You’ve Got Mail….Lots of it!

You’ve Got Mail….Lots of it!

In this day and age, who doesn’t have an overloaded inbox?  Even when we have a personal email (or two or three) and a work email, it’s easy to get overloaded.  Here are some tips to declutter your inbox.

  • Create Folders so you can file away emails to quickly find them in the future.  Related to Suzy’s soccer? Just drag anything into the folder and you can always go back and reference the schedule at another time.
  • Unsubscribe to email newsletters you signed up with good intentions but that’s not getting the information read.  Unsubscribe if you know you can’t prioritize this.
  • Create a rule.  You can designate a particular folder for certain emails to be downloaded to vs. the inbox.  Want anything related to shopping to go into a particular folder? Create a rule so it doesn’t clutter your inbox and your really important emails don’t get lost.
  • Don’t just delete, unsubscribe.  Yes, it’s quicker just to delete but if you scroll to the bottom of those pesky marketing emails, you’ll see the “unsubscribe” button.  Take 5 minutes a day to unsubscribe online and stop unwanted and unneeded emails from arriving in the first place.
  • Delete unneeded file folders.  Did you create an email file folder for Sam’s 4th grade class info?  Great.  But now he’s heading to high school so it’s time to delete that folder….

 

Home is where the peace is…

Home is where the peace is…

Why clutter is adding to your stress.

No one should feel stressed when she opens the door to her home.  Is your home providing you with a place of peace and calm, of focus and motivation?  Or is it a major source of stress and anxiety in your life? Clutter in your home translates to more stress and this leads to our life being out of balance.  One way I like to describe clutter is “deferred decisions”. I don’t know what to do with something, so I just put it down to “deal with it later”, hence clutter.  Being surrounded by clutter does not make us feel peace, the effect is just the opposite.

How do I eliminate the clutter and bring more space and more peace into my home?

Do you want your home to offer you some measure of nourishment and calm?  A good place to start is with making decisions about your stuff. When we don’t face the decisions we need to make, we use distractions to keep from having to make the tough choices.  Are you over-shopping to insulate yourself?  Using food as a reward or a way to “calm” yourself when things are too chaotic?  Finding multiple excuses to not be in the home?  These behaviors lead to more stuff in the home and an unbalanced and unhealthy lifestyle which compounds the stress we are already feeling.

Your home should be the place where you escape all negative forces in the world. How you live in that home – eat, breathe, sleep and connect with loved ones – should be the antidote to stress, not the cause.  Now is the time to make a change that will positively impact your life.  Don’t let any more time go by – eliminate the clutter and bring more space and peace into your home.

Battling that bulging closet…

Battling that bulging closet…

Why is closet organization important?

Who hasn’t struggled at one time or another with a closet that just won’t cooperate?  Getting dressed and out the door is critical to a less stressful life – we do it at least once a day!  So why does the closet remain such a struggle for many of us?

If your goal is to become more organized overall and improve your time management, a great place to start is in your closet.  Here are some closet organizing tips to get started.

 Make sure you have proper lighting.  Can you see into the back corners of your closet where clothes are lurking?  Battery operated lights will make seeing everything in your closet a snap.
 Start from the bottom up and tackle everything that’s on the floor.  In a rush, we tend to dump items on the floor figuring we’ll get to them later but instead they continue to pile up and we can’t find what we need when we need it.
 Pull out empty hangers – even wire hangers take up a lot of room
and make pulling out items difficult if they are caught up with empty hangers.  And take your hangers on your next run to the dry cleaner – they will recycle and reuse them.

How do I keep my closet organized?

– Hang it up! Install metal butler hooks or removable command hooks for a multitude of items including hooded sweatshirts, belts, pajamas, accessories, etc and you’ve immediately found more room within your closet.
 Purge, purge and purge some more! Pull out the stuff you really don’t love or don’t wear and donate or consign it.  It does you no good sitting in your closet taking up valuable “real estate”.

Closets can be challenging spaces.  Clothes are much more than just things you wear – they are memories of special times and events and represent motivation and sometimes disappointment.  Working with an organizing professional can help you break through your roadblocks and keep what you love and get rid of the rest….

Nothing worth having is ever easy….

Nothing worth having is ever easy….

Do you remember the adults in your life saying this to you when you were growing up?  Did it mean little to you then but resonate with you now?  Fortunately or unfortunately, we live in a society that expects and adulates immediate gratification. We’ve bought into the mindset of immediacy and NOW.  But the reality is that things that are truly valuable in life take time and effort to achieve:  education, personal and professional success, weight loss and healthy living, and yes, organization.

Letting bills pile up, avoiding the personal and physical upkeep you should be doing in your life and letting yourself go are all common challenges. And the solution for each and every one of them – regardless of personal issues and circumstances – is usually the same:  taking slow, methodical steps to reclaim a healthy, organized and financially and emotionally fit life.

There is no magic wand, no quick fix and no trip to the Container Store (however much fun that is!) that is going to get your life uncluttered.  You have to do that and you can take the first step and call a professional organizer to help you get started.

Yes, it’s hard to make things easier but the end result is priceless….

 

What’s new with you?

What’s new with you?

So, what’s new with you?

Do you have a new healthcare insurance provider?  Did you make a switch on your auto or homeowner insurance recently?  For most of us, making changes is common but updating our records and filing is not.  Creating an effective filing system for your Working Documents is critical – see more on this topic here – but you also need to maintain and update that system.  When working with clients, I urge them to cull old files and create new ones that meet present needs.  Don’t rely on your memory to remember that your current auto policy is housed in a file with the name of the previous insurance company.  Create a new, updated file.  On average, you spend 40 minutes a day looking for something you cannot locate.  What could you do with those 5+ hours a week?  Take the two minutes NOW to create and update your file so that you don’t take 20 minutes the next time looking for a misfiled item.  Now that you have updated your files, what other items need attention?

What should I be updating?

I recommend to clients that when new paperwork or updated items are received, immediately replace the old, outdated items.  Insurance is a great example of this.  Replace membership cards, policies, physical forms and other important documents as soon as you receive them.  If you process your important paperwork immediately, there’s no searching for missing/current items.  Do you keep a binder of your child’s current school information?  Is your child heading to high school and you still have the 4th grade information in the book?  Purge, purge, purge.  Replace the old, outdated information with the new current content.   Is your child a practiced driver and you still have the driver’s ed material on your counter?  Throw it out.

Review and update your files and information and only keep what is new and current.   Also, I recommend a Kitchen Folio or binder with current content  for every household.  Put current physical forms and medication instructions, work and school information, new and updated phone numbers in a binder for easy access for the entire family.

Your “Working Documents”

Your “Working Documents”

What documents do I really need?

Ever tried to find your healthcare forms or insurance policy in a crisis?  Can you put your hands on your bank statements or mortgage documents in an instant?  If you can, congratulations – you have an effective set of working documents.  But for many, this is an unlikely scenario.  Working documents are those items you need to be able to “touch” on a consistent basis – think weekly or monthly.  Examples of workings documents include current insurance policies for auto, home, healthcare, etc. Bank and mortgage statements should be well organized for easy referral.  Healthcare and insurance documents need to be easy to locate.  Keep only current policies so that you are not confused about what is in effect.  When you receive the new, effective policy, shred the old one.  Do not hold onto expired policies – there is no value other than clogging up your filing system.  So, how should you organize your files?

How do I organize my working documents?

Ideally, keep your working documents in a traditional filing system.  Pendaflex filing folders with clear, accurate tabs make finding your information quick and easy.  In an office setting, use a traditional filing cabinet with multiple drawers.  This is a good solution but not the only option.  If you lack “office space” and filing cabinets, use clear, plastic filing boxes.   I do NOT recommend cardboard bankers boxes.  These do not stand up over time and make filing difficult.  Use these kind of boxes only when storing files for long term storage.  Invest in good quality folders and storage.  Being able to find your working documents quickly and easily is critical and makes your life much less stressful.  Every couple of months, update your filing system to be sure that all your files are up to date and current.

The average American spends 40 minutes a day trying to find something and paperwork is at the top of the list.  Put your Working Documents in a well organized filing system that you use on a regular basis.

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