If time seems to constantly get away from you, keeping track of it is a good idea. I love this handy little digital timer, but there are many other timers that you probably have on hand. Most cell/smart phones have alarms and timers built into them. There are timers in your kitchen, on your microwave, oven or stove. Here are some ways I like to use timers:
Deadline timing: If I’m on a tight deadline for something, I’ll set the timer and designate a certain amount of time to each item or part of a project. Sometimes working under pressure helps to push me along and the timer keeps me from allowing distractions.
Time the kids: The best use of a timer in my household is with the kids. We can agree on an amount of time that they can be gaming, computing or watching TV and set the timer. If I don’t set a timer, I often forget and they can be entranced for hours!
Beat the clock: You can also use the timer to play beat the clock. If you want to get something done, but you have limited time, keep that timer out with a digital countdown.
30 Minute Fix: If you have a big project looming that’s wasting more energy in thought than action, set the timer for 30 minutes and take the first chunk out of it. Getting started can often get you moving in the right direction and it certainly helps to eliminate the overwhelm.
10 Minute Tidy: Carve out ten minutes, set the timer and do a ten minute tidy. I’m sure there are many times that you should be giving it a lot more than the ten minutes, but if it’s a busy day, ten minutes is better than no minutes!
It’s great to have a digital timer thats out and available for all to see. There are so many other ways to use a timer to make best use of your time, whether it’s pending projects, organizing a space or managing the kids, always be aware of the time, after all it is our most valuable and limited resource. What are some ways you use timers to get things done?
When we create new filing systems for our clients, we always recommend using 1/3 cut reinforced file folders inserted into a hanging file system. The reinforced file folders stand up to wear and tear so much longer than standard file folders, especially if you have an over-stuffed file cabinet where the files pop up and rub against the top when you open it :-/ The flimsy top of standard manilla files get tattered and torn quickly. The simple reinforcement allows the file folder to last much longer. If you’re going to go through the effort of updating your filing system, it’s worth spending a few extra dollars and purchasingreinforced file folders especially for files that you plan to keep for a long period of time.
It’s been a long winter and with the recent cold weather, we’re still wearing winter clothes–ugh. Problem is, we’re tired of the winter wear at this point, but if you shop in the stores, all you see is spring. Why not shop in your own closet? Doing a mid season closet clean out is a great alternative to an expensive shopping spree. It’s great to discover clothes and outfits in your own closet when you organize and look at things in a new way. Here are some closet clean-out tips:
Thoroughly evaluate. Don’t just gaze over the sections of hanging clothes. Actually go item by item making a decision about each and every piece you touch. This kind of thorough evaluation will help give you a new perspective.
Keep an Outgoing Bin. Make sure there’s a place in your closet for clothes you can eliminate/donate. This is especially helpful in kids closets where they are constantly outgrowing
Re-Hang. The right hangers can make all the difference. Here’s a quick video about some of our favorite hanger choices.
Look Up. Use every inch of vertical space in your closet. Keep a step stool handy to make access to those higher items easy.
Put Away. It’s late enough in the season to put away things you would only wear during the holidays and in the fall. Start thinking spring and pull out some transitional items.
Everything old is new again. You’ll be amazed what a fresh outlook the newly organized space will give! You’ll even be able to put together some new outfits once you re-arrange.
Did you know that 32 percent of people who have two car garages only have room to park one car inside? 25 percent of people don’t park any cars in the garage at all because it’s so filled with clutter! With the major snow storm today, it would be a real convenience to be able to park your car in the garage. So what has been standing in the way–grandmother’s old furniture that you really don’t want to put in your living room? Boxes that haven’t been unpacked since your last move 5 years ago? If you carve out some time to go through that stuff, eliminate what you know you don’t use and efficiently store and contain what you have, you may magically find the space to bring you car back into the garage where it belongs. Here are some tips to prepare for a snow storm. If you need a helping hand, you can always schedule an appointment. Organization is all about planning for future convenience. The next time there’s a big snow storm, your car will not have to suffer the consequences outside!
Keeping up with all the papers children bring home from school can be a full time job. Having a good system to manage homework, artwork and school correspondence is crucial to keeping your child (and yourself) organized during the busy school year. I keep a file for each of my children with a label for the grade that they are in. Important papers that come home from school go into this folder. At the end of the year, my child and I go through the folder together to determine what papers should be kept and what can go. It’s a fun project to do together in the summer reflecting on the past school year. I keep a box that the folder goes into every year. This way, the keepsakes are organized chronologically.
Artwork is the trickiest of all papers to organize because it doesn’t usually fit into a file folder or box. Sometimes artwork can be forced to fit by trimming the picture and saving only the best section as you see in the photo above. Another way is to take a photo of the artwork and keep it in the current year’s file. The artwork can also be stored digitally. One company that makes a beautiful artwork keepsake book is The Little Author or even a digital photo book from Shutterfly can be used. Keeping artwork on display (within reason) helps your child to know their work is appreciated, but keeping too much can cause clutter and chaos. Reevaluate from time to time which artwork to keep displayed, and remember, if you keep too much you can’t find what’s really important!
Is your wallet overstuffed with plastic cards? The ever growing amount of stores using loyalty cards has added plenty of clutter to our wallets. Since they do save money on purchases, they are good to keep on hand, but the hassle of carrying them around can make it not seem worthwhile. KeyRing is a great solution to lighten the card clutter load. It’s an app that works with iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows Phones. Simply install the app and scan the barcodes of your loyalty cards. You can even sign up for more loyalty cards within the app easily without having to fill out any in-store paperwork. This is a great way to eliminate having to carry around all the cards, not to mention never having or finding the right card when you need it! Check out www.KeyRingApp.com and organize your wallet today!
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Here’s a great gadget that helps to make cabinet space more accessible and more organized. Kitchen cabinets are sometimes a tough place to store smaller food-related items. They are too high and deep and it’s hard to have easy access to everything you need. This shelving product has helped solve that problem. Install the Simplystic Organizer into a cabinet and add accessiblity and storage to your kitchen, or any room that you have cabinet storage. The Simplystic Organizer is well constructed and built to last. Once it’s installed, it will last the life of your cabinets. They also make similar models for office supplies, arts and crafts, and the garage. If you want to make the most out of every inch of your cabinet space, the Simplystic Organizer will help get you there!
Jewelry can be a hard thing to organize. Items of different sizes, shapes, colors…trying to fit them all into a typical jewelry box or drawer can be quite a challenge. Once they are all organized into a drawer or box, it can be another challenge finding what you need, knowing what you have, and keeping it all organized. Here is a solution using open vertical space on the wall that one of our organizers recently made for a client. It’s simple to make using Homasote board, burlap and small hooks. Here’s a tutorial on how to create a board from Apartment Therapy.Think about the space you have in your closet, do you have any open wall space where you can add a board for jewelry? If you don’t have enough space, try using simple hooks, like Command hooks that won’t damage the walls. Having your jewelry organized can help you accessorize more quickly and make use of jewelry that might otherwise be hiding.
In honor of Cyber Monday, we are offering a one day special. Purchase a 12 hour “Control the Chaos” package and receive one hour of our organizing services for free–that’s a $75.00 value! This deal is good only today, Monday November 26. You can call our office at (847) 825-8400 or click here to purchase your package. Remember, organizing services make great gifts. If you have someone on your list who would rather get organized than add to an unending collection, a Chaos To Order gift certificate would be the perfect gift. Happy online shopping!
It’s funny how we know the holidays are coming, but once Thanksgiving arrives, we are stunned that the Christmas rush is in full swing. Plan now, before Thanksgiving to do what you can to lighten the load and make your December organized and enjoyable. Here are some tips to help you prepare:
Weed out before the deluge. We acquire excessive amounts during the holidays. Take the time to weed out now to make room for all of the “incoming” so clutter doesn’t creep in and take over.
Streamline holiday decorations. Do you pull out droves of holiday decorations that have been sitting in storage for decades? This year do some editing. If you haven’t displayed an item for a few years, maybe it’s time to pass it on. Holiday decorations are always a great tax-deductible donation.
Make a list and check it twice. Making lists can help keep all of your thoughts relating to that item, event or gift list in one place. Use them as much as you can—especially throughout the holidays.
Host a gathering. Make a plan to entertain at your place during the holidays, it’s a great motivator to finish up projects around the house and get things in order. Carve out the time to do it right so you’re not shoving things in closets just before your guests arrive.
Give gifts that don’t cause clutter. How many knick knacks and ties does one really need? Rather than giving a trinket, give an experience. There are so many unique options online, so think outside the box this year and get creative in your clutter-free gift giving. Maybe even a Chaos To Order gift certificate is in order
Admire, don’t acquire. Do you set out shopping for gifts and come home with more for yourself? There’s plenty out there in the stores to catch your eye, so set a budget for your personal spending in addition to those on your gift list.
Laundry is an unavoidable drudgery, so getting it done quickly and efficiently is a must. Here are some tips to process laundry promptly.
Sort it out.
Rather than putting all of the laundry into one hamper, sort it as you go with these terrific laundry sorters from Sterilite. They’re a great time saver–when one fills up, you can throw a load in right away. Eliminate the hassle of sorting like colors into piles on the floor (which sometime stay there longer than they should). Sort and wash as you go.
Do it often.
Laundry may be your least favorite task, but the more often you do it, the easier it gets. Make it a small part of your daily routine rather than that monkey-on-your-back that will eventually consume a full day.
Connect the socks.
Sorting socks can be a big time zapper. Ask family members to tie socks together or put them in a mesh hosiery wash bag so they stay together. Toss any loose socks into a container and have each person reclaim their own. If they don’t like doing it this way, maybe they’ll choose to start using a wash bag or putting them into the laundry connected.
Make the best of the space you’re in.
If possible, add shelving, counters, cabinets and bright lighting in your laundry area. If doing laundry means going into a dark dungeon, you are going to put it off. Consider moving the machines upstairs or even into a walk-in closet.
Hang it up.
Putting clothes back onto hangers is time consuming. Save time by waiting to hang up clothes until you’re in the closet. Just fold them over the side of the laundry basket and do the hanging up when you’re in the closet.
Organize your closet.
It’s hard to put laundry away into an overly stuffed closet. Go through every item of clothing (good to do at least twice per year) and determine what can be eliminated. The more room you have to put things back, the easier it will be to get the laundry done.
Hand it off.
Enlist the whole family when it comes to laundry. If kids are not of the age to do their own, they may be able to at least put it away. Sort each persons laundry into baskets and hand them off. The more you can delegate, the less you’ll have on your own plate!
Our fabulous organizers are pro’s at getting you organized, but organization is a constant process. Here are some tips to help you stay organized:
Define where to keep things. Having a place for everything is essential. If you have time to tidy up but don’t know where to put things, you’ll waste that time.
Finish what you start. If you start a project, do it until you’ve finished every last detail. Clutter amounts to unfinished projects.
Eliminate as you go. Use the one in, one out rule. Every time you add something, find something to eliminate.
Slow down. The less hurried you are, the greater your chances of getting things back into place properly.
Carve out time. If things aren’t put back into place each and every time, systems will break down. Carve out time to regularly maintain organization. It will help you be more efficient and productive in the end.
Of course the professional organizers of Chaos To Order are always here to help at any point in the process!