Author Archives: Organize Anything

Holiday Office Survival Guide

Holiday office parties can be a chance for you to shine in front of your employer and peers. You can take advantage of the casual setting to have some fun and advance your career, or misbehave and cripple your career. Follow these tips to make sure you adhere to the highest standard of office party etiquette:

1) Don’t pass up the opportunity! It’s not every day that you get the chance to have a one-on-one personal conversation with the boss. Even if you can’t stay the whole evening don’t be a no-show. Arrive, mingle, and then make your exit.

2) Always ask before bringing a guest. Bringing your spouse or partner is a great way to meet new people in the office and showcase a bit of your personal life. However, not all office parties are open to families.

3) Don’t overindulge. Just because there’s a buffet or an open bar doesn’t mean that you should help yourself all night. You never know whose eyes are on you.

Businesspeople at Christmas party

Businesspeople at Christmas party

4) Dress appropriately. Dress more festively than you would for a day at the office, but more conservative than you would for a night out on the town.

5) Get involved. Don’t be afraid to take part in activities at the party. You’ll stick out more if you refuse to be a team player and participate.

6) Don’t forget it’s still a business event. Be sure to take the time to chat with your colleagues and superiors. Get to know the people you work with, but maintain your professional image.

7) Be gracious to the hosts, and send a thank you note to management and the personnel who organized the event the next day for inviting you.

Office parties are a great chance to network and have some fun with your co-workers. Enjoy yourself, meet some new people and expand your contacts in the organization. By following our simple do’s and don’ts you’ll avoid making any embarrassing missteps.

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Stay Fit and Healthy This Holiday Season

Did you gain weight last holiday season?  You’re not alone.  With so many corporate and social gatherings and events in such a short time, it’s hard to resist indulging in the array of seasonal treats they bring. The trick is to find a balance between enjoying yourself and maintaining healthy habits.  So here are a few suggestions that will help you avoid unhealthy weight gain this year.

  • Shift your attitude away from food – Remember that food is not the reason for get-togethers during the holiday season. It’s something extra.  Keep that in mind and focus on having fun.
  • Don’t abstain – Why deny yourself your favourite meals before and during the holiday season? The key is moderation – watch your portions, plan lighter, more nutritional meals and keep up your exercise routine.
  • Stock up on healthy choices – You probably like to buy a few treats for yourself and your guests over the holidays. Why not substitute some of all of those items with more nutritional options such as fruit, whole-grain products or peanut butter?
  • Curb your appetite – Want to cut the calories you consume at a seasonal celebration? Plan a small healthy snack before you go.  Regularly drinking water during the holidays is another great way to keep your appetite in check.
  • Plan your event calendar – With so many events to choose from, and so much temptation, it’s a good idea to take time and plan the events that you want to attend. Set yourself limits, don’t get over exhausted and make sure you are having regular meals.
  • Know your limits – if there are foods that you find irresistible, set yourself limits. That way, you can enjoy them without overindulging.
  • Buddy up – Chances are you have a friend or co-worker who is also watching what they eat. Why not pair up and look out for each other at your next event.
  • Toast to your health – Alternate your alcoholic beverages and seasonal favourites such as eggnog with Water and un-sweetened drinks. Not only will you cut calories, you’ll also avoid the holiday hangover
  • Eat your greens – Look for the veggie tray, a mainstay of any holiday party. For potlucks, plan a nutritious, low-calorie dish, like a fruit tray or shrimp ring.
  • Stay active – It isn’t easy with all of the festivities, but make time for fitness. It not only burns calories, it helps melt away seasonal stress. Consider walking to events, where possible, and arranging a drive home with a friend or by taxi.

Did You Know We Have Gift Certificates?

Do you have someone on your holiday list that is impossible to shop for? No idea what to get the friend that seems to have everything? Try an Organize Anything gift certificate for Christmas this year! It’s the perfect choice for the person in your life who needs a helping hand getting a handle on the clutter and disorganization in their life.
Whether they need organizing help at home or in the home office, Organize Anything can help. Know someone who could use some extra assistance getting their productivity up? We have a gift certificate for that. Know a student who wants some making their study habits more efficient? Have a grandchild moving out this spring to go to university? Buy a downsizing or relocating gift certificate for their parents.
Our gift certificates options are wide open so that they can be tailored to meet your needs. We offer professional organizing and productivity services. We also are available for public speaking engagements, teaching seminars and life coaching. Visit our website, http://www.organizeanything.com for all the details.
Please contact us if you aren’t sure if we offer the service you’re looking for organize1@organizeanything.com or (902) 233-1577. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter too (@organizeanow)!

Music to Motivate You to Organize Anything

Tune in and Get it Done

Are you facing a giant organizing project that you’re having trouble feeling motivated to start? Make a playlist to help motivate you to carry through to the end of the project.

Music is proven to motivate and energize us – in fact headphones are banned in several sports because music gives athletes too much of an advantage! Choosing music with a high BPM (Beats Per Minute) forces your brain to focus and you will start to synchronize your movements with the beat of the song.

For low to medium intensity work, like rearranging the garage, an ideal BPM range is 120 – 132bpm. This music will be high energy enough to keep you engaged and active, but isn’t going to have you subconsciously pushing yourself harder than you want to go. Put a few slower and faster songs in the mix to keep it interesting.

Don’t forget about melody and lyrics. Various studies have shown that how a melody in a song is constructed can affect us physically. Take Adele’s smash hit “Someone Like You” for instance, not only are the lyrics heartbreaking and raw, the melody is written to include “appoggiaturas” – ornamental notes that clash with the melody just enough to create a dissonant sound. And dissonant sound is what causes a physical reaction in human beings.

Pick songs that you love to sing along to. A great beat and fun lyrics will keep you jazzed as you do the job that you’ve been putting off.

The power of music doesn’t stop at keeping you energized during a workout or a marathon organizing session. Did you know that music has been shown to reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis by up to 25%? With regular music therapy you can lower blood pressure, speed post-stroke recovery, boost your immunity, enhance intelligence and improve your memory performance. You can read more about it in the UK’s Journal of Advanced Nursing.

When we’re getting ready to tackle a large project, we make a playlist to jam along to. It keeps us motivated and it’s fun. The following are some of our favourite tunes, and if you visit our YouTube page this is a great 1 hour and 15 minute long play list, ready to go.

1.   Get the Party Started – Pink (129 BPM)

2.   Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson (128 BPM)

3.   Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police  (180 BPM)

4.   Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye (129 BPM)

5.   Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen (80 BPM)

6.   Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 ft Christina Augilera (128 BPM)

7.   Say My Name – Destiny’s Child (127 BPM)

8.   Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams (140 BPM)

9.   Set Fire to the Rain – Adele (108 BPM)

10.  We Found Love – Rihanna (128 BPM)

11. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor (117)

12. Another One Bites the Dust – Queen (124)

13. I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar – Helen Reddy (160)

14. Respect – Aretha Franklin (116)

15. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey (135)

16.. Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins (157)

17. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash (113)

18.. Let’s Dance – David Bowie (114)

19. Walk This Way – Aerosmith  (107)

20. Leader of the Pack – The Shangri-Las (112)

Have a tune that motivates you? Visit our YouTube Channel or Facebook Page and share it with us.

How to Recover Your Bedroom From Clutter

We spend roughly one-third of our day in our bedrooms, most of it sleeping.  Little wonder it can be difficult to keep a bedroom tidy and clutter-free.  Following these easy-to-remember steps will help you keep things in order—maybe even get a good night’s sleep.

Make your bed first thing in the morning. It makes the room look tidier and will motivate you to keep it that way. cluttered-room

Keep a laundry basket handy for dirty laundry to avoid creating piles of clothes on the floor.

Add hooks to your closets for belts, scarves, and accessories to keep them organized and prevent them from being misplaced.  You should also consider attaching a tie or shoe rack inside your closet doors.

Arrange your dresser so you have one drawer for underwear and one for socks or stockings. Consider sorting through your dresser drawers every two months to discard items that have holes or mismatched socks.

Place your purses on a shelf, or hang them on a coat rack.  This will free up space and allow you to easily access and change purses for any event or season.

Sort your clothing seasonally.  Place all clothing items that are not in season in plastic containers, and place them in a storage closet or in the bottom of your clothes closet.

At the beginning of each season, hang all of your clothing hangers backwards.  After you wear and wash an item, return it to your closet and set the hanger straight.  At the end of the season, anything that is still hung backwards should be donated since you didn’t wear it for six months.

bedroomFeb09Can’t accommodate a large jewelry box?  There are attractive, multi-compartment containers available that allow you to arrange your necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets.

Get your shoes off the floor and onto a shoe rack, on shelves, or even in a shoe bag.

Don’t have a separate linen closet?  Fold and place linen on top of a closet or dresser, if easily accessible.

How to Purge the Urge to Procrastinate

Do you procrastinate? You’re not alone. It’s easy to say, ”I’ll do it tomorrow,” when faced with a project. But if you keep putting it off, you run the risk of racing the clock to complete it at the last minute. And if you do complete it, you may be unhappy with the results. So when you feel the temptation to procrastinate:  

1) Ask yourself why you procrastinate – There are many reasons why we put things off, from fear to lack of motivation. Knowing why you procrastinate will help you break the habit.

2) Identify what motivates you – Is it tight deadlines? The promise of a reward? Think about what motivates you and use that to get the ball rolling.

3) Prioritize your tasks – It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have several projects competing for your attention. Categorizing tasks as high and low priority will help you to focus on the most pressing projects.

4) Consider the time required – Be realistic when looking at the time it will take to complete any project. Block out time in your calendar so you have a clear start and end date with sufficient time to get it done.

sticky note wall

5) Avoid distractions – Easier said than done. But by focusing on the work at hand, you can complete it quickly and properly. And that will give you more time to focus on other responsibilities or activities.

6) Tell someone else – Knowing that you’ve told someone what you’re planning to do is a great motivator. Even saying it out loud to yourself is often enough to get you started.

7) Anticipate problems – There are always tasks that pose challenges. The key is to visualize them and how you will respond to them. This can significantly reduce anxiety and will help you perform better.

8) Plan a reward – It’s easier to complete a task or two when you know that there will be a reward for your hard work.  

9) Do things as they occur to you – This way, you won’t risk adding another item to your “To-Do” list. You may even find the thrill of getting something extra done motivates you to take on other projects.

10) Ask yourself ”Is there an easier way to do this?” – A little extra thought can make the difference in getting a task done quickly and easily.

If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to others who would find it useful and sign up for our Organize Anything newsletter on our homepage at www.organizeanything.com

STAGING TIP – Keep it Light and Bright

When selling your home, keep it bright.  Dimly lit rooms tend to look smaller and dingy.  Turn on many, if not all lights, even when you are showing your home during day hours.

Create lighting that sets a warm inviting mood. This occurs with multiple lights and not just overhead lights. If there is a small or darker room in your home, put a floor lamp in the room to bounce light off the ceiling and use table lamps to make the remaining space light up.

If the walls seem dreary, repaint them in a nice neutral shade to catch the light.  By creating a lighter feeling in the room, it will appear more relaxed which will allow buyers to visualize themselves in the space.  Make it more welcoming with drapes and blinds open to let in natural light.  Wash the windows in each room on the inside and outside.  Hire a professional window washer if necessary.

By lightening up your home it will help to sell it faster, for more money and that will brighten any seller’s day.

bright-window-replacement-interior

Professional Organizers of Canada Guest Post – Are You Prepared?

p-3

Be Ready for an Emergency:  A Storm, A Blackout or an Evacuation

Sometimes, unexpected situations arise that one should be ready for at any given time. Inclement weather such as storms, power outages, tornados, autumn hurricanes, severe winter storms as well as power outages and a 15-minute evacuation order can force us to move quickly to get out of the house.

A few minutes of pre-planning for emergencies will put your mind at ease when you hear about the next nasty storm coming your way.  It is an easy project you will never regret taking the time to do and an incredibly useful exercise for you and your family.

You can’t possibly be prepared for every scenario, so consider assembling an emergency preparedness kit should your family be trapped in the home without services for 72 hours or alternatively, if the police order you to leave your home quickly.

Assemble a Ready To Go suitcase

  • Use a piece of old piece luggage or duffle bag that will make it quickly portable if required. Label your bag well with a large identifying tag.

Items to include as a basic minimum

  • Bottled water; several litres of water per person per day
  • Non-perishable food; tuna, power bars, soup, pasta and sauce, canned beans, peanut butter, fruit cups
  • A manual can opener!
  • A little one-burner propane stove
  • A flashlight is a must (with extra batteries)
  • A crank or battery operated radio
  • A first aid kit
  • Candles and a lighter
  • Some cash
  • Blankets
  • Garbage bags
  • A basic tool kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Moist towelettes
  • Toilet paper
  • A whistle
  • Duct tape
  • If there are pets or babies, add items as required.

Important Documents
Have a separate kit that includes important documents prepared and accessible, so you can grab it in a hurry. It should include:

  • A home inventory
  • Credit cards, passport and IDs
  • Bank accounts numbers, etc.
  • Insurance Documents including insurer’s contact information

Don’t Forget
Discuss your emergency plan, the location of your kit and its contents with each member of the family. They may be in the house when something happens or when there is no adult supervision.

For more information

They Can Do That? A Guest Post from the National Association of Professional Organizers

NAPO members discuss what consumers should ask when hiring a professional organizer in the Smead podcast series, “Keeping You Organized.” Click the image to watch.

When people think of the services professional organizers provide, de-cluttering closets, setting up filing systems, creating time management strategies, or designing custom garage storage systems typically come to mind. But professional organizers specialize in many different areas, and can help overcome a variety of organizing challenges faced at home or at work. Here is a list of some lesser-known services they offer:

  1. Specialty Moving & Relocation: Need help packing the kids up for summer camp or moving your college student into his or her dorm?  There’s an organizer for that! Hiring a pro lets parents stress less and spend more quality time with their kids before they go away, and helps college students get off to an organized start when living away from home for the first time.
  2. Organizing and Cataloging Collections: From photographs to memorabilia to wine, if you need to manage the items in your collection for insurance purposes, display, or simply for easy access, a professional organizer who specializes in collections can help you keep track of the items you have so carefully curated.
  3. Blending Households: A professional organizer can help preserve household harmony when new spouses, stepfamilies, roommates, or parents find themselves sharing living space, and need to find places for everyone’s stuff.
  4. EcoConscious Organizing: Everyone is more aware of humans’ effect on our environment, and for those consumers who actively try to reduce their overall impact, there are organizing professionals who specialize in sustainable ways to reduce clutter, organize and recycle unwanted items.
  5. Technology Organizing: Need someone to help set up your new smartphone?  Need help keeping track of documents and files on your home and work mobile devices? Need help figuring which apps to use to help you stay organized?  Tech-savvy professional organizers can help you get the most out of your electronic devices.
  6. Personal Assistant/Concierge Services: If staying organized means you need a helping hand running errands, scheduling appointments, or fulfilling other commitments, professional organizers who also provide assistant or concierge services will keep you in control of all the aspects of your busy life.
  7. Medical/Legal Office Organizing: Establishing effective filing systems, chain-of-custody protocols, and document retention policies is vital to successful case management and protecting sensitive and confidential information. A professional organizer experienced in medical or legal organizing can help improve office efficiency and maintain client privacy.
  8. Estate Sales: When a person passes away leaving behind a home full of possessions, sorting through a lifetime of memories may be too much for grieving loved ones to handle.  Professional organizers who offer estate sale services coordinate the sale or donation of unwanted items, taking the burden off family or friends at a difficult time.
  9. Working with People with ADHD or ADD: For people who struggle with attention-deficit disorders, routines and systems can dramatically help them maintain focus so they can be more productive at home, school, and work. Organizing experts who specialize in working with those living with ADHD or ADD understand their everyday challenges, and help them develop habits to minimize frustration and become more successful in all aspects of their lives.
  10. Emergency Preparedness: Disasters can strike home or work at any time, and a good emergency plan can keep you, your family, or your colleagues safe, and get you back on your feet sooner. Professional organizers can help you create a plan to keep your vital documents safe, create an emergency kit, put together disaster evacuation and communications plans, and develop recovery  procedures, so your life is disrupted as little as possible in the face of disaster.

These are just some of the specialized services that professional organizers can provide, so if you feel overwhelmed by an organizing dilemma, you don’t have to tackle it alone.

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO’s Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Back-to-the-Basics with Back-to-School Organization

Although most of us are enjoying a relaxing summer break, the new school year is just around the corner. August is the time to get ready for back to school by preparing ourselves with the proper supplies and organizational techniques. Follow these suggestions to create a less stressful year and to avoid that last-minute scurry before the first day of school. Even if you don’t have children or aren’t attending school yourself, we can all benefit by using this time to readjust our schedules and routines.

1) Use Calendars – Prepare your calendar for the upcoming school year. Family members should have easy access to one central calendar at home. Keep one in your kitchen or den so everyone in your family can see what is on the agenda for the weeks ahead. Record important dates such as school closings, vacations, appointments or meetings. This will allow everyone to judge time accordingly for car scheduling and pick ups. Designate each family member a coloured marker to write activities to clearly see who has what coming up. In a backpack, keep a daily planner and carry it at all times. Jot down appointments or project deadlines right away before you forget. Don’t rely on memory – write it all down.

2) Only Buy What You Will Use – Organizing and prioritizing means making space in your room, home or office to store new school work and supplies. Don’t go overboard buying new supplies thinking this will help you be more organized. Rather, look at the basic items you use and only buy those. Make a list of the items you need and only purchase those items when shopping. By gathering your pre-existing supplies, you can judge more effectively what extra supplies you will need, and what has worked best for you in the past.

3) Get Rid of the Old to Make Room for the New – Get rid of old books and papers that you no longer use. When you do come across important papers, have a specific place to store them. A filing cabinet would be a great investment, and it keeps stacks of papers out of sight. Outdated magazines should be donated or recycled. If there are articles you like or don’t have time to read, tear them out and keep them in a binder or file them by subject. This way you have all the articles that you enjoy together and can take it along with you while waiting for appointments or in between classes.

4) Keep All School Supplies in One Area – Designate one spot in your home for all your school supplies. Spend 15 minutes each night tidying up this area. This will save time in the morning and avoid the panic of looking for misplaced items. Always have your backpack ready and your homework finished the night before. Keep lunches prepared in the fridge and ready to grab.

5) Donate Old Clothes – Everyone wants to have a few new items of clothing for the first day of school. Before you go shopping, look at the clothes you already own to see how they will work for the fall season. Go through your closet and get rid of outdated clothes and those that don’t fit. If you haven’t worn items in months or years, chances are you do not need them. Getting rid of these articles of clothing will make way for your new fall wardrobe.

6) Do it Now – Start shopping early for back-to-school clothes and supplies. Don’t wait until the weekend before school starts. The stores will be crowded which may cause unnecessary stress. Make shopping a leisurely and enjoyable experience with your children or friends.

Back-to-school can mean a fresh start for your organizing routine. Prepare now to ensure you start the new school year on the right track.

If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to others who would find it useful and sign up for our Organize Anything newsletter on our homepage at http://www.organizeanything.com

© 2006 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553
http://www.organizeanything.com
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.

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