Six Tips for Turkey Time

Time for the turkey trot~ the time of year to get your turkey and Thanksgiving dinner in order! Families and friends gather to celebrate a day of gratitude and connection.  What will make your day focused on thanksfulness?  Here are a few organizing ideas.

  • Get ahead with a list.  Having a plan makes all the difference. The list begins with who, what, where, when and how. Who will be attending? What will be needed? Where will it be held and what time? And HOW can everyone contribute?
  • Get the goodies.  Assign everyone a job, no matter if it is bringing the canned cranberries and rolls. Everyone wants to contribute so be a team player with assignments or step up and volunteer.
  • Get going.  Get ahead with your shopping list by going through your cabinets for supplies, including plates and utensils.  Shop early for items that are non-perishable. Shop in the evening early in the week to avoid crowds.
  • Set up ahead.  You can set up your food stations early in the week as well as tables and chairs.  If you are going out, call for reservations early too for best seating.
  • Time it all out. There are lots of goodies and only one oven so create a timeline for how you will cook. Remember that turkeys take time to thaw so plan on extra time for this.
  • Take time to be thankful. As you are preparing and enjoying your time together, spend a few minutes talking about gratitude.  

Happy Turkey Time everyone!   What helpful hints do you have for your family’s turkey trot?

5 Simple Filing Solutions

Filing! Everyone hates filing! However, you can make filing less painful with a few simple solutions.

  • The easiest way to file is to have one box for a one year’s worth of paper. Have an easy to access, attractive box to drop in paper as it arrives. You can find what you need by going through the paper in chronological order. It saves time and energy to have just one box for all papers.
  • Have big categories for your files. Remember that filing is for retrieval! Having categories that include important areas can help you file quickly. Categories include home and auto, financial, personal and work. This filing is best accomplished with hanging files. But don’t just file everything. Be sure to keep just what you will want to retrieve. 
  • Make a list of your files. Often we are not sure where a paper goes, so we don’t file it. With a list, you have choices of where to file and what the options are.
  • File for fun! (Really!) Add music, your favorite tv show, with a friend, or with an adult beverage to add fun to your filing.
  • Use filing products you love. I recently found the filertek dry erase hanging file tabs. Having dry erase tabs means you can add names to your files easily. Also having lots of colored hanging files or beautiful file folders makes your work lovely to look at. Companies like www.officecandy, www.seejanework.com and www.containerstore.com make fabulous products for you to love and use.

I love to share my personal filing secret! I file 4 times a year and when I file I watch foodtv. What is your personal filing secret?

ABC13 Back to School

Thanks to ABC13 for the opportunity to make a difference this fall for Back To School.

Healthy Breakfasts on a Budget

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=8783092

Best Lunch Boxes for your Money

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/education&id=8775038

Back to School Family Organizing

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=8762205&pid=null

Woodlands Home and Garden Show Fall 2012: Simple Solutions for an Efficient Home Office

 

Simple Solutions for an Efficient Home Office

Are you avoiding your home office because it is cluttered with paper, extra junk, set up poorly or overwhelming?  Busy lives demand efficient ways to work productively in your home office. Join Certified Professional Organizer and Family Manager Coach Ellen Delap to learn tools and techniques for organizing your files, establishing productive processes and arranging your space for maximum effectively.  Ellen will also share products that will make a difference.  Leave with a plan for your home!

Saturday August 25 at 1:15 pm

Woodlands Marriott Conference and Resort

www.woodlandsshows.com

Back to School: Tips for Morning Routines

Back to school! Its that time of year that makes moms happy and sad; happy to start new routines and sad about the energy and organization it can take to get your family going. Throughout the month of August we are featuring organized moms who will help get you started back to school with the toughest tasks.

Moms are challenged to get everyone out the door on time with a smile.  These ideas can get everyone’s day started off right. 

 

Morning school routine

 The most important thing I do to make school mornings run smoothly is to do ALMOST everything the night before.  My goal is for everything to be done except for obviously breakfast, getting dressed, and brushing teeth.  Here are some of the things I do the night before that make our mornings more manageable:

* Unload the dishwasher – I loathe spending extra time in the kitchen late at night when it feels like I’ve been in there ALL DAY, but it’s so worth it to start the morning with a clean kitchen.  The breakfast dishes are a quick rinse and load and then I’ve got a clean kitchen again.

* Pack lunches, fruit break, water bottles – another kitchen chore that I despise doing at night, BUT it’s even worse to deal with the next morning, so I make myself get it done!

* Set out backpacks, shoes, and any other items that are going to school that day

* Lay school clothes out as I’m tucking kids in at night

When I slack off and don’t do one or more of these chores the night before, the result is a scattered, hectic morning – not a good start to the day!

Another trick that works for me is to require that the kids eat, dress, put on shoes, and brush teeth and hair before they watch any cartoons.  They are motivated to get these small chores done and they enjoy having 10 minutes or so of TV time before we head to school.

Meredith Delap is a stay at home mom of three.  She enjoys reading, the beach, and peace and quiet.

Cell Phones for Soldiers Drive Kingwood. July 1- 31, 2012

 

Cell Phones for Soldiers wants to turn old cell phones into more than 12 million minutes of prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas.

To do so, Cell Phones for Soldiers wants to collect 50,000 cell phones each month through a network of more than 3,000 collection sites across the country. Since 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided over 150 million minutes of talk time to soldiers and their families. 

The process includes donating and refurbishing the used cell phones.  The refurbished phones are sold on the secondary market.  Each cell phone donated is the equivalent of a 60 minute calling card.  Monetary donations can also be made on the website too.  Donations should include the phone and battery, and if available chargers too.  No instructions or boxes please.   

PostNet Kingwood and Professional-Organizer.com are partnering to host a drop off site in Kingwood from July 1 – July 31. PostNet Kingwood is located at 4321 Kingwood Drive in the HEB Shopping Center in Kingwood. Drop off your used cell phones and make a difference!

Not in the Kingwood, TX area but want to donate? You can visit the Cell Phones for Soldiers site and enter your zip code. There are 8 sites to donate in Houston.

Anyone can request calling cards for their soldier by using the website; however, they will need the APO/FPO military mailing address of their soldier: http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com

Please remove the data on your phones prior to sending them in using the free data eraser link that is provided by the Recycling Partner. This link provides a hard factory reset, and will delete your contacts and existing data on the phone.   http://securetradein.com/dataeraser

To learn more about Cell Phones for Soldiers visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com

Favorite Products for Organizing Papers

My favorite organizing products are often the most simple ones to get your paper organized.

I love creating a Command tCenter with a desktop organizer.  This clear lucite organizer works well in a small space for your papers. You can choose whatever colored hanging files to insert and use your label maker to create labels, such as Action, Pay, File, Receipts, and other categories of paper that you use frequently.

If you are very, very visual, here is a product that can help you categorize your papers and keep these where you see them all the time. And when company is coming over, you can close up your work and keep it confidential.  Again, use a label maker to categorize your slots. Otherwise, it will all be miscellaneous!

Loving the product you use for organizing your papers makes all the difference!

Earth Day: Easy, Convenient Recycling in Kingwood and Houston

Originally written for  www.keepkingwoodgreen.org  by Jan Zaremba-Smith (April 2011)

 

Kingwood TX recycling

 

 

It is easy to get stuck in an organizing paralysis with recycling.  Getting behind with recycling can lead to lots of organizing challenges.  For Kingwood and Houston residents, there are easy and convenient ways to recycle e-waste and BOPA materials!

  • Goodwill http://www.goodwillhouston.org/ has a special program with Dell called Reconnect http://reconnectpartnership.com/ . Goodwill accepts any brand of used computer equipment in any condition and anything that can be connected to a computer; monitors, printers, scanners, hard drives, keyboards, mice, speakers, cords & cables, software, Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft Zune, Microsoft-branded Webcams, etc. They will pick these items up from your house along with any other household donations or you can drop them at one of their convenient locations.
  • Best Buy will accept ALL electronic waste (no more than three per visit) including monitors and TVs up to 32″ (they charge $10 for a TV but give you a $10 gift certificate in exchange).
  • Styrofoam chips and even blocks can be brought to most UPS, FedEx or Mailbox stores. They reuse them for their packaging.
  • CFL Bulbs and regular fluorescent bulbs are recycled at Home Depot or Lowes.
  • Rechargeable batteries can be recycled at many hardware, electronic, and department stores (Alspaughs, Sears Hardware, Best Buy, and Radio Shack). You can also recycle your old cell phones at Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware for the benefit of Keep Kingwood Green.
  • Used Motor Oil can be recycled at O’Reilly Auto Parts, 3219 W Lake Houston Pkwy in Kingwood (next to Walgreens).

All items above can also be dropped at the Westpark Consumer Recycling Center (for City residents only) at 5900 Westpark located at Hwy. 59S between Chimney Rock & Fountain View (Galleria Area) : www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/westpark.html or the Harris County facility if you live in Harris County but not in the City of Houston at 6900 Hahl Rd @ 290 & N. Gessner, 281-560-6200281-560-6200 Check for operating times. http://www.eng.hctx.net/watershed/hhw_facility.html

All other Hazardous Waste (fuel, pesticides, chemicals, etc.) can be brought to the North Environmental Service Center (713)837-9137(713)837-9137, located at 5614 Neches, Building C. It is open to Houston residents only, every 2nd Thursday of the month from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Harris County residents can take them to the Harris County site listed above.

Want more ideas? Visit earth911.com.

 

Practical Estate Planning: Organize Your Documents on April 4th at The Veranda, Kingwood.

Practical Estate Planning: Organize Your Documents on April 4th at The Veranda, Kingwood. 

 Help your family — and make your executor’s job easier — by getting your paperwork in order.  Estate planning isn’t just about legal issues — there are practical ones as well. Join Tamara Paul and myself to learn more about this at  Lunch and Learn at The Veranda, Kingwood.  Fee of $20 includes materials, lunch, tax and tip.   
 
To register, call 281-358-2820 or email info@verandakingwood.com

Eliminate paper now!

paper management

 

The first step in less filing is getting less paper! Here are some ways to make it happen.

1.  Eliminate catalogs with www.catalogchoice.org.

2. Get your Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) online through your medical insurance company.  Create a log in and password, then set up the email account to notify you.

3. Use E-vites instead of invites. View paperlesspost.com for lovely invitations by email.

4. If you find articles to clip from the newspaper, find the article online instead. You can find it by the name of the author and the date of printing.  Save these with a bookmark in your computer.

5. Stop clipping recipes and use allrecipes.com to find the ingredients and more.

6. Need a map? Use your GPS, google maps, or your smart phone navigation.

7. Add coupons to your email and smart phone through online sites.  See how on http://shortcuts.com/.

8.  Want to scan in your papers?  Try using the Fujitsu ScanSnap!

What ways have you eliminated paper at your home or office?