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Author: Adriane WeinbergEmergencies General Shopping

Do You Know What’s In Your Wallet?

WalletMy aunt’s friend Lee was driving home after having dinner with The Girls. All of a sudden she realized she didn’t have her handbag! She frantically tried to remember what was in it, especially in her wallet, but her mind went blank. Panicked, Lee called the restaurant. It wasn’t there. Although it seemed futile, she drove back to the restaurant. Between when she called and arrived, it had been found! Lee was lucky.

If your wallet were lost or stolen, could you remember all the credit and membership cards, ATM and debit cards, medical insurance, driver’s license and registration cards, and the rest? Of course not. But even if you could, would you know the account numbers and contact info to report them missing? Not unless you have hyperthymesia or are a savant like Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man. And consider the many hours it would take to figure all this out.

To protect yourself, here are 9 tips.

  1. Use smartphone apps such as a mobile wallet to pay electronically or Keyring to store your reward cards.
  2. Create a list of the documents in your wallet and organize by category, such as credit cards. Using a word processing program makes it easy to update the list as items change. Include the name of the issuer, account number, customer service phone number and expiration date, if applicable. Keep a copy in a secure location at home, another in your safe deposit box and give one to someone you completely trust.
  3. Photocopy or scan the documents, front and back, and refer to #2 about safekeeping.
  4. Remember to add new items and remove unwanted ones in whatever system you use and distribute as necessary as stated in #2.
  5. Ladies often leave handbags unattended in shopping carts or hung out of sight on the backs of chairs in restaurants. Either keep your bag with you or keep an eye on it at all times.
  6. During the summer months we spend more time outdoors. We’re more relaxed and perhaps less guarded when down the shore or picnicking in the park. Pay attention to your personal belongings at all times.
  7. Be sure there is adequate security protection for whatever method you choose.
  8. Security experts recommend keeping your social security card in a safe deposit box with other important documents, not in your wallet. (Has anyone ever asked to see it?)
  9. This is a perfect time to remove rarely used cards and accumulated clutter.

If you think any of these options is too much trouble, ask yourself how much trouble it would be if your wallet were lost or stolen and you didn’t know its contents or the contact info. The payoff is having readily accessible information so you can take immediate action. We don’t intend to create opportunities for theft. But, if it happens, your record will be a vital resource. How thrilled would you be that you took time to protect yourself?

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Author: Darla PompilioConsignment General healthy living Recyling Shopping

Good Habits for Earth Day 

Earth Day - April 22Every time I enter a client’s home, I’m reminded of the sheer amount of stuff with which we surround ourselves. Does our stuff make our lives better or more difficult? And, what happens to all of the stuff we don’t want?

Most clients try to recycle as much as they can, but the truth is, much of what is donated ends up in the dump. Just this week, I was at a baby shower and the mother-to-be received so many gifts, she remarked they would need a storage unit. She wasn’t kidding.

April 22nd is Earth Day and a great opportunity to reflect on the world we would like to leave to our children and grandchildren. Take a look at the road sides as you drive around this month. Few places don’t have plastic bags blowing in the limbs of the trees and litter strewn about. While we need things to live, conduct business and improve our quality of life, do we want to leave a legacy of trash for the next generation?

Water bottles are a scourge on our earth and resources. According to Ban the Bottle, “Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year.” The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it and The Recycling Coalition of Utah states that “Americans represent 5% of the world’s population, but generate 30% of the world’s garbage.”

How can we stop burying ourselves and our loved ones in garbage? 

  • For starters, buy less. Do you really need that new (fill in the blank)?
  • Reuse what we have. Owning fewer items makes them easier to find and in turn, we are more likely to not have to re-purchase the same items.
  • Buy items that come in less packaging: less packaging means less waste.
  • Shop for pre-owned items and support local organizations like thrift stores.
  • Compost food scraps; vegetables/fruit peels and leftovers.
  • Donate what we no longer want, need or love. This extends the usable life of the items, allows someone else to enjoy them, and they stay out of land fills.
  • Re-use glass bottles/jars for water/food, in place of plastic bags or wrap.
  • Stop using plastic shopping bags. Get into the habit of using reusable shopping bags.

Happy Earth Day!

 

Author: Annette ReymanDigital Apps Document Management Electronic Organizing General Organizing Products Productivity Shopping

Afraid of the “Web?” Don’t Be!

Spiderweb

Trying to know everything about the Internet is as impossible as reading every book ever written. Like the spooky spider webs (real and synthetic) that accent our autumn décor, the fingers of the world-wide-web stretch and reach into sometimes unexpected corners of our lives. Schools, grocery stores, medical offices, places of employment and social groups – it is hard to find areas of life that are not touched. Yet, while technology races to manage our world, how well are we managing technology?

No matter where you find yourself in this digital age — ahead of the curve, just keeping up, or lagging behind — step away from the shivers you feel about getting caught in the web. Here are suggestions of some free tools and applications that I, myself, have found useful. They have helped me create order and ease in different areas of my daily life.

When You Shop: If you keep your cell phone with you, use it to store your shopping lists. Simply take a picture of your refrigerator grocery list before leaving the house or have a family member text you a picture of it when you’re at the grocery store. Create your list in an “app” such as Remember The Milk. And toss all those plastic loyalty and club cards. Use an app called Key Ring and they will always be with you when you need them.

Appointment Management: Phone calendars are wonderful for helping keep track of appointments and deadlines. They even offer the ability to set alarms. Go a step further and set up a shared calendar for your family in Google so you can know who needs to be where and when.

Travel Help: Have you ever been traveling and needed to find a gas station, restaurant or restroom? Don’t want to end up in a less than desirable location? Use the Yelp app to find something local and reviewed by others. Want to catch a movie on the fly? Try the Flixster app to find what’s playing now in your current location.

Files at Your Fingertips: Whether used for business or not, this can be more handy than you might think. Try creating a medical file in Evernote or Dropbox with snapshots of test results, medications and procedures. Bring an iPad or tablet to your doctor appointments and pull them up so your doctors can scroll through them easily. Similarly agendas, contact lists, and meeting notes for your association or social club meetings can be saved online. Even if you prefer bringing printed copies, storing them in Google Drive is a great backup plan. If you get into a bind and are caught without the printouts, you can log in to your Google account and access the notes on your phone or tablet without having to stop home.

I challenge you to choose one new techno-solution this month and see if it can help you streamline an aspect of your life. Don’t wriggle helplessly in a web constructed by someone else. Use technology to create your own web of control and order. Replace your fear of the Internet by spinning a web of your own design.

Author: Kathy LuskusCloset Clothing Organizing Products Shopping Wardrobe Management

“NO WIRE HANGERS EVER!”

Most of us remember this line from the movie “Mommy Dearest” along with the cruelty that accompanied it.

Most Professional Organizers cringe at the sight of a closet packed full of clothes and each piece on a wire hanger, twisting up, over and back. No wonder people say they have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear! You won’t wear what you don’t see. Most of us select clothes that reflect our personal style and if we’re appointing that task to our clothes, we need to respect them.

Proper care of your clothes will result in:
• longer wear
• neater appearance
• protection of your clothing investment
• easier outfit selection since you can clearly see what you have

The market is flush with many styles of hangers and it’s up to your priorities and budget to select what’s appropriate for your wardrobe. Here are some guidelines:


Plaid Padded HangerPadded hangers – Padded hangers are great for shirts, dresses, blouses, and of course, robes. Padded hangers with clips are a great choice for hanging outfits.  Amazon.com

Wooden HangerWooden hangers – If you can afford them, wooden hangers are the best choice for men’s and women’s suits.  The thick curved design provides support in your suits’ shoulders.  Some are made of cedar and protect precious fabrics and help maintain the shape of tailored pieces. It’s actually your most economic hanger purchase since they last for years and will most likely outlast your next 3 cars! HangerStore.com

Flocked Velvet HangerFlock/Velvet hangers – These hangers work best for delicate tops, camisoles, and pashminas. Although they come in many colors, black is best, and can always be matched when you need to purchase more.   ContainerStore.com

Quality hangers are also available for belts and neckties. If space is tight, hang these on the back wall of your closet behind the clothing.

Below are some budget-wise choices:

Clear acrylic hangers — These hangers are the ones most likely seen in department stores. They’re inexpensive, available everywhere, sturdy, moisture-proof, don’t take up too much visual space. They can be used in the laundry room for hanging items right out of the dryer.

Plastic tubular hangers — These hangers last forever and are inexpensive. Also, they can be used in the laundry room for hanging drip dry items. Purchase the thicker versions which hold up better.

Suit hangers — These hangers can accommodate pants/slacks folded underneath the jacket skirt/pant hangers with clips at the waist avoid that mid-length crease.

Space-saving hangers — Typically hold 10 garments vertically and then fold down horizontally to save space. Tradeoffs are wrinkled clothes and hidden garments; remember — if you can’t see it, you won’t wear it. Use them for long term/out of season storage.

Speaking of out-of-season storage, it’s best to use canvas garment bags. Plastic garment bags trap moisture and the chemicals used in the dry cleaning process. Be sure to add some cedar chips or blocks before closing the bag(s). Another option is Cedar Fresh sachets which are cedar and lavender combined in one sachet on a string you can hang on a hanger. The fragrance is pleasant and not overwhelmingly strong.

Hopefully, these suggestions have inspired you to ‘take stock’ of your closet situation, and if need be, make the necessary changes. Remember, you can always ask a professional organizer for help.

Author: Kelly GalfandElectronic Organizing Family General Holidays Seasonal Shopping Storage

Ask “Where” and “Why” Before You Buy

My personal list of pre-shopping questions is taped to my computer screen.

As the holidays approach, ASK before you make a single purchase:

Where will it “live”? This is probably the last question people ask… but it should be first! If you don’t want to invite clutter, make sure you know where something will be stored when not in use; otherwise, it will sit out, collect dust, and get in your way.

Why do I need this? If you’re purchasing a gift… do they really need it? Would they appreciate tickets to an event more than an object to clutter their home? Recent studies have shown that experiences give us longer-lasting JOY than material items.

Can I afford it right now? This is not just a monetary question… electronic purchases require an investment in time to set up; new phones beg for back-ups before you transfer over to a new device and don’t forget about learning curves!

What would happen if I waited? Shopping can be fun. I am the first to admit that it’s neat to re-envision your table set for the holidays, or a seasonal lift to your bedroom (I am a sucker for linens!), but your brain doesn’t know the difference between the fantasy of seeing your table set and the reality of seeing your bed made with cozy soft colorful sheets that say autumn. Go ahead and put it in your cart (be it physical or electronic)… just don’t hit “confirm purchase.” Resist placing that order. Do NOT hand over your credit card.

If you KNOW you need it, and you can afford it, but you really haven’t a clue where to put it, hire a professional organizer to help! We’re terrific at thinking outside the box, or cabinet, or fridge, or pantry, or laundry room, or bedside table or linen closet… Our list goes on for fabulous solutions to your everyday challenges.

As the holidays approach, try keeping a list of these shopping questions in your wallet or taped to your computer screen to help avoid unnecessary purchases. List the where’s and why’s in an order that makes sense to you and your purchasing patterns. This year, go into the holidays feeling in control of your spending, your space, and your holiday experiences. Your budget and your loved ones will thank you!

Author: Sherry CastaldiFamily General Home Organizing Productivity Shopping

9 Tips to Save You Time and Money at the Grocery Store

Healthy groceriesWhen trying to save time and money at the grocery store, the first step is to start with your menu plan. Plan your meals by making a weekly menu. Of course you can also do bi-monthly or monthly if you feel so inspired, but if this is a new process start with a week until you get comfortable with this idea.

For each day of the week, plan what your meals will be including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and beverages. Now check to see if you have written any specialty recipes down that may require additional ingredients such as spices, etc. Start making your grocery list based upon your menu.

Check your pantry and make sure you have all of the ingredients or food items you need to accomplish your meal plan for the week. If you do not, write them down on your grocery list. This way of planning will keep you organized so preparing and cooking your meals will go off without a hitch. Being organized will help to prevent the need to run back to the store for forgotten items or ingredients.

Keep a running grocery list during the week for any supplies that run out or are getting low. Add these items to your grocery list. This is an especially helpful household task for when you have multiple family members. If you used the last of something, put it on the list, do not let the next person needing that item be the one to find out it’s not there when they need it. A detailed grocery list helps you from forgetting items that you may need.

Do you use coupons? If not skip this paragraph. If so, keep your coupons in a file or a convenient place such as your pocketbook. Organize the coupons in the same manner you organized your list; by the order of where those items will be found in the aisles. Check that you are purchasing the exact brand, item, size requirement, etc. from that coupon as you are selecting that item. This will save you time and embarrassment at the checkout counter from choosing an incorrect item. Also check for expiration dates on your coupons.

Now if you want to save time at the grocery store take this list one step further and organize the list based upon the grocery store aisles where you do your shopping. This way you are able to cross items off the list as you go up and down the aisles.  This will help you from going back and forth through the aisles if you skip something. It also helps from forgetting items.

To recap:

  1. Make a weekly menu
  2. Check recipes for all ingredients you may need
  3. Make a list of all recipe ingredients
  4. Check your pantry for all necessary items from your menu
  5. Make a grocery list of all items needed
  6. Do a check for any staples that may also be running low that you may need to add to the list
  7. Organize your grocery list to coincide with the arrangement of the aisles at your grocery store.
  8. Organize your coupons to coincide with the arrangement of the aisles at your grocery store.
  9. Check off items from your list at the store.

Planning your menu and grocery list in an organized manner will not only help you become an organized shopper, it will save you time and money as well.  Happy Shopping!