Maybe, you’re hosting the book club at your house later this week. What do you need to do to get ready for this event? Take a few minutes to write down all the small steps to take to make your home ready to welcome your friends. Then, schedule in your calendar to take care of these small steps. You’ll be much more relaxed and ready to talk about the book if you take the time to prepare yourself in advance.

Doing small tasks because you think you should be doing something is not always the best use of time. Take time to think about the things that matter most to you. What is really important to accomplish? Write it down. What are the small tasks that you can do – a little here and there? Write them down. Now get out your calendar and plan your time accordingly.

Before you know it you’ll be one of those people who get all the ‘to-dos’ on their ‘to-do’ list done!

For more tips on managing your time check out my book: Now What? A Simple Organizing Guide

Proud Navy Mom

February 4, 2015

IMG_0754
A little more than a year ago my son told me that he wanted to enlist in the Navy. I told him that would be terrific. He had just turned 28 years old and was looking at this opportunity with the Navy as a career choice. He also told me that he had some work to do before he would be considered.

Of course, I was curious.. what kind of work did he need to do? To be accepted he needed to meet the weight requirements for his height. I knew that would be tough. My son was in great shape and had been working out so had built lots of big bulky muscles. He had to do more than change his diet he had to change his workout strategy so that he would stay strong and fit but loose muscle mass. That’s a huge challenge. He enlisted the help of a trainer at a local gym. Together they made a detailed plan.

In addition to that he told me he wanted to study hard so that he would do well on the placement test. He figured out what he needed to study, looked at his calendar and plotted the different subjects into the months. He also scheduled review sessions so the material would be fresh in his mind. He also needed to move home – to do that he had to clean out his house and list it for sale. These were very big long-term projects but he was determined. He broke these projects down into small, manageable steps. He set achievable bench marks and rewarded himself along the way. He made lists and stuck to his plan.

He moved home in late September and started boot camp with the Navy in early December. All the while he studied for those tests, continued to follow his diet plan and worked out.

This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of attending his graduation. He is now a sailor! This just goes to show that hard work, dedication to a dream, determination, and planning pay off. I am a proud Navy mom!

Daily Routines?

January 27, 2015

Do you have routines that you follow day in and day out? Did you know that having a routine can save you time?

Routines save you time because the tasks that  make up the routine are simple and easy to complete in one or two steps. When you do these simple short tasks one followed by the other chores get done quickly!

What sorts of tasks do you think I’m talking about?

Which tasks will help you start your day?

My daily routines involve tasks that help me feel settled as I head out the door.

I make the bed, walk my dogs (by the way, walking the dogs first thing in the morning allows me peaceful time to think about the direction of my day and I get exercise – a double benefit!), get some breakfast and then check my indoor plants to see if they need water.

My evening routine involves making a to-do list for the next day. I tidy my desk and evaluate where I am in the work that I’m doing, think about my appointments for the next day, and gather all the items I need to take with me.

These routines don’t take long – maybe 15 minutes in the evening and about an hour in the morning. This is because my dogs and I usually walk for about 30 minutes. I have more information about daily routines in my book: Now What? A Simple Organizing Guide.

What daily routines can you create for yourself to make your days run more smoothly? Write me back, I’d love to know!

Think Replacement…

January 21, 2015

I often get asked how to organize a closet. Something to remember is that we generally wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the tIme! You know which clothes are your favorites. Since this is true, why are closets so full to over-flowing? My suspicion is that garments are not replaced. By that I mean when shopping for yourself, are you replacing something that is worn or that is either too big or too small or are you shopping because you’d like a new outfit?

If you have children, this is something you do already – I hope. First, you sort through their clothes. As you sort, you determine which clothes are too small and which ones are so well worn that they must be either cut up into rags or tossed. The too small clothes are put into bags or boxes to hand down to a younger child or relative or to donate. Then you go shopping to replace those clothes. If you don’t have children I bet this is something that your mother did for you as a child!

So, if your closet is over-full ask yourself when you go to buy clothes what are you replacing?

As a professional organizer I recommend you remove 2 items for every item you bring in. This adds space to your closet. You’ll be able to see what you have and find what you’re looking for!

Here are some other closet organizing tips:

1. Group your clothes according to type and color. Put short sleeved shirts together, long-sleeved shirts together, slacks, skirts, jackets, and dresses together. Then sort by color within the grouping.

2. Take a hard look at what you have. How many pairs of black pants do you have? How many do you need? How many can you wear at one time?

3. If you have ever put something on, looked in the mirror, and then said to yourself, “this doesn’t look right…”. You take off that garment and then put it back in your closet, right? I suggest that you take off that garment and give it away. If it doesn’t feel right or look right today it will never look right!

4. Keep a donation bag in your closet for those clothes and for any clothes or shoes that you haven’t worn in awhile.

5. Turn the hangers backwards. As you wear an item turn that hanger around. At the end of 6 months revisit your closet and take a look at the hangers that remain backwards. Consider giving those clothes away. The exception to this rule is the clothes that are special event clothes.

If organizing your closet is on your list to do, follow these tips and remember to think replacement!

Let’s Get Started

January 13, 2015

I don’t know about you but many times I start a project with a picture of what the end will look like to me. I also typically will have an end time in mind. Is this true for you, too? When you think about beginning a project do you have a vision of the finished project in your mind’s eye along with a completed by date?

What happens next? Well, for me, I break the project down into small steps. I like to write each step on a separate line. If I do it on the computer I print it when I’m finished (I could also use a pencil and a piece of paper). Then I get out my calendar and starting backwards I enter each small step into my calendar. Essentially, scheduling appointments with myself. This way I can ensure that all the steps I need to take to complete the project will be done because I have allocated the time each week to moving forward with this project.

What if the project is so big that it is overwhelming? Perhaps you don’t have an end in sight. Maybe the very thought of working on this project makes your head ache!

What do you think would happen if you just started to work on this overwhelming project? Just pick a place and start. Decide how long you want to work on it. Once you’ve figured out how much time you want to spend on the project today set your timer. Just dive in to that one spot where you decided to start. Take a box or a bag with you so that anything that doesn’t belong in that space has a place to go (into the box or bag). When the timer goes off spend a few more minutes going through the contents of the box or bag. Recycle or toss anything that needs to be recycled or thrown out. Have a box or bag ready for any items that you want to donate – put that in your car. Finally, put away any remaining items.

Try to spend a few minutes everyday or every few days working on this overwhelming project. Before you know it the project won’t be so overwhelming. So let’s get started. Write me back and tell me about a project or space in your home that is overwhelming you.


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