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Do Those Chores. Follow That Routine. Excel.

Do Those Chores. Follow That Routine. Excel.

When we feel overwhelmed or sad, we tend to let go of things around us that are not urgent or important. But the last thing you should do when faced with adversity or you “don’t feel like it” is to throw the structure and plans out the window. Instead, do those chores, follow that routine, and excel.

Keeping your routines in place and focusing on what needs to be done, despite how you feel about it, is key to avoiding future trouble.

Let’s say you are feeling sad, and as a result, you recoil and decide to stop your day and your chores. Most likely, you’ll soon have to deal with the same heartache plus all the things you’ve left undone.

Your proverbial strike won’t make your pain go away. Ignoring your chores won’t make them disappear either.

Things pile up, especially those we consider unimportant. So, many “unimportant” things together have the power to take us down and overwhelm us even more. And that overwhelming feeling does not help anybody get over any heartache anyway.

On the other hand, if you choose to keep doing what needs to be done, despite your feelings and the circumstances surrounding you, you come out on the other end with an enormous sense of achievement, feeling in control of your environment. That feeling will feed your spirit to continue moving forward.

I know some circumstances in life take us down, body, mind, and soul. But I’m not referring to those instances. Instead, I’m talking about typical roadblocks that shut us down when they should not have the power to do so.

See you on the other side?

Digital Clutter Is A Thing

Digital Clutter Is A Thing

Digital clutter is a thing. Although it is present in many ways, its lack of physical appearance allows us to ignore it.  This type of clutter appears as a disorganized desktop, misplaced electronic files, multiple copies of the same documents, and misspelled file names, among other things.

Our digital clutter causes us to spend precious time looking for information, going through duplicated files and folders, forgetting tasks, and missing appointments. Digital clutter fills up our hard drives, and before we know it, we have 10,000+ messages in your inbox as well.

Organizing our email system might be a daunting task. However, email is so front and center in our lives that a change in this area can produce substantial changes to boost productivity and increase our efficiency.

Here are some email management tips to start reducing electronic clutter.

Retail Bombarding

How about setting up a folder for promotions and store-related matters? If your email service does not allow creating folders within the inbox, consider setting up a separate email account just for stores, ads, and orders. After setting up that folder, go through your current retail subscriptions and move each one to the new folder. Instead, if you need to create a new email account, change the email address retailers use to communicate with you to the new account’s email address. Then, only check your new retail folder or the new email account when placing orders. Finally, clean out the new file or inbox monthly.

Email and Breakfast Do Not Match 

Avoid reading your email first thing in the morning. When you do, you let someone or something else prioritize your day. This practice sets the day off to a stressful tone—instead, schedule times during the day to read your email. You will notice an increase in productivity in your email response time and other tasks.

“You’ve Got Mail”

For most, the chime of a new message creates an immediate reaction to check the email. Turn off notification sounds that make you jump and see how more productive you become. You lose momentum and efficiency when distracted by email notifications. And remember that the multitasking phenomenon is a myth. Attempting to multitask makes us absent-minded and derailed.

Update Contacts

Add important senders right to your address book. Otherwise, their messages might appear spam or junk, and you will miss important information and dates. Keep your contacts updated for your peace of mind.

Managing Emails Efficiently

Strive to read each email only once. Using folders and category options in the email is a necessity. Use the following categories or actions for each email message:

    • Delete – When the message is not needed now or later, delete it at once.
    • 2-Minute Action – if your response or action to this message will take less than 2 minutes, process the information at that moment and then delete it, if possible. If the answer or action to take requires additional time, leave the message in the inbox as a reminder to tackle later.
    • Pending Matter – Messages with information to be referred to in the short-term future and notifications to remember can stay in the inbox until the time comes to act on these. Limit inbox messages to follow-up and immediate action items to allow these messages to stand out.
    • File – File messages or notifications containing information for future reference. These messages might deserve a permanent electronic file but removing them from the inbox is important.

An inbox containing 4,230 messages will not help improve efficiency or boost productivity – it will hide essential messages that should stand out for your inbox to become a productivity tool.

More importantly, an inbox with this many messages is evidence of delayed decisions. An inbox full of messages of all kinds is no different than that basement or garage, where you keep things “just in case” – no one knows what is in there for sure.

Digital clutter might not be as apparent as physical clutter, but it affects us. And whether the mess is digital or physical, it creeps up every time we postpone decisions and actions. 

So, decide and act promptly and consistently when processing your email messages. Decrease your digital clutter by increasing your inbox control.

Overwhelmed by Clutter? Show Junk Its Way Out with These 10 Steps.

Overwhelmed by Clutter? Show Junk Its Way Out with These 10 Steps.

As a Professional Organizer, I deal with people’s clutter day after day. Over time, I have discovered that most of the clutter found in any given home is things that should have left home but failed to do so. We’ll call it junk. If you are overwhelmed by clutter, show junk its way out. 

Although junk includes trash, it also includes anything that does not serve us anymore, regardless of the item condition. How long waste stays in the home depends on the routines and procedures we follow (or fail to) in handling our belongings.

Those routines determine how cluttered our environment remains. Thus, consistently following specific practices and learning different habits can remove most of that clutter and help us maintain the space in much better shape. 

Handle The Trash 

Have a good size trashcan (13 gal.) and recycling bin in the kitchen. To be functional, these need to be out in the open. It’s a good idea to get matching trashcan and recycling bins (or dual-purpose units). Square or rectangular shapes are best because these save space and configure better to the areas. 

Relying on the latest grocery bag hanging on a doorknob to discard your trash or an 8-gal trashcan in a corner to collect recycling might be an economical alternative. Still, it creates more obstacles than benefits, and it is not conducive to a cleaner kitchen. So instead, invest in good quality tools that make life easier.  

Sort The Mail

Have another trashcan and recycle bin set where you sort mail if this place is not the kitchen. This process goes hand in hand with having an effective mail processing system

Add Trashcans Everywhere

It is easier to dispose of trash when there is a place to do so while we handle that waste. Therefore, place a trashcan in every room in the home. The amount of actual trash removed from homes while decluttering is astonishing. Trash goes on the floor, under the bed, on the counter, and everywhere else when we don’t have accessible trashcans. During the weekly cleaning day, take all trash out.

Be Aware

Pay attention to when and how you experience the feeling that something no longer has a place in your life or your home. This feeling could be subtle as an energetic discrepancy in your body or noticeable, like clothing that does not fit. That’s the moment when you need to act. So take that thing out of your space. NOW.

Handle Packages Immediately

When receiving a package, open the box and remove the contents. If keeping it, remove the outer and inner packaging and tags. Take the item to where it is used or stored. Then trash or recycle all packaging. Do not let those boxes and protective packaging material roll around your home for weeks on end. 

Every Time You Come Home

Every time you come home, especially when you bring bags of any kind, open that bag and remove its contents. Take everything where it belongs. Then trash, recycle, or fold bags to reuse if desired. This process takes a couple of minutes, but better to employ seven minutes each day than suffer a panic attack when you realize that you can’t deal with the clutter.

If anything can go anywhere, then everything will go anywhere. So you want to have control of your environment. Every single day, with consistency, is how you achieve that. 

Donate 

When you decide something is for donation, take it out of the house and place it in your car. Then, place a note on your windshield or seat to remind you to stop by the donation center first thing when you go out next. This practice might sound silly to you, but it won’t when you see how effective this method is. 

Deal with Broken Things 

Upon identifying an item that needs repair, put that item in a particular place dedicated to this purpose. Assign a monthly date in your calendar for repairs. On that day, take the basket, bag, or bin with you and take care of all of them.

Send Stuff Away

If you see something that you should have/could have/would like to send someone, prepare the package at that moment. If this is impossible, place the item where it bothers you enough that you won’t ignore it or forget. Then include a reminder in the calendar for later that day to prepare that package. Once the box is ready, please put it in your car immediately to be shipped.

Take It Out NOW!

The point is to TAKE THAT THING OUT OF YOUR SPACE NOW. Some things might need to wait. For those, prepare a labeled area in your home to place those. As you place something in that area, calendar the action or reminder to take care of the issue.

Is the item too big to move, or is the action something cumbersome you cannot handle now? You can always calendar these things. You deal with the issue the moment you decide about it. By placing a reminder or an action in the calendar, these things will be out of your head – clearing your mental clutter as well.

Do not entertain trash, junk, and other people’s treasures in your home. Your home is living space, not storage space or a dump. 

Your Digital Afterlife – Do You Have A Plan?

Your Digital Afterlife – Do You Have A Plan?

Your digital afterlife or your online presence after death is something people don’t think much about, even less have a plan for it. The concept of digital presence after death has been a discussion popping up more and more with Professional Organizers over the past several years. If someone passes or is incapacitated, life around them still goes on, and things need to happen -whether paying the mortgage and cell phone bill or contacting the insurance company.

Every day, our online presence becomes more a part of how we do business and interact with others. When the person-in-the-know is no longer in control of those accounts, it is not as simple as opening up a drawer in a desk and knowing what comes next.

It’s Not Always That Obvious

Some things are not necessarily obvious when someone passes away:

  • What should happen to the various social media accounts? Google has an “inactive account manager,” Facebook has “Legacy Contact,” and Twitter has a policy that family members can utilize. But it would be best if you planned for these. And what about the sites that do not have policies at all?
  • Are all their digital photos in a cloud account? Who owns what in terms of those pictures? How can a family member access these after the death of a loved one?
  • How about the iTunes library? Amazon Kindle Library? (Did you know you do not own these and cannot transfer them?)
  • What happens with email accounts? What should happen to old emails? Who can access the account?
  • Can someone even get into the laptop, the computer, the phone?

Our Turn

I am the person in charge of paying the bills at home. So I started cataloging accounts, passwords, and details about payments processes. I created a living document that evolves and needs real-time upkeeping.

My husband and I both have a list called “in the event of my death,” which describes the steps, in sequential order, to handle everything in case one of us dies. For example: “People to personally contact before posting the news on social media” or “How to handle social media accounts,” and “What to post to professional networks.”

This file is protected and backed up, and my husband knows where to find it and how to open it. But there’s more to ensure that the backup executors know about this file and how to access it.

Where To Start?

An excellent place to start gathering a list of items you should be tracking is GYST. GYST or “Get Your S___ Together,” is a great website to help you think about organizing all aspects of planning for death, not just digital details.

Digital Beyond has a robust list of online companies in the market for managing post-death information. Many of these companies can help you store the information that you are gathering. Digital Beyond also maintains a list of states that have enacted laws related to digital estate management. They also offer sample legal language for you to include in your Power of Attorney or Wills to address control issues.

Your Afterlife Plan Needs Maintenance

This process isn’t something you do once and leave aside. It requires essential upkeep:

  • Update the passwords if you’ve changed them (This is assuming you’re not using a password management system that records changes automatically)
  • Add new accounts as you open them and delete those you close
  • Make sure that the people who need to know where this information is, know how to access it

A Conversation That Should Not Wait

The online presence after death isn’t just a topic for addressing with aging parents; this is something that impacts everyone at some point or another. Therefore, it is rather urgent to have plans of this nature if these don’t exist.

Please do not wait until it is too late and do not delay this conversation, as unpleasant as it can be. It is in your best interest (and the interest of yours), to make these plans thoroughly and on time.

I Have (Absolutely) Nothing To Wear

I Have (Absolutely) Nothing To Wear

“I have NOTHING to wear” (sigh!)

Is this what you proclaim when facing the closet each morning?

We have heard it countless times — we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. It is wardrobe fatigue (I totally made that up just now). But, yes, it does get boring.

Look Well Put-Together All The Time

I bet you did not know that it is entirely possible to look well put together every day without repeating an ensemble for at least a year.

I am not referring to the wardrobe capsule in this instance. The wardrobe capsule makes your closet more manageable and enjoyable by using better quality, fewer clothing pieces.

But whether you have a few pieces in your closet or a closet packed to the brim, I bet you have never used your clothing collection to its fullest potential.

That is where Stylebook comes in. Stylebook is a game-changer app that helps you maximize the use of your clothes. And by the way, this app is super fun to use (addictive almost).

What Is Stylebook

Stylebook is your closet in virtual format, at your fingertips. It starts with cataloging pictures of your clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories so that you can combine these into infinite outfit possibilities.

You can import pictures of clothing both from the web and your closet. The source does not matter- your clothing pieces will look like they belong in a magazine. The app shows you how to achieve this with minimal effort.

Once you upload your wardrobe into the app, you can record all kinds of details about each piece for future reference (fabric composition, color, size, brand, how to launder it, and more).

Stylebook helps you prepare packing lists for trips, keeps statistics on the styles and colors most worn, and even lets you fill your app calendar with outfits for each day. This feature eliminates the chance of repeating outfits at the same gatherings. (Yes, I know!!)

Befriend Your Closet Again

Imagine approaching your closet with the certainty of what to wear every day, no matter the season, and knowing that whatever you choose will look amazing.

The Stylebook app removes the bore of wearing the same things over and over or the same way, eliminates the stress from the process of getting dressed, and ensures you always look stylish.

The Stylebook app comes loaded with fashion articles, clothing care tips, images to get you started populating your virtual closet, and even a clipper tool to capture and input items you would love to get from your favorite websites.

Once a wardrobe is cataloged, you can seriously get addicted to playing with the possibilities your closet holds. However, it takes some time to include all your clothes, shoes, and accessories in the app — it is the most time-consuming part. But every person who spends time, effort, and money organizing a closet deserves to get on board with this app. It is the cherry on the sundae!

Did I mention that the stylebook app works equally well for men and children? Check it out!

If you need help get this going for you, reach out to us. We’ll be thrilled to help you with this project.


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