Diane Albright
Certified Professional Organizer
Productivity Consultant
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Back to School & College Tips

This morning I shared “Back to School and College” tips and products with WFMZ-TV’s morning news anchor Eve Russo. These tips are not limited to students – some of them are great for adults at home or work!

A lap desk is a multifunctional tool that everyone should have and that I can’t say enough good things about. It increases productivity and keeps you healthier. I have my very favorite lap desk that I rant and rave about on my blog. It has the best features, comes in a variety of colors, and happens to be one of the lowest cost ones out there. You also can use a 40% off coupon. Read more….

snap_organizerA great way to store jewelry at college or on the go is in a hanging pocket organizer. (Pictured on right.) It can hang on a rod or hook, and then fold for travel. The one I showed is available at my store – All Bright Ideas 328 Main Street Emmaus, PA.

I was thrilled to find XL twin comforters, coordinating pillow shams, a large matching decorative pillow, bath towels, and washcloths all reasonably priced at Home Goods. They all coordinated in an orange colored theme.

One of my favorite finds at Home Goods was an extra tall easy-to-open step stool. I currently use a shorter version of this stool when working with clients. Not only is it a great step stool but it also doubles as a seat. I use it as a seat when needing to reach low places like under a desk or in a lower cabinet. Sitting is better than kneeling!

Home Goods also had some great storage bins priced $2.99 to 7.99. A bin on a shelf increases storage space while also making it convenient and attractive storage.

If you have any questions about this morning’s TV segment or our services, feel free to contact me at Organize@DianeAlbright.com or (610) 782-0636.

Happy organizing!

Diane

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Posted in College, Media Appearances, Moms | 0 Comments »

Lap Desk – Favorite Productivity Tool

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One of my very favorite productivity tools is a lap desk, but not just any lap desk, a lap desk with a cup holder and a penholder. It is a multifunctional accessory that provides increased productivity while keeping you and your computer healthier!

The cup holder can hold a variety of items from a drink to paper clips. The penholder, when it has a raised rim, keeps you computer from sliding towards you if the lap desk is angled on your lap.

First let’s talk about “health” benefits. If your computer is sitting on your bed or on your lap, the computer fan will pull in lint from your bedding and your jeans. This lint or dust disperses throughout the inside of you computer creating havoc on your computer, leading to hardware failure.

Now let’s talk about your health! When a computer is on a desk, not your lap, your arms are raised to desk height. This non-natural position puts your wrists and arms at risk for strain problems. Plus you can’t type as fast with your arms raised, hence making you less productive. Ideally you want your computer on your lap, on a lap desk.

The location of where you sit in a room also plays a factor in the health of your eyes as well as with your productivity. With a lap desk you can choose where to sit. You’ll want to choose a spot that meets certain criteria. Choose a location that allows you to easily gaze further away, like out a window or a doorway. If you don’t, your eyes will be limited to focusing on close up objects, creating eyestrain. Gazing in the distance reduces eyestrain.

Having the opportunity to gaze further away will also increase your productivity. First, it enables you to think creatively and problem solve. By looking off into the distance, you can let your mind drift and think. Here’s a perfect example of how NOT to think creatively or problem solve. Take an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper. Place the paper 12 inches in front of your face. Now try to think creatively. Take the paper away, look out the window, and now try to think creatively. You should see the difference.

The ideal location to sit should also have a solid wall or walls behind you. You don’t want doorways, openings, or windows behind you. All “openings” should be in your peripheral
vision. This will provide a sense of ease that someone isn’t watching over you or coming into the room unexpectedly.

Additionally, a lap desk is great to pull out when you’re a passenger in a car or parked when you’re the driver. It’s an ideal place to spread out lunch or dinner on the go; when doing work on your computer; or when in need of a flat work surface.

Last but not least, a lap desk with a cup holder also comes in handy when painting your nails. The flat surface is great for painting and the cup holder is ideal to place the polish in.

I must admit I have three of the same lap desks, just in different colors. I keep one at home, one at my office, and one in my car. I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% of coupon (coupon link is on Hobby Lobby home page).

Happy lap-desk-using!

Diane

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Posted in College, Computer Stuff, Electronics, Favorite Things, Media Appearances, Office/Workplace | 0 Comments »

Travel Tips & Unique Gadgets

Copyright Cancun Albright

Whether traveling by car or plane, or for business or pleasure, here are a few tips to help avoid some bumps and wrinkles.

1. Use a packing checklist. Print out multiple copies and store with your luggage for next time.

2. Clearly identify your luggage with bright colorful luggage tags or pom-poms.

3. To corral the cords for your electronic items, consider using a reusable rubber twist tie.

4. If you don’t like laying your toothbrush down on the bathroom counter at hotels, use a travel toothbrush holder that keeps your toothbrush standing upright.

5. Have you ever put your hand in your toiletries bag only to get cut by your razor? If so, you’ll appreciate having a razor case.

6. Tired of the cost of travel-size toothpaste? Buy a large tube of toothpaste and refill a travel size tube made for toothpaste.

7. If you like to refill travel size bottles with shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and creams, you’ll love these squeezable bottles with suction cups to hang from shower walls.

8. Label each refillable bottle so you and others can identify what is in the bottle. Print labels with a label maker or purchase pre-printed colorful travel labels, clear travel labels or reusable printed toiletry bands.

9. Store toiletries in leak-proof reusable zipper bags. Label the bag with individual labels for each item stored in it such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, etc. This “list” on the bag will make packing and repacking easy. Also, by using individual removable labels, you can easily move an item along with its label to another bag.

10. If you need to refill travel size bottles, small funnels may simplify the process.

11. Whether you need to touch up your hair with a blow dryer or iron a piece of clothing, you may find that packing a 3 oz. travel spray bottle to fill with water helps you to achieve your goals.

12. Be prepared for unexpected traveling needs. Below is a list of a few items that may make your trip a bit smoother. Store these items in a clear zipper bag. Put labels on the bag identifying what is in the bag so everyone can easily find and replenish items.

  1. Small first-aid kit with Band-Aids
  2. Rubber bands
  3. Scissors
  4. Sewing kit with buttons and safety pin
  5. Lint remover
  6. Scotch tape
  7. Clips, magnetic and/or binder (great to close bags of snacks)

All of the products listed in this article and shown on WFMZ TV News segment “Travel Tips” with Diane Albright and TV News Anchor Eve Russo were purchased at The Container Store.

Happy and safe traveling!

Diane

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Posted in General, Media Appearances, Travel | 1 Comment »

Struggling with Weight Gain? Clutter May be the Culprit!

According to a study by The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, people with messy or cluttered homes are 77 percent more likely to be overweight or obese. 54-year-old Nanette Cooley can vouch for the legitimacy of that statistic. On the Today Show she discussed how she lost 50 pounds after conquering the clutter.

The study “Clutter, Chaos and Overconsumption” had the same results. The study focused on how do cluttered, chaotic environments—such as messy kitchens—influence snacking behavior? How does one’s mind-set help prevent unwanted snacking from occurring? One hundred one female undergraduate students participated under standard-kitchen conditions or in a chaotic-kitchen condition. Participants were also asked to recall and write about a time when they felt particularly in control or particularly out of control. Finally, participants were given cookies, crackers, and carrots to taste and rate. Participants in the chaotic-kitchen condition and the out-of-control mind-set condition consumed more cookies (103 kcal) than did participants who were in the in-control mind-set condition (38 kcal). The chaotic environment had no impact on consumption of crackers or carrots. Although a chaotic environment can create a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices, one’s mind-set in that environment can either trigger or buffer against that vulnerability.

Another study found that participants in a disorderly room, participants in an orderly room chose healthier snacks and donated more money.

As professional organizers, the results of these studies didn’t surprise us. We saw the trend with our clients for some time. Many of our clients that were faced with clutter in their home, had the tendency to be overweight.

We know that clutter or chaos can be debilitating. If you walk in the door from work and are faced with a cluttered environment, it’s easy to grab an unhealthy snack and putt off making dinner. Sitting down in front of the TV or going on the computer may also be coupled with the snack. The extra calories and sedentary choice, leads to weight gain.

We also found that those who had clutter family rooms or living rooms, fell victim to the same trend of weight gain. If our clients were embarrassed by their home, they didn’t invite friends over. With decreased socialization, the tendency to eat unhealthy and be less active followed.

So where to you begin to curb the clutter and curb the urge to eat unhealthy? First, take the time to think about why you are eating unhealthy. Is it because your kitchen is cluttered or chaotic? Or perhaps it’s a pile of papers that debilitates you or a cluttered family room that prevents you from inviting others over to socialize.

Once you determine the area of your home that is affecting your eating or socialization choices, make a plan to get that area organized. The key to success is breaking the project into achievable segments.

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Create the Best Organizing Systems and Avoid Mistakes – TV Segment

channel-_69_wfmzHave you ever invested time and money into getting your home or office organized but over time it goes right back to where you started? Perhaps a friend or co-worker has helped you get organized but even with their great ideas, the organization doesn’t stick, or it may be even worse than when you started.

Don’t get discouraged; there are some simple tips on how to avoid organizing pitfalls and challenges all while creating the best organizational systems that will last.

In celebration of January’s Get Organized month, Certified Professional Organizer Diane Albright shared tips with WFMZ-TV’s news anchor, Eve Tannery, on how to create the best organizational systems and avoid organizing mistakes.

TV segment – please come back to view once segment has been posted online.

How to Create the Best Systems for Staying Organizing

Mistakes to Avoid When Getting Organized 

Happy organizing!
diane_sign_off_75

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How to Create the Best Organizing Systems

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If you are going to invest time and perhaps some money in getting organized you’ll want to create systems that will last. Put some thought and planning into the systems before you set them up. If you follow the recommendations below, you’ll be well on your way to creating some of the best organizational systems, whether at home or work.

1.  Creating Organizing Systems that Work
When setting up an organizational system, make it so it is easy for everyone else to use it. Don’t set it up with you in mind only; that is unless you want everyone dependent on you when they are in need of locating an item. So whether at home or at work, the system should require little or no instruction for others to use and preferably be self-explanatory. That insures everyone else can easily find what they are looking for.

At work, set up systems so co-workers, your boss or your assistant can easily locate what they need when you’re not available. This way if you are off work for a sick day or vacation you won’t get texts asking where something is. Your office can continue functioning without you, decreasing the amount of work left for your return.

To set up the ideal organizational system, create categories and use labels to identify the categories. Remember, the categories need to make sense to everyone else. Labels will identify where to find something and where to put it back. Keep in mind we use 20% of our things 80% of the time. Therefore, labeling will help you too in finding the less often used 80% of what we have!

2. Create Broad Categories and Label!
When creating categories, select broad categories that are general. Don’t create categories that are overly specific.

If you’re labeling a pantry, label a shelf “Drinks” not “Soda”. This way if you fluctuate between drink types you’re still good, now and in the future.

If you’re creating a file folder for you dog, don’t label the file folder “Fido” or “Dog.” Instead use a broad category like “Pets.” This way you’re covered if one day you have a cat or rabbit. Use the same methodology when creating a file folder for your car. Don’t label it “BMW” or “Van.” Instead use the title “Auto.” These broad categories will make it easy for family members to find the file.

 3. Use Alphabetical Order or Color order When it Makes Sense.Within a category consider using alphabetical order or color order if will help in locating an item quickly. For example, in you clothes closet keep your clothes in color order within a category such as pants or tops. As far as alphabetical order, put your spices in alphabetical order in a drawer, or alphabetical groupings on a Lazy Susan. In both of these cases, the color order or alphabetical order is simple and requires no memory of how the system works.

Happy organizing!
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FTC Disclosure: Every so often companies may provide me products at my request or theirs so I can review them for TV segments or my blog. I only review and recommend products I feel are worthwhile to my clients, audience, and visitors. On occasion I may receive compensation which helps to offset the time and expenses I incur reviewing and writing about products. I can assure you, I have turned down many offers as I truly must believe in a company and product to be associated with it. My reputation comes first.
Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.