Arriving On Time

Organizing tipArriving on time to your first appointment or commitment for the day is a great way to reduce stress. It also helps kick-start an organized, productive day. Here are a few tips to help make this a reality.

  • Plan your outfit the night before and place your clothes, shoes and accessories in a designated spot.
  • Make your lunch the night before and have it ready to go.
  • Have a physical or mental check list of what you need to bring with you the next day.
  • Establish a morning routine for getting ready and eating breakfast. Time this routine so you know how long it takes. Allow yourself a bit of wiggle room.
  • Figure out how much time is required to leave home, travel, park and arrive on time. Give yourself the time required and extra minutes for potential delays.
  • Be confident that you can handle any last minute mishaps.

©January 2019  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

Pocketbook Editing

Organizing tipHow often do you go through your pocketbook and get rid of all that can be tossed? Do you wait until you find yourself sifting through a crumpled mess of old receipts and candy wrappers? Do you hold off until your arm gets sore from hefting all that loose change that’s fallen to the bottom of your bag? Or, do you simply switch your wallet and cell phone to a different pocketbook when the mess gets too cumbersome to deal with?

What about the kid’s backpacks? How often do you sort through those? What about the fridge, medicine cabinet, or pantry? What about your closet, dresser, or nightstand? I’m not going to mention mail, files, coupons, recipes, or other paper. That’s a whole new topic.

Taking time to sort through and get rid of stuff helps us stay organized. By editing the contents of our pocketbooks (and all those other areas mentioned or not mentioned) we perform an important step in the organizing process, the discard and remove step. By removing what is not wanted, needed, or used, we’re able to spend less time searching for stuff. We’re also able to easily notice when something needs to be replaced, mended, or renewed.

One important factor to consider is the frequency in which we edit. If it takes a week for those receipts to become a crumpled mess, then weekly edits need to take place. If not the mess becomes very frustrating. To help reduce our stress with a disorganized, overstuffed pocketbook (or other area) timely edits are necessary. What would you consider timely? Once a week? Every other week? Once a month?

Whatever time frame you use, consistency in editing is another important factor. Creating the habit of going through your pocketbook every week (or whatever time frame you use) helps you stay organized. It also helps reduce your stress and frustration, and helps your ability to find what you want when you need it. Worthwhile benefits. Wouldn’t you agree?

©July 2017  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved



Organize Greeting Cards

Helpful Organizer BlogMy family is large, and I send over 100 greeting cards a year. If we include the Christmas cards I send each year, the number is close to 200. That’s a lot of greeting cards to organize, and a lot of time spent sending cards. I know, but I like doing it. It allows me to keep in touch, and let my siblings and extended family know I’m thinking of them.greeting cards

Here is how I’ve streamlined the process. First of all, to keep the greeting cards organized, I have them in a container that allows me to store two rows of cards vertically.  The container has no lid, and has a designated spot in my closet in my office. The cards are sorted into categories based on type of occasion, event, or holiday, for example anniversary, birthday, Christmas. Each category is labeled, and stored alphabetically. For example, the anniversary cards are in front of the birthday cards which are in front of the Christmas cards. All this helps me easily flip through the cards to find the one I’ll send.

Second of all, to keep track of what to send when, I have all the special occasions listed on a calendar that I update every year in January. Once my calendar is all set I follow theses steps. At the end of each the month, I pull together all the cards that I want to send in the next month. I address and sign the cards, with my husbands help, so they are ready to go when the time comes. I hold the addressed card in an outgoing mail slot on my desk. At the beginning of each week I pick out the cards that need to be mailed, and put them in my weekly tickler file. I then mail them at the appropriate time. I know this is a detailed process, but it is what helps me remember each and every card and occasion. Maybe this is a process you can use and adapt for yourself.

Here are a few additional guidelines that I follow:

  • I don’t allow myself to accumulate more cards than the container will hold.
  • I always search my container of cards before I allow myself to buy new ones.
  • There is no miscellaneous category in my card container.
  • I buy 60 postage stamps at once to save time.
  • I print up several sheets of return address labels at once.

I’ve also tried Send Out Cards, an on line greeting card service. They actual mail the card for you, and email you reminders when it’s time to send.

©December 2016  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

item in box

Toss the Box

Organizing tipTo save time, remove items that are used frequently, from their boxes, and toss the box. For example, take small appliances, like hand-mixers, blenders, and mini choppers out of their boxes and store them directly in a kitchen cupboard or on a pantry shelf.  Also remove smaller items from their packaging and store them in containers without lids, for example batteries, paper plates, q-tips. This eliminates the step of opening and closing the box or packaging each time the item is used, and makes it easier to get things out and put them away.

Fashion File

skincareOne of the reasons we hold onto paper is because we need or want to reference the information (on the paper) in the future.  However, what happens when we can’t put our hands on a piece of paper quickly and easily?  We waste time hunting and searching for that paper, or we attempt to find the information from another source.  Is there really any need to save paper that we can’t find quickly and easily?  No!  So, what will help us find specific papers when we need them?

An organized paper storage system will help us locate what we want, when we need it, and help us remember where paper is stored.   Creating an organized system can be quite an undertaking.  The initial step in this undertaking is to have a paper storage container (ie. file cabinet) that holds alphabetical files that are labeled with file names.  It is essential to customize the file names to reflect our specific, personal retention needs. The best way to do this is to create file names that uniquely describe what information is stored inside the file.  This is much more efficient than using generic or standardized names.  For example I use the file name “Kia Soul” instead of Auto, Car, or Vehicle.

Another example of a customized file that I have is my “Fashion File”.  It holds all the girly things that I want to reference, look into, check out, or use.  It contains 5 separate categories, hair, jewelry, nails, skincare, and wardrobe.  The types of papers that I store in each category are as follows:

Hair – contact information for my current stylist, pictures of hair styles that I like, products I want to try
Jewelry – receipts of jewelry purchases, business cards for jewelry consultants, jewelry catalogs
Nail – business cards for local nail salons with times and directions
Skincare – business cards for skincare consultants, products I want to try, lists of chemical free products, skincare catalogs
Wardrobe – contact information for image consultants, tips for my body type, fashion styles I like

By establishing and using this unique file name, and other personalized file names, I have created an organized system that helps me remember where my papers belong and where I can find them when I need them.  This approach could work for you.  If you do use it please share with me what file names you use.

© June 2015  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved


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