Most of us have read articles and watched shows on organization.
We’ve also heard the usual tips…de-clutter whatever you can, don’ t buy anything unless you have a place for it etc.
But this month we’re going to share ideas that go beyond the usual and the best ones to help organize your life.
Nothing instills a nice jolt of panic than realizing that someone’s birthday crept up on you or knowing you’ve got to send a thank you or symptahy card right away. How many times have you made the same trip to Hallmark or Shoppers over and over?
Get a stack of large cellphane bags, tissue paper and neutral ribbon – you can get 100 bags and a 100 yards of ribbon at Creative Bag for about $20 each! You will never have to buy wrapping paper again and you will look like Martha Stewart.
Spend some time at your favorite card shop and buy specific birthday cards for all of your close friends and family. Buy some generic ones to just in case you make new friends 🙂 Get a box of thank you cards, and a few each of the following: get well, congrats, anniversary, sympathy.
Buy an file folder that seperates by month – for the specific cards, write the name on the envelope and pop it in the month of their birthday. Do the same if you are going to go crazy and send specfic cards for anniversaries or upcoming weddings and babies.
There you go – calm, cool, collected and giving the impression of being incredibly thoughtful.
As you walk in the door…
Unless you have the luxury of a proper mud-room where it doesn’t matter if backpacks, gloves, scarves, mail, newspapers and the other stuff of life lands randomly, consider some of the following ideas.
A row of storage cubes – sit AND store…one for everyone in the family if you have room. They double as extra seating when you entertain and if someone is popping over at the last minute, you can chuck everything in them temporarily.
Every cubbie had someone’s name on it or a name for the contents. You can get new ones at Staples or checkout used office furniture places like Baker’s At Work Office Furniture.
For a more traditional look, check out Pottery Barn for great double-duty entry organizers.
The home office…
One of the top executive coaching programs espouses that you should be able to work anywhere. Meaning your desk should consist of your computer, and maybe a pen if you really, really need one.
Compress and go wireless – Staples offers all-in-one wireless printers starting at $100. We have a Brother MFC-640 and love it. Get a laptop and use the built-in mouse…you WILL get used to it.
As great as cell phone, and ipods are, they never seem to find a good home for charging. Pick up one of these organizers to consolidate the wires and give them a great looking place to hang out while they charge up.
Use your berry or PDA- you paid enough for it didn’t you? We love using the Task function for to-do lists. Here is my wife’s list:
– for a specific day or trip
Work and Personal to-do
– more of a weekly view
– for each category of our reno…all measurements, product codes, colours etc. are on there and I’m sure a few things she’s found that she’ll want to buy when we move in that are clearly documented
– great for when you think of a great present idea for someone
– one place for when someone recommends something or you want to remember later
– ditch the list on the fridge, most people forget to bring it shopping anyway and you have a place to jot down in when you are not standing in your kitchen
– she also keeps a poker cheat-sheet in her blackberry just in case a game springs up at Gymboree
Communication is key…
How many annoying times have we heard that communication is the key to a great relationship?
No matter how great of a wife/husband/parent/friend we are, we all go Charlie Brown once in a while and only hear “wahwahwahwahwahwah…(insert your name here)…wahwahwah”.
Since it is unlikely that the family unit is going to synch their blackberries, pick a wall and put up a chalkboard, or just paint a feature wall with chalkboard paint. You can also custom frame for a more refined look.
Scribble birthdays, events, dinner ideas, chores, errands and maybe even the occaisional ‘i love you’. My favorite is the ‘don’t forget…’. Be careful, you won’t be able to use the excuse that you weren’t told about it.
Who designed the green bin anyway?…
A lot of us live in kitchens that were designed before recylcing and green bins became commonplace. How many of you live with an overcrowded garbage cupboard and piles of bottles, cans and ugly green bins sitting on your counter or by your door?
If you are thinking of renovating your kitchen, consider having your design include two roll-out cabinets with two full-size bins each. One for garbage, one for recycling, one for green bin and one for extra recycling such as paper or other items needing room such as dog food.
As for the outside, I know the plastic bins colours make it easy for the city to discern what is what but if those colours coordinate with your exterior, it’s time to re-paint.
I can’t tell you how many great homes I visit where thought and consideration has been put into beautiful planters, doorways and landscaping, only to see garbage and recylcing containers standing in full view outside the home.
Great systems are available in a range of prices. Check out Bin Solutions for a wide variety of options.
The great illusion…
Some of us are not natural organizers, nor do we want to be. But the old mantra of having a place for everything really does work.
Don’t worry about whether your underwear is folded. Just make sure you have a drawer or basket for it. Don’t freak out about your mail not being sorted, at least have a box or container for it until you do tackle the pile so it’s not becoming your secondary counter surface.
Just don’t let anyone open your cabinets or handy-dandy storage units – some items may have shifted after stuffing them full.
If all else fails, claim to be a prodigal eccentric artist whose surroundings are cluttered but whose mind is crystal clear.