‘Tis the shopping season, so here’s a nice little app to keep your gift list organized and handy. The Gift List App is perfect for keeping track of everyone on your list, what they want, where to buy it and the budget. It’s very easy to use, just input the names of people on your list and add the gift idea. My only wish is that there was a check list for gifts purchased. I make more of a list before I shop so I need to see what I need to buy when I’m out. I resolved this by putting in the cost of the item after the purchase was made, this way you can stay in your budget and still see the other gift ideas you have. This is a handy little app that will help keep your shopping and spending organized during the holidays.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and if you’re hosting, today is a busy day. Not only do you need to think about meal preparation, but the daunting task of getting the house in order can be even more overwhelming. Here’s an iPhone app that can save you some time in the kitchen: The Chef Assistant iPhone App from Safeway. It will help guide you through getting the ingredients together and prepping the turkey. Then it turns into a timer while the turkey cooks according to the recipe in only two hours—this will leave you more time for getting the house in order! Remember when organizing to focus only on the rooms where guests will be, do not spend time in other rooms until the main areas have met your organizing expectations. Happy Thanksgiving!
As a follow up to the blog yesterday on National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, expanding on the use of StillTasty.com was the obvious choice. This website is great if you’re just not sure how long to store certain foods, if they will freeze properly and how long they will last in the freezer. A detailed list of just about any type of food is covered. On the home page you just type in the food or beverage name, or you can select from a dozen categories below, everything from Dairy & Eggs to Herbs & Spices. Did you ever wonder how long to keep those spices handed down to you from your mother when you moved into your first apartment in 1989? Here are all the answers and it’s a good gauge to have handy, not only when you clean out your refrigerator or freezer, but also when your organizing kitchen cabinets and pantry items. By the way, there’s not a “holiday” for cleaning out those areas, but they too should be given a once over every now and again. It’s amazing, when you do take the time to clear out your kitchen cabinets, you have a better idea of what you have, what you need and some recipe ideas will also come to mind.
The holidays are right around the corner, so to avoid the chaos and crowds at the shopping malls this year, the obvious and organized choice is to do your holiday shopping online. There are some great sites out there with very unique gift ideas. I went to RedEnvelope.com and just bought a wonderful gift for my mom that I know she will treasure for many years to come. The site is beautiful and very user friendly with lovely pictures of items and the ability to zoom in and see different views. There are also many gifts that can be customized which is an added bonus to holiday online shopping. The checkout process was smooth and easy and I was able have my purchase sent in one of their beautiful signature red gift boxes that mom can also use in the future to keep holiday items in. Check out RedEnvelope.com and get your Christmas shopping done early, easily and organized!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and Chaos To Order was compensated accordingly.
I recently upgraded my computers and learned that Quicken, the personal financial software I have used for years, is no longer supported by the new operating system on my computer–big drag! So on the advice of our fabulous technical guru Dan Saavedra of Betadac Media, I switched to Mint.com. If Dan says it’s what I should do, I take his advice. He is always on top of the latest and greatest information in the world of technology. So I logged on at Mint, did I mention it was completely free? Then I downloaded all of my banking information which was very simple and voila—I was up and running on Mint. It automatically categorizes all spending, go to a gas station, it knows and puts the purchase into that category. You can also easily tweak the categories. It also generates budgets and helps you set goals that give you a good overview of your spending. I love that it’s a cloud based system and I can use it on my mobile phone and just last week they announced their app for the iPad. All the most current, up to date financial information is available on all my devices immediately—I’m feeling more organized. I still haven’t back logged everything for the year (you see, I’m not that organized), and I’m not sure if I’m going to split the year’s report between Quicken and Mint, but I’ll keep you posted and hopefully I will have figured it out before tax time!
Are you an online user of many accounts, half of which you can’t remember the passwords for? I always had the same, not-so-secure password for everything—life was simple. Now there are just too many to remember, and the same password does not fit all situations, nor is it the least bit secure.
I don’t know what I would do without my Password Manager. I love 1Password. It works with Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad and Android. You can sync it with the iPhone and iPad through the 1Password mobile suite which is an added bonus. It’s great when you have the safety of knowing your passwords are secure and you don’t have to go searching around to figure out the password. When I made the switch I came to realize that I was wasting valuable time and energy trying unsuccessfully to remember all of my passwords. Now I don’t have to anymore and that’s a good thing.mSecure is another good password manager but it’s exclusive for Mac. For PC users, here is a post from PC World, “Best Password Managers: Top 4 Reviewed”. Save time and simplify by using good password management software.
Since I discussed meal planning on Monday, I had to follow up with a Website Wednesday that can make planning any meal a cinch. Allrecipes.com is a terrific resource for any kitchen, whether you’re a fabulous cook or if you haven’t yet figured out how to boil water. First and foremost, when it comes to living simply and keeping less “stuff”, allrecipes.com is the perfect substitute for flipping through dozens of recipe books to find that special concoction. It can help eliminate tons of recipe clutter in the kitchen. If you have an entire cabinet designated for recipes and cookbooks, it’s time to go digital. You can scan and save your favorite recipes onto your computer (our organizers have helped many clients with this task as well), and for any other recipe just search by name or ingredients on allrecipes.com. The site is renowned for its easy browsing of more than 40,000 recipes. You can also opt in as a supporting member and there are even more perks like access to a custom menu planner as well as nutrition information and the ability to create and save your own recipes. There’s even a free mobile app so if you don’t have computer access in your kitchen, you can use your mobile phone to get recipes, it’s called the Dinner Spinner. Check it out, and then go weed out your recipe books!
If you like short blog posts with a continuous stream of ideas on getting things done, then check out Lifehacker.com. The site is filled with posts on everything from the latest downloads to the coolest gadgets for being more productive online, at home, at work or anywhere else. There’s also an assortment of random ideas that are actually quite helpful in strange ways. Like a recent post about peanut butter, warning us that peanut prices have skyrocketed so we ought to stock up now, or a solution to removing heat stains from wood tables. Better yet is the insight on using apps like a recent post about the new features in the latest Apple operating system iOS5. There are categories on health, organization, business, household, DIY, saving money and many others to help you keep informed. Most notable is the up to the minute tech tips and tricks. When anything new and exciting comes out in the tech world, Lifehacker is on it and gives you their informed thoughts and opinions. It definitely helps to keep me in the know of what’s going on in the fast moving world of technology.
Here’s a post from our terrific Atlanta organizer Leah. Great website to know about!
I just used Decide.com to buy a new camera and am now using it to purchase a new laptop. It is a website designed to help shoppers who are buying TV’s, laptops, cameras, & phones. For my camera, I went to the website, clicked on cameras and then I narrowed my choices by type and brand. There are reviews to click on and the biggie — instructions on whether to ‘buy now’ or ‘wait’. For the camera, I set an alarm, and about 10 days later I got an email that told me the price had dropped over $40. I am just starting my laptop research but once I pick which one, I can look at the graph and see if the price is expected to stay the same, go up or down. It is a very cool system and easy to use. Plus, I saved money! No more, buying an expensive item only to see hundreds of ads announcing a price drop the next week!
Since I’m always hearing about terrific new websites that can help to simplify our lives, I’m going to be sharing a different website every Wednesday. If you have any websites that you think our readers would find helpful (in our plight to be more organized and efficient of course), please feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our premiere Wednesday Website site is the new and exciting Google Flights. When I’m planning a trip, I want to make sure I’m getting the best deal possible, but is that best deal worth searching hundreds of different websites and comparing them–not always. Now Google— search engine extraordinaire—has done this all for us! The site was just recently released (I did find a few snags), but I’m sure they’re quickly working them out. Keep your eye on Google Flights, and if you have a trip you need to plan, definitely plug your destination and dates into their new site, hopefully it will save you countless hours of online searching. Here’s the YouTube video explaining this cool new site: