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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Data Sheds Light On The Cause Of 'Brain Clutter'

RTTNews ran the following article yesterday, which I thought was very informative. I hope you enjoy it.  I'm fascinated by ADD research and try to keep up with it, as we always have girls with ADD in our home. Plus ADD has an impact on organizing one's time or space.

"New data collected by a research team at McGill University in Montreal has discovered the lack of attention common in patients of ADHD, OCD and Tourette syndrome could be linked to the malfunctioning of one specific type of brain cell.

This lack of focus, commonly referred to as 'brain clutter,' has previously been thought of as a default in the brain's prefrontal cortex, but now researcher Julio Martinez-Trujillo is suggesting that the malfunctioning of neurons that normally help filter information may be to blame.

'Contrary to common beliefs, the brain has a limited processing capacity. It can only effectively process about one per cent of the visual information that it takes in,' Martinez-Trujilo tells sciencedaily.com. 'This means that the neurons responsible for perceiving objects and programming actions must constantly compete with one another to access the important information.'

For the study, Martinez-Trujilo and his team examined the ability of animals to process visual stimuli. They then analyzed the performance of these neurons depending on each animal's ability to filter information. 'What we found when we looked at the behaviour of the neurons in the prefrontal cortex, was that an animal's ability to successfully accomplish a single action in the presence of visual clutter, was dictated by how well these units suppressed distracting information,' he adds."

More on ADD:

Organizing the ADD Household

Understanding the ADD Mindset

More Tips for Helping Your ADD Child Stay Organized


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Clean Up and Organize Your iTunes with Rinse

Todd Bishop over at GeekWire has written a review of Rinse. Here's an excerpt: 

"RealNetworks has developed a new program called Rinse for cleaning up and organizing Apple iTunes libraries on Windows PCs and Macs — automatically adding album artwork, fixing song names, organizing music libraries by genre, and finding and removing duplicate tracks.

The official Rinse product site touts the software as 'smarter than other programs,' including iTunes itself. The site says Rinse’s 'intelligent database technology' finds artwork, remove duplicates and organize an iTunes library even if song names are misspelled or incomplete.

The support page explains how it works.
Rinse uses the information already in your file (such as the filename or existing tags) to look up your songs. The identification algorithm is complex and will compensate for missing information and misspellings. Rinse will extract the information from your songs and submit it to our Identification Server. The server will then return the correct song information, along with an accuracy level for the new information.
However, if your iTunes library is full of those vague 'Track 001'' file names, you’ll need help the Rinse program out a little by adding at least part of the track name. The site says the program 'needs at least one correctly spelled word from the artist and song names.'

Rinse will sell for $39 after a free trial that allows people to fix up to 50 tracks, according to the site, although the company hasn’t separately confirmed the price."

More on techno organizing: 

Get Organized Month - Declutter Your Music

Guest Post - Leveraging Technology to Get Organized: 4 Clever Tips

The Nook Digital eReader - Downloads and Organizes School Textbooks


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Planning for a Funeral - Pre-Planning Funeral Arrangements

My husband's mother passed away early on April 17th. We spent several days making final arrangements for her. My parents-in-law made it much easier for us, as they had pre-planned and pre-paid for their funerals.

However, in the funeral contract is a clause that says that if anything changes, charges will be at current prices.

When they originally made their plans, they were going to be buried in North Carolina, my father-in-law's home. Since then, they decided to be buried locally. Because of that one change, the charges for my mother-in-law's casket was charged at current rates. 

The increased cost for the casket and other expenses was an extra almost $3000. Some costs were legitimate - cost for the vault, for example, which wasn't included when they were going to be buried elsewhere.  

This is our first time having to go through this, but here are some things I've learned:

- Make funeral arrangements for yourself or encourage your parents to do so to take some stress out of a very stressful time. When you are grieving is not a time to make thousands-of-dollar decisions. 

- Pre-pay if possible.

- Decide carefully so you don't have to change your arrangements and incur greater expenses.

- Pre-planning is a good idea at any time. Pre-paying only works well for those who are pretty sure they are going to stay where they are until they die.  

More on crisis planning:

Can Your Loved Ones Find Your Important Documents?

National Preparedness Month - Are You Ready for an Emergency?

10 Signs That Your Parent Shouldn't Be Living Alone


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sorry for the Interruption

Sorry I haven't been blogging this week. My husband's mom passed away, and as you can imagine, we have been engaged with making arrangements, etc. I'll be back next week.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Best Time of Day to Go to the Emergency Room

I'm not an expert in this area, but having gone to the emergency room three times in 36 hours a few days ago, I feel like we've done some research. We went twice in the morning and once in the evening. On another occasion, we went mid-day on a Saturday. On our recent excusions we went on a weekend day (Sunday) and on a week day (Monday). 

Now if someone is bleeding or needs urgent care, this won't work. But all three of our recent situations involved swelling, which would have to decrease before putting on a cast. So we waited overnight on two instances to see if the pain had subsided and to allow the swelling to decrease.

Our results: early morning is definitely the best time to go to the emergency room. We were there by 9:30 am on Sunday and 7:30 am on Monday. In each case it took us around two hours to be seen, x-rayed and casted in one instance.

I'm attributing this partly due to the fact that the doctors possibly hadn't completed rounds yet thereby not initiating x-rays yet, so there was not a waiting time for x-rays. And we walked right in to the examining room both times.

Not the case with the evening time. Lots of people, being seen in the order of their severity. Since ours was not a life-threatening injury, we ended up at the bottom of the list. It took about four hours. 

The mid-day Saturday trip took longest of all - about 5 hours. But again, the situation was more complicated than just a sprain or break. 

This is, of course, our experience in our town. Your experience may not be the same where you live, but it seems that some of the same principles might apply. Anyway, just thought you might benefit from our research! LOL!

More on time management:

The Best Time of Day to Go to the Post Office

The Best Time of Day to Clean the House

The Best Time of Day to Take the Dog for a Walk


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Free Local Shredding April 16

The Better Business Bureau is teaming up with Neoshred to provide free on-the-spot shredding.

Time: Saturday, April 16, 9 am to 12 noon

Place: Neoshred, 895 E. Tallmadge Avenue, Akron,OH 44310

Limit: 10 boxes or bags. 

More information: call the Better Business Bureau at 330-253-4590.

Great timing, isn't it - right after taxes!

More on shredding:

Free Shredding every Saturday, Akron, Ohio

Get Organized Month 2009 - Rethink Your Desk

Three Steps to Organizing Your Office

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review and Giveaway of my "Organizing Your Kitchen in Three Weeks"

Dr. Kathleen Cueno over at Dinner Together has posted a review of my "Organizing Your Kitchen in Three Weeks" and is sponsoring a giveaway of the same.

Dinner Together is a blog after my own heart, promoting family time and good health by eating together. I know you'll enjoy reading her posts. Stop by!

More on dinner:

Organizing Summer Fun When Everyone is Bored: A Crazy Dinner


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beware - Stores Increase Clutter to Promote Impulse Buying

I don't know about you, but I don't like to shop in crowded and cluttered stores. But apparently, sales go up when this is the case because people are more likely to buy on impulse. And this, then, increases our clutter! The following article explains this strategy being adopted by stores:

"Piling products onto shelves and stacking goods in the middle of aisles might not seem the best way to attract customers into your store. 

But after spending years trying to cut down on clutter during the recession, some U.S. shops are making their stores look more confusing and messy to improve sales.

Stores such as Wal-Mart, Old Navy and Best Buy are looking at crowding shelf space, including ‘fast lanes’ with impulse items and adding more products down aisles.

Wal-Mart: The chain is among the stores that spent years cutting down stock, but is now making shelves look more confusing and cluttered to improve sales

Wal-Mart: The chain is among the stores that spent years cutting down stock, but is now making shelves look more confusing and cluttered to improve sales

Variety store chain Dollar General is raising the height of its standard shelves to more than 6ft and J.C. Penney is turning walls into jewellery and accessory displays.

Old Navy is lining lanes with food and drink and Best Buy is putting in larger products like bicycles to take up space created by thinner modern technology. Wal-Mart remodelled stores two years ago by reducing ‘end cap’ displays, shortening shelves and cutting down stock by nine per cent to avoid overwhelming shoppers.

But despite high customer satisfaction scores, shoppers were buying less products, so Wal-Mart remodelled its stores to put more stock on show.

Gone: The days of bulky electronic equipment at Best Buy are over, so it is putting in larger products like bicycles to take up space created by thinner technology

Gone: The days of bulky electronic equipment at Best Buy are over, so it is putting in larger products like bicycles to take up space created by thinner technology

‘Historically, the more a store is packed, the more people think of it as value,’ shopping behaviour expert Paco Underhill told the New York Times.

‘Just as when you walk into a store and there are fewer things on the floor, you tend to think they’re expensive.’

Retailers are realising that as traffic shifts online, the best way to increase revenue in stores is by selling more products at their existing stores.

Electronics retailer Best Buy has been faced with ‘bowling alleys’ of space because their products have either shrunk or gone digital from CD to mp3.

Changing times: Retailers say that as traffic shifts online, the best way to increase revenue in stores is by selling more products at their existing stores

Changing times: Retailers say that as traffic shifts online, the best way to increase revenue in stores is by selling more products at their existing stores

Clothes retailer Old Navy has added ‘fast lanes’ to around 100 stores to maximize sales per sq ft for shoppers to pick up drinks, toys and other impulse buys.

A spokesman for Dollar General said raising shelves from 62in to 78in has improved sales per sq ft from $165 in 2007 to more than $200 last year.

But Family Dollar stores have been taking items out of the middle of aisles, hanging them or stocking them on shelves instead, reported the New York Times

'Most of our customers, regardless of their walk of life, want a pleasant experience,’ said Mtu Pugh, format and space management vice president for the discount chain."

More on impulse buying:

Six Ways to Save Money on Food by Planning Ahead

When a Bargain is Not a Bargain

If It Ain't Broke ...


Monday, April 11, 2011

Could You Downsize to 100 Possessions? He Did.

This man has reduced his possessions to 100 items. Would you be able to do this or even want to do this? I like the idea, but I'm afraid my dishes alone would put me over 500. LOL!

Being single is also to his advantage. But the idea is catching on and challenging. What do you think?

 Source: CBS News

More on the minimalist lifestyle:

Zero Trash in a Year - Could You Do It?

Decluttering Any Room in 3 Weeks

More Statistics on Clutter

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Decluttering Workshop

I'll be giving a workshop on Saturday, April 16 on decluttering and managing paper at the Calvary Assembly of God Church in Willoughby Hills, Oh. Even if you don't attend Calvary, this is open to the public. 

Here's the information from their website:

Women’s Ministry will host a decluttering workshop with professional organizer and author Beverly Coggins.   
When:  9am -12pm Saturday, April 16, 2011 

Where: Calvary’s Activity Center

Cost: $5 (Continental breakfast will be provided.)

Registration is required.  You may register at the Women's Ministry table in the east foyer of the church or by calling the church office at 440.944.5100.

Calvary Assembly of God 28870 Chardon Road, Willoughby Hills, OH 44092.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Droog Straps - A Unique Storage Design

A clean, innovative storage idea - droog straps. A little pricey at $30 a strap, though. The following are website descriptions:
"Designed by nl architects for droog design, these wall-mounted colorful rubber straps were used in the new paris mandarina duck store. measuring 28" long, the straps can be stretched to 36" to 39" long to strap anything to your wall. attaches to wall with 2 drywall anchors (included)."

"This is such a great idea. It is a silicone strap that you can use to store so many things. Great in a nursery/chidren's room, kitchen, garage, etc. The strap measures 28" long and is 1.5" wide. The Strap can be mounted horizontally or vertically."

More storage ideas:

More On Storing Your Kid's Art Work

Kick Your Clutter to the Wall

Color-Coding Your Storage

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Cleaning the Noise

What is the noise in your life? Has it crept into your life gradually? Maybe it's time to evaluate! Here's a post I did a couple of years ago but worth a revisit. ...

Spring cleaning usually involves sorting through clutter, and cleaning areas that have been neglected over the winter months - windows, walls, and such. Once we are reasonably sure we can kiss snow and cold weather good-bye, we take the time to refresh our surroundings.

I'm proposing something a little different: spring cleaning the input we allow into our lives. Let's take a little time to clean out the clutter and noise, and provide a refreshing environment in which to flourish.

My goal is to create a peaceful environment, whether at home or at work. This means pleasant conversation, encouraging words, and a calm atmosphere. This not only involves what others are saying to me, but what I say to them. I try to set the standards by guiding appropriate types of conversation. My words must be positive, encouraging and building if I expect others to speak similarly.

Is the music I listen to uplifting and motivating? Are the shows and movies I watch inspiring and edifying? Are my computer habits those which build into my life? Do I read positive articles, books, etc.? Am I creating an atmosphere for success for myself and others? Or h
ave I allowed inferior choices to creep in due to my passivity, laziness, or uncontrolled appetites?

We can have beautifully decorated and sparkling clean homes, but if the environment is cluttered with noise and negative input, what is the point?

Similar blogs:

In a Winter Rut? Here's How to Climb Out! 

Reduce Your Stress - Say No

Rethink Your Life in 3 Weeks 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bathroom Organizers, Part 1 - Medicine Cabinet, Hair and Cosmetic Products

Today we're going to tackle organizing the bathroom. As I've said before, don't buy organizing containers until you've decluttered and you know what is left to organize. 

The following products help to organize your medicine cabinet as well as hair and cosmetic products. We'll look at additional bathroom organizing products another day.

Medicine Cabinet Organizers

Countertop Organizers

More on bathroom storage:

Short on Space for Bathroom Towel Racks?

Magnetic Paint - An Innovative Space Saver!

Clever Tub/Shower Storage

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April is National Tackle Your Clutter Month

April is National Tackle Your Clutter Month. Why not take time as you do spring cleaning to get rid of excess clutter? Salvation Army will come out and collect your stuff, so you don't even have to haul it anywhere. 

If it sounds overwhelming, start small - with a drawer, shelf or container. When you've done that, you'll probably be motivated to tackle something else!

It's 36, rainy and hailing this morning as I write - a great day to stay indoors and clean and declutter. Too bad I have other things on my calendar!

More on decluttering:

A Dozen Tips for Staying Clutter-Free in 2011

Announcing: Declutter Any Room in 3 Weeks!

Clutter and the Brain - Dr. Peter Whybrow

Monday, April 4, 2011

While Spring Cleaning, Update Insurance Photos

Happy Monday! Hope you had a nice weekend. I had some free time, so I worked on an iPhone app I'm writing called Upscale Express Dinners - upscale meals at fast food prices in 30 minutes or less. I'm almost finished, and I'll let you know more about it soon. On to our topic of the day ...

As we do spring cleaning (or not), it's an ideal time to update insurance photos - those photos that prove what you own should disaster strike, and you need to file an insurance claim.

I've found that the easiest way to document our possessions is to take pictures or a movie. Take them of the obvious - furniture, appliances, electronics, etc. But also open drawers, doors, and containers while you shoot. 

Can you imagine having to remember everything in your house in the  midst of a crisis? Make a copy of your photos/movie and store in your safe deposit box, fireproof safe or in the cloud, away from your house. Your information is protected and available should you need it.

Hopefully, we will never need this information, but it will give you peace of mind to have it.

More on security/safety:

National Preparedness Month - Are You Ready for an Emergency?

How Being Medically Organized Could Save Your Life

Getting Organized for Tornado Weather

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tips from Professional Organizers - Organizing Quilting Supplies

More great advice from my fellow professional organizers, this time on organizing quilting supplies...

"I have a serious quilter client ... and she stores all of her 1” square pieces in pizza boxes! She gets them new from a local pizza shop, so they are clean. You can’t see what’s in them, so she has labeled the outside of the box with the color. Because they are flat, they stack neatly, too.Anne Navach, Anne Navach Organizing Services 

"Here are a couple of creative / visual ideas from a blog I like." Linda English

Fabric on Pants Hangers 

DIY Fabric Bolts Using Foam Core

"I am working with a serious quilter too! She has loose fabric, we are putting in clear totes by type (fleece, Amish, etc.) and clearly labeling.

She has a lot of kits purchased too, those are going into 2 and 3 gallon ziplocs so she can see what they are, then lined up in large totes too.
Because the area is in a basement – semi-finished – she didn’t want them exposed to air and possibly dust.

And then her in-progress projects will be laid out so she can work on them.

Don’t forget a scrap bin, she cuts hers down to send to her mother for her to just stitch together, she is in her 80’s!

All of these bins are going on open shelving units. It was like Christmas for her in finding all the great things she can work on!" Jordana

"I had a client who had an entire room in her basement created for her quilting. She purchased the table in the photo  .... 

She also had tall cabinets installed where she stored many of her quilting needs. 

The drawers in the table worked well for smaller fabrics wrapped around cardboard that were stacked on end (grouping by colors). 

We used the same technique with the larger fabrics and stored them in the wall cabinets, much like you would see in a fabric store. 

The drawers also worked well for patterns and other tools. The large cabinet also holds clear bins with smaller fabric scraps." Yve  

"Those clear plastic zip-close bags in which new pillows and blankets come make good containers for individual projects.  So, when she buys (or inherits!) a group of fabrics for one specific project, she can store each project unto itself until she is ready to begin that project." Maureen DeGarmo

"One quilter that I knew had a wall of square cubicles in her sewing room - floor to ceiling --  painted white. She kept her fabric, coordinated by color, in the cubicles. I think they were around 1' square -- possibly larger. It was practical, colorful, and attractive." Judy Ott

A plethora of ideas for solving the same problem! Aren't these ladies great?

More on crafts:

Storage Ideas for Crafts and Art Supplies

Craft Storage

Organizing Art or Craft Space