Organization Tip of the Week #4

File every day. If you only have one or two pieces of paper to file, you likely wouldn't see the task as so daunting.

Organization Tip of the Week #3

Keep a basket on the stairs for items that belong upstairs.

In our house, everyone has to check the basket prior to going upstairs to make sure there is nothing in the basket that belongs to them. Anyone going upstairs is responsible for getting their own items back to their room.

Organization Tip of the Week #2

When I hosted a baby shower a few years ago, the attendees while at the shower filled out envelopes with their own name and address. When it came time to for the mother-to-be to send her thank you notes, poof, the hard part was already completed for her.

This could be done for a bridal shower also. This simple system can be a great help to a bride-to-be or expectant mommy!

Which Glue?

Need some glue advice, this interactive site -- This to That -- recommends the best glue depending on what two surfaces you want to stick together.

Organization Tip of the Week

As a busy mom, occasionally we have to swing through a drive-through for a quick meal in appointments and evening activities. Eating in the car can be hard for kids to manage a drink, sandwich, and fries without making the backseat a total mess.I keep a couple of shoe boxes in the backseat for this purpose. They can lay a napkin on the bottom and it holds their food nicely in their own little tray. Spills of ketchup or crumbs remain in the box--not on my seats. I use plastic shoe boxes that I purchased specifically for this purpose. It is nice, since it can be easily wiped out when you are finished and reused.

7 Habits to Ensure You're Being Efficient

Efficiency is the new buzz word with increased concern about the environment being energy efficient. But what about our own ability to be efficient both at home and at work? What does being efficient mean to you?

A dictionary defines efficiency as 'the state or quality of being efficient; competency in performance or the accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort.'

Make sure you own time and not the other way around. This article and the ensuing tips are not about striving for perfection, but instead about allowing yourself the opportunity to make better use of your time throughout the day.

Organizing and simplifying your life are important steps to be taken in order to be the most efficient you can be. A well organized office space or home will help you stay efficient.

Above all, when thinking about increasing your efficiency rate, remember to take care of yourself. Good food, plenty of rest, lots of water, and exercise will allow you to function at your best.

1. Schedule your day.
Either at the beginning of each day or the night before, plan out each day. You are only one person and you probably won't be able to do everything. Use a schedule to organize your day into time blocks. Write out a daily to-do list (electronic or in a notebook) and prioritize items by importance.Remember, only schedule around 70 percent of your day. The other 30 percent will be filled with interruptions, travel time between appointments and errands, and, sometimes, emergencies.

2. Prioritize.
List to-do items by order of importance and label each item by importance and urgency. Make items that are extremely important stand out by marking them with red ink, a highlighter, or a star. Only focus on a limited number of actions per day.

3. Multi-task small projects and details.
Although, multi-tasking does not work for everyone or every project (note: I wouldn't suggest trying to multi-task while writing a term paper), cooking supper while talking on the phone, or ironing while watching TV or listening to the radio can be effective. Try reading a book on the subway or bus, or a book on tape while driving to and from work. It's more efficient and a good use of time to do simple tasks simultaneously.

4. Say NO more often.
Recognize what your priorities are. If someone requests something of you that you are unable to do comfortably or does not fit into your priorities, just say no.

5. Delegate as much as possible.
You can't do everything alone. Allow others around you to help out. Allow friends, family, co-workers, your partner, or your children to assist around the house and/or office. Many people find this difficult because they feel they are the only one who can do it right. Start off with small steps. Don't hand over an entire project, but instead a step that will save you time and energy. Make sure you remember to thank these people appropriately.

6. Organize.
The more things that are organized both within the home and work environment, the faster work will get finished and the higher quality your work will be. Make lists for yourself and others.

7. Control your procrastination.
Many of us are procrastinators at heart, although for different reasons. One common phrase used to help combat procrastination is 'do the worst thing first.' At the beginning of each day, do the one item that stands out the most on your to-do list, or your most dreaded item. Set daily goals for yourself and plan lots of rewards.

Avoid Vacation Clutter

When navigating organizational landmines, one of the most explosive are sentimental items like souvenirs from vacations. Tied to our souvenirs are memories of vacations gone by . . . carefree days, exploring new destinations, relaxing.

But truly, how many travel-themed t-shirts does a person need? There must be a better way to hang-on to the memory of a vacation without overstuffing our knickknack shelf or T-shirt drawer. (And there is!) With a smidge of creativity, your travel mementos can fill your home with inspiration, function, and sometimes add a bit of organizational bliss.

Here are some ideas:

Avoid the traditional t-shirt store and instead, look for interesting items in antique shops.

Refrigerator glass or Pyrex dishes. Small, square dishes and their corresponding lids make fun and colorful storage. Use them to corral jewelry in the bedroom or to organize small office supplies in a drawer.

Ceramic bowls. Little bowls are great for storing all sorts of items around the house and since they’re opaque, no one will be the wiser. Anything small can be stashed in a pretty ceramic dish. You could use a ceramic bowl for matches, small make-up items, or hair accessories.

Small wooden crates. Antique wooden crates, once used for items like cheese and Coca-Cola, are organizing gems. The larger crates can be used as a fun and funky in-box in your office or on the kitchen counter, while smaller crates can be used to house seasoning packets in the kitchen.

Antique glass jars. From corralling pocket change to buttons, antique mason jars are an organizing classic—a great find on any occasion. And when they can serve as a reminder of a vacation gone by, even better.

Ceramic trays and dishes.

If carting home organizing containers after your next trip doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, here are some ideas for travel mementos that will help you avoid clutter while holding the memory of your trip close to your heart. Simply look for items that are inspiring to you and that you’ll use and enjoy having in your home.

Artwork. A painting, print, or ceramic tile makes a timeless souvenir that will add a dash of color and inspiration to your home for years to come. If you’re flying, consider purchasing a rolled print and framing it when you get back home.

Charms or other jewelry. Let’s talk about timeless! A charm bracelet is the perfect way to commemorate a lifetime of vacations and other milestones, without adding an ounce of clutter to your home. I have a charm bracelet I’ve been adding to since I was a child, back when we used to travel across the country in our gigantic, brown station wagon. One of the highlights of these vacations was searching for the perfect sterling silver charm to add to my bracelet. Consider starting your own charm bracelet or look for other interesting jewelry pieces you’ll enjoy wearing when you return home.

Coffee mugs. A coffee mug is an obvious souvenir choice—it’s small, traditional and functional. There are times when a traditional souvenir is the perfect choice. Just keep in mind if you need another mug and if you’ll actually use it once you return home.

At the end of the day…here’s the true test of the perfect travel memento -- it’s something that will extend your memory of a wonderful life experience without becoming a clutter burden when you return home.

If you like the idea of searching for creative organizing souvenirs, keep these tips in mind on your next trip:

Consider purchasing one big-ticket item instead of bringing home a bunch of small things. One really great item will create a wonderful and long lasting reminder of your vacation. Plus, chances are if you splurge on one item, you’ll love it for the long haul.

Leave space in your suitcase or bring along an empty one. Keep in mind that airlines change their travel policies from time to time. Make sure you’re aware of current regulations and plan accordingly. You may prefer (and find it less expensive!) to have items shipped from your travel destination back to your home.

Wrap fragile items in your t-shirts and other garments to keep them safe during travel. Or, ask the shop to wrap your fragile items in packing paper to be extra sure.

If you’re flying, reserve your carry-on space for your most fragile and important items.

Remember, a carefully selected souvenir can fill your home with inspiration and sometimes even a bit of organization. On your next vacation, travel safely and shop creatively.

Bon voyage!