Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Getting your Office Ready for the New Year

I read an article this morning that echoes my advice on clearing out your desk and files for this year to get ready for 2008. It was written by Rhonda Abrams and appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Enjoy!

Rid your desk of clutter to usher in new year unfettered

Friday, December 28, 2007

Taking down the decorations

When it's time to take down the Christmas decorations, sort through and declutter. Get rid of anything in your Christmas boxes that you haven't used for the last couple of years and that you don't love.

As you are replacing your Christmas decorations with the regular ones, do the same thing. Get rid of anything that you don't love or is extraneous. Take the moment to look at your decor with a fresh eye - is it too much? is there something you need to make it complete? is anything faded or worn? is there something in another part of the house that would brighten up your look?

While you're at it, get rid of old magazines and other clutter. A nice time to rethink things!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Stock up on your Christmas wrap supplies

Today is a great day to stock up on next year's wrapping supplies. Since you've just finished wrapping all those gifts, you should have a good idea of what you need.

I went to Wal-mart (www.walmart.com) this morning at 6 am. There was a big rush over to the Christmas section, but I found much cuter things in the greeting card section. Hallmark and Expressions were both half price and no one was looking there.

Also found some placemats for next year and a few small gifts. These, too, were tucked away in the domestic section, and not in the Christmas section.

Happy shopping!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Last minute prioritization for December 24

If your list is longer than is humanly possible to accomplish today, prioritize. Make a list of everything you feel you need to do. Look it over to see if there are things you can live without doing. Next, see what you can delegate to others. With your remaining list, prioritize, giving the most urgent and important item on your list a #1 and so on down your list.

This will clear your mind and allow you to concentrate on the most critical tasks, one at a time. Any time you think of something else you need to do, add it to your list and figure out where it falls on your priorities.

If during the day, you are at your energy's end, take a few moments, put your feet up, have a cup of tea or coffee and re-energize.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Check out CampusCalmU

Check out www.CampusCalmU.com - Campus Calm's new program for college students. I'm so impressed with this website and the help it offers college students!
All sorts of information is provided by Maria and her 12 experts (I happen to be the one on Time Management). So If you have a college student in your life, buy him/her a membership - an amazing, continuous gift.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Interview with Family Circle Magazine!

Yesterday I was interviewed by Family Circle Magazine for an article they are doing on organizing your scrapbook supplies. The article will appear in the April 1 edition.

My book signing on Saturday went well according to Borders - above average sales.

What fun!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Book Signings at Borders Stores

Just wanted to let you know I'm very excited to announce I'm having three book signings at Borders - one here in Ohio and two in Maryland.

December 15, Saturday - Borders in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, on Howe Avenue, 1-3 pm.

December 29, Saturday - Borders in Gaithersburg, MD, 1-3 pm.

December 29, Saturday - Borders in Silver Spring, MD, 5-7pm.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Toy decluttering

If you haven't already, take some time to declutter your children's rooms before Christmas. Throw away anything that is broken. Toys that are outgrown or not used can be passed down to a sibling or stored for future use. Or give them to a friend or charity. Don't stop until there is no clutter and the room is peaceful. When Christmas comes, there will be adequate space for your child's new toys!

Make sure your child has a system - a place for books, a place for larger toys (I recommend shelves), bins or boxes for toys with many parts, a place for collections or special items, and a place for papers, a trash can, and a laundry basket.

Set aside time each day for your child to maintain the system - time to make the bed, put away toys, throw away trash, put clothes in the laundry basket, etc.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Organization of tree bulbs, ornaments, etc.

I read a great idea from www.OrganizedChristmas.com this morning.

"Keep holiday decor supplies close at hand with this simple, sneaky solution: an under-tree box. Select a pretty holiday gift box with a removable lid. Put all fuses, replacement light bulbs and extra ornament hooks inside the box, add a gift bow and slide it beneath the tree."

Wasn't that clever?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Last minute gift ideas

Need a few last minute gift ideas? Go to www.womansday.com/holidaygiftguide for some quick suggestions. Or go to http://www.heart4home.net/giftsinajar.htm for gifts in a jar mixes.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Decluttering and Organizing Your Email

Decluttering and organizing my email made it to the top of the list today. Is your email inbox overflowing, too?

My first line of attack was to go through each page and delete anything I didn't want to read.

What was left were things I need to read or deal with today and emails I wanted to keep.

As I went through the list of emails I wanted to keep, I moved them into folders. To do this, click the email you want to save and then click the "move" tab at the top. If you haven't created folders you can do so by clicking "new folder" at the top of the folder list. Type in the name you want to assign for that email.

For example, for items I have purchased and I want to be able to find the company again, I titled a folder "purchases". I have a folder labeled "travel" for email confirmation notices for airline tickets. I have one called "family" for emails from family members. And I have several for various aspects of my business. Your folders will reflect your interests and life.

Make a to-do list or place a reminder on your calendar if you have moved emails that still require some action into folders.

Don't forget to check your bulk mail every once in a while, even though it is filled with filth. Several important emails of mine have gone to my bulk mail lately.

If you're expecting an email from someone and it hasn't arrived in a timely manner, bulk mail may be the culprit. Make sure you add those addresses to your contact list to prevent further strays. There is a button after their email address which adds it to your contact list. You can also hit the "not spam" button at the top to avoid future misdirection.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Finals Survival Kits for College Students' Finals

Do you have a special college student in your life? Brighten up his/her life during finals week by sending a Finals Survival Kit. Things to include:

Healthy snacks: pistachios or other nuts, beef jerkey, trail mix, popcorn

Drinks: hot choccolate, teas, coffee mixes, juices

Fun snacks: cookies, chocolate, candy

Encouraging words: write a note for each day (5-7) or use the following proverbs -

Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind

Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.

Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense.

Easy come, easy go, but steady diligence pays off.

A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.

Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights

Friday, November 30, 2007

Buried by Holiday Mail?

Do you find yourself buried under a pile of mail each day? By standing next to your recycling bag, you can eliminate a huge portion of it. As you look through your mail, file those catalogs, ads, and sales fliers your're not interested in directly into your recycling container.

If you have time to read your Christmas cards, do so when you bring in the mail. If not, put them in a basket to read later and update your correspondence list.

Make sure to shred any sensitive mail - credit card offers, mail with account numbers, etc. To reduce the amount of junk mail you receive, write to: Mail Preference Service Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 9008, Farmingdale NY 11735-9008. Legibly type or print your full name, address, and zip code on the letter. Include a request to be removed from any marketing mailing list.

Stop the pre-approved credit card offers. Those 'pre-approved' credit card offers are a nuisance and a potential credit rating danger. (Be sure to shred all that get sent to you.) To stop a lot of them, you can call Trans Union at 1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5-OPT-OUT).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Organizing your to do list

I have a page full of things I need to accomplish before Thanksgiving Day. To ease the chaos in my mind, I wrote down everything I could think of that I need to do between now and then.

Next, I put an M by the things I hoped to do today (Monday), a T by the things I hoped to do tomorrow (Tuesday), and a W by the things I plan to do on Wednesday.

Evaluating the Ms, I prioritized them by putting a 1 beside the most important and urgent item on the list, 2 on the next, and so on. Tomorrow, I'll look over the Ts and any Ms that didn't get done today and prioritize that list.

This process helped me keep focused on what I need to do, and motivated me to use my time well. It also showed me that I needed some help from my husband - he agreed to write the Christmas letter this year!!!

As things came to mind, I added them to my list - so everything is is one place and I'm less likely to forget something with a written list.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Destressing Christmas - One More Time!!

One more time on destressing for Christmas. This time it's an article by Mary Beth Breckenridge that appeared in today's Akron Beacon Journal. Mary Beth interviewed two other professional organizers and myself and wrote a very helpful and practical article you'll want to read. The link is: http://www.ohio.com/lifestyle/11513966.html?page=1&c=y

Friday, November 16, 2007

Organizing Your Holiday Meals

Take a little time and plan out your holiday meals from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
What will you serve for each meal?

- Is there a balance of protein, starch and green and red vegetables/fruit?

- Are there some items you could prepare in advance - breads, desserts, cornbread for cornbread stuffing, etc.?

- If you are having guests, what could they bring?

For each week, plan your menus and your shopping list. Try to go shopping only once a week to save those time-costly trips back to the grocery store.

- During such a busy time, try to piggy-back from one meal to another. Put a roast in the crockpot, and use the leftovers for beef stroganoff, for example.

- Have some ideas for using leftover turkey or ham: chow mein, stir fry, pasta salads, split pea soup with ham/hambone. Or freeze some in meal-size portions for the future when you are not turkey-weary.

- Have some easy-to-prepare foods on hand if you have a disaster day: frozen ravioli, for example.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Destressing Christmas, Part 6 - Think through your calendar

Think through your calendar

Write onto your calendar all the holiday events from school, sports teams, church, work, friends and family. Check with everyone in your family to make sure these are events they want to attend or think are important.

Schedule in those activities your family wants to include in their holiday celebration, including time to decorate, see Christmas lights, bake, make gifts, read stories, etc.

Is what you have scheduled on your calendar going to allow everyone to get enough sleep and rest? If not, rethink things. Create margins and boundaries. Know your own limitations as well as those of your family members.
Schedule in some "breather dates" into your calendar. When someone invites you to do something else, you can say you have something already scheduled - it's true!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Destressing Christmas, Part 5 - Think through your health


Don't go to a party hungry. Eat something before you go so you're not ravenous. Think ahead of time about the amount of food you will eat.

Don't give up your workout. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress. As your schedule gets more hectic, make sure to guard your exercise time. Eliminate something less important if you must eliminate something.

Don't neglect your sleep — you’ll be irritable and less able than usual to deal with stress. Research shows that your emotions will be all over the place and your logic powers suffer without sleep.
Make sure your family members are getting enough sleep, too. Try to keep normal bedtimes and naptimes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Destressing Christmas, Part 4 - Think through cleaning/decorating/entertaining


· Determine cleaning chores that need to be done for the holidays. Parcel out chores over the weeks remaining before Christmas. If the chores seem too overwhelming, divide them up into 15-minute segments and do them 2-4 times a day. If they are still too overwhelming, eliminate some!

· This is not a time for purchasing new furniture, major home repair, sewing or painting!

· As you decorate, remove regular decorating items and put them in the boxes from which you took your Christmas decorating items. That way, you won't have to remember where you put them. Take this opportunity to purge any decorating items or Christmas items you no longer need or want. A great time to declutter!
· Make holiday decorating a family affair, using items that have sentimental value to family members.

· When you put your Christmas items away, make a list of what you have - decorating items, wrapping supplies, paper products, cards, extra gift items, dishes, etc., so you don't duplicate them.

· If you choose to entertain, cook simple meals with some make-ahead dishes so it's not all last-minute. Consider buying dessert from a local bakery.

· If you're giving a party and people ask if they can bring something, let them!

· If you haven't been invited to a party, give one yourself, if you're inclined. Invite people who may not have relatives in town who don't have a party to go to either! It's a great time to make new friends.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Destressing Christmas, Part 3 - Think through gifts

Make a master list of gifts you need to buy or make along with a budget for the amount you want to spend. Stick to your budget and don't buy impulsively. Don't compete with family and friends - spend what you can afford.

Remember those gifts for teachers, Sunday School teachers, extra-curricular instructors, and stocking stuffers.

Buy the same gift for several people on your list, if appropriate. Take advantage of the sales after Christmas to shop for next year's list.

Plan your shopping trips. What stores might have most of your gifts? What is the most efficient route to the stores on your list? A little planning avoids backtracking, saving you time and gas.

Set a deadline for finishing your shopping to avoid crowds, the last-minute rush, and poor selection.

Consider gift certificates that can be sent to the recipients via email. Or shop online and have your purchases sent directly to the recipients.

Or, if you're into making your own Christmas gifts, mass produce a gift and give it to as many people on your list as possible. To reduce stress, choose a gift that doesn't have to made at the last minute.

As you buy or make gifts, wrap them so you don't have a massive pile to do at one time. Use TV time or other mindless time to wrap - you're doubling your time use.

Have a conversation with your children (if applicable) about realistic expectations so they won't be disappointed. They will be bombarded with commercial after commercial during the holiday season, and they may want it all!

Make gift suggestions to relatives who are shopping for your children (if applicable).

If you want to get away from expensive or excessive gifts, consider alternative ideas:

- Trade services: babysitting, cleaning, meal preparing, handyman work, etc.

- Instead of exchanging gifts, experience an event together - a day trip, cutting your own Christmas tree, a service project, etc.

- Take the money you would have spent on gifts for each other and donate it to a cause or your favoriate charity or a needy family.

- Consider giving a donation in their name to a charity of their choice. My parents live in Oklahoma and year of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, they asked us to donate to The Salvation Army in their names rather than give them gifts. Salvation Army was so instrumental in helping in the aftermath, they wanted to say thanks.

- Consider drawing names or doing a "nice" white elephant game with a dollar limit on the gift.

- Give gift certificates of your time or service.

Destressing Christmas, Part 2 - Think through your family/friendship needs and commitments


Be realistic about what your children (if applicable) will enjoy, understand, and be capable of doing in light of their ages. For example, if you always went to see The Nutcracker at Christmas time, but your children are 3 and 5, wait until they (and you!) will enjoy it more. And don't over-schedule.

Consider family problems when planning gatherings. Be proactive in order to minimize Uncle John's drinking problem by having a brunch rather than a dinner. If cousin Sally's conversation is predominantly negative or a never-ending flow, plan some conversation starters or games to reduce her dominance.

If it's just too difficult for you to travel during the holidays, don't let others guilt-trip you into travelling anyway. Be honest and stick to your guns for the benefit of you and/or your family. Invite your relatives to visit you (if that is better for you) or suggest another time of year for a visit when life is less hectic.

If getting together with your relatives is too painful or unhealthy, give yourself permission not to attend. If you, your spouse, or your children are subjected to verbal, emotional or physcial abuse, don't put yourself in this unsafe place. Even if it hurts others' feelings, you cannot allow yourself to condone unhealthy or painful treatment by attending.

Choose whom you want to spend time with over the holidays - friends or family who refresh, encourage, and cheer you. Take the initiative to make that happen.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Destressing Christmas, Part 1 - Think through your expectations

As your anticipate the holidays, think through your expectations. Talk with your family members or those with whom you will be spending the holiday season. Ask what is important to them to celebrate at Christmas - activities, traditions, food, spiritual emphasis, giving, service opportunities, etc. This is the time to determine what is important to emphasize.

Make a list of all your traditions, from decorating to Christmas caroling. Keep the ones you love (forget about impressing other people), and cross off the ones you don't. I have a tendency to feel I needed to incorporate all we had ever done, but it's rediculous if no one wants to do it!

Be flexible when things don't fit with your expectations. Christmas Day doesn't have to happen on December 25th. When we lived in Kenya, we worked with an expatriot medical team who usually gave their staff Christmas Day off. So we celebrated Christmas as a team on other days. My husband and I are going to my parents' home for Thanksgiving, but have to fly on Thanksgiving. So we are celebrating on Friday instead of Thanksgiving. Our children won't be with us for Christmas, but we'll adjust.

Enjoy the moment rather than compare it to memories or expectations. Be present and relish what is happening. And if it's not the greatest, do what you can to make it pleasant. Be other-centered instead of self-centered.

Keep a sense of humor. I like things to match and I appreciate beauty. However, my son-in-law insisted on placing a very ugly decoration on the tree one year. I did manage to resist my urge to snatch it off the tree, and we left it on the tree for giggles. It has now become a tradition.

Be realistic!!! Know what you can handle and what you cannot. Each year is different. One year we were moving right after Christmas and our holiday traditions were very few. Other years I decided to have a theme - starts, hearts, trees, etc. But after a few years, the number of decorations were getting out of hand so I stopped that tradition. Don't hesitate to limit activities so you can enjoy the season!!

Tomorrow we'll think through family/friendship needs and commitments.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

More about cookies

Speaking of cookies (see yesterday's blog), let me pass on an idea that my friend Pam and I have done to get ready for Christmas cookie baking. We used to set aside a day in December and make Christmas cookies all day, split them and stock our freezers. But that was pretty exhausting.

Then one year, we couldn't find a date in December and that changed things from then on. We decided to get together in November and just make the dough, freeze it in small batches, and cook as needed. It's so easy to just thaw a small amount, form into cookies, and bake! All the work and mess is over with and you have fresh baked cookies in a jiffy when you need them.

And the bonus was getting to spend the day with a friend!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

My daughter Sara sent me this amazing list of cookie recipes. Thought you might like it as the holidays approach.

1-2-3 Cookies 7 Layer Cookies Allie Nelson's Famous Snickerdoodle Cookies Almond Crescent Shortbread Amish Sugar Cookies Andies Candies Cookies Angel Crisps Angenets Applesauce Cookies Apricot Fold-Overs Aunt Edy's Molasses Crinkles Auntie Linda's Ginger Gems Bakeless Dream Cookies Banana Drop Cookies Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World Biscotti Biscotti Blueberry Cookies Boiled Chocolate Oatmeal Drop Cookies Bronwnies Brown Sugar Shortbread Brownie Cookies Brownie Delight Brownies Buccaneer Snowballs Buried Cherry Cookies Butter Cookies Butter Nut Balls Butterballs Butterscotch Haystacks C.O.P. Cookies Candy Cane Cookies Candy Cookies Caramel Shortbread Cheesecake Brownies Cherry Buns Cherry Crowns Cherry Winks Chewies Chewy Noels Chinese Chews/Haystacks Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Chocolate Chip Cookies Chocolate Chip Meltaways Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies Chocolate Christmas Trees Chocolate Cream Cheese Squares Chocolate Crinkles Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (no bake) Chocolate Snowball Cookies Chocolate Streusel Bars Chocolate Sundae Cookies Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bars Choco-Scotch Crunchies Choose A Cookie Dough Recipe Christmas Crackers Christmas Crunch Bars Christmas Ginger Snaps Christmas Macaroons Christmas Mice Cookies Christmas Shaped Cookies Church Window Cookies Coconut Cookies Congo Squares Cookie in a Jar Corn Flakes Cookies Cornflake Christmas Wreaths Cowboy Cookies (oatmeal) Cream Cheese Cookies with Apricot Filling Crème De Menthe Chocolate Squares Crème Wafers Crescent Cookies Crispy Crunchies Date Nut Balls Date-nut Pinwheel Cookies Diabetic Peanut Butter Cookies Disgustingly Rich Brownies Doodles Double chocolate chip cookies Double-Chocolate Crinkles Eatmore Cookies Eggnog Cookies Elizabeth's Sugar Cookies Elves Quick Fudge Brownies Emily Dickinson's Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Emily's Best Brownies Famous Oatmeal Cookies Firemen Cookies Fluffy Shortbread Cookies Forgotten Cookies Frosted Peanut Butter Brownies Fruit Cake Cookies Fruitcake Squares Fry Pan Cookies Gems Ginger Cookies Ginger Crinkles Gingerbread Baby Gingerbread Cookies with Butter Cream Icing Gingerbread Men Gingerbread Men Ginny's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Glory's Golden Graham Squares Glory's Sugar Cookies Gramma Chapman's chocolate coconut drops Grandma Elsie's Zimt (cinnamon) Cookies Grandma J's Butter Cookies Grandma Olson's Parkay Cookies Great Grandmothers Sugar Cookies Gum Drop Cookies Gumdrop Gems Haystack Cookies Ho-Ho Bars Holiday Cereal Snaps Holiday Chocolate Butter Cookies Holiday Raisin Walnut Bars Holly Cookies Hungarian Cookies (Little Nut Rolls) Ice Box Cookies Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies Italian Cookies Jacob's Peppermint Snowballs Jam Bars Jessica's Famous Brownies Jessie's Chocolate Chip Cookies Jubilee Jumbles Juliet's Peanut Butter Blossoms Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies Kentucky Colonels Kiefle (cream cheese cookies with jam filling) Kifflings Kiss Cookies Lacy Swedish Almond Wafers Lemon Angel Bar Cookies Lemon Bars Lemon Cake Cookies Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies Lemon Squares Linzer Tarts Log Cabin Cookies Luscious Lemon Squares M&M Cookies Magic Cookie Bars Melt in Your Mouth Cutout Sugar Cookies Melting Shortbread Meme's Cream Cheese Cookies Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies Mincemeat Cookies Mincemeat Goodies Molasses Cookies Molasses Forest Cookies Molasses Sugar Cookies Mom Mom's Crescent Cookies Mom-Mom's Ginger Cookies Mom's Nutmeg Sugar Cookies Mom's Old Fashion "Puffy" Sugar Cookies Monster Cookies Moravian Christmas Cookies Nana's Famous Soft Southern Cookies Nitey Nite Cookies No Bake Chocolate Cookies No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No-Bake Cookies Norwegian Sugar Cookies Nut Balls Oatmeal Bars Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies Oatmeal Coconut Crisps Oatmeal Cookies Oatmeal Scotchies Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies Ooey Gooey Caramel Chocolate Dunk Ooey Gooey Squares Orange Slice Cookies Parking Lot Cookies Peanut Blossoms Peanut Butter Bars Peanut Butter Blossoms Peanut Butter Cereal Cookies Peanut Butter Chewies Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut butter fingers Peanut Butter Reindeer Peanut Butter Surprises Peanut Marshmallow Cookies Pecan Puff Cookies Peppermint Snowballs Peppernuts Persimmon Cookies Persimmon Cookies Petey's Yummy Spicy Almond Thins Pfeffernuesse Pffefferneuse Cookies Pineapple Filled Cookies Pizzelles Potato Chip Cookies Potato Flake Cookies Praline Cookies Praline Strips Pterodactyl Nests Pumpkin Bars Pumpkin Bars Pumpkin Chip Cookies Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Pumpkin Cookies Queen Biscuits Quick Cookies Raised Sugar Cookies Raisin Filled Oatmeal Bars Raspberry Meringue Bars Really Peanutty Butter Cookies Reese`s Brownies Reese's Peanut Butter Bars Rich Flavor Christmas Cookies Rich Lemon Bars Ricotta Cheese Cookies Royal Almond Christmas Bars Rudolph Cinnamon Cookies Russian Tea Cookies Russian Teacakes Samantha & Kelsey's Chocolate Chip Cookies Sand Art Brownies Santa Claus Cookie Pops Santa Claus Cookies Santa's Butterscotch Melts Santa's Shorts Santa's Special Squares Scotch Cakes Scotch Shortbread Scotcharoos Scotcheroos Seven Layer Cookies Short Bread Cookies Shortbread Skor Squares Snicker Doodle Cookies Snickerdoodles Snickerdoodles Snow Balls Sour Cream Apple Squares Sour Cream Christmas Cookies Special K Cookies Spice Cookies Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Spritz Cookies Stained Glass Window Cookies Stir & Drop Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Swedish Pepparkakor (Pepper Cake) Cookies Swedish Sugar Cookies Sweet Marie's Swiss Treats Taralle (Italian Cookies) Tea Time Tassies Texas Brownies The Best Shortbread in The World Thumbprint Cookies Thumbprint Cookies Toffee Squares Traditional Christmas Sugar Cookies Traditional Gingerbread Men Cookies Triple-Chocolate Chip Cookies Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Vanilla Waffer Balls Walnut Butter Cookies Walnut Crumb Bars White Chip Chocolate Cookies Wild Oatmeal Cookies Will's Famous Apple Jack Cookies Yummy Yummy Peanut Butter Blossoms

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Organizing Drawers

A good plce to start decluttering is by tackling one drawer, especially if you're overwhelmed with your clutter. By accomplishing that one task, it's extremely fulfilling and it gives you the motivation to go on to other tasks.

Use small boxes or crates you can pick up at the dollar store, Target, etc., to organize like items. In your bathroom, organizing boxes can hold make-up; dental hygiene, meds, razors, and other such items. In the kitchen, use boxes to hold measuring spoons, twist ties, small utensils, corn-on-the-cob holders, and paring knives. You can also use drawer organizers in the office and in the kitchen for your junk drawer. In your child's room, small crates can hold toys with many small pieces, art supplies, or collections.

By having drawer organizers, your drawer is no longer an abyss where things are never seen again. What a time-saver to go to that drawer and find what you need! And you remove a source of frustration and chaos from your life - how peaceful!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tackle the Clutter before Christmas

Take the time before you decorate for Christmas to attack your clutter. Divide your home into four areas and tackle one area each week before Thanksgiving. Before you clutter your house with Christmas decorations, cards, extra food, etc., clear out unecessary stuff.

As you comb each area, ask yourself if you've used it recently, if it adds value to your life, if it has a home.

One area should include your child's room(s) to make room for Christmas presents.

I found out yesterday that at some Goodwill Stores, you receive a discount coupon if you bring in things to donate! Just be careful not to fill up the areas you decluttered!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Feeling Overwhelmed? Organize Your Priorities

Today I was feeling overwhelmed by some tasks before me - several of which are new territory, things I've not done before - marketing my new books, arranging for book signings, etc. As I always tell my clients: take bite-sized chunks and break it down into small pieces.

So, I followed my own advice and prioritized my to-do list, determining what was most important for me to do. Then I bit off a couple of those tasks and got rid of them! It helps to just get moving forward when you're feeling paralyzed, doesn't it? The hardest part is just getting started sometimes.

I felt much better and even got to do some things farther down on my priority list that I really wanted to do!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Donating Business Clothing for Job Interviews

Yesterday my husband and I swapped out our clothes from summer to winter. As we both have lost some weight, we have quite a few clothes to donate. I recently watched a video about a women's shelter in our area, and I am very motivated to donate toward helping these women get back on their feet. Many of these women have had successful jobs, been downsized (or had other devastating circumstances), and end up at the shelter.

Access, the name of our shelter (www.access-shelter.org), has a two-year program for a small number of women to help them get out of debt, get education, find a job, etc. Having clothing to wear to work or job interviews gives them a leg up. As you swap out your clothes and evalute them, consider donating business attire you no longer wear to a local shelter or www.DressforSuccess.org or www.CareerGear.org (for men).

Don't forget to calculate your tax deduction. The Salvation Army has a valuation guide to help you determine the value of the clothing you donate. They give a high estimate and a low estimate, and you can determine where your clothing falls within those guidelines. The amount is based on what your clothing would sell for at a consignmen shop. http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn.nsf/vw-search/85256DDC007274DF80256B80003D22FC?opendocument