September 27, 2011

Facebook Tip of the Week

For the past three months, I have chosen Fridays to be 'Facebook Tip-of-the-Week Day.' I've picked a theme for the month and every Friday, offered up a related tip to my Facebook Fans.

In July, I gave tips on Getting Organized for Travel. During the month of August it was all about Back-to-School. September's tips had everything to do with Decluttering.

Now, it's time to select the theme for October...

You have my word--it will not have anything to do with ghosts and goblins or falling leaves. This Friday I'll be posting my last tip on decluttering. After that, stay tuned for some subtle (and maybe not-so-subtle) 'what-could-the-next-theme-be?' hints. Here's the first one--

I'll be talking about a particular room in the home...

Keep checking my Facebook Page for more hints or drop by Friday, October 7th when I reveal the first tip of the new month. Looking forward to reading your comments!

September 20, 2011

The Organized Bride

Brides, I apologize.

I haven't written a post about organizing a wedding since before the summer. I know many of you have returned from your honeymoon and are settling into married life (and writing all your thank you notes). I promise, I won't let you down again.

I have found a website for you to check out and for those of you who live near Frederick, Maryland--you can hop right over to...

The Organized Bride (I love the name!)

According to their website,

"The Organized Bride is a one-stop shop for invitations for all occasions, favors, attendant gifts and ceremony and reception essentials."

Looks like they have a beautiful store!

But if you don't live near the brick and mortar store, they have an online shop where you can purchase a myriad of products for your ceremony and reception.

I've discussed in the past how important it is to be an organized bride. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks so...

September 13, 2011

What's in My Work Bag? The Tape Measure

Do you remember Felix the Cat? If not, here's a little background: Felix the Cat was a cartoon character. Felix had a 'bag of tricks' also known as the 'magic bag.' He always had what he needed when he needed it--and it was all in that bag.

When I go to a client's home, I bring a tote bag of basic organizing supplies. Some of my clients have called it my 'magic bag of tricks' because the contents of that bag seem to 'magically' help them get organized.

What's in my 'magic bag of tricks?' I'll be sharing the contents with you in blog posts called 'What's in My Work Bag?' Today's first nosedive into my workbag brings up...

The Tape Measure

If tape measures were not such an important tool, there would be no such thing as the saying, " Cut once, but measure twice."

Using a tape measure is critical to organizing any space in your home--especially when incorporating organizing products into that space. 'Measure twice and buy organizing products once' is my motto!

I don't just carry one tape measure. I carry TWO. One is 15 feet long and the other is 5 feet long and attaches to a clip in my bag. Why two? Each organizing job is different. I could be organizing a large house one day and a studio apartment the next. I could be measuring a double closet in the morning and measuring kitchen drawers in the afternoon. No need to use the 15 footer if I'm checking out the size of a medicine cabinet. On the flip side, it would be tedious to attempt to measure and organize a garage with a five foot long tape measure.

Tape measures are equally as important to me at work and at home--I keep one in the kitchen. I even carry a teeny tiny 3 foot measuring tape in my purse! This comes in handy when I'm in a store and I need to measure an item for my home or believe it or not, the waistband of pants for my 5 year old who is super-skinny.

Tape measures aren't just for Professional Organizers. Everyone should own at least one for their home.You never know when you'll need to measure the size of your room, the length of your curtains, or a space that needs an organizing product. For a great selection try your local hardware store or big box store such as Home Depot or Lowe's.

And always remember, 'Measure twice and buy organizing products once!'

September 8, 2011

Declutter, Donate, and Do Good

Every Friday on my Facebook Fan Page I offer my fans an organizing tip based on a monthly theme. September's theme is Decluttering.

Decluttering is about sorting and purging your belongings, creating a logical home for them and letting go of the items that you no longer want. Sometimes those items will go in the trash. Sometimes they'll end up in the loving arms of a friend or family member.

Sometimes, they'll end up in the loving arms of a stranger. A stranger who has been looking for that item you are giving away. A stranger who cannot otherwise afford to buy that item new.

As the saying goes, "One person's trash is another person's treasure."

Before you begin the decluttering process in your home, think about where you would like to take your donations to. This prevents the donated items from lingering in your home too long. Either...

Bag 'em up. Put them in your trunk.  Drive to a donation center.


Bag 'em up. Call for a pickup. Place bags in front of your door.

Below is a short list of organizations that accept donations. Some have freestanding stores and some will pick up at your home. All will give you a tax deduction form for your records.

Vietnam Veterans
The Salvation Army

These are the biggies, but don't forget your local thrift shops and donation centers, too!

Where do you usually donate your unwanted items?

September 3, 2011

Is Your Outlook Email Overflowing?

The first steps to getting ANYTHING organized is sorting and purging. That goes for emails, too. Today’s guest blogger is Susana Fonticoba of Home and Office Computer Training. If you use Outlook, you’re in luck. Read to find out how to make your inbox go from overflowing to oh, so empty…

For some people, it is a traumatic prospect to clean out their inbox. “But, I NEED those 2,000 emails,” we’ll hear you say. Not to worry. Let’s take baby steps…

First, in Outlook, sort your emails by whether or not the message contains an attachment (Arrange By | Attachment). Now skim through the attached files and right click the file name, choose Save As, and file it in the appropriate My Documents Folder.

Once the attached files are safely stored in your documents library, check to make sure the body of the email contains no earth shattering information. No? Now delete it. Didn’t that feel good? Do it again – until you get through the all the messages that contain attached files.  

Now let’s head over to the Sent Items bucket and this time we’ll change the sort to File Size and choose ‘Smallest’ first.  Most likely, these will be comprised of such rip roaring reading material as, “ok, thanks”; or “yes, I’ll be there”; or the ever popular “that’s great!” Even the worst email hoarder has to admit those one-liners can be let loose into email heaven.

After this is done, note how many you’ve deleted by moving over to the Deleted Items folder. Jumpin jiminy! You’ve deleted 1357 emails! Are you brave enough now to empty your deleted items folder? C’mon, I have faith in you!  

You’ve done it! Time for a reward and a pat on the back. See--it wasn’t as difficult as you thought. Now, I’m sure you’re pumped to toss some more.

Sort your mail by “From” and see if you can file a bunch of emails from that one client into the folder you made for him/her.  Sort your mail by “Subject” and perhaps those 50 emails around the subject of “Christmas Party 2009” can finally be sent off into the light.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of determining that you don’t REALLY need all of those emails, a once a week cleanup will be as easy as hitting ‘Delete.’

Susana Fonticoba is the Founder and Principle of Home and Office Computer Training in Hanover, NJ. She specializes in empowering small business owners with the computer skills and confidence they need to succeed. Follow Susana on Facebook and and Twitter @njpctraining and learn more about computers, social media and technology at her blog, RightClickAdvantage.