Today's Blog Post

Product Pick: Brother Labeler

brother labeler

brother labelerOur product pick this week is the Brother Personal Labeler. We have been using these for years now and find them to be the best labeler out there.

Why? Well, here are our favorite features:
- Lightweight – takes AAA batteries instead of AA
- Doesn’t print a lot of extra tape with your label – which is a waste of $!
- And speaking of label tape – it’s the least expensive size out there.
- Compact and easy to hold.
- Easy to type – the buttons are big enough for thumbs!

Get it on Amazon for only $9.99!

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Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Five Tips for Back to School Success!

Back to school

Back to schoolHere are five back to school organizing tips to help you get a handle on things before the homework starts piling up.

Hint: For a smooth transition, make sure the whole family is on board. Kids are full of ideas, so let them to participate in the organizing plan.

1. Smooth Landings – Create a landing zone with hooks for backpacks and jackets, space for shoes and equipment and in/out bins or wall pockets for the flood of papers that need attention.

2. Make Space – Go through your children’s clothes and extra-curricular gear and purge anything they’ve outgrown. Donate what you can and replace only what your child needs this season.

3. Don’t Fall Behind – If you haven’t done so already, go through schoolwork, art projects and papers from the prior year and clear out anything that is no longer wanted or needed. Put items to save in a labeled bin. Better yet, go digital and scan or take photos of papers and projects.

4. Color Coordinate – Kids love color, so use it in their organizing systems! Color-coded storage areas, drawers, and other containers are a creative way of “labeling” your kid’s storage system.

5. Make it Official - A label on something makes it stick. Once a bin has a label that says “HOMEWORK” or a cubby is labeled ”SPORTS GEAR,” those become the official homes for those items. If school and activity supplies have labeled homes, there’s a much better chance everyone can find what they need, when they need it!

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Today's Blog Post

Destination Organization

destination organization

No doubt about it – organizing and decluttering have become household words – you say them and pretty much everybody knows what you’re talking about. But that doesn’t mean that everyone’s definition of “organized” is or should be the same. We all know that it’s easier to get somewhere when you know where you’re headed. So whether you’re on your own organizing journey or trying to help someone else, it helps to step back and think about your organizing vocabulary, most importantly, what it means to you to “be organized.”

When we organize, we create order and structure by putting some thought into how to set up our world – our space, our time, and our behaviors. When we organize, we get our “stuff” together, so we can be more efficient and intentional in the way we conduct our lives, leaving more space and time for what we enjoy most.

Being organized means something different to everyone. And it’s important to remember that people have different levels of organization that make them happy as well as different levels of tolerance for the amount of stuff in their space. Here are some examples of what organized means to different people:

  • Feeling in control of your space, possessions and time
  • Maintaining simple, streamlined and clean spaces
  • Having a place for everything and everything in its place
  • Making time to relax and pursue hobbies beyond the daily “work” of life
  • Meeting deadlines and getting where you need to be on time
  • Feeling calm, cool and collected

Clutter is generally anything that stands between you and your definition of organized. Clutter is a symptom of being less than optimally organized. It can be physical or mental, but we most often talk about physical clutter. Physical clutter is stuff you don’t need, use or love. Mental clutter is anything in your head that keeps you from moving toward your organized state. Going through the process of organizing your physical stuff will help you identify and work on your mental clutter too.

Decluttering, also known as purging or tossing, is the process of getting rid of items you don’t need, use or love. It is one piece of the organizing puzzle that can and should occur during all phases of the organizing process.

So whether you love piles or clear surfaces, getting comfortable with your destination organization will help you know what’s working for you and what you can work on to get there!

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Today's Blog Post

6 Strategies for a Kid-Friendly, Organized Home

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If you have kids, staying organized at home probably feels somewhere between an absolute necessity and utterly impossible. Ok, let’s not kid ourselves, most days we’re probably leaning toward the utterly impossible side of that equation. But don’t give up just yet, every bit of organizing effort you put into your family’s home will go a long way toward maintaining your sanity, even if perfectly organized is an impossibility. So step back, take a deep breath and let’s start with some overall strategies for creating a kid-friendly, organized home.

  1. Take a child’s eye view. Especially when it comes to living with little ones, it helps to get down to their level and take a look at your space. Look for hidden dangers, such as tippy furniture, outlets, and breakable items. Disorganized and dangerous is a lot worse than just disorganized. Create zones, just a like a kindergarten classroom so toys and activities are easy to find, use and put away. And last but not least, choose furniture and storage solutions that fit and aren’t fussy.
  2. Get everyone involved. Getting the whole family involved in the organizing process can help ensure that everyone will be on board with maintaining the new set up. Kids can help make decisions, choose containers, make labels and more.
  3. Simplify. Remove as much excess stuff as possible. Kids are always getting new stuff – make sure to retire or rotate older items on a regular basis to avoid over-crowding, which leads to frustration and broken things.
  4. Make clean up easy. Start a clean up routine at the end of the day. Make it fun – make a game out of tossing soft items back in a bin or have a clean up race, seeing who can complete a task faster. Use clear or labeled open (or easy to open) containers to store different categories of toys. If kids know where stuff goes and it’s easy to put it there, they’ll be more likely to help put it all away at the end of the day.
  5. Organize bottom to top. Prime real estate for kids is down low. Keep the most-used items low and store less-frequently used items up on higher shelves. Also keep items that you want to be in charge of out of reach and maybe even out of sight.
  6. Label, label, label. Labeling helps kids and everyone else in the house know where to find things and where to put them away. If your kids are too young to read, include a picture on the label, so they can help too.

Organizing a home with kids is not about perfection, but about implementing strategies that make things easier!

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Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Set Up Your Home Office for Success

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A home office, whether it’s an entire room or a corner of your kitchen, is more than just an office – it’s the command center of your home and life, and maybe even business. It might be home base for everything from bill paying to party planning to conference calls and more. And whether you’re working on weeding out an existing home office or you’re starting from scratch, you want to make sure you use the right space and set it up for success. Here are a few keys to success when setting up or re-inventing your home office.

  1. Define your space.try to set up your office where mail, paperwork and other important items already tend to accumulate.
  2. Create a job description for your office. Take a few minutes to list out what functions your office needs to support. Having this list will make it much easier to figure out what you need in the space and what you don’t.
  3. Corral your supplies.think supplies for opening and processing mail and school papers, paying bills, making new files, and anything else you need to routinely do in your home office.
  4. start with a quick sort.t need to take action on, and those that require some sort of action. This quick sort strategy allows you to start taking action on top priority paperwork, as you work on setting up an improved filing system without worrying that pressing action items are buried in a pile somewhere.
  5. Stay on top of incoming paperwork. Last but not least, it can help to start practicing a simple paper processing system for incoming paperwork as you work to weed through older files and set up your new office. This might look like:
  • Taking time to go through mail and incoming paperwork every day
  • Immediately tossing trash and recycling
  • Taking action right away on quick “one-minute” items
  • Corralling follow up items with a set of action files
  • Scheduling regular time to take action on those items – be sure to put this on your calendar and practice, practice, practice until it becomes habit.

Whether you’ve got a small office mess, a big office mess, or no office at all yet, follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a functional home office!

 

 

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Today's Blog Post

Closet Questions

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BirchWhiteelfadécor_lUnless you have limitless closet space or never get new clothes, weeding out your closet is a fact of life. It helps make room for new purchases, keeps your wardrobe current and helps prevent closet chaos. But it can be so hard to part with clothes, even those you don’t wear. If you find that you have trouble letting go of clothes and are always justifying why it makes sense to keep them, here are some questions to help you decide to let go…

  1. Do I need it, do I wear it, do I love it? Ideally, you’d answer ‘yes’ to all three for everything in your closet, but you should be able to answer ‘yes’ to at least one for every item you decide to keep.
  2. Do I have more than I need? Just because you choose to keep some t-shirts, for example, doesn’t mean you need to keep them all. Do you really need 4 bathing suits when you only go to the beach and handful of times each year? Probably not. Keep the best and ditch the rest!
  3. Have I worn it in the past year? If you’ve made it through all of your seasons and activities and haven’t worn something once in the past year, that’s a good indication that you’re not going to…ever!
  4. Do I have something better or could I get something better? If you have 3 pairs of black pants, chances are you always gravitate toward the best pair. If you feel you must keep more than one, just choose one back-up and get rid of the rest. And if you feel forced to wear something you really don’t like, make it a point to replace it ASAP.
  5. Does it have a hole or stain? Wear and tear happens, but there’s no sense in keeping items that you don’t wear because they’re not in good shape anymore. Many donation places will recycle textiles that can’t be sold, so you don’t have to throw them out either. Also don’t fall victim to keeping tons of past-their-prime clothes for messy projects and yard work at home. Keep a few options for this type of work and say ‘sayonara’ to the rest!
  6. Does it fit me now? Items you keep should fit you well and fit you now. Pregnancy or a recent baby are perhaps the only reasons to keep things that don’t quite fit you now. Keeping several sizes in your wardrobe for weight loss and weight gain does not work well for most people as a weight management or closet management strategy.
  7. Could I do something positive with it? Many people have a hard time letting go of clothes they spent good money on and/or clothes that are still perfectly useful. But if you aren’t wearing them, they’re not doing anybody any good, right? So sell them on-line or through a consignment shop or donate them and take a tax deduction. At least someone else will be making use of them!

As you review your clothes, make sure you get consignment and donation items out ASAP. Nothing is more deflating than working really hard to clear out and clean up a space than facing a huge pile of donations day after day. Likewise, nothing is more rewarding and inspiring than getting everything out the door and seeing the space you’ve re-claimed. Bottom line – don’t let them sit – get them out the door!

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Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

What is your “Why”?

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So there’s no doubt about it – getting organized has reached ‘hot topic’ status in our culture. Pick up a magazine, turn on the TV or surf the web and it’s clear that simplifying and organizing are right up there with weight loss and stress reduction in terms of popularity. But just like any other major behavioral change, you have to want it in order to be successful – you have to know your ‘why’ and remind yourself of it when the changes feel hard. So as you take the next step in your organizing journey, whether you are just starting out or you’re facing your next project, take a moment to ask yourself why you want to get organized. How does being less-than-organized affect your life and what do you hope will change as you start getting more organized? Here’s a starter list of motivating reasons we can think of, but what’s your ‘why’?

Getting organized can help you…
reduce stress
save time
find what you need when you need it
avoid the over-buying cycle (or buying things you don’t need because you didn’t know you already had them)
enjoy what you have
achieve a goal, such as selling your home or hosting your family and friends
improve your relationships
just plain feel better!

Whether you can relate to one or all of these, or you have your own reasons, it can be helpful to remind yourself of what you’re working toward throughout the process.

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

From Paper Madness to Paper Management in Six Easy Steps

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Most of us are drowning in paper these days. It doesn’t seem to stop – mail, school papers, magazines, and more. If you don’t have a good way to manage it, it will just keep piling up. To keep a handle on your papers, you need a good paper management system. A what?! Have no fear, here are six steps to set you up for paper management success:

  1. Open and review your mail and other paper every day! Open mail in one place with all your tools and supplies. Have a wastebasket, recycling bin, and shredder available so you can toss unnecessary items immediately.
  2. Make decisions as you open the mail. Get rid of anything you don’t want or need immediately – you’ll be left with only the items that require some action. This includes doing a quick scan of catalogs – if nothing interests you, recycle it right away!
  3. Sort what you need to keep by follow up action. For example: To Do, To Scan, To Shred (better yet, shred these items immediately), To File (again, file immediately if possible), and To Save for Taxes. Keep follow up items together with a desktop file – this should be your go-to place for transient papers.
  4. Just do it! Be sure to regularly set aside time to take follow up action – doing, scanning, shredding and filing. When it comes to the “To Do” category, if it will take 2 minutes or less to complete, it’s often best to ‘just do it!’ It usually takes more time to review, set aside, and remind yourself to do them later.
  5. Take Control Today. Put the past behind you and don’t let stress about past piles keep you from getting started. Start with new incoming mail/paperwork first – get your system in place, then tackle the old stuff. Speaking of…
  6. Tackle Your Old Piles and Files. Once you’ve gotten used to managing your incoming paper, it’s time to tackle your old piles and files. Start by gathering everything in one place, immediately tossing anything that is clearly junk. Then go through the piles and decide whether you need to keep each item, and if so, what the best way to store it is – scanned or paper file. Commit to just 15 minutes a day and you will make progress!

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Today's Blog Post

6 Steps to Stay on Top of Your Taxes

Getting prepared to do your taxes can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t been all that organized about keeping track of your tax-related documents throughout the year. Not only do you need to keep track of tax forms you get in the mail (or on-line), but also receipts for tax-related expenses and donations, and it can also be very helpful to put your hands on your previous tax returns and documentation for reference. Of course if you get audited, the value of having your tax paperwork organized sky rockets!

Here are six simple steps you can take to be better organized when it comes to taxes:

  1. Collect and Corral: Choose a drawer or a bin and as the tax-related paperwork comes in, toss it in there. Also, create a folder on your computer to save electronic documents. Once you have collected it all (usually by March 1st), sort it into categories (1099s, W2s, Receipts, etc.) and paperclip each category together. You may want to print the electronic documents, or just have them organized and ready to enter into your tax return.
  2. Contain It: Have a folder or bin labeled for each tax year which includes your returns as well as any supporting documentation. After the six years have passed, you can weed out the extra paperwork and just keep your return.
  3. Go Paperless: Yes, the IRS does accept electronic documentation! Scanning papers or electing to receive electronic statements will help significantly reduce your paper clutter.
  4. Start Fresh: Once you have collected all of your tax documents, do a purge of all your files (paper and electronic).
  5. Keep Track Electronically: We strongly recommend that you maintain an electronic accounting system, such as Quicken or an Excel spreadsheet. Come tax time, all the information you need will be at your fingertips.
  6. Plan Ahead: Create a folder for next year’s taxes. As documents come in throughout the year, you’ll have a place to put them. More importantly, you’ll be able to find them when tax time comes around again.

Check these off, get this year’s taxes done, know you’ll be better prepared for next year and breath a sigh of relief…ahhhh.

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What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

3 Tips for Organized Packing

luggage

I will admit that packing for a trip is one of my least favorite things to do. A little strange as it seems like it would be one of those things that organized people love to do – well, not this mostly organized person. I think it might be my perfectionist tendencies creeping through – and the fact that I am rarely thrilled with my wardrobe. Packing sometimes seems daunting because it can be hard to get just right – when you end up at your destination with just the right outfits in just the right amount.

I often write about what’s going on in my life, and you guessed it, I’m knee-deep in packing for a trip. Since this is a bit stressful for me, I wanted to share some tips that help keep me focused and get the job done – with minimal stress! So here are my 3 tips for organized packing:

  1. Check the weather! Don’t assume you know what it will be like – check the actual forecast before you start packing. We’re headed to San Diego where it is always beautiful and never rains – except that it’s going to rain cats and dogs most of the time we are going to be there. Raincoat – check.
  2. Lay out your outfits for each day. You can change your mind about what you wear on any given day, but this is the best way to make sure you end up with everything you need to put actual outfits together and don’t end up with tons of extra pieces you didn’t need. Think about what you will be doing each day and whether you’ll need a wardrobe change – morning at the zoo, then dinner out. Also add in a few extra options and layers.
  3. Leave a little room to spare. This is a tough one to accomplish, but try not to be packed to the gills when you leave. For whatever reason, things just don’t seem to go back together quite as well when you are re-packing for your return trip. And of course, you may end up coming home with a few extra things you picked up.

 

luggage

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Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429