Organize Your Purse: Organize Your Life

Talking with a friend recently she had an AHA! moment and started digging into her purse. She said she had a number for someone I could talk to about that topic and would share it. She began pulling out wallets and papers and beauty items and ink pens and loose change and fussing about not being able to find it and needing to get that purse together. As I watched I quickly realized I needed to help my friend.  I took her purse and pulled everything out then started walking her through the process of making SPACE. I had extra paper clips in my bag and we made quick time of it because she had to go. She thanked me for my help adding she was glad we did it and she felt like she knew where her life was going today because she depended on her purse as a catchall.  Guess I hadn’t thought that for some ladies organizing your purse could be the first step to reorganizing your life.  In just 15 minutes we were able to go through everything in her bag, setting aside what didn’t belong and bundling what she wanted to keep.  We didn’t find the contact info but we did find a need for a new tool: a purse organizer.  I recommended a few to her and have included them along with some additional solutions in the below list.

1. Get a better wallet
This version has lots of slip pockets for cards and monies.  It is a slim
version that will fit easily into your favorite bag.

wallet on string

Keep it simple with a wallet on a string. You have limited space to carry items around and they have built in card holders and pockets to streamline your contents.  This one can also double as your wallet in a larger bag. 

2. Maximize built-in features
A perfect purse is hard to find. I personally have one of these and love it.  I use the pockets on the side for my cell phone and serenity prayer
bracelet.  The inside is flanked by two side drop pockets on one side and a zipper on the other side.  The full length zipper pocket in the center
gives added options for small items and separating my purse organizer.  

tignanello purse1tignanello purse2

 3. Try an insert purse perfectorpurseket
Removable purse organizers provide the extra compartments when your purse isn’t internally equipped to keep your contents neat.  A couple of my favorites are shown here: the Purseket and the Purse Perfector, which I currently carry.  

4. Give yourself some options 
Pill organizer having to follow a daily medication  nutrition routing. You can try an organizer with a pouch for each day of the week or a hard case labeled for each day.  

 PurseN makeup organizer Makeup case:  This PurseN bag is great because it has interior dividers to hold your essentials in place and prevent spills.

If you like to spread everything out this Lay and Go option allows you to do so then just wrap it all up when you are done.  Add your girls only items here also 🙂cosmetic-organizer-mat-green

 First aid items: can be stored in a clean mint tin or a mini first aid kit. 

grid it Electronics and small writing supplies: can be stored safely with easy access on a Grid It. There are lots of options to choose from to fit your bag or even be your bag if you want extra items in a tablet or laptop sleeve.

Papers: I am seeing a lot of instances where ladies are walking around with receipts, bills, loose notes, etc in their purse.  Best thing is to leave bills at home.  If you need them for reference in running an errand, carry a manila folder in your car.  For notes use a small notepad you can write everything on or make notes in your cell phone.  You can take the papers and keep a zipper bag for them in your purse like this one.  This gives them a designated place that keeps to together until you get home to get them out.

No matter what don’t overfill the purse. Make sure there is room for you to see into the bag and your hand won’t get stuck.  Also at times you need a little extra space to maybe hold a small umbrella or sunglasses or bottle of water.

Hopefully this have given you some ideas on tools to get your purse organized.  Don’t forget to maintain your new found order- you can build the habit of doing a weekly clean out or just do it whenever you change bags.   We are all super busy and so much goes on in our lives the condition of the purse as portable assistant can easily get out of hand. Help your purse help you by keeping it clean and organized.

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Reclaim Your Scariest Spaces

Wow! It’s already October.  This year is flying by but there is still time to reclaim your space and clear out that scary clutter.scary-clutter-210x250

 Start by understanding what you want the space to be, what will happen here, who will use it, what items are critical to perform those functions. 

 Set aside a couple of hours to sort a small section of the room. Feel free to set a timer if your time is limited and you can only work for a 1-2 hours divide your room into 4-8 sections and start working left to right top to bottom.

SORT the items you will keep into categories that you need for the activities you want to do in the space.  Remember sorting can be into groups of the like items or it can be into functional groups.  If it’s an office you might want to have a pile for the office supplies, the reference materials/ books, the electronic tools, etc. Or you may put together everything needed to make cakes including the pans, the mixer, and decorating items.

PURGE the items that do not support what you want to happen in the space.  These can be donations, trash, recyclables and things that belong in other spaces. Make sure you don’t let recyclables and donations haunt your home for too long. Get them out of the space and off to their new homes as soon as you can.

ASSIGN home to the groupings that you formed.  For the kitchen this may mean designating where the cups may go versus pots and pans, plates and dry goods.  Make sure to get a good understanding if your group of items will fit into the home you assigned.  You may have to be flexible on location or get creative in the next steps with some new solutions. Also take a few minutes to remove any cobwebs and

CONTAINERIZE the groupings of items.  This is a great time to repurpose all of the bins, baskets and dividers you may have found during the sorting steps.  Work on getting the items in the places you have assigned. 

EQUALIZE your efforts.  Maintain your space by giving equal attention to keeping the space in order to balance the time you use the space and potentially reclutter it.

Don’t be afraid to address your cluttered space!  Just following these five steps you can get your space nice and clutter free just in time to decorate for the holidays! 

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Start Again Now: Use the Second New Year to Recommitment and Take Action

carl bard_new start 9-2-14I recently heard a radio show host say he considered September 1 to be the second new year…  I hadn’t heard it expressed that way before.  Yes! September does begin a time of change and transition in nature and family schedules but when I thought about it a little more it made sense to use this time to recommit and take action the same way we do in January.

 Have you ever wanted to just erase that failed attempt at getting organized or take back the time spent on lesser tasks that kept you from spending time with your family?  I can’t give you a time travel portal but I can share with you 3 quick reasons to take action now:

 You’re likely already making changes

With the 1st of September comes the season of change.  Some areas are seeing the first signs of fall and may be transitioning their wardrobes.  Some people are experiencing life changes of school starting and schedules readjusting to more active busy lifestyle. Why not  optimize the family calendar and set up some boundaries.  Didn’t quite hit the goal on that hottie beach body? Now may be time for some coaching to increase focus and keep you from gaining weight.

 There’s a good amount of time left in the year

Starting a new habit or reclaiming an unruly space now would give you 90-120 days to execute your plan and experience success.   Also you don’t have to go all the way back to a castoff new year’s resolution just start by focusing on what you have learned from it that can help you move forward and feel like this year you’ve had some positive results that you can sustain over time.

 One small success can bolster confidence to do more

You know how it feels when you’re making things happen and loving life?!  You’re super confident and will try something completely new feeling you can’t lose. Success shakes off fear and dependency  replacing them with optimism and self-reliance.  Yeah it’s kind of deep but it’s true.  Have more positive experiences, you can change your mind and environment!

I hope you’re looking at this month as an opportunity to do something positive to improve your space and time use.  The biggest challenge is making the first step and deciding to take action.

So, what are you going to start this month?

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Organizing for Emergencies: Preparing Information, Supplies and Response Plans for Emergencies

weather emergencyThis year spring came in like nothing I can remember.  There were several weeks straight when the North and Midwest were still accumulating snow; the South experienced severe thunderstorms, large hail and tornados; and the West Coast fires began again …  The utility outages and loss of property that went along with those circumstances were unexpected and in many cases overwhelming.  Were you prepared for the extreme weather?  Did you have a backup plan in case you could not return to your home?

The Gulf and Atlantic coasts enter Hurricane Season beginning June 1st.  A fire or chemical release is not as readily forecasted so we should be prepared for emergencies at all times.   Several government and community agencies have resources to help you be informed of emergencies that may occur in your area, plan for those emergencies and recover from an emergency experienced.

By planning ahead now, you will have the security of knowing you did all you could to protect your family and preserve your livelihood if something does happen later.

Be Informed on Emergency Preparedness

Your state may have a site similar to that of the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness http://www.gohsep.la.gov/.  The site lists the types of emergencies that can occur in the state and allows you to sign up for direct communication of emergency alerts.  The same site provides Louisianans updates during an emergency as well as after if evacuations were required.

Also make note of the local resources that can provide support services  for disaster-recovery and displacement.  This could be Red-Cross but it could also be a local church.

Get the Right Supplies

Your supplies must at least cover your family’s basic needs: shelter, food/water/medical and clothing.  You should then add your personal vital documents, the information needed to:   validate your identity, access your finances, receive medical care and make claims for your property. Next include items that improve your comfort and then items that preserve the peace (i.e. items that keep everyone entertained and calm). 

Each emergency can impact your home structure and property differently.  If possible upgrade your home and contents to meet the threats of emergencies.  In the case of fire this may mean to pick a nonflammable material when buying new carpet or furniture and getting new smoke detectors and connecting them to the home alarm system.  In the case of damaging winds this may mean trimming overgrown trees early or securing outdoor furniture and  covering windows before a storm.

Remember that information will be provided on whether you should shelter-in-place or evacuate your home.   

Suggestions for basic needs items to include in your kits can be found at the following resources:

http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/Preparedness/checklists/Be_Red_Cross_Ready.pdf

http://www.getagameplan.org/planFamily.htm

http://www.getagameplan.org/downloads/SpecialNeeds.pdf

 

I will talk more about making your emergency plan and recovering from emergencies in the next post…

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Uh- It Costs How Much?!

confused man Do you know the price of your distractions and mental clutter?

Less than 5 minutes of multitasking last week cost me $44.99 plus tax.   That’s $9 per minute and $540 per hour!  When I thought back to how this happened it was all due to a crazy hectic week and trying to do/ think about too many things at once, you know– multitasking.  I went on autopilot for a very short series of tasks I perform each month while my mind churned away at what was next and I half-way listened to someone on the phone.  Little did I know I’d set myself up to spend an hour trying to find something, which I knew had to be somewhere, only to end up back at the store making a repeat purchase.   I could have prevented this with a few simple steps.

1. Slow down and breathe 

Most tasks are not a timed race.  Slowing down just a bit can help you feel more focused and snap you back into the present. 

2. Get it out 

Grab your notepad and do a brain dump of everything you think you have to do right now.  Then prioritize the list taking into account the true importance of the task along with your time and energy constraints.

3. Single- task

You may have a lot to do but that doesn’t mean you need to do it all at the same time.  Focus on one thing at a time: Do it right, knock it off the list, go on to the next one.

4. Set boundaries for distractions  

In my case I could have let the phone go to voicemail while I finished what I’d already started.  Today work, play, friends, family, communication, devices, etc all mixes together to create ongoing overwhelm and a false sense of urgency.    

Often times we rely on habit to complete the routine things that we do.  We assume that we can still do them even while something else is activity occupying our attention.  We also maintain the expectation that because we’ve had a lot on our minds before and still got things done we can do so now.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  To be most successful, we have to give ourselves a chance to get it right most of the time.  By taking on more than we have to we are often working against our best interest and could end up paying a higher price than we expected.

Do you have an example to share on the cost of your mental clutter?

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5 Quick Tips To Create An Effective Work Area

Cluttered-desk-is-a-cluttered-mindOkay, some people can get great things done despite having a less than orderly office but Einstein was one of a kind…  Today I’m just going to focus on where most of us work 🙂

The 2nd Monday in January is National Clean Off Your Desk Day.  That’s a good thing because the average office worker spends 2000 hours per year at the desk.   Make that space easier to use with these simple decluttering tips.

1. Gather items that you use most frequently and store them within easy reach of your usual seated position. This can include key current work files.

2. Place items that you use less frequently outside this area so they don’t clutter your work area, but they should still be easily accessible.

3. Consider getting rid of things you rarely use, storing them outside your office, or stashing them farther away from your desk to save your “prime real estate” for the most-used supplies.

4. File away past projects and those that won’t be worked until far off into the future. Remember to get rid of anything outdated or unneeded. Clutter breeds chaos .

5. Discover more space by looking up, down, and inside: Stash supplies in a plastic storage bin under your desk, install shelving above your desk for binders and literature boxes, and hide clutter in attractive boxes and bins.

Your decluttered desk doesn’t have to be completely empty but you should be able to find the supplies and files you need quickly.  Also you should have enough open flat space to spread out a small project and work on it.

Happy Organizing!

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Getting Your Clothing in Order: A Step-By-Step Guide to a Perfect Closet

Spring has sprung and it a perfect time to refresh your closet for the upcoming season. When preparing for the perfect closet, your goal is to come up with a system that will allow you to maintain the de-cluttered space with minimal effort, while allowing you to make the most of your space, time, and wardrobe. Remember that your closet works in conjunction with other storage spaces as well.

1. Closets should have a clean, fresh coat of light-colored paint. This reflects the light and gives you a solid neutral background to view your clothing against. Take the time to do this now. Give the closet a good vacuuming and dusting, too.

2. Start sorting. Separate your closet into work and casual wear by item type, then group similar items by color. Button-down shirts, dress pants, blazers, dresses, skirts, etc. should all be batched together so you can quickly see and assess your options. Make a separate pile for each category of casual clothing, such as pants, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. Also group together shoes, belts, and other accessories.

3. Only keep your “A” team or current clothes in your main closet. Shift seasonal clothes, maternity, and “other size” items to another storage space, such as under your bed. Many people can reduce the amount of clothing in their closet by half if they follow this guideline.

4. Purge a little more. Once you have everything sorted, you may discover that you own multiples of the same item. This is your chance to get rid of those items that don’t fit, are out of style, or are not practical. (From here on out, keep a give-away box in your closet to make donating easier.) Remember, it’s important to let your clothing have a little breathing room to keep it wrinkle-free, as well as to allow you to easily view your closet’s contents.

5. Now that you can see what you actually have, start measuring. Most clothing needs 1/2 to two inches of space per item. How much of your clothing can you realistically fit in the closet? If it only has one rod across the top, you may want to consider redesigning your closet for maximum space efficiency. Consider simple, inexpensive modifications such as adding a double hang closet rod to double your hanging space. You may also be able to adjust your shelves and rods to better accommodate your space needs.

6. Return clothing to the closet. Organize your clothes to work with your lifestyle. Section garments by type, then by color, so you can always easily see what you have. Hang pants, blazers, button-front shirts, dresses, and skirts. Avoid putting matching tops and bottoms together, since this may stop you from seeing other ways to combine them with other pieces. Arrange clothes so those you wear most often are nearest the front of the closet.

7. Find storage containers that are sturdy and sized appropriately. Use containers you already own or shop for new ones at stores like Target or The Container Store. Sweaters, t-shirts, and sweatshirts line up nicely on shelves with the help of vertical shelf dividers or when placed in clear plastic boxes or hanging canvas shelves. Accessories such as purses, scarves, and belts can be placed in clear boxes or attractive wicker baskets on open shelves.

8. Assign each item a “home.” Designate a shelf, section of rod, or drawer for each category of clothing. You’re likely to return items to this space after every use. Come up with a system that will allow you to maintain the de-cluttered space with minimal effort. Also, install adequate lighting that will allow you to view all of your clothing and shelf space.

Follow these tips to make the most of your clothes closet this spring and summer.

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When Your Office Is on the Run

When your office is mobile, it has to be efficient. Use these simple organizing tips to keep your papers at your fingertips and your mode of transportation neat as a pin!

• Get papers under control by creating an on-the-go filing system. Whether you office out of your car or just need to have lots of information at your fingertips, create a simple filing system. Your local office supply store has a variety of portable, lidded file boxes, or use a simple plastic crate. Label hanging file folders with broad categories, and slide important papers in the correct spots. Or, if traveling by air or train, invest in an expandable briefcase. Make sure to have extra folders and labels so you can create new files on the run.

• Stock a smaller, lidded box or zippered case (try clear cosmetic bags or small Ziploc bags) with essential office supplies. Include pens, sticky notes, paper, note cards, envelopes, and stamps. Don’t forget business cards, brochures, and any other company literature. Or keep an empty cup in one of the cup holders for pens and pencils. Always pack your supplies in the same area of your box or bag. Before you leave, give it a once-over to make sure it’s well stocked.

• Dedicate an envelope to hold business-related receipts. Empty it out once each week. Don’t forget to keep a mileage log tucked into your visor or door pocket if you need to track miles.

• Always have a box of thank-you notes and envelopes on hand to write on the go. Also include postage stamps and return address labels. And bring company promotional materials, including extra business cards, just in case.

• If you have a laptop computer, store as much information on it as you can, e.g., phone numbers, calendars, and client information. This will limit the hard copy materials you’ll need to lug around.

• Keep reading material together in one file. When you find yourself waiting for an appointment, take that opportunity to catch up on the latest industry news. Or, clean out your briefcase while waiting for the train or plane.

• Consider some specialty car organizers. Discount stores offer a variety of them, such as back-of-the-seat organizers, visor organizers for CDs, and auto tray tables. Front-seat mobile office organizers are also available from several manufacturers like Case Logic®.

• Make sure you don’t forget brilliant ideas. Stash a small hard-cover notebook to catch those moments. Or, to keep your eyes on the road, use a voice recorder or call your voice mail and leave reminders there.

• Toss it out and tidy up. Keep a nylon or plastic garbage bag in the car so messes get cleaned up as you go. Take five minutes at the end of each day to empty the bag and tidy up the entire vehicle. This small investment of time will prevent the need for a longer clean-up later.

It Take A Village: Build Your Organizing Goal Support Team

Ever hear the saying “it takes a village to raise a child’? Well if you are not a child what you feel you need is likely not life critical yet it allows you live a fuller more satisfying life. You have food, clothing and shelter but you yearn for greater self- confidence, sense of achievement and peace of mind. Organizing can help you gain all those things. So does it take a village to get organized? I believe it does. Think about how many times you have just been run down mentally by being disorganized and feeling you were all alone. How much closer to happy productive days could you be if you had a goal achievement support team to call on?

You can build a village around yourself to help work towards any goal that you have. You should enlist members to fill the following roles:

Motivator- to encourage you to stay in a positive frame of mind about your decisions and to remind you of the benefits you will experience in accomplishing your goal

Helper- to walk with you as you take small preparatory steps then increasingly larger purpose- driven action steps and to push you to overcome barriers to achieving your goal

Accountability Partner- to reflect your measurement of movement towards the goal and challenge you to maintain all gains achieved.

Take a minute to make a short list of a couple people in your life that could serve in each of those roles. Make the time to contact them next week. Share your goal and ask them to join your village describing the role they can best play. The sooner you establish your support team the sooner you can make progress towards achieving your goal.

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31 Ways To G.O.

Hope everyone is having a great year so far. If you are still working on setting your organizing goal maybe you can gain inspiration from the attached calendar. I’ve put together some ideas for actions and projects you can complete to help you get organized during the month. You don’t have to do everything day by day but I strongly encourage you do a couple of items this month that align to your organizing goal.

I look forward to hearing about your success!
CLick Here for January 2013 Calendar