Monday, July 22, 2013

New blog pages

I added a few pages to my blog today, just to see if I could figure out how to do it, and I'm happy to say I did! Yay me!!  One of them is going to be an ongoing list of my favorite things, check back often because I'll be adding to it. The other is an "About" page. I meant it to be a brief description, but as I wrote, I found I had a lot to say. I thought about adding it as an actual post, but figured "why duplicate?"  So if you're interested in learning more about me and why I do what I do, take a look at that page.

Creating a blog is a huge learning curve for me, so my page may change frequently in its design until I find one that I really like. Please follow me and refer my blog to your friends. You can sign up to have new posts delivered to your email if you want, or tag me as a favorite in your bookmarks and check back often.
Have a great day and remember to be kind to yourself. You're doing the best you can with what you have!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dealing with paper - Part 1

One of the main things I tackle when helping a client are those seemingly never, ever ending piles of paper. I'm here to tell you that organizers are not immune to the havoc that paper wreaks on our lives, and whether you have an at home business or not, paper seems to be a curse that we all must deal with. I have a few tips that will help you deal with all that incoming paper.

If your current method is to hide the papers in a bag, box or drawer, just know that you may never see those papers again if you don't make a conscious decision to go and pull them out and deal with them right then. Barbara Hemphill is one of my favorite "experts" in dealing with paper. She has a fantastic book called "Taming the Paper Tiger", and in it she states that "Paper clutter is postponed decisions. Paper management is decision-making."

The first step is to bring all your papers together in one place. I recommend having a large flat surface, like your kitchen or dining room table, not sitting on the couch in front of the TV. You need to have room to spread out, make piles and have a garbage can/recycling can and or shredder nearby. It helps to have it all in one place because you have a feeling of control right from the start. You think, Okay, this is all of it, now I just have to deal with it.  If you have more paper than you can control at one time, do it room by room, or even box by box.

The next step is to set up a process called C.P.R. (Categorize, Purge, Rearrange)
This particular blog post is going to deal with papers older than a year. If you have papers that are older than a year, you won't have as many categories to set up for these, most likely the categories will be:
  1. Tax files - should go back seven years if you are being conservative.
  2. Memorabilia - this is a tougher area, but you can help yourself with the decision making process by asking these questions: "Am I saving this to put in a scrapbook? Do I get pleasure from looking at this? Am I going to look at this again?" If the answer is no to all of these, then throw it out and move on.
  3. Important papers - birth certificates, marriage licenses, home mortgage information, papers on any currently owned large purchase.
Get three cardboard boxes and label them for sorting. If there are papers left over that don't fit into these categories, or can't fit into another current category that you have established, then they must be trash and can either be put into the recycling bin or shredded if they have personal information on them.

To store these older papers, here are a few ideas for you:
  • Tax files can be stored in manila envelopes (Mark them with the year on the outside) Save these in a plastic storage box and decide where you have space to store them; garage, attic, shelf in a closet.
  • Memorabilia should be stored in an acid free container or box. If you're going to be storing these for individual family members, you should go ahead and do a quick sort and put them in piles before containerizing them. Only you know what categories to sort them into, but don't spend too much time on it.
  • Important papers should be kept in a secure location such as a safe deposit box, a safe or somewhere where they can quickly be accessed in an emergency.
That should be enough to get you started and in an upcoming post, I'll share more ideas with how to deal with current papers and how to set up an effective filing system that will help you to have your hands on any important paper in seconds, instead of an hour!

Go forth and SORT!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Time - Friend or Enemy?

I was looking at websites today and came across this great article on time. It was asking if time is your friend or your enemy. Most of us believe that time is our enemy since we never seem to have enough of it, and we're always trying to "find time", or "save" time. Some people think of time as passing them by or they say things like, "Life is too short to spend it working a job you hate", or "Life is too short to hold onto regret". We can't battle or beat time, we don't conquer it, we must use the time that we have wisely and efficiently.  
Our lives are often run by the calendar and the clock. We learn early on that there are consequences to not being "on time". If your homework was turned in late, your grade got lowered. If you don't pay your bills on time, you get charged a penalty. If you're late to work, you may lose your job. So when you look at time this way, no wonder you may think it is your enemy.  However, just because time, or the lack of it could be a valid reason to not make changes and transformations in your life, you just may be missing a good point here. If you were living your life with regret, wouldn't a shortness of time be a good thing? Less regret. What if you are working in a job that you hate? Wouldn't less time be a good thing here as well?
In actuality, the clock gets reset every night, the calendar at the end of the month, and lo and behold we get a whole new year at the end of the old one.
Instead of thinking:  
"Life is too short to _____________" 
Let's switch that thinking now to this:
"Life is too long to ________"
Perhaps it is because of the abundance of time that you have that might motivate you to make changes and look to transform parts of your life. If you look at things this way, you now have an unlimited amount of time and since you are going to be around for awhile, why not make the most of it?
If there's a problem in your life that needs fixing, imagine what your life would be like if you don't do anything about it. See yourself in a year with this problem still hanging around. What are the impacts it has had on you? Has it hurt your relationships? Your professional life? What has it cost you in terms of your health?
Now think of five years passing? What have you lost? Have you suffered? Has it forced those around you to make sacrifices?
Now we're at the ten year mark. Time has kept on marching and you still haven't resolved the problem. Have you lost all hope and faith that things will ever get better? How insurmountable does the problem feel now? Are you weaker in your resolve to do anything about it?
I'll stop there, but you can see where this is going. Twenty years, thirty, etc. When you consider the impact of not resolving issues can have on your life, why not put in the effort now to make the changes necessary.
Time isn't out to hurt you, it's giving you an opportunity. Some issues will be resolved in hours or days, some will take weeks or months, or even years. Time is there for you, take what you need. Time doesn't have an agenda, it allows you to do what you need to do. Some things will have deadlines, to be sure, but it's not restrictive in itself. It can offer you impetus to get things done. It's there for you to use.
Waiting for the "right" or "perfect" time is a fool's errand. You don't have to wait until everything is put into place to effect the changes you need to make. Time is your partner in getting the most out of your life. Time is on your side and it's waiting right there for you. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Welcome to my Blog

I recently went to a Business Breakthrough Summit with speaker extraordinaire Caterina Rando. (  One of the things she spoke about in order to get your business thriving was to make a decision quickly. I tend to be the type of person who thinks about doing something, asks others their opinion about what I'm thinking about doing, researches the thing I'm thinking about doing, and generally, end up taking forever to make a decision. So when she said that, it struck a chord with me. Sometimes we end up thinking about doing something so much that we never end up actually doing it and what's the point of that?

That brings me to this point. I have thought a long time about writing a blog, and then I thought, "Hmmmm, what would I write about?" Then I decided (and did it!) to become a Professional Organizer. Oh boy! Now I have something to write about!! So now the decision is exactly what I'll write about in my organizing blog. I'll admit that I'll be "borrowing" ideas from other blogs as I'm learning to use my own voice, and I will gladly give credit where credit is due.

This blog is intended to give tips and advice to help those who want to get organized but don't necessarily want a stranger in their house pawing through their "stuff." If you like what you read here, please tell others and post my tips on your own social media sites. They say the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, so feel free to imitate me!