5 Ways to Boost Productivity Through Organization

Here is an excerpt from an article by Staples about some of my organizing tips: 

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Staples believes some of the best advice on running a small business comes from business owners just like you. In this series, we feature small business owners that have excelled in a particular area of running a company. Here we highlight Organize Simply with Tracy, a company that has helped other businesses increase productivity through organization.

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Getting Control of Trash and Clutter

Getting Control of Trash and Clutter

After spending time cleaning out a cluttered room, it is always so amazing to me how much of the room usually just ends up being unwanted items and trash.  So much. One way to avoid this is to make sure you have a trash can/bin in EVERY single area of your home.  Often trash gets set down because there is nowhere to put it.  Make it a habit to empty cans daily!  Your room will just feel so much neater and cleaner when it is trash free.  It seems so simple and almost silly, but you will be amazed at how much of the clutter bothering you is just trash! 

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Storage Container Consistency

Storage Container Consistency

A key to having a storage area of your home looking spiffy and organized is to have all the same size containers.  So often we pile an area with a million different types of organizing containers to the point where everything just looks cluttered and junky.  Not good.  Let me just show you a few areas of my home to explain.

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Portable Medical File

Portable Medical File

We should all have a Portable Medical File.  I have a great filing system that I keep most all of my important documents in.  These files go in my file cabinet.   I share this system in one of my YouTube video's that you can check out.  BUT there are some types of documents that are just better to have in a "Portable" File.  

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Organizing Your Email Overload

picture credit tamsinhowse.com

picture credit tamsinhowse.com

Messy Email?

Are you overwhelmed with your overloaded emails you receive each day? My email shows little blue dots next to messages that haven’t been opened and read yet.  I HATE little blue dots!  I wake up and feel like I could just spend the whole day answering emails and looking through all the newsletters, updates and subscriptions I’ve got hounding me.  I want to look at a lot them at some point, but I don’t want things to keep building.  I want to just focus on business and personal mail first but I find myself stressing to get rid of as many blue dots as I can to just clear my screen. 

What I Use to Organize/ Simplify

During an organizing conference I learned about a great way to keep my mailbox orderly and tidy!  It is called….. Unroll.me.  There are other programs that do the same sort of thing, but this is the one I was shown and the one I use, so that is why I’m telling you about this one.

How it Works

Unroll.me is a program you load on your computer.  It helps you quickly unsubscribe to the things you no longer want and then helps you consolidate all the “not so important” emails into ONE email. You decide the time of day that this ONE email is sent to you.   Bam, only one blue dot instead of millions. (Ok, slight exaggeration)  But it helps me feel at peace about just focusing on the critical stuff each morning and waiting till I have more down time to open up my UnRoll.me  Daily roll up email.  Awww…. Breath.  

Why I Use This

I enjoy anything that is going to help simplify my life and this is just one of those things.  Don't be afraid to check out other programs like this before you commit to this one. Good luck!

https://unroll.me

Stay Organized!

Tracy

Simply, Inexpensive, Clutter Free Way to Send Greeting Cards

So I have five children who are all in their 20's.  It seems like I am getting invitations to their friends weddings or baby showers constantly!!  It's also that time of year when the graduation cards are going to start rolling in! Then there are the usual birthday, thank you cards ect. that need to be sent.  I HATE spending $5 on a wedding card, when I know all they REALLY care about is what I personally write and of course, the check inside the card.  I would rather give that extra 5 bucks to the person I am sending the card too!  So what are my options?

Variety Packs Can Become Clutter

This is the Variety Pack from Costco, that runs around $16.00 for 25 cards.

This is the Variety Pack from Costco, that runs around $16.00 for 25 cards.

Costco always has a great deal on beautiful cards that only add up to be about .65 cents a card which is great and something I could do.  It is a variety pack with different types of cards. But, I always seem to run out of what I need and have tons left over of what I don't ever seem to use!  Buying those gift packs year after year can start to create clutter in my home and you know I how I feel about clutter!  

Electronic Cards?

E Cards are great!  They are cards you can send electronically.  It's a perfect way to avoid clutter on both ends.  BUT it doesn't work so well when you need to send a gift or check with the card, and getting a card in the mail is always nicer and a better option if you are able. Soo, how do you do that inexpensively and without creating clutter in your home?

The Answer

These are some blank cards I found on Etsy for under a buck a card. It came from a site called Kid Passionate.  This was just the first cute one I saw today, but there are tons of homemade cards on Etsy.

These are some blank cards I found on Etsy for under a buck a card. It came from a site called Kid Passionate.  This was just the first cute one I saw today, but there are tons of homemade cards on Etsy.

 If you keep one or two sets of "Blank" stationary cards around, you are always set when you need ANY type of card and you won't have boxes of miss matched, left over cards creating clutter. There are tons of beautiful BLANK stationary available all over the place! If you don't have time to shop, just go online to order a set.  I like to have one pretty set and one set that is just a solid color.  You can get cards that are sometimes only .50 a card!  The solid colored ones you can use to write things like HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the front and draw a balloon.  Or write THANK YOU and draw a flower.  The trick is writing something perfect to go inside the card and still making it nice.  Don't let that discourage you!  I have an answer to that too!

Good'ol  Google

If you "Google", "What to Write in a Greeting Card", 100's of different ideas come up!!  It's Great!!  Here are just a few ideas for Wedding Cards since that was what I was working on this weekend.  

Ideas from Hallmark- For a Wedding Card

More casual

  •  “Congratulations to the wonderful two of you!”
  •  “This calls for congratulations! (And probably champagne!)”
  •  “Congrats, [Ethan and Erica]! It’s so great to see two awesome people like you getting married. Love and best wishes always!”
  • “So happy for you!”
  • “I predict cute babies.”
  • “It makes us so happy to see the two of you so happy. Congratulations!”
  • “Congratulations! Love you both!”
  • “You guys are great together! So happy for you!”
  • “You’ll always remember this day. Hope it’s even more beautiful and perfect than you’ve been dreaming, and hope it’s just the start of a lifetime that just gets better and better.”
  • “Prayers and blessings on your wedding and on your marriage.”
  • “‘Two become one’—what a beautiful thing. Congratulations!”
  • “You two make this ‘love and marriage’ thing almost seem worth trying. Just kidding—you look so happy, and I’m so happy for you!” 
  • “Hope you’ll always find yourselves as much in love as you are today. (We suggest date nights and lots of them!)”
  • “I hope through the years you become even better friends and share every possible kind of happiness life can bring.”

More formal

  • “Heartfelt congratulations.”
  • “Warmest congratulations and love.”
  • “With warmest wishes and love today and always,”
  • “Congratulations on your wedding day and best wishes for a happy life together!” 
  • “It means so much to witness the joy of your wedding day. Congratulations to you both on finding the perfect person to share all your days with.”
  • “Feeling so much joy for the two of you as you join your lives in marriage!”
  • “We hope you can feel all the happiness surrounding you on your wedding day!”
  • “Seeing you two make promises and step forward into the future is so inspiring and wonderful.”
  • “If ever two people deserved a sweet, meaningful, joyful wedding day, it’s the two of you.”
  • “God bless you both as you begin this wonderful journey of marriage together.”
  • “Be happy, be grateful, and love each other well!”
  • “I just know life has even more wonderful things in store than the happiness you share today. May every day be beautiful and happy for you as a couple.”

So great, isn't it?  Now instead of having boxes of cards, you just need to keep one or two packs of beautiful blank cards.  Donate the loose cards you have laying around and it will be that much less clutter weighing you down. 

If you thought this was helpful, please hit that "like" button!  Thanks for visiting my blog! :)

Stay Organized!

Tracy

 

Staying on Top of Laundry

Image credit- Kimberly Ray Millers "Coming Clean"

Image credit- Kimberly Ray Millers "Coming Clean"

Constantly having laundry piled around the house can be overwhelming and really drag you down.  I want to share just a few tips that I know can really change things around your home and help you keep on top of that laundry!

#1 Reduce the Stash!

This is the number one cause of laundry clutter and piles; HAVING TOO MANY CLOTHES.  A child really doesn't need more that 10 shirts and 4 pairs of pants, besides the special Sunday best and sport clothes ect.  This is a two week supply and is really plenty.

  I just had a client who struggles with laundry clutter say that her kids really don't have too many clothes and that they just got rid of a bunch.  We counted.  Each child had 40 to 50 shirts and she didn't even realize.  

When there are fewer clothes, it isn't as easy for piles to build.  When the drawer starts getting empty, you have to wash.  When you put the clothes away, they fit easily into the drawers and closet.  There is no over flow.  There is no shoving to get things to fit.  Nice, huh?  

Just keep the clothes you love and the ones you actually wear.  You DON'T need 10 kick around shirts to work at home or the yard in.  Get rid of what you don't wear!

#2 Have a Basket and Spot for Each Family Member

Having baskets for each family member keeps them accountable for THEIR own clothes. Clean clothes get put in their baskets.  THEY need to bring these clothes to their drawers and put them away.  This is my laundry room.  Luckily I have a handy husband who built this for me,  but be creative to come up with a way you could have baskets for every family member.  Label them.

#3 Fold As You Pull Out of the Dryer!

This is another HUGE tip that makes all the difference.  As you pull clothes out of the dryer, fold and drop in the appropriate basket or bin.  It REALLY doesn't take that much time.  It becomes a habit and goes quite quickly.  Now there are no more piles of clothes that need to be folded laying around the house.  AND things don't get wrinkled!  Having a bar to hang the hanging clothes on is also great if you have the room.

#4 Have Hooks in Every Bedroom

Nobody ever knows what to do with the "I can wear this again" clothes.  That is where hooks come into play.  You can hid them behind doors or in closets.  "Command Brand Hooks" are great because you don't need to put any holes in the wall and they are super easy to put up!  They even have ones that look like brass or nickel that you are able to hang in a decorative way.  So Awesome!  You can find Command hooks by the light bulbs at Target or can even order them on Amazon.  Easy. 

Thats it!

Four simple steps that could really change your life for the better!  Give it a try and then leave a comment about how it goes.  Also share with me what your family does that works.  I LOVE to hear other great ideas!

Stay Organized!

Tracy

 

 

 

How to Organize the Big Messes!

Take a Picture!

I would always take a picture before starting any organizing project.  It will motivate you to want a really good AFTER picture and it keeps you moving!  It helps, I promise!

Above are a few "Before" pictures I started with today.

Make the Time

When you have a big overwhelming mess to tackle, make sure you give yourself the time needed to tackle what you want to accomplish for that day.  Don't take on too much.  

This entire room needed to be done but we only had a few short hours today.  My clients goal was for us to clear out the sewing corner, but we had a lot of clutter blocking our way.  Obviously that was first priority.  Where do we begin?

Sort. Sort. Sort.

Sorting is THE key in any organizing project!  Start by just putting things into "like" piles.   If you have bins to put these piles in that would be ideal.  Make sure to create a clear space to do this.   I wish I took pictures of this process today, but will do that for you next time.

Toss / Donate 

Make sure one of those piles is a Donate Pile!  Get rid of EVERYTHING you no longer use or like during this sorting process.  ONLY keep things that you love and for sure use or need.

Put Away

Once everything around the area you are organizing is sorted, you are able to see what you have and it gives you a better idea of how to put things away.  If boxes are needed, I would always use clear bins with lids, if possible.  Target,  Walmart or Costco seem to have the best prices on these.

Here is the straightened corner after working on it today.  Things aren't quite finished yet but we will make things really nice as we continue working on the room.  We actually ended up cleaning up much more than just this corner.  The mess in the middle of her room is gone!  I of course, didn't take pictures that I wish I had, but you get the idea.  

Now go tackle your cluttered area!!  It feels GREAT!

Stay Organized! :)

Tracy

Great Way to Organize Wrapping Paper!

Great Way to Organize Wrapping Paper!

So a couple weeks ago I attended a NAPO(National Association of Professional Organizers) conference.  It was fabulous.  I learned so many great things to help me be a better organizer and also learned about a lot of new great organizing products!  The winner of the show was a product called Wrap It.  Let me show you!

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Using Your Attic Space

Using Your Attic Space

Many of us complain of needing more storage space.  Many times we have tons of space in our attics but we just don't know how to utilize it.  

Since my husband happens to be handy, he was able to enlarge an opening in one of our bedrooms and add stairs that drop down.  He then carried up 2x4 sheets of 3/4 inch particle board or plywood and nailed them to floor boards. Bam!   We now have created a much needed space to put...

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A MUST Read If You Struggle with Clutter

A MUST Read If You Struggle with Clutter

Man, if you have trouble keeping control of the clutter in your house, this is the book to read!  It is an easy, quick read and it is fabulous!  It truly could change your life if you follow the advice of the author, Marie Kondo, a Japanese consultant who specializes in tidying (decluttering).  I'll just share a quick synopsis...

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Organizing Your Child's School Photos

Organizing Your Child's School Photos

The KEY to staying organized and being able to find things, is to create a "home" for every single thing that you own.  If something doesn't have a home, it just gets moved around over and over and can become lost.  

Your children's yearly pictures are treasures that you never want to loose!  You can also easily forget what picture, belongs to what school year if you don't have these treasures organized.  You may think you'll remember but... you won't...

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