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The Best Times To Sift Through Your Stuff

(category: Organizing, Word count: 615)
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What are the best times in your life when it's sensible to clean house and get rid of stuff you don't use? Take advantage of these opportunities to clean out your home and downsize your belongings.

When you move from one house to another is the best time to get rid of things you no longer need. Why move stuff you haven't used from one place to another where you won't use it either? Think kitchen gadgets and closets as your best place to start.

Do you have a wok but can't remember the last time you cooked anything stir-fried? If you rarely entertain, do you really need all those wine glasses and extra sets of dishes? How many plastic containers are in the cupboard and how many do you really use on a weekly basis? Get rid of the sizes you never use. Spend a little time to consider how much of your stuff you really use and make up your mind to let go of what is just taking up space.

Of course, when I say here to get rid of something, I mean donate it- don't throw it away unless it doesn't work or it's broken. There are plenty of charitable organizations happy to have your stuff as long as it's usable.

Look at your linen closet- how many of those sets of sheets to you really use? If you have towels that have lost their fluff, out they go. Old makeup and medical supplies should be tossed, especially if it's now past the expiration date.

If there is stuff in the basement or garage still in boxes from the last move, it's safe to say you won't use it again. Test your courage by just tossing the boxes without even looking in them. If you can't manage this without your palms starting to sweat, then check to make sure there wasn't a hidden treasure in one of them.

When your kids grow up and move out, it's time to clean out the stuff they didn't take with them. Don't feel you should keep your kids' room as a shrine to them. While I understand you want to keep your memories, you don't need to keep sports equipment from high school or every trophy they ever won. If it's not important enough for your kids to take with them to their new place, you shouldn't hold onto it either. Offer them the chance to keep what they want, but set a deadline for them to move out their things.

If you've always wanted a reading room or a place to work on your crafts, now you'll have it. Or, make this into the fancy room your guests will be thrilled to spend the night in. Redecorate, renovate and make that room your own!

At some point as you get older, you may decide your house is too much to keep up and you'll move to a smaller place such as a condo. Now you will absolutely need to decide what to get rid of since storage space will be limited. Once again, your kitchen and closets are the best areas that can be downsized. At this point, your lifestyle may also change- you may dine out more often than at home, causing you to need less kitchen gizmos. Consider your new routine and decide what you will no longer need.

Take advantage of these major life events to sift through your stuff, get rid of what you will no longer need in your new life, and donate it to someone else who could use it to start their new life.

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The Clutter Queen

(category: Organizing, Word count: 576)
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If you are looking to attract positive change and seriously move stale energy out, start with your neglected clutter. Getting rid of all the things you are not using will create space for new energy and movement.

I'm a firm believer that

* if it doesn't work...

* if you can't remember when you last used it....or...

* if it doesn't make you feel good ...then...

MOVE IT OUT!

Now, I know... sounds easy doesn't it? Then why do we all have so much clutter?

Here are some tips and techniques that have worked for me to move unused items from my life.

You see I've tested them on my own personal clutter and I know they work. First you will need some bankers boxes (you can get these anywhere you purchase office supplies). Bankers boxes work the best because they have lids and are stackable. And a hand-held recorder (you can get one cheaply at any electronics department).

Here's what you do to quickly eliminate your clutter:

(1) Label the boxes anyway you like ...maybe with a letter (A, B, C etc) or with a color, green, red, orange......

(2) Go around and start putting your dear clutter in the boxes while recording the contents with your recorder. (You can do this little by little whenever you have a spare few minutes).

(3) When the boxes are full, stack them neatly in a closet, garage, attic, etc....anywhere where they are out of sight.

(4) When you have a little time, sit down, play back the recorder and transfer the information to a spreadsheet, word document, index cards or whatever system works best for you. (By indexing you can easily find and retrieve anything you might have mistakenly filed away). Simply look the object up in the index to find the appropriate box and go get it! It's that easy!

(5) After a time, if you find you really don't need all the things you have stored, You can donate usable items to your favorite charitable organization. You can have a garage sale and make some cash, or You can make money by starting your own on-line store on eBay And...

You can have fun by giving your clutter a second life!

A good rule of thumb is

"If you have not used it or thought about it in a year then you probably don't need it and you can let it go"

The great thing about this process is that it overcomes the two main obstacles to clearing clutter. First, you may have thrown something away only to realize later that you really needed it. So now you are reluctant to throw anything away. Secondly, you believe that it can take quite a chunk of time to do a really good job of sorting and eliminating your unwanted stuff. In the past, you may have started to get organized only to abandon the effort for want of time and organization and ended up with a bigger mess on your hands.

The Clutter Queen's five step process eliminates these obstacles because the sorting can be done extremely quickly without the possibility of discarding valuables.

Doing these small things is your first step in creating space for new, exciting ideas and energy.

Get ready for an abundance of fresh ideas and energy to enhance your living!

Shirley Anderson

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On The Go Tips

(category: Organizing, Word count: 223)
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Whether you're spending time at the office or are constantly on the move, there are some ways to make life easier while on-the-go. Try these tips:

(*) Stay organized. Use a calendar to write down all your engagements, addresses and phone numbers. Keeping all the information in one place can keep you from wasting time looking for it later.

(*) Find your time wasters. Keep track of the ways you waste time for one week. Do you spend 10 minutes finding your keys? If so, make a key hook by your door-and use it.

(*) Make the most of your trips. Knock a few items off your list on the way to work or at lunch, freeing up some night and weekend time.

(*) Finish what you start. When you work on a project from start to finish, it's one less item on the to-do list.

(*) Readjust priorities. Since you can't really do it all, re-evaluate which activities really need your time and focus.

(*) Look for grab and go snacks to give you a lift. Kraft To Go! snacks, which come in two cheese and cracker varieties, are a great source of calcium. They fit in your purse, briefcase or bag, and are great for women on-the-go who are looking for a wholesome, grab-and-go snack.

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Plan Your Next Party Like A Pro

(category: Organizing, Word count: 343)
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"You're invited..." are always welcome words to hear− whether it's to a barbeque, birthday party, cocktail party, graduation, housewarming, girls' night out or other special event. However, most people think planning a successful party takes a lot of time and effort. Not true, according to Evite, the leading social event- planning service on the Web.

"By following simple party- planning rules, you can plan a fabulous bash in very little time," said Jessica Landy Raymond, a planning expert for Evite. "Your guests will be so impressed, they'll think you hired a pro!"

Organization is essential for seamlessly planning a great social event. Evite has helped millions of hosts plan successful events and offers these tips to take the hassle out of party planning:

1. Choose an event theme-A good theme ensures that guests interact with one another. A great theme-such as a barbecue luau, beach party, '70s-inspired disco, masquerade ball or poker night- will make your party unforgettable.

2. Create an event checklist-Be sure everything gets done on time with a comprehensive to-do list that includes everything from determining an overall budget and selecting an event date to choosing the perfect venue and making a guest list. For tips and sample checklists, check out Evite's Party Checklist.

3. Bring the theme to life-Pull all the pieces of the party together neatly by selecting invitations, decorations, activities and music that complement your theme.

4. Plan the food and beverage menu-The event theme should inspire your menu and beverages. Make sure you have enough food and drink for your guests by consulting recipes and drink calculators during the planning process. For help, try Evite's Drink Calculator and Party Menus & Recipes

5. Relax and enjoy the event!-Remember, the number-one party-planning tip is to not stress about any little things that go wrong. Everyone is there for a good time, and the host should be, too!

Tapping into online party-planning resources is a simple and easy way to fulfill all your planning "to dos."

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Discovered Secret To Getting Organized

(category: Organizing, Word count: 377)
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Have you ever spent countless minutes, hours and even days searching for something you misplaced?

Have you even had an argument with someone you live with for misplacing something of his or hers?

Have you ever missed an appointment because you forgot?

Have you ever been halfway to your destination and remembered you didn't bring what you needed?

Do you have piles of papers, unopened and opened mail that you will get to someday?

Do you have that nagging notion constantly telling you to get organized?

Have you read books and/or articles on how to get organized?

Have you purchased organizational aids to help you and then never used them?

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, obviously you are not organized to the point you want to be. There is a very simple solution to this problem. I am sure you are thinking, "Yeah, right". You have tried everything and nothing has worked so far. I have a tried and proven method to get you organized and eliminate all that wasted time spent trying to get organized. I know there are countless books on the subject. I know you can spend money on books, CD's, videos and even go to courses to get the desired results but I am going to give you a secret.

If you are serious about getting organized, you will get the results, using ONE little secret. It is a secret my father taught me when I was a little girl and it still works today - every time!!

REMEMBER It takes thirty days to break a habit and form a new one. But, the exciting part is that you can get results immediately. Each time you take a baby step in the right direction, it will pay off big time in the end. The more progress you make the closer you are to becoming ORGANIZED. To some that is a dirty word - because it seems so impossible.

Do you have any idea how much time you will have to do the things you want to do when you are not wasting your time trying to find something?

To find out the secret to making your life more organized go here:

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Organizing For The Holidays

(category: Organizing, Word count: 624)
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Take some of the stress out of the holidays by getting organized now. The key to holiday organizing is to start early, take baby steps, and make lists (i.e. gifts, budget, meals, cards, etc.). Now is also the time to go through clothes, toys, and other household items to make room for the presents soon to come.

Greeting cards can almost cause as much stress as shopping. Plan to complete your cards over a week or two. Gather all your letter-writing materials before you start, and keep them in one place until you finish. If you like to send a general update along with a personalized note, write that first. Then add a personal touch to a couple cards a day, and you will be finished in no time.

Before you ever step foot in a store, have everyone make gift lists (including stores). This way you can give to others what they want instead of something that will become clutter to them. Plus, you have one less decision to make. Make shopping easier by setting a deadline so you can enjoy the holiday season. The earlier you start and finish your shopping, the shorter the lines and better the selection. When you can, shop odd hours for a less hectic experience; avoid malls and post offices on the weekends if possible. Shop online when applicable. If you do not know what to get someone for a holiday present, think consumable; a consumable gift will probably not go to waste or add to the clutter. You can even have everyone contribute to a group meal or activity, or you can set up a Secret Santa exchange. When it comes time for wrapping, create a separate space with all necessary supplies so you can wrap easily and quickly, if necessary. For extra-large gifts, use a paper, holiday tablecloth for wrapping paper.

Do not overwhelm yourself by cleaning the house from top to bottom; concentrate on the public areas. Guests will appreciate your hard work and still be able to enjoy your company. If you tend to decorate similarly from year to year, take a picture of your decorations to speed the process next year. Prepare for unexpected guests; keep an inventory of quick food items such as cheese and crackers, tea and coffee, frozen cookies, etc. For your planned gatherings, allow enough time for cleaning, cooking, and decorating by counting back from the time of your party. Keep meals simple or ask guests to bring a dish to reduce your preparation time and stress. Delegate or ask for help with some of these activities; it will take a little of the stress off you and may even turn several of the chores in to fun.

Once all the festivities have passed, the idea of cleaning up and taking down the decorations may invite some of that stress back into your life. Stop it in its tracks - have an informal "undecorating" party. Most chores take less time and are more fun when you have friendly company and a couple extra hands. When it comes to Christmas decorations and supplies, use appropriately sized storage containers that are sturdy and label, label, label! A couple extra minutes at the end of this season could save hours when it is time to decorate next year. This is also a good time to update your card list while everything is fresh in your memory. If it turns out you forgot someone this year, you can always send a New Year's card.

Just remember, the holidays are about friends, family, and fun. Take the stress out of holiday preparations and enjoy the good times by preparing early, asking for help, and keeping it simple.

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Should You Hire A Professional Organizer Or Do It Yourself

(category: Organizing, Word count: 349)
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A lot of people ask me if it's really worth hiring a professional organizer or if you're better off doing it yourself.

Both are valuable options, but either way you should understand the specific steps and strategies to having a more organized home, making little changes gradually to simplify life at home.

Well at first glance having someone do things for you can certainly seem better than doing it yourself. But there are some big IF's that need to be considered.

Remember, you are typically going to pay by the hour (the going rate for a professional organizer can range anywhere from $35 to $250 an hour. So you have to be selective in which small part of the process they'll help you with.

Just a few weeks ago I got an email from a customer of mine who recently hired a professional organizer and paid her for a full day.

And all she did was hang pictures for 8 hours!

Which brings me to another point ... how do you know, once the service is complete, you are going to be satisfied or if you are even going to be able to maintain organization beyond a week, a month or a year from now?

Now here's the thing.

If you really, really want to make changes to the way you live in your home, you need to start living your life a little differently.

You should be able to manage your "stuff" and understand what it really takes to start enjoying the benefits of home organization.

Learn what it takes to get organized from the inside-out and discover the basic and simple rules of home organization so you can enjoy more time, more space and a better, happier life at home.

Then, even if later down the road you decide to hire someone to help you, you will be more knowledgable, you will understand the process more and - combined with a few changes - you will be living in an organized home before you know it.

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So You Have Problems

(category: Organizing, Word count: 331)
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We are all faced with problems throughout our lives, some are small, others huge. Depending on how we deal with them, they can be overwhelming and devastate our lives, or they can quickly fade into the past.

Attitude plays a big role. With a difficult personal or work undertaking, consider all viewpoints, even those you think you don't like. It just might provide relief from your fearful analysis of the situation. Don't oversize the problem which is often a panic reaction. Discuss the actions that you could take with a friend or co-worker which can sometimes provide a good suggestion and some instant stress relief.

Lay out a procedure and slowly complete the first task. The next steps should be easier. Often we will keep on worrying after the decisions are made, which of course is of no help at all. If everything that can be done has been done then it's time to follow through.

"Our plans miscarry if they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind." Lucius Seneca (3-65)

Rejection can be an unpleasant experience, but it just lets us know that we aren't perfect. Who is? Consider it a lesson learned, then forget it and move on with your life in a positive constructive manner.

To help solve a difficult problem or to cut down on worrying about making a decision, analyze the situation, determine what must be done and carry it out. In writing or on your PC:

Get all the facts.

Describe the problem in detail.

List all the possible solutions.

List the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Detail what you will do.

Follow through.

You have detailed the planning and know that you will proceed in a certain way, but will review it as required. Later. Now it's time to think other thoughts.

"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing." - Aristotle (BC)

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Making Life Easier With Nlp Chunking

(category: Organizing, Word count: 950)
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You know, in psychology there is a rule, especially within the NLP circles that I work in and the literature that I read, it is quite a famous rule; 7 plus or minus 2 - this is the notion that the conscious mind can only keep track of between 5 and 9 discrete pieces of information at one time. Your unconscious can literally keep track of billions and billions of things at the same time aparently (clever thing that it is!), while your conscious mind is more one step at a time and it has a fairly narrow focus. WHatever the truth of this, it is a useful way to expereince your own thinking.

Here are a couple of things that you can do to test the extent of your conscious mind: Without writing them down, blurt out now, straight away without thought;

- As many brands of cars as you can.

- As many film titles as you can.

- As many pop groups as you can.

Many people run out of steam when they get to ten, usuallly because of the 7+-2 rule. The bottom line is, when the conscious mind is presented with more than 9 pieces of information, it gets overloaded. So before you send me a very clever email telling me off for pointing out the limits of the conscious mind, would you like to know how you can use this to your advantage? Of course you would.

When you bear the 7+-2 rule in mind, you can start to organise things so that you work with your conscious mind, playing to its strengths. For instance, if you have a to-do list.

Many people that I have encountered have a daily to-do list with 20 or more items on it. This is a recipe for total overwhelm (at which point they often resort to looking for the easiest or funnest thing on the list to do.) The following ideas can help you get a handle on your to-do list really fast, especially if that list has things that are important for your goals and achievements and sense of well-being.

Firstly, scan through the list, looking for items that can be grouped together into categories.

For example, here is a load of the stuff on my list for this week:

Write Adam Up.

Bank cheques.

Finish writing chapter for new book

Prepare for client therapy sessions.

Finish project on public speaking.

Finish marketing material for new courses.

FInish listening to current educational Audio set.

Read through solicitors material regarding other business project.

Write up script for new audio title.

Send out follow-up letters for last weeks clients.

Prepare for photo shoot for new Bio.

Write up blurb for my new Audio release.

Write new web-page copy.

Review new CD covers

Meet PR people

Do proposal for new book for Publishers.

Read e-book

New course blurb

Meet with prospective business artner for new project.

Clear inbox.

Have a life. Have fun......

The first thing on the list is 'Write Adam Up' - for me, "Adam Up" is one of my products, so I write 'Product' beside it. Next is 'Bank Cheques' - that's part of our cashflow system, so I write 'Systems' beside it. Pretty soon, every item on my list is in a category:

Write Adam Up.

Bank cheques.

Finish writing chapter for new book

Prepare for client therapy sessions.

Finish project on public speaking.

Finish marketing material for new courses.

Finish listening to current educational Audio set.

Read through solicitors material regarding other business project.

Write up script for new audio title: Products.

Send out follow-up letters for last weeks clients: Systems.

Prepare for photo shoot for new Bio: Marketing.

Write up blurb for my new Audio release: Marketing.

Write new web-page copy: Marketing.

Review new CD covers: Systems

Meet PR people: People.

Do proposal for new book for Publishers: People.

Read e-book: Personal.

New course blurb: Marketing.

Meet with prospective business artner for new project: People.

Clear inbox: Personal.

Have a life. Have fun: Personal.

This is better! I have now gone from a list of 20 or so items (instant overwhelm) to a list of 6 categories which is well within even my 7+-2 limit.

- Products

- Systems

- Training

- Marketing

- People

- Personal

This is what we refer to as chunking in my professional field, and is one of the most effective ways of dealing with any large or complex set of tasks (or set of anything else). You may say "Great, but I've got 200 things on my to-do list". It doesn't matter - the same principles apply. If you go through your to-do list or your goals lists; just get it whittled down from 200 items to 20 categories, that is better, it is getting it more manageable - go through the 20 categories and see where they group together. Group together goals for your own development; being a non-smoker, growing in confidence, creating wealth, reducing weight etc. The key is to have no more than 9 categories at each level - this way your conscious mind can keep track of it.

Secondly, start to manage your to-do list by the high-level categories: You can use this in all sorts of areas to make things more manageable, for example:

- To-do lists.

- Goals you are working toward.

- The filing system on your computer.

- Your filing cabinet.

- Any project you're doing.

One of the things this allows you to do is notice very quickly if there's a specific area where you have not been taking much action lately - very useful for helping focus on what needs attention.

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