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.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Laundry tip - color-coded laundry bags

I heard a tip to make laundry a little easier: buy each member of your family three laundry bags - one for whites, one for lights and one for darks. If possible, purchase a different color for each person. You could even get a light blue bag for lights, and dark blue bag for darks, and a white one for whites and tie a blue (color-safe) ribbon to it. Ok - I know I may be getting obsessive here!!

Train your children how to differentiate between light and dark colors - a great learning tool even for toddlers!

When it's time for a load of light-colored laundry, ask your child to bring you his light bag. Since it will probably not be full, tie up the bag and wash the entire bag. If the bag is not too full, you could toss it in the drier and save all the sorting! And since the bag is color-coded, you know who it belongs to!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Decluttering in 10 - Entry Way

Take 10 minutes and see how much you can declutter in your entry way or mud room. Get a trash bag and toss anything that is no longer useful. If others in your family have dropped their things in the entry, ask them to put them away.

Is there a place for each person's book bag, purse, briefcase, keys, coat, etc.? If not, add that to your to-do list for another day. If so, train them to put them away. Without a place for everyone's things when they come in the door, your entry can look like the aftermath of an explosion.

Do you keep your mail in the entry? Try sorting your mail near a trash can, recycling container, and a shredder. If you do this daily, your mail will not become a huge decluttering project.

Shake the rug and/or clean the floor if you have time.

What a nice welcome to your home!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our February contest winner!

Our February contest winner is Kristi from Maryland! She has a great way to store little things - file stickers, clear tabs for hanging files and the paper inserts, shipping labels, Roladex blank cards, price stickers for garage sales, name stickers for your children's school items, video/cassette labels, craft items, scrapbook embellishsments, etc.

"I get small ziplock bags that are the size of the item I have --- then I get a hole puncher and punch a hole ABOVE the zip area --- then you go to Staples (www.Staples.com) and get those metal ring fasteners --- and put all the baggies on the metal ring-- and then THROW THE WHOLE thing in your drawer.

NOTHING FALLS OUT OR AROUND and when you need those "LITTLE items" you just pull out the metal fastener --- and flip through each bag since they are see-thru, and then open the clip in the right area and take out the bag you want to use ---BINGO!

If you have lots of similar items -- I got a peg board and just slid each baggie grouping on a LONG peg."

Kristi suggests buying baggies online - much less expensive!

Decluttering - on the Radio

Don Shepherd and I will be discussing decluttering this morning at 11:35 Eastern on his radio show in Florida, WPBR 1340 am. You can listen in by going to www.talk1340wpbram.com and clicking the center of the page.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Decluttering and Taxes - Radio Interview

On Friday, February 29 8:10-8:20 Eastern I'll be doing another radio interview. This time it's with WMAC 940 am in Macon, Georgia. We'll be talking about decluttering and taxes. If you'd like to listen in, you can go to their website at www.wmac-am.com and click the live stream icon on the right side of the page.

While we're on the subject, if your receipts are in more than one place, now is a good time to go through your house and collect receipts or paperwork you need in order to do your taxes. Look over my other blogs on taxes about organizing receipts, etc.

Even if it is overwhelming, spend 15-20 minutes at a time, and you'll make surprising progress!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dinner in 10 - Chicken with Cranberry/Mandarin Sauce

Here's an entree that takes about 10 minutes: Chicken with Cranberry/Mandarin Sauce (from Woman's Day Magazine www.womansday.com).

Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray. Cook chicken tenderloins on medium heat for five minutes on each side or until no longer pink inside. I salted mine with garlic salt. Meanwhile, mix a can of whole cranberry sauce, a can of drained mandarin oranges, and sprinkle in some red pepper flakes. Red pepper flakes are powerful, so treat gingerly. Heat in the microwave until warm but not too hot. Serve over the chicken.

Serve with a vegetable tray and hearty bread.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Review of Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student

Alex Seise, a student at The College of New Jersey, reviewed my Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student today in The Signal, TCNJ's student newspaper. Here's an exerpt:

".... the book is extremely well-designed. Coggins' writing is clean with a comforting degree of matriarchal wisdom. The supplementary tools provided in the text encourage students to take her ideas into their dorm rooms and make the most of their four years away at college.

Coggins' guide is deserving of a space on every dorm bookshelf from community colleges to Ivy League universities. I know it will always be within reach for the rest of my time at college."

To read more, go to http://media.www.signal-online.net/media/storage/paper771/news/2008/02/20/Features/Book-Helps.Students.Simplify.Busy.Schedules-3219735.shtml

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Interruptions at work

Are you being constantly interrupted at work? Basex, a New York research firm, discovered that employees worked on a project an average of 11 minutes before being distracted. Once interrupted, workers took 25 minutes to return to their original task, according to reserachers Gloria Mark and Victor Gonsalez of the University of California at Irvine.

So how do we fight this? Try to reduce interruptions and distractions:

- Tell your co-workers you will be available to answer questions at certain hours - at the top of each hour or at specific times during the day.

- Return phone calls at certain times. Change your answering machine message to let callers know when these times will be.

- Train your people to email or put in writing information that doesn't need a response.

- Educate your people to determine what priority level their interruption is - high, medium or low. Determine how each priority should be handled and communicate that to them.

- Have a sign or signal outside your door or cubicle to let people know not to disturb you.

- Do work that requires high concentration in an area where you won't be interrupted.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Have you paid off your house yet?

If you could pay off your mortgage in 1/2 to 1/3 the time, would you be interested - without refinancing and without changing your monthly budget?

My husband and I are so impressed with this program that he has become an agent so he can help all our friends pay down their mortgage in a fraction of the time.

It is legitimate and definitely not a scam.

Interested? Email bob@bobthemortgagebuster.com.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Losing those library books?

Do you have a mad scramble around your house when it's time to return library books, only to find when you get to the library that you're missing some?

Try designating a couple of locations in your home for library books and dvds. They go into that basket or onto that shelf when you come home from the library, and they are returned there when not in use. If your library supplies you with a list of the books you checked out, keep it in the same location so you can check to see if you're missing anything. As you check the list, make sure all the dvds are in the cases.

If necessary, ban very small books and require that they be read at the library.

Reward your children with a small treat or outing when all the books are in the designated areas when it's time to go to the library. It's a nice way to encourage your children to use this new system

Friday, February 15, 2008

Think Positively

Did you know you can influence your thoughts, mood, and attitude, which in turn, effects your productivity? Here's help:

Living on Earth is expensive,but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on.

Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.

Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.

Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?

Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us.

If Wal-Mart is lowering prices every day, how come nothing is free yet?

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.

We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors....but they all exist very nicely in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you have fun making today a special day for those you love. I got up early this morning and made heart muffins for my husband and our foster children. I really enjoyed making their breakfast special. :-)

I'm finally taking my own advice and I decluttered my inbox this morning! What a nice feeling to have gotten rid of the clutter! If it's time for you to do the same, start with one page of emails and get rid of everything outdated or unnecessary. Create folders for those emails you want to keep, and take them off your inbox page. If you're motivated, keep going!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Decluttering in Three

The March 4 issue of Woman's Day magazine (www.womansday.com) suggests decluttering jobs you can do during three-minute commercials:

"- Pick one spot in the room to declutter: a drawer, a shelf, or a tabletop.

- Gather together DVDs or video games left on top of the television, on the coffee table or on the floor and put them all back in their proper places.

- Cut your stack of magazines down to size. Quickly go through the pile and pull out old issues that can be tossed.

- Take any empty glasses and cups back into the kitchen and put them in the sink to wash later.

- Get your kids in on the cleanup with a game of beat-the-clock. Whenever a commercial comes on, have them put away as many strewn toys as possible before the television show resumes."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Organizing Your Passwords

I use a very low-tech way of organizing my passwords. Since you are not supposed to store your passwords on your computer, I use a small address book. I chose one that had practically no writing in it, so I'd have more room for passwords. It's about 3" x 4" - small enough to stick in my purse when I travel. I got it from Walmart (www.Walmart.com) for just a couple of dollars.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More cooking tips

Here are a few more cooking tips:

1. Reheat Pizza - Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza.

2. Easy Deviled Eggs - Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up, mixing thoroughly. Cut the tip of the bag, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done. Easy clean up.

3. Expanding Frosting - When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

4. Reheating refrigerated bread - To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What to do with those trophies?!

Do you or a family member have trophies that are taking up space? You don't want to get rid of them, but they are so awkward to store or display.

One solution is to take the plaques off the trophies and put them in an album. You can donate the blank trophies to Special Olympics who will repurpose them for their events.

Another idea is to take pictures of them and place the photos in an album.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fun Food Tips

A friend emailed me these tips, and I thought I'd pass them along:

- Peel a banana from the bottom and you won't have to pick the little"stringy things" off of it. That's how the primates do it.

- Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

- Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

- Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

- Add a teaspoon of water when cooking ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

- For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints indouble broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

- Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic andat the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

- Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Placethem in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bakeat 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Declutter in Five - Decluttering your Bookmarks or Favorites

Here's a decluttering task you can do in five minutes. Look over your bookmarks or favorites. Are you still interested in the ones on your list? If not, delete them. It will make it so much easier the next time you want to find one!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup for the Super Bowl - Quick, Easy, and Different

Up for something different for the Super Bowl? Try this recipe adapted from one my sister, Denise, gave me. It's quick, hearty, tasty, and healthier than the usual Super Bowl fare. You can make it on the stove, or prepare it ahead of time in your crockpot (see the crockpot note below).

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 ½ lb. chicken tenderloin strips
1 can chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes with onions or Ro-tel
1 c. salsa
½ pkg. or 1/8 c. taco seasoning
½ pkg. or 3 T. dry Ranch dressing
1 can (11.5 oz.) V-8 juice
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can kidney beans (or any other bean you choose) (drained)
1 can corn (undrained)

Tortilla chips
Grated cheese, sour cream if desired

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Cook in chicken broth. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat. Add water if too thick. Serve over tortilla chips and top with cheese and sour cream, if desired. Serves 6

Crockpot note: If you want to serve it from your crockpot, cook the chicken in the broth. Meanwhile, add everything else to your crockpot. Allow enough time for it to heat up before the game. Or heat it on the stove and keep it warm in the crockpot.

Saving Money by Being Organized

Did you know that you can actually save money by being organized? Never thought about it before? Here's how:

- A U.S. News & World Report study found that that Americans spend roughly a year of their lives looking for lost items at home or at work - that's a lot of wasted time which equals wasted money.

- When you're organized, you know what you have and you don't buy things you already have.

- When you're organized, you are aware of the food in your fridge and you use it up before it spoils.

- When you're organized, you plan errands, saving both gas money and your time, which is also worth money.

- When you're organized, you are able to take advantage of opportunities that come your way that either save money or make money for you.

- When you're organized, you know where your bills are, and you pay them on time, saving late fees or reconnection charges.

- When you're organized you service your car and other appliances, saving costly repair bills or replacement costs.

- When you're organized, you have necessities on hand, preventing last minute trips - costing both time and money (especially if you go to the convenience store).

- When you're organized, you plan meals, saving costly take-out meals or eating out. For the price of four combo meals at a fast-food restaurant, you could be eating steak or salmon, neither of which are time-consuming to prepare!

- When you're organized, you pack a lunch instead of eating out. Spending only $5 a day for 20 work days equals $100.

- When you're organized, you keep track of your bank account, saving expensive overdrawn fees.

- When you're organized, you write down business mileage and charitable contributions, saving money on taxes.

Want to get started? Start small. Determine the area that is costing you the most money. Organize that area and move on to another area. Reward youself when you make progress! Give yourself credit for small steps forward!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Results of our January Poll

The results of our January poll are as follows:

Which room in your house do you struggle the most to keep organized?

- Home office - 32%
- Kitchen - 26 %
- Bedroom - 20%
- Extra room - 13%
- Living room - 11%
- Child's room and Family room tied at 5% each.

I've decided to make our February contest an extension of our poll - organizing ideas for your office. Contest details are to the right.

We have some new sales for the month of February, if you're interested:

- Organizing Your Office/Time Managment - we have 5 packages depending on the time managment book you choose. Just in time for taxes!

- Radio Program Package (realating to the interview I did with Allison Carter on her Organizing Playground radio program) - Planning Meals: Three Steps to Planning Dinner plus Hassle Free Dinners CD.

To check these sales out, go to our website: www.1-2-3GetOrganized.com.