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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #28

Say NO! Take 15 minutes and go through your calendar and your projects. What did you commit to that you really don't feel passionate about? What are you giving up that you truly want to do but can't be cause you said YES to other activities?

Select at least three activities or projects that you really don't want to do and say NO. Take them off your list/calendar and add three activities that will truly make you happy--or don't add anything and enjoy the freedom it brings you.

The next time someone asks you to do something and you really don't want to do...say NO!! It's the most powerful productivity tool you have.

Effortless Organizing Solution #27

Get a jump on your week! Sunday night sit down with yourself or your family and take 15 minutes to plan your week. 15 minutes of effort will save hours during the week! Review the following:
*Calendar of activities
*Who is taking whom where, when, and how?
*What's for dinner and who's cooking it?
*Who's doing what chores and when?

Let me know how your week goes. Did this save you time? Reduce frustration? Increase family communication?

Effortless Organizing Solution #26

Take 15 minutes and assemble a "while-you-wait" bag. Do you find yourself standing in line, stuck in traffic, at your child's sporting event and wish you had something to occupy your time? You can get a lot done in brief periods of time. Pack your bag for those projects you can do anywhere and keep the tools you need in your bag too. here are a few ideas:
*Read a novel or magazine
*Write thank you notes
*Sort through your coupons
*Write a shopping list
*Pay your bills
*Plan your weekly menus
*Crossword puzzles
*Fill out forms
*Write a blog

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #25

Stop the junk mail insanity!!! Are you just returning from a vacation and appalled at the amount of junk mail you received? Then do your part and stop your junk mail. Take 15 minutes and send a letter and $1.00 to the address below to get off the junk mail list. Click here for a sample letter or you can also register online.

Mail Preference Center
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 15012-0643

Friday, July 24, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #24


Add turntables to difficult places to reach.

I am vertically challenged. So, whenever I find it difficult to reach something on a shelf, I add a turntable for the items on that shelf. This works particularly well in kitchens (pantry, top refrigerator shelf, and upper cabinet shelves).



Turntables also work well in cabinets when you can't reach the back of cabinet such as under the bathroom sink for storing cleaning bottles.

Do you have places you can't easily reach? If you do, take 15 minutes and add turntables for the items in those spaces. You will be amazed at how much easier life can be when you can reach the things you need without getting on a step stool or down on your hands and knees.

Effortless Organizing Solution #23

You have 15 minutes... GO! Use this time to: clear our your voicemail box, put 20 pictures in a photo album, run the trash relay, return an important call, toss the spoiled food in your refrigerator, clean out a bathroom drawer, sort the mail, wrap a gift, fill out a form, make a grocery list, or flip through your calendar and plan for the upcoming week.


If you take care of a task this size every time you have 15 free minutes, you will be organized and clutter free in a very short time.

Effortless Organizing Solution #22

SET TIME LIMITS - If you have to work late or during the weekend, set time limits for yourself. Whether you work for two or four hours, stop working at the end of that time and enjoy the rest of the evening or weekend.

Setting time limits can also encourage you to start a task you have been putting off. I don't particularly like to weed. So I set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off I usually keep on weeding. It's the getting started and thinking it will take too much time that often prevents us from starting an undesirable task.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #21

Take a break! Do nothing on your "to do" list today. Instead practicing doing nothing. Not sure how? I suggest you read Real Simple's August Issue article 10 Ways to Enjoy Doing Nothing. But, then that would be doing something instead of nothing!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #20

Pay your bills online and set them up to be automatically paid if possible.
Take 15 minutes right now and go online to your bank and set up your bill payments online. It's easy and you can set up recurring payments automatically for payments such as your mortgage, insurance, anything that is the same amount payment after payment.

Think how much time you will gain by letting automation work for you! And, you won't incur late fees because you forgot to pay a bill. That's what I call a double savings--time and money--with a single task!

Effortless Organizing Solution #19


Plan your errand route!

Monday or Friday is my designated errand day--depends mostly on my client schedule. Today is my designated weekly errand day and I have a lot of errands to run. They really pile up in a week's time.

I know if I don't take a few minutes to plan out my route I'll be zig zagging all over town. Not only will I be wasting time, I'll be wasting gas--a precious commodity these days. Take 15 minutes before you start your errand jaunt to plan your route and save hours from zig zagging!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #18



Attack your magazine clutter!

I know you have them. Those stacks upon stacks of magazines--some read, some not, and some you want to keep for your "someday" ideas.

An effortless solution to reduce your stacks is to take 15 minutes and sort through your magazines. Keep only the past 12 issues of any one magazine subscription. Toss any that are older than 12 months.

When your new issue comes in toss the oldest issue. This will keep your subscriptions to a maximum of one year's worth of issues. Which, INMHO is still too many for those who often say, "I'm so busy", or "I just don't have time".

If you really want to reduce your magazine clutter, toss all but the current issue. And, unsubscribe to any magazines you are not enjoying any more. Enjoy your new found space and freedom from the guilt of not reading your magazines!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #16 and #17


Solution #16 - A truly functional shower caddy!

I was in Storables the other day picking up closet materials for a client and one of the sales staff pointed out this great new product they have, she said for college students. It's a shower tote by Interdesign. I said not only is it great for college students it great for kids (and adults) going to camp to store their shower necessities!



We camp every year with our kids. Now camping for me is a camp ground with access to a public shower. I have used the typical shower totes with one open bin and a handle and they have worked fine. But, everything gets sort of jumbled together. This one has a specific spot for bar soap, a place for tooth paste and tooth brushes and two bins for shampoos or make up products. This tote ORBZ! keeps everything in its designated place. Love it!

Effortless Organizing Solution #17 - Make a list!

Make a list (preferably electronic) of everything you need to take with you camping or your child needs to take to camp. it will only take you 15 minutes to do this. Save it and print a copy for each time you need it. This will save you time having to rethink year after year what to pack for camp!

Want to save more time on not only a camp list but all of your lists? Check out ListPlanIt. They have these two lists for camping:

CAMPING LIST - Is your family preparing for a camping trip? Are you staying in a tent or even in a cabin? Remembering everything is not easy. Just print out this list and check it off as you gather the items!

CAMPER / RV PACKING LIST - Whether you are planning a trip to the lake for the weekend or a trip around the country for a year, packing your camper or RV is a major task. Your comfort depends upon what you remember (or forget) to bring along.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #15 - The 5x5 Habit for Increased Work Place and Personal Productivity and Efficiency


As a professional organizer, I have the opportunity to assist home owners and business owners with office organization—specifically information management and productivity efficiency. You are not alone if this area presents a challenge for you.

One method to simplify information management is to use the "5 x 5" habit for incoming information. The 5x5 habit consists of five categories of incoming information and five possible decisions of what to do with each piece of information. By grouping items, you can begin to rewire your brain around this sometimes overwhelming chore.

The 5x5 habit methodology is a component of the GO System. It’s simple. “GO” stands for Getting Organized! The GO System is a proven, step-by-step process that can help you find things when you need them and, more importantly, help you stay focused on high-priority activities.

Here's how to break it down:

Five Information Categories

The first step is sort incoming information into one of five categories:

1. Paper: All mail, catalogs and magazines, junk mail, memorabilia, kids' schoolwork, newspaper/magazine articles.

2. E-mail messages.

3. Voice mail messages.

4. Verbal requests from family, friends, co-workers, and others.

5. Your ideas: Your own projects and ideas.

Five Decisions

The next step is to narrow down your decisions for what to do with each piece of information by making one of five decisions:

1. Discard: A basic premise of staying organized is to learn to throw unnecessary paper / information away. Some questions to ask are:

- Will you have time to read this?
- Are you legally required to keep it (certificates/proof of identity)?
- Is there a tax reason to keep it (resale of property/tax basis/annual tax filing)?
- Can you get this information later if you need it?
- Is the information still current?
- Will you actually use it/refer to it?

2. Delegate: Does it belong to someone else, can someone else take care of this, will someone else want/use it?

3. Take immediate action: If it takes two minutes or less (just a guideline), do it now! This is the one piece of advice that my clients tell me they use constantly. If you think you don't have time now, what makes you think you'll have time later? For example:

- Make a phone call.
- Enter an event in your calendar.
- Enter a phone number/address in your contact database or book.
- Sign a document and return it.

4. File for reference: No action is required, but you want it for future reference. File in a simple reference filing system.

5. Requires follow-up or action that takes more than two minutes (anything that doesn’t fall into the previous four decisions). You can place these items in a “tickler system” (1-31 daily files and January-December monthly files) for items that need action on a specific date or in a general action file such as:
- Phone calls
- Reconcile
- Read
- Bills to pay
- Meetings
- Any other action that is pertinent to your situation

Using the 5x5 habit for incoming information and the simple file systems for reference and follow-up/action will substantially increase your productivity and ability to focus on what is important.

The GO System addresses the major issues that cause chaos and disorganization:
- Handling Incoming Items
- Prioritization Issues
- Rational Use of Time
- Project Management Issues
- Email efficiency
- Electronic Information Management

The system is easy to understand, easy to implement and easy to maintain. It doesn’t get any better than that!

I am a Certified GO System Trainer and Consultant and a member of the Network of Productivity Excellence and I would welcome the opportunity to provide practical ideas on improving your workplace and personal productivity.

Call 503-246-0710 and schedule your three-hour individual or group productivity session.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #14

Psst...your passwords!

How do you keep track of your passwords? Most likely on a piece of paper "hidden" away. Not very convenient when you are on your computer and can't remember your password for the store you are purchasing from online.

I have an effortless solution for you. Well, it may require some effort initially to key in your password information, but then whenever you need access to a password it will be extremely effortless. Here's the secret PASSWORDS PLUS. Download a trial today, trust me you will thank me for this one!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #13

MAKE APPOINTMENTS FOR YOU - Take 15 minutes and schedule a few pampering appointments for YOU to recharge your batteries. Today I'm starting a pilates class and getting a massage--my batteries are pretty run down!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #12


Dealing with closet bulge!
Is your closet jammed full? Does the thought of cleaning it out overwhelm you? You are probably making the project bigger than it needs to be.

Set up this one simple system and watch your closet space expand. Place a basket on the floor of your closet or near your closet. Whenever you come across an item of clothing that you haven’t worn in a year, needs repair, has a stain on it, doesn’t fit you NOW, or your simply do not like anymore, place it in the basket. When the basket is full donate what you can’t resell. Set this system up in all of your closets.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #11


Where are your clutter-energy drains?

Take 15 minutes to create a list of what drains your energy in your physical environment. Go through your space methodically and write down anything that bugs you when you walk in the room. The first step is simply to become aware of where your energy-sucking clutter zones are.

The next step is schedule 15 minutes to start addressing one of the areas on your list--pick the one that bugs you the most. You know, that monkey on your back. If you can get the monkey off your back you will gain energy to address the other areas.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #10


Ditch all your unused electronics! 

One of the major stumbling blocks for my clients to letting go of something is, "I paid a lot of money for it.” The monetary value of any item is only that for which you could sell it. Don’t hesitate to part with something simply because you paid a lot of money for it.

Keeping items that don’t serve a purpose in your life today cost you in terms of lost productivity and sacrifice of freedom. Plus it is negative energy. It makes you MAD that you spent a lot of money for something that you are not using any more and keeping that item around is a constant reminder of that feeling.

For example many people are transitioning from the big-bulky computer monitor or TV and replacing it with a sleek, slim, and sexy flat screen monitor. Yet, they keep around those big bulky monitors because they paid a lot of money for them. One of the criteria I use with clients in helping them to decide whether or not keep something is, if it makes you feel bad or mad get rid of it!

If you have unused, unloved electronics laying around that are making you MAD it's time to ditch them. Costco has made it easy for you to recoup some of that money you are festering over. They have a
electronics trade-in and recycle program. Take 15 minutes and gather up those electronics you need to ditch and feel HAPPY about it!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #9


Set your timer for 15 minutes to organize and catalog your library of books. This may take several 15 minute sessions to complete depending on how many books you have. By breaking it down in 15 minute increments the job will not seem so overwhelming. You might plan to work on this task for 15 minutes every day until it is completed or once a week for 15 minutes. The point is to keep at it until the task is completed.

An easy way to catalog your books is to number each book. Record the number associated with the book title and book author in a word document or excel document that you can search to locate a book. For example:
#1/Get Rich Organizing/Anne Blumer, CPO
#2/Eat That Frog!/Brian Tracy

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #8

Set your timer for 15 minutes and organize your spice jars. Discard any spices and seasonings that have expired or you have duplicates of (toss the old/keep the new).

Return your spices to your spice drawer or cabinet in ALPHABETICAL order making access of your spices a snap.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #7

Set your timer for 15 minutes and go through your medicine cabinet clearing out all expired medications, make-up, lotions, and potions. While you are at it, toss away any products you know you will not use.

With what is left group by category; medication, make-up, tooth care, and lotions and return to the cabinet in a designate spot.

For example; medications on the top shelf, make-up on the next shelf down, tooth care on the next shelf, and lotions on the last shelf.

This will help you find what you need when you need it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #6


Clear Out Your E-mail Inbox! Spend 15 minutes clearing out as many e-mails from your inbox as you can. Don't spend this time replying to e-mails. Focus on deleting e-mails you no longer need.

Create three sub-folders within your "inbox" folder; Reply, Follow-up, and Action.

As you come across e-mails that you need to reply to, move those to a "reply" folder.

As you come across e-mails that you need to follow-up on, move those to a "follow-up" folder.

Those e-mails requiring action, move to an "action" folder.

Delete, reply, follow-up, and action are your e-mail filters as you receive new messages.

Follow these steps and your e-mail in-box should remain "empty" at the end of each viewing.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #5


Write Your To-Do's for the Upcoming Week!

It's a proven fact, what you write down gets done. Take 15 minutes to write down on a piece of paper your to-do's for the upcoming week. 

Don't stop here. Now schedule when (day/time) you will do each of your "to-do's". This step will insure you complete everything on your to-do list, otherwise it is likely to remain on an uncompleted list.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #4


Catch Up With Family and Friends! 

Stay close to the ones you love by setting aside a half hour on a Saturday afternoon to talk and catch up with friends and family. Whether it's a call to your parents or an e-mail to a close friend, every gesture will be appreciated without taking up the whole day. Make this a habit and repeat every Saturday or the first Saturday of each month. You'll feel more connected to those who matter the most to you.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #3

Send Your Spouse On Your Errands. Delegating is the essential ingredient to getting it all done! Stop doing it all yourself!! Find the tasks on your to do list that can easily be accomplished by someone else; delegate those tasks and watch your list dwindle!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #2

Keep Your Shoes Tidy in Your Closet! Tackle that pile of shoes by getting a sturdy shoe rack and organize your shoes by type: heels, boots, athletic shoes, flip flops, flats, and special occasion.

If you still don't have enough room after you've culled your collection, place your flat casual shoes like flip flops in this great flip flop holder available from The Container Store.


Put gently worn shoes that you no longer wear in a bag to be donated. Put the bag with shoes to be donated in your car so you can drop them off when you're out on your next errand.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Effortless Organizing Solution #1


Clear the Clutter Out of Your Car--empty water bottles, tissues, receipts, food wrappers, etc. Trash piles up in the car.

Set your timer for 15 minutes. Grab a trash bag and sift through the clutter in your car, throwing away garbage or junk.

Then arrange the glove compartment, console compartment, and seat back pockets to contain only necessary items (including a car trash bag!)

A bit about me...

I love to organize anything! I love to read anything on the subject of organizing. I especially love helping others learn the joy and simplification organizing habits and behaviors can bring to their lives.

Click here to learn a bit about me and visit our websites http://www.solutionsforyou.com/ (organizing services), http://www.instituteprofessionalorganizers.com/ (training and education for professional organizers) and my book web site http://www.getrichorganizing.com.

Anne Blumer

Anne Blumer
Certified Professional Organizer, Certified GO System Trainer and Consultant, and Certified FreedomFiler Consultant

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Certified Professional Organizer

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