by NAPO-Baltimore Members
NAPO-Baltimore just celebrated National Simplify Your Life Week by sharing very practical tips to live more simply. In case you missed any of them, we're happy to provide this recap plus some BONUS tips!
- Nettie Owens of Sappari Solutions says, "Organizing is more fun with a buddy. Grab a friend, turn on some music, and have fun!"
- Nettie Owens of Sappari Solutions says, "Use music to get in the mood to organized. Create a short playlist and organize for just as long as the music is playing."
Simplify Time Management & Activities:
- Annie Powell of Charm City Organizers says, "If space allows, keep different bags pre-packed for different activities: a swim bag with goggles, towel, and sun glasses ready to go; a school bag with pencils, notebook, and textbook; an overnight bag with travel toiletries."
- Carole McDade of Simplify Organizing says, "Trunk organizers are fine if you go in and out of your trunk a lot. Even better though - if you have small children who don't yet sit in the front seat, place an attractive box there and add things to read while waiting, library books to be returned, anything pertaining to car errands. It's convenient and serves as a reminder, too.
- Holly Henson of Simplify Organizing says, "Simplify correspondence! In this age of digital communication and social networking, it's rare to receive a handwritten note or card in the mail, but our friends and loved-ones are so thankful whenever we manage to! While we all would like to send birthday cards on time, many of us can't. We forget, procrastinate, or don't get to the store/post office on time. Simplify this process by following 4 easy steps: STEP 1. Create a list of everyone who you wish to mail a card to throughout the year (include birth date, anniversary, etc.). STEP 2. Head to your favorite store and buy each of these cards in advance. STEP 3. Using a large shoebox, organize your year's worth of cards by month they are to be delivered (stand the cards vertically and separate with month dividers). STEP 4. Make sure your calendar is updated with all these special occasions so you are reminded when to take action."
- Jacquie Ross of CastAway the Clutter says, "Simplify your life by turning off the noise: turn off text, email, Facebook, and Twitter notifications. Consider deleting or ignoring distracting social media apps on your phone, and instead, schedule time once or twice a day to read and reply to messages. You could free up an extra hour a day!"
- Carole McDade of Simplify Organizing, LLC says, "If you have a paper calendar and a smallish family, assign one color to each family member and then use one of those four-colored pens to mark events and obligations. Simplifies your life - you can tell at a glance which person needs to be where. Keep these pens hanging from your family calendar and in your purse so you can add to your calendar and keep up the 'color code.' If you use Google calendar, sync the colors and give everyone access."
- Mary Cate Claudias of Charm City Organizers says, "To feel more productive by the end of the day, make sure you have your to-do's in one place. Every few days or at least once a week, prioritize that list and coordinate with your calendar. You'll knock things off that list in no time."
Simplify With Kids:
- Cheryl Osterhouse of In Order for Life says, "Regardless of the age or grade of your student(s), they will come from the first day of school with forms to fill out, papers to sign, and classroom and teacher contact information for your records. Set aside time to finish these tasks. Set up a Quick Access File. Within this file, set up files for each of your children, where you file teacher information, class lists, etc."
- Terry Cooch of TLC Home says, "Make the most of your family vacation. Bring photos, an album, and supplies for a rainy day activity. Bring the kids their own mini book to fill."
- Cheryl Osterhouse of In Order for Life says, "Create a School Memory Box for each of your children. This can be as simple as setting up a file box or cardboard banker's box divided into 12 sections for each child. Then, keep a small box, which is easily accessible, and toss in all of your child's potential treasures... all of their sweet cards, artwork, pictures, awards, and brilliant writings. At the end of each season, or as the box fills up, sort through and save the best and most meaningful. Finally, file them away in their School Memory Box in the appropriate year. By the of high school, you'll have a wonderful handpicked history of your child's life and development."
Simplify In Your Kitchen:
- Amy Rehkemper of Simplify Organizing says, "Having planned dinners will mean no more stress surrounding what to eat when 5pm rolls around. Imagine, no more spoiled food, no last minute trips to the store for that missing ingredient, no longer having to resort to eating fast food because you couldn't deal with figuring out what to cook! To get started, select 20 of your favorite quick & healthy homemade meals (five for each of the four weeks in a month). The remaining two days of each week can either be for dining out, ordering in, or leftovers. Next, list every ingredient needed for each week until you have 4 different weekly shopping lists. Yes, this will take some time initially, but for years following you will thank yourself! With a Rotating Meal Schedule, you can finally take advantage of the time when your family comes together to enjoy each other's company. Plus, you can feel comforted that you are supplying yourself and your family with a wide variety of foods that are home-cooked, in-season, delicious, and nutritious!"
Simplify In Your Closet & Pantry:
- Annie Powell of Charm City Organizers says, "Only purchase one brand of white socks. This way there's no matching to do after laundry - any two can make a pair. This same strategy can also be applied to dress socks, and can be used for each member of the family."
- Susan von Suhrke of Timely Transitions says, "Forget those bulky chip clips for sealing snack bags. Buy a box of good old binder clips and then think 'outside the box.' A binder clip can hold the bottom of the rolled up toothpaste tube in place, provide a handle for hanging your kids' artwork, hold a network of aluminum mini-loaf pans together as drawer organizers, or keep your Triscuits from going stale. Small enough to fit inside the outer box for your snacks, you need only roll down the top and fasten with a binder clip to keep excess air from sucking the flavor out of your crackers. And lest we forget, they work well for binding papers together, too!"
- Jill Prevatt of Arrange Professional Organizing says, "To minimize morning chaos, plan your outfit the night before - iron if necessary, choose accessories and shoes. As thoughts turn back-to-school, get your kids in on it, too! One less thing to think about on a busy school morning."
- Terry Cooch of TLC Home says, "When unpacking from your vacation this summer, take notice of your dirty laundry. This is what you wore while vacationing. Simplify next year's packing by writing and keeping a list of everything you wore. If you don't want to wear the same clothes, list types and quantities."
Simplify Your Stuff:
- Jill Prevatt of Arrange Professional Organizing says, "Familiarize yourself with the concept of 'enough' and don't go looking for something to need. Once you've embraced this concept, you'll have less clutter and less distractions in your life."
- Mary Cate Claudias of Charm City Organizers says, "Before running out and buying a new container or organizing product, take inventory and measurements! Group like items and weigh out size, shape, and style to find the right product(s) for your project."
- Deb Clark of Go To Girl Organizing Solutions says, "Ziploc bags are a favorite organizing tool for me. From sandwich to jumbo to XXL, I have found they are great for people who need to see the items they are sorting, but need to have those items sorted and containerized for maximum efficiency. Recently, I purchased Ziploc Space Bags and find they are more reliable than other brands - they actually work! One of the goals I set for clients is to minimize the number of 'steps' required to reach and use any item that is stored. Visibility is key - when you can see what you need, it eliminates the step of finding the storage area. With the Ziploc bag, access is easy and so is system upkeep. Ziplocs are not fancy but work in a wide variety of situations - they are a must-have in the go-to bag of tricks that I take to all consultations and organizing sessions."
- Nadine Sachs of Organized2Succeed says, "Reduce the amount of cd's and dvd's in your home and make a few extra dollars! Go to www.musicmagpie.com and see how easy it is to open an account. All you have to do is enter the item's barcode to find out if MusicMagpie will accept the dvd or cd and to see how much they will pay you. You then download a pre-printed shipping label, mail the box of cd's and dvd's, and wait for your check!"
- Nettie Owens of Sappari Solutions says, "When you have less, you have less to handle, organize, and spend time and money on. Make a commitment to reduce your things by 20%. For example, for every 8 books you choose to keep, let go of 2."
Simplify Your Desk/Office, Mail & Paper Flow:
- Cheryl Osterhouse of In Order for Life says, "Remove anything from your office space that doesn't serve a purpose. Less really is more. It eliminates mind clutter that allows distractions. Implement the One In/One Out rule, limiting your supplies to the storage space you have.
- Annie Powell of Charm City Organizers says, "Get the Paperkarma app (it's free!). Using the camera feature on your smartphone, it unsubscribes you from junk mail. Woo hoo!"
- Cindy Bernstein of Aim 4 Order says, "Open your mail each day beside a recycling container and a shredder. It's a quick easy way to prevent piles of unwanted mail."
- Cheryl Osterhouse of In Order for Life says, "Make 'you' the center of your office. Create a circle around yourself using an L-shaped desk. This allows everything to be at arm's length and eliminates excessive searching and getting up and down. Items to place in your circle include a printer and paper, telephone, computer, a few pens and pencils in a holder, scissors, garbage can, recycle bin, shredder, planner, etc."
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