Q?Favorite Tips to Stay Organized for School

Back to School can be stressful…there are additional chores, activities and responsibilities. So here are my top 5 tips to stay organized this school year:

1. Identify a specific place where everything is put when the children get home, i.e. backpacks, shoes, lunch boxes, etc.

2. Stick to a specific bedtime and wake-up routine. This would differ depending on your child’s age. With the right amount of sleep, everyone will be happier.

3. Plan ahead…make up lunches, lay out clothes and sign all paperwork before bedtime. Avoid overwhelm in the morning.

4. Use 1 calendar for everyone’s activities. Pull up the school calendar and put all early closings, holidays and conferences down now. Don’t wait until the week before.

5. Determine your communication with the teacher at the beginning of the school year. My communication of choice is email – because it is in writing.

Here’s to a great school year!

Q?How Do You Help Businesses Get Organized?

At Organization Direct, whether you are a business owner or a homeowner, we work with you and your personality. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to organize and believe that this is where people get stuck.

Your systems and processes have to work for your personality or they won’t work at all. So, we have you answer a list of questions that will tell us your Organizing Personality. From there, we will work with you to develop systems and processes that meet your personalit and allow you to stay organized. It is not “our way or the highway”.

Most of the time people hire us because they are stuck in Neutral and can’t see the forest through the trees. Whether you need guidance, direction or full-blown organizing services, we can help you get organized.


Q?What is the Best Scanner?

I have done a ton of research and if you are in need of a scanner, I recommend Fujitsu Scansnap.


Remember, take the time to set up your scanner properly before you start using it. Think of categories and how your “files” should be organized. This will save you time in the long run and make everything easy to find.


Q?Can an Organizer Just Get me Started?

Absolutely! I’m sure that you see the Before and After pictures on our website (and other Professional Organizers websites). However, sometimes, all you need it a gentle “push” to get the process started. We can provide you with that little push to get you going into the right direction – and motivated to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Q?Will a Professional Organizer Make me Throw Everything Out?

No- in fact, we may just uncover some items you had been missing or forgotten about that we can use or re-purpose to save you money! That being said, we Will discuss the need for certain items, their continued usefulness, their meaning to you, and whether or not there is sufficient space to keep them. Lightening the load is certainly encouraged, but you retain all final decision-making authority.

Contributing Editor – Sara Skillen – www.skillsetorganizing.com.

Q?What If We Lost it All?

This is a question that a lot of people are asking right now.  As parts of the Country struggle to recover from Hurricane Sandy, the first thing that popped into my mind was…did the homeowners have an inventory of their items?  How difficult and how much struggle will it be to file insurance claims.  How hard will it be to start over?  If you don’t have one already, consider developing a Home Inventory for all of your valuables, paperwork, account numbers, etc.  The Mobillogic System is a great way to organize it all.  It is a Cloud system that is easy to use, you manage and easy to maintain.  You can check it out here.

Q?How Do I Find More Time Every Day?

We just talked about this yesterday at a MOPS group meeting.  As a busy mom (or an Entrepreneur), our time is limited and it seems as if there is just too much to do in too little time.  Here are 3 tips that were shared yesterday:

1.  Use Your Calendar – whether it is electronic or paper – it doesn’t matter but work with a calendar and make it your best friend.

2.  Limit unnecessary items.  No matter how big your house or office there is still only so much room – unless you rent a storage unit!  Purge, eliminate and donate on a regular basis.  It will take less time to keep your space organized when you can easily have a home for everything.

3.  As always – chunk out your time.   Spend less time traveling back and forth.  Map out your route before you leave the house or office.  In our area traveling from one end of the county to another can take an hour.  Work smarter – not harder.


Q?How Can I Be More Productive?

Here are my 3 tips to increase your productivity:

1.  Plan ahead – designate a specific date to your tasks

2.  Find a To Do List system that works for you – this may be on paper, or possibly an electronic system.  Get into the habit of using this system.  Click here to check out my blog on the GTD App if you choose an electronic system.

3.  Develop a system and process for your daily and weekly tasks.  Don’t allow things to fall behind- catching up isn’t any fun and too much stress.

Q?How Do I Organizer my Mail?

This is one of those burning questions!  Paperwork is out of control.  The key to keeping mail organized is to handle it every day.  Keep a shredder handy and immediately eliminate all of your junk mail that has your pertinent information on it.  Have a specific place designated to put your mail when you bring it inside.  This will keep it from piling up in a variety of places throughout your home.  Another tip is to set up a system for your mail.  Sort through what is urgent (or hot), and set up a real system that everyone can use.  I could go on for an entire page to answer this question….love paper management.  If you would like further information – you can check out our File It, Find It…FAST system under our products tab.  This is a detailed system that shows you how to organize a quick and easy system to handle all of your incoming mail.  www.organizationdirect.com

Q?How Do I Organize My Candles?

Candles can be tricky.  There are heat and cold sensitive.  I have had candles that accidentally got put into the attic and, well….they were ruined.  My suggestion is to store your candles in a clear plastic container that coincides with their size.  Obviously, tapered candles will require a longer box.  If possible store them in their original boxes, just in a clear container so that they are easily found.

Also, since we are headed into winter very soon, take some time to stock up on a supply of candles – in case you lose electric.  I would also recommend that you stash a lighter in the container.  That way you’ll actually be able to use them!!  Store them in a hall closet or somewhere convenient and make sure that other family members know where to find them.  (This way someone else can feel free to use them when they are needed).

One last thing to think about…if you have tealights or pillar candles that need to be put into a glass container in order to be used, drop a few of those into your storage container too.  The idea would be to pull candles, lighter or matches and something for your candles to sit on in the same storage container so that everything is easily accessible!  Sometimes containers can even come from the dollar store!


Q?Does anyone still “Fall Clean?

Yup!  This is how I grew up.  The great news is that if you need a little help focusing on what to do – I’ve found a great checklist from Smead.com.  Click Here to Check it out!  Thought I’d share it with you.  Fall Cleaning is an important part of purging and preparing for the winter – and a great reminder of how much we have (that we probably don’t really need!)

Q?What is the best way to stay on track every day?

Chunk out your day.  Be aware of what you need to do – develop that To Do List.  And most importantly, identify and avoid your time-suckers!

Q?How Can I Light a Fire Under my School Age Child to Make Sure that they are Ready and Out the Door on a School Day Morning?

Give them an incentive to get moving by setting a timer for completing tasks – like making their beds, getting dressed and eating breakfast.  Any time left on the timer after the task is completed gets “banked” for them to use on a favorite activity on the weekend, such as playing video games, watching TV or visiting the playground.  Track the minutes earned on a laminated grid or by adding chips to a “homemade” bank.

(This FAQ was contributed by Valerie Sheridan, Owner of Easy Peasy Living.  Valerie’s contact information is valerie@easypeasyliving.com.  Click here to get a copy of her Bank Grid)

Q?Do you have a Recommendation to Stop the Junk Mail?

One way I got junk mail almost completely stopped is I would “return” said application marked “REMOVE ME FROM MAILING LIST” and send back to them in their own Free Postage Paid envlelope!!!

Also, when ordering products online, if you can purchase the product WITHOUT setting up an account, then you are not added to the mailing list. Several sites allow you the option of just doing a direct purchase without an account being set up.

Declutter My Space
San Diego, CA

Q?What Do I Do With Magazines?

It is only September and I don’t know about you – but I’m already receiving the Christmas and Holiday Catalogs!  What to do….  The most that I have heard of anyone receiving in a day is 7…that is 49 catalogs a week.  Unbelievable.

To avoid pile management of your magazines, take a quick look at them as soon as possible.  If there is something that you would like to purchase or would consider purchasing, pull out that specific page and put it into your “Read” or “Catalog” file of your File Management System.  Keeping one piece of paper vs. the entire magazine will save space.  You probably aren’t ready to order it now anyway, right!!

Jot down the website of the magazine on the item that you want to purchase….go online and make your purchase – there is no need to keep the entire magazine.  You probably don’t have the space anyway….right?


Q?3 Quick Tips to Manage Your Mail

Sort it immediately and make a decision where it goes!

1.  Keep a trash can handy and drop everything in it that does not have any personal information on it…don’t even bring it into the house!

2.  Shred everything that you don’t need – that has personal information on it….don’t allow it to come close to your nearest flat surface!

3.   Anything that needs to be handled, handle it as quickly as possible.  (consider using our File It, Find It…FAST File Management System)

Allow your children to take some responsibility for bringing mail into the home.  Have a dedicated place that they can easily identify with and drop the mail in that same spot…every day!  This will help them develop good habits.

For your business – follow the same system.  (This is where the File It, Find It…FAST File Management System can be very handy).

Q?Should My Filing System be Color-Coded?

This is something that a lot of people struggle with!  Does it matter?  And, if it does matter, what colors should you use?

Well, the short answer is that it matters IF it matters to you!  The important thing to remember about color-coding your files is that trends can change and what if….you aren’t able to find the primary file colors any more?  Will that throw off your entire system – will you want to redo the entire filing system?

If your personality cries for a color-coded filing system – Do It!

No matter what you are organizing – it has to be a system that resonates with your personality in order for you to be able to maintain it!  Remember….there is no”right” or “wrong” way to organize anything.

My advice – Don’t Over-Think It!



Q?What Can I Do To Keep Paperwork Under Control?

Paperwork is a problem for a lot of people.  You aren’t alone if you are struggling with the abundance of paperwork that we receive every day.   My very first tip is to eliminate what doesn’t need to stay immediately!  Whether it goes into the shredder (to protect your identity) or in the trash, you can quickly get rid of over half of your mail by making a quick and simple decision BEFORE it hits the kitchen counter, desktop or some other flat surface.

Q?What Do You Recommend to Help Organize Files?

We recommend Slide Tabs from Smead Office Products.  They are available at Office Depot (in the store) and online from Staples.  They are clear tabs that can be used on hanging file folders as well as regular manila file folders.  They quickly and easily slide from one end of the file folder to another which makes it easy to make adjustments when a new file is needed.  Seeing all of your tabs so that you can easily identify “where” your files are located is easy with the Smead Slide Tabs.  They come in packs of 18 and are the perfect alternative to your traditional tabs that come with your hanging file folders.

Q?How can I organize my desk?

By putting things away.

Q?Visit often for little organizational tips that can have a BIG impact on your life!

Below are Five Tips to Balance you work Life for Best of Both worlds.

  1. Prioritize the Time in hand.  Usually we fail to plan and work accordingly to the priority, wasting valuable time.  Prioritize your list daily.
  2. Learning to say “NO”.    The recognition of self is the greatest when it comes to saying “NO” to a particular thing or person.  It is not necessary to agree to everything that is asked of us in order to have effective time management.  It might prove to be the biggest landmine to balance in life and work if we keep on trying to make everyone happy.
  3. Organization of Tasks. Properly organized tasks bring more productivity to your business. Each and every task, if organized, allows the thinking time to execute the task. A smooth flow to the events keeps our nerves cool and calm and allows productivity.
  4. Don’t strive for perfection. We can’t strive for perfection in each walk of life, it will lead us to discouragement and stress. We need to know the difference between trying to do the best and being obsessed with an idea.
  5. Quality matters than quantity.

The time spent with family needs to be quality time rather than working on the laptop on vacations with family, it is better to take short trips and be totally with our loved ones.