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How to Spring Clean and De-clutter

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
April 27th, 2014

Make de-cluttering quick and easy. Use our de-cluttering categories for sorting. Designate three boxes or bags: Giveaway, Throwaway, and Put Away. Print these de-cluttering categories and then fold to make “tent” cards.

The Giveaway box is for those items that you no longer need, wear, use, or want. Pass these items on to someone in need or to a local charity. When donating items to a charity request a receipt for tax purposes. If you are not sure how much your donated items are worth, view Goodwill’s Donation Value Guide.

The Throwaway box is for those items that are broken or too worn for reuse. Try to recycle these items. Click to find out where to recycle specific items in your community or learn recycling guidelines.

The Put Away box is for items that belong in another room. Wait until the end of your de-cluttering session to put items away. If you leave the room during the de-cluttering session you many never come back. Remember to save time at the end for clean up. If you don’t clean up, your project may look worse than when you started.

There is a fourth category that should be used with extreme caution. This only-if-absolutely-necessary category is Another Day. This category is for items that you know you should not keep but you just can’t let go of no matter how hard you try. You know, those jeans that haven’t fit in 20 years or a gift that was never on YOUR wish list but you are reluctant to part with. Toss these items into the Another Day box so you don’t delay the de-cluttering process. When you finish de-cluttering, revisit this box for additional tossing. Now that you are on a de-cluttering roll, you should be able to let go of items more easily.

Once you have de-cluttered, organize what you have left by creating designating places for everything. The system or places you create should be so simple and easily understood that it takes little or no instruction from you so others can quickly understand and follow. Label each designated place so you and your family members can easily locate items AND put them back. Labeling is the key to maintain organization.

Now that the de-cluttering process has been completed it is time for the actual cleaning.

Happy spring cleaning and de-cluttering!
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Posted in Clutter Busters, General, Go Green | 0 Comments »

Tips on How to Spring Clean & De-clutter

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
March 21st, 2013

Wondering where to begin with spring cleaning? The first step to spring cleaning is de-cluttering. De-clutter one room at time by using our de-cluttering categories. Start with the room that will have the most impact for you and your family. Be sure to set a realistic goal in the time you have allotted on a given day for de-cluttering. Be sure to save time at the end for clean up. Even if you have just 10 minutes a day to devote to de-cluttering, it will help.

Items that you no longer need consider donating or recycling. If you struggle with where to donate or recycle items view our comprehensive list of where to donate or recycle. Request a receipt when donating items. This will allow you to take a tax deduction. To learn the value of items in good condition go to Goodwill’s Donation Value Guide.

Be sure to research the recycling laws in your state. Pennsylvania has a new electronic recycling law. Beginning Jan. 24, 2013 desktop computers, laptop computers, computer monitors, computer peripherals, televisions, and any components of such devices may no longer be disposed in Pennsylvania with municipal waste. Click to learn more about the PA electronics recycling law.

If you struggle with what to keep and what to toss in your clothes closets, turn all of your hanging clothes so the hanger is going over the rod the opposite way. After you wear and launder an item, put it back in your closet with the hanger going over the rod the normal way. At the end of the season you’ll easily be able to see which items you didn’t wear by looking for hangers that are going the opposite way. This also works great for kids clothing and a spouse’s.

Once you have de-cluttered, organize what you have left by creating designating places for everything. Label each spot so you and your household members can easily locate and put back items. Labeling is the key to maintain organization.

Once you have de-cluttered, keep an ongoing giveaway box. Then every time you come across something you no longer need or want, you can toss it in the box with the goal to giveaway or donate. By keeping an ongoing box (your garage or coat closet is great place) you’ll never have to go through a massive de-cluttering project again.

Every household needs a few set categories to reduce clutter. Click to print labels for our 5 top categories to keep clutter at bay.

Happy spring and happy de-cluttering!
Diane

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Posted in Clutter Busters, General, Go Green | 1 Comment »

Simplify & Organize Your Life Data: at your fingertips anytime, anywhere

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
January 22nd, 2013

Today’s technology has provided us with information and data overload. Not only are we overloaded with data but we need the information at our fingertips. We are inundated with login names and passwords as well as the web addresses for banks, credit cards, retail stores, utility suppliers, medical offices, schools, colleges, the IRS, and the list goes on and keeps growing.

Coupon Code: 69News

Coupon Code: 69News

Beyond login and passwords we also need easy access to our identification numbers such as driver license, social security number, medical insurance, car insurance, school and work ID’s, etc. It isn’t possible for one person to remember all of this information. To compile the problem, the information needed is multiple by the number of people in your family. If you have five people in your house like I do, the amount of information is five times as much.

I rarely go to my wallet or file folder to retrieve information. Instead I open up a file on my computer, login and access the needed information whether it is a password, account number, web address, or the social security number of one of my children. If I am completing an electronic document, I just copy and paste the needed information right into the electronic form. If it is a piece of paper I am filling out, I just jot down the information with little effort. Storing all my information in one place has saved me so much time and stress. I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

I searched a long time to find the right piece of software to organize my family’s data. Security, simplicity, and mobility were my top priorities. I wanted tight security (tighter than banks) and mobility to have access whenever and wherever. I also knew that if it wasn’t simple to setup and use, I wouldn’t continue to use it.

A colleague introduced me to CBData Systems, a software to collect and store a plethora of information. CBData Systems met and exceeded my top three priorities: security, simplicity, and mobility. If you decide you would like to purchase the software, you can use the coupon code 69News for $11 off your purchase (a coupon I requested for a segment on Channel 69 News).  To learn more about CBData Systems go to www.CBDataSystems.com (CBData is also known as CareBinders).

Feel free to e-mail us at Organize@DianeAlbright.com if we can answer any questions or help get you started! 

Happy organizing!

 

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Posted in Computer Stuff, General, Technology Made Simple, Time Management | 0 Comments »

Free Packing Checklist – Business or Vacation Travel

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
June 2nd, 2011

Do you wish you had a magical Disney wand to wave and have your luggage packed with everything you need? While I can’t provide you that magical wand, I can help you to be more efficient at packing and take some stress out of the process.

Whether you are packing for a business trip or family vacation, remembering what you need to pack can be daunting.  If you forget to pack an essential item, a great summer vacation or superb business trip may turn into a trip with obstacles.

Whether you pack well in advance or are always up late the night before a trip packing, the key to packing quickly and efficiently is having a packing checklist to refer to. Relying on memory alone can be risky. A “what to pack list” will keep you focused and provide you with confidence during the packing process. 

You’ll want to create a packing list that can be used trip after trip. Start by creating a comprehensive list that includes all the items you’ll want for travel in the summer and non-summer months as well as items for business and non-business trips.

As I mentioned, I can’t provide you a magical Disney wand but I can provide you a comprehensive packing checklist so you won’t need to create one from scratch. Feel free to download Diane Albright’s Free Packing Checklist by going to www.DianeAlbright.com/free_packing_checklist.

The next time you are preparing for a trip, print a copy and cross-off the items you won’t need this time around. As you begin gathering items, keep the list at hand as you walk around your house or apartment. As you collect the items, place them along side of your luggage and check off the items on your list. Once you have all of your items collected as well as the clothing you need, you are ready to begin packing your suitcase.

If you want to fine tune your packing list a bit further, place your list in your suitcase on your next trip. If you find yourself in need of an item while you are away, add the item to your list. When you return home from your trip, update your comprehensive list with any added items. With this tweaked list, you’ll have the perfect packing checklist and be well prepared for upcoming travel.

Here are additional tips and tricks that may be helpful in planning your next trip:

Luggage to Love

Suitcase Packing Made Easy

How to Find Low Air Fare

Save Money on Hotel Stays

Car Rentals for Less

Preventing Travel Mishaps

Wishing you fabulous vacations and travel,

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Posted in General, Moms, Summer, Time Management, Travel | 2 Comments »

How to Clear Off Your Desk

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
November 10th, 2010

According to the P-Touch Means Business survey, 87% of office workers say when their workspace is disorganized they feel they are less productive than when their workspace is organized. Also, 86% agree that having a disorganized workspace is unprofessional.

To help clear off your desk, create and label a file folder with the title “Pending.” In this file folder place all papers that are waiting for another person’s response or action. Typically these are papers that you don’t want to forget about but you can’t file or toss until another person responds. For example, you may be waiting for an approval, an edit, or signature. Look in the folder periodically to make sure the action needed has taken place. Keep the papers in the pending folder until the response is received. If you find you are hanging onto emails for this same reason, you may want to duplicate this same idea by creating a “Pending” folder in your email inbox. Once you receive the needed response, delete the “pending” email.

Do you have piles of papers on your desk due to projects you’re working on? If so, you probably fear “out of sight, out of mind.” To keep those papers in sight but organized, first group together the papers by project name. Next, set up a file folder for each project. If there are too many papers to fit in a file, don’t worry. Place either the file folder or pile of papers for each project in a desk top file or bin. Label the bin or file folders with the name of the project. Standing the papers upright will take up less space and provide you easy access to each project.

Lastly but just as important, don’t wait until the last hour of the day to clear off your desk. Start to restore the order of your desk or workspace one hour before the end of your day. This way if you discover an item that needs to be dealt with the same day, you won’t need to stay past quitting time.

Happy clearing-off-your-desk!

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Posted in General, Office/Workplace, Paper Management | 0 Comments »

Realistic Task List

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
November 10th, 2010

Stressed and overwhelmed with a long “To Do” list? Then put that overwhelming “To Do” list aside and create a brand new one that only lists the three most important tasks to work on today. Now you will have a realistic “To Do” list and you will end the day with a feeling of accomplishment instead of a feeling of failure.

Cross-off each task as you accomplish it. Hopefully you will accomplish 100% of your list. If you don’t, save the unfinished task for the following day.

At the close of each day create a new 3-item task list for the next day. Never put more than three items on your list. If you accomplish all three tasks and have time for another, choose another task to work on.  Keep your long overwhelming “To Do” list off to the side as a resource to select tasks from.

Happy sense of accomplishment!

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Posted in General, Office/Workplace, Time Management | 1 Comment »

 

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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.
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