Saturday, January 31, 2009

Paper Cuts - Banish Paper!

I'm leaving today for an Organizing Business Trip to CA, for the next four days. Yes, that's right, no new blogs till next Thursday! Therefore, I am leaving you with a big task - BANISH PAPER! It will keep you so busy, you won't have time to go online - except to delete mail from your inbox!

Here are 9 fantastic tasks (with help from to help you delete paper:

Paper Cuts: 9 Ways to More Effectively Handle Paper

While paper is a big part of our daily lives, that doesn't mean it has to take over or get out of hand. Here are 9 ways to more effectively handle paper.

1. Don't top it. Never put a large sheet of paper over a small sheet of paper. The small piece of paper will be hidden, and therefore difficult to find and/or easy to misplace.

2. Banish piles. It is extremely difficult to find a particular sheet of paper in a large pile. Avoid piling papers at all costs. Sort and file them into file folders, and put those folders in a filing cabinet or hanging file holder. (Ask me about my colorful filing system!)

3. Keep it together. While sticky notes are OK for quick temporary notes that you discard fairly soon after using them, they're not effective for notes you need to retain. If your environment is overrun with sticky notes, write your notes in a single spiral notebook instead. You'll still have to transfer these notes to your planner, PDA, address book, etc., but at least all of your notes will be in one single place where you can find them.

4. Open and dump. Open your mail right over your recycle container. Immediately discard outside envelopes, inserts you don't need and any other mail you're not interested in. Do this daily, and going through the mail will never be a chore again. TOUCH IT ONCE!
Place the rest in it's "Happy Home." Bills w/other monthly/bi-monthly bills in the desk organizer slot. To Do fliers/invites on your magnetic/cork board.

5. Use technology. Rather than using paper all the time, enter the technology age and use your computer whenever possible. I store my ideas, phone numbers, how-to notes and more right on my computer--no paper needed. Scan the rest, and then recycle it!

6. Don't get the measles. Every time you pick up a sheet of paper, draw a red dot in the bottom right corner. If your paper begins to look like it has the measles (tons of red dots) then you're spending too much time paper shuffling. Do the action on the paper, give the paper to whoever it belongs to, file it or get rid of it.
7. Save some trees. Don't forget that each sheet of paper has two sides. Many trees could be saved if you used the back of many letters or memos instead of using a brand new sheet all the time. Just a few perfect uses are grocery lists, kids' art paper or scrap paper to help you plan a party.

8. Shred it. Keep a small shredder attached to a small recycle container in your home office or business office. As you come across papers that contain personal information, you'll be able to shred them immediately. It's a lot quicker to shred necessary documents on an as-needed basis, then to save them all up for a major shredding session.

9. Eliminate a good amount of the paper you receive. Reduce the number of catalogs you are receiving by tearing off the name/address label and mailing it with a 'please remove me from your list' note to the catalog. To remove the amount of junk mail you receive, write to:

Mail Preference Service
DMAP.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Include your name and address and a request to be removed from any list. And finally, stop the pre-approved credit card offers by calling Trans Union at 1-888-567-8688. They have options to remove your name for two years or permanently. They share data with Experian and Equifax, so you won't have to call them to make the same request.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Start the Month Off Right!

To Do List: Be prepared for new month:

1.) Go to Store
Shopping List: SPONGES - four different colors (two per month)
Large Sharpee Permanent Marker - fat tip on one side, skinny on the other. (Always handy to have in the kitchen "useful drawer.")
Scrub Brush - or sponge brush w/soap dispenser

2.) Throw out old sponges. Take two new sponges and decide which color for dishes/counter tops and which color for floor/cabinet doors, etc. If you just purchased a new sponge - turn it into the floor sponge. Optional: Use the perm. marker to make a symbol in the corner of each sponge, so you/your family remembers which one is for dishes vs floor. I pick a color for each month; pink for Feb. green for March, yellow for April, etc.

-Rotate your sponges every month: dish sponge becomes floor sponge next month, floor sponge becomes bathroom sponge, bathroom sponge becomes anything you want it to be - garage or trash! You don't want to know what lives in your sponge! If you don't believe in using sponges - dish rags are the same!

-Each time you run your dish washer, throw your sponges in with the load. This will disinfect the sponges. Please, wash and squeeze out the water from your sponges each time they are used - this will help from mildew buildup. Do not let your sponges sit in the sink w/water, much less food on them.

3.) Place four - or more - washcloths under each bathroom sink - in little square basket if possible.

- Keep a wash cloth folded in eighths, behind your bathroom sink faucet. Wipe down the bathroom counter top each time you use the sink. (Teach your family members to do this too.) By wiping down the counter and faucet each time, the sink will have less water spots/liquid soap residue/toothpaste, etc., and keep you from having to clean it as often. Plus, if your family members are spitting out blue gunk into the sink - it means, A. they're not brushing long enough before spitting; And/Or, B. they have too much tooth paste. Have them wash it down the drain while they're brushing, so it doesn't stick to the sink, dry up, and leave a big mess! Wipe the mirror down too please.

- Depending on your family, toss the wash cloth in the laundry every/every other day, and grab a new cloth from under the sink.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Power of Accomplishment!

From what I can tell, there is a strong sense of accomplishment buzzing around; and there should be. Congratulations to all of you that have accomplished a new organizing task this week, and it's not even the weekend yet.

In response to a few comments, yes towels are also a fantastic item to donate - anywhere! Right before the Winter Break, I sent out an e-mail to my son's classmate families asking them to sort through their linen closets for extra towels to donate to the Boulder Homeless Shelter. I received a terrific response and delivered a HUGE amount of towels to the shelter. Towels are easy to accumulate - and hold on to. If you haven't used the towels in over a year - DONATE them NOW! I'm sure you (and your family members) have your favorites. The towels from pre-marriage/college can make their way into your garage, and be used as rags. I use one of my old towels for a car floor mat cover, under my son's feet. That way, I don't have to fret what he is bringing in to my car on the bottom of his shoes. I simply shake out the towel or throw it in the wash - w/the rags or house rugs - and I don't have to wash my floor mats as often, because they still look new. My son uses my husband's favorite childhood Snoopy towel for the pool, and gets a lot of comments.

Say it with me now, slowly, "Let go, (pause) just let go."

Good, now go get a bag and start donating. It takes less than five minutes to pull things out of your linen closet. You can tackle the reorganizing of sheets by room/size/color (same for towels) tomorrow (or this weekend.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Dropped Off Items to the Humane Society Yesterday; How About You?

"Linen Closet. Go through your linen closet. This is a perfect time of the year to make donations. Animal shelters especially will take old sheets, towels and blankets. Keep a maximum of 3 sets of sheets per bed (Two is best.) For a guest bed, only one set is really needed. There's no reason to keep extra mattress pads, dust ruffles, etc. One each per bed is plenty." During your purge, tri-fold your towels. It's amazing how much more room there is on your shelf, or in your drawers, when you tri-fold your linens and clothes.

"Home, Sweet-Smelling Home"

While distracted and bored on the elliptical, at the gym this morning, I ran over to grab the last remaining magazine on the rack. To my most utmost surprise, as I opened the April, 2007, issue of domino magazine, I read one of the titles "Home, Sweet-Smelling Home" in the index. I was ecstatic and had to close my mouth, so drool wouldn't short circuit the machine, when I realized the magazine had confirmed my blog entry yesterday. "Whether airing out last night's takeout...", (pg 104.) Domino's suggestion, amongst others, was "Incense has come a long way... Acqua di Parma's citrus and rose version neutralizes food odors in a flash! 'Colonia' $19 for stores." See, I wasn't just pulling your leg. I do know what I'm talking about. It's in black and white! (With a little pink.) Candles and incense are great neutralizers. Check out domino's web site for the whole article and which candles they suggest for different ambiances your looking for.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today's Quick Tip.

1) Fridge and Pantry. Start out the New Year fresh by cleaning out your fridge and pantry. Be sure to toss or donate (I'm sure EFAA would be soo thankful!) all food that you have not used in the last six months. If you haven't used it in that time frame, you're not going to. Challenge yourself to use all of the food in your freezer that is older than two months old. Get rid of all of your old herbs and spices. Just because your spice rack has a bottle labeled 'Cardamom,' it doesn't mean you need it. (Empty, clean, and relable the bottle with a herb/spice you do use - from Whole Foods bulk herb/spice bins. Much cheaper!)

Cents About Scents

When asked, What are possible solutions to unwanted scents? (especially in a CLEAN home), my two initial thoughts are: memories of returning home from the gym, before the sun rises, and detecting exactly what I made for dinner the night before; and air purifiers. If I remember correctly, smell is the most powerful memory recall agent - it can take you back to your childhood it's so powerful. The scent of your home is generally, besides curb appeal, the first impression a guest has about your house. Sometimes, a scent can even be detected before one enters a building, and therefore creates a connection and a memory. What kind of lasting memories can your residence portray.

So, what to do about these smells? Financially, I haven't gravitated towards the idea of purchasing an air purifier, but that's not to say the thought doesn't linger in my brain. I do have prior knowledge of different types of air purifiers, and although Honeywell makes a presence in a room visually, it deletes the unwanted smells that are present.
Check out: Honeywell scores high and has a great cost.

What I do to eliminate negative smells - no matter how great my dinner was the night before - is two old fashion and cheap remedies: open up the house and let it breath - yes, even on cold days - and use candles. Remember the effect a match has in the bathroom? Same idea with a candle. Choose one that is sweet and simple - not overpowering, or no scent at all. Burn a few around the house - direct area and the highest point in your home where smells travel - like heat! Then there is good ole, Lysol - my son always knows when I have emptied and sprayed the bathroom trash can.

Most of all, be pro active; take your trash out after making dinner. Use a small trash can and grocery store plastic bags - no need to buy name brand bags - and throw your trash out every night you make dinner. (To use less bags, dump your trash into one large garbage bag. But make sure to tie it each night or put a rock on the outdoor trash can lid, so the trash doesn't end up in your yard - or your neighbors!) Go around your house and fill up the bag from your other trash cans. plus, for those of you who compost, use a lid on your Tupperware compost container (one of the large bowls, w/a cover, that rarely gets taken out of the back of your cupboard.)

Those thoughts are just the beginning of my opinions, but I'm off for now to create my own kitchen smells. Cheers

Monday, January 26, 2009

Every Home Has It's Own Scent

Do you truly know what your home smells like? Have you entered your house and been able to detect the lingering smell? Here's a few examples: We used to have our cat box inside the house, and since we've moved the box to the garage, we can't believe that stench was in our home. And, although I am ecstatic that Boulder, CO has curbside compost, some residents are unaware of the fowl smell coming from their kitchens. Before walking around your home later with a bottle of "Fresh Air" or some other chemical, trying to cover up "some scent," invite a GOOD FRIEND to come over. Ask him/her to be as frank as possible with you, as you walk through your home, about the different smells. Because, every home has it own scent! Now put on the gloves. Method is a great planet friendly product - for sale at all Target stores.

Just Once!

Take the extra 15 - 30 seconds to put something away in its "Happy Home" the first time you touch the item. My Motto is: Only touch something once! (That doesn't mean leave it where you dropped it coming in the house!) Your life will be much simpler if you just "take time NOW!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Organize your Drawers

I am a true believer of the home store Tuesday Morning and expandable drawers. Before purchasing any home item/gift/kid's birthday party favor, etc, from another store, go to Tuesday Morning first! I purchased all the bamboo expandable drawers on sale yesterday(10), for a third of the price. Let me know if you're interested in purchasing one or more from me, at the same price ($15.99 or $19.99, depending on size.) I'd be happy to organize your drawers too.

Take 15

What are you doing right now? Are you being productive? Take 15 minutes right now and organize your pile by the door - or wherever you dropped your things when you came in last, and put them all in their "Happy Homes!" You will be surprised what you can accomplish in 15 minutes. GO!


I'm truly grateful to Terra for creating my blog and all the time she diverted from her family to make this debut possible. THANKS TERRA!