Author Archives: Kathi Burns

Get Your Home and Your Life Organized and Energized!

Do you feel like you and your home are energized and organized?

If you feel overwhelmed and already behind with your resolution to get your life in order, here are a few quick steps you can take to help you get ready for the holidays.

Take the time to look at your home through the eyes of a complete stranger (or perhaps your most critical relative!). I find that when I have a service provider, like a handyman or a heating and air tech, come through my house, I see my home from a completely different perspective. I see the pile that is stacked in front of the electrical box (real life scenario that just happened to me). I see the old Halloween decorations that are still not properly put back into their boxes. So, step one is to see your home from a new perspective. What would you hide or change if you knew someone was coming to appraise, repair or critique your home? Go ahead declutter  and eliminate the obvious eyesores.

Next grab an empty laundry basket and walk through your house collecting items that are not in the right place and need to be put away. After you fill your first basket, empty it by moving to each area stowing each item away into it’s designated ‘home’. Keep filling your basket and moving items to their proper locations.

Next up – declutter your guest room. Even if no one is coming to stay during the holidays, a clean and spacious spare room will give you a huge surge of energy because you will suddenly have a space to stow gifts, make lists, wrap gifts write cards and generally do whatever you need to do to get your holidays organized!

OK – now it’s time to move into your kitchen. The holidays are the time that you really need to clean and clear out your fridge. Tis the season to cook and eat and the last thing you need is a cluttered fridge. I find that the week before I buy the turkey is the best time to clear out the fridge. For most of us it is a necessity or we can’t fit the bird in anyhow!

Give your pantry a once over. As you move items around you can make mental note of what you need to add to your shopping list. It is always good to have a few quick snacks on hand and spur of the moment appetizer ingredients. This is also the time to make sure you have healthy snacks and quick meals stocked and ready for the nights that you get home wiped out from shopping or working a long day. The best way to eat healthy is to plan in advance. Make sure to stock your pantry with snacks that you can take with you while shopping. I love having small packs of nuts in my purse for the times when my outing extends into lunch or dinner time. It keeps me from stopping at a fast food place on the way home!

Set up a gift wrapping station. It is nice to have a dedicated place to store gifts and gift wrap throughout the year. During the holidays, having a space set up will save you time and energy. Imagine having all of your wrapping paper, ribbon, bags, tape, decent scissors and cards all in one place with a surface to work on. You can stow your gifts until wrapped in this same area in a large opaque plastic storage bin. This will keep your gifts clean and away from peeping tom eyes!

These are things that you can do to make your home feel more like a zen sanctuary and less like a chaotic jungle! If you spend the time this weekend organizing and decluttering, I know that you will be able to enjoy the holidays more fully with less stress and less effort.

Remember what Abe Lincoln said? 1 hour of preparation saves 3 hours of perspiration.
Get organized and eliminate unnecessary stress in your life.

If you are already feeling overwhelmed and know that you can’t get your home and your life organized and decluttered, I am here and ready to help. I work in person in the San Diego area and also consult virtually throughout the US. You can reach out and contact me here.

Posted in Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Become Organized 2018 Special

This is your opportunity to increase your success and create more space in your life AND save money in the process!

Becoming organized and creating order in your life, home and business will provide results beyond your imagination.

You will have more time for family, friends and fun when you are organized and energized!

Click here to take action and create lasting changes in your life!

Buy 3 hours * of professional organizing with Kathi and get one FREE!!!

*hourly rate $95/hr

Do you have any questions about how I can help you with your current challenges?

Call me direct and I will show you how I can help!   >>>> 760. 840.9997

Click here to take advantage of this offer and get started getting your life and home in order once and for all!

Posted in Blog, Organizing Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

DOWNSIZE AND ORGANIZE YOUR DIGITAL CLUTTER

If you’ve ever spent a morning trying to track down a lost file on your hard drive or searching through a decade of email, you know that digital disorder can also take a toll on your wellbeing. Most people handle a constant flow of text messages, emails, photos, videos, and other digital information. When all that digital data piles up, it can slow you and your devices down. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to downsizing and organizing your digital clutter.

Get Organized

Does your documents folder or email inbox resemble a junk drawer with everything tossed in together? Do you usually rely on your search box to help you find files? An organization structure can help you declutter, share, synchronize, move, and easily track down files. Follow these simple steps to get your digital life organized:

Designate Categories

Browse through your files and emails and determine the major and minor categories they fall into. For instance, you may be able to divide photos into “work photos,” “family photos, “head shots,” etc. Within those categories, you may have subcategories.

Make Folders

Once you’ve determined what categories and subcategories you want to use for each type of file, make folders or subfolders for them.

Develop Naming Guidelines

Librarians who manage large digital collections use consistent, meaningful, and descriptive names to identify what’s inside each file. Follow suit, and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to track down specific files and photos when you need them. For documents, designate a naming structure such as “descriptive keywords-type of document.” For example, this article might be named “digital-decluttering-article.” For images, create a structure such as “descriptive keywords-month-year.” For example, vacation photos might be named “Hawaii-vacation-March-2017). For emails, use descriptive subject headings.

Automate Email Organization

Email inboxes can become unmanageable quickly. Depending on your email provider, you can automatically filter incoming emails into certain folders. For instance, all newsletters can be sent to a “newsletters” folder, and emails from colleagues can automatically be sent to a “work” folder.

Declutter Your Digital Past

Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve sorted through your digital data, you may need to do a major purge to get back on track. As with any big organizational project, the hardest part can be getting started. Set aside plenty of time, and commit to going through everything saved on your computer, mobile devices, external hard drive, or in the cloud, including photos, files, and personal records.

How Long to Keep Digital Files - Downsize and Organize Your Digital Clutter

Decluttering can be an emotional process. Set a relaxing tone by listening to music and treating yourself to your favorite beverage. Repeat the decluttering motto: “If in doubt, throw it out,” and begin sorting files into folders. If you find yourself deliberating for more than a minute about keeping any item, create a “maybe” folder, and put it there.

Most of us accumulate a lot of photos and videos, because it’s so inexpensive and easy to snap and upload them these days. Photos and videos can hold a lot of sentimental value and can be difficult to downsize. However, it’s worth it! Not only are these files large and expensive to store; you don’t want to have to scroll through hundreds of files to find the photos that are meaningful to you.

Start by purging the following:

Blurry photos
Duplicates
Extremely similar photos
Photos with poor lighting
Poor quality videos
Photos or videos that no longer hold sentimental value
Photos or videos that are no longer meaningful to you
Back up Important Files
Once you’ve purged and organized, you’ll be left with only those files that are important and meaningful to you. Ensure that they’re safe! Computer hard drives don’t last forever and are susceptible to mechanical defects, virus and malware attacks, accidents, and other threats. Most experts recommend saving important data in three locations. For instance, you could save one copy on your computer’s hard drive, one in a cloud service, and one on an external hard drive.
Digital Decluttering Schedule - Downsize and Organize Your Digital Clutter
Make a Plan
Digital clutter builds up quickly. Get out your calendar, and schedule regular recurring dates with yourself to keep your data in order.

Keeping Data Safe Long-Term - Downsize and Organize Your Digital Clutter

Destination Peace of Mind
Decluttering, organizing, and securing your digital data can be a big task, especially if you haven’t dealt with it for a while. However, your efforts will pay off. You’ll not only keep your computer and devices running well; you’ll likely enjoy greater productivity and peace of mind.

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips, Productivity, Time Management | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Art of Finding Lost Things Becomes Easier with Less Clutter

I recently came across an article that talked a bit about clutter in a new way.

It put a smile n my face when Findologist Michael Solomon stated that there is nothing in your life that is lost, or no missing objects, simply an unsystematic search and/or clutter.

The art of not losing things within your life is to have a designated ‘home’ for everything. I am sure you have heard the phrase – ‘everything should have a home with a ‘yard’ around it’.

In case you are wondering what the ‘yard’ around it means, think of it this way; I you create a designated place for an object and it only fits that object, what happens when you add a second similar object?

Your system breaks down, right?

So having a ‘yard’ around each designated home will allow you room to grow because, let’s face it, we always grow and add more objects to our homes!

Also there is a great explanation of “The Camouflage Effect” and how to eliminate searching and not finding your lost objects!

Read more within this article, It will and make you smile and begin to feel less frantic when the day happens that you really cant find that super important item that you know you just saw!

 

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Organizing Tips and Tricks For Hosting a Party

Summertime is the perfect season to host outdoor parties and BBQ’s.

 

Throwing a party is not difficult but planning a party that will impress your guests is not that easy. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to throw a party that keeps everyone talking even after years to come?

With a small bit of pre-planning, your parties can be organized, fun and easy with a minimal amount of stress.

So here are a few organizing tips to get ready for a fun party.

1. Decide what type of party makes the most sense for you and your budget. For instance, will you provide all food and beverages or do you want to ask guests to participate?

The easiest party to organize quickly is to host a potluck where you ask each guest to bring a dish to add to the table.

Or, if you have the menu planned and don’t mind cooking or catering the food, you could also ask your guests to bring their favorite beverage.

If you need to save time or money, both of these strategies will help!

2. Another important consideration is your venue. Is this a backyard party or will you host it off-site in a park or another setting?

Whatever location you choose you will need sufficient tables and chairs as well as a toilet facility close by.

If you choose a park, you can ask your guests to bring their own lawn chairs or picnic blankets.

You will need to make sure that you have a fold-up table to hold the food if there isn’t one on site. If you are using a park table, make sure to bring along a tablecloth to cover the surface.

Having the party in your backyard, makes it much easier to supply all of  the food, beverages and utensils.

Speaking of utensils, plastic ware saves time during cleanup but does have an adverse impact on the environment. Consider using bamboo flatware.If you want to learn more, click here.

3. Double check your guest list for food restrictions. Is anyone on your list on a restricted diet? If you have vegetarians or gluten-free guests, make sure to provide those options when planning your menu or at least discuss what they need before you finalize your menu.

One of my friends has such a limited list of acceptable foods that she can eat, she simply brings her own food to our parties. Whatever happens with your guest list, make sure to find out in advance of there are any allergies or food concerns that you should be aware of.

The process for creating memorable, stress-free parties gets easier as you develop your own party-hosting style. The main reason we have parties is to have fun with friends and family so ‘ stress too much. Plan a little in advance and you are on your way!

For more great tips about planning your outdoor party, click here.

 

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Events, Organizing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do you use your inBox as a task list?

Has the concept of using your inbox as a task list ever crossed your mind?

The sad truth is if you have never thought about it, you probably are doing just that!

Over the years as a Pro Organizer, I have learned that most of my clients keep emails in their inbox as reminders of things that they have to do later.

While this seems like a simple solution, emails quickly pile up and the tasks and ‘to do’s’ that remain in the inbox get buried quickly.

A recent article titled Simple Tips For Getting Amazingly Organized published in Forbes Magazine explains how and why you should use every day tools like your inbox and phone reminders to streamline your life:

What are some simple ways to get and stay organized?

“You’ve done checklists, to-do lists, countless scheduling apps, and the latest in memory tricks. Yet, it can still sometimes feel as though your desk is cluttered, your inbox full, and your calendar is a mess. Are there any tips to getting (and staying) organized that are easy to implement and maintain?

Beth Beutler is the owner of H.O.P.E. Unlimited, providing collaborative virtual assistants and business soft skill education for overwhelmed professionals so they can excel. She’s also the author of 52 Ways To Be More Organized. I recently interviewed Beth on the LEADx podcast to learn a few of her go-to moves to staying on target. (The interview below has been lightly edited for space and clarity.)

Kevin Kruse: What are some of your favorite tips for people who are super crazy busy?

Beth Beutler: Well, let me give you a couple of practical ones. One tool I have found helpful is to keep a small dry erase board at my desk. So often, we take sticky notes and pieces of scrap paper and jot things down real quick and all that, and they end up staying on our desk and cluttering up the visual field of our desk. And they may be old and we don’t need them anymore, but we’re just used to them being there. With a dry erase board you can quickly jot down that number and then erase it when you’re done or transfer it to something on your computer. So that’s a real practical one.

Record reminders to yourself on the fly. Almost all of us carry smartphones now and have either have OK Google or Siri or some kind of assistant like that, that you can just say, “Hey, remind me…” You know, you think of things sometimes in an impractical place and so if you can pull your phone out and say, “Hey, remind me of this particular person I need to call or task that I need to remember.” Now, I wouldn’t do that for a recurring task, you need to manage those probably with a task management system, but we all need those occasional things that say, “Oh, it’s my friend’s birthday, send her a text later.” Things like that that you can record or message.”

To read the entire article click here.

 

 

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Want to Create More Hours in Your Day?

To create more free time, it helps to become aware of the energetics created by our routines, our stuff and our surrounding environment.

You see, we can protect and even boost our energy levels by creating systems to handle the minutiae and diiligently eliminating our excess stuff!

This planet is currently experiencing an information and technology overload.

There is so much noise in the world it is hard to pay attention to the important things. The things that will bring us success. The things that will bring us joy and peace.

Let’s face it: We spend so much time accumulating possessions, interacting with technology and shuffling paperwork that we often lose track of what we need to do in order to keep our life in balance.

It is easier now than ever to become unbalanced and overwhelmed.

Do you have days where at the end of the day, you wonder what you actually did? It happens to all of us.

There are many proven techniques that you can use to create balance, have more time for fun and even increase your prosperity.

Here is one routine to incorporate into your life and a sure-fire way to take contol of your time:

Stop letting your inbox zap your energy and suck the productivity out of your day. Take control of your email addiction and never check your inbox first thing in the morning!

I know you might have heard this before but do you understand why it is important?

When you jump into your inBox before you plan what you need to accomplish that day, you will get sucked in and inevitably delay tackling your current projects for an hour or two.

Why does this happen? I am not sure if you have thought about this, but here is the truth about emails:

Every email sent to you represents someone who wants you to do something. Someone who wants you to take some type of action. So – guess what?

When you begin reading your emails, you immediately go into reaction mode. You either spend time responding immediately or figure out that you dont have time to respond and table it for later.

Once tabled, the email/request stays there demanding your time and energy later. Does this make sense?

So this is your challenge, should you accept it, for this week: Don’t open your inBox until you have planned your day and know exactly what you wish to accomplish. Once you are crystal clear about the direction and schedule for the day, you will know how much time you can spend there and what time is the appropriate time to open your emails and check your inbox.

Try being intentional with your inbox this week. You will be amazed how your stress level lowers and how much more you will accomplish.

 

 

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips, Productivity, Time Management | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ten Hacks For Efficient Packing

Overpacked Suitcase

Packing everything that you need is not always easy. If you don’t know the tips and tricks related to packing well, you can end up running out of space quickly. Believe it or not, there are some things that you don’t need to pack! Check out the following tips that can help you add space to your suitcase.

1.Make a list of what you will need to pack. Check these items off once you have packed them, and double check the list before you close everything up and head out of the door.

2.Use the complimentary soap, shampoo and other toiletries at your hotel. If these things are provided for you, there is no need to pack them. It doesn’t make sense to bring your own and bring the complimentary ones home because you simply won’t use them.

3.Skip the large containers. You can eliminate the need for a clunky container simply by using zip-lock bags. This is ideal for cosmetics, hair products and other items. You can also put these zip-locked bags into a plastic grocery store bag if you are concerned about spillage.

4.Use combination products to save space. For example, some moisturizers also provide sunscreen.

5.Avoid bringing pricey jewelry or other valuables if you can. If you do bring these items, make sure that they are insured. Check it into the hotel safe when you are not wearing the jewelry. Make sure you keep valuables as a carry on if you are flying.

6.Don’t pack every area guidebook you can find. Choose the one with the most information, and pack only that one. Find out if you will have access to the internet during the trip, as you can always look the information up. Otherwise, photocopy a few unique and useful pages found in separate guidebooks and bring only those pages.

7.Select your outfits according to the weather forecast. Don’t worry about possible changes in the weather, because you can always buy a poncho or sweater to use and keep as a souvenir.

8.Pack clothes that are neutral colors so you can mix and match tops and bottoms. Bring shoes that you can wear with several of these outfits. Don’t pack more clothes than you need.

9.If you like to read, buy magazines or newspapers at the airport. You can read them on your trip and leave them to be recycled at the hotel.

10. Final tip: Are you unsure about whether or not to pack certain items? Consider the fact that there are many items that you can purchase at your destination. If you can buy it there, why pack it?

It you make a list and only pack what you really need, you won’t run out of space. Happy packing!

Click here to receive a free travel packing checklist.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You Can Use Moving as a Catalyst for Downsizing

downsizing

Most of us have clutter lying around the house: trinkets we don’t remember how we obtained, broken or worn items we’re never going to use again, things we were gifted but never wanted, the list goes on.

Moving is a great catalyst for getting rid of things you don’t want or need. A new home is a blank slate. You can start anew with only items that benefit your life. Below are some tips for using moving as a catalyst for downsizing your possessions.

womanundermoving boxes

Decide What’s Important to You

The first step to downsizing is to analyze your viewpoint on possessions. What sort of items do you want in your life? Obviously, items you use on a daily basis will stay. These items make your life easier and contribute to your happiness and well-being. When it comes to décor and other items, think about whether you notice them often and if they make you smile. We all want a positive vibe in our living space, but too many trinkets can actually add stress to your life instead of bringing joy.

You’ll also want to think about what you want your new home to look and feel like. This means getting rid of items that are broken, damaged, or just don’t contribute to your space. As you pack, you’ll want to think about every item. Does it add functionality or positivity to your life? If not, strongly consider leaving it behind.

Decluttering

Purge Your Belongings

After you’ve decided your standards for keeping and getting rid of items, it’s time to start the purge. Here is a great article with tips for purging your belongings before a move. 

As the article states, you’ll want to be very intentional in your organization. Designate piles and boxes for items you’re keeping, items you’re donating, and garbage. I suggest creating these groups in piles first, then packing your “keep” pile a few days later. This will give you a second chance to analyze whether each item truly positively contributes to your life.

You should get rid of:

Items you haven’t used in over 6 months

Items you’re only keeping to make someone else happy (gifts you never wanted)

Anything that is broken (if you haven’t fixed it yet, you probably never will

Clothes you haven’t worn in 6 months (with the exception of seasonal wear)

momentum

Keep the Momentum Going

Once you’ve moved, you have a chance to keep the momentum from your purge. You can do this in several ways. The first is to resist the urge to fill your new space with clutter. Keep your home organized and only buy things that you actually need. 

The second trick is to pay attention to what items you’re using. My favorite trick for keeping the closet organized is to turn the hangers backwards when hanging all your clothes. Then, after you wear them, re-hang the item the opposite direction. In 3 months, you’ll be able to quickly see which clothes you haven’t worn. If they aren’t seasonal, there’s a strong case for donating them.

Sometimes it’s easy to get in a funk with clothing. You wear the same clothes over and over again because you like them. But then maybe a certain shirt gets really worn. You keep wearing it because you used to love it, but you no longer feel confident in it. Learn to purge clothes as soon as they don’t make you feel good. This includes shirts with un-removable stains, clothing with (un-fashionable) rips and tears, and jeans that no longer fit properly, resulting in the zipper constantly sliding down. Removing these items from your closet will result in a functional wardrobe full of clothes you truly enjoy wearing.

These are just a few ways that moving can help you be more intentional in how you view your belongings. Do you have any downsizing tips? Share in the comments!

Moving-truck

* Contributor Jeriann Watkins blogs at dairyairhead.com. As a crafter, she knows the challenge of wanting to keep items for their potential. You can see her organization tips and downsizing successes on her blog.
 
 
Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recycling Your Old Batteries Is Easy

A client recently made this discovery about how to recycle her old batteries. My clients are so smart and savvy!

The Waste Management program here in San Diego makes it super simple.

On recycle day, you can put your old batteries in a ziplock bag and leave it on top of your recycle bin and they will take them away and dispose of them properly! How easy is that?

If you don’t live in San Diego and want to learn  how you can recycle, contact your local waste management company. From what I have learned, this process is available almost everywhere in the US. Also libraries and other public facilities now have bins where you can drop off at no charge.

There are also other resources listed in the infographics below. Use your mouse to enlarge:

Battery_recycling_jpeg

This is the process that happens when you recycle:

Battery-Recycling-Process1

Thanks for doing your part to recycle and protect Mother Earth!

 

 

 

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment