The Holiday Organizer!

At this time of the year, going into the fall season, several of my passions collide–organizing, cardmaking, thrift store finds to decorate for the holidays, and shopping for Christmas gifts. I found this  99 cents Holiday Organizer in a thrift store that started me on my merry little way of organizing my holiday tasks. Although it isn’t quite functional for my needs, as designers say, “It had good bones.” It is small enough to fit into my purse, has pockets and an address book. So, with the help of a great website I am sharing with you here, Christmasplanner.com, I re-created my great little find into what works for me.

I didn’t have to completely reinvent the wheel.  It’s only partially handmade. It’s not perfect, but it works for me!

Before: It had pockets labeled ‘Receipts’. The next page had the headings   – Name, Year,  Wish List and Purchased. 

Before:  The address book pages had columns for 5 Years, Sent and Received check boxes.

After:  I made simple changes to the pockets by re-labeling most of them.   I’ll put my handmade Christmas cards in some pockets and Coupons in one pocket so I won’t have to search for my coupons while shopping. I kept one pocket labeled, Receipts, so I can keep up with my budget. On the website above, I found a Christmas Gift Planner Sheet that I liked. I reduced it and pasted it to the ‘Name/Year’ page. It has a little more detail.

 

After: I changed the Years from past years to 2012 through 2016.

 

 

 

 

Viola!  A Holiday Planner I can use for several years made in just a few minutes.  By the way, here’s the link to the Christmas Gift Planner template (in pdf format) I found on the website:

http://www.christmasplanner.com/money-saving-christmas-gift-planner.

I would be delighted if you’d share how you plan and organize your holidays.  Happy holiday planning!

Back to School Organizing Tips for “All” Students

Although school has just started, the yelling has started already . “I can’t find my homework!” Now, the reality of having to take care of a household and going back to college has set in. “How am I going to prepare dinner for my family and complete my class assignments?” “How am I going to complete my project at work and my college class project that due at the same time?”

School assignments have a way of disappearing between bedtime and the next morning. Textbooks get lost in your child’s messy clutter.  If you have a child in grade school or high school, school items can be designated to specific spaces such as a  desk, dresser, or  bookshelf. You may have been out of high school for a while now. However, you’re attending college to obtain a degree, complete a degree or change your career path since the economy has been in a downward turn.  As a non-traditional student, time management is very important. You’re probably juggling a part-time or full-time job, and family issues that will contribute to an already hectic life. How do you find time to take care of your household, work, study or have some personal downtime? Time management and organizing skills make it possible.
  • Having a planner in your household is crucial. You should create a calendar (a dry erase board would be ideal) to keep track of school projects, events, extracurricular activities, and appointments.
  • Keep the calendar in a convenient place such as the kitchen, or by the door that you enter and exit daily.
  • All family members should record their schedule and activities on the calendar using different colored markers.
  • It is a good idea for the adult to record the family’s calendar in their personal planner (whether paper or electronic) since you always have it with you.

No matter what type of student you are, the academic year doesn’t have to be stressful or disorganized if you follow these few time management and organizing tips.

At the end of the day, what does a cleared off desk mean?

I remember a past supervisor commenting that my desk was always neat and clean at the end of the day.  She meant this in a positive way. I was very proud that my desk was always neat and cleared off at the end of the day and ready to begin work the next morning.  But just what did my cleared desk mean in terms of my being productive and managing paperwork?  Were the tasks I had put on my “To Do List” completed?  Were there any mismanaged papers?  Were my supervisor’s priorities met?

Having a cleared, neat desk does not mean being organized!  However, the answer to the questions above is “Yes!”  – I was very  organized and finished my daily tasks efficiently – most of the time.  I had a process that worked for me in terms of getting paper from the ‘In Box’ to where it belonged and prioritizing tasks from ‘To Do’ to ‘To Done.’

Most of us have a process to manage our daily work routine, however, when things get out of focus, we can use a little help and learn new techniques to get us back on track.

A new technique for you may be as simple as discarding more of the paper that crosses your desk – (a shredder can be your friend).

Or you may need to set up a tickler file (a tickler file organizer allows time-sensitive documents to be filed according to the future date on which each document needs action).

Or, you may need a full-scale reorganization!

You’re not alone.  I’ve had to reorganize more than once in my lifetime.

 

 

Marrying Organizing Styles

As the saying goes, “opposites attract.” It’s the wedding season and many couples combine households with little thought of how many things they each have to bring into one space.  They have the wedding gifts to deal with also.

One person’s organizing style may be that throwing their dirty clothes across a chair is the ideal solution than dropping them on the floor. The other person, of course, uses a practical hamper that sorts clothing by color.  One person thinks an exposed shelving unit in the kitchen to show off all the pretty dishes is fantastic while the other person wants them behind closed doors so that they don’t have to be neat all the time. 

If you are ‘opposites’ and haven’t had a conversation on your organizing style, contact me for a consultation. If you’ve had a conversation on how to purge your households and ‘organizing’ is a dirty word, contact me for a consultation. I’ll help you get through the beginning of your marriage peaceably.

Your lifestyles renewed for joining together!

What’s on sale in June?!

As I was browsing the morning articles on the Internet, one entitled “What’s on sale in June?” caught my eye, so I clicked on the link to read it. The article was tagged ‘frugal’ which is an adjective that I sometimes use to describe myself. Some of the items on sale listed by the writer were sporting equipment, grills and accessories, fruits and veggies and summer clothes.  Being a professional organizer, I started thinking about how we would run out to get some of these great summer bargains just to add more stuff in our homes.

In January, things that are on sale are usually associated with revival, new beginnings, and resolutions such as organizing products, weight lost help products and fresh white sheets. I’d like for you to think about having a June resolution. If you plan on shopping for summer sale items, resolve to get rid of some of the clutter already in your home. Summer is a great time for decluttering. You’ll have lots of space outside to sort your items (if you have a yard or porch).  In my previous blog, I gave  you organizing tips to have a garage sale. You’ll make some money to buy that new grill!

We spend more time in our homes in the winter, and looking at a lot of clutter can add to the feeling of “winter blues.” Taking the time to declutter your home this summer can help your mental health this winter. I’m offering a sale through June 30!

15% off my regular rate for clutter busting for new customers.

Contact me to renew your lifestyle before the winter blues set in.

In case you missed the “What’s on sale in June?” article, here’s the link: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/frugal/on-sale-june.aspx.

An Easy Way to Make Extra Money – Have a Garage Sale!

From spring to fall, as you’re driving along, you see the signs on the side of the road daily – Yard Sale, Garage Sale! You say to yourself, “I’m going to have a garage sale and get rid of some of my clutter.” Then you think of how daunting it is to really go through all of your stuff and having to sort, price and display everything.

Start thinking of The Big Picture – you make some extra money and your home becomes more liveable!

Some Quick Tips on How Organize A Garage or Yard Sale

At least three weeks before:

Find out what is your community’s ordinance is on having garage or yard sales.

Set a date and time. Try to avoid holiday weekends.

Decide what items they no longer use or need.

At least two weeks before:

Discard what is broken and cannot be repaired. Repair what can be repaired for a better price.

Start cleaning up items or laundering clothing.

Place ads on free online community boards.

Contact a charitable organization to pick up items that don’t sale so you don’t put anything back into your home or storage. The Stuff Stop –http://thestuffstop.com/  – is a free nationwide community resource website that provides information to match up your unwanted stuff with local charities, ministries and companies that connect it with people in need.

At least one week before:

Sort like items.

Hang clothing on hangers sorted by size.

Get your display tables and clothing racks together.

Start pricing items. You can purchase price stickers from retail stores or you can make your own. Make sure your price stickers can be easily removed from an item.

Collect shopping bags to have on hand for customers.

Put your signs out on main streets near your home – as large as you’re allowed and colorful with hints of items you’re selling.

Inform your neighbors so that they are aware you will have additional traffic.

The day of:

Get up early to set up so customers are not waiting for you.

Place a sign in your yard to direct customers.

Have lots of change and small bills on hand.

Have an extension cord on hand.

Free bottles of water would be an added benefit for customers.

After the sale, to reiterate, give away what doesn’t sale – do not take it back into your home or storage area.  Then, count your money and enjoy your less cluttered home.

Have you had a garage sale to declutter your home?  Let me know how you felt afterwards?