Gigi Day

As an organizer, it is important to me to to prioritize. And nothing is more of a priority to me than my family and relationships. Last year, I started having Gigi Day with my grandkids.  Why Gigi Day? I am called Gigi by my grandkids and 2 of them live nearby.  Every Friday I spend the day having fun with them.  What do we do? It can be as simple as a trip to the park, the zoo or Children’s Museum. Some time it is playing hide and seek.  It is my way of spending time with them every week just to be a part of their everyday lives.  

Each summer my other grandchild comes to visit for several weeks and it is our time to spend with him.  As a far away grandparent, we are thrilled to have him play with his big wheel on the driveway, color or play with trucks.   This is time that is priceless, super valuable and incredibly important!   

These times are my small but important ways to do what is most valuable to me.   The greatest gift is time spent together, not the stuff you can buy. 

Think about what your family shares. How do you spend time together? Do you have family dinner and time to have fun? Listed here are some Houston links  for family fun. 

http://www.cmhouston.org/

http://www.discoverygreen.com/

http://www.chron.com/channel/momhouston/

http://www.houstononthecheap.com/

http://www.hmns.org/

http://www.houstonzoo.org/

http://www.grandparents.com/gp/home/index.html

 What family fun are you sharing this week?

Coupons

With our economy, coupons are an important way to make the most of your budget.   Organizing your coupons can take a few extra minutes, but the reward is incredible.  My clients feel very empowered by using coupons and it is their way of making their budgets really work for them. 
 
An easy ways to start couponing is to check out the local sites of your grocery stores. These sites have online digital coupons for you to use.   You can easily load these onto your existing store card or print coupons to bring with you.  Choose coupons for items you use regularly from the store you shop at regularly.   A major bonus (like hitting the lottery!) is to pair a coupon with a product already on sale.  Stores like CVS and Walgreens offer bonus bucks and coupons can be used with them. 
 
Keep coupons where you can use them most.   A small accordion file in your car can keep store coupons, like Bed Bath and Beyond or Chilis.  These can be categorized by your personal categories, such as food, clothes, etc. or by expiration date, or whatever works for you.  Clipping the weekly coupons from the Sunday Paper starts in your living room with clipping, then attaching to your grocery list, and then bringing these to the car.    Decide on a routine that works for you.   Most important is to keep what you use and to use it before it expires.
 
Smead provided me with this Tag Along Organizer, perfect for keeping your coupons organized!  It has 5 pockets, easily labeled for grocery aisles. It is small enough to fit in your purse!
 
 
Here are a few more online ways to get great coupons! My thanks to client Pam and her niece Stacy for sharing these with me!

www.pgeverydaysolutions.com/pgeds/pg-brandsaver-samples-coupons.jsp

www.scottcommonsense.com/coupon

www.couponshack.com

www.grocerycouponsusa.com

www.couponmom.com

www.retailmenot.com

 www.hotcouponworld.com

 www.dealseekingmom.com 

 

www.moneysavingmom.com 

 

www.katycouponers.com   

 

www.couponclippers.com 

 

www.thecouponmaster.com 

 

www.coupondede.com   

 

 

Organizing Your Car

organizing your car

 

Your car is your office on the go and your home away from home! Whether you are a professional going to work or a busy mom or dad carpooling, having an organized vehicle can make the difference in your travels.  Organizing your car just takes a few extra minutes!

Think about what items you will need as you travel. We all need tissues, first aid kit, car insurance, and a flashlight just in case. What is needed for other travelers? Busy families may need books or toys. Travel for work may require business products and files. Take a few minutes to plan and write a list of needs for you and your family.

If you car is your mobile office, organize for stocking, storing and traveling with business tools. Carry some basic desk items such as business cards, calculator, stapler, scissors and tape in a zipper case or small tackle box. Store files in a hanging file case with a cover. Be sure to have a notebook and pen in your car for taking notes.

For kids on the go, being organized makes every trip less demanding. With access for your back seat travelers, you can place an organizer in the back seat or over the seat with a place for a water bottles, electronic games and books. For kids’ toys and more, there is the Clear away car organizer from OnlineOrganizer.com. For maps, snacks and more, look into the Case Logic Back Seat Organizer from stackandstacks.com. For movies and technology, look at the High Road Entertainment Organizer from www.thebusywoman.com. These organizing products make travel easier for everyone!

Every day items require storage too. The Creekside Cargo Mini from www.drivewerks.com keeps all sorts of items from milk to soccer balls from rolling around your trunk. For tools, purchase a durable canvas bag to contain all the tools including jumper cables. For compact disks, visor storage is a convenient, easy to access spot. What about trash? A pop up trash can made of durable mesh can fit by the driver’s seat.

What about paper? The glove compartment or center console is a great spot for this! Use a check organizer and group the papers by category, such as maps and directions, insurance, warranty/instructions and emergency phone numbers. Be sure to label each pocket for easy retrieval.

Finally, keeping your car organized requires maintenance routines. Each stop along the way and each evening empty the trash from your car. Restock the items for your business on a weekly basis. Remind family members to replace items in the storage spots. Be vigilant about your registration sticker and make a note on your calendar when to renew this. Emptying the car is more than stuffing a bag and dropping it in your garage. Finish your routine by putting the items in the trash or in their place inside your home.

What will work for you to keep your car organized?

Quick Declutter

We think we need days to declutter and we only have a few hours. Make the most of your decluttering time with planning, focus and decision making.  Arranging your schedule with decluttering as a priority creates success. With your kids secure and cared for, don’t answer the phone, check email or get distracted with details. Your goal in this 2 hours is to find and eliminate items!  Schedule Salvation Army or other trucks to pick up from your door the next day.  If you are planning a garage sale or online sale, set a date on your calendar.  You now have a deadline and accountability!  Start with the most frustrating space first.  Get boxes for donation items, sale items, distribution items (things that go in another room) and garbage items.  Set a timer and get going!

Here is the most important aspect – good decision making.  Be ruthless with items you no longer use.  If it has become a burden to care for it, purge it.   If it is broken, you can can list it on www.freecyle.org.  Especially in your closet, keep only what makes you look and feel fabulous!  Be clear on your vision of what the space will look like when you are done.

What does success look and feel like to you? Do you feel lighter? Is there less to care for? Do you see clarity in your space? Share with me your decluttering strategy and your success!

Done is Perfect!

Perfectionism and procrastination sound like opposites but are they really? Do you set incredibly high standards for a project including lots of planning and then don’t get started because it won’t be completed to your satisfaction? Do you put off a project, thinking you will have more time or energy to do it later? More often than you think, perfectionism can be immobilizing you.

 

Are You a Perfectionist?
Begin by becoming aware of perfectionism in your life. Many people do not realize that they are perfectionists. A home with clutter or incomplete projects can be the home of a perfectionist! Having incredibly high standards that are impossible to reach, whether in taking care of your home, completing a project, or in any thought process, indicate perfectionism. By having the realization of perfectionism, you can begin to evaluate what this is costing you and what’s next.

 

Focus on Balanced Goals and Completion
Because perfectionism is stopping us from starting, we need to focus on the goals of balance and completion. Simply put, it is that old saying, “If I can’t do it right I am not going to do it at all.” Start by asking yourself, what is “right” to you? A realistic goal balances your personal energy, time and importance of the task. You can do it well and get it done. Donna Smallin, author of Organizing Plain and Simple, notes that “done is perfect.” You can start by using Donna’s saying to help you put things in perspective, create the balance for yourself and get the job done.

 

Empowering Self Talk
Another aspect of perfectionism is rigid, black and white thinking. Either a project is perfect or a disaster! Using acknowledging, empowering self talk, including kudos of accomplishment throughout the project, leads to satisfaction with the outcome and completion. Seeing productivity, you will feel successful and feel more like completing the project. It is definitely a circle of work and success that stands out then.

 Standards of excellence instead of perfection make a difference in starting and completing a project. Whether organizing a space or any other task, start with baby steps and practice your imperfection. Work at a comfortable pace, allow for changes as needed and review your work consistently. When others offer to assist, welcome their help and disregard their imperfections as they help you complete a project.

 

What baby step can you take to breaking down your perfectionism?

 

 

 

 

 

Go Outside and Play

Being active with my grandkids is a priority for me! Recently interviewed by Grandparents.com (July 1 edition), I was interviewed about my favorite outdoor activity with the 3 grands. http://www.grandparents.com/gp/content/activitiesandevents/everyday-activities/article/13-grandparents-1-mission.html?clktrk=home_feature_stories-1

Pool time is my favorite kid and grandkid activity! In the pool families interact on a totally fun, non judgemental, no standards arena.  It is all about safe, “clean” fun!  Everyone gets time to be together, share the space and get a healthy dose of vitamin D too.  Being active promotes a healthy lifestyle, encourages a life long love of activity, and bonds you as a family.   Outside time is an aspect that nurtures me, creates clarity in my life and is a priority for me.  I want to share this with my family. 

What are you doing to go outside and play?

Make a difference with Cell phones for Soldiers

I am passionate about making a difference. It can be the simplest things that can make a big impact.  Here is one baby step to make a difference for people who are sacrificing for us and our country.  The program Cell phones for Soldiers takes donations of used cell phones and sells them to fund phone cards for our people serving our country.   Not only are you keeping items out of landfills, you are recycling your cell phones for a great cause.   Check out www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com to learn where to send the phones and more.  Happy Independence Day!

Date Night

When asked to give advice to newlyweds, I always answer to include a weekly Date Night in their activities. Daily life takes it toll on relationships, when conversations about finances, kids and work can take priority over relationships.  Date night is one evening (or day) once a week spent having fun with your spouse.  It is a time to connect on different levels, including communicating about what you are thinking about as well as making plans for the future.  It is also the time to renew the fun you had when you began your relationship.  Date night does not have to be expensive or elegant. It can be a dinner and movie in or out, ice cream at Sonic, a trip to a museum or zoo, or whatever simple activity you both enjoy.  Date night keeps communication and fun in your most important partnership. This is just another way your planner  help you prioritize and  empower our relationships. 

 

Others agree too! http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/6544045.html

 

JQ and my favorite date night is dinner and a movie.  What is your’s? 

 

 

Clutter has its cost

Has “clutter-it is” taken over at your home or office? Is every flat surface obscured by paper or belongings? My favorite Peter Walsh statement is about the cost of clutter.  Peter Walsh has a way of saying this in his book Enough Already.  Clutter is demanding, it robs us of space.  It promises everything, delivers nothing, and eventually stresses you out.  Clutter costs us peace of mind and drains us of positive energy. Imagine what you could do with the time and space your clutter is currently taking up!

Choose 15 minutes to declutter your home every day. You can do anything for 15 minutes! Take a few minutes to get items back where they belong in their homes. If items do not have a home, decide if you will “use them or lose them” being ready to store, donate or toss. This routine will get your home or office back to running order very quickly.

Choose 5 items to declutter. What do you truly love, truly use and truly need access? Walk around your home and think about items you truly have not used in YEARS! Do this once a week, and with this baby step, your living and working space will evolve into a clear space.

Declutter your mind with lists. Use paper and pencil to clear out all those required activities, last minutes errands, purchases and more. Keep paper and pencil in your car, by your bed and by each telephone. If you always have access to paper, it is easier to make a list!

Do you have “virtual clutter” – email, forwards, or spam? Eliminate this clutter by using the spam filter provided by your service provider. Hit the delete key for unwanted emails as soon as they arrive. Add a note to your signature line on your email stating “Please do not forward unnecessary email or chain letters to this me. Thank you.” Junk mail and junk email are the same – toss these as soon as these arrive in your box!

Stop clutter before it begins! Before you purchase any item, evaluate how and when will you use it, where will you store it, and whether or not you truly love it!

What is clutter costing you?  Has it cost  you too much already?

15 Office Organizing Tasks that take 15 Minutes

  office organizing

 

Office life tends to be very messy. We have so much going on all the time! We have so much paper and stuff.  It all becomes disorganized very quickly. When do we have time to get organized? 

 

In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey tells the story of a woodcutter. 

A man was walking in a forest one day, and he met a woodcutter hard at work sawing down a tree. It was a hot day, and he stopped and engaged in some friendly banter with the woodcutter about the weather and such.  The man continued on his way and a couple of hours later as he came back through the forest he came upon the woodcutter again who was still hard at and sweating profusely from the heat and his efforts. He asked, “Mr. Woodcutter, how long have you been sawing that tree? You haven’t made much progress. Perhaps your saw is too blunt. Why don’t you sharpen it?”  “I could” the woodcutter sighed. “The saw has not been sharpened for a long while.  But I don’t really have the time.”  We have to sharpen our ax too!  With organizing we are more efficient, effective and productive! 

What can we do in 15 minutes?

  •  Eliminate unnecessary paper from a completed project.
  •   Set up a file for the current project.    
  • Get papers back into their files.
  • Organize your top right drawer where your office supplies are. Is it overcrowded with unused items? Return them, donate them, or share them with co-workers.
  • Make a group of all the items that need returning to others in the office and take them to them.
  • Gather your daily resources, such as company phone directories, directions for using products, or other work related items together and place them on an easy to access shelf. 
  • Gather all your personal memorabilia and assess the quantity. Are there too many family photos, small wind up toys, or other items taking space on your desk?
  •  Delete emails from your “Sent” folder.
  •  Delete subfolders in your Inbox.
  •  Return a phone call or make personal appointments for hair, nails or doctors.
  • Review your calendar for upcoming appointments.
  • Enter upcoming dates into your calendar.
  • Add to your master list.
  •  Review and prioritize your master list.
  • End your day with 15 minutes of organizing, getting things back into order.

 

What are you doing with your 15 minutes of office organizing?

 

 

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