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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before: Can you believe 2 little boys can make this much of a mess? Of course you can. These boys had too many toys and they were taking over the garage.
After: We needed to create zones to keep the toys and other garage essentials contained. Our zones were: music, bikes and vehicles, working out, lego/trains, and outside toys/sports equipment.
We laid down foam squares to mark the lego/train zone and keep it contained. We created 2 bins with each boys’ name for the toys that they don’t share so they are each responsible for their own toys.
We lined up all of the bicycles and vehicles in the front so they can be easily taken outside. We put all of the workout equipment together.
In the corner, we set up the drum set and other music equipment from both the garage and other areas of the house. Now all of the music making happens in the garage, and not in the house.
We also corralled all of the balls, bats, etc into a floating basket on wheels which could be wheeled outside to the basketball hoop or yard for sports.
Toys are now contained in bins. Nerf guns and their ammo are housed together in a cabinet. The many small parts that we came across were separated out, and we asked the boys what they went to and which were worth keeping.
Anything that did not fit into the zones was put away in another part of the house. Once the rest of the house is organized, there shouldn’t be any temptation to stash things in the garage that don’t belong.
My husband and I have recently downsized to a smaller house. We are finding it very difficult to let go of things we have always thought to be important. What are your suggestions? Kerry T of Del Mar
Congratulations on realizing that you need to release a few possessions from your life. As people move into new homes they discover that items that were once an integral part of their life no longer serve them. Even though they no longer need or use these items, they still feel sentimentally attached and find it difficult to let go. My suggestion is to think about how each item in question is now serving you. For starters, is it serving you at all or is it simply collecting dust in the corner? If it is only collecting dust, donate it and send it to new owners who will use it regularly. You will find this liberating and energizing. If you decide to keep it, move it into an area where it can be viewed or used regularly. If you can’t do this, it needs to leave your possession for good. Release and let go.
The most important organizing tool you can have in your bedroom is a hamper. All clothes should be placed into your hamper when they are dirty. When selecting a hamper, purchase one that will fit into the space where you get dressed and undressed.
Hampers with lids can be a problem. I find that when a hamper has a lid, clothes end up outside and stacked on the lid because you cant get into the hamper because the clothes are stacked on top of the lid. See the problem? Keeping your hamper ‘open for business’ will keep your laundry challenges under control. If your hamper lives inside of your closet (which by the way is ideal) and has a lid, please get rid of it. This is one of the first things I do when I work with clients in their master bedroom.
You might be moaning at this point that you don’t want to see all of that dirty laundry and you need a lid. If you are one of the few that actually don’t pile clothes on top of your closed hamper, then feel free to keep it. BUT if you are one of the many who use the hamper as a secondary table, do yourself a favor and ditch the lid!
If you are fortunate enough to have a walk-in closet, get a hamper that fits inside your closet. Get dressed and undressed within the confines of your closet. This will eliminate the possibility that you will toss clothes onto the floor, spare chair or side table when you get undressed. It also keeps all clothing items sorted following the ‘like with like’ category!
Also, make a rule with yourself that no clean clothes can enter your bedroom unless they are put away where they belong. This means that you have to make this step a part of every laundry load. Actually getting dressed or choosing your clothes from a pile instead of from a neatly folded or hanging selection guarantees that you will have a day that begins with the stress of being disorganized. Will you really feel confident and in the mood to take on the world if you have to dig through piles in order to find 2 matching socks?
Tips for what you might consider the in-between clothes ~
If you wear a lot of clothes that are either gentle wash or dry clean, consider adding another hamper to keep items separated. If space is not an issue you can also the old school technique and divide by whites versus color.
Tonight before you go to bed, tackle the “chair of clothes” that you probably have waiting for you. Put them away and don’t let the clothes pile up ever again. The mound of clothes is horrible for your mental attitude. Just looking at it brings about guilt and a nagging feeling of inadequacy.
I have always struggled with what to wear as an African American Male, so I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me?
1. I have attached a picture of myself and I’m wondering if I am a cool or warm skin tone? (I have green veins)
2. What kind of jewelry will look best on me? For example, white gold or yellow gold?
3. What colors of clothing would be best for me to wear?
If you have time, it would help me a lot if you could answer these questions.
University of Oklahoma
Business Finance and Philosophy
Thanks for your question and also for sending me your photo. I realize that determining your best colors can be quite a challenge. Since you say your veins are more green hued than blue, I would say that you have a warm skin tone. In the picture your skin tone also appears more brown (warm) than black (cool).
With these details in mind I would suggest that you wear yellow gold jewelry, not white gold or silver.
The colors that will look best will be in the warm yellow tinted colors not colors with blue tints. Choose clothes that are made with the bright colors that occur in nature during the fall season. Since you live in Oklahoma, this will be easy to identify and you should be getting a lot of inspiration in the coming months!
I would love to see you in lime green, pumpkin, saffron, bright orange red etc. If you have a choice between white and ivory or off-white for your shirts, always choose ivory. It is a warm color and will even out your skin tone.
It might be helpful to print a copy of the color wheel in this article and take it with you when you shop to get a better idea of what colors to wear.
When you are shopping and uncertain about the color, ask someone close by if you look healthy or tired when you hold the item up close to your face. If your skin tone looks more even and healthier, you are on the right track. If your face looks tired or your skin tone is more faded, don’t make that purchase.
Also, if you wear something and throughout the day people ask you if you are tired or feeling under the weather, this is a tell tale indication that you are wearing the wrong color and it is probably has more of a blue than a yellow base. I hope this helps!
Best of luck to you. If you find the perfect item or outfit in a color that makes you look and feel fantastic, please send me another photo!
Here’s a challenge that I am certain many of you face: What to do with notes taken during meetings.
You might feel like they should be transcribed, but never find the time. Or perhaps the papers need to be filed, but you don’t’ really want more paper and are not sure how you’d find it later.
Here’s a possible solution:
You can label it with whatever makes sense to you if you are using it for more than one venue. ONLY take notes in that notebook.
PS make sure it is perfect bound so loose pieces of paper wont end up floating around your office.
I hope this helps!