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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Get Organized for April Fool's Day!!

Need some great ideas for April Fool's pranks? Go to Family Fun at:
http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/season/specialfeature/aprilfools-your-best-pranks-ms/?campaign=NLC-NL_Crafts&link=Jump2Link1 .

My favorite all-time prank is taping or rubber-banding open the sprayer at your kitchen sink. When anyone turns on the water, they get sprayed instantly! The only problem is that I usually forget and spray myself several times before anyone else gets up!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

How to Clean the House

My daughter Sara sent this to me. Thought you'd enjoy it!!

How to clean the house:

1. Open a new file in your PC

2. Name it " Housework ."

3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN.

4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN.

5. Your PC will ask you, " Are you sure you want to delete Housework permanently ?"

6. Calmly answer, "Yes," and press mouse button firmly.

7. Feel better? Works for me!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A very simple filing system for email and paper

In Cedric Hohnstadt's blog http://cedrichohnstadt.wordpress.com/2008/03/26/keeping-on-top-of-the-clutter/ he suggests a very simple way of filing his emails and paper. He calls it a “three folder system”.

He says, "In my email program I’ve created three folders:
02-This Week

Since my folders are alphabetized, the numbers in front of the folder names ensure that these three folders stay at the top of the list. Every time I check my email, I quickly scan my messages and begin sorting them into the folders. If an email requires a prompt response, I move the message into the “Today!” folder and I make sure that folder is empty by the end of the day. If the response can wait a day or two, I move it into the “This Week” folder. I try to make sure that folder is empty by the end of the day on Friday. All other emails go into the “Whenever” folder, and I get to them when I can. "

He goes on to state the advantages: "First, it ensures that my email inbox is always empty. I can’t tell you how freeing that is. Second, it helps ensure that nothing gets buried or falls through the cracks. I feel like I’m in control of my email and not the other way around."

He also recommends checking your email 3-5 times a day when you have time to look at several, rather than being interrupted by a reminder that you have a new email. This gives you ample time to work without being side-tracked.

He also uses this this three folder system (but has added a couple more) to handle his paper. He has five paper trays on his desk labeled “Today”, “This Week”, “Whenever”, "Finances", and "To File." "I make sure the “Today” tray is empty at the end of the day, and I try to make sure the “This Week” tray is empty at the end of the day on Friday," Cedric says.

He uses the "Finances" tray to collect anything that needs to be entered into his accounting software, and the "To File" tray for items that need to be filed in a filing cabinet. He uses times when he needs a break from his creative work as an illustrator to catch up on his filing.

Isn't this a do-able filing system? I think I'll try it out!

P. S. When I copied Cedric's blog onto my blog so I could quote him, I accidentally hit the wrong button and published his entire blog! Sorry for the confusion it may have created for you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dinner in 15 - Citrus Salmon

One of my daughters and her husband are visiting and we had a quick entree tonight you may want to try - citrus salmon. You don't even need to marinate it! The citrus vinaigrette goes over the salmon while it cooks and you reserve some to serve.

The sauce for one pound of salmon: 1 t. green onion, 4 T. orange juice, 2 T. balsamic vinegar, 1 t. dijon mustard, 1 T. olive oil, 1 t. minced garlic, 1/8 t. salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Mix together and spoon over salmon. Bake at 450 for 12 minutes per inch of thickness or until cooked through.

Serve with some easy sides. (The recipe comes from my Hassle Free Dinners CD.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Cleaning the Attic - Part 3

Now that you've decluttered and sorted, you're ready to look at your storage needs for your attic.

Look at each category to see what would best house those items. Do you need large clear storage containers for linens? Do you need small boxes for books? Do you need a place to hang out-of-season clothes? Do you need shelves, drawers, hooks, etc?

Before you go out and purchase storage containers, look around your house, basement, garage, etc. to see if you already have such storage. You may have an unused dresser that would work for storage if it were moved up to the attic, for example.

Label each container with the contents so when you're hunting for something, you don't need to open every container. If you are using clear storage containers, write
your list on a piece of paper and slide it down the side of the container so you can read it without opening the box.

Storage containers usually go on sale during the back-to-school sales in late summer and around Christmas, when you can pick up those ornament storage containers with dividers.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Ultimate in Toy Decluttering!!

Have you heard about www.babyplays.com , a toy rental program similar to dvd rental-by-mail memberships? Talk about a decluttering dream!

Baby Plays offers several monthly memberships, starting at $36.99 for four toys per month. You make your wishlist, and you receive the toys by mail. You can keep the toys as long as you want with no late fees, and then return them in a postage paid box. The toys are sorted according to age (five years old appears to be the top limit), or kind of toy. Each toy is sanitized between rentals.

What a clever and green idea!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Is Someone Plagiarizing Your Website?

Wondering if someone is plagiarizing your website? I've recently heard of several people who have found their website content appearing as someone else's website, with just the name changed. The cases I've heard about have taken place within the same profession, with the offending website lifting the entire website, including credentials and memberships, from the website of someone in the same profession.

You can check to see if that is happening to you by going to www.copyscape.com, where you can enter your website address for free to see if your content comes up on someone else's site. There is a limited number of times per month you can run this check, but it is available for $5 a month for unlimited access.

What to do if you find your website has been plagiarized? Call or email the owner and demand they remove their content from the internet. In the cases mentioned above, the owner of the website has usually hired someone to create the website, and has usually complied with the request to remove it. It would be appropriate to threaten legal action should the owner not cooperate.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Cleaning Using Household Items - Baking Soda

- To eliminate crayon, pencil, ink, and furniture scuffs from painted surfaces, sprinkle a little baking soda on a damp cloth, rub clean, and rinse.

- To tackle tough stains on enameled cast iron, scrub with a soft nylon brush and a thick paste of baking soda and water.

- To remove stains from stainless steel, dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of water and clean with a soft cloth. Dry with a clean cloth.

- Sprinkle baking soda on casseroles or roasting pans with baked-on food or stains. Let it work for five minutes, followed by a light scrub and rinse..

- Sprinkle baking soda on minor oil and grease spills on a garage floor or driveway, and scrub with a wet brush.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Clutter Statistics - Motivation for Spring Cleaning

Need some motivational help for spring cleaning?

Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40 percent of the housework in the average home, according to the National Soap and Detergent Association.

The National Association of Professional Organizers says that we spend a year of our lives looking for lost items.

Just think how much time we'd save if we got rid of our excess "stuff" and organized what's left!! What would you do with your extra time?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring Cleaning the Attic - Part 2

Now that you have designated certain corners for the categories you have stored in your attic, it's time to sort.

Start in one corner of your attic. You may want to surround yourself with several boxes - one for each category plus one for giveaways. As you sort each item, ask yourself if it's necessary, if you've used it in the last year, if it is important to you or someone else, if someone else could use it.

If you absolutely must keep the item you're sorting, place it in the appropriate box. Have a trash bag nearby for those things that don't even qualify for giveaways.

Work your way around the attic. You may discover additional categories as you go. You may also find items in your attic which would be better used elsewhere in your home. Be creative - think outside the box!

Place each box in the corner you have designated for that category. We'll talk about storage in Part 3.

Celebrate - good job done!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Cleaning Using Household Items - Dryer Sheets

Over the next month or two, I'll be sharing some spring cleaning tips using household items you likely have on hand. Today's household item of choice is dryer sheets.

- Dust your blinds by wiping a dryer sheet up and down over closed blinds.

- Collect pet hair by rubbing a dryer sheet over furniture or the floor where the hair has accumulated.

- By placing a dryer sheet between pages of stored books, it prevents that musty smell.

- Use a dryer sheet to collect sawdust after a woodworking project.

- Place a dryer sheet in smelly shoes, gym bags or suitcases to freshen them.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Organizing Spring Break Days

Spring Break is right around the corner - ours is next week. If you are able to spend the time with your kids, don't let the expanse of time overwhelm you. Do a little planning to make the time fun for you and for your kids.

Plan some road trips or all-day events. I've researched some maple-sugaring events, an Amish road trip, a tour of a carousel factory/museum, an underground railroad driving tour, and some others. To find similar things to do in your area, check out websites, books, newspaper/magazine articles, and county visitor's guides.

Hobby stores and other groups offer craft classes. Doing an act of kindness or volunteer opportunity is another possibility to pursue. A family spring cleaning project can be thrown into the mix.

Some at-home activities to engage your imagination: a decathlon (10 fun/silly events - bubble blowing contest, table games, drop the clothespin in the bottle, etc.), an uno marathon where the winner of each hand adds a new rule, Easter egg coloring, and a crazy dinner.

I make up a list of possible activities, and we usually let the kids vote on various activities (1st, 2nd, 3rd choice), so we get an idea of what is most popular. I divide the categories into events outside the home, at-home activities, and exercise options. Then I tally up the votes and plan out the week, trying to include as many favorites as possible - as time and money allow.

To make an ordinary day fun, break it up into 15 to 30 minute segments, depending on the age of your kids. Some segment fillers could include group games, reading time, time with individual kids, cooking time, alone time, TV/movie time, individual game time, athletic activity, etc. during those segments. I usually try to alternate energetic and quiet activities, indoor and outdoor activities, group and individual activities and so on. Don't tell your kids what's coming next, so there's an element of surprise. When your kids have time to themselves, you do too!

Whenever your Spring Break occurs, I hope it's filled with fun and happy memories.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring Cleaning - Mattress Covers

The next time you change sheets, take off the mattress covers, too. Give those a wash to freshen up for Spring! Takes a little extra time, but it's nice to have everything clean.

While everything's off the bed, flip your mattresses to even out the wear.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Cleaning the Attic - Part 1

Spring is a wonderful time to attack the attic - it's still cool enough to be able to tackle this decluttering job! And the timing is perfect - you may find you have enough for a yard sale. Now that's motivating, isn't it?

Start by walking around your attic to take a mental inventory of what you have there. Designate corners for each category - Christmas, other seasonal decorations, keepsakes, off-season clothing, suitcases and travelling accessories, home repair supplies - whatever categories represent your life.

Next week we'll move on to another step in spring cleaning the attic.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March 13 - Organize Your Home Office Day

Did you know that March 13 is Organize Your Home Office Day? I thought I'd give you a couple days' notice.

Before you run out and buy a bunch of containers, first sort and toss so you know what you have left to organize. Your storage needs will become obvious as you go through this process.

If you are overwhelmed at the idea of organizing your office, let us help you! Three Steps to Organizing Your Office will walk you through each step in no time! Here's a link to this cute little book http://1-2-3getorganized.com/office.html.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Products we Recommend - KangaRoom Stackable File Box

KangaRooM Stackable File Box was named the best organizing product by the Third Annual Los Angeles Organizing Awards. Not only does the box have a handle so you can carry it with one hand, but the handle fits snugly into the box above it, saving space as they stock on top of each other. To see a picture, go to http://1-2-3getorganized.com/funstuff.html.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Lists for Repeated Activities

Ok - I've gone to my morning acquatic arthritis class too many times without something I need! I have forgotten lotion, body wash, my washcloth, my towel, and my under garments (I wear my swimsuit to the class) - not a pretty sight!

After forgetting both my wahscloth and towel one day this week, I decided to make a list of things I need to take. No wonder, I'm forgetting things - there are about 13 things on my list and several of them don't stay in my bag all the time because they need to dry or be washed, etc.

Do you end up not having everything you need at times? When we used to travel frequently, we kept a packing list we would refer to for each trip. Do you need one for your briefcase, your diaper bag, your gym bag, your purse, your child's back pack?

Take a few minutes to make a list to alleviate the feeling you're forgetting something, as well as the stress and the impact on your life when you find it to be true!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I'm in Family Circle Magazine - Organizing Your Scrapbook Materials

Check out the April 1, 2008 edition of Family Circle Magazine, where I'm featured in an article by Lindsey St. Clair on p. 26 about organizing your scrapbook supplies! How fun is that?!

Dreams really do come true!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Access Women's Shelter

I had such a delightful time with the women at the Access Women's Shelter in Akron, Ohio last week. During our time management seminar, we looked at the legacy they wanted to leave, their passions, their priorities, and their gifts. If we're going to talk time management, we need a context to determine what matters to us.

Since most of these women are in transition, we created Jazzmine, our fictitious woman. We determined her passions, priorities, and gifts and then made a weekly master plan she could follow each week when she sat down to plan the next week.

The women participated enthusiastically and related some of their own dreams and hopes. I sensed they left with some excitement about their future. You can read more about the seminar at http://client.mmpulse.com//CmpOnlineViewer.aspx?CmpId=2576&ContId=1377233. I'm so impressed with this organization, I'd encourage you to donate some time (if you live in the Akron area) or some money.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Products for Mom and Baby Made by Moms

If you're a mom and want to help other moms, check out Mom 4 Life. This informative website features products for mom and baby made by moms as well as other resources for moms.

If you've invented or created a product you'd like to market, this might be a wonderful place to start. You'll find a clear, step-by-step procedure to follow on the Contact Us page.

Just click the link to the right to check out their products and their other resources. Wonderful site!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Hope for Disorganized Students!

I've discovered a wonderful organizing system for students who have trouble keeping track of assignments, homework, etc. The DocOA organizing system is comprised of several folders - one for each class - with slots for assignments, finished homework, graded homework, etc.

It creates a home for all the paper associated with each class. No more zeroes because homework cannot be found. No more panic over a lost assignment sheet. There's so much more - check it out on our website www.1-2-3GetOrganized.com under "Products we Recommend."

Start with the family kit or go for the platinum package. I predict this system will reduce stress for both students and parents!