Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ten Tips for Clutter Control

You look around your home and see little stacks of clutter here and there. How did that happen and how can you control this situation?

  1. Everything that is in your home should have a purpose and a "home" where it stays when not in use. Nothing should "float." Even if you use your laptop in several places, it should have a place where it lives when you want to put it away.
  2. Like items should live with like items. This helps you keep track of what you already have. Laundry items should be stored together. Batteries should be stored in one area. DVDs should live in one spot.  And all of the items should fit into whatever container you have set aside for them.
  3. Nothing new should come into your home unless you really need it or want it. When something new does come into your home, it should have an immediate "home."
  4. Don't overbuy. When you buy huge amounts of paper towels or laundry soap, where will you store it? If you buy 20 cans of soup because it was on sale, where will it all live until you use it?
  5. Use the one in/one out rule. When you buy new shoes, get rid of a pair of old shoes.
  6. If you buy something that you already have, get rid of the old one immediately. You don't need 3 blenders.
  7. Don't buy gifts unless you know who you plan to give them to and when. Have a place for gifts to live until the gifting time arrives.
  8. Don't subscribe to magazines or newspapers you don't have time to read. After you do read your print material, recycle it. All of your reading material should have a place to live while it is in your home and if that place gets too overcrowded, bring in less.
  9. All paper that comes into your home should have a place to land - either in trash, recycle, or in action folders. None of it should end up on your desk or kitchen counter.
  10. At least weekly, do a clutter roundup and put everything away. This includes laundry.
Now, it's your turn. I know I probably missed some great ideas. Please share your tip on keeping clutter at bay.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Road Trip!

It seems like we do more car travel in the summer than any other time. Some travel is local and some is a long road trip to our summer vacation spot. Check out these tips to make car time as enjoyable as possible.

  • Keep your car clean - it makes trips much more enjoyable
  • Keep your car maintained - check out the oil change, tires, air conditioner, fluid for the wipers, etc.
  • If you don't already have one, consider a roadside assistance program
  • Have a container for those often needed items like bug spray, sun screen, wet wipes, antibacterial gel, tissues, a small first aid kit
  • Plan for the unexpected - have a container set up with jumper cables, a charger, a towel or blanket
  • Have a folder in your dash with your car's registration and insurance cards
  • Put in a trash bag or container and empty it after each outing
  • For road trips, have a small cooler for drinks and snacks
  • For longer road trips, have a bright folder to carry all directions and reservations
  • For those longer trips, put in some audio or music CDs to make the trip more fun
  • Have a trunk organizer to contain a lot of the above items - try to secure items that are in the main part of the car - they can become dangerous if there is an accident
Now, enjoy that car trip. Look out the windows. Enjoy the company of who is traveling with you. Don't worry. It's summer and the livin' is easy.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Plan to Lose - Weight that is

Summer is here along with all that revealing summer wear. Ouch! Most of us would feel a little better if we could just lose a little weight.

Good organization around food issues is a great way to start. Organizing your kitchen, your menus, your food shopping, and your time are all valid areas. Having a plan, taking action, and seeing the results, help you control your weight. As you start to close the weight, plan celebrations! (We're talking buying some new clothes or going to a movie - not food)

Having a well organized kitchen - and I am including pantry and refrigerator here - is crucial to weight loss.

When it is cook prep time, you will find it much easier if you have the tools you frequently use at your finger tips. Organize your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer so the foods you are going to need are easy to access and are at eye level. I organize my pantry like a store. I have all my canned vegetables in one area, my canned fruits in one area, my pasta in one area, etc. I try not to have food that is tempting and not good for weight loss readily available. I use the same plan in the fridge and freezer. Each shelf or drawer has its own specialty. I have one drawer for fruits, one for vegetables, and one for protein. Drinks are on the top shelf. In the freezer, there is one shelf for meat, one for vegetables, and one for already prepared foods. If you don't have to dig around looking for ingredients, you will find food prep so much easier. As an extra bound, you won't have foods spoiling because they got lost in the fridge.

A weekly menu makes you more aware of what you are eating. Because you plan ahead, you shop ahead, and have all the healthy items on hand to make the healthy meals you enjoy. You also plan your snacks and drinks. I like to sit down and plan my menu the day before my scheduled shopping day. Then with the recipes in front of me, I put together my shopping list.

I keep a running shopping list on my fridge for items that are running low ( cat food, paper products, soap). Then, after I have planned my menus for the week, I add all the ingredients I need to prepare the meals. I also add in extra healthy snacks and any bought beverages. After putting together the list, I look for coupons I might have for those items. I never buy anything just because I have a coupon. I personally like to go to 2 places to shop - a regular grocery store and a farmers market. I try very hard to never go to the store more than once a week. I use the same stores so I can plan my list according to how the store is set up.

It is much easier to eat healthy meals when the food is prepared ahead of time. I try to always cook for at least 2 meals. I often eat the same thing twice with maybe a change in the side dish, but you can also freeze the second meal and save it for a later week. I also prep some vegetable snacks to grab when hungry. I  find myself sometimes nibbling on these while I am preparing a meal as I have a tendency to wait until I am hungry to cook.

Time is also saved by having to only go to the store once a week and breezing through the store because you have grouped your list the same was as the store lays out its food.

It is also important to schedule time for exercise. This means exercise time has to be blocked out on your calendar. When blocking in the time, don't forget the transition times as well. If you are driving somewhere to walk or work out, schedule in the driving time. If you have to shower and change, schedule tat time as well.

If you are in the metro-Atlanta area and want more in depth information on this topic, contact me (404-299-5111) to set up a workshop (Plan to Lose) for your group.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Freedom

Summer is often a time when our schedules shift. Our expectations change. I tend to slow down in the heat. I like to lay claim to some personal freedom. I love to be able to enjoy some spontaneity but I also need to have routines to ground me.

I use routines to block out my schedule so that I can see when I can have the luxury of doing fun activities. Leaving some empty blocks on my calendar can be very exciting. I keep in mind my personal energy levels and try to schedule difficult tasks when I am at my peak. Some afternoons and evenings are better times to leave open while it is usually work as usual in the mornings.

I have a bucket list of things I would like to accomplish during the summer. I love to give a summer party. I like to have some times to have lunch dates with friends. Usually during the rest of the year, our work schedules prevent this luxury. I like to take in some outdoor concerts. I enjoy going to the Botanical Gardens. I love just sitting on the deck in the evening with my husband. I enjoy a mini-vacation or two. But I do still have to plan and schedule in order t feel great about doing these fun activities.  Life and work does go on in the summer, even if it is at a slightly different level.

I am looking forward to a wonderful summer with all the extra freedoms that good planning allows. Pardon me while I go out on my new deck for some downtime.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer