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3 Thought-Provoking Ted Talks That Will Inspire You to Get Organized

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3 Thought-Provoking Ted Talks That Will Inspire You to Get Organized | organizedartistry.com

Do you ever watch TED Talks? I love watching TED Talks.

If I get to watch at least one a day I’m a happy camper. I watch them while I’m cooking, while I’m on the treadmill, and while I’m eating lunch at my computer. If I don’t have the time, I use one of my favorite apps, Pocket to store them until I have a free 20 minutes to watch.

TED began as a conference in California in 1984–five years before the birth of the World Wide Web. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  It’s mission is to spread knowledge and since it’s inception, TED Talks have had attracted over a billion views online–there’s a lot more knowledgeable people in this world thanks to TED!

With all my TED Talk watching, I was curious as to whether there were any talks on the topic of Organizing. Well–there are! No one is sorting through papers or an overstuffed garage on stage, but the TED Talks I’ve selected are based on an ‘organizing’ theme. Carve out time in your day to watch them–you may learn something new just like I did…

Jessi Arrington: Wearing Nothing New

In my opinion, Jessi is one brave woman. She packed seven pair of underwear for her trip to Los Angeles to do her TED Talk. My heart is palpitating just thinking about it. When she got off the plane with her very tiny suitcase, she went shopping for clothes at local thrift stores in order to “reduce the impact of her wardrobe on the environment and her wallet.” I don’t expect you to watch this and then travel light, but listening to what she has to say, might cause you to take a good look at the clothes in your closet.


Laura Vanderkam: How To Gain Control of Your Free Time

Laura Vanderkam writes about Time Management. She says, “Time is highly elastic. We cannot make more time but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.” Basically–it’s all about priorities. Your priorities. Your schedule and your choices. Listen to her TED Talk and think about how you use your time…


Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Do you procrastinate often?  Whether you do or not, you’re going to get a good laugh out of this funny TED Talk. You might even see a bit of yourself in Tim Urban. Think about what you might be procrastinating on and watch out for the ‘monkey.’


*BONUS* TED TALK
–Yes–I said ‘3’ in the title but this one is short–only around 5 minutes long: Mundano: Pimp My…Trash Cart?.

The unsung heroes of the organizing world are garbage men. They take away what we no longer want in our lives and are not always highly regarded for their work. Watch how one artist in Brazil took the work of Catadores, people who collect recycling, and transformed their work into an art form to be celebrated and appreciated by their communities.

 

Which Ted Talk resonated with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Anniversary Post – Seven Years of Blogging

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A good question to ask on your 'Blogiversary'--What goals do you have for your blog? Here are a few of mine... I organizedartistry.com

This October marks the 7th anniversary of my blog!

In the Spring of 2009, I attended the NAPO Conference in Orlando and signed up for a workshop on how to start a blog. I loved to write and I enjoyed sharing my organizing knowledge–blogging married those two loves together.

I started my blog shortly after my then three year old started preschool. I began on the Blogger platform and a few years ago my blog moved to WordPress coinciding with the redesign of my website. I reviewed ‘Cool Products,’ offered ‘Organizing Quick Tips,’ and wrote about anything I thought my readers would find helpful. Then child #2 came along and I did my best to keep up with blogging. Three years later (when he, too went to preschool) I decided to resurrect and complete a ten year old manuscript and self-publish a book. Still kept up with my blog. It was a challenge–but when you’re writing a book, the writing somehow just flows off your fingertips.

Recently, I was reviewing my posts and noticed I hadn’t written one for my 5th or 6th anniversary.  I didn’t write a 5th anniversary post because I was heading towards the self-publishing finish line and needed to focus to complete the enormous task. The 6th anniversary post never got written because I stopped blogging. Completely. Not one post for fourteen months. What happened?

A home renovation/addition project.

We purged our home, packed it all up and moved out for nine months. My brain was making so many renovation-related decisions and adjusting to living in temporary quarters–I just had no brain bandwidth for blogging. Took it off my plate completely. It was a bit weird–not writing at all. But sometimes in life we must put certain tasks on the back burner to accomplish a goal.

It took fourteen months, but in July of this year I got back to writing for my blog. I wasn’t sure how I’d jump back into the blogging pool so I decided to write about what I knew–my home renovation/addition experience. I thought about my experience and the knowledge I could pass on to my readers and the words started to flow.  After a year’s+ hiatus, I had some time to think about the steps I wanted to take to move my blog forward.

In past ‘blogiversary’ posts, I’ve talked about my blogging goals for the year ahead. Here are a few for 2017…

 

I 'Heart' Pinterest I organizedartistry.com

Boosting Pinterest traffic to my blog

I ‘heart’ Pinterest. I could be on that site all day if I had the time! There is a wealth of information in those millions of pins for both personal and professional use. I am planning on joining a few group boards and posting my blog posts to them to grow my blog traffic. I’m learning how to write more descriptive, keyword-rich pin descriptions for my blog posts and communicate more with those who are pinning them. Did I mention how much I ‘heart’ Pinterest?????

Using Canva to brighten up my blog posts I organizedartistry.comCreating Images in Canva

Canva is an online tool used for designing professional-looking graphics. If you’re on Pinterest or read a ton of blogs, you’ll see many utilizing Canva or similar tools to create eye-catching images for their blogs, later to be pinned and posted to social media sites. I used to be a graphic designer and I wasn’t happy with the look of my blog photos so I started learning about and using Canva. My first ‘creation’ can be found here.

Creating a Blogging Calendar

I’ve tried this in the past but it hasn’t worked for me. Maybe I wasn’t using the right calendar? Maybe I’m not spending enough time on the planning process? This is something on my to-do list for December so I can start in January.

Stop Comparing Myself to Other Bloggers

This is a tough one. I read many blogs and I wish I could have a larger readership and stunning photography like them. I’ve come to realize that for many bloggers out there, their blog is what they do for a living. That’s their main focus and they can create beautifully written and photographed posts 5-7 times a week. My situation is different. I work when my kids are in school. I travel to and work with clients for a large chunk of that time. I just started a newsletter. I’ll be adding Virtual Organizing services to my business model in 2017. I am working on the three goals I stated above. I blog when I can.  I just have to keep reminding myself that there are only 24 hours in a day and that I’m moving my blog and my business in a positive direction…


It’s not easy to come back from any kind of hiatus. I’ll be coming back to blogging slowly–keep an eye out more pretty pics, ‘cool products,’ gotta-tell-a-friend ideas and of course, organizing know-how.

You don’t have to wait ’til January 1st to set goals. Do you have any goals for your blog, business or personal life? Share them in the comments below.

 

CLICK HERE to sign up for Organized Artistry’s motivating monthly newsletter!

 

Organizing MY Home: Don’t Move Without this Packing System!

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If you’ve been following my recent Organizing MY Home series, you know that I moved twice in one year due to an addition/renovation project.  Part of what made such an upheaval bearable and organized were a few key moving tips I created for myself and a packing list system that helped us find anything we needed while we were living in our rental space.

Organizing MY Home: Don't Move Without this Packing System! Tips for finding what you need when it's all in boxes I organizedartistry.com #packingsystem

This wasn’t your typical move from one home to another. We were packing up our entire house, moving it to a rental property but not opening all our boxes and setting up to stay. Our plan was to only open boxes of items we truly needed and keep most of the rest sealed until we returned to our renovated home.

As a Professional Organizer, I have offered clients packing ideas but never for a double move. I also hadn’t packed up and moved myself for many years so I took to the internet and did some research on line on how best to pack an entire home. I came across a few posts, mostly from military wives who had lots of practice packing and relocating their households and gleaned some ideas from their experience. I quickly learned that writing the contents on the outside of the box is a magnet for unscrupulous movers. And what if we stacked the boxes so we couldn’t see what was written on the outside? I needed some other ideas. I then came across this post from DesignMom. I didn’t follow exactly what she did –but it (as well as the post comments) gave me some good ideas that I adapted to our particular situation.

Based on ideas I read in the above post, I chose to create a numbering system that would enable my husband and I to track and quickly locate of all our belongings during both moves. My husband created the cover sheet and tracking sheets of the packing list and left a few lines blank for anything we needed to add.

 

Organizing MY Home: Don't Move Without this Packing System! Tips for finding what you need when it's all in boxes I organizedartistry.com #packingsystem

My ‘vintage’ NAPO-NY clipboard and trusty black marker.

Each room in our home received a number series. As we packed items from each room, we wrote down the contents of the box on the line next to the box number. We also jotted down where the contents/box would be in our rental and where it would go once it came back to our renovated home. An example is below:

Organized Artistry Blog Post: Organizing MY Home: Don't Move Without this Packing System!

A sample page from our packing list.

Here’s the breakdown of the columns on the page:

• Top of the page: Room Name (also written at the bottom of page–not shown in photo)

• Column 1: Box number

• Column 2: Where box is going in rental home (a room vs. the garage for storage)

• Column 3: What room the box will go to when it comes back to our renovated home (our address was originally next to the word ‘Location’)

• Column 4: Contents of the box

In the above photo, the ‘Green Room’ (the walls had been green for many years) at this point only had one box. This was because my home office was relocated there after our second child was born and the contents of the room would eventually be spread to three different spaces after we moved back in. Lucky for us, our rental space was a split level very similar to ours so you see in column 2 that we figured the box would either live in the garage or be unpacked into the rental home’s equivalent of our ‘Green Room.’ In box 701 (column 1), was framed family pictures (column 4) (they ended up in the garage) that eventually would live in my home office and my husband’s home office (column 3).

Depending upon the room and it’s contents, some of the pages looked fairly empty. Then there are rooms such as the kitchen that practically filled two pages! (Yes–we did purge before packing.) Notice–the top part of the page dealt with the move to the rental property while the bottom part (and the next page, too) dealt with the move back to our home. We unpacked much of our kitchen stuff and then had to repack it for the move home. Example:

Organized Artistry Blog Post: Organizing MY Home: Don't Move Without this Packing System!

Lots more to pack in the kitchen!

 

You might be thinking, “This sounds like A LOT of work!’ Yes, it was a lot of work! But, when it comes to time management, I advise my clients that spending more time at the beginning of a project will save you time at the end of it. Take the time to write the contents of each box on your list. You’ll be happy you did when you’re looking for an item you need!

This system isn’t just for double moves. You can delete a column or add an extra one for your unique moving situation. My husband and I found this system to be incredibly helpful in keeping us organized and knowing where to find all that we owned.

A few tips for using this packing system:

• If you are keeping some numbered boxes in storage for a while, group the boxes by ‘like’ numbers (all 200’s together, all 500’s together, etc). It will make finding the box you need much less time consuming!

• Write the box numbers on the top and at least two sides of the box–the more sides the better–a good task for kids old enough to write!

• Use a thick dark colored marker for writing the numbers on the boxes. Buy a box of them–they will run out of ink quickly from numbering all of those sides!

•  When you are finished packing, back it up! Make a photocopy of the Master List and put it somewhere safe and take pictures of each page with your phone.

• Designate one spot to keep your Master List in so you’ll always know where to return it to and where to find it the next time you want to pack/unpack more boxes.

We’ve been living in our renovated home almost six months and some of our boxes are not yet unpacked. I still refer to the Master List when I’m looking for something and it sits in the same spot I designated for it the day we moved back in. As helpful as this system was, my husband and I agree–we’re not moving again for a LONG time!

Could this system be helpful to you in a move? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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Organizing MY Home: Renovation and Addition

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Think about an organizing project that would challenge a veteran Professional Organizer–what would it be? A room filled with loose papers? A fashionista’s exploding closet?  An overstuffed garage?

How about a renovation/addition project? Her own homes’ renovation/addition project!

For about eight years my husband and I kept going back and forth trying to decide–move or renovate/add on to our home.  We kept lists on paper and eventually in Evernote as to what we wanted/needed and didn’t want/need in a future home. Our house was ‘whispering’ to us–sending us ‘SOS’ signals. Slowly, appliances began to die, cracks appeared in the walls, plumbing started to malfunction. We were busting out of our closets, kitchen, and living space. It was time to make a decision.

 

Organizing MY Home--Renovation/Addition. Must read! Organizing steps you'll want to take before starting such a huge project... I organized artistry.com #homerenovationaddition

This was our house before the renovation/addition project began.

 

After much deliberation, we decided to stay at our current address and renovate/add on to our home. I knew this was not going to be a quick and easy project. I also knew this would take and enormous amount of energy, thought, coordination, and organization. This project was so all encompassing that during this time I had to take a few things ‘off my plate’ such as blogging. This is my first blog post in over a year–I’m writing it happily from my new home office!

Here are some of the organizing steps we took for this project to flow smoothly…

Purging of our entire home

Based on our contractors’ recommendation and the fact that we have a child with food allergies and need a full kitchen to cook for him, we decided to rent a house across town during the construction process. That meant we had to take everything with us. Eve-ry-thing.

After meeting with our contractor and architect, we started the purging process. Each weekend before our move-out date, my husband and I would tackle a room together and purge it of what we didn’t want to come back into our new home (we purged during the week, too). I created ‘The Two Can Rule.’ Our garbage pick up day was Tuesday so every Sunday, we had to fill a minimum of the two garbage cans from our purging session. We also created bags for donations and gave things away to family, friends, and schools.

Creating an organized packing system

The last time I had packed to move, it was the contents of my one-bedroom apartment when I got married. Now, I was packing a three-bedroom house with a filled attic and basement. This double move required a multi-tiered packing and tracking system. Half of our boxes were stored in the garage of our temporary rental home and the rest were unpacked for daily use. Then, before moving back in to our new home, we had to purge (again!) and pack up to then finally unpack (again!). More on my packing system in a future post.  If you or someone you know is moving in the future–keep your eye out for it. You’re going to want to know about the system I used. It was a success!

Creating a ‘home’ for all project-related paperwork and correspondence

This renovation/addition project churned out an inordinate amount of paperwork–even for a Professional Organizer to keep on top of. Keeping track of receipts, returns, contracts, finances, bills for two homes, design choices and all other related papers was overwhelming. I created a binder for all papers and created folders in my inbox for emails from our contractor, subcontractors, designer and others. (True PO Confession: The project plus our everyday life became so overwhelming, I just started putting all papers in one box so I would know where to find them if I needed them. Last month, I created a portable hanging file box for all renovation/addition papers and they’re stored in my closet.)

Creating a ‘home’ for all design-related items

I quickly found that I needed a space for things I would need handy for the design part of this project. I stored a recycle bag in my car filled with paint and tile samples, fabric swatches, a tape measure, scissors, and a roll of blue tape. It was always there when I needed it–at a store, at the construction site, in my car. If I had a dollar for every time I used that bag, I’d be a rich lady!

And all of this doesn’t happen with out an amazing team that was organized in their own areas of expertise…

Contractor/Architect

Rich Palmacchio of RTJ Construction and Joseph Donato, Architect

Designer

Deborah Glazer of DRG Design Group

Mover

Montvale Moving

Plus subcontractors, friends, relatives, salespeople, and everyone else who kept us focused, informed, and sane. A big organizing shout-out goes to my hubby who became a purging, packing (unpacking) and organizing LEGEND during this project.

 

Organizing MY Home--Renovation/Addition. Must read! Organizing steps you'll want to take before starting such a huge project... I organized artistry.com #homerenovationaddition

This is our house after the renovation/addition project was complete.

 

They say it takes a village to raise a child? It also takes a village–an organized village–to raise a house!

 

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Getting Organized: A Quick FAQ

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Whether I’m at a networking meeting, a client’s home, or a social or family gathering I am often asked the same few questions about getting organized. Some people ask me about products, others ask me how I feel about all the organizing shows that have been on television, but most ask the questions below.

I hope the answers to these questions prove to be helpful as you begin or continue your journey to an organized life.

Why is it important to be organized?
Organized people are able to find the things they need when they need them—and finding what you need when you need it is what ‘being organized’ is all about. Being organized saves you time, money, and stress. By being organized, one is able to put lost time back in their day, money back in their wallets, and live life with less stress and frustration overall.
calendar
How do I get organized if I don’t have the time?
You have to MAKE the time. If you didn’t make the time to get your car an oil change would it work well? If you didn’t make the time to exercise and cook healthy meals would your body be able to maintain an active lifestyle? If you don’t set aside the time to ‘get organized,’ your household as well as your life will not function to it’s fullest capacity.

Start by making a fifteen-minute appointment with yourself at a time of day when you are most energetic. Mark it in a calendar and stick to it. You don’t need to devote eight hours on a Sunday to getting organized—you’d be amazed at how much you can get done by spending fifteen minutes in ‘organizing mode.’

Where do I begin?
I’m always asked this question and the person asking it usually has a look of panic on their face! I always recommend to people that they take inventory of their organizing needs and select an area that is driving them crazy or making their life difficult. For a small business owner, it may be their filing system. For a stay-at-home mom, it may be the playroom or the kitchen.

Break the task down into small, manageable tasks. For instance, if it’s your kitchen that’s disorganized, start by going through the silverware drawer. After you’ve tackled the drawer, you’re done with organizing for the day unless you choose to move on to another small section of the kitchen such as the sippy cup collection or the spice rack.

Once I’m organized, how do I maintain it?
The most important thing you need to keep your home/home office organized is DESIRE—the desire to keep your space organized and the desire to put forth the effort to keep it as so. Realistic goals are also necessary when it comes to ‘staying organized.’ You cannot expect an overnight change–on average it takes 21 days to establish a habit. So, if you install a hook by the front door for your keys and you forget once in a while to hang them there, don’t beat yourself up over it—it will come naturally soon enough.

Be prepared–there will be some days where you won’t have the time or energy to organize even the smallest of spaces—that’s OK. Just do your best. I tell people that one of the most important things they can do when they lack the time or energy to organize is to just stay ‘on top of their lives.’ Putting dishes back in the cabinet after they’ve dried, dealing with your mail shortly after you walk through the door, straightening out the medicine cabinet while you’re brushing your teeth are all quick and easy ways to prevent disorganization from creeping back into a newly organized space.

NAPO logo

National Association of Professional Organizers

What can a Professional Organizer do for me?
A Professional Organizer has the skills and experience to provide their clients with information, ideas, solutions and systems to increase productivity and reduce stress. By hiring a professional organizer you will not only be able to take advantage of their knowledge, and expertise, but you’ll be able to benefit from their non-judgemental physical and emotional support as well.

To find a Professional Organizer in your area, go to the website of the National Association of Professional Organizers and click on ‘Find an Organizer.’ It may be the first step on your journey to an organized life.

Do you have any other questions? Ask away!

5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet

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Great ideas! 5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet | organizedartistry.com

 

Where I live, it’s kinda cold. And it’s the first day of Spring (insert frowny face here). As much as I’d love to start doing a little spring cleaning in my closet, I still need my polartec tops and flannel lined jeans. May have to start elsewhere this weekend…

But, if you live in a warmer climate or just can’t look at your boots one more day, then by all means start spring cleaning your clothes closet.

 

Here are the 5 ‘must-haves’ you’ll need for this project:

Garbage bags

Despite their name, these bags won’t all be used for garbage. Grab two colors–black, white, and a third bag can be a reusable tote. Designate black for trash, white for donations, and the tote for repairs. Why use this system? I have heard stories of people accidentally donating their trash and putting their donations to the curb because they used bags of one color.

As you are sorting through and purging clothes from your closet, place them in the correct bag. Clothes with repairable tears and shoes/handbags that need a little TLC from the shoemaker go in your tote bag. When you finish, place the black bags wherever you keep your trash, put the donation and repair bags in your car or at your doorway, and mark off a day on your calendar to drop off them off at their next destinations.

Pad of paper and pen or cell phone

As you go through your clothes, you may find that they have an old stain, they’re too loose or tight, or you just don’t love it anymore. When getting rid of garments, keep a list of items you’d like to replace. That way, when you’re at the mall, you don’t have to think about what clothes you need–just refer to your list and you’ll know exactly what purchases to focus on. Use pen and paper or your cell phone to create the list–whichever works best for you.

Bottle of water/snack

Spring cleaning a clothes closet is a physical activity. Handling some sentimental items and items with ‘bad karma’ attached to them can be emotional as well. Even if you’ve eaten a large meal before starting, I’d recommend having a bottle of water and a snack at arm’s reach. You’ll need a break to clear your head and refuel–how often you do that during this task is up to you and your needs. But, I always advise my clients to bring a snack and drink into the space we’re working on. It means they don’t have to leave the room and lose focus while we’re working.

Large flat or multiple small flat surfaces

When going through a clothes closet, it’s important to have a place to put the clothes while sorting them out. If your closet is in your bedroom, use the bed to place the garments down as you make decisions. If your clothes live in a room without a bed, use folding chairs or storage tubs to separate your clothes by category. The floor is NOT a good option unless absolutely necessary. If that’s the case, please open a flat sheet, lay it on the floor and place your piles on top of the sheet.

Time

A basic organizing principle to follow for spring cleaning or any organizing task is. ‘Make an Appointment With Yourself.’ We make appointments to see doctors and to make our hair look fabulous and we wouldn’t consider canceling them except in an emergency. Do the same with Spring Cleaning. Take out your calendar and pick a day to start. Pencil in 15 minutes, a half hour, an hour–whatever amount of time you think you can manage. Keep that appointment. You’ll be glad you did.

What do you think you’ll find in your clothes closet this Spring?

 

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Organized Artistry: Moving a Business Forward

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This is my first official blog post on WordPress. I think it took me longer to format it than to write it! I’m getting used to living in my new WordPress home but I’m still bumping into walls and I haven’t unpacked all the boxes yet…

It’s been a while since I’ve written for my blog. I’ve been a little busy moving my business forward in some exciting ways.

1) My new logo. Since you’re reading this you’ve probably already seen my new logo designed by the talented Kate McMillan of Outbox Online Design. Look up–it’s at the top of the page. I just love that squiggle…

2) My new business cards. If you have a new logo, you have to have new business cards!

Moving a Business Forward. Exciting news from Organized Artistry--especially #5! organizedartistry.com #weddingthankyounote

3) My first promotional item. Shortly after my logo was designed, I was asked to sit on a panel made up of women who had started their own business. I was going to have a table and answer participants’ questions about being in and starting their own business. I felt like I needed some kind of product as a giveaway but in twelve years of business, I had never created one! I thought about what people would use most and thought the pen was a perfect first promotional item

Here’s my Organized Artistry pen!

Moving a Business Forward. Exciting news from Organized Artistry--especially #5! organizedartistry.com #weddingthankyounote

4) My new website. Also designed by Kate McMillan of Outbox Online Design. My old website was first designed in 2002 and boy did it need a makeover! Now it is a beautiful and modern showcase of my writing and how I help people get and stay organized. I’m thrilled that my blog is now part of the site.

Speaking of writing, this is BIG news…

5) My book. Long story short, I’ve been writing this book on and off since 2002. The manuscript went in and out of the file cabinet many times over almost a decade until I decided one day, ‘Publish or Bust.’ Here is a sneak peek of the cover, designed by the talented Peri Poloni-Gabriel of Knockout Design (she’ll be designing the interior, too). I love it–and no, I didn’t ask the designer to make the background purple to match my website–total coincidence…

Moving a Business Forward. Exciting news from Organized Artistry--especially #5! organizedartistry.com #weddingthankyounote

Coming Summer 2014 in e-book and paperback:

The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook: Let Systems and 101 Modern Sample Thank You Notes Take You From Overwhelmed to Organized

If you know anyone who just got engaged or is about to walk down the aisle, please ‘Pin’ or share this photo with them!

It has been a VERY busy 2013-14 for Organized Artistry. I’ve met many of the goals I set for my business–still a few more to go. Nothing happened overnight. Each step took time and sometimes the steps took a few wrong turns. But, I am grateful for the journey and all the people who have helped me get this far.

 

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Teach your Kids to Do Anything–Even Organize!

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Got kids?

Me, too.

Ever feel like you’re constantly trying to pick up after them and maintain their stuff?

Hey, guess what–me, too. It’s kind of like shoveling snow during a blizzard.

At my first NAPO Conference in 2004 (a few years before I had children) I took a workshop called ‘Organizing the Family’ given by Professional Organizer, Allison Carter of Digital Life Organizing. In that terrific workshop, I learned something that I still remember almost ten years later. I’m sharing this with you in the hopes that you will use it to make your life as a parent a little easier.

In the workshop, I learned the five steps to follow to teach your child mastery of almost any task.

Woo-hoo! Hallelujah!

Write these five steps on a post-it and stick it where you can see it. Or, write them in an app on your smartphone. Jot them down somewhere you can access them easily. You’re going to want to refer to these steps often. Remember, they’re going to make your life as a parent easier (If you’re reading this and you’re not a parent, pass them on to someone who is!). Here they are…

To Get Your Kids to Master  ______________ …

Step 1. Demonstrate the task you’d like your child to master
Step 2. Do the task with them
Step 3. Supervise your child doing the task
Step 4. Let them do the task alone
Step 5. Supervise your child occasionally

What are some skills your kids can master using these five steps?
• Putting away their toys
• Doing/folding their own laundry
• Setting the table for a family meal
• Using a knife
• Sorting and purging their school papers
• Household cleaning/gardening chores

Each step will take some time, effort and patience on your part but in the end, the investment of time will be worth it. And believe me–your future sons and daughters-in-law will thank you.

Thank you, Allison Carter for sharing your wisdom!

Cool Product: Pocket (formerly Read It Later)

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I should have titled this post,

‘Confessions of a Professional Organizer and Former Hoarder’

Whoa! A Professional Organizer who is also a hoarder? Whaaaaat?

OK–I wasn’t really a true hoarder in the physical sense–but it makes for a great title, doesn’t it?

I didn’t hoard animals or newspapers or magazines.

I hoarded tabs.

Tabs?

If you own a Mac and use Safari to browse the web, you’re familiar with ‘Tabs.’ They enable you to open several web pages at once and you can easily switch back and forth between them.

The arrow is pointing to the ‘Tabs’ in Safari.

I am an information hound. As a small business owner and mom, I am always interested in reading articles that could help my business grow and my family flourish. The only thing I was missing was: TIME.

I had a five year old and a one year old and very little time to read, let alone process the information I was reading. So, if I didn’t have time to read a long article, or I was thinking of ordering a product from a web page, or thought I might need certain information someday, I would leave the tab open in Safari. At times, I had 7-10 windows open with 8-10 tabs open in each. Turns out, my tab hoarding was not a very good system. Oh, and I never shut down my computer because that would mean I’d lose all my tabs. Can you tell where this story is heading?

I started getting unusual error messages on my computer. Then one day about a month before my Apple Care Protection Plan expired for my Mac, my computer said, “I’ve had it with all your open tabs!” and crashed.

I made an appointment at the Apple Store and when my Genius Dude heard my story, he told me that in all his years working at the Genius Bar, he had never heard of anyone keeping so many tabs open at once. I was overworking my computer and my tab hoarding tendencies had to change.

Adrian, my Genius Dude, brought my computer back from the dead. I was so grateful for his patience and expertise that I vowed to not return to my tab hoarding ways. I started bookmarking websites I wanted to refer to again. A few weeks later, the App Gods looked down upon me–sleep-deprived, time-starved, information overloaded me and arranged for a productivity app by the name of Pocket (formerly Read It Later) to be placed in an article I was moments away from reading.

I read the article. I checked out Pocket. I couldn’t believe that an app could be such a perfect match for my needs.

What is Pocket and how could it be so life-changing?

According to its website, Pocket (formerly Read It Later) was founded in 2007 by Nate Weiner to help people who discover an interesting article, video or web page, but don’t have time to view it. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device — phone, tablet or computer. It can be viewed while waiting in line, on the couch or during commutes or travel — even offline.”

When I first read about Pocket, I thought, “Holy moly–this app was MADE for ME! I’m always discovering interesting items on the web but I rarely have time to view them.”

I went to the Pocket website, installed the Pocket bookmarklet into my ‘Bookmarks Bar’ and immediately began putting articles in my ‘pocket.’ Now, when I come across an article I want to save and read at a later time, all I do is click on the bookmarklet.  A sign then appears at the top of the web page that says ‘Pocket – Page Saved!.’ I can read my saved articles on my iPhone as well as on my laptop. Happiness abounds.

 Some facts about Pocket:
– The list of articles you accumulate is called a ‘queue.’
– You can view your queue in list form or as a grid with large visuals.
– When you select the article you want to read from your queue, it offers you a stripped-down version of it without ads/visuals as well as a link to the original web page.
– You can type a word in the ‘Search’ box to look for articles you’ve saved on a specific topic
– You can assign Pocket your email address and email a link to Pocket, too!

Best of all–it doesn’t cost a dime!

How has Pocket changed my life?
– My computer has had no problems since it’s major crash in April of 2012.
– I know that if I don’t have time to read an article, it will be ‘in my pocket’ for future retrieval.
– I can retrieve that article/recipe/video over and over again.
– I store often-used recipes in Pocket. When cooking, I bring them up on my laptop which lives on my kitchen counter.
– Pocket is a repository for all the articles I may need in the future on how to grow my business. I know they will be there when I am ready for them.
-Pocket allows me to read, learn and grow on my own time.

Pocket currently has over 4.5 million registered users and is available for major devices and platforms including iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and Android.

Want to be the 4.6 millionth user? How would Pocket make your life easier?

Organizing Tip: 5 Things You Must Do After a Successful Organizing Project

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When I complete an organizing project with my clients, I remind them to give themselves a pat on the back for crossing the ‘finish line.’ My guest blogger, Rashelle Isip of the The Order Expert, believes in celebrating the completion of a successful organizing project. Read below to find out the five things she wants you to do after reaching your organizing goal.

“I finally organized my bedroom closet!”
“I filed away that giant stack of papers on my desk!“
“The cabinet under the kitchen sink is finally tidied up!”
Congratulations! You’ve finally completed an organizing project. You’re a bona fide success!
Before you happily rest on your laurels, consider these five pointers to help keep your project a success and let you bask in the glow of a job well done for many months to come.
Plan daily maintenance.
Now that you’ve finally gotten things in order, don’t be lazy and let all your hard work go down the drain! Figure out specific steps to take on a daily basis to help keep your organizing project in order. For example, let’s say you finally organized your bedroom closet. You might decide to place shoes and belts back on their shelves/racks at the end of the day, place dirty clothes immediately in the hamper and fold and store/hang clothes right after the laundry is done to keep things in order.
Take a photo.
You’ve worked hard to achieve your goal. Why not make a record of your achievement? Snap a photo on your cell phone or digital camera for posterity and save the image in an easy to access place. Refer to your photo on any organizing “rainy day,” that is, whenever you feel you’re sliding back into your old habits or are undoing your hard work for a bit of positive reinforcement and motivation to keep things organized.
Plan a smaller organizing project.
You’ll probably be feeling very good after completing your project so consider using this feeling of accomplishment into another organizing project. Keep in mind that your next project doesn’t have to be the same size as the one you just completed and certainly doesn’t have to be completed that same day or week. If you’ve just finished organizing the garage, planning to organize the basement right away probably isn’t such a wise choice. Instead of going whole hog, keep your plans to a smaller project such as cleaning out your wallet.
Share your story with others.
One of the best things in achieving a goal is sharing your accomplishment with others. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever share information and stories. Share your success with friends and family via your favorite social media network or tool with photos and a short story. Who knows, you might just inspire someone else to get started on or complete their very own organizing goal!
Celebrate!
Lastly, we can’t forget the importance of celebrating your achievements. Go out for a nice dinner, listen to your favorite music, buy yourself a small gift, relax with loved ones, smile, and of course, enjoy your newly organized space or materials!
Now to you…what do you think of the above? Have you ever given yourself a reward for an organizing job well done? Perhaps you have a reward in mind for the near future for an almost completed project?

Copyright © Rashelle Isip and The Order Expert, 2011-2013. 

Rashelle Isip is a blogger, time management, and productivity consultant and professional organizer. She is founder of The Order Expert, a site featuring practical and creative organizing, time management, productivity tips, inspiration and much more. For more information, visit http://www.TheOrderExpert.com. You can follow her on Twitter @theorderexpert, on Facebook at facebook.com/theorderexpert, and on Pinterest at pinterest.com/theorderexpert.

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