Let’s Talk Expiration Dates.

Let’s talk expiration dates.

A friend and I chatted at a recent rainy soccer game.   She had stayed up until 2 am the night before organizing her pantry.  Most of her time was spent checking expiration dates and tossing expired food.

 

We discussed how frustrating it is when we review our cabinets and pantry, and have to purge expired food.  It feels wasteful and lazy.

 

HOWEVER, getting down on ourselves about how we got to this point is neither useful nor productive.  It’s better to learn from the experience (see the process below), and change our behaviors from here (stick with the article until the end).

 

A few months ago, I wrote about National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day (November, Click HERE).  So let’s declare this week Clean Out Your Food Cabinet Week, what do you say?

Here’s How:
  1. Grab a garbage can, a notebook and a couple of boxes or paper bags.  Take a deep breath and begin.
  2. Clear off a counter for work space, near your food cabinets.
  3.  Choose a cabinet. JUST ONE.  Starting at the top, take everything out and put it on the counter. Then wipe down the shelf.
  4. Now, check every item. Yes, EVERY ITEM.  Even the stuff you bought recently.  It could be the newest, but still out of date. I was surprised to find my recently purchased canned beets were already expired.
  5. If the item is past its’ expiration date, toss it.  I understand, that is the hard part.  Yes, I know, it’s wasteful.  And yes, I know, you spent good money on that.  HOWEVER, the potential for food poisoning is much more important than a $3 can of tuna.
  6. If the item is open, but not past the expiration date, still check it for freshness.  Foods like breakfast cereal or crackers get stale if open too long in the cabinet.
  7. If the item is not expired, but you don’t think you will use it, label one of those boxes or bags as “donate to food pantry”, or “send to preschool”, or “give to friend/family” and start a pile of items to leave your kitchen to go and grace someone else’s.
  8. Review everything, then place the keep items back in the cabinet.
  9. If you have time to tackle another cabinet – JUST ONE – go ahead.  But DO NOT take apart more than on at a time!  Otherwise….
  10. Take out the trash, and drop off the donations / items to share. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Repeat.
Once you’ve cleaned out the cabinet and pantry, it’s time to consume differently.
  • Use a list.  Post it on the refrigerator, and add items as you run out of them.
  • If you have to shop, buy only what you need for this week.
  • Stock your food like a store.  Pull the oldest items to the front, and add new inventory to the back.
  • Take advantage of sale items and stock up, but make sure to add those surplus items to your menu plan so that you use them up.
  • Plan to do this a couple times a year!
To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
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Call / text 708.790.1940
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Finally, A Blog Post About Plastic Food Containers

How have I never blogged about plastic food containers before?  These handy and prolific little
items, found in every kitchen EVER.

I taught a Kitchen Organizing class a few weeks ago, and we chatted quite a bit about these storage containers.  We love and hate them at the same time! These containers are handy.  Re-usable.  With a million and one uses.  And  they occasionally drive us crazy.

Can you identify with any of these problems?

  • You have way too many containers and lids, they are stashed in every cabinet and drawer, and they occasionally fall out in a heap. And yet…
  • When you need a container, it’s difficult to find matching containers and lids.
  • When you use your containers in the fridge, its difficult to tell the difference between leftovers in a butter tub and actual butter in a butter tub.
  • You worry because you have heard that re-purposing or reheating food in plastic containers can leach chemicals into your foods.
  • Your soup or leftovers have leaked in your lunch bag.

Here’s how to fix these problems:

  • Pull out all the plastic containers in your kitchen and pair up the bottoms and lids.  Recycle or re-purpose the solo ones.  Do this every couple of months.
  • Dedicate one cabinet or one drawer as a home for your containers, and only store them there.
  • Buy clear (or mostly clear) containers, so you can easily identify their contents.
  • Find a brand you like, and stick with it.
  • Choose a few sizes of containers, and stick with just those.  (We have  GladWares small rounds,  round 2-cup containers with screw-on lids, flat squares and a few large ones for our recent homemade ice cream habit!).
  • Buy containers that stack, both while in use and when not in use. Most brands offer snap-together lids.
  • Keep just a pile or two.   If you find that you never get to the second or third pile of containers, then you probably don’t need the second or third pile of containers.
  • Glass storage containers are an option.  Many folks have made the switch.  They
    keep fewer containers overall, but can safely use the glass containers for storage, cooking and reheating.
  • If you have too many containers right now, spread the love. Re-purpose them as drawer dividers, send home leftovers with friends, donate them to a class room for craft time, recycle them
  • Don’t fall into the “it was free, I guess I’ll keep it” trap.  Deli containers, sherbet bowls, butter tubs or cottage cheese containers (and related items) are not made to last.   Recycle them!

Free up some cabinet space and decrease some stress by paring down your container collection!

Clutter and Procrastination: Making Room for Harry Potter

Sometimes there are actual hurdles – physical barriers! – between procrastination and organization.  Let’s seek them out, identify and remove them so we can get things done!

I love the Harry Potter books.  I’ve collected the hardback novels as they were released.  My set has seen the attentions of me and all three 3 sons as they read the series, too.  These books have seen the inside of many school backpacks,   traveled the country, been read and re-read, and are loved to the moon and back.  And they are showing their age (who isn’t?).

So, when a friend mentioned he was downsizing and had the full set in pristine condition, we jumped at the offer, in case one of my sons wanted to have a set to call their own.  Another generous friend recently shared a collection of organizing books with me (which I will share on this blog some day), too.

So, herein lies the problem.  Our bookshelves were full.   And I needed to make room on the shelves for these new additions / editions.

I’ve wanted to tackle the basement book shelves for a month, but just haven’t gotten around to it. But now, a pile of Harry Potter books lived in my office for a few days, then moved downstairs NEAR the bookshelves but still not ON the bookshelves.  Same went for the organizing books – oh, the irony.

I procrastinated about putting them away because there were actual barriers to putting them away.  Sound familiar?  Have you ever said or heard:

  • I can’t put away last year’s taxes because the file drawer is too full, or
  • I can’t put away last year’s taxes because of that pile of old printers stacked in front of the file cabinet.
  • I can’t schedule that appointment because I misplaced my calendar (a week ago), or I haven’t bought one for this year yet.
  • I can’t get rid of that old empty file cabinet before I find the keys (yes you can).
  • I can’t put the groceries away because the cabinets are disorganized, or are too full (I kid you not).
  • I can’t take those checks to the bank until I find a deposit slip (of course you can, the bank has piles of blank deposit slips!).
  • I can’t put stuff away on the book shelves because there are bags on the floor in front of the the bookshelves.
  • I want to organize that closet, but the light bulb burned out.

We’ve all had moments like this, I’m sure.   The good news for me and Harry Potter is that an hour on Saturday morning spent clearing off the bookshelves resulted in plenty of space for the new books, clean and dust-free shelves, the discovery of a few gems, and 3 bags of books in excellent condition donated to my local library yesterday morning.

So, this week, I want you to walk around your space with an eye on your Task List and also on the physical barriers that may be making you procrastinate instead of completing your tasks. Piles here and there, minor home repairs, maybe something as simple as taking out the trash, dropping off donations, or loading up those printers to drop off at your local EWaste recycling site.  Remove those physical obstructions, and get things done!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

564 Words About Gift Cards (and some special skills)

I, like all of you, have skills.  In addition to organizing,

  • I can quote movies and song lyrics from a range of decades and genres;
  • I can roll my tongue, and wink with either eye (my 12 year old’s suggestions);
  • I can read upside down, and I know the number equivalent of each letter of the alphabet, so writing in code is a piece of 3-1-11-5 (cake); and
  • For today’s purposes, I know way more about gift cards than most people.  (There are more skills, of course, but that’s enough for now!)

gift_card_holder_2lWhy do I know about gift cards?  In addition to giving and receiving gift cards like most people, I help administer a gift card-based tuition reimbursement program at my son’s high school, so I spend a lot of time working with gift cards.  To help you this Holiday Season, I thought I would drop some knowledge on how to use and give these handy items!

Here are some tips to help you manage your Gift Cards:

  • Gift cards are money.  Therefore:
    • They are meant to be spent, and
    • They need to be managed (management is defined as getting the most out of our resources).
  • Know where your gift cards are, and what you have in stock.  Have a single safe place at home to keep them, in one drawer or on your desk (Not all over the house!).
  • If you just don’t know how much a gift card is worth, call the customer service number on the back, or go to the website.  If a card has been used, the company can usually track exactly when and where the balance was used. Grab a sharpie,  and jot the date and current balance on the front of the card.  Keep a small sharpie with you, to jot the new balance on a card if you only use part of the value. This one clicks on a key ring!  minimarker_black
  • If you received gift cards for a certain store or restaurant, sign-up online or via an app or social media (FB, Twitter) for special offer notifications.  Use your gift cards along with those special promotions to get a bigger bang for your buck.  For example, I have a Starbucks Gold Card, and with my on-line account I receive special offers and can add money or gift cards to the balance.
  • Carry the gift cards you plan to use with you, but certainly not all the cards you have. Carrying all of them could be cumbersome and you risk losing them! (There are apps like Slide to manage and digitize your gift cards.)
  • And yet, you don’t have to take your gift cards with you.  If you receive gift cards for on-line retailers like Amazon.com or ITunes, redeem the gift cards and add to your online account balance when you receive them, and then toss the redeemed cards away.
  • USE YOUR GIFT CARDS!  They are money, but some can lose value over time, or merchants may go out of business.
  • If you have gift cards that you don’t ever plan on using, you can sell your cards.  There’s Craig’s List or Facebook groups dedicated to buying / selling, plus other websites or apps just a quick google search away.

This week, collect those gift cards from all the spots you’ve stashed them, and turn them around for more gifts, a nice dinner out or maybe some $$ for Christmas Shopping!

What Do You Want to Clear Out This Week?

downloadBaseball season’s over (Go Cubs!), the clocks have Fallen back, and this election year ard2015-logo-noborderwill soon be one for the history books.  The leaves are flying around the yard today, with a chilly wind.  It feels like November!  And November is a great time to de-clutter, clear the decks, close the door on summer and open up the flannel sheets and hot chocolate.  Conveniently, with November comes America Recycles Day on November 15th!

America Recycles Day, https://americarecyclesday.org/ , is a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful.  Follow the link, then click Attend an Event and plug in your zip code to search for recycling events in your neighborhood.

Looking for more ideas?  Here are 5 things to purge / recycle / donate / re-purpose / etc. this week, to get ready for colder weather and the holidays!

Shoes!  Go through that pile by the door.  Yes, THAT pile.  
Purge the icky shoes (those 4 pairs of old sneakers someone keeps around for “yardwork”?) and the singles (ah, flip flops, missing either a flip or a flop). Donate the too-small ones or never-again ones, and, as it’s November, friends, put the rest of the warm weather shoes away in each owners’ closet.
If you are looking for places to recycle your shoes, just google “shoe recycling”.  There are lots of options out there (for example, Nike recycles shoes to create running tracks and playgrounds).  Locally, check out http://shareyoursoles.org/, a great not-for-profit that shares shoes with under-served populations.
And, won’t it be nice to not trip over shoes every time you come in the door?!

Put Away the Halloween Decor (and the summer stuff, too, if it’s still lingering on).  
November 8th, friends.  Purge the summer and Halloween decor.  Box it up, label it well, put it AWAY with your other seasonal stuff.  Do not spend your cold weather months tripping over off-season stuff.
Enjoy clean and uncluttered surfaces for a few weeks, before the Christmas stuff starts creeping out!

Catalogs and Magazines.  
I recently had an epiphany, and decided to cut myself some slack when it comes to my burgeoning reading pile.  There are days and stages of our lives when we read voraciously, and there are days and stages when reading books or magazines regularly just isn’t meant to be.  My life is currently in the latter stage and the reading pile grows quickly out of control.  Last week, I reviewed my catalog and magazine backlog, and – considering it’s November – I tossed anything from October or before.
You can recycle them, of course, or you can share the magazines with a local doctor or dentist office, or senior centers and nursing homes.

Cardboard.
Ah, yes, cardboard.  Now is the time to purge cardboard.  I don’t know why We (and I mean a global “We” and not just the Klimczaks) all seem to hold on to cardboard boxes longer than necessary.  If you have to keep boxes, break down the tape and store the boxes flat so they take up less space.
We are coming into Christmas season, however, which could be sub-titled “Amazon Prime is awesome and UPS drops off boxes often” season.  As soon as I start our Christmas shopping, more boxes will come.  So, I would challenge you to part with most, if not all, of your cardboard boxes, safe in the knowledge that more will arrive soon.  Break it down flat, and send it out with the recycling this week!

Expectations.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
I’ll rarely tell you that you Should Do Something, or Must Do Something else.
We’ve got just a couple months left of 2016.  It’s time to take a look at our current status, look ahead at the next 8 weeks or so, decide…
What Needs to Happen: friends, family, wellness, Holidays, faith, professional efforts?
And
What Does Not Need to Happen: ???
Last week, I completed some long-suffering tasks on my to-do list.  It felt so good to finally complete them and cross them off for good!  What else can go?  Completed tasks, yet, but also unrealistic or unnecessary expectations for yourself or others?

So, embrace America Recycles Day, check out events in your area, and let go of some clutter this week!

Mystery Meats and Burnt-Out Light Bulbs (National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!)

national-clean-out-your-refrigerator-day-november-15-1-1024x512

I’m getting a jump on the November Holidays. Thanksgiving, of course, my favorite, but before that, National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day (nationally observed on 11/15, but any day is a good day for this project!).

This is a great project – an hour or so, and some elbow grease will reap big rewards!  Saturday afternoon found me cleaning out my refrigerator and freezer.  I needed to replace the light bulb anyway, and I was working on our weekly meal plan and grocery list.  Plus, I was clearing out to get ready for a new season, healthier eating and the holidays.

So, Lets’s Do This!  Here’s How:

  • Take out the trash, and re-line the can.  Then pull it on over next to the refrigerator.
  • Put on some music, of course, and grab a cold beverage from the fridge (you’re standing right there, after all!).
  • Clean off the closest counter for work space.
  • Run a sink full of hot and soapy water.  Then get to it!
  • Start with the vegetable bins.
    • Empty them out onto that clear counter, and review the contents;
    • Soak the bins in soapy water as you review;
    • Purge what is past its’ prime;
    • Plan your menus for the next week based on food you have on hand;
    • Add items to be replaced to your grocery list; and
    • Put your produce back, stocking like a store – oldest inventory on top, to be used first.
  • Hit the door compartments next.
    • Use the same plan of attack (empty and review; wash down; plan your menu and purge the icky stuff) but this time, review expiration dates and duplicates, too.
    • Make sure you rinse and and recycle the jars and containers you are purging.
    • Put it all back, grouping similar items together within compartments, like salad dressings together, and sandwich toppings together.
  • On to the shelves!
    • Address the shelves with the same process:  empty and review; wash down; plan your menu and purge the icky stuff.
    • Before you put the shelf contents back, consider adjusting the height of your shelves to make your fridge work better.  We have a tall top shelf, for milk jugs, juice bottles, water pitchers and left overs.  The other shelves are adjusted to be shorter, but so are their contents (egg cartons, 12 packs of soda, short bins of small items like yogurts and pudding cups) so this arrangement works well.
    • Group similar items on the shelves, as well.  For example, create a “left-over shelf” for already prepared and cooked meals, and make your grocery dollars stretch further!
  • Next, review your freezer contents.  I let go of anything that I couldn’t readily identify, hence the article title of “Mystery Meats”.  If I can’t identify a food, it is not something we should eat!  On the plus side, we have also been writing contents and dates on the freezer packaging (foil, freezer bags, etc.), so to not run into this challenge again!
  • Finally, take a moment to clean the outside, too!  Take all the magnets, photos and papers off, and wipe down the surfaces.  If the fridge front or side is home to soccer schedules or take out menus from 2 years ago, purge those, too!

Now, stand back and open the fridge door.  Bask in the glow of a clean space, and maybe even grab a snack.  Pat yourself on the back, then move on to something else!

P.S. If you have an old refrigerator to get rid of, here are two resources:
https://www.comed.com/WaysToSave/ForYourHome/Pages/Recycling.aspx
http://www.1800gotjunk.com/us_en/what-we-take/refrigerator_removal

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

My Client Asked Me If I Was Falling Apart

In conversation with a client last week as we organized, I mentioned that I was having my wedding ring, my favorite leather backpack and a loved black jacket all repaired at local businesses.

She asked, with humor, “Does this mean you are falling apart?!”

Not the response I expected!  I explained that all of those steps are actually a coming together, a positive process, and we then chatted about the importance of maintenance and being a responsible consumer.

For me, a big part of Being Organized means establishing and maintaining systems and items that work for you. Every system and item requires maintenance. And maintenance requires resources, of time, money and energy.

Last week, I

  • Picked up my favorite black jacket with a repaired liner from Park Cleaners in Evergreen Park;
  • Picked up my leather backpack from the local shoe repair shop, Fernandos, in Evergreen Park, and it looks new!  I knew the other customers that day, too, all dropping off cold weather shoes and boots for repair before winter sets in;
  • Picked up my wedding ring from Coren Jewelers in Evergreen Park, with the prongs tightened and looking sooo shiny; and
  • Shipped off Tumi suitcases for repair for a client.  Expensive bags, yes, but their maintenance and repair policies are amazing.

Taking care of our favorites helps us out in a number of ways:

  • Save money:  Buying high quality items once and maintaining them is cheaper than buying and rebuying many cheap items.  And identifying and taking care of Favorites keeps us from buying more stuff and making more clutter.
  • Save Space: A small collection of favorites takes up a lot less space than a large collection of un-used and un-loved items.
  • Save Time:  with less clutter to have to sort through, you will find what you’re looking for quickly.  And you’ll spend less time, overall, maintaining “stuff”.
  • Clear Clutter:  Clear spaces with just your favorite items in view gives our minds and eyes a break!

Suggestions – Here’s How!

  • Know What You Have.
  • Know what your favorites are (You may be thinking “But, Coll: they’re all my favorites!”  No, not everything is a favorite, you are not a toddler.).
  • Know how to take care of your favorites, and what the product warranty entails.  And when in doubt about how to, say, clean a crystal vase (a client question a couple of weeeks ago), Google it  (denture tablets, by the way)!
  • Use your favorites!  There is nothing sadder than cabinets and boxes of beautiful and treasured items that never see the light of day!
  • Buy things once, then spend time and money and energy taking care of them. Less is more.
  • Research major purchases for value.  Be willing to invest a little more $$ for higher quality stuff.
  • When making major purchases, make sure to register the item with the manufacturer, to activate the warranty, but also to receive recall information, promotional specials, etc.
  • Support Local (keep the green in evergreen!) Look for local repair opportunities, and if you are unsure what local business to use, ask your friends / family / neighbors for a referral.

Maintain your favorites.  Take care of them, and they will stay your favorites for a long time!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
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Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
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Spiders, Mice, Many-legged Things and Christmas Decor (a.k.a., Our Crawl Space)

We tackled the crawl space this weekend.  Yes, the organizer dives into weekend organizing rubbermaidprojects!  The crawl space is under the addition to our home  (both were here before we got here).   It is great storage space, but gets a little grubby and needs our attention about once a year, and this was the weekend!

We can all learn from every experience, so what lessons do I want to share with all of you from this project?

We often spend more time and energy dreading or avoiding a project than the chore actually takes to complete.
For a month, I’ve been thinking that we needed to get to the crawl space, and I would get frustrated whenever I thought about going in there for something.  And then,  we completed the project in under an hour.  So silly to worry so much!

Relatedly, Bugs and creepy crawlies aren’t really that creepy.  
Come on, people, they’re not that big of a deal.

Working on and completing projects often create more ideas or tasks to complete, though small ones in this case.
Keep a notebook with you, as you work, to jot down ideas.   As we cleaned out the crawl space, I realized a number of further tasks needed to be added to my to-do list:

  • As of October 1, I will list the extra Halloween Costumes on Facebook;
  • As of October 1, if the baby items we found have not been picked up, I will drop them off at the Courage Program at St. Germaine Parish in  Oak Lawn;
  • As of November 1, I will check the Christmas light sales, as we need new ones this year; and
  • As of January 1, we need to review and purge excess Christmas decorations!
  • All of these were added to my to-do list, and I’m pondering a few more ideas, too!

Keep your smartphone with you.
We texted a family member about some baby items we were still storing, plus I posted on Facebook that we had free baby items to be picked up (the bassinet is already gone!)

Sometimes, it’s just really helpful to remind yourself of what you have.
The crawl space wasn’t actually disorganized, we just needed to review things and make sure they were stored well.  We pulled the often-accessed items to the front, made sure everything was well labeled and grouped, and cleaned out the spiderwebs, dead bugs and mice droppings. (another note, put out more mice bait).

Completing Organizing Projects feels Great!
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so.  I am so glad we spent time on the crawl space, definitely a worthwhile investment for my Peace of Mind. Now, on to the garage!

Find 5 Minutes in Your Morning

“We need to leave earlier for school” said one of my sons this week.images

And he’s right.  His school day starts a few minutes earlier this year, and we need to adjust our mornings accordingly.

(I wish that, way back when, a more seasoned parent had told me that when School says “The doors open at 8:15, the day begins at 8:25”, what they really mean is “make sure your child is already in line at 8:15 when the door opens”.  I’ve wised up a lot in 15 years.)

In typical Me / Mom fashion, I reminded my son that being on time is ultimately up to him.  But also in typical Me / Mom fashion, I know there are things I can do to make an earlier departure happen.

Where do we find an extra 10 minutes in the morning?  To be early instead of on-time, or on-time instead of late?  To catch an earlier train or bus, or meet with a teacher for help with an assignment?

Everyone, STEP AWAY FROM THE DEVICES! 

hand-apple-iphone-smartphone-large (1)
Your kids, your spouse, your co-worker, You!
Showering and brushing your teeth?  These must be done, and they must be done at home.

Checking FB or email, posting to Instagram or texting while someone else drives?  These can all wait.

Turn off the TV, too.
Have you noticed?  If the TV is on, people must stare at it. It could be a test pattern (do they even have those anymore) or a lame commercial, and people will still stop and stare.  TURN IT OFF, and remove the temptation.


Take breakfast with you.
Grab and go with a granola or Clif Bar, banana, a Tervis go-mug with milk, juice or hot chocolate (when it’s cold!)?  Looks like breakfast to me.  For next time, create a breakfast basket, stocked with nutritious, quick and easy options like apples, bananas, granola and breakfast bars.


Get over carrying your favorite.
Got a favorite mug or cup?  Is it still dirty from yesterday?  Tough love here, but get over it, find a new favorite for today, and get on with things. (If you think I am only talking about little kids with this one, you’re wrong.  I’ve seen many cabinets stuffed with re-useable coffee mugs or water bottles that never get used, while the favorite gets used every day).


No, you do not have time for one more thing.

Do you ever find your self thinking “I know we need to leave in 3 minutes, certainly I have time to start a load of laundry, send off an email and wash some dishes.”  Yeah, me, too.  I used to fall victim to this One More Thing thinking, and then the kids and I would feel rushed or stressed.
So, take it from me – No, you don’t have time for one more thing.  Cut and Run.


Know the difference between Needs and Wants.

We need to bathe and eat and wear clothes and brush our teeth.  That’s about it for the Needs. The rest of our morning efforts are more likely Wants than Needs.  Take care of needs first, and then start taking care of wants, if time allows


Invest in duplicates.

Buy extra socks.  Or umbrellas, go-mugs,  phone charger or earphones.  Buy extras of that thing that you or your kids or co-workers always seem to have to run back in the house to retrieve before you can leave (for us, it seems to be the last minute search for the correct black socks.)

With focus, clarity of purpose, and some clever time management skills, you can be on time, and find an extra few minutes in your busy mornings!
To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

“…Except For the People You Meet and The Books You Read.”  Summer Project #3

You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”  

– Charles “Tremendous” Jones, author and motivational speaker.

 

 Last month, I re-read Marie Kondo’s bestseller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” for a

003presentation at a local library.

 

According to Kondo, the purpose of a book is to impart information.  Once the book is read, it has done its job and fulfilled its purpose.  Therefore, there are a handful of paths every book in your house may take:
  • You keep it because you are reading it now;
  • You keep it to refer back to it again;
  • You keep it because you love it (Kondo’s “Hall of Fame”); or
  • You pass it on so that it can impart its knowledge to someone else.

I love these very simple decision-making choices!   These criteria fit into my typical advice to keep things only if you need / use  / love them (Barbara Hemphill).This week, let’s tackle those book cases!

Tackle the Books a room at a time (or a family member at a time).

     Marie Kondo would suggest bringing every book in the house into one room, piling them on the floor and handling each and every one of them.  I do not agree with this suggestion!  Too messy and too overwhelming for most of us!
     Tackle the books a room (or even a shelf or case) at a time.  This makes much less of a mess, and keeps the project a manageable size.

    Today, I quickly reviewed my tween’s bookcase for any books he has grown out of or doesn’t like anymore.  I also reviewed my own book case, and will ask the teens to review theirs this week, too.

Now is Not the Time To Read.

     Review the books but do not open them! (Per Kondo, and me!)  It’s so easy to get pulled into an old favorite, so do not open the books!  Stay the course, keep your focus, and make your decisions!

Find a Motivator.

There are lots of reasons to move your books along, from your bookshelf to someone else’s.  If you’re looking for motivation, here are a few destinations for books you would like to purge:001
  • Your local public library.  Our Evergreen Park Public Library has a book sale every August, so we have the habit of going through our bookshelves every summer for books to donate.  I spoke last month at the Oak Lawn Public Library, and they always have a sale table, to keep books moving along and to help fund library programs.
  • Little Free Libraries, http://littlefreelibrary.org/  .  Love these!  A few friends have them in their front yards (pictures included), and they are a great place to pick up or leave a book, to move the info around!
  • Leave your book in a public place, after labeling it as a BookCrossing book, to be picked up and shared, check out http://www.bookcrossing.com/ .
  • Contact local retirement or nursing homes, to stock their resident libraries
  • Half-Price Books, www.hpb.com.  You may not make lots of $$, but you may make some!
  • Check out Stick Figure Books, if you have a large collection to part with,  http://www.stickfigurebooks.com/shop/stickfigure/index.html  .
  • If you’re in my neighborhood, check out Bookies,  to buy or sell used books (summer reading lists, anyone?!)  https://www.facebook.com/bookieschicago/  .

Know Your Self and Your Reading Habits.
     As I review my bookshelves this morning, I was extra ruthless with my purging, as I reminded myself that:
  • I have a kindle app on my IPad, so I buy new books in digital form;
  • If I’m traveling, I only bring my Ipad and not physical books;
  • I can check out e-book copies of new and old books from library, also to be read on my Ipad app.

“Should” is not a reason to read a book.
    Kondo tells us that half-read (for a long time)  books are telling us something.  Sometimes, that something is that you don’t want to read that book.
     Over the years, I have read lots of books on the suggestions of others.  And I have loved some of those books.  And I have really disliked some of them, too.

     Today, I am giving you permission:  Unless it’s for school or professional purposes,  You do not have to read a book just because someone gave it to you or told you that you Should read it.

Review your books this week.  Choose the books to keep, and let the others move on to impart their wisdom to others!