Ready, Set, GO!

I’ve found that when we are getting ready to go on a trip that it helps significantly if I get out our luggage racks a few days (or even a week) ahead of time so that we can start putting things aside as we think of them.  It’s a great idea to do this for your kids as well so that they can put their clothes & outfits (shoes too) especially if you are heading to a tropical locale during the winter or skiing where you need to be sure to pack many different items.

I’ve also suggested that everyone in your family have their own luggage (even when they are small). Kids love to feel independent and letting them have their own say in what they are packing as well as being responsible for their bag is a great way to help them learn how to travel. Here is my favorite bag and I definitely suggest that you spend the extra money for the wheels, you’ll be so happy that you did!

What are your tricks for getting out of town?

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Use alerts to remember Birthdays and Special Occasions

I make a New Year’s resolution every year to be better about remembering my friends/family member’s birthdays. Most of the time I do a pretty good job but as life gets busier and busier I’ve been using something that really helps me remember: I set alerts on my Outlook calendar.

The trick is setting the alert to remind you a few days ahead of time rather than on the actual birthday/special occasion instead.  By setting the alert 3 or 4 days ahead it allows me to get everyone in the house to sign it as well as arrive on time – all because I had the computer remind me. Anytime that I can take the pressure off of my brain remembering just one more thing, I’m all for it!

Do you have a “trick or system” for remembering special occasions?

Purge Pep Talk

Two weeks ago I purged 50% of a file drawer in my office. As you might imagine, we are growing at a fairly significant rate here at Office Candy so I’m learning how to share my home office space.

My Associate, Deborah, needed some space so I made purging this file drawer for her my summer project. I started pulling & scanning some of the older files from the “hands on” organizing business that I might need someday. I pulled several files at a time and loaded what I might need to keep in my Neat Desk scanner and voila – a searchable .pdf should I ever need it. Not to mention for every few files I had in there I’ve also just given Deborah another inch at least in the file drawer.

I got into a groove and did almost half of what I’d wanted in one night and it didn’t take me nearly as long as I was dreading it might. Sometimes we need to just “do” so that we can get it “done”.

What are some summer projects you have on your list?

The summer juggling act

It’s difficult to work during the school year and not miss events, rehearsals, and games but in the summer, it’s even nuttier. I’ve got a 15 year old daughter and 13 year old son and only one of them has a full time job. As I write, I am sitting by the pool (no complaints) but my son was down in his man cave for almost 2 whole days so when he requested some fresh air and some fun with 2 of his buddies how could I deny him? Well, at first I did. I was speaking to a colleague earlier in the day about the summer juggle for those of us that work from home and she agreed that it is a significant challenge.

I’m trying to cut myself some slack here and there (tall order by the way) but doing snippets of work here and there isn’t the most efficient way of getting things done but here I am, multitasking and my son thinks I’m cool for bringing he and his buddies to the pool.

Maybe I do have it figured out more than I thought I did… what are you doing to keep your focus this summer?

Rome wasn’t built in a Day

I don’t want to be a downer but I’ll tell you the truth… it took you awhile to get disorganized so I’m afraid it’s going to take you awhile to get it back in shape. Don’t let that stop you though, if you do something small every day (clean out one drawer at a time) before you know it you will not only be more organized but you’ll be organized in the best way possible… by making new habits!

You’ve heard me talk about “weekend warrior organizers” who are the kind that go to The Container Store buy everything in sight and then bring it home only to realize that you are overwhelmed by the project and give up before they even started. Instead, take a little bit at a time and you will be so much better off in the long run, trust me.

When we ran our very first Organizing Boot Camp the first assignment was to clean out your junk drawer. I still get comments on how our enlistees still feel awesome each time they open that drawer (wherever it is) because it’s organized and they can find things easily.

So, the moral of the story is: just do a little at a time and keep up with me for more ideas and inspiration!

How much is your time worth?

If you broke down your salary (or your time in general) and figured out how much your time is worth it might surprise you how much “outsourcing” might be saving you money in the long run.  I’ve never understood why someone who isn’t very efficient with their time might not consider hiring a Personal Assistant for 2 hours during the week so that they might have their entire Saturday free of errands and consequently they are able to spend more time with their families… what is that worth to you?

Are there any projects that are taking precious time away from your family, your friends or just something YOU might want to do (take a class, go for a walk/run, etc.)?  The next time you are running around like a crazy person on a Saturday with all the other crazy people getting things picked up and dropped off at the dry cleaner, hardware store, etc. consider outsourcing some of those errands and see how much more relaxed you’d be – what is the price of that?!  During the week a Personal Assistant could get those errands done in half the time… it sounds extravagant but in all honesty how much is your time (and energy) worth?

What are your most dreaded tasks on the weekends?

Leave only Footprints

In reading through other Organizers Blogs I saw a short blurb on something that made total sense to me and I thought it would be something easy that I could share with my clients and friends.  The statement we’ve seen before: “Take Only Pictures. Leave Only Footprints” but in this case I want you to think about it more for your home than our National Parks.  It’s the most basic and simple idea of keeping yourself organized: if you get it out, put it away… it honestly comes down to being just that simple.

You can have the most organized, color coded, contained home but it you aren’t putting things away, chances are no one else in your house is either.  It starts with the Matriarch and goes from there, sorry Ladies, we set the tone of the household be it good, bad or ugly.  I have been tempted to just throw my jeans on the floor of my closet when I’m trying to get dressed in the morning and I’m running late but taking that extra 1.5 seconds (and that’s really all it takes) to hang the jeans back up allows me the peace of mind to know that the next time I open my closet I don’t have to go backwards in order to go forwards.  I won’t have to clean up my mess from this morning in order to get ready for bed when I’m tired, likely cranky and just want to be done with my day.

It’s the same with making the bed and leaving dishes in the sink, who wants to come back home to that?  I’m reminded of the Nike slogan, “Just do it” and if you follow it, you can begin to stop that vicious cycle of always, always feel like you are catching up instead of really keeping yourself on top of things.

So, start thinking about it – “Leave only Footprints” not piles of clothes, dishes air drying instead of taking a few minutes to wipe them down and put them away after you’ve done the dinner dishes.  Just take that little step further and put the toolbox back in the garage vs. just putting it by the back door.

Try it today and at the end of the day, see how it worked and how you feel, you’d be amazed at how little time it takes to stay on top of things.

Holler back at me and let me know how you are doing, I’d love to hear from you!