Category Archives: Productivity

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

Advertisements

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.

Smooth Transition from Summer to School

>Many children, especially in the lower grades, find it hard to make the switch from the lazy days of summer (going to the beach, playing soccer, visiting amusement parks) to the school year (early mornings, routines, homework). Come to think of it, it’s not easy for parents, either. But there are ways to smooth the transition:

1. Read, read, read: Make reading an integral part of your summer. Libraries often have incentive programs for the summer months; take advantage of them. Read to your child, have 29them read to you, and read together. Read menus, books, comics, read everything and anything.
2. Buy supplies: If you have your child’s class list of supplies, keep an eye out for bargains and stock up. Some schools get parents to pay a flat rate and the teachers buy the supplies in bulk and to their own specifications. It’s a great time-saver for parents, and the teachers know each child will have the exact supplies he or she needs.
3. Take inventory: Go through your child’s closet and donate clothes that no longer fit. Throw out any that are beyond repair. Make a list of what items are needed (indoor sneakers, outdoor sneakers, backpack, etc.) and go shopping. Don’t forget second-hand stores.
4. Call the school: A day or two before school starts, call the school and find out what class your child is in and if there’s anything you or your child needs to know before Day 1.
5. Know the route: How is your child getting to school: walking, by bus, by car, from the sitter’s? Is there a change from last year? Try out the route with your child to see how long it takes. A route that takes you five minutes to walk, for instance, could take a child up to 10 minutes.
6. Ease back into routine: A few weeks before the first day, start regulating bedtimes and rising times to be closer to the school-year routine. How long does it take everyone to get ready in the morning?
7. Build excitement: Most children are excited about the return to school, at least for a week or two after it starts. Even if you’re dreading the return to hectic mornings and evenings supervising homework, control your negativity, which can be contagious. Plan some fun outings during the first few weekends, and sign your child up for some favorite extra-curricular activities.
8. Visit the school: A nice tradition is going with your child on the first day back, not just for Grade Primary. It will ease some jitters and make your child feel valued.
Helping your child transition from summer mode to school mode will make them feel prepared to take on the school year and give them a smooth start. A smooth start can give a child the confidence boost he needs to do well all year.

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
© 2010 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553

Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.

Professional Organizers in Canada Guest Post – School’s Almost Out for the Summer!

**Content produced and provided by Professional Organizers in Canada**

Keep Your Cool during the Summer Sizzle

Are your kids talking about the summer yet? Are they getting excited?  Chances are they don’t know how much more work it is for parents during the summer than it is during the rest of the year. To keep the kids busy with little effort, consider putting advance planning in place so that the rest of the summer can be more spontaneously enjoyed. Here are some ideas you can use to improve the summer months:

Create an activity list or an “I’m Bored Jar” 

Get a large jar for the whole family to add ideas when one strikes. Have all family members write their ideas on notes and put them in the jar. Need some inspiration for summer activities? Organize a picnic dinner, swimming at a local pool, or camping in the backyard. If your kids are acting like wild animals, you might even plan a visit to the zoo.

Install a wall calendar and put the activity ideas on it. 

Use some sticky notes and a marker and start by indicating the important dates, such as the first day of school or camp, or time that will be spent away on a vacation. Colour code the sticky notes by category which could make the board look more kid-friendly. Potential categories can include theme days, playdates, planned outings, and activities done at home.

Stick to a normal routine as much as possible.

To make life easier for yourself, make sure you write out sticky notes for your own well-being and apply them to the wall calendar. Write down your date nights, dinner menu plans and babysitter arrangements.

Pre-sort supplies for Grab and Go Bags

Pre-pack backpacks before an activity day. This will help you avoid the hour of preparation time before being able to leave the house. Some ideas for Grab and Go Bags are:

  • Theme park bags
  • Walking/hiking bags
  • Playdate bags, picnic bags
  • Library bags
  • Pool days

If you’re going to the pool, have water excursion supplies pre-packed in a tote bag. Pack swimsuits and towels, as well as sun safety essentials including sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to bring a plastic bag for wet bathing suits!

  • Road trip essentials

Be sure to pack items that will keep you and your family comfortable and entertained while away from home. Include essentials such as diapers, water bottles, snacks, and sunscreen. To avoid the inevitable cries of “Are we there yet?” don’t forget books, colouring books or clipboards with blank paper, and zippered pouches of crayons for each child along with the electronic device preloaded with learning games and movies.

There is nothing wrong with kids getting bored from time to time, as some ingenious and unique activities can result from that.  Keep art supplies within reach in the craft cabinet, a few outdoor toys in the backyard, and fruit and sugar-free drinks in the fridge.

Get Clarity, Get Organized

Get clarity

Working with Your Memory to Find a Lost Item – Eileen Pease

header-image

This blog entry comes courtesy of Eileen Pease of Dynamic Learning. Eileen is a leader in maximizing your memory and brain function to increase your productivity at work and at home. If you’re interested in learning more or arranging a training session for your organization, please visit her website.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a misplaced item. The pressure to find it increases exponentially when it is something really important – like a passport.

Stop searching, sit down and think. There is a 99.9999% probability that the item is exactly where you left it. Here are some brain-friendly steps to help you find it.

  1. Stop imagining the awful things that will happen if you don’t find it. That distracts your mind away from the work you need to do with your memory to find it. Imagining awful consequences will stress your brain, decreasing your memory.
  2. Remind yourself in a friendly, optimistic way that you will find it soon because you know there is a logical reason why you haven’t found it yet. When you do find it, you will be relieved and amused.
  3. Take three deep, relaxing breaths and sit or stand exactly where you were the last time you had the item for sure.
  4. Keep your focus on that moment, look around slowly, and think about the next steps you took. Don’t let your mind run off into saying things like, “But I already looked there.” You have not found it yet because you have been distracting yourself with other thoughts and commands. Calm your mind and focus on where you were and what you were doing the last time you had it for sure.
  5. Remind yourself that this is the last place you were when you are certain you had it. Review the evidence. For example, “I had my passport in my hand while I was booking my flight.”
  6. Identify the one most probable place you would have put the item. Look for it there. If you don’t find it, step back and look to see if it could have fallen somewhere, slipped behind or under something, or been covered up somehow.
  7. If you still can’t find it, sit down again to think. Remind yourself it is exactly where you left it. What were you thinking about at the time? Was there anybody else involved? Were you listening to your radio or TV? Did somebody phone you or drop in just at that time? Did you go out to your car? Were you cleaning up in a hurry shortly afterward? It is often helpful to actually re-live and act out the sequence of what you remember happened next. Your memory knows what happened next, it just needs you to trigger the reminder.
  8. Continue to work calmly with your memory. Remind yourself you are going to find it and it is better to keep concentrating on it now, than to give up and search for it later. Acknowledge that physical items do not vanish into thin air and rarely get stolen or deliberately hidden by somebody else. Guard against *fantastic* solutions and reassure yourself there is a logical reason why you have not found it so far. When you do find it, there will be a perfectly logical reason for it to be there.
  9. If necessary, revisit in your memory the last moment when you are certain you had it in your hands. Are you making any unchecked assumptions about where you were or what you were doing? Look in your planning calendar, talk to anyone who was around at the time, and re-create that moment. See yourself holding the item and mentally follow the scene that unfolds.
  10. Sometimes the search becomes too irritating. Then it is better to stop and turn your attention to something completely different. Sleep on it. Next morning, rested and with a fresh perspective, start again at step number two.

Once you find the item, note the logic of where it was and recognize the assumptions you were making that stopped you from finding it sooner. I would love to know your lost and found story; please email me atepease@eileenpease.com or phone me at 902-483-5700. If you have faithfully tried every step above with no success, phone me and I will help you get your memory to tell you where your lost item is.

 

News Years Resolutions or Fatal Attraction?

>Are you like most people? Have you set and broken many of your New Years Resolutions already? Have you spent time focused on your deficits and shortcomings? The law of attraction says we will draw those things towards us that we spend time thinking about.

Quote from author, Ellen Goodman:
“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.’

Attract more of the positive and create brighter possibilities:

1. Don’t get caught up in the New Year hype.
2. Instead of focusing on making a resolution, focus on what you have accomplished last year and how you can take those positive events and use them towards making this year the best yet.
3. Look back on how you made your special memories and how you can create more to last a lifetime.
4. Picture those activities you shared with loved ones.
5. Think about what you are most proud of in your career.
6. Live your life with meaningful intent.
7. Take charge of your own well-being, embrace it and enjoy everything that the New Year has to offer you.

Realize that you can do whatever you set your mind to do.

Resolve to evolve into the person you want to be by attracting what you want.

By

The 2016 Organize Anything Top 10 List

The 2016 Organize Anything 10 Ten List

 

Every year we ask our clients, fellow organizers and our friends what products they’re using right now that make their lives easier. These ten products are ones we’ve tried or have had recommended to us and we love how they make our lives a little simpler – whether it’s at home, on the go, or in the office. Please let us know what products you’ve tried and loved!

1) The Tile App. We’re big fans of this little piece of plastic that tileensures we never lose our purse/wallet/laptop/bike/keys again. You can attach these self-contained GPS units to pretty much anything and sync it to an app on your phone or tablet. When you misplace whatever you’ve attached the Tile to, you simply log into the app and ask it to find your missing item. It will pull up a map that will show you the location down to 20m AND an alarm will start to sound from the Tile itself.

Each Tile lasts for approximately a year, and then you can re-order through their loyalty program for a great discount off the original price. To order visit www.thetileapp.com

passion2) The Passion Planner. We’re obsessed with the Passion Planner. It’s more than just a day-planner, it’s laid out so that you can track your personal/professional goals, your appointments, keep notes about the wonderful things that happened that week and provides space to brainstorm and journal too! We’re also fans of their pay-it-forward program and free planners to non-profit organizations. The planners come in academic (August to August), yearly or undated. You can learn more at www.passionplanner.com

upcart

3) The UpCart. The UpCart is a stair climbing hand cart that can carry up to 100lbs! The cart is designed with three wheels on each side, so you’re able to easily pull it behind you up a flight of stairs, or across uneven ground. It has an adjustable handle, and because of the design of the wheels, there is reduced strain when pulling it. Whether you have loads of groceries to carry up stairs, or gardening supplies to get across the yard, the UpCart is a great solution to save your energy and your back. To order visit www.upcart.com

 

moonjar4) Moonjar Moneybox. This is a fantastic way to teach children about managing money! A fun, easy way to introduce financial management to children the Moonjar Moneybox has three separate deposit jars. One is for spending money, one is for long-term savings, and the third is for charitable giving. We love the idea of introducing kids to giving back at a young age! The kit includes a transaction record and a family guide to help parents have meaningful conversations about money with their children.

 

 

5) Max Mirani Mobile Closet. This carry-on suitcase mobileis everything you need for your next business trip. Designed to fit in most airlines carry-on luggage compartments, it’s also has compartments for all of your necessary items that fold together to keep clothes and toiletries ready to go. When you arrive to your hotel, you can hang the Mobile Closet up, and your wardrobe is ready to be accessed – no unpacking involved. We’re all about easy packing and travelling light, so this suitcase makes our list for sure. And the best part? The entire interior of the suitcase can be removed and used as a tote bag! If you’d like to learn more or purchase, visit http://www.maxmirani.com/collections/move-mobile-closet-ii

nest6) Nest Thermostat. How much do we love the Nest Learning Thermostat? So much! This genius piece of tech will keep your home comfortable while saving you tons of money and keeping your home eco-friendly. It tracks your patterns and builds a temperature profile unique to you and your family. It only takes a week to recognize patterns and the temperatures that your family prefers. It has a bright, stylish display that can be easily seen and adjusted and it will adapt seasonally. The coolest feature? You can connect it to your smart phone and adjust the temperature from the office or the car in case you’re coming home early or you forgot to adjust the thermostat before vacation. To purchase visit www.nest.com

7) Wireless Charging Pad. We hate cords. They’re wirelessmessy, get tangled and always seem to be missing. A wireless charging pad for our mobile devices is so stress free and easy to use, that we can’t help but love it. We’re fans of the Duracell pads because they can be used with any brand of mobile device. Simply keep your charging pad plugged in, and place your smart phone on top when you need to charge it. They come in a standard 1-device size, but if you have a busy family on the go, you can get pads that charge up to 6 devices at once. To learn more or to purchase visit www.duracellpowermat.com

 

aqua8) Aquanotes. We don’t know about you, but inspiration can hit at any time. We love this notepad that sticks to the wall of the shower and you can write on it, even when it’s wet! Simple and easy to use this fun addition to your shower stall is great gift or idea for the person in your life who gets struck with inspiration at any moment.

 

tilley

9) Tilley Hats. They’re tagline says they’re the best hats in the world, and we tend to agree! We’re really feeling their new TTW2 Tec-Wool hats. It’s made of a wool blend that keeps your head comfortable by automatically expanding in heat and contracting in cold to keep the air flow around your noggin the perfect temperature. Not only is Tilley a Canadian company but they guarantee their products for life! We’re fans of this durable traveller’s hat and love all the fun styles you can now buy for both men and women. You can purchase Tilley hats in stores or online at www.tilley.com

Remember-the-Milk-Logo10) Remember the Milk. This to-do list turned task manager will have you organized and whipped into time-management shape in no time at all. This digital task manager can sync with all of your devices, allows you to add reminders for family and friends. You can have reminders sent to you by email or text or by Google reminder – the options are endless. We’re head-over-heels for this easy to use, fun, digital task manager. Create your account today by visiting http://www.rememberthemilk.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend To-Do

Precook Meals

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

%d bloggers like this: