What Yoga Has Taught Me About Organizing

I have been practicing yoga for a few years now.  I will admit, I have had lapses in those years.  My schedule gets crazy and I convince myself that I don’t have time to attend.  However, when I start going, it is at those times I feel like my best self.  Everything seems clearer and more attainable.  However, I’m not here to convince you to head to a yoga class.  I’m here to tell you how it relates to organizing. There are organizing lessons everywhere, you just have pat attention.

What Yoga Has Taught Me About Organizing

Make time for yourself.  The simple act of taking time for yourself can change the way you see the day. When I head to yoga, my friends and family know that they can’t reach me.  I don’t have my computer or my phone.  There is no way to get in touch with me.  It’s the time of day when I’m fully present and focusing on what I’m doing.  Get rid of the clutter and you’ll be able to accomplish so much more.

Clear the clutter, clear your mind.  I firmly believe our frantic nature is due to over stimulation.  You have SO many things to look at and do, how you can possibly sit still?  Our phones are constantly refreshing and we compulsively check them.  We run the channels on the TV, refresh our email feeds and sort through a  pile of papers….how can you possibly find calm in all of that?  When I am at yoga, all I have with me are my mat, my towels (because I SWEAT!) and my water bottle.  My phone is no where in sight.  My watch is at home.  I have just what I need.  The extra is just that, extra.  (And unnecessary).  There’s even a yoga principle based on this-shaucha.

Deep breathing is the best thing you can do for yourself.  This sounds so trite.  It’s an age old piece of advice, “breathe deep”.  Breathing can’t solve your problems. Or can it?  Breathing releases up to 70% of your body’s toxins.  Breathing deeply allows your body’s organs to work effectively, your posture to improve, and your bran to become more relaxed.  Instead of being reactive to everything, you become steadier.  So how does this relate to organizing?  Instead of running around putting out fires all of the time (running to the store the night before the project is due for supplies), you can focus on the long term projects.  You’ll feel calmer and be able to accomplish more.  Yes, breathing can do all of this.

A big thank you for my yoga teacher for helping me realize these principles.  And for holding me accountable for getting to my mat!

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An Ode To Coffee

You’re always happy to see me in the morning.  When everyone else is tired, cranky and grouchy you greet me bright and early with a chipper attitude.

An Ode To Coffee

You’re always willing to please.  Some days you’re sweet, some days you’re strong and some days you go crazy with flavor.  You are always willing and able to make me happy.

Your closet full of mugs is the best fashion show I can imagine.

You never let me down and you help me accomplish so much.  You never judge my sweat pants.  You always give me great ideas.  You never judge my messy hair.

Sometimes you spill on my white pants or all over my notes.  But I’ll forgive you for that.

You’ve gotten me through exams in college, and again in grad school.  You’ve gotten me up for early morning runs and yoga classes.

You have helped me meet my goals, write articles and blog posts and deal with difficult phone calls.

Coffee is my sidekick when I come up with a crazy project.  Coffee makes a little more possible, every single day.

I’m sorry that sometimes I forget you around the house, over and over again and have to reheat you multiple times.  I’m busy making my dreams come true.

Through good and bad, I reach for you over and over again.  At family parties when I’m tearing up with laughter and times when I’m crying my eyes out I have a coffee cup in my hand.

There will never be a time when someone offers me coffee and I say no.  I will stop in the morning, and then possibly again mid afternoon.  Or I will make my own at home…either way, it’s a part of my day and I just wanted to say thank you.

 

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Road Tripping On A Budget

I love road tripping.  Seeing new places and experiencing new things while driving is the ultimate form of travel in my mind.  It’s not just about seeing the big sights, it’s about seeing the states, the people and our whole country.  Thankfully, my husband loves road tripping as much as I do.  We love to take a trip as often as possible.  However, we insist it has to be on the tightest of budgets.  Some days we spend less than $100 including food, has and lodging.  Here are some of our tips to make a dollar last for miles.

Road Tripping On A Budget

1.  Water and soda are expensive at travel stops.  I visit Costco before leaving and buy a case of each.  Spending a little money before you leave will save you a LOT on the road.  I also pack a small cooler with ice (more on this later) and cool off a few at a time.

2.  Snacks are also expensive.  I hit Target and stock up on some of our favorites.  Crowd favorites are often things we don’t eat at home and are easy to grab and snack on in the car.  If something comes in a big bag, make sure to pack some chip clips to close it up.

3.  I use deli containers to hold ice.  Every hotel has an ice machine.  When you are leaving in the morning, fill the containers with ice.  Close them tight and make sure they stay upright.  This is a free way to keep your items cold and ready to drink.

4.  Some hotels have mini fridges and microwaves in the room.  Others have them in the lobby. Some will bring them to your room upon request.  Regardless of where they are, use them for leftovers and to cool drinks overnight.

5.  There are lots of hotel deal sites out there.  I prefer Priceline. We often get three and four start hotels for under $80 a night.  It’s a great way to try out places you have never been before and to experience new hotels.  If you’ve never used bidding website, take a peek at help sites like BetterBidding.com.  Of course, you can sleep on friend’s couches, use AirBnB to rent a home or camp to save money.

6. Check out free activities in your locations.  There are SO many free things to do out there.  Our National Park system is amazing, complex and usually, free.  The Smithsonian Museums are also free.  Start using online searches to see what’s free in the area you’re traveling in.  Check out apps like ScoutMob.com for deals in select cities. I recently used this in Nashville and saved up to 50% in some restaurants.

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3 Ways To Get Things Done Without Leaving Home

I’ve been self employed for almost a decade.  While I have a flexible schedule and CAN run errands during the week, I chose not to.  More often than not, I find myself accomplishing more by not leaving the house.

I wanted to share some of the tricks and websites I use with you so you can maximize your time and enjoy life more!  Why spend time in the car, using gas, when you don’t have to leave the house?

Please note I am not affiliated with these brands in any way. These are services I personally use.

3 Ways To Get Things Done Without Leaving the House

1.  USPS, Click-N-Ship.  This service allows you to create shipping labels at your computer and print them out at home.  All you need to know is what your package weights, where you are shipping it and if you want insurance.  Print the label, stick it on the package and then schedule a pick up with your regular carrier.  There is no cost for the pickup (if you do it during your regularly scheduled time slot.) and labels are the same cost online as they are at the post office.  (Sometimes cheaper!).  You can buy stamps online too and have them delivered to your mail box.  Delivery fees are usually less than $2.  Isn’t that worth it to not have to leave the house?

2.  Amazon Prime.  I started using Amazon Prime when I was in grad school and din’t have a minute to spare in my day.  There is an annual fee for the service.  However, it gives you the opportunity to have a wide variety of products delivered to your door, at no additional cost, in two days or less.  I love using this for everything from books to peanut butter.  I buy most household things this way.  It’s easy, and it saves me time.  I also don’t wander the aisles of Target buying more than I need.  It’s a great way to get just what I need, right when I need it.    I even order my dog food this way!

3.  iHerb.  This is a virtual health food store.  Sometimes healthy things aren’t so easy to find, but iHerb has a great selection and good prices.  They also offer free shipping with an order of just $20.  Things arrive quickly (to CT) and they always seems to put a little surprise in the package.  I love their service and selection.

Do you have a favorite way to get errands done without leaving the house?  Tell me about it in the comments below!

 

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Don’t Ruin A Good Day

Don't Ruin A Good Day

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Do Something You’ve Never Done

Do Something You've Never Done

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5 Things in Your Garage You Don’t Need to Keep — And What to Do About Them

A closed garage is one of the most exciting features of a new home — yet over the years that all-important room slowly gets taken over with broken gear, old paraphernalia, and all sorts of other unwanted stuff. Eventually, your precious vehicles are left in the driveway (or worse, on the street) and you are sheltering decades’ worth of junk in your no-car garage.

5 Things in Your Garage

Before your cars rot away under the hot summer sun, it is time for you to finally address the mounting organizational problem in your garage. Instead of hoarding an unnecessary mess, you can free up the space and protect the items you need most. Here are seven superfluous items we usually allow to take up valuable garage real estate and how you can get rid of them quickly and painlessly.

1. Your Old Clothes

I need you to take a deep breath and repeat after me: “I will never again fit into my clothes from high school.” Besides the fact that you will never again have the outrageously fast metabolism of a teenager, the fashions of your youth are unlikely to swing back into trend. Your boxes full of old clothing are simply taking up space better devoted to some other use.

However, even though you will never don your old wardrobe, someone else might. Unless your clothes are stained or torn, you shouldn’t send them straight to the incinerator. Instead, you should see if anyone you know is interested in a clothing swap. If nothing else, you should donate the clothing.

2. Your Kids’ Old Toys

You might remember your kids’ looks of glee when they unwrapped their soon-to- be favorite toys. You might remember them carrying their toys everywhere, whispering secrets or imagining stories. However, it is more than likely that all your kids remember of their toys is the day they outgrew them and moved them into the garage. Despite all the sentiment you associate with them, the toys will never be played with again as long as they sit in your garage.

Dozens of children’s charities, including hospitals and homeless shelters, are eager to accept gently used toys. Alternatively, you can see if any friends or neighbors have small children who would appreciate a big gift. If you absolutely must keep something from your kids’ childhood, you can pick one important item to save; everything else must go.

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3. Your RV, Boat, ATV

Recreational vehicles, including boats, ATVs, and camper-trailers, require an exhausting amount of time and resources to use. Not only must you store them for most of the year, but you must pay exorbitant costs to keep them running well. Worse, most families prefer to spend their free time plugged in rather than mired in the wilderness somewhere. If you can’t remember the last time you hitched up your boat or RV and spent time in the wilderness, you no longer have any use for such a monumental waste of space.

Selling your RV or boat might sound like the most profitable choice, but it could be months before you find a worthwhile buyer. Instead, there are a handful of charitable organizations that accept boat and vehicle donations and provide generous tax deductions to boot.

4. Your Outdated Tech

Technology is improving at a break-neck pace. While this is a boon for consumers, who now receive the newest products faster and cheaper than ever before, garages and storage spaces are filling up with old tech most people no longer want. Your once-beloved VHS tapes and CDs are likely gathering dust while you enjoy a wider variety of media on better machines.

Like your other unused stuff, you can easily donate your outdated technology to charities that will accept it. However, some of the oldest tech, like CRT televisions and computers, will likely be rejected; fortunately, you can upcycle your tech in various fun, exciting ways.

5. Your Unfinished Project

Everyone has had at least one hobby that didn’t quite last. Unfortunately, the remnants of that short-lived love likely linger in your garage. Whether it is a partially constructed coffee table, a malfunctioning stereo, or a grimy aquarium, your unfinished projects always seem to migrate to the garage. Unless you or a family member is willing to complete the task right away, there is usually no hope for the abandoned artifact. The best solution is to salvage any valuable pieces and throw the rest away fast, before you convince yourself you might work on it again in the future.

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12 Ways To Make Your Life Easier, Starting Today

Getting organized seems like a monumental task.  It often seems so monumental that it’s difficult to know where to start.  So, that being said, here are 12 ways you can make a difference in your life today.  The timing will never be perfect.  Today is the day to make your life easier.  You have the power! 

12 Ways To Make Your Life Easier, Starting Today

 

Tackling one of these items today won’t take you long at all.  However, the time it will save you down the road is huge!

1.  Stop keeping magazines and newspapers to read later.  Skim them and rip out the articles you want to read.  Recycle or donate the rest of the magazine.

2.  Use a three ring binder with page protectors inside to store instruction manuals.  This way you can always find them when you need them.

3.  Use lazy susan trays in the pantry so you can see and access everything you have.  This also works for in a bathroom cabinet for first aid supplies.

4.  Use hooks underneath shelves to store mugs or other small items.  This maximizes your vertical space.

5.  Use hooks on the inside of cabinet doors to hold and organize utensils and measuring cups.

6.  Use ice cube trays to organize small office supplies, household items (like batteries) or earrings.  You can usually find these at the dollar store.

7.  Store tank tops or scarves on a hanger by adding shower curtain rings.

8.  Add a clear over door shoe organizer on every door to add space.  These are great for office supplies, cosmetics, small toys, small food items and accessories.

9. Label things with a label maker.  OR, buy some washi tape and use it with a dark marker.

10.  Separate laundry into lights, darks and delicates as you take them off.  You save time on laundry day sorting.

11.  Add garbage bags to the bottom of the can.  When you take one out, refilling is fast and easy.

12.  Create a cleaning caddy with supplies and keep one on every floor.  Cleaning up a mess is fast and easy this way.

Do you have a quick tip to add to the list?  Let me know in the comments below!

Posted in Ask the organizer, Home Organizing Tips | Leave a comment

5 Things I Do Everyday

Being a professional organizer I get asked a lot how I manage my own time, family and home.  I follow the same principle I tell you about….a place for everything and everything in it’s place.  I also try to give myself every advantage I can.  I know that I’ll be facing busy days, crazy schedules and the need for a nap, just like you.  If I’m kind to myself today, tomorrow is easier.  

5 Things I Do Everyday

1.  I put out my coffee making items the night before.  I most frequently use a french press to make coffee. In the evening, I scoop the coffee into it, get my mug out and make sure the kettle is full and ready to boil in the morning. When I arrive in the office in the morning, blurry eyed, all I have to do is hit start on the kettle.

2.  I write my to do list for tomorrow before I go to bed.  Again, I know that I’ll be tired in the morning and my brain might be on a time delay.  If I write down what I need to accomplish first thing in the morning, there is no thought required, just action.

3.  I look at my vision board at least twice a day.  My vision board represents and depicts the life I have imagined for myself. Looking at it a few times a day allows me to consider if the activities I’m doing NOW are helping me get closer to those goals.  If not, I can reassess.

Now (1)

4.  I sort my mail every day.  I hate going through large piles of paper.  I find that if I sort my mail daily, I spend just a minute or two dealing with it.  If it builds up, not only do I dread the task, it takes much longer.   I stand over the recycling bin and toss anything I don’t want or need, put the rest in my in bin on my desk and I’m done.   (My shredder is close by too.)

5.  I pick up the couch/living room.  This is another task that takes just a few minutes of my time.  There are always pillows on the floor, blankets unfolded and coffee mugs around.  I spend just a few minutes putting it all right again so that when I wake up in the morning, I don’t see a disaster area.  It’s a mind set of allowing myself the best start to the day possible.  If you keep up with this process, it will remain quick and easy.

What do you do every day to make your day easier and more productive?  Tell me in the comments below!

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Summer Reading For Grown Ups

While reading is awesome year round, there’s not much better than a great book on the beach during the summer.  I have pulled together a few of my recent reads for you.  I love books and I’m always trying to find new authors, genres and series to read.  Here are my beach bag recommendations-

Please note I received samples of some of these book to be able to write these reviews.  My opinions are my own and I only bring you books I enjoyed.

Beach Reads

One of my favorite authors, Sarah Pekkanen has released her newest novel, Things You Won’t Say.  The characters are so real you feel as if you know them.  The events are poignant and on topics for discussions going on today. The novel tells the story of a police officer who is the victim of a random shooting.  Life gets more complicated and difficult from there.  It’s the story of the battles we all face every day.  I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s a page turner that will keep you on the edge of your beach towel.

If you’re a dog lover, you’re going to enjoy My Leash on Life.  Told from the perspective of a small mixed breed pup who goes from a rough start to an amazing life.  Foxy is an adventurous pup and you’ll want to keep reading to find out about her adventures and unique take on the world around her.  This is a quick and easy read so it’s perfect for a day you might be watching the kids swim and reading at the same time.  I promise you’ll go home and hug your own pups tighter.

Yes, this is another dog book.  However, the story of Ricochet , the surfing dog is so much more.  The book, Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with The Dog Who Inspires Millions, tells the tale of a service dog trainer who turned disappointment and adversity into something very special.  I don’t want to give anything away, but the dog whose future was uncertain, became a catalyst for disabled children to find freedom in surfing.  The tale is about courage, strength and making a difference in the world around us.  Animals are special, just like their human counterparts and are capable of so much more than just playing fetch.  This book is filled with inspiration and hope.  It’s a great read for anyone!

The One That Got Away is a fun, whimsical, light beach read.  The book tells the tale of, you guessed it, the one that got away.  Everyone has that special someone who has a relationship that MIGHT have turned out differently.  Read the funny and romantic tale of past and present while soaking up rays this summer. It’s chick lit at it’s best.

Braha is a tale of mystery and intrigue. The main character’s grandfather passes away and in researching his death, is lead into a series of questions.  What seems simple is complex and things start unraveling deeper than she ever thought possible.  This is a book you won’t want to put down….a page turner that will keep you guessing.

Elixir is from a new author, Ted Galdi.  It’s the take of a boy genius who just wishes his life was normal.  Instead, he’s being used by the government, needs to save his gift friend, and is already a millionaire.  This book is all about running from who we are, doing the right things and helping those around us…with lots of drama, chases and guessing thrown in.  It’s a perfect summer read.

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The Joyful Organizer

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Quick Tips

There is a saying, “What gets written down gets attended to, and what gets attended to gets done.” 

Write down your organizing goals and hold yourself accountable for completing them. 

I know it seems like a big chore, but you’ll be glad you did it once you’re done!


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