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Tuesday
May312011

BEFORE YOU INVEST IN MORE HIGH TECH

In this day and age we seem to get so wrapped up in high technology with its promise of ease that we forget to compare it objectively to low-tech counterparts.  Perhaps you, too, have a food process that rarely or never comes out of the cupboard.  Why when it chops carrots so fast?   Probably because you’ve found that the knife to chop carrots cleans up so much faster that it isn’t worth getting it out!

I’m not trying to “tech-bash”, but to point out how, if we’re not careful, it can control the pace of our lives.  In his book, “The Riddle of Amish Culture”, sociologist Donald Kraybill, points out that, “Anyone stepping into Amish society suddenly feels time expand and relax.  The great irony here is that in the Amish society, with fewer labor-saving devices and other technological shortcuts, there is less ‘rushing around’.  The perception of rushing seems to increase directly with the number of ‘time-saving’ devices.” 

Perhaps there’s merit to considering the Amish and Mennonite sects that severely limit the use of modern conveniences.  Although I don’t think I’m at all ready to give up my car for a horse!

I think you get the point.  The next time you’re tempted to purchase another piece of high tech equipment you might want to take time to consider the complete ramifications to your time and space management.  Maybe you need to just say “no”.  It’s hard to do because you’ll feel the pull of keeping up with the times, but “no” is the single most important time-balancing word in your vocabulary.  It conjures up fears of not being liked, of not being respected, and especially, of not being productive.  Actually, forcing ourselves to become more focused, refusing to take on more tasks or technology can, oftentimes, make us more productive!

Monday
May092011

STOP MAKING EXCUSES  

How organized are you?  Sometimes you know in your head that it makes sense to “clean the house” or “clean your desk” but a little voice in your head keeps feeding you excuses.

What can you do about that little voice?  Have you ever said, “I’ve been meaning to ---”? 

Some people suffer from an inability to make and act on decisions, and that’s a root cause of disorganization.  Make a commitment to get personally and completely organized.  Put it on the top of your priority list, and then act on it.  You’ll thank yourself when you feel all that breathing space in your formerly cluttered life.

But, you say, “I’ve never been good at organizing.”  This is irrelevant.  Few people are naturally good at organizing.  It’s a learned skill.  People who are good at organizing recognize that it takes effort to maintain organization.  Things don’t just happen to get out of order or lost.  You can control clutter if you’re committed to work at it, and get systems for order in place.

Another frequently used excuse is, “I don’t know where to get started.”  Attend a good seminar, take notes and put the ideas into practice.  That little voice keeps making excuses.  “I have so many other things to do.”  Well sure you do, and that’s why it’s so important to get organized! 

An organized person has the time to do what’s important.  He or she chooses to pass up things that aren’t and, as a result, doesn’t feel so anxious or frustrated about getting things done.

One last excuse:  “Organizing will take too much time.” Initially it may take one concentrated weekend and/or several week nights to get organized, but think how much time you’ve already wasted running around in circles!  Remember, every minute you spend planning you’ll save three or four minutes later.

If you’re still not convinced you can do this on your own you can always contact a Professional Organizer to stand beside you and coach you toward better organization in your life.  (Sometimes I jokingly call this “Rent a Nag!”) To find one in your area you can make your request contact us to see if we have an organizer in our network that lives in your area. 

 



Saturday
Apr022011

10 Tips to De-Clutter Your Work Place

1.  Annually (or semi-annually) set a date for an official company-wide purging day.  

2.  Begin with your desk using the “Finger-Tip Management” system.

Imagine 3 circles around your desk: 

A = Most frequently used. (Can reach easily while seated.)

B = Used from time to time. (Must stand or stretch to reach.)

C = Least frequently used.  (Must take steps to reach.)

3.  When purging papers stay focused – you’re “weeding, not reading”.

4.  Ask the following 3 questions when purging paper:

a.  Did you remember you had it before now?

b.  If you get rid of it, could you find it again from another source? 

c.   If you decided to keep it, will you know where to find it?

5.  Reference Paper Retention information for what to keep and what to toss.

6.  Shred any papers that contain company or personal information.

7.  Archive as much as possible by removing papers from immediate space and storing off-site and/or scan and shred original documents.

8.  Set up a Tickler system for papers that do not need immediate attention.

Tickler system: 

  • A set of files or an accordion file January – December
  • A set of files or an accordion file 1 – 31

*File papers in the month they are due.  The first of each month take papers from that month and sort into days of the month file(s).  Every day look in the file of the day for what needs attention that day.

9.  Make purging a habit by routinely taking the last 15 min. of each day to purge and organize your desk, a file, a shelf, a drawer, etc.

10.Make major purging and organizing a yearly project in your office.

 Related Article:  The Grand Rapids Press




Friday
Feb112011

ORGANIZE YOUR LAUNDRY ROOM

As the saying goes, “It's better to give than to receive.”  When applying this to the laundry room, keep a bag, box, or basket handy for items that don't fit, are out of date, or just plain not wanted anymore.  It's the most kind to wash them first, but then toss these unwanted clothes into the charity bin or bag, and when it's full you can give it away to your favorite clothing bank.  This not only eliminates clutter in the laundry room, it also helps to clear those closets of outgrown and unwanted clothing that are often responsible for the most cramming that takes place in each closet.

Do you have a “hang up” with the laundry?  Keep a portable rack to hang clothing on when it comes out of the dryer.  Keep lots of hangers handy to simply transfer shirts, blouses, pants, and other to-be-ironed items directly onto the rack.  This cuts down on  the wrinkles, and therefor makes the whole ironing job easier, plus the area stays more organized all at the same time.

For flat articles of clothing that need to be ironed, a basket or bin kept near the hanging rack works very well.  A solution for sorting is to keep large bins or baskets in the laundry room to sort darks, whites, lights, and delicates. 

If your family is large you might want to consider installing shelves that will hold bins or wire baskets labeled for each member of the family.  Don't have the wall space?  How about a couple of rolling basket systems?  They'll work just as well.  As you fold the dry clothes you can immediately put them into the labeled basket thus eliminating the sorting step.  Then it's up to each person to retrieve their own clean clothes and put them away in their own rooms.

If you're tired of dodging dirty clothes n the floor, try having a dirty clothes receptacle in each bedroom as well as the bathroom laundry chute.  On laundry day each person is responsible to get their dirty clothes into the laundry area.  Oh, and a separate “drying cleaning” container is helpful too. 

Happy wash day!



Saturday
Jan082011

Calling All Pack Rats!

Peg Bracken of Pack Rats Anonymous shares this motto:  “Every day I’ll throw something away, and soon I’ll feel better and better.” 

How about you?  Are you a pack rat?  Do you save everything, including matchbooks for your sister’s neighbor’s son?  Would you really miss all those items that you’re saving just in case you need it “some day”?  It’s time to throw some things away! 

As with all big projects, do it one piece at a time.  Begin at the front door, starting with the first drawer, cupboard, or shelf you see.  Take with you three boxes:  a Give-Away box, a Throw-Away box, an at Storage box.  Throw away all pieces of junk that have accumulated in that spot.  Junk includes pens that only work half the time, out-dated calendars, clothing that has missing buttons or broken zippers.

If you find something that is too good to throw out, but you haven’t used it in over a year, put them in the give-away box.  Give them away soon-to a friend or a mission.  You may save it for a garage sale only if you have the date set.  If it’s left after the garage sale, give it away the next day!

The storage box is for items you want to keep, but they are in the wrong place for now:  spring jackets, the Christmas wreath, the broom, etc.  Don’t put them away until you reach the place where it really belongs.  It doesn’t matter if it takes you three weeks or more to go through the entire house, just keep moving systematically until you are finished with each room, each drawer, and each closet. 

Take one day off a week so you don’t become overwhelmed, but clean at least on space and throw at least one thing away all the other days.  Save the kitchen for last.  It will be the biggest job.  When you’ve reached the end, reward yourself.  And now that you’re in the habit, take time to throw away at least one thing every day so your tidy spaces don’t begin to clutter up again!