Using Technology To Get Organized In Your Home and Office

Using Technology To Get Organized In Your Home and Office

I had the pleasure of being on the Real 2 Real radio show with Tamara Gooch last week where I talked about using technology to get organized in your home and office. That was just a few of the things we discussed.

We talked about getting organized and the importance of clearing the clutter and how that affects your mind. We also discussed the work I am doing with the National Association of Professional Organizers on a National and Local level. I also drop tips for January Get Organized Month and how you can start now.

I really enjoyed the chat and you can even hear Tamara’s “little CEO in training” in the background. Which goes to show even busy moms can still get it done while caring for their young. I was actually sitting in the parking lot of my daughter’s ballet school doing the interview.

I hope you can take away some great tips and inspiration to help you get started organizing and getting comfortable with technology. Listen in.

 

GIT Podcast #021 – Are You Answering The Right Question? Avoiding Shiny Object Syndrome

GIT Podcast #021 – Are You Answering The Right Question? Avoiding Shiny Object Syndrome

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It’s a new year and time to evaluate some of the systems you have been using. In this month’s podcast I discuss whether or not you are asking and answering yourself the right question when it comes to getting a new app or implementing a new piece of software or system for your business and how this helps you avoid the trap of the bright shiny object syndrome.  Listen in!

Show Notes:

Don’t fall for “shiny object” syndrome! Focus on what problem does this solve for me right now in my business that this can help NOW.

  • Ask yourself “What can I use this app or software for right now?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Decisions

Simple Decisions

Perseverance ConceptEverything takes a simple decision. Either we do or don’t. Either we will or won’t.

Simple, right. Or is it?

When it comes to our clutter it all boils down to the decision we choose to make or not make. We can make the decision to put our things back where they belong. We can make the decision to take 15 minutes each day decluttering one area of our home. Or we can just decide not to start or do something else that won’t get us closer to our goal. Simple.

No matter how hard it may be to hear, it is a simple decision and that decision starts with YOU. You can decide right now to start somewhere. Anywhere. But just start.

Simple decision, but big reward.

Moving Forward

Recently reading the book “The Power of Perseverance” by Joseph M. Ripley, Sr. I read a statement that said “Make up your mind to move forward before you see it.” Reading that statement I thought about how that applies to getting organized. Most people are paralyzed to move because they can’t see the end. They can’t envision the space uncluttered.

But you don’t have to see the end before you get started. The important thing is to get started. If you make up your mind to start and press on you will eventually accomplish what you set out to do.

I want you to go into this new year with a sense of determination and perseverance to finally get organized. Start where you are and don’t let anything deter you from finishing what you start.

Samantha

 

Your Best Life 2016

Your Best Life 2016

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of doing a Blab with my dear friends Valerie Priester and Elmira Loftin. We discussed ways to have your best life in 2016 in every area of your life.

Valerie gave tips on mindset help, Elmira gave tips on self-care and I gave tips on getting organized. Listen in to this fun and informative message.

Learn more about my co-hosts:

Valerie PriesterVictorious Life Coaching

Elmira LoftinAnother Touch Massage

Check out the blab below:

 

 

My Favorite Tech Tools: Evernote

My Favorite Tech Tools: Evernote

I want to share with you another of my favorite tools for being productive. That is Evernote.

Evernote is literally my electronic brain. I keep so many things in Evernote. I mainly use it for personal items, research, and business. I like to keep things like picture of my license plate or my library card in there. Those things you need when you are out and about and need the info quickly. I scan in my kids paperwork from school. I keep client files and notes in there. I keep clippings from websites and any research that I am doing in there.

There are so many things you can put into Evernote and do with Evernote. You may get overwhelmed with all of the possibilities, but don’t. I held a workshop on October 22, 2015 where I shared how to use Evernote and set up a custom file system for your life and business. You can grab the replay by clicking the button below. I shared and demonstrated for almost 2 hours.


Get The Replay!

If you have been wondering about that green and grey elephant on your phone or tablet then you need to get in my class.

Listen below as I share with you other ways that I use Evernote to be productive.

If you don’t have the app you can get it on Apple or Android. You can also get Scannable to scan in documents.

My Favorite Tech Tools: Vcita

My Favorite Tech Tools: Vcita

Today I Periscoped on a tech tool that I use in my business to stay organized. That tool is Vcita.

Vcita helps me stay on top of my schedule when it comes to my business. I love all that you can do with Vcita. Not only scheduling, but invoicing, sharing documents and chatting just to name a few. If you have been wondering about that box that pops up that says “let’s chat” on the bottom right hand side, then watch the replay to learn more about what this tool can do to change your business scheduling. Get your free account by going to http://www.organizingguru.com/vcita.

One thing I forgot to mention is that they do have a iPad/iPhone app and Android app that is now available. I love it! This really took my scheduling to a whole nother level. Now I get notifications right on my phone instead of waiting on the emails to come. I can interact right where I am.

GIT Podcast #020 – How To Deal With App Overwhelm

GIT Podcast #020 – How To Deal With App Overwhelm

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I am back! Let’s get this party train rolling. This week I talk about how to avoid app overwhelm and finding what works best for you. Listen in!

Show Notes:

With so many apps out there how do you know where to start? What’s the best for you? Here are some quick tips to help you overcome app overwhelm.

  1. Pick 3 or 4 apps to start.
  2. Learn how to use throroughly. You can take a live class, read, or go to Youtube. Trial and error has also been of great help to me when learning new things.
  3. 30 days please! Tak 30 days to try out the app. This gives you plenty of time to see how it works in your life and business.
  4. Re-evaluate. After your 30 days it is time to evaluate what is working and what is not working. If you find that the app is not for you or you didn’t like it then delete it. Don’t just let it sit and linger on your phone or tablet. If you have found that it works for you and you like it then keep it and don’t go looking any futher.
  5. Stay focused! Avoid the “bright shiny object” syndrome. If you have found an app that works for you then stick with it. Don’t go looking for better, because there is always better out there. If someone mentions some new app, make note of it, but don’t go rush to download it and try it out. Stick with what is working for you.
  6. Bonus Tip: Group your apps into catergories. For example: Business, Spiritual, Reading, Email, Finance. You get the picture. Also you want to keep your most used and important apps on the front screen of your phone or tablet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organized Children Is Not A Myth! Organize Kids For Success

Organized Children Is Not A Myth! Organize Kids For Success

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  

Portrait of Happy Family In Park

Learning how to organize kids does not have to be some big mystery. Organizing children is essential for a parent’s sanity. Better still, teaching our kids to be organized is a reward for us and a gift to them for their future. While knowing that teaching children to pick up after themselves is the first step to organize kids, getting them to the point where this is automatically done without the temper tantrums is another step. If it’s not easy for them, you can be sure they really are not going to make it easy for us.

Organizing children is more than just telling a toddler to pick up their toys and school work. As parents we have to teach them, and train them in the art of organization. The two main areas we focus on in achieving harmony when organizing children are the playroom, or the play area of our home, and organizing the kid’s bedrooms.

The playroom, for example, should begin with making sure that everything has a place, and that place is logical and accessible. This is achievable no matter what sort of playroom or play area your children have. Everything having a place could mean having a basket, storage container or toy box that certain toys are kept in like the corner of the living room, or somewhere in their playroom. I say “certain toys” because books live on a bookshelf, or in a convenient book stack, and Lego or building blocks go together in a container with other toys of its kind. Naturally there are shelf toys where room area allows and these toys live in their own place on that shelf. Toys that your child is allowed to play with by themselves should be on a low shelf that is easy for them to reach. There are some toys that Moms like to supervise when their child plays with them and these can stay on a high shelf.

Organizing a child’s bedroom is usually seen as something the Mother would do, but if you want real results and a system or order that your child will follow, you should do this activity together. You both know that some clothes get hung up and some clothes go into a drawer. This is where you can get creative. All of the drawers don’t have to be the same color; perhaps socks and singlets can go into the drawer with the red handle and pajamas can go into the drawer with blue handles. Then what about the clothes that hang up? Clothes that need to hang do not need to be placed so far up that they can’t be reached. Hang the bar lower for your child’s height.

Keep in mind that children grow up fast. The toys that they loved last month can be “babies stuff” today. Kids grow out of their clothes so fast, but if you think they are far too cute to get rid of then store just a few of your favorites in a clear plastic bin. Once we have our children organized the idea is to keep them organized.This will take a little sorting and purging every now and then. A little done each month saves a whole lot of time at the end of the year. Do not wait for Santa to be near before suddenly realizing you need to make room. Who has the time to do that at Christmas time?

Organizing children is not complicated; in fact with a little help and elbow grease it can be moderately easy. Remember that if you want to organize kids you have to set a good example yourself. Make sure that you are keeping your things organized and your child will want to do the same. I think when you organize kids you help them do better in life.

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  
Organizing The Bathroom With Simple Tools

Organizing The Bathroom With Simple Tools

Although it’s a small room (unless you have a mansion!) the bathroom can be a very messy, cluttered space. Why not organize the space you spend a good part of your time for maximum efficiency. Let me share with you some tips for organizing the bathroom that I use with my own clients.

  • Group like items together.

 

  • Use clear Ziploc bags under counters to corral like items.

 

The following are some pictures from my bathroom. Living in a small space I need to make the most of what I have and these clever organizing solutions for unconventional items fit the bill.

I use the pantry that was once in my kitchen to organize all of my toiletries in the bathroom. I can also keep towels and other essentials in a closed cabinet that looks good.

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I use this CD Cabinet to help organize my bath products and hair products. It keeps things that would normally hang in the shower.

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These small drawers are great for organizing makeup. You can also put other small items in there like jewelry.
The point is to be creative when organizing the bathroom. A bathroom organizer can help you to group all the little things in a neat way.

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Some of the items that you see used here to help you in organizing your bathroom are also used to help organize the kitchen.

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  

*This post contains amazon affiliate links. If you choose to purchase I will get a fee. This does not affect what I recommend as I only recommend what I use and have used.

Filing Systems Rule The World!

Filing Systems Rule The World!

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  

Okay, not really but they are important. Filing systems are the heartbeat of taming your paper clutter. You don’t need an extravagant system in order to file away your important papers. Anything can be used to start a system. Below are a few of my favorites that I use with my clients. (In no particular order!)

1. Freedom Filer

I have just started to implement this filing system for my personal files. I was turned onto it by another organizer who uses it with all of her clients. I was curious so I bought the deluxe kit and haven’t looked back. I really like that the tabs and labels are already made up for you which we all know is the hardest thing when it’s time to file. All you have to provide are the manilla folders and hanging folders.

This system can be set up in a regular filing cabinet, a file drawer, desktop file or a crate. It comes with helpful cards to let you know the retention period for the items that you are filing.

I also get email reminders to change out my folders and to purge. To learn more about this amazing filing system click the link below.

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This system is perfect for those who like to file the old fashion way and don’t necessarily want a computer based system. This system is totally expandable for whatever your needs are.

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2. Paper Tiger

I personally use this program in my home office and my personal files too. I find it to be a great organizing tool for people who don’t like to file because of having to alphabetize or make new file folders with names.

I have used this system with my clients who have ADD/ADHD. It works great for them because they can file according to number and use the keyword feature to name the file inside the numbers whatever they like. Because of the option of using it on your computer or printing out the file index, filing for anyone who just doesn’t have time has become a whole lot easier.

Paper Tiger can be used to organize just about anything from books to CDs and whatever you might want. Using the numbering system, you can set up files for each project if you wish. The possibilities are endless.

Find anything in your office in 5 SECONDS or less – Guaranteed!

Now they have an online option that links up with Google Docs!

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3. Home File

This is a really neat system. My mother uses this system because she is chronically disorganized and she likes how simple it is to use. The Home File system uses printed divider cards that can be used with hanging file folders and manila folders. Categories are printed right on the divider with instructions for what to file and what not to file in this category. It also tells you how long to retain the information that you file away. Genius! This is great for financial filing and home filing. Filing2

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(Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. You are not obligated to buy anything. However if you choose to purchase anything from my affiliate links I am truly grateful and I am able to provide you more free content like what is on this site.)

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  
Are You A Victim Of Planner Overwhelm?

Are You A Victim Of Planner Overwhelm?

Today I wrote a post over on LinkedIn about “How Not To Fall Into Planner Overwhelm.” With so many choices out there it is so easy to become paralyzed. You don’t want to make the wrong choice, but you do need to make a choice. I share with you some tips on how I have managed to overcome this planner anxiety and what you can do to overcome too. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments below. Also share with a friend who you know is going through planner anxiety. You never know who you might help by passing the information along.

How Not To Fall Into Planner Overwhelm

Some of the sources I shared on planners I have used:

Business Office Organizing…With All Of These People?!

Business Office Organizing…With All Of These People?!

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  

Business office organizing is not just about getting your office in order and all paperwork filed. It goes further. When you talk about organizing your business you have to consider and calculate your return on investment (ROI). Your ROI is important in figuring out what tasks and activities you will engage in and how it will help your bottom line.
Organizing your business office can be done just as easily as organizing your home. The same principles still apply. The only difference is that you have more people that the outcome will effect.GIT Jewels 111414

FIRST STEPS IN ORGANIZING THE OFFICE:

• Everyone must be on board
• Systems help keep everyone organized
• Central location for files

Everyone must be on board when you are trying to get the office organized. It will take everyone’s effort to keep the system running smoothly.
Systems are things that help to automate your office. An example of a system would be having a detailed plan that tells anyone who is looking how to handle incoming customer calls. Systems entail setting up tasks that can be ran in your absence. You might have a system for handling delinquent accounts. Whatever your system is you need to have it down on paper and make sure that everyone in your company knows and understands how the system works. With a system you will be able to keep everyone organized.

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If you deal with paperwork I suggest that you keep a central filing system for company files. It is okay if your employees keep files at their desk that pertain to their particular job function, but customer and company paperwork should be kept in a central location. With one filing system in place everyone will be able to put files back where they belong. There will be no more running around looking for a customer file that someone has stashed in their office and forgot to tell anyone.

I also suggest that if you use a central filing system that you implement a check in and check out system in order to keep up with who has what file at any given time. There is nothing worse than someone having to go around the entire office and find out where a file is. That is unproductive and wastes precious time.

If you would like to learn of a system that is perfect for getting your office files organized check out MobilLogic. MobilLogic is great for marrying paper and digital files. Always know where important files are. Learn more here.

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  
Practical Ways To Organize Paperwork

Practical Ways To Organize Paperwork

One of the biggest complaints that I hear as an organizer is about ways to organize paperwork!

Even though we are in the information age with all of these electronics to make life simpler, all it has managed to do is create more paper. And the more paper we produce the more solutions we have to come up with to organize it.

How many of you print out your emails?

This creates more paper! Also adding to the paper mountain is junk mail and catalogs and other meaningless clutter.

How can I organize paperwork you ask?

paperworkWell, the key to organizing paperwork lies in:

  1. Handling mail as it comes in.
  2. Having a filing system.
  3. Following a retention schedule.

I also recommend to all of my clients to not go through paperwork alone. Group all your paper into a box(s). This way you can grab a box at your leisure. Go through the box while watching television or with a friend or with the kids one afternoon.

Don’t get discouraged while going through your paperwork. Organizing paperwork is the most tedious of all organizing tasks. If you do it with a friend, spouse or professional organizer it will go much faster and can even be fun.

Don’t put it off any longer. Get started now with your paper management plan!

 

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  
The Art of Maintaining Your Spring Cleaning

The Art of Maintaining Your Spring Cleaning

spring cleaningLast week we talked about spring cleaning your home. This week we will talk about maintaining your freshly cleaned and organized home. You certainly don’t want to see it all go back to what is was before you started. Which it will do without a maintenance plan.

Staying organized takes work and can be a learned habit. Use the following tips to help keep your home looking like you just finished cleaning.

It’s All About Maintaining!

  1. Keep a small basket in each room for things that do not belong. Get in the habit of checking the basket as you leave the room for items that might belong somewhere else. You can also set a basket at the bottom of stairs to collect items to go upstairs when you retire for the night.
  2. Keep all of your cleaning supplies together, along with rags, paper towels, scrub brushes, and any other items you may need to complete any cleaning task. Use a bucket or cleaning supply caddy to make grabbing the necessary tools a snap when it is time to do your daily chores. I also like to keep cleaning supplies near or in the room where they are used. (ex. bathroom cleaning supplies in bathroom, kitchen cleaning supplies in kitchen.)
  3. Sort through your mail each day when it is brought in. Immediately throw away junk mail, saving only important letters and advertisements that you are planning to use. Place all the mail in a designated area and file the bills away after they are paid.
  4. When choosing containers for storage, look for lidded boxes, bowls, and bags that are clear. When you go looking for an item, it will be easier to find if you can see into the containers without opening each and every one. For items that you are storing away that you don’t want to see make sure that you label what is inside. Also saving you looking time.
  5. Every night after dinner, make sure that all the dishes are cleaned and put away, or at least rinsed and put into the dishwasher, until there is a full load. Don’t let the dishes pile up and say to yourself you will get them in the morning, because you won’t. Then it will become a overwhelming chore. I like to wash as I cook or at least get someone else to do the dishes as I cook.
  6. Wipe counters and tables after each meal. Sweep up any crumbs that you may have knocked on the floor or dropped by accident while eating.
  7. If you set aside a little time at the end of each week to do a more in-depth cleaning you will be surprised at how fast maintaining your spring clean will go.
  8. Check the fridge and pantry for expired food and make a grocery list of what you are out of and need. Wipe the stove, cabinets, table, and counters thoroughly, and clean the floor well.

By following these tips you can be sure that your initial spring clean will not be in vain and you can relax knowing that your home will be clean and inviting all season long.

A 3 Step Plan for Spring Cleaning Your Home

A 3 Step Plan for Spring Cleaning Your Home

The cold days of winter are almost over (except here in Nashville) and the fresh breezes of spring are beginning to blow. As we usher in Spring, many of us take a look at our homes and want to rid ourselves of the stale, winter feeling and start the season off with a clean and organized home. Spring cleaning can be hard work, but it’s rewarding work and a way to start fresh. So get ready and roll up your sleeves, it is time to get your home in order.

All You Need Are These 3 Steps!

There are three basic steps to spring cleaning: Deep Cleaning, Organization, and Maintenance.

Step 1: Deep Cleaning. Deep cleaning consists of wiping down walls, cleaning windows, wiping out cupboards, and cleaning under furniture. This is the messy part of spring cleaning, but it will rid your house of the dirt, grime, and germs that you have collected over the winter.

Step 2: Organization. Organization means cleaning out closets, drawers, and cabinets. Go through clothing and toys to get rid of things that have been outgrown. Free yourself of all of the unused and broken items around the house and create more space to properly store the things that you do use regularly. Having a well organized home can make life easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

Step 3: Maintenance. The first two steps can be completed at the same time, but maintenance will take some extra steps and dedication on your part throughout the year. Keeping up on organization is usually the biggest hurdle for most families, as old habits can be hard to break and getting everyone on board to help keep up the changes can be challenging. To combat this make sure that you have everyone on board and go over the maintenance plan in order to keep your home in its new pristine condition.

While jumping into spring cleaning feet first might seem like the best way to approach the tasks at hand, your best bet would be to take your time and plan things out before beginning. Like they say “plan your work and work your plan.” Complete the following list of tasks before starting your spring cleaning and you will find your project going faster and smoother.

  • Start by evaluating each room and its organizational needs. Grab a notebook and jot down everything that needs to be addressed in each room before starting. For instance, if there is a messy stack of magazines on the coffee table, make a note to buy a magazine rack. You can even make a spreadsheet or list if you like to do things on your computer. That way you can keep everything at hand.
  • Take stock of what cleaning supplies you already have on hand and what you will need to get to complete all your jobs. Add to the list any organizational tools that you need for each of your rooms. Having your supplies ready before you start will save you from running to the store, dirty from cleaning, to replace something that you have run out of, which might also cause you to lose motivation and focus. Before you buy any organizing bins take stock of what you might already have and can reuse.
  • Have a few motivators on hand. Find some type of reward for yourself for completing the larger tasks, such as a favorite snack for breaks. Turn on some upbeat music to keep you going and make the job go by faster. Take frequent breaks in order to refocus and re-energize.
  • Give each room a quick once over before starting your deep cleaning. If the dishes are washed, toys are picked up, and laundry is done, you will have the necessary space to get into the bigger jobs.
  • Return to your notebook and formulate your plan of attack. List each room and all of the tasks that need to be completed in detail. As you finish a job, check it off and see just how much progress you have made throughout the day. This will not only give you a sense of accomplishment but will also keep you motivated to move forward and keep going.

I hope that you will take these tips and action steps to get started on your Spring cleaning project. The sooner you get started the sooner you will be finished and can enjoy the rest of Spring in a nice clean, organized home.

Feng What? Feng Shui! Oh…

Feng What? Feng Shui! Oh…

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  

In recent years there has been a surge of interest in Feng Shui. What is it and how can you get it you may ask. Well, I am in no way an expert in this area, but I asked my friend Carole Gedelman who is a Certified Feng Shui expert to give me the low down.

I for one have seen the wonders that can happen in your life from Feng Shui. Not only that, Carole is excellent in what she does and has even helped a friend of ours to find true love and get married because of the job that Carole preformed in her house! Now if that is not a reason to find out more then I don’t know what is. But I will let Carole take it from here…

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Introduction to Feng Shui by Carole Gedelman

So let’s get down to basics. What is this Feng Shui? I can’t even say it.To help you out of this delimma lets look at how you say Feng Shui. The way to pronounce it is “Fung Shway”. This translates into Wind and Water (what is seen and unseen; as within, without).

History of Feng Shui

The Chinese have been studying the system of environmental placemet 3000+ years. Westerners, by comparison, have only been applying the principles in recent years.

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What is Feng Shui?

The underlying principle of feng shui is to live in harmony with your environment so that the energy (chi) surrounding you supports you rather than working against you. Energy affects every aspect of life including Relationships, Health, Wealth and Happiness.

What Feng Shui Is Not

It is not a religion. It is based on quantum physics. It is not a belief system. Asking someone if they believe in feng shui is like asking them if they believe in the weather.

Below is some suggested reading by Terah Kathryn Collins:

The Western Guide to Feng Shui, Room by Room

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Home Designs with Feng Shui A to Z

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Here are 7 “Clear the Way” Questions that can be found in The Western Guide to Feng Shui – Room by Room, pg.21

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Do I need it?
  3. Does it support who I am now?
  4. Does it act as an environmental affirmation for me?
  5. What positive or negative thoughts, memories, or emotions do I associate with it?
  6. Does it need to be fixed or repaired, and am I willing to do so now?
  7. If it’s time to let it go, am I going to sell, donate, or throw it away – and, when?

I hope this gives you some insight in to Feng Shui.

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  
10 Free Ways to Reduce Stress

10 Free Ways to Reduce Stress


Everyone needs to relax sometimes in order to keep stress at bay and not end up sick. The problem that usually arises is most people think about the most expensive ways to unwind, but what if you are on a budget or don’t have the funds. Does that mean you can’t enjoy a little R&R too?

No! There are ways that you can relax without spending a dime and I will share with you some that you can go do right away for FREE.

Here is a list of ideas for relaxing without breaking your pockets:

1. Exercise. It’s free to walk around your neighborhood or the park or even a school track. And it has been proven that walking reduces stress and anxiety and is a great way to get in shape. I often take a 30 to 45 minute walk every day. I also use that time to listen to different podcasts and audio books. I have also been known to come up with great ideas on my walks.

2. Meditation. This doesn’t have to be the woo type of meditation. Simply sitting somewhere in silence and emptying your mind can be very relaxing. All you need is 30 minutes and some deep breathing and you will feel a whole lot better.

3. Naps! I am a big advocate of naps. I take one every day. It is a requirement for me to be refreshed and focused when I get up. Even if you can squeeze in 15 to 45 minutes that will do you a world of good and will help you to be more relaxed and rejuvenated.

4. Gabbing with a Friend. Whether you do this over the phone or in person just calling up a friend and catching up or venting can be quite relaxing. Talking with friends helps us to reminisce about the good old days and takes our mind off of the stresses of the day.

5. Listen to Music. You can grab your phone or iPod or turn on your computer and play some music. There are all types of music out there and tuning into what you like can help you relax immensely. I like to listen to Pandora and turn on the classical station when I am doing work. I also like to make playlists for when I am just lounging around the house and in the mood to jam.

6. Read a Book. I love reading and with my Kindle Paperwhite I am never at a loss for material to read. I like to either fire up the Kindle and read a good book or actually pull a good book from my shelf and find a cozy spot in the house and sit and read in silence. It is the most relaxing thing.

7. Bubble Bath. Fix yourself a hot bubble bath and grab yourself a good book, some nice music and if you drink – a glass of wine and unwind in the bathroom. Very relaxing and free.

8. Look at Old Photos. Strolling down memory lane with your kids can be very relaxing. Unless you had a terrible childhood, sharing your baby photos or childhood photos can be very enjoyable and relaxing. If so you can pull out old photos from when you were a young adult and share. Even looking at photos from ten years ago can bring back fond memories and a few laughs.

9. Play Games. Family game night is one of the most fun things we do in our house. But you can also play games on your computer. I have several games that I play just to relax and have fun by myself. When was the last time you played your favorite board game? Pull out Scrabble or Monopoly and fix some snacks and game night is a go.

10. Daydream. I daydreamed a lot as a child and I still do occasionally. Daydreaming is a great way to just let your mind wander and to relax and go to another place, a happy place. All for free.

These are just a few ways that you can relax for free, but there are tons of other ways too. The key is to be creative and to have fun in whatever you choose to do. Don’t stress out about finding the perfect technique or waiting on the perfect time. Don’t let guilt of not doing anything rob you of being stress free. We all need downtime. Just take one of these suggestions and do them today. Your body will thank you.

Closet Organization: The Truth About Your Clothes

Closet Organization: The Truth About Your Clothes

GIT JewelsWhen it comes to closet organization everyone has a dirty little secret in their closet. Old clothes, clothes to small, clothes to large and fashion no-no’s. It all resides in our closets.

Why do we abuse our closets with useless junk and “one day” outfits? Because when it comes to our closets, it is so easy to just close the door! Closets can be overwhelming depending on the size. But with my step by step instructions we can get through the jungle of your closet together.

So let’s begin!

Step 1: Take It All Out

Depending on the size of your closet this may be practical or overwhelming. So let’s say that your closet is small. You will want to pull everything out in order to have a clean slate to work with. Now, if you have a large closet or a huge walk in closet you will want to start at the back of your closet and work your way out. Take things and clothes out the back of your closet in sections. That way it will not be so overwhelming.

Sidebar: Now is a good time to vacuum the closet floor and dust the shelves. What? You think I am going to let you put organized things back into a dirty closet? Not on your life!

Step 2: Sort, Purge, Try On!

Regardless of the size of your closet or how you started this part will be the same. You should have four boxes that are labeled “toss”, “garage sale”, “charity”, and “another room”.

Okay, now you will start sorting into your various boxes what you have pulled out of your closet. This is the time to try on your clothes. See what fits,what doesn’t. Put to the side what you want to keep. We will deal with those things later.

Back to the sort.

Don’t forget to try on shoes also. Ladies (and some Men!) I know how hard shoes are, but take baby steps in this area.

Think realisticly about your clothes and shoes. Only 20% of it is worn 80% of the time. If you are 10 years out of highschool and still have clothes that you wore in highschool it is time to get rid of these!

Take out any items that don’t belong in your bedroom closet. If you have a item in your closet that needs to stay, but don’t have anywhere else to put it, then it can go back in once you finish step 2.

Step 3: Time To Put It Back Together!

So you have everything sorted and purged and you have saved only the things you can wear now and love. Great! Pat yourself on the back. The hardest part is behind you and now it is time to put it back together.

Sidebar: This would be a good time to look for products to house your newly organized items. May I suggest these helpful items for your closet:

A Home Basics 6 Hook Over The Door Hanger will help you to keep some of your everyday use items at arms length when getting ready in the morning.

Lynk Closet Doubler is always a good way to get extra space out of small or large closets.

When putting things back in work low and go high. This is because you do not want to be trying to put shoes in order up under hanging clothes. Or anything else for that matter.

Okay, back to the closet!

Once you have what you want at the bottom you can start hanging clothes. Now with hanging clothes you have several options.

  1. Option 1: Color Code
  2. Option 2: By Season
  3. Option 3: By Type
  4. Option 4: All of the Above

Some people like to color code their clothes because it is easiest for them to find outfits by color. If you organize your clothes by season, you can put two seasons at a time in your closet and store the other two seasons in a extra closet or basement or a attic in a Organize It All Storage Wardrobe.

To organize by type you need to define what types you want to use. Examples of types would be dresses, skirts, short sleeves, long sleeves, pants, suits,and cotton or silk,etc. This method is extremely helpful when picking out outfits.

You also have the option of using some or all of the above. Whatever works for you is the point. So experiment and see what works.

Okay, once clothes are hanged, you need to continue putting things away on the topshelf. Use the topshelf for out of season items or items not used often.

You will also need to find a place to put away purses and ties. A few that I like are:

Step 4: Relax

Once you have finished putting everything back in your closet sit back and relax! Whether it took you five hours or five days be proud of your accomplishment. Enjoy your newly organized closet. But, remember that up keep is half the battle. Spend five minutes a day making sure that everything is where it should be. Pick up the clothes, put up the purses, shoes, and ties. Put the dirty clothes in the hamper. Just remeber – it is easier to do five minutes maintenance than to organize the entire closet!

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com. Contains affiliate links. 
A Easy Way To Pack Away Clothes For The Season

A Easy Way To Pack Away Clothes For The Season

It’s that time of year again; switching out my clothes.

I do this routine about twice a year. It seems that it’s hard to tell when a season ends and when it begins, but nevertheless I do manage about twice a year. It used to be a long drawn out, much avoided task that I would do. But in recent years I have come up with a quicker system that now makes switching out my clothes and shoes really fast and easy.

You like fast and easy, right?

Good, so do I. So without further ado below is my current plan for switching out my clothes. Take a few of the tips and craft your own or do them all for maximum effect.

My Quick and Easy Clothes Switching Plan:

  • I use the same container and just switch them out.
    • By doing this I saved tons of time, money and energy by not having to buy new containers every season or having more than the 3 containers I use now. It also keeps me from buying too many clothes because it all has to fit back in. I refuse to get more containers. (And by the way, it doesn’t matter what container you use just make sure that it is big enough to fit all the clothes you would like to put in and will fit the space you plan to store it. And I store my hanging clothes in these containers too. No need for a rolling rack.)
  • I leave a couple of outfits from the season I am packing away for those rare weather days.
    • This keeps me from having to go digging through my packed away clothes. Which was a pain in the butt! I keep these storage containers up in my attic so having to trudge up to the attic when we have a warmer day or a cooler day is not appealing to me at all. So just keep a couple of outfits from each season out and you are good to go.
  • I also use this time to weed out clothes I don’t wear anymore, can’t fit, or didn’t even touch that season.
    • How many times do you come to cleaning out your clothes and you realize that you didn’t even where that shirt, or outfit that season. It happens to me more often than not. I may purge clothes that I kept passing over and finally agree that I just don’t like it anymore and it’s okay to get rid of.  This is also a great time to evaluate your shoes and get rid of those that don’t fit or have seen better days or you never wore for whatever reason.
  • Aim to donate or sell at least 2 outfits while switching out.
    • I always have at least 2 or 3 outfits and a couple pair of shoes that I end up donating when I switch out my clothes. If my shoes are still really nice and I didn’t give them much wear I will use a app called Vinted or Poshmark to sell them online. (Review of those apps coming soon.)

Since starting this new system to switch out my clothes it now takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to do the switch out and evaluation. (May take you longer if you have tons and tons of clothes which is a subject for another day.) That is easy peasy and goes by really fast. I usually do my switch out on a Saturday morning when I am doing my other household chores.

So there you have it my quick and easy clothes switch out plan for the season. I hope that you can take some of these tips and implement them in your own home and make a task that is usually a pain go much quicker.

Help! My Mail Is Taking Over My Home

Help! My Mail Is Taking Over My Home

Mail is the biggest offender when it comes to managing paperwork. The more family members and interests, the more mail. Catalogs, junk mail, bills, and correspondences you actually want bombard your mailbox daily.
Mail

As an organizer I see a lot of pile ups. Most people just get so much that they feel overwhelmed with it all. One of the most asked questions from prospective clients is “how can I handle my mail?”

Even in my house it is a problem at times. When it becomes a problem for me I have to rely on some tried and true solutions for this. I want to share with you what I use and what I recommend to my clients. Use one tip or try a combination of all. The key is to find what works for you and your family.

mail2Solution 1 – Put a trash can at the door and a shredder.

I used to tell my clients to have just a trash can at the door or wherever you open mail. But with the recent rash of identity theft I now recommend that you have a shredder. Shredders don’t cost very much, but are worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to protecting you. I like the cross-cut shredders. You can choose from heavy duty to desktop. It is totally up to you.

Solution 2 – Disignate a place for dealing with mail.

If you don’t have a place to open mail, then everywhere becomes a place. This is not a good plan. By designating a place to open mail, you can always count on having all of your mail in one place and setting up a routine. Wherever you choose to set up your mail station make sure that you stick with it. Keep it consistent. Make sure that the whole family knows that this is the place for mail.

Solution 3 – Have your supplies.

Supplies for your designated mail center would include pens, pencils, envelopes, stamps, trash can, shredder, stationary and action folders. Baskets will help keep everything tidy.

 

Suggested products to help you organize your mail:

All of these great products will help you to stay on top of organizing your mail and keeping it in one place.

Wall Mail Organizer 

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Mail and Junk Organizer

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Literature Sorter

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This sorter is great for visual people. Use it for mail or for projects. I use mine to sort projects and receipts.

Magazine Organizers are also a great way to keep current issues of your magazines. The key word is “Current”!

 

 

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  
Using A Record Retention Schedule To Keep Paperwork Organized

Using A Record Retention Schedule To Keep Paperwork Organized

How can a record retention schedule help you?

The complaint that I hear the most often when dealing with paperwork is “I don’t know how long to keep anything!” That is where a record retention schedule comes in handy. A schedule can help you purge through your files and paperwork in no time.

Use the retention schedule below when you are figuring what to keep and what to toss. The chart below is a guideline only, please consult with your tax accountant and/or attorney about your paticular situation.
FILE TYPE/ RETENTION PERIOD – General

Accident reports/claims (settled cases) – 7 years

Accounts payable ledgers and schedules – 7 years

Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules – 7 years

Audit reports – Permanently

Bank reconciliations – 2 years

Bank statements – 3 years

Capital stock and bond records, stubs showing issues record of interest coupons, options, etc. – Permanently

Cash books – Permanently

Charts of accounts – Permanently

Checks (cancelled – see exception) – 7 years

Checks (cancelled – important payments such as taxes, property purchases, special contracts) – Permanently

Contracts (mortgage, notes, leases still in effect) – 7 years

Correspondence (general) – 2 years

Correspondence (legal and important matters only)- Permanently

Correspondence (customers and/or vendors)- 2 years

Deeds, mortgages, bills of sale – Permanently

Depreciation schedules – Permanently

Duplicate deposit slips – 2 years

Employment application – 3 years

Expense analysis/expense distribution schedules – 7 years

Financial statements (year-end) – Permanently

Garnishments – 7 years

General private ledgers, year-end trial balance – Permanently

Insurance policies (expired) – 3 years

Insurance records,accident reports,claims,policies -Permanently

Internal reports (audits) – 3 years

Internal reports (misc.) – 3 years

Inventories or products, materials, supplies – 7 years

Invoices – 7 years

Journals – Permanently

Magnetic tape and tab cards – 1 year

Minute books of directors, stockholders, by-laws, charter- Permanently

Notes receivable ledgers and schedules – 7 years

Option records (expired) – 7 years

Patents and related papers – Permanently

Payroll records and summaries – 7 years

Personnel files (terminated) – 7 years

Petty cash vouchers – 3 years

Physical inventory tags – 3 years

Plant cost ledgers – 7 years

Property appraisals – Permanently

Property records (costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints, plans)- Permanently

Purchase orders (purchasing dept) – 7 years

Purchase orders (other) – 1 year

Receiving sheets – 1 year

Retirement and pension plans – Permanently

Requisitions – 1 year

Sales commission reports – 3 years

Sales records – 7 years

Scrap and salvage records (inventories, sales, etc) – 7 years

Stenographers notebooks – 1 year

Stock and bond certificate (canceled) – 7 years

Stockroom withdrawal forms – 1 year

Susidiary ledgers – 7 years

Tax returns, worksheets, revenue agents’ reports -Permanently

Time books/cards – 7 years

Trademark registrations and copyrights – Permanently

Training manuals – Permanently

Union agreements – Permanently

Voucher register and schedules – 7 years

Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees (for travel and entertainment expenses) – 7 years

Withholding tax statements – 7 years

This is just a brief listing of records and how long to keep them. Although most pertain to business you can use some of the guidelines for home filing as well. Example: Bank Statements. Here are some other resources for file retention guidelines. As always be sure to discuss with your attorney or tax consultant.

Better Business Bureau

 

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  

Organizing Small Living Spaces Can Be A Challenge…

I should know! I live in a small house and organizing small living spaces is a challenge to me at times. But with a little creativity I can show you how to organize small living spaces whether it is organizing a small house or organizing a small room or organizing a small apartment.

So let’s get into it!

It is assumed that if you have a small space you are automatically organized or that it is easier to organize. This is simply not true. When you have a small space it is harder to keep it organized because you have limited space.
I live in a 468 sq. ft. home with no closets! Can you imagine? Talk about organizing a small space. I had moved from a 900 sq. ft. townhome with closets. As you can imagine I had some major decisions to make.

When you live in a small space you are forced to decide what really matters.

Did I mention that I have a baby and two cats in this small space? It is doable and very relaxing even though I am short on space. My secret to living in harmony and clutter free is using double duty furniture and rotating pictures. I also use things in un-conventional ways.
For example, I have two night stands from a old bedroom set that I have put next to each other and put a decorative shower curtain over. It is now used to hold my television and stereo.
Small Space1
The hidden storage under the shower curtain houses my CDs, tapes, and books.
Small Space2

Always think about using furniture in different ways when you purchase items. I tell my clients that you don’t always have to go out and buy something new. Just look around your house. You may find something in the kitchen that you can use to work in your bedroom or bathroom. I use a cupboard that I used to use in my kitchen in my bathroom now.
Small Space3
I also use a wooden cd stand that is slender in nature next to my bath tub to hold other bath products and hair products.
Small Space4
I also like to rotate pictures on my walls. Let’s face it, in a small space you can’t hang every single piece of artwork that you have. By rotating photographs you always have a fresh, everchanging space. I like to keep my unused artwork behind a dresser or couch if it is against a wall and no one else will be able to see it.

In my kitchen I use wire shelving instead of conventional cabinets. This keeps it light and airy. I am able to see what I have and gain easy access. I only use one cabinet above my stove in order to house the vent system for the stove.

I hope these tips will help you if you are living in a small house or apartment situation. This just goes to show that with a little ingenuity you too can live in a small space and have style to boot!

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  
Upcoming 2015 Free Shred Days

Upcoming 2015 Free Shred Days

Identity theft is no laughing matter. It is the season to get those papers shredded. There are plenty of places for you to get your papers shredded but most of the time you will need to pay. Below I have found several FREE shred events in and around the Nashville area. There are also some that have a small fee. There are even events in other areas too! Check back as I will be updating the information as I get more dates and times. Please share with everyone you know. If you know of any places offering free shred days please leave the information in the comments below.  (Scroll all the way down and make note of the dates. This list is in order of who is providing the service and not dates.) 

 Shred On The Run:

These community events are limited to private individuals with no more than 8 boxes or bags. The free service is not intended for commercial purposes. Some items people may want to consider shredding include: credit card statements, old checks, tax returns and anything a thief can use to steal your identity. You do not need to remove paperclips or staples.

Questions Contact us at 615-356-0564. Afters Hours text 615-504-2973 or e-mail Roy

Visit Shred On The Run for all of the upcoming 2015 Shred Days they have planned. Their list gets updated frequently. Check it out here! The first event they have listed is February 21st, 2015!


Other  Shredding Events:

  • Free shredding in Franklin every Tuesday from 8:30-3pm! 420 Century Court which is off of Columbia Ave at the top of the hill behind the jail. Call ahead (615-782-5584) if you have more than 10 boxes so they can be prepared.
  • Richards & Richards – this is another company that does shredding and office records management. Periodically they have free shred days. You can contact them at (615) 242-9600.
  • April 25, 2015 – There will be a free shred day Sponsered by Eric Berner of Waddell & Reed at 404 BNA Drive, Nashville, TN  from 8am to 12pm.
  • Nashville Crime Stoppers Community Shred Day coming in April 2015, 9am to 1pm LP Field Parking Lot D. For exact date please visit the event page here. Also included Pharma Trash Disposal.
GIT Podcast #019 – How To Increase Productivity at Work & Home in 4 Steps

GIT Podcast #019 – How To Increase Productivity at Work & Home in 4 Steps

Play

This week I talk about 4 steps to increase your productivity at Work & Home. Learn how by just doing one of these steps for 1 week can help you to be more productive at home and work.

Show Notes:

How many times have you sat down at your desk or looked at your chore list  ready to get started on a productive day only for plans to go awry and by the end of the day you haven’t accomplished much on your list of to-do’s?

You are not alone! We all have done that at one time or another. You may even feel like that everyday. But what can you do about it? What steps can you take to be more productive on the home and work front?

Well keep reading. These 4 tips will have your productivity up in no time and that to-do list showing results.

  1. Get Organized

It can’t be stressed enough that being un-organized is the number one killer of productivity. Whether it be a cluttered home or messy desk at the office, if you are constantly having to hunt down what you need before you can get started on a task you can kiss mastering your to-do list goodbye. So try this instead:

  • Take some time to organize your home and your workspace. You’ll find that when you have what you need before you start the task and can put your hands on it within 5 seconds, the more productive you’re going to be.
  • Clear the clutter in those hidden areas of your home or un-necessary file boxes in the corner of your office.Toss or donate the things you don’t need and find a place for everything that you plan to keep. All it takes is 15 minutes a day to keep clutter at bay.
  1. Identify Time Wasters

Did you know that some of our regular activities are actually time wasters? For instance, do you ever catch yourself saying that you’re going to play just one more game of Bingo, or catch just one more show on TV? While doing these things isn’t necessarily bad, it can become a problem if you allow yourself to procrastinate on the tasks that you know need to be done. As the saying goes, “all things in moderation.” So try this instead:

  • Identify your time wasters and write them down.
  • If you notice that one game of Bingo easily turns into three or four, uninstall the game from your computer/tablet/phone for a while. I know, I know that may be hard but tough love is necessary here. Go on a TV or Game fast. You might be surprised by how much time you gain. Awareness is the name of the game!
  1. Be Aware of Deadlines

You may get your projects done on time, but if you’re like me and leave things to the last minute, stressing out and losing sleep because of these deadlines, you may need to analyze how you use your time.

  • If you have a deadline, make sure that it is clearly marked and noted in your calendar or planner and do your best to beat it by a week. Taking care of things long before they’re due will free up a lot more time than you think, and will relieve a lot of stress. I should know. I’m one who works “best under pressure”, but my health says otherwise so now I do my best to finish before it is due.
  • Have deadlines for family projects as well. Note when bills are due and home maintenance needs to be done on your calendar or planner.
  1. Take Breaks

It sounds counter-intuitive, but taking more breaks can make you more productive. It’s all about maximizing your time and if you’re working yourself to the bone, taking a break will refresh your mind. Try this instead:

  • If you’ve been staring at the computer screen for a while without getting any real work done, it’s time to get up, and take a walk around the block or office parking lot or get a drink of water. This can make a huge difference when you’re stuck and your energy is running low.
  • Housework is not the funnest thing on the planet, but you can make the best of it by splitting up your chore list on different days instead of doing them ALL the same day. Put on some music and get the family to pitch in. Each person can have a different day.

It doesn’t take a huge step to start making changes to be more productive, but it does require a step. So take the first step and implement one of these suggestions for a week and see how much your productivity soars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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