‘February is National Time Management Month’

Organize Your Time

Organize Your Time

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 your home or office needs a ‘clutter tune-up’  
contact me at: ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or call me at 857-919-4735

Ask about Discount Package Plans! 

 

 

Too Many Books?

 

too many books

TOO MANY BOOKS

I don’t think I ever had a lot of books of my own. I used the local libraries, borrowed books from friends (all of which had to be returned), and went through phases of collecting some self help, fiction, mystery and fantasy books. Most of which I gave away over the years. I do enjoy buying fiction at yard sales as they are very low priced, and also exchanging books at the Little Free Library ‘take a book, leave a book’ boxes in front of people’s local houses to feed my reading needs.

And, I did have a fair amount of gardening books which I had purchased over the years to further my expertise in my gardening business. The gardening books took up 1.5 shelves in the built in glass door cabinet in my former apartment. With my upcoming move to another home, I sorted through these gardening books, and donated about 20 of them to be sold at the Somerville Garden Club’s annual plant sale. I reviewed the books again, and donated 18 more that I knew weren’t that necessary to keep. I gave away more than 1/2 of these.

Do you love books but have too many? Are they overflowing the bookshelves, taking up space on a chair or couch, or piled on the floor? I’m sure that some of these fiction, non-fiction, art, music, and other book topics you’ve collected over the years mean a lot to you, but most likely many of them are just gathering dust.

Why not share your wealth and give some away! Set aside an hour per week, and sort through at least one shelf on your bookshelf, or a couple piles of books. If you bought it a while back and haven’t yet read it, maybe it’s time to let it go. Fill a box (or boxes) with the books you no longer love, want, or need, and share the joy of reading by donating them to your favorite charity, library, local prison, or to ‘More than Words’.

‘More than Words’ located in Waltham, MA, is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, or homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by managing the organization’s online and retail bookstore and cafe. Check out their website – http://www.MTWyouth.org  or call 781-788-0035. Recently, a client I was working with to cut down on his hundreds of books, had the crew from MTW pick up 84 boxes of books! If you have at least ten boxes of books to donate, the organization will pick them up for you.

I’d love to know how many books you’ve got, and how you let go and distribute them.

For a FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact Judy at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735

Make ‘Getting Organized’ One of Your New Year’s Resolutions

xmas wrap      Suitcase & wrappings

I stick to a pretty simple New Year’s resolution in regards to organizing. Rather than make it complicated or difficult for myself, I follow three simple resolutions; Clear, Sort, Store. And, I make a list of what task I am going to do first and when to do the task. Because of my work and social schedule, I allow several weeks in early January to take care of all these things.

Recommended organizing tasks for the New Year:

– Back and front hallway entrances: Unclutter the vestibules that lead from the house to the exit doors. And, unclutter landings that lead to the basement or other areas. For good Feng Shui energy and safety reasons, be sure to keep the area behind the doors clear of all things. (the photo used in this blog shows a back hallway before clearing)

– Kitchen Pantry: Go through the shelves and drawers and throw out any food items with an old expiration date. Re-organize those shelves/drawers as they most likely are out of order.

– Bedroom: Sort through your clothing. Pack away any summer clothes and accessories still in the closet and drawers. Donate or give away clothing you haven’t worn in the past year.

– Living room, Study or TV room: Recycle magazines, newspapers and junk mail that is cluttering these rooms. Magazines can be donated to physician and therapist offices. Take mugs, glasses & plates lying around to the kitchen to be cleaned.

– Home office: Tidy up your desk. Test all your pens to see if they still have ink. If not, throw out. Recycle and re-organize the papers on your desk (including those little scraps of paper you’ve written notes on) and in your files. Delete all of those hundreds of emails that are taking up too much space.

– Address book: Update the addresses in hard cover and virtual address books.

– Holiday Gifts: If you know you won’t use particular gifts, and can bear to part with them, either exchange them for something you’d prefer or give them away instead of having them take up space.

– Holiday Decorations: Don’t let holiday decorations, gift wrappings, or cards sit around for too long after New Year’s Day. Avoid clutter by packing them up and putting them back into storage.

Send me a message to let me know what you are going to accomplish.

You’ll feel lighter, have peace of mind, and freedom from clutter!

For a FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact Judy at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735

How to Avoid Holiday Stress

Winter plants terra cotta pot arrangement 12.14

In my ‘Clutter Clearer Coach’ holiday E-newsletter, I recommend getting organized early to take the stress out of the upcoming winter holidays. I’ve included these recommendations and some additional tips here.

Here are TEN TIPS to help you stay calm this holiday season:

1. Make it easy on yourself. Ask for help from friends, neighbors or family members. Don’t get organized by yourself, unless you either want to, or have to. (I never asked for assistance, and did I get stressed! Now I ask.)

2. Don’t wait until the last minute. Plan and complete your errands and chores early so you can be relaxed and enjoy the holidays. Accomplish just a few things each day so you don’t get overwhelmed. (Sometimes I procrastinate, so don’t be like me.)

3.  Schedule chunks of time in advance for tasks. Enter them into your calendar, be it digital or paper, so you don’t forget. If digital, plug in audio reminders. (Keeping track of my tasks on my iPhone is easy)

4. Make your lists and check them twice!  Ask everyone in your family to write gift lists so you know what to buy them. Make your own lists for doing household chores;  who you will buy gifts for, decorations you’ll need, food for menus, etc. Determine your budget, and write down what you’ll spend for each item. And decide ahead of time where to purchase everything. (Guess I have it easy now, as I only buy gifts for a couple of friends – most friends & my relatives decided to forego winter holiday gift giving)

5. You don’t have to do it all! If you are very busy and have limited time to do everything, check over your list and eliminate items and tasks that are not essential. (I am extremely busy, so I do a lot less organizing for the holidays than ever before. Mostly it’s decorating with live evergreens for a festive look, putting ornaments on the mini tree, and buying a few gifts and wrapping them.)

6. Avoid the crowds. Go shopping and to the post office during hours (not weekends) when there won’t be crowds. (I go mid-morning on a weekday well before the holidays to do my errands)

7. Don’t over-clean your home. You don’t have to clean from top to bottom. Clean only the areas that are public to guests who come over; the kitchen, living room, bathroom and dining room. Hire someone to do the cleaning, or have a friend or family member help you. (I am now fortunate to have a cleaning service come every 2 weeks.)

8. Clear the clutter in these public rooms; including the front entry hall. Especially, the entry to your home, as it shouldn’t be a safety hazard for you and guests entering through the door.  (Every day I put things away where they belong.)

9. Re-use decorations and gift wrap materials from the previous year. Buy new décor for the holidays at the end of December and beginning of January each year to save money as these items go on sale, sometimes 1/2 price. Pack up left overs and reuse next year. (My new housemate and I will reuse our shared wrapping paper from last year.)

10. Ask for help after the holidays are over. Invite friends or family over to help clean, take decorations down and pack them. Make it fun for everyone, and provide yummy snacks to eat. Pack all decorations and gift wrap items in plastic boxes with lids, or in covered cardboard boxes if your storage area is not damp. (And, we share taking down the holiday decorations)

Let me know how your holiday organizing goes!

PS – If you’d like to receive my ‘Clutter Clearer Coach’ monthly newsletter, send me your name and email address and I’ll include you in my mail chimp mailings.

For a FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact Judy at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735

Swapping Summer Clothing for Winter Wear

winter jackets

Mid-fall is the time of year that I go through my closet and separate my winter
clothing from my summer clothing. For me, and I’m sure for some of you, knowing when to do this usually is a frustrating time because the temperature fluctuates so much. This is referred to as ‘Indian Summer’ here in New England. It may be 50 degrees in the morning, and by noon time the temperature has reached 70 degrees. Although, this year it’s now October 21st, and the days are not above the mid-50″s and the nights are in the low 40’s and high 30’s.

I’ve already put most of my sleeveless shirts, polo shirts and dresses, plus shorts, bathing suits and summer shoes (which I won’t really need to wear until next year) into a covered plastic storage container for dry basement storage. But, have kept some in my closet and dresser in case we have a glimpse of ‘Indian Summer’ in the next few weeks.

I have pulled out most of my winter clothing; long sleeved shirts & sweatshirts, sweaters, heavier pants, etc. These are available to wear now. Winter coats go in the hall closet. Once the real cold sets in, those few pieces of summer clothing I’d held out, get put into the basement containers.

I recommend that you try this method of ‘seasonal clothing swap’ if your own method is not working well.

NOTE: If you don’t have a dry attic or separate closet to keep the change of season clothing containers, and only have a damp basement space, be sure to store the items in waterproof containers with air tight lids to keep clothing dry.

When and How do you take care of your seasonal wardrobe change?

FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact Judy at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735

Why is Mail so Hard to Deal With?

junk mail

Do you have lots of junk mail, catalogs, and unopened mail forming piles of paper? And, you just don’t know how to deal with it?

Tackling your incoming (and piled up mail) can be really hard to deal with for a number of reasons:

• First of all you have to make a decision on what to do with each piece of mail. Recycle, file, archive, open up the envelope, etc.. And, if you have a lot of ‘pieces’ lying around, that’s a lot of deciding to do.

• You have to then figure out where to put each piece of paper.

• All of that paper takes up space! What if you don’t have the space or the proper filing cabinets or containers to put it all.

• And if, and when you do find a spot to put it, you may never find it again.

• What if you throw it out? You might need it someday.

Whew! So many decisions to make and so little time!

Begin by asking yourself these questions about your mail:

• DO you REALLY need to keep this?
• Will you really read this someday if you keep it? Probably not!
• If you DO KEEP it, where should you put it, so it’s easy to find
• HOW and WHERE can you find it

Begin With Baby Steps:

• Put a recycling bin near where you open your mail.
• Begin your decision making with your current mail. Don’t worry about the mail that’s already piled up. You’ll get to that later.
• Pick up each piece of current mail and determine whether you need it
• Can you recycle it? Is it a bill that needs to be opened and paid?
If it’s a catalog or magazine, recycle these after the next issues arrive.
• Do you want to keep receiving the catalogs, junk mail or stop getting it? If you’d like to stop it contact: http://StoptheJunkMail.com/ Or, if using Apps, log onto http://www.PaperKarma.com/

As you begin to make these types of decisions, you’ll find that it gets easier every time you do so.

Let me know if your decision making has gotten a bit easier. Thanks!

FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735 

Are You the Cause of Your Own Disorganization and Lack of Time?

iPhone with calendar

When not in the field with organizing clients or doing gardening for clients, I work from home on my business paper work, invoices, marketing and my blog. Sometimes I check my emails, Facebook page more than a few times each day.

I am going to work on this habit, and only interrupt my work flow a few times each day instead of every 20 or 30 minutes when I am at my desk. I know by doing so, I will be able to manage my time better.

Do you find that you are addicted to looking at your emails, Facebook page, on-line news, podcasts and videos? How often do you check your smartphone, iPad, or computer for the latest messages from friends, list serves, and cute cat or other animal videos on your Facebook page?  I’m thinking often.

Here are some of the most common time wasters:

– Losing things (like keys, eyeglasses)
– Checking email and Facebook frequently
– Spending too much time talking on the phone
– Not having a daily/weekly plan to follow
– Ignoring the clutter because you are too busy

Here are some solutions that will save you time, and keep you more organized:

– Use an in-basket/bowl in a central place for keys, glasses, cell phone, etc..(it’s nice to find them in the same location all the time)
– Schedule only several times a day to check email and Facebook (it’s not going anywhere)
– Limit the time you talk on the phone (use a kitchen timer, and get to the point)
– Schedule your to-do’s and appointments in your calendar (to stay on track)
– Designate short blocks of time to get organized (like 1 hour, once per week)

Try putting these solutions to the test, and you’ll notice that you are more organized and have more time!  I’d love to know how following these steps changes your life.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a 

FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 857-919-4735