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Author: Elizabeth BoydDocument Management Goal Setting Organizing

Resolution Reset

Benjamin Franklin and Order

Was one of your resolutions for 2018 to get more organized? If so, you’re in good company. Getting organized is among the most popular New Year’s resolutions.   

Even if you didn’t expressly resolve to get more organized, you may have done so without realizing it via your other resolutions.  This is because organization is key to success with so many goals.  

Say for example that you resolved to spend more time with family, or achieve a fitness goal, or tackle debt. Being more organized means that you can gain time to enjoy family. Fitness goals are more attainable when you have fewer barriers between you and your workout – if it’s hard to find those workout clothes, it’s that much easier to throw in the towel and not work out.  

If your goals are financial, an organized mail and paper management system can be like found money. You can pay down debt instead of paying late fees after you finally come across that overdue bill. Organization really is crucial to achieving most goals.  

Resolutions are easy to make and all too easy to break. New Year’s resolution expert John Norcross found that 25% of us don’t stick with our New Year’s resolutions past the first week.  If you are still on track with your New Year’s resolution, kudos! If not, now is the perfect time to reset.

Resetting your resolution may be as simple as breaking it down into small steps. Have you written down your resolution?  If not, try that. People who write down their goals have been found to accomplish significantly more than people who don’t. It may be a matter of reworking your resolution so that it’s S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Relevant / Realistic, and Time-bound).

Change that involves organization can be hard for the best of us no matter what strategies we try. If this sounds like it applies to you, you’re still in good company. Benjamin Franklin's 13 VirtuesConsider that Benjamin Franklin made a chart of 13 “virtues” to which he aspired. Order was the one he struggled most with, according to the chart he included in his Autobiography. He would put a mark on those days when he did not achieve the virtue, and there are more marks for order than for any other virtue.  

If you can relate to Franklin’s struggles, consider an option that didn’t exist in Franklin’s day: hire a professional organizer!    

Author: Denise MacMurtrieGeneral Goal Setting healthy living Procrastination Productivity Time Management

Simple Living Isn’t Easy

Life in the 21st century is anything but simple. Our world feeds us countless messages defining what we need in order to be happy, successful, and fulfilled. We’ve all heard these messages, either directly or indirectly, and we’ve all bought into at least some of the hopeful promises that our lives can improve…if only we [you fill in the blank].

But the true result of our modern life, trying to keep up with our packed schedules, overflowing to-do lists, and material abundance is sadly, not satisfaction and peace. Rather, we have stress, anxiety, broken relationships, and a LOT of stuff.

So, in the complexity of our technological age, what does it mean to simplify? What does a simpler life look like for an ordinary family keeping up with work, school, and countless demands? Regardless of the season of life—a young couple, family with children, or empty nesters—how  can any of us find a greater level of simplicity in our noisy, chaotic, energetic world?

The beautiful truth is that the concept of “living simply” looks different for each person and every family. What I deem a simpler, less complicated life for my family will undoubtedly look different from your ideal. The challenge is that it takes effort to figure out how to step out of a cluttered and demanding lifestyle to pursue a more balanced and satisfying experience of daily life.

I want to highlight the two qualities that define a simpler life, according to Deborah DeFord in her book, The Simpler Life (The Readers Digest Association, Inc, 1998). These are integrity and intentionality.

Integrity is defined as a state of being whole and undivided. This ideal means I need to look at what is important to me, and then live according to those goals and values. If I believe physical fitness is important but never make time in my week to get up and move, then I am not living an integrated life. Rather, to live according to what I value, I will commit to walking 3 times each week and schedule it on my calendar. It’s as simple as that: Live in accordance with what is important to you.

Intentionality means we act with purpose. We consciously decide the choices we make throughout our day.  Thus, to be intentional requires a certain mindfulness. If we are always “going with the flow,” we may feel spontaneous, but we are not in control of our day. We are reacting rather than being proactive. I must admit that I sometimes fell prey to impulse purchases, buying things because they were on sale, even though they were not items on my list. The result was I spent money I hadn’t planned to spend, brought home things I might not actually use, and then had to find a place to store my latest bargains. Learning to live with intention means pausing to evaluate my true needs.

How will pursuing integrity and intentionality help you lead a simpler life?

Only you can decide what is most important to you. Only you can be in control of the way you spend your time, the things you buy, and the relationships you pursue. When you proactively make decisions on what you need in your life and shut out the noise of what others are proclaiming, you will have the ability to pursue only those people, activities and things that give meaning to your life. Saying “no” to the unnecessary is saying “yes” to what is most valuable—which leads to true satisfaction, contentment, and peace.

Author: Angie FiccoCar organization General Goal Setting Organizing

An Organized Car for 2017

car_blog_picIt’s January again, which means New Year’s resolutions and packing away holiday decorations. January is also considered ‘GO Month’ aka Get Organized Month in the world of organization. We all set new goals of what we would like to achieve, but what if this year we focus on one location where we spend more time than we think; our cars. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Americans spend, on average, over 290 hours in our car EACH YEAR. If I’m going to spend the equivalent of seven work weeks driving my car each year, I want to make sure I am comfortable and prepared. Organizing your car is an accomplishable goal that will enhance your everyday life and can be achieved in an afternoon. Below are a few easy steps to follow on cleaning out your car and what supplies you need for safety and convenience.

Step One
Clear everything out of your car…and I mean every penny and empty coffee mug! Sort everything into three piles; ‘Toss’, ‘Put Away’, and ‘Keep in Car’. The ‘Toss’ pile is all the junk you want to throw away; wrappers, receipts, bottles, etc. The ‘Put Away’ pile might mean it goes in the house, back to the office or needs to be returned to a friend. The ‘Keep in Car’ pile is everything that belongs in your car. Cross-reference the list below to decide what stays and what goes.

Step Two
Clean the car inside and out.  Start by vacuuming from the top down, including the upholstered ceiling since dust builds up on soft surfaces. Don’t forget to remove any floor pads and vacuum under them and the pads themselves. Next, dust all of the hard surfaces and wipe down the windows. I use Swiffer dusting wipes and I usually buy the generic brand at the local dollar store, they work great! After dusting, I use ArmorAll Original Protectant Wipes ($10.79 for a 3 pack at Target) on all of the hard surfaces and glass wipes for the windows and windshield. You can also use a damp rag or any other car interior polish you’d like. For really dirty jobs you may want to consider shampooing your upholstery.

I like to do this stage at my local self-service car wash. This way, I don’t have to worry about lugging a vacuum in and out of the house or hooking up the hose. I keep the interior wipes along with some window wipes in my car at all times so I can just roll up and pay a few dollars for their vacuum and then wash the exterior and be on my way.

Step Three
Now we address our three piles.  First, throw away anything labeled ‘Toss’. That was easy! Next, anything that was deemed ‘Put Away’ should be contained in a box or a bag and immediately brought inside.  If your like me and decided to clean the car off site, make sure everything is contained to be brought inside and put away. Now it is time to put the ‘Keep in Car’ pile away.  Below, I have provided a list of what every car owner needs and added notes and suggestions on how to use each item and where they are best stored.

Car Essentials

  • Paperwork – insurance card, registration, title, inspection, license, mechanic info, emergency contacts, car manual, & photocopy of drivers license (keep in glove box, console, or under the front seat)
  • Safety kit (listed below)
  • Quarters/Emergency money (keep out of plain sight)
  • Umbrella – back of seat or door storage
  • Pen & Paper
  • Ice Scraper & Shovel
  • Trash bag
  • Dedicated phone charger – NEVER leaves your car

SAFETY – Almost all of this can be kept in the trunk

  • Maps
  • First aid kit
  • Blanket/towel/thermal blanket
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares/Reflective triangles
  • Water
  • Rope
  • Flashlight & batteries
  • Life hammer (breaks glass & cuts seat belts/keep in center console)
  • Matches/lighter
  • Multi-tool
  • Tire jack & spare tire
  • Duct tape
  • Important prescription medications
  • Energy bars
  • Materials for tire traction – sand or kitty litter
  • Work gloves
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Pepper spray – keep in center console
  • Change of clothing/walking shoes/winter coat

CONVENIENCE ITEMS

  • Sunglasses – should never leave the car
  • Air freshener
  • Reusable shopping bags
  • Disposable grocery bags
  • Paper towels/napkins/tissues
  • Auxiliary cord
  • Optional Health & Beauty pack (do not include anything that could melt)
    • Hair ties
    • Oral hygiene items
    • Feminine products
    • Makeup
    • Wipes – disinfectant or baby
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Lotion

Follow these three easy steps and you’ll be ready to plan your 2017 road trip! Happy New Year!

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Author: Darla PompilioGoal Setting healthy living Home Organizing

Exercises to Flex Your Organizing Muscles

fatclutter-4So much of getting organized is about building new habits. To maintain those habits, you have to exercise your organizing muscles regularly. Below are a few exercises to help you get into shape.

  • Build Your Muscles
    Build up your organizing muscles by picking one small area to start and staying there until that area is complete. It could be a junk drawer or a cabinet. This will help you to stay focused and keeps you from running in circles from room to room.
  • Increase Your Endurance
    Increase your endurance with repetitions of sorting, purging & categorizing. Always sort, purge and categorize first. Sort into two groups: things to keep & things to let go. Categorize the remaining items by type. Toss or donate the items you don’t need or love.
  • Feel the Burn
    Intensify your aerobic activity and feel the burn. Put on some good dance music, grab an empty laundry basket and set a timer for 10 minutes. Ready, Set, Go… through every room in your home as quickly as possible, collecting any and all clutter in your path. The key is to continue moving for the full 10 minute period.
  • Circuit Train
    Try circuit training by selecting six small organizing jobs, such as, a junk drawer or a medicine cabinet. Set your timer and give yourself 10 minutes per space. You will be amazed how fast and efficient you can be when you are under the gun to get it done! In the end, you will have six areas of the house organized within the hour.
  • Limit Your Intake
    Limit your daily intake to reduce your household weight. Every time you make a purchase, ask yourself if you need or love that item. If the answer is no, leave it at the store!
  • Flush Your System
    Create a designated area of your home for donation items and see how much you and your family can add to it each week. Make a game of trying to remove more items from your home than the amount of items you bring home.

Remember, one of the fastest ways to feel lighter is to exercise your organizing muscles by shedding pounds of clutter.  Happy New Year!

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Author: Carla ShipmanGoal Setting Organizing

A New Vision for 2017

carlas-jpegAs 2016 is winding down, we embark on a new chapter in our lives in the New Year. For most, the challenge is to figure out our purpose in life and what we would like our story to be for 2017.  We all have a purpose in life and it’s just a matter of being conscious, and knowing and believing that there is a divine order.

What is our story going to be at the end of 2017? Will we finally tackle those pockets of clutter in our homes, workplace, and minds? Or, are we going to continue telling ourselves “I’ll get to it someday?” Are we finally going to be committed to eating healthy? How about creating financial wealth or establishing loving and positive relationships? Although love, peace and harmony will be the driving force to change, making a commitment to change is certainly a step in the right direction. When we don’t go through the process of taking care of those things that are affecting our health, mindset, relationships, monies, careers and our spiritual being, it become a vicious cycle that hold us back from our goals. Once we decide to change our mindset, everything we need comes our way.

One way to start moving in the right direction is to create a vision board.  A vision board is a way to put on paper what you would like your life, home, workplace, etc., to look like. All you’ll need is a sketchbook, old/new magazines, markers, pens, scissors, glue, etc. to get started. Why not spend this holiday season creating your vision board and put on paper what you would like 2017 to look like?

Happy New Year!

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Author: Danielle OBrienGoal Setting Organizing Productivity Project Management Seasonal Time Management

How Do You Remember?

danielles-seasonspicSome of us love change. With each new month we tend to change our clothing, eat different foods and decorate our homes. That’s a lot of work for some of us. How do you remember everything that needs to be done? I use my calendar. Each month reminds me of what needs to be done. Below is a monthly glance at my calendar.

  • January
    First on the list is the holiday decor, accessories, and gifts. If you do it right, you will be very happy unpacking next year. Clean, sort, contain, label, and store all your holiday items. I give the house a good cleaning hoping to pick up every pine needle from the tree, plus all the spills and dribbles from my youngest guest. Next, I purge my files of last year’s documents and put them in my tax file. Even if your financial documents are online, you can do this. This updates the file for the new year. Then, I hibernate, and I don’t feel guilty!
  • February
    This month I commit to organizing my photos. I place last year’s photos on the dining room table and create one book for each of my three children. I organize my videos in the cloud which although it takes a few weeks, I get it done. In the meantime, I cook soup, lots of hearty soups. My house is warm and the aroma is wonderful.
  • March
    Now is the time to find my “green” clothes or at least put my wools away in hopes of an early spring. I visit my friends more and schedule game nights. Usually, I am freezing in the spring, so I increase my cardio exercises. I enjoy the soups I put in the freezer. I also change the clocks, check our batteries and discuss a fire evacuation plan with our family.
  • April
    Now is the time to clean all the windows and blinds and take the covers off the outdoor furniture. I clear out the dead plants/shrubs in the yard, decorate for the spring holidays and clear out the garage. I also schedule to get our air conditioning system serviced.
  • May
    Gardening begins now. Flags go out on Memorial Day weekend. Clean and repair deck/patio as needed. I air out our suitcases, Jersey shore here we come!
  • June
    Purge the children’s rooms, store school memories and wash out the backpacks. I scrub the freezer and prepare for my 4th of July Ice Cream & Fire Works party. Also, I wash our grill accessories and summer platters.
  • July
    Start to relax into summer and enjoy.
  • August
    Swim in the ocean as much as possible. Read on the beach. I deserve it!
  • September
    Concentrate on back to school paperwork and schedules. It’s school shopping time! Put vacation accessories away and repack pool bags for next year. Clear dead plants and shrubs. Harvest the veggies. Bring flags in. Put summer accessories towards the back of the garage.
  • October
    Bring my fall clothes down from the top of my closet then shop for what’s missing. Halloween décor and costumes come out just for fun. Make sure the garage is clean so I can retrieve the holiday supplies.
  • November
    Heavy kitchen cleaning is done at this time, food shopping and of course, eating. Check fire alarm batteries, smoke detectors and have that fire safety discussion again. Cover deck furniture.
  • December
    Holiday madness, parties people & food!

How do you remember?

An easy way to keep up with the changing seasons is to set an event in your calendar for each month and have it notify you. Or, maybe break up things into weekends, starting each Saturday morning with a “things to do list.” I pretty much have it memorized and enjoy the changes that the seasons bring.

danielles-autumnpic

Happy autumn to you!

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