Messy Bedroom? No Problem!

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.

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Mindful Behaviour vs Resolutions – From Professional Organizers of Canada

It can be daunting when your list of New Year’s Resolutions is as long as your holiday shopping list. In addition to the post-holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions is depressing.

The New Year is often seen as a catalyst for wanting to make new changes in behaviour and lifestyle. Although most people feel they want to start positively – a fresh start can begin at any time of the year.  Change the term of resolutions to mindful behaviours.

Recognize a lifestyle change is important and working towards it happens one step at a time. Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year – instead of a a singular overwhelming change – is usually more successful. Perhaps your frustrations are with:

  • Clothes piled up on the floor or a chair
  • Paper scattered all over the dining table
  • Stacks of unread magazines
  • Overflowing counters

Choose a habit or area that bothers you the mostThen:

  1. Assign a time in your calendar to deal with it.
  2. Make the dreaded task as pleasant as possible.
  • Put on some enjoyable music
  • Get a favourite beverage
  • Bring in a friend to keep you motivated
  1. Resolve to finish it.
  2. Reward yourself.
  3. If you’re pleased, schedule another task

Be Realistic and Reasonable

By making your expectations realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep your goals throughout the year, incorporating healthy behaviour into your everyday life.

Replacing unhealthy behaviours with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.

Perfection is unattainable. Don’t give up completely because you still have a pile of papers, the closet is still full or the decorations are still scattered because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes.

Find Fiscal Success with Financial Organization

Find Fiscal Success with Financial Organization

The holidays are over and a new year has started. Traditionally a time for reflection and goal setting, it’s also a time to take control of your personal and business finances.  On the home front the holiday bills will be coming fast and furious. And at the office it’s a good time take the chill out of that first quarter by creating habits to warm the hearts of bosses and accountants alike.

The experts at Organize Anything have put together a great list of 10 tips to help you on your way to an organized and productive 2015. Have questions or got stuck? You can always contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

1. Set up a receipts system. Great for tracking household and business expenses. It’s a perfect way to keep your receipts all in one place so you can easily reconcile at end of month, and at tax time It can be as simple as 12 marked envelopes – 1 for each month. This will help you truly grasp your monthly spending.

2. Gift cards- don’t tuck away in the drawer and forget about them. No longer allowed to expire in Canada, gift cards are an ideal way to tide you over in the slower quarter of the fiscal year. From groceries to clothes to office supplies, don’t discount the usefulness of a great gift card.

3. Update your monthly budget. Take a hard look at last quarter’s spending and adjust your monthly spending. This is the perfect time to set new financial goals for your business and home as well.

4. Get ‘appy’. There’s so many neat productivity and finance driven apps out there for Androids and Apple products. Think about the things you could be doing on the fly if you had the tech, and search out apps that will help. We love Freshbooks for on-the-go invoicing!

5. Get a heads start on, your income taxes. Why wait?? Get the jump on your taxes in the slower months of January and February. This way you avoid the panic of the last minute crunch. And if you’re getting money back, the sooner the better!

6. Business plan. Do you have a strategic plan for your business? Do you know where you’d like to be in five years? 10 years? Take this time of renewed productivity and focus to lay out some goals for the next five years. Don’t forget to include steps to achieve these goals and markers on how you’ll you know when you’ve been successful. You can do this for your home and family as well – make goals as a group and find ways to achieve them.

7. Return it. Did you get “stuff” for Christmas? Return it if you don’t like it – there’s no sense in keeping a gift that’s just going to take up space in your home and clutter your life. Use the money you get from the return to “pay it forward” – either donate it to a charity of your choice, or tuck it away in the rainy day fund.

8. Take inventory. Stop buying unnecessary office supplies or things for your home. Do a quick inventory of what you actually have in the office and keep an inventory sheet so you know what you’re about to run out. This cuts down on unnecessary spending and keeps your storage space tidy and easy to manage.

9. Keep your bank account healthy with quick returns of medical receipts. Does your employer provide health care? Review your policy and figure out what treatments are included. Be sure to keep your direct billing receipts and don’t forget to claim your expenses on your income tax! That monthly massage isn’t just relaxing, it can help on your tax return as well.

10. Download Quicken (or some other money management program). Quicken will make your financial life a million times easier to manage. It costs around $50, but its well worth the investment. From Quicken you can pay bills, download transactions from banks and credit card accounts, plan, budget and see what you are spending and what your overall financial picture looks like.

If you haven’t been doing these things regularly, don’t worry about it – NOW is the perfect time to start. Lean into new challenges this year and adopt routines that make sense to you. By taking the time to identify areas of your life that are not as productive as they could be, you will be able to find solutions.

Be More Selfish This Year

Make one of your goals for the New Year to be more selfish. Seriously. Say “no” more often and take time for yourself. Why you ask? Because it’s good for business.

People who take time out of their busy work lives to spend some quality with themselves are more likely to enjoy their work and be more productive. Here are some simple ways to treat yourself right – even when you’re at your busiest.

1) Schedule an hour in your day planner every day that is just for you. Fill it with a hobby,  a class, a nap – whatever you like, as long as it’s just for you. If you look at it like it’s an appointment that you have to keep you are more likely to honour that time.

2) Take an electronic break – see what happens when you turn off your phone, blackberry, iPod, TV, computer and radio. A study of 3000 students by the Kaiser Family Foundation ending in May 2009 revealed that on average they were spending seven and a half hours per day working with electronic devices!

3) If it’s in your budget, schedule yourself a massage once a month. If a massage is a little too pricey, enjoy an
at-home spa day once a month. Taking a break under the warm hands of a masseuse or in tub full of bubbles can help with mental vacation from your stress.

4) Go to your to-do list and see what you can eliminate – maybe you don’t really have to do it anyway. If you have been procrastinating doing something for a long time, ask if it is really important. If it, is make a plan. If it isn’t, get rid of it. No sense in it haunting you from the list. Better yet – see who else could do it.

5) Shut your door – Research suggests the average manager spends three hours a day dealing with interruptions.

6) Take a real lunch break.  Give yourself time to eat in a relaxing atmosphere and read, listen to music, or do nothing.

7) Say no. We are inundated with requests every day to give up our time – and our sanity! Learn to politely refuse when asked to volunteer or donate your time to a cause that you aren’t fully behind. Save your time and energy for causes you truly believe in. Direct your energies in fewer areas where you can be more and fully engaged.

8) Under promise – over deliver.

9) Break out of “The Zone.” It can be really hard to walk away from a project at the end of the day if you’re feeling in the groove, but you need to respect the boundary between work and home. You’ll find your groove again tomorrow, right now you need to walk away and go do something else.

10) Hit the gym, go for a run, practice yoga, take a walk around the block. Beyond the obvious health benefits, the endorphins that are released when you exercise give you a much needed emotional boost to fight through stress and fatigue.

11) Embrace the power of sleep. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for your emotional well being. Set your DVR to record, so you don’t miss your favourite show, and head to bed an hour earlier – your brain will thank you in the morning!

Make yourself a priority this year. If you take care of yourself physically and emotionally, everything else in your life will fall into place. Now is the time to make yourself a priority – and you will find that your business ventures  will be more successful as a result.

News Years Resolutions or Fatal Attraction?

Have you set and broken many of your New Years Resolutions already? The law of attraction says we will draw those things towards us that we spend time thinking about.

Attract more of the positive and create brighter possibilities:

Don’t get caught up in the New Year hype.

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.
Look back on how you made your special memories and how you can create more to last a lifetime.

Picture those activities you shared with loved ones. 
Think about what you are most proud of in your career.
Live your life with meaningful intent.
Take charge of your own well-being, embrace it and enjoy everything that the New Year has to offer you.

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

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7 Things NOT To Do When Making a New Year’s Resolution

One in four people will not make it a week with their New Year’s resolution. Here are seven things not to do when creating a New Year’s resolution that will help you go the distance:

1. Don’t keep it to yourself. “I don’t want my friends to know I am trying to quit my bad habit.” Let others know! This gives you leverage and allows others to encourage you along your journey.

2. Don’t leave it in your head. “I don’t need to write it down, I know what I want to do.” Research has shown that those who write down their goals and track them have an increased chance of success.

3. Don’t be vague. “I’m going to lose weight”.  How much? At what rate? By when? Make your goals SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely and time bound.

4. Don’t be inflexible. “I’m not going to ever do that again” Not all goals happen with the flip of a switch. Sometimes you need to wean yourself off of a bad habit. Sometimes you will backslide or slip up. It’s part of life. Get used to it and get used to being more successful for the long haul by recognizing that people try and try again at their goals before they reach them. Some reports suggest an average of 14 times. Persistence not perfectionism pays.

5. Don’t be unrealistic or harsh. “I’m not going to eat any sweets.”  “I will exercise 2 hours everyday.” It is not always realistic to deny yourself. Life is meant to be celebrated. Think moderation and think about small incremental steps that will advance you toward your goal. It is better to be doing a smaller action for the long term than a larger goal that doesn’t have a chance of lasting a week.

6. Don’t take on too much at once. “I’m going to quit smoking, join a gym, meditate 10 minutes every day, lose 20 lbs, and spend more time with my kids.” This is just setting yourself up for disappointment. Focus on a couple of things and the activities that will take you towards your goals.

7. Don’t take the first step TODAY. “I’ll start next week…”  There always seems to be a better time than right now. You may think you need to wait until after a special date or occasion, or once the holidays are over or start on a Monday…the list goes on. The truth is now is always a good time. Start by visualizing where you want to be and eliminating negative self-talk that will keep you from reaching your goals.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

– Anonymous

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Start the New Year Right

It’s a new year, and a time when people like to start fresh and sample some new approaches to areas in your life you would like to improve. You have seen the development of the organizing and redesign shows take over our television stations. It’s been called the latest trend, the new dieting, but finding improved ways to organize your life is here to stay. Why? There’s just so much return on investment.

One thing we often forget when making changes and it’s especially true this time of year is the importance of starting slow and making small goals:

1. Your desk is a workplace- remove other non- work related items and place them clean deskelsewhere. Hang photos on the wall and place awards, personal objects and knickknacks on a shelf or credenza.

2. Keep the things you use the most close by and within reach, and items that you require only occasionally further away. This includes files, supplies and personal items.

3. Get rid of the extras- how many of one item do you really need-157 pens, 4 coffee mugs- give away, throw away or return to the stationary/supply area.

Speaking of extras, we usually have between 5-10 extra pounds that we have put on over the holidays. Looking for healthy time saving ways to get back on track? Here’s a few tips:

1. Plan your meals and grocery list ahead of time. You can save time and money. Eating healthier during your day will keep your energy up and your waistline down.

produce isle2. Stick to the outside aisles at the grocery stores. This is where we find our core foods, like fruits and vegetables. It’s a great time to eat more fruits and vegetables. Think of these as a healthy snacking alternative. Try a fruit you’ve never had before.

3. Cut back on your portion sizes- especially when eating out. Order half portions or ask for a to-go container for the remainder of your meal. This also gives you another meal you don’t have to prepare.

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Life Strategizing for a Successful New Year

Having a strategy is not just for business. Living your life with intent allows you to plan for uncertainties, accept what comes your way and move forward in health and happiness.

A life without some strategy is like a boat without a rudder. You need to contemplate what’s really important to you. Carefully consider the “who, what, when, where and how” of your life to assess your goals and wants.

You will feel better and approach life more confidently when you have a clear plan with achievable goals. When life throws you curve balls, it is easier to stay on track when you have a plan. Being thoughtful about many areas in your life will help you assess damage and get back to where you need to be.

Don’t be afraid of losing your spontaneity because of planning – it’s quite the opposite! When you have a map of how you would like to live your life, you are able to take unexpected detours without losing your way.

Here are 10 ideas to help you reflect and plan your upcoming year.

1) Look at the data from the previous year. Did you do what you were going to do, or are you still stuck in the same place? Instead of blaming others or circumstance get real about what part you played in both your successes and disappointments this past year.

2) Look closely at your strengths and know where you fall short. There are several books out here that can help you with this.

3) Who do you spend your time with? Ask yourself some tough questions. Are the majority of people in my life people who encourage me and help me work towards my goals. Do I like being around them or do I feel drained and discouraged in their presence. We have a lot of people in our space – family, practitioners, suppliers, colleagues. Make sure we are spending time with those who make regular deposits to our emotions bank accounts and not just withdrawals.

4) Simplify a complicated worldtry the power of three.

  1. If you divided your world into the following areas – career, health, money, recreation/fun, romance/significant other, friends and family, personal growth – what would be your three most important areas for you to focus on in the next year?
  2. What are your top three goals for each of these areas you choose a priority?
  3. What are the first three steps to create an environment for success for each of these goals?

5) Make it concrete. Write it down, do a mind map, create a Pinterest board or a vision board, tell your friends. Create tasks associated with your goals and electronically schedule them.

6) Make it a game. Sit with your partner and write out what is important for you to accomplish in these time lines within one year, two to five years, five to ten years, 10-20 years, before you die.

Set a timer for 2 minutes and write quickly. Share with your partner when the buzzer goes off. Some of these will become family goals and each partnercomes away with a sense of not only what is import to them, but their spouse as well.You now have a timeline to work with.

7) Be flexible. Murphy’s Law applies to life. You may have a meticulously thought out plan about how you see your life progressing, but be prepared to adjust it if things go off the rails.

8) Bring in the professionals. Whether it’s a financial planner or a coach, take advantage of the services available to you to ensure you’re following your best path.

9) Review and Reward. Once you’ve achieved a goal in the timeline you were striving for, treat yourself to a small reward.

Take the time now, as the year comes to a close, to look forward to the upcoming year and make decisions about what is important to you and your family. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve this year with a little forethought.

Seven Resolutions to Avoid

Making New Year’s resolutions is a wonderful tradition to help you reflect on the past year and set your goals for the upcoming year.  But are you setting yourself up for failure? The average person breaks their resolution within 3 weeks of setting it.

Organize Anything has a list of seven resolutions that commonly get broken to share with you. Because we want you to start the year on the right note, we’ve included some great tips to help ensure you achieve your goals this year.

1) Lose weight. Everyone wants to lose weight, but when you make your New Year’s resolution “I want to lose 60lbs” you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead of focusing on your long-term weight loss goal, set smaller, easier to manager goals like “I’ll go for a walk twice a week after dinner” or “I’d like to be able to lose a pant size by mid-February.”

2) Quit smoking. Smoking is an addiction and it takes the average smoker 5 attempts to quit the habit completely according to the Canadian Lung Association. Instead of trying to quit cold turkey on January 1st, make an appointment with your family doctor to make a plan to healthily cut smoking out.

3) Get out of debt. Much like the goal to lose weight, resolving to get control of your finances can be such a daunting task that many people quit before they even start. Break it down into smaller tasks such as “creating a budget and sticking to it for a month at a time” or “putting x amount of dollars of payment on your credit card monthly…”

4) Be less stressed. Don’t get stressed out about your lack of time to de-stress! Make sure you succeed in this resolution by setting aside dedicated time at least once a week that is completely free of commitments. Save 30 minutes in your day planner every day to sit and enjoy your own company.

5) Volunteer. After the luxury of the holiday season, you may be inclined to volunteer more, but it’s easy to forget this resolution when the snow is howling outside and the Christmas credit card bills come back. Instead of volunteering your time, consider donating supplies or food to a charity. Suggest a charity outreach program at your office – it’s a great way to promote corporate social responsibility at work and you may get a Friday afternoon off to help an organization in your community!

6) Spend more time with your family. With the kids loaded down with extra-curricular activities, bringing your work home with you and the general chaos of trying to juggle it all, this resolution can quickly fall to the wayside. Try combining a few resolutions to achieve this goal! Why not volunteer as a family or take a class together?

7) Make more resolutions. This will more likely have you burned out before you achieve many of your goals. Focus on one or a few and make a plan. Concentrate on a very few. When you are on track with those add some more into the mix – no matter what time of the year it is. And remember if you fall off a bit just get back on track as soon as you can.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed trying to achieve big successes with your New Year’s resolutions, break them down into smaller goals. When you only focus on the long-term goals you miss the smaller achievements it takes to get there.

Celebrate the small victories and avoid big disappointments by leaning into what you want and starting with small, achievable goals.

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Use what you have – the cure for your post-Christmas financial blues

 

Save money-use what you have.You’ll be surprised at how many items you have lying around that you’ve never used.Items that, by using them, will create more space in your home and save you money.

For example:

1. Use those gift cards and certificates you received over the past year.

2. Those decorative candles?They were meant to be lit and to burn out, so use them before you buy new ones.

3. Check your books and magazines.There’s always one you haven’t read.Consider canceling subscriptions. 

4. Take an inventory of the food that you have and think about ways to use it.

5. Why rent when you can catch up on movies you’ve collected, or programs you’ve recorded?

6. Built up a lot of points on your merchant loyalty cards for air travel, products or services?Now is the time to redeem them.

7. You probably have more beauty supplies than you realize.It’s time to take stock and start using them.

8. Have a lot of loose change around your house?Gather it up and use it.

9. Instead of a new hobby or craft, revisit one that you set aside. You’ll save money on supplies.

What are your ideas for using what you have to save money?

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