“What Do I Do With All Those Magazine Articles?”

“What Do I Do With All Those Magazine Articles?”

This question came up at a Paper Management class a few weeks ago, and it comes up often in my work!

 

I understand the challenge!  Personally, my magazine reading consists of:

  • Stash new magazines into a holder above my desk as they arrive in the mail;
  • Grab the magazines as we head out the door for a road trip (I read when it’s my husband’s turn to drive);
  • Read magazines cover to cover, pulling out only the articles that interest me;
  • Recycle the used magazines;
  • (Eventually) Process the handful of articles and information I have pulled out when I get home.

So, most of those steps are pretty straightforward, right?

  • Create a spot to keep your un-read magazines.
  • Create time and a routine around actually reading them.
  • Keep the important info, and recycle the rest.

But…. then what?  How do we store them? What should we DO with them?  Here is my answer for the class participant (let’s call her Patty) and the rest of us with the same question!

CATEGORIES:  My first question to Patty was “What are the categories for your articles?  She answered:

  • Health articles
  • Books to read
  • Diet & Exercise tips
  • Great Household Tips
  • List of Good Wines
  • Sentimental Greeting cards given to me
  • Beauty/Makeup Products
  • Easy Craft Projects
  • Decorating Ideas

For my own categories, I might add:

  • Items to share with others
  • Recipes
  • Business ideas / marketing ideas
  • Blog article ideas

 

HOW TO USE THE INFO?

Once you have established your categories, consider how you want to use each category’s information.   For example –

Let’s say you save an article with “work out moves for cold weather”.  You probably want to post that article where you can see it as you work out.

What about an article regarding a new treatment that you want to discuss with your doctor?  You probably want to keep that article close at hand but portable, so you can take it with you to your next doctor appointment.

What about recipes?  The logical place for recipes is in the kitchen, of course, where they will be used.

HOW TO STORE THEM:

Low-Tech Solutions:

Consider 3-ring binders for articles you want to keep and read again.  Binders work if you want to read your information like a book, or if you want your information to stay portable.

I personally use a 3 ring binder for recipes.  I have done away with most of my cookbooks over the years, and keep only the recipes I use often.  When I tear out a new recipe from a magazine, I will tuck it in to the front pocket of my recipe binder.  When I am looking for dinner inspiration, I will head to that front pocket!  I’ll only keep recipes that my family and I actually have tried and like – those go in page protectors in the same binder, filed by category.

I have a client with multiple health challenges, and she keeps a binder for articles and ideas to take to appointments and discuss with her different medical professionals.

I also recommend standing file holders with hanging files tabbed with the name of each category.   As you collect the articles, filing becomes so easy!  Then, when you’re ready to review the file, you can pull out all the similar articles at once.

 

 

Consider high tech solutions, too.  I asked Facebook friends for their magazine article suggestions:

MHD: “I scan the articles and store in a file on my computer” or

MTO: “I take photos of recipes that I want to save and keep a file on my PC. For longer articles, I will sometimes scan them to my PC and save them based on topic. (Meaning, a marketing article would go into the Marketing folder on my PC, a sales article would go into a Sales folder, etc.)”

Snap a picture with your phone or tablet, save articles and ideas on Evernote or Pinterest. Better yet, consider receiving your subscription electronically on your tablet or kindle.

 

HOW TO USE THE INFO BETTER!

The most important thing to remember about these magazine articles you are keeping is that you actually want to USE the information they contain.

Read your periodicals differently.
  • Keep only the pages you want, and recycle the rest.
  • Read with a pen and notebook nearby.  Sometimes, an article only contains one idea or reminder that we need to keep (circle it or highlight it!!), or generates one idea or task to add to our to-do list. (“Oh, reading this article reminds me I want to ask my doctor about vitamin D supplements.”)
  • Make sure that you make time to actually ACT on the ideas from the articles!
  • What can you take care of right now?  Add ideas to your lists, bookmark the website referenced in an article or subscribe to the newsletter or blog, then toss the paper!
  • What can you get rid of for good?  Are there certain magazines that always seem to pile up?  That you never seem to want to read? Or that don’t have articles that you keep?  Time to let that subscription go!
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

4 Tips to Organize Your Bill Paying for Financial Wellness Month

January is National Financial Wellness Month. 

A great place to start your path to Financial Wellness is with organized and consistent Bill Paying!  Try these 4 tips to Streamline Your Process!

Set An Appointment.  

Client Study:  A client I first met many years ago admitted that deadlines and due dates would often slip past her and her husband, costing lots of money in late fees, not to mention frustration! She did not have a set time to regularly sit down and pay her bills, so as life got busy, they would both forget to pay bills.

Tip: Set aside time every week or every other week to pay your bills.  For example, if you get paid every other Friday, make an appointment with your computer / check book for every other Thursday evening to pay your bills and manage your money.  If it’s on the calendar, it’s more likely to happen!

 

Do the Job Until It’s Done.   

Client Study:  I worked with a couple, and I could tell that the husband was very nervous about having an organizer in the house! He was very happy when I told him I wanted him to spend LESS time on his papers every week!

Here is the rest of that statement: “Carve out an hour every week (they chose Saturday morning) to open all the mail, pay all the bills, respond to any other correspondence and shred / recycle whatever needed to go.”  They agreed an hour should be enough. They could worry less throughout the week, but they had to tackle all their money management tasks, start to finish, when they DID work on their bills.

Tip: Spend less time on your bill paying, but complete the job from start to finish when you sit down.

 

Dedicate Space for Paying Bills.

Client Study: I worked with a lovely couple just last week.  They took turns explaining how they used their shared work space.  One person had a place to always tuck the bills to be paid. The other person had no idea that was the system in place!

Just that one piece of information, a dedicated place to put the Bills-To-Pay, made a huge difference in how each uses the space!

If you pay bills on line, consider creating an email subfolder or maybe even an email account just for bill-paying and financial information, and make sure everyone who needs to know about it has access!

In addition, set yourself up to succeed with your necessary supplies in that space (pens, notepad, post its, computer if you pay on-line, envelopes and stamps, etc.).

Tip: Dedicate Space for bill-paying, and let all involved parties know the plan!

 

Make  Filing Easier, Too!

Client Study: Me.  For both our personal and my business bill paying, we have done away with individual vendor files and just have monthly folders for all income and banking info.  Any paid bills, receipts, bank statements, etc., get added to those monthly files.  Finding info is so easy, as is filing!

Tip: Create Monthly Folders for all things Income / Banking related and make filing easy!

Pick a Tip, and Give it a Try!
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

Creating Productive Work-From-Home Space: National Clean Off Your Desk Day

Last week, I heard from a newly minted college graduate.  She is very excited to start her first  professional position with a national company, working from home.

Hmmm… “Working From Home”.   A quick glance at wikipedia revealed related terms like “telecommuting”, “remote work” or “teleworking”.  This is a growing trend, with many of us working at least some of the time from non-traditional work space.

According to this recent New York Times article,  “More American employees are working remotely, and they are doing so for longer periods… Last year, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to the survey of more than 15,000 adults.”

With this conversation in mind and National Clean Off Your Desk Day (second Monday of January) here again, let’s talk about Organizing Your Work Space for Working-From-Home.  Let’s look at solutions to common Work-From-Home Challenges!

Be Professional and Productive While Working From Home

There are habits we can create to feel professional and productive, no matter where we work.

  • Create a morning routine – get up, work out, eat a healthy breakfast, get clean, etc. – even if your commute is the 10 feet between your living room and office.

    My Company Wellness Program 🙂

  • We all benefit from the clear definition of a start and end to our work day.  If you need separation in your day between personal time and work, go for a run, for Mass, for coffee, or to drop off the kids at school.  Then, come home and boot up!
  • Dress professionally, even if you don’t see another person all day.  No PJs for productivity!
  • We need to minimize distractions (more on this later) working from home, but the opposite is also true.  Remember to walk around and take breaks!

My Company Cafeteria (a.k.a. my kitchen counter!)

 

Stay Connected:

  • A common challenge of working from home is feeling isolated.  Remember, Community comes in many forms.
  • Check with your company!  If your company has teleworking opportunities, they probably also have strategies in place to help employees stay connected.
  • Find a mentor or accountability partner within your company.   You can also ask the professional association attached to your industry, or even just someone you really respect.
  • Join networking or FB groups within your chosen field or geographical community. My FB and networking groups are amazing resources for me as I navigate my day!

Physical Workspace:

  • If you are clear on the Work of your Work, you can probably work from anywhere!
  • No one needs to know where you work!  Some days saying “working from home” doesn’t feel professional, so I might say I’m working “remotely” or “virtually”, whether I’m at a client’s office, my own home office or Starbucks!
  • Your Actual Work Space:
    • If you skype, or have video conference calls, invest in a back drop or standing screen that looks more professional than your family room or basement!
    • Organize your work space, especially if you need to switch from student focus to work focus, like my young friend.  A clean desk helps you focus.  My accountability partner mentioned just last week how much more creative she feels when her work space is organized and clutter free.
  • Need Professional Space for a change of pace or a group project?  Perhaps your team is coming into town for training?  Many communities have available shared professional spaces or  business centers.  For a fee, these centers may offer work spaces, office services such as copiers or fax machines, conference rooms to rent by the hour or day, and even administrative help.   For example, I am a member of BAPA here on the South Side of Chicago, and their business center offers office equipment and conference room space free to paid members.

 

The “Home” part of Working-From-Home

  • Be clear with your house-mates what your tele-working will mean.  You may be home but still on the clock!  (The same goes for pets – one client closes the door and curtains to the back yard, to signal to her faithful furry companions that play time is over!)
  • A closed door can be an arranged signal that quiet time is needed, or that a conference call is in progress!

Consider these ideas when creating your productive work-from-home space!

Got Resolutions? Perhaps We Just Need to Get Back To Normal!

On New Year’s Eve, I was thinking about positive changes to make in 2018.

I found myself saying “Know what? Change is hard.”

Saying it out loud, though, I immediately realized that I was wrong.

No, change isn’t hard.

Sometimes, change is extremely easy.  For example, just a few weeks ago, I was exercising daily and making healthy food choices.  And … then… the holidays happened.  And it is -2 degrees as I type this.  So there are still too many cookies in the house, and our daily walks are on hold until the weather breaks or I get on the treadmill.

While it’s easy to believe the self defeating statement “Change is Hard”, that is all it is – a self-defeating statement lacking truth.

We convince ourselves that “Change is Hard”, and then we set ourselves up for failure by:

  • setting unrealistic Resolutions;
  • starting a new journey without a map or plan;
  • setting the bar too high; 
  • pursuing goals that are not right for us right now;
  • not asking for help; or
  • expecting big change overnight.

But here is the good news – Change doesn’t have to be hard.  And for the New Year, just getting  back to what you are supposed to be doing can be a big step in the right direction.

Start with just getting back on track, whatever that looks like to you.  Let’s leave the bad holiday habits behind.  It’s time to:

  • Get to bed on time;
  • Clear that kitchen counter, and put the snacks out of sight;
  • Take that January list I suggested you make, and add action dates to it; 
  • Curb or stop spending money;
  • Unsubscribe from advertising emails;
  • Stop running around like a crazy person; or
  • Conversely, start moving again and be productive;
  • Clear holiday / all other clutter from surfaces;
  • Log into your on-line banking, and pay those bills;
  • Re-boot your morning meditation / routine / reading hours, etc.;
  • And From My Friends:
    • Use my little elliptical stepper in the evening (SM);
    • Go to the gym with my neighbor / Work out (JM/JH/LB);
    • Eat better (PB/LB);
    • Reduce sugar intake, decrease sugar / artificial sweeteners (LZ / MC);
    • Finding a planner I like and actually use it (LR);
    • Write 3 gratitudes each day, focusing on the positive; (PM)
    • Refocus on work, the Holidays allow a lot of distractions (LB);
    • Start running again! It is just 30 minutes out of my entire day, so no excuses (MO);
    • Spend time regularly to tidy/organize my papers & desk so that it STAYS tidy & organized (MTO);
    • Have fun – so often, I fall in the trap of pursuing accomplishment of various items in my ‘to do’ list that I neglect to devote time to things that are purely enjoyable (SRC).

I am so happy for us!  Know why?

WE KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!  We know what to do.

We know what healthy habits are, and how to re-establish them.

We know how to be productive, we just need to get back to it!

We know how to be good to ourselves, so let’s be good!

This year, let’s start the year with returning to what we know.  How about we review our good habits that may have gotten a little lax over the last month?  Let’s start the year strong, with realistic expectations to build a strong foundation, and then climb from there!

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

Even Santa Knows, Lists Can Be Naughty or Nice

The List.

I love lists.  Lists can be powerful productivity tools.  Or they can just be words on a page.  I want my lists to work for me.  So I turn my lists into Action Plans with a few simple steps.

Let’s turn that jumbled bunch of ideas into a list and then a useful, manageable Action Plan!

I worked with a client last week.  We were scheduled to work on a couple of projects, but when I arrived, she mentioned that what would really help her to feel organized was to plan for an upcoming brunch she was hosting for family.  She said she always got anxious about hosting big meals, and she really just wanted to enjoy her family this time!  Her goal was to be done and  leisurely sipping a cup of coffee 30 minute before the guests arrived.

Here is what we did:

Write it all down.   ALL OF IT.

Is your brain full?  Of thoughts and ideas and to-do’s, Oh My!

Every once in a while, I sit down and get all the thoughts and ideas and tasks out my head and down on paper.  I used to call this activity a Brain Dump, but that seemed inelegant, so my friend Jen came up with “Cranial Cleansing”.   This is a very useful activity!

Write it all down, don’t bother to edit.  Just get it all out.  And “write it all down” could also be “makes notes on your computer or smart phone or Ipad”.  I use either my Bullet Journal (by hand) or Evernote (technology) for such things!

With my client, we started with the notes she had already jotted down.  We added a lot more items, without editing, just adding them to the list!

The list included:

  • clean the house;
  • iron the napkins;
  • hang the wreath;
  • take the Christmas decoration storage bins downstairs;
  • organize the holiday storage closet;
  • make the breakfast casseroles using her mom’s special recipe;
  • set the table;
  • wash the china and wine glasses;
  • decorate the Christmas tree;
  • make the grocery list;
  • go to the grocery;
  • pick up champagne and other beverages;
  • get the table linen cleaned and pressed;
  • take back returns;
  • put appetizer trays together;
  • print up the Christmas photo and keepsake poem;
  • buy the paper to print up the photo and poem;
  • make or purchase desserts;
  • put together the salad;
  • clean the garage.

Make a Not Today or Not Now List.

A few items on my client’s list, like “Clean the Garage” and “Organize the Holiday Closet”, are good and worthwhile projects but were not necessary to the success of the Holiday Brunch.  So we put them on the “Not Right Now” list, and focused on the work in front of us!

Enlist Aid.  What can be delegated?

Fortunately, this client hires cleaning people a couple times a month, and they were scheduled for the next day.  Also, she and her husband would be home together on Saturday, and he had offered to take care of some of the errands.

Realistic Time Estimates.

This looks like a very long and overwhelming list, I know.  But when you start to break it down, most of these tasks are actually pretty short and to the point.  So we assigned time estimates to them all, so we could be more objective.

Assign a Day, sticking with your strengths.

As we worked on the list, my client mentioned she had a full day of work the next day, so we didn’t put too many tasks on that day (Friday).  Also, she likes to go to the grocery around 8 pm, as it tends to be empty that time of night.  So we worked with those details!

So, after the above steps were applied, our Action Plan looked something like this:

THURSDAY:

  • (Thursday, 10 minutes) hang the wreath
  • (Thursday, 10 minutes) take the Christmas decoration storage bins downstairs
  • (Thursday, 20 minutes) make the grocery list
  • THURSDAY ERRANDS:
    • (Thursday, 10 minutes) drop off table cloth to be pressed
    • (Thursday, 30 minutes) buy the paper to print up the photo and poem

FRIDAY:

  • (Friday, Cleaning team) clean the house
  • (Friday or Saturday, 30 minutes) print up the Christmas photo and keepsake poem
  • FRIDAY ERRAND
    • (Friday evening, 90 minutes with putting away) go to the grocery;

SATURDAY:

  • (Saturday, 45 minutes) make the breakfast casseroles using her mom’s special recipe
  • (Saturday or Sunday, 20 minutes) put appetizer trays together
  • (Any day, picked Saturday, 10 minutes) iron napkins
  • SATURDAY ERRANDS (husband will run):
    • (Saturday, 10 minutes) pick up table cloth; cleaned and pressed
    • (Saturday, 30 minutes) bakery to purchase desserts
    • (Saturday, 30 minutes) pick up champagne and other beverages

SUNDAY:

  • (Sunday morning,  20 minutes) wash the china and wine glasses
  • (Sunday morning, 15 minutes) set the table
  • (Sunday morning, 20 minutes) put together the salad

Not Now List: 

  • take back returns;
  • clean the garage
  • organize the holiday storage closet;

We spent a little time and effort at the beginning, turning jumbled thoughts into a solid, easy to follow and completely manageable action plan!  What was really great was that once we completed this process, which was quick and easy and painless, we had time to tackle some of the items on her list!

How can you apply these steps to a current project?  Give it a try!

(P.S., I texted the client this afternoon to see how the brunch went, I’ll let you know her response next week!)

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

49.2 Degrees at 5 am. I Believe It’s Fall!

Fall is in the air.

It was 49.2 degrees this morning.  The forecast calls for a high of 70, but let me tell you, it was very dark and chilly at 5 am.

In response, all day I have been mulling over my “It’s really Fall now” list of things to do, to clear clutter and stay organized.  Perhaps you have that list, too?  Perhaps you are looking for some suggestions?  Here are a few!!

  1. Check your entry way, and swap out your accessories for the new season.
    Clean out the accessory basket by the door, review the contents, toss the old or broken items (empty bug spray bottle, beat up shopping bags), and put away all but a few of your absolute favorite warmer weather items (just in case you really do need that base ball cap again). Now re-stock the basket with hats and gloves, umbrellas and scarves.
  2. Check your entry way, and swap out your shoes for the new season, too.  So long flip flops, hello boots and wellies.  Toss the old or unmatched flip or flop, get rid of all but the last pair or two of sneakers (“Truly, dear, no one needs 4 pairs of old sneakers for ‘yard work.'” ).  Take in any shoes in need of repair, and put away the rest.  Then make space for the colder weather shoes and boots.   Do the same with sport items.  Play it Again Sports, anyone?
  3. Look around your home, and make note of projects and repairs to be completed.  Make some plans or make some calls.  Get on the schedule with service providers now before their schedules fill ip around the holidays.  Better to maintain – furnace checks and regular carpet cleaning – than to pay for last minute or emergency repairs or replacement.
  4. Pantry and Fridge shopping.  Check your cabinets and fridge.  Check your expiration dates and use up some of the foods you have on hand, to clear clutter and make room for holiday / seasonal items.
  5. De-furnish.  We have a 2 x 5 table sitting in the basement.  We moved it over the summer when our old kitchen cabinets and counter top were installed in the laundry room.  We should have put it in the crawl space at the time, but we didn’t.  It currently serves no purpose.  It goes AWAY today.  At a client’s yesterday, we collapsed 2 folding tables and a couple of chairs and put them away – they’ve been up for YEARS.  A client with a penchant for small side tables (they’re EVERYWHERE, and hold only clutter) took 3 or 4 to a local resale shop.
    In the interest of clearing physical and visual clutter, what small (or large) items could you do without? Put them away or let them GO!
  6. Drop off stuff.  Bags of donations, like clothes or books or shoes?  Recycling?  Items to be returned to a store?  Stuff that belongs to other people?  Take those piles / bags and boxes that are next to the door or already in the car, and get them Gone, gone, gone!!

 

6 tasks are enough for this week.  Next week’s list holds tasks like finishing switching the closet to Fall, window washing and putting away the deck furniture, but those can wait until then!!

What will you do this week to Embrace Fall, clear clutter and get organized?

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.

I have an article half written for publication this week regarding great questions a client asked about menu planning.  But that is not the point of this post.

Fact is, my thoughts on the menu-planning article were pushed away this morning by the recurring mantra “If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes”.  (I googled this quote, to give it and it’s author proper credit, but it is unclear as to who actually coined the phrase.)

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

This phrase has been rolling around in my head since last night when I co-taught a class with my friend Mark at the Oak Lawn Public Library on Bullet Journaling.  Bullet Journaling is a great productivity tool, and I promised some of the class participants that I would publish more about it soon.  But that is not the point of this post.

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

People don’t attend classes because they want everything in their lives to stay exactly the same. People choose to learn about new things because they want to think or do things differently.

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

So, what do you want to change about your life, and what are you willing to do differently to create that change?  Some times, change happens to us from the outside.  Sometimes we are the catalyst for change from inside.  In this instance, I am asking YOU what YOU want to change or make better.

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

Last Fall, I was asked to make a really big change, to take on a responsibility that would help my community.  One of my very wise sons asked me 3 questions:

  • “What will change, from day to day, if you take this on?”
    • The answer was “I will have to make room in my schedule for these new responsibilities, but I can and am willing to do make the necessary modifications, to let go of a few roles and responsibilities to make room for this new one.”
  • “What GOOD can you do?”
    • This was the more important question for me.  Yes, this big responsibility might be time consuming and a little intimidating, but the idea of the GOOD that could come from the change was enough to inspire me to act.
  • And, “What did Dad (my husband) say when you told him?”  That one made us both laugh!

Change is exciting and motivating and energizing.  It can also be occasionally terrifying, uncomfortable and paralyzing.  Change can be difficult.

What if the change is the wrong change?

Yes, but what if it’s the right one?

What if change is awkward or hard or uncomfortable?

Yes, but what if it’s not?

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

There is an old adage that I read recently, “There are 7 frogs on a log, and one decided to jump. How many are frogs are on the log?”

The answer, of course, is 7.  Until that one frog actually jumps, there are still 7 frogs on the log.  Decision making is important, of course, but real change only comes from Action.

“If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

So, think your thoughts, dream your dreams and make your plans. Then act.

Take that single small first step towards change on your own terms.  Jump off that log.  Because “If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes.”

First Step of Shopping? Check Your Inventory.

A thought occurred to me very soon after I posted last week’s blog article, “Can We Go Buy School Supplies?”.

It’s the obvious first step, although a little too obvious for me, as I forget to mention it.  That obvious but not-so-obvious first step to shopping should be make your list and then “Check What You Have On Hand”.

It’s always better, from both a financial and clutter clearing standpoint, to use up what you have on hand before you purchase anything more.  This will help you:

  • Save Money;
  • Use items before they expire;
  • Eliminate duplicates; and
  • Clear Clutter!

Here are 5 examples of how this first step has helped me, just in the last week.

When we prepared to go to Office Depot last week…

We first checked our stash of school supplies – lots of pens, mechanical pencils and folders on hand.  We had depleted much of our stash getting the younger son ready a few weeks ago, but we still started our shopping at home, in our own cabinet.

Menu Planning.

Shopping your inventory may be a little more obvious when it comes to making dinner.  Driving home from a double client day yesterday, I was pondering what to make for dinner since I have not been to the grocery yet (and I was tired and really didn’t want to go!).  I remembered my son asked for home-made chicken noodle soup the other day, and as I mentally inventoried my cabinets and freezer while I drove, I realized I had what I needed to make soup for dinner.  And it was good!

Shop Your Home for Home Decor.

I spent a fun few hours organizing and staging space with a client over the weekend.  I assembled new storage units for her office, and then we set up her office space.  What was really awesome was looking around her home and borrowing from other rooms a lamp here, some art there and a potted plant from the old house that hadn’t found a home yet.  The finished space made her so happy, and cost only our time and the price of the new storage cubes.

It’s time to paint my son’s bedroom.  

Our first step is to check and see what paint we have already, especially considering we just painted the kitchen and office. We will also look for any supplies, like paint brushes and rollers, etc., before we head to Home Depot to buy paint and supplies.

The Magic Pants Bin in my basement.

The age of our Magic Bin in the basement has passed, but I will still share the idea.  With three sons, we always had current-sized clothes for the boys plus the in-between sizes that someone would soon grow out of or into.  For years, we always checked the off-size bins of clothes for the next size of clothing before we hit the stores, and like Magic, we could usually find a lot of what we needed in the Magic Bins.  The youngest son is now the tallest, though, so hand-me-downs and the Magic Bin have been retired.  But the idea is still valid!

Before you buy more stuff, always consider this very important first step – Check What You Have On Hand!

 

“Can We Go Buy School Supplies?”

I was pondering tonight’s article topic this evening as I made dinner.  After his first day of classes today, I asked my high school senior (in jest) if there were any really important, hard-hitting organizational questions he would like to ask.

His response?  “Can We Go Buy School Supplies?”

Uh, well, sure.  That wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, topic-wise, or how I planned to spend my evening, but sure, we can head to Office Max/Depot.

As we stood in the very long line (I love my son very much), I was still ruminating on how to craft our experience into a meaningful blog post (doesn’t everyone use their waiting-in-line time to mentally write articles?).  I asked him what organizational tips we could learn from our experiences. Here is what we came up with :

  1. Do Not Go Shopping at 6 pm Monday evening when 2 or more local schools started back to school that day.  (um, yeah, that…)
  2. ALWAYS Use a list. Mentally walk through your schedule, or make a copy of the schedule and jot down next to each class the items needed.
  3. If your school doesn’t provide a list, don’t shop until you have been to class.
  4. If your school does provide a list (like our district’s elementary  and middle schools), shop as as soon as its published, and early in the day.  Why would you wait?!?!
  5. Use coupons.
  6. Bring an umbrella.
  7. Eat dinner first, since you don’t know how long this adventure may take.
  8. Don’t even bother losing your cool.  I apparently used the word “peeved” as we stood in the very long line (did I mention it was a very long line?!).  My son and I then discussed “peeved”, with my explanation being “I just can’t be bothered with actual anger.  What is the point?  No one benefits, it serves no purpose.” And he agreed.  There was a toddler losing his mind at the front of the store, and I’m sure perhaps a few of us in line wanted to throw a tantrum at one time or another. But again, what’s the point?  Instead…
  9. Use your wait time constructively.  Breathe deep, scroll FB on your phone, chat with the folks around you, mentally write articles or sing songs in your head.
  10. The line at Office Max/Depot is not the place to buy Swedish fish or cherry sours.  No matter how good they look.

On the way home, I realized that next year, this son will be doing his own back-to-school shopping away at college. I am totally okay with that, this is not (yet) one of those weepy “my baby is growing up” posts, though I sense those could be coming.  But I am even more glad we had the chance to talk it out!

This is about as close to a guest blogger as I’m doing to get, so I dedicate this to D.

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
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No, The First Step of Organizing is Not “Go Shopping”

Very often when we get the urge to organize, we start first with the urge to go and get more stuff!  “I need better containers!  New hangers!  Different bookshelves!  Cool new coat hooks, boxes, office supplies…”  well, the list goes on and on.  Lots of people go out and buy more stuff before they start actually organizing.
I understand this compulsion, friends.  I do.    Why do we want to shop first?
  • When faced with a cluttered space, of course it is more fun to think about the shiny new things in our “finished” space than to start with the hard choices, the heavy boxes, the dirty stuff!
  • Buying new things can lead to tangible improvement, something we can touch and point to and say “Look at how much better this space is now that we have xxxxx (fill in the blank).”
  • We may not know how to tackle our project, but we certainly know how to purchase things, either in a store or on-line.
  • If we already have clutter, it’s possible that “let’s go buy something new” is our usual response to a problem.
I recently worked with a lovely client in her laundry room. As we got started, she mentioned some great product ideas for shelving units and wall hooks for cleaning supplies, and I was all set to google those ideas on my phone, too, because Yes! That sounds waaaaaayyy more fun than tackling a pile of laundry!  HOWEVER… that is not how Organizing works.
 Here’s something to remember:  almost every organizing project requires at least some purging, some “letting go” of stuff.
The right organizing solution is almost never “Let’s bring more things into the space before we part with stuff!”
Instead:
  • Commit to the hard work, with a clear vision of how awesome your space will be when it’s organized!
  • Sort what you have.  Make decisions about what you want to keep and what needs to go away.  Actually bag up and get rid of the “go away” stuff.  Then figure out how to store what you have kept.  THEN you may want to shop.  However…
  • WAIT!! Get used to your newly organized space and stuff before you purchase something else!
  • Shop in your own stuff first – it’s very likely that you have what you need already.  As we organize, we may come across unused containers that we can re-purpose for our current project.   Or there are containers elsewhere in the house we can use.
  • Do your research, so you don’t end up contributing to your clutter.  Invest in good quality items, only as many as you need.  Keep receipts so that you can return items that don’t work in your space.
  • Do NOT buy new things that take up more space than the discarded items, or you will end up back in the same cluttered space you started in.
  • Look around your own space, or talk to friends and family before you spend the money!
  • If you like to shop, save the shopping as a perk for getting the hard work of sorting and purging done.
  • Keep a list of items you want to purchase or obtain.  Take the list with you when you shop, and stick with it!

 

So, let me be the little voice in your ear, your Jiminy Cricket encouraging you to do the right thing.   Do NOT shop first!  Do the hard work, then decide if you need to bring more stuff in to corral your stuff!

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