Is Your Workplace Prepared for A Disaster?

September 12, 2014

For even more tips, be sure to check out FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Management Agency) web site for more information on how you can “Be informed, Make A Plan, and Build A Kit”.

JoEllen

 


A New Way of Counting

July 4, 2014

fireworksA friend of ours recently forwarded an article from the New York Times that we would like to share with you. In his essay Let Me Count the Days, James Collins performs some mathematical computations and realizes that he “owned more staples than I could possibly is in my lifetime, or several of my lifetimes.” He goes on to say that “Nothing says mortality like the realization that you will live only long enough to use up 3.2 percent of your office supplies.”

This post is not about life expectancy, but rather a different perspective on the amount of anything that you own or are thinking of owning. What has come to your mind as you read this?

• Is it your supply of staples or other office supplies? How many do you actually use in a week/month/year? Is buying in bulk really going to be less expensive if you only use half of what you have purchased? Plus, the added cost of storing (and finding) the extras?
• How many un-read books are on your night stand and/or book shelf? Like, Mr. Collins, perhaps you should think about how many books you actually read a month, and then be more selective in your purchases or requests from the library.

• Magazines? How many subscriptions do you receive vs the number of magazines that you really read? Is there some thinning out that can take place?

• What about all the bags you have been saving for another use? Whether they are paper, plastic or gift bags, think about how much of a supply you really need to keep on hand. You know that there will always be more coming into your home.

• Do you shop at place like Costco or Sam’s Club? Buying in bulk will save you money, but will you be able to eat what you have purchased before the expiration date?

These examples could go on and on, but we think that you probably get the picture. Remember, the more things you have the more things you need to care for: to dust, to store, to read, to use….to find….. Is any of that causing you stress? Like Mr. Collins, take out your calculator and do some math.

We hope we have inspired you with this perspective.
Have an enjoyable 4th!!!

JoEllen & Muffy


Questioning What Paper You Need To Save

June 27, 2014

paper pileFiling systems are great, but we often see lots of paper in over-stuffed drawers that have not been opened in years!  How often do you really go back into your file cabinet to retrieve a document that you saved? Studies suggest that only about 20% of the papers that you file will ever see the light of day again.

Before you file that piece of paper, be sure to think about whether you will really need it in the future. If it is for a current project, taxes, investments or legal purposes, then the answer is YES.

Otherwise, ask yourself these questions before your file:

  • Will I remember that I filed it?
  • Will I remember how I filed it?
  • Could the information be obtained more quickly via a Google search?
  • Could the information be obtained more quickly via a search of my computer files, Evernote, or other cloud based service?

Hopefully these questions will guide you to your decision.

Happy filing,

JoEllen


College grads: Time for Self Storage 101

June 9, 2014

If it all is too much for your home, then consider a small storage unit—they come in a variety of sizes, and perhaps you know of others who are willing to share the space and expense.  Check out a facility near you and do the math—–reclaiming that extra space may not be all that expensive.

JoEllen


Preparing for Summer Fun!

May 19, 2014

outdoor partyMemorial Day is just around the corner—-a time to start thinking about backyard BBQs and dining on the deck!

Do you enjoy having people over for picnics and cookouts in the summertime, but are afraid to ask people over at the last minute because it’s too much work? Here are some tips on how to be prepared for an impromptu party!

Half the battle of having guests over for dinner is having supplies on hand. Because summer allows us to have more casual outdoor events, plannng ahead is easy! Your stockpile should include: disposable tablecloth, paper plates, bowls, cups, silverware and napkins. A summerlong supply can be purchased at lower costs from the grocery or big box stores.  Want a fancier look? Try the party stores where colors and patterns are more likely to be found in bulk. All of these items can be stored in a plastic storage tub or two which are pulled out just for the picnic. This will allow for supplies on hand without cluttering up your cupboards!

Going on an outing to the beach or park? Pre-packed supplies for these outings are a great way to save time. Try large ziploc bags which vacation-149960_640hold suntan lotion and bug spray, so you can grab them as you head out the door. A snack bag of granola bars, raisins, crackers, etc., is also an easy thing to pre-pack. Towels and blankets can also be stored together in a closet so they can be taken at a moment’s notice as well.

Need a little help pulling this off? Share the jobs by dolling out outdoor clean-up, readying a drink station, setting the table to family members and having guests bring a salad or two.

A little advanced planning now will result in a summer of fun! Enjoy your picnics and outings!

Happy (almost….) Summer
Muffy and JoEllen


SIMPLE Steps Illustrated

May 12, 2014

Here is a pictorial of how to use our Simple Organizing Steps to organize a drawer in your kitchen.

S Start Small Do you have a drawer that has suffered from some neglect? Although it looks as if all the items here belong together, it is difficult to see all that is actually in this drawer.

S1

We suggest that you start with a small space because this is the time to empty the contents onto a flat surface to begin the sorting process. Rather hard to believe that all of this was in that one drawer. Even this small drawer can seem overwhelming!

I Identify Categories Time to sort the contents of the drawer into categories. Some of the categories used here are bags, twist ties, and objects that do not belong in the drawer. Remember to just identify the categories; now is not the time to take items to put away in other rooms……we don’t want you to become distracted.

Identify Categories

M Manage Your Space There are usually items in the home that can be utilized as storage solutions. We are going to recycle two familiar objects for storage containers. An empty paper towel tube to hold plastic bags and some strawberry baskets to hold other small supplies. You might want to check your supply of storage containers for other options.

Manage Your SpaceManage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P Put Away Put items back into the drawer in a manner that allows you to see what is stored there. Also try to place the items you use most frequently in a place that is easy to access. Since only items that really belong in this drawer are now here, it is much easier to access everything. No more wasting valuable time searching for things that are hidden away.

Put Away

L Let Go Now take a look at the items that were in the drawer, but really belong elsewhere. Extra foil and wax paper are now stored in a pantry instead of taking up valuable space in the drawer. Scissors are put away. Labels that were not used are donated to someone who will use them. Some of the rubber bands and twist ties were discarded. Large bags were stored in a bag holder under the sink.

Let Go

E Enjoy and Maintain The after photo from above (in P Put Away) is lovely. In order to stay that way it needs to be maintained. Putting items away after they are used helps, so does avoiding the tendancy of wanting to shove something else in this drawer because you are in a hurry and don’t think you have time to put it in its proper home. An item here, an item there, and the space will again be cluttered. Our advice is to maintain on a regular basis; it doesn’t have to be every day, it could be once a week, or once a month. Establish a plan that works for you!

We hope these photos are an inspiration for your organizing project!

Happy Organizing!
JoEllen and Muffy

 

 


What To Do When the To-Do List Is Done

March 3, 2014

pajama diaries 3.3.14I always enjoy The Pajama Diaries by Terri Libenson.  Maybe it’s because I have a home-based-business and have a couple of daughters just like Jill (oh her name starts with J too), but I feel that I have often been in her shoes, and know that much of her humor is from real life.

But you don’t need to own a home-based-business, have a couple of daughters, and be named J….. to relate to today’s comic strip.  Jill has met all her deadlines early in the day, and has some available free time to catch up on other things.  She actually has many other things she could do—a personal to-do list—but cannot decide what to do.  Consequently, she freezes up, and accomplishes nothing.

Whether it is a To-Do List for work, or a personal To-Do List, when everything is crossed off there is a feeling of euphoria that you have x number of hours to do whatever you want….and that list is long as well.  So how do you decide what to do?

Do you even have a To-Do List?  If not, then create one, it can be on your smart phone, on your computer, or written down.  The items that you put on the list are up to you, but each day, or each week, you should plan for what you want to accomplish.  Those items, in turn, should be tasks that are in concert with your overall goals.  Jill (above) had some deadlines for her clients and you may have the same; these obviously take priority.  Once completed you could choose to work on items that have been on the back burner while the deadlines were met, or on other tasks that will ease things for you for the rest of the week.  Keeping in mind your primary work goals will help guide you.

The same rules apply to the the personal list.  Did you have a New Year’s Resolution to exercise more often, devote more time to a hobby or organize an area of your home?  With no focus of a goal, or Resolution, many individuals become overwhelmed (like Jill), and fail to accomplish anything.

When you are deciding what to do next, consider your own rhythms.  Are you more creative and focused in the morning?  Is there a time of day that you slow down mentally, and need to work on tasks that are less challenging?  Plan tasks accordingly and your time will be spent much more efficiently.  Unfortunately, we tend to procrastinate more on those tasks that are not as enjoyable as others.  Again, let your goals be your guide.

Finally, dedicate blocks of time to various tasks, and devote yourself only to the task at hand.  If you decide to make some changes to your web-site, and need to do some research, setting a timer and/or reminding yourself to stay focused will keep you from getting lost in cyberspace.  Or if you decide to start organizing the kitchen with no set stopping point, you could potentially have created a bigger mess when it is time to make dinner.

I hope you built in time for relaxation too…..

Thanks for reading,

JoEllen


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