Category Archives: Organizing Tips

Organize Your Manuals and User Guides

user manuals and guides

Are your product manuals stored in various places around your home, thus making it time consuming and difficult to find one if you need it?

I used to keep manuals in drawers in the kitchen, in my study, and in the attic. If I had a problem with an appliance or an electronic gadget, I wasted time trying to find the correct manual. I eventually put all of these documents into one folder in a drawer in my study.

Here are THREE TIPS on  how to keep track of those manuals and guides:

TIP # 1 – Keep all your manuals in one place (in a binder or file drawer). To find them easily, file your manuals in categories such as appliances, electronics, computers, or furniture. Every time you add a new manual, go through and recycle the outdated ones. If you move, be sure to leave the manuals for any kitchen appliances, washer/dryer, garage doors, and anything else you don’t take with you.

TIP # 2 – Create a spreadsheet that lists all of your appliances and electronic items; including make, model, purchase date and serial number.

TIP # 3 – Once you’ve created the spreadsheet, you can recycle all of your manuals. But before before recycling, click on -http://wwwAppliance411.com/ to see if all of your gadgets and appliances are listed there with care and repair needs, plus directions. This site keeps the most frequently requested information on home appliances up to date.

Organizing your guides and manuals in one place, with easy access, simplifies things for when you need to retrieve one.

I’d love to know if these documents are already filed in a convenient location, or which of the 3 TIPS you will use to get them in order.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

Active and Inactive Files

Active files

Do you have piles of papers/documents on your desk, but don’t know which ones you should take care of within the next few days, or week?  And, perhaps some of those papers don’t need to be looked at for at least a year?

In case you didn’t already know, there are two basic categories for filing documents; ACTIVE and INACTIVE .

ACTIVE files are for papers you will want to access during the upcoming week for temporary use. Keep these papers on your desk in what’s called a vertical table top ‘step’ file holder (viewed sideways, this type of holder is reminiscent of a staircase). Label 5 to 7 manila folders (not pendaflex) with ACTION words such as To- Do’s, Phone calls, RSVP, To file, Bills to pay, Pending, and Order & Purchase. 

Sort your mail right when you bring it into your house or apartment. This will take about a minute or two.  Recycle the junk mail directly into the waste basket, or recycle bin (should be located near your ACTIVE files). Shred credit card solicitations, and other unwanted mail containing sensitive information.

Put unpaid bills into the PAY folder. If you’ve a question about any of these bills, put them into the CALL folder. Once you are ready to pay the bills, take the PAY folder to the location you pay your bills, and pay them all at once. (Schedule in your calendar specific days/times to pay bills, make phone calls, and do your filing). All bills that have been paid, stamped and addressed should go into an OUTGOING MAIL folder until they are ready to be mailed.

Keep your ACTION file in a prominent place such as your desk, wherever your mail tends to pile up, or where you pay your bills.

An INACTIVE file or record is one with which all actions have been completed. These documents won’t need to be referenced on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, Files such as  former tax returns, bank statements, or memorabilia such as greeting cards, letters, certificates  can be stored in a filing cabinet, or in plastic or sturdy cardboard storage boxes that are covered and labeled.

Be sure to keep up with both of these types of files by reviewing them periodically, and purging what you don’t need to keep. 

I’d love to know if you already have these types of file categories, and it not, what steps you will take to create them?

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clutter in Your Car

Car seat organizer

I have car clutter: I run two businesses; organizing and gardening. I have a small car, with a small trunk. From spring thru fall, I actually need to keep certain items in the back seat most of the time; such as lawn bags, and a metal dolly on wheels to transport heavy bags of fertilizer, compost or mulch, from my car to a garden client’s yard.  Small tools and other supplies stay in the trunk, out of site.

And, when I take my organizing client’s giveaways to GoodWill, I put the bags and boxes of stuff in my front and/or back seat. These things might stay in the car for a few days until I can schedule the time to do the drop off.

Folks don’t usually need to keep their business things in the car.  That’s what a trunk, or the rear space in an SUV is for.  But, you might have ‘small item’ clutter; like protein bar wrappers, empty soda or water bottles, kids’ toys,  notebooks, food take out bags, etc. on the car seat or floor.

Here are some TIPS for keeping car seats and floors uncluttered:

  • Purchase a car seat organizer to store the clutter crowding the passenger seat of your car. (I purchased one a few years ago) There’s the ‘Mobile Office’ from the Container Store (http://www.containerstore.com ), the ‘High Road SwingAway XL’ car seat organizer which can swivel from front seat to back. ( http://www.cargogear.com ). Target stores also carry car seat organizers. These organizers are great for holding cell phones, tissues, water bottles, maps, snacks, music CD’s, and there’s even a place to put file folders.
  • Plastic storage containers can be placed in the trunk, or under a seat to hold items like umbrellas, rain ponchos, tissues or water bottles.
  • Keep children’s toys and games in a covered plastic container that can be placed either on the floor or in the middle of the back seat.
  • Put a travel sized waste can or basket in the car so there will be a place other than the floor to put trash.
  • In case of emergencies always keep a pair of jumper cables, a flashlight, ice scraper, small shovel, bag of sand, non-perishable snacks, bottled water, and a first aid kit in the car.

 Let me know what you use to keep from having clutter in your car.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

‘A Solution to the Never Ending Clothes Pile’

xcluttered-rocker        cleared-rocker

Are your clothes strewn in piles all over your bedroom with barely a square inch of floor showing? Do you tell yourself that you will put them away, but never do because you just don’t have time to deal with this process? And, do you live out of your laundry baskets, but get confused as to what clothes are clean or dirty?

I have to admit that as a very busy person myself, I don’t always put my clothes in the dresser drawers, or the clothes closet each evening when I get ready for bed.  Sometimes, they pile up on my bedroom rocking chair, and a few items can creep on to the floor as a mess of pants, sweaters, shirts, pajamas, etc.  If the pile stays like this for more than two days, I feel disgusted with myself.  At this point, I put everything where it belongs, and am happy to see my lovely clothing free rocking chair once again.

One solution to the ‘clothes pile problem’ is to choose a storage system that will serve your limited tolerance for spending time ‘managing your clothes’. First, eliminate visual barriers by removing furniture with drawers. Replace with floor to ceiling open shelving, or better yet, with cubbies, an easier system to use.

You can create areas in the cubby for each person sharing the bedroom. Use separate cubbies for shirts, pants, underwear, socks, etc… And, label each section. Cubbies towards the top can be used for clothing and accessories used less frequently. Install hooks on the wall to hang clothes that don’t need to be washed each time you wear them. This will keep these clothes separate from the dirty laundry. And, label the laundry baskets or bins CLEAN & DIRTY ONLY.

Folding, or just putting the clothes into the cubbies is quick and easy. Your bedroom will be more open and spacious, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.

I’d love to know the system you use to store your clothing and accessories.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

‘FREE YOURSELF from PAPER CLUTTER’

paper clutter

April 4, 2017 TIME: 7:00 – 8:30 pm FEE: $28.00

Brookline High School
115 Greenough Street, Brookline
bacep@brookline.k12.ma.us 617-730-2700

http://www.campusce.net/brookline/course/course.aspx?catId=64

From junk mail to important documents, we all have paper clutter in our homes and offices. If we don’t spend time getting rid of it, it will completely take over. Organizing the pile can be an overwhelming task, and this class will explore the causes of clutter, systems to organize it, and habits to maintain organization. Through a focused presentation and discussion, you will explore with a professional coach how to overcome the roadblocks to clear your paper clutter. You’ll soon be on your way to prepare your paperwork for tax season.

Presenter: Judy Eisenberg, Professional Organizer – Clutter Clearer Coach  cluttercluttercoach@comcast.net

Manage Your Magazine Clutter

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March is certainly coming in and staying ‘Like a Lion!’ And it’s already spring. Do you have an excess of magazines or store catalogs? Are they stacked in piles, filling up shelves you could use for something else, or overflowing bags or boxes?

With the crummy weather forecast for this weekend, why not take some time and sort through those magazines and catalogs. And, while you are at it, also deal with those alumni college magazines you’ve been holding on to for years.

A couple of years ago on a cold and rainy day, I set aside a couple of hours to deal with my many magazines. On that day, while gathering my magazines, I looked under the table next to my couch, and in addition to the full magazine rack that was there, I noticed another full magazine rack I’d forgotten about just behind the front rack!  So, I looked through all of the magazines I had held on to, recycled most of them, and chose some to give to the garden club raffle.  I made the decision to keep just a few of the most relevant magazines and up-to-date catalogs. Since then, I only receive one garden magazine in the mail, and do research on-line for any gardening information I need.

You can do the same on any bad weather day. Gather up all the magazine subscriptions, catalogs and other periodicals you have saved that are taking up space. Do you truly enjoy all of them? Are they a good use of your time or space? Or, do you let them pile up thinking you’ll read them when you have the time, but never do. This is the time to purge, recycle and give them away. Keep only the most recent subscriptions that you truly love, and know you will read within the next couple of months. Libraries, doctor, dentist and therapist offices are good places to give your magazines to.

If you want to terminate any magazine subscriptions, call their company office to cancel any magazines you no longer want.

To cancel your catalogs: http://www.catalogchoice.org/

For each current issue you receive in the mail, toss the previous months if you haven’t read it yet.

I think you’ll feel a bit lighter when you do this. Let me know the progress you’ve made on letting go.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

‘National Clean Out Your Closet Week’

hanging shoe holder          clothes in color order

Did you know that the third week of March is ‘National Clean Out Your Closet Week’?  

Even though it’s not quite spring outside (20 degrees today, but feels like 6 degrees below with the wind chill factor) in the Boston area, the third week of March is a great reminder for everyone to begin taking small steps towards spring cleaning.

Remember that, March 14 is ‘Clean Out Your Home Office Day. And, once you’ve taken care of your home office (or even if you haven’t), you can begin to overhaul your closets the following week. I’m going to clean out and organize the back hallway closet, and then see if my clothes closet needs help.

Below are some tips on cleaning out your closets:

  • Begin with one closet, perhaps your clothes closet. Schedule a block of time to begin and complete the clean out in one session.
  • Remove everything from the closet. Clean the inside walls, shelving, and the floor. You may decide to paint the interior a more pleasing color, install new lighting, or use some decorative containers for storage to save space. If you decide to make some changes, set aside extra time to do so.
  • Sort the items into categories; shoes, pocket books, belts, scarves, shirts, sweaters, pants, dresses, skirts, jackets, and anything else that was in there.
  • For items that don’t belong there, put them aside to relocate later.
  • Get rid of what you don’t need, don’t love, doesn’t fit, is damaged, out of style, and haven’t worn during the past year. This means throw out, repair, give away.
  • Decide on a plan so you know where to put things back in the closet. Do you want to put your shoes in a hanging shoe holder bag or in a shoe rack instead of jumbled on the floor, hang your clothes in a particular order, (I like hanging my clothes by color scheme; all blacks, greys, whites, blues, reds, etc. in that order on the clothing rods), or arrange folded items on the shelves differently.
  • Then begin putting them back one category at a time. You can always change or rearrange the items.
  • When the first closet is clean and re-organized, reward yourself by doing something fun or pleasing for a job well done!
  • Then, it’s on to the next closet; clean, purge and reorganize.

There’s seven days during the third week of March, hopefully allowing you time to take care of all, or most of your closets.

Organizing your closets will make it easier to locate items in a timely manner, thus simplifying your life. Let me know how it goes, and if you have any clever and creative ideas you’d like to share with my blog readers.

 If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

 

‘National Organize Your Home Office Day’

cluttered office

Start of day, March 14, ‘National Clean Out Your Office Day’.

More and more people are setting up home offices. They may work virtually, manage their own business, or just take care of basic bill paying and other finances from home. Like any other room in the household, the office can get cluttered, messy, disorganized and dusty.

End of March 14, 'National Clean Out Your Office Day'.

End of day, March 14, ‘National Clean Out Your Office Day’.

‘National Organize Your Home Office Day’, observed on March 14, reminds us to stop, take a look around our home offices, and take some time to straighten up. Imagine thousands of people, including yourself, getting motivated by this national holiday! It could be like a secret national club, or even a real group of friends and neighbors who take on this task simultaneously. ‘Organize Your Home Office Day’ is a good excuse to clear your desk, throw your trash away, recycle the empty soda cans, wash coffee mugs, file those stacks of papers, wipe away the accumulated dust, and more.

Here are some tips to help you get your office cleared and organized on March 14:

1. Clear your desk and other surfaces.  If paper, office supplies,  dirty coffee cups, or other items cover your desk,  you need to clear them off.  Paper usually piles up on any flat surface if it has no designated storage space. Getting all of this stuff organized can be overwhelming, so focus first on removing it to another surface for sorting, before you take the next step.

2. Sort, shred, recycle and purge.  Bring the items to be washed and recycled to the sink and recycle bins. Throw out the trash,  pick up the scattered office supplies, and put them back into their proper containers. Then sort the papers into categories to be filed.

3. Dust off the newly clear surfaces, before you put items back on the desk. Notice how big your desktop looks? 

4. Allow  plenty of storage space in your filing cabinet. You need to have enough room to store regularly used files, and reference/archival files (papers that you don’t need to deal with on a daily basis).  If you don’t have this type of storage, invest in a two level clear plastic file drawer cabinet on wheels for convenience, or in some attractive covered boxes for keeping documents. Be sure you have enough filing room so your papers do not end up in piles, but in organized files. And, keep personal and business documents filed separately.

5. Leave plenty of room on your desk to work. Decide whether you have room on the desktop to keep all of your electronic equipment such as your computer, printer, scanner, landline or digital phone, calculator, etc. If your desktop computer takes up too much room, replace it with a laptop. Transfer some of this equipment to another small table top if needed. Designate areas on the desk for doing paper work, and for keeping your desktop folder holder, your pens, stapler, paper & binder clips, and other supplies.

5. Purge files regularly. Look through your files each month, every quarter, twice a year, or annually to get rid of outdated paperwork, and to to make room for the new.  Doing so, will keep those papers from piling up on your desk, and even your floor. Do the same with your computer files, getting rid of old email, folders, or programs you don’t use anymore.

6. Are you happy with your office environment?  If not, make some changes so you enjoy being and working in the room. Is your desk and other furniture including shelving functional?  Buy a new desk with drawers if you work on just a flat desk surface, add more efficient shelving if needed, get a more comfortable chair, hang new curtains, bring in photos, artwork, plants. Make this a pleasing place to be.

Following the tips mentioned above, you will have less on your desk and work area, will feel better, think more clearly, and be more productive. If you need assistance, you can contact me for help.

And, you really don’t have to wait to organize your home office again until March 14, 2018!  

(Let me know if you, friends and family decide to celebrate,and get organized on this national holiday – and the steps you take to create a clear, comfortable, enjoyable office)

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

 

Non-Toxic, Eco Friendly Cleaning TIPS & RECIPES

snow-storm

Here in the Boston area, it is snowing and blowing!  Spring will arrive soon enough, but you don’t have to wait until the air becomes balmy, and the daffodils poke up from the ground to do a major or even minor cleaning. However, most commercial cleaning products you use on a daily basis are made with toxic ingredients, which can be harmful to your home, you, your children and pets, as well as to the environment.

However, most commercial cleaning products you use on a daily basis are made with toxic ingredients, which can be harmful to your home, you, your children and pets, as well as to the environment.

Read the labels on containers such as bathroom disinfectants, furniture polish, glass and toilet bowl cleaners, and in bold text you will see Poison, Warning, Danger, and Caution. Instead of bringing these toxic ingredients into your home, consider going ‘green’ (non-toxic) with your cleaning products, and create them yourself! You will save money, time, and natural resources by using environmentally friendly cleaning methods for your home or office. By using vinegar, borax, baking soda, and nice smelling essential oils you can create various safe cleaners to use on windows, mirrors, sinks, toilets, tubs, floors, etc. (these products can be found at your local supermarket.)

GREEN TIPS

  • Clutter accumulates dust, so clear out the clutter and save time cleaning.
  • Don’t buy smelly, toxic air fresheners, but bring plants into your home for better air quality, open windows, or place dried herbs such as lavender or orange rinds in an attractive bowl to freshen the air.
  • In warm weather to save electricity, and get some fresh air, hang your clothing on an outside line to dry.
  • Use a micro-fiber cloth to dust the furniture, and any hard surface instead of toxic furniture polish.

GREEN RECIPES

  • Glass Cleaner: Mix equal quantities of water and vinegar, or club soda in a spray bottle to clean. To avoid streaks on the glass or mirror, wipe with a lint-free cloth or a paper towel (use sparingly).
  • Floor Cleaner: In a spray bottle, combine a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water, and add a couple of drops of peppermint or lavender oil for a pleasant scent.
  • Bathtub and Sink Cleaner: Sprinkle baking powder on the tub or sink surface, scrub and rinse.
  • Toilet Cleaner: Sprinkle 1/4 cup borax (can find in your supermarket’s cleaning aisle) or baking soda, plus a few drops of essential oil (antiseptic tea tree or eucalyptus oil) into the toilet, scour, leave for a few minutes, scour again, and flush once or twice.

If you lead a busy lifestyle, and prefer not to make your own cleaning products, you can purchase them in local health food stores, Trader Joe’s and usually in generic grocery stores. Just be sure that the container’s ingredients consist of natural fragrance from essential oils, are derived from plants, and are free of phosphates, phthalates and chloride.

Do you have any Green Cleaning Tips or recipes?  I’d love to know.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

 

February is National Time Management Month

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I know I have the best plans to be on time. And, I’m sure many of you do too. Yet, even in the best of circumstances, we mess up again and again.

Here are ten helpful tips to be on time:

  1. Set all of your clocks, manual and digital, to a standard time that you’d find on your phone, computer or radio. And, keep all of your clocks at the same time. Don’t have one clock be 5 minutes late or 5 minutes early, as this could ultimately confuse you, and cause you to be late.
  2.  Make preparations for the next day, the night before. Double check your calendar, choose the clothes you’ll wear, pack your work bag and put it near your exit door, make your lunch, and charge your phone.
  3. Set up a schedule for getting ready in the morning. This includes eating breakfast, packing lunch if you haven’t already, showering, drying your hair, and gathering things you need to take with you when you leave the house. If you know it takes you more than an hour to accomplish these tasks, give yourself extra time.
  4. As a reminder, set an alarm to go off 15 minutes before you have to leave.
  5. Keep track of the time lapses that could make you late; such as, filling your gas tank, dropping off the dry cleaning, or mailing letters.
  6. Gauge the amount of time it will take you to reach your destination; be it by car, subway, bicycle, or walking. Then add on a cushion time of 15 minutes to be on the safe side. You never know when traffic or weather may delay you.
  7. Set a limit for last minute tasks just before you leave for an errand, or for the day. Don’t take that last minute phone call, or check your emails. Having done this before, I know that it will stress me out and make me late.
  8. If you are early to an appointment, or early to pick someone up, bring a book to read, or check your emails while you are waiting. Double check your to-do list, or confirm scheduled appointments.
  9. If you know you are going to be late, let the person/s you are meeting know so they won’t be counting the minutes before you arrive, and can accomplish a last minute item on their own to do list.
  10. Practice, practice, practice! If you mess up, be kind to yourself and keep trying. Remember, practice makes perfect. Ok, we’ll never be completely perfect, so if you do slip up, be sure to get back on track immediately.

Do you have any tips to add to help us all be on time?  Let us know!

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net