Are You Ready for a Road Trip?

June 14th, 2015

Road TripThere’s something about summer, the lure of the open road and the promise of a change of scenery that makes us want to load up the car and just go someplace. If there’s one time you really want to be organized, it’s when you’re traveling. Traveling requires more organization than we may possess in our daily lives, so cut the stress by following an organizing checklist for inside the car.

Planning & Prepping

  • Make sure your car is good condition – oil checked, tires inspected and filled – test the air conditioning and wiper blades.
  • Driver’s license, passports, insurance card, ownership and registration, and contact numbers for roadside assistance should be readily accessible. Make spare copies and leave with a travel companion.
  • Spare tire and jack – are in good shape and are easy to access. An emergency car toolkit should include an orange flag or pylon that you can use to signal for help if needed. Learn how to change a flat tire. 
  • Spare set of keys – in case they get locked inside the car or drop out of your pocket. (Even if you have to call a locksmith to open the car, you’ll be able to drive when it’s unlocked.)
  • Plastic grocery bags for garbage – always!
  • Backpacks can hold a lot of gear. Each young member of the family can have their own for a blanket, sweatshirt, hat, sunglasses, spare shoes. They can access anything that they need on their own and have a place to wrangle their souvenirs.
  • A file box with a labeled folder for each section of the road trip.

Maps

  • A traditional map or print custom maps for your journey at GoogleMaps or MapQuest Route Planner. AAA will also provide route maps for members.
  • (GPS) A Global Positioning System – some travelers say they wouldn’t leave home without one!
  • APPS are available on smartphones to find everything from restaurants, hotels, parks, other points of interest as well as weather reports and plenty of games, quizzes and puzzles for young ones.
  • Book the hotel ahead so you don’t have to find a place at the end of the day. Find hotels with generous cancellation policies.

In-Car Diversions

  • Music – An iPod playlist or CD collection if you’re traveling through an area where radio signals might be sketchy.
  • Audio Books, DVDs and a laptop.
  • Spare batteries, charging cables and electricity power converter for electronics.
  • Healthy Snacks: fruit (apples can keep well for a long time), pretzels, granola bars, crackers and nuts, along with a few fun treats. A trip to the grocery store along the way can help you save money too, because the costs of dining out can add up.
  • Beverages: A soft-sided cooler packed with water bottles and low-sugar soft drinks.

Toiletries Within Easy Reach

  • Tissues, paper towels, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer and a roll of toilet paper, in case the rest stop isn’t well-stocked.
  • Prescription medicines as well as basics like pain relievers, antacids and remedies for motion sickness.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • A first aid kit with antiseptic and band-aids for minor cuts, cortisone cream for insect bites, and bandages.

Clothing & Comfort

  • Wear comfortable clothing – no items which restrict or bind.
  • Wear shoes that are easy to take on and off and socks for cold feet.
  • A sweater or jacket over a T-shirt for instant respectability in public areas.
  • A small blanket  if you disagree on the temperature setting within the car.
  • A pillow from home for an unfamiliar hotel bed.

Finally

  • Think twice before posting about your trip on social media if your house is currently empty!!

Thanks to Professional Organizers in Canada for this article.

POC

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Spring Cleaning Your Garage

May 23rd, 2015

cluttered-garage-300x200Organizing your garage can seem like a daunting task. A good friend, organizing and cleaning expert, Donna Smallin Kuper, makes it easier as she shares with us how to “Spring Clean Your Garage.” 

Declutter Your Life
    with Donna Smallin Kuper

Did you know that 57% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them — or have room for only one vehicle? I think you know why. Because instead of getting rid of stuff, we throw it out in the garage!If you’re ready to take on the challenge of cleaning your garage, spring is a good time to do it, before it gets too hot to even think about it. With a few simple organization ideas, tidying up your garage and keeping it neat and clean is not only possible, it’s very doable. Here’s the plan…

Declutter First

Depending on the size of your garage and the amount of clutter, choose a full day or a full weekend to dedicate to decluttering and organizing your garage.

Make spring cleaning the garage a family project. Include family members, relatives or a few close friends. This will help speed up the process.

Go through every single item and sort into four piles – Keep, Donate, Sell, Toss.

A good tip for judging which items to let go of is to ask yourself one and only one question: Have I used this in the past year? If your answer is no, then it’s time to get rid of it.

Do not keep items that you think you may use someday. Wouldn’t you rather have the space those items are taking up…right now?

Having a hard time letting go of things you spent a lot of money on? The money has already been spent, so whether you keep the item (and never use it) or let it go, the money spent on it is not coming back. It’s best to just let go and make better spending decisions in the future.

Trash or recycle items you’ve decided to toss.

Pack up items to be donated in your car and drop them off at the nearest donation center.

Set aside items you plan to sell at an upcoming yard sale, online, or local consignment stores. If you are planning to have a yard sale, schedule it now.

Organize What’s Left

Once that’s done and all of the clutter is out, it’s time to start organizing. First, figure out how much space your car(s) will take and then work with what’s left by placing items in spaces based on their types and uses:

Frequently Used: Keep items that you use frequently, such as shopping bags and pet leashes within easy reach – perhaps on hooks by the door.

Items Used Together: Create zones for groups of things such as auto care, gardening, and sports equipment so that like items are stored together.

Bulkier Items: Use the two back corners of the garage to store bulkier items such as a lawn mowers or snowthrower.

Rarely Used: Place rarely used items, such as holiday decorations or snow tires, on higher shelves of sturdy shelving units or consider installing a ceiling storage system. Just make sure your garage door doesn’t interfere with the ceiling storage.

Tools and Bicycles: Tools such as shovels and rakes and bicycles are best stored by hanging on the wall.

 Note: If you’re using cardboard boxes as storage containers, you might want to seriously consider investing in some plastic bins that will keep insects and rodents from taking up residence in your house.

Keep It Tidy

Once you’re done with all of that, you’ll have a cleaner garage that is organized nicely. The next step is to make efforts year round to keep it that way.

Keep floor space as free as possible.

Spray for pests from time to time to keep insects at bay.

Sweep and hose down the floors regularly to get out dirt.

 And the most important step of all: Repeat at least once a year to purge what’s no longer wanted or needed.

“Orginally published in The One-Minute Organizer Blog.”
http://bit.ly/1IK99Vv
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Big Blow Out Book Sale!

April 23rd, 2015

BookImageDon’t Agonize, Organize Your Office, the book I authored to give you simple solutions for your office organizing challenges, is at a phenomenally low price.

For The First Time Ever! The price of my autographed book has been lowered to $7.99.

Read below for additional perks and how to receive a Digital Version of the book.

In a hurry? Go to www.timesaversusa.com/products.php
Order your autographed copy of the book NOW. Buy several. At this price, they make a great gift.

Although Don’t Agonize, Organize Your Office, is aimed at busy professionals, the simple organizing techniques are applicable in many situations.

At just 84 pages, Don’t Agonize, Organize Your Office, is especially useful for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time reading a lengthy book, but want to get right to the heart of their organizing challenges.
Would you rather the Digital Version?  – only $4.99
Order Here: www.timesaversusa.com/products.php.

Additional perk includes a complementary bookmark .

These low prices are only available through my website www.timesaversusa.com/products.php.

Enjoy and Happy Organizing!

Diane Hatcher, CPO®
Owner, Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc.
http://timesaversusa.com/
954-252-7511
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Do You Have a Digital Estate Plan?

February 22nd, 2015

Laptop tied with chain and a padlockThese days, many of our estate documents can be entirely digitized. Even if our online transactions are tied to brick-and-mortar businesses, such as online access to a bank account, there is significant value in being able to access the online components of these accounts, at all times.

We thought the below information and teleclass was so important to the organizing of your Digital Estate Plan that we have included it here.

Judith Kolberg, the presenter of the teleclass, is a trusted, experienced organizer, whom I am proud to call my friend.

Do Your Have A Digital Plan?

What if you died suddenly? Would your Executor or authorized representative know how to access your “invisible” online accounts? Can they log in to your accounts? And what about your digital assets, like web-based accounts that have no paper trail; can you be certain they’d be accounted for in your estate? While your family is planning your funeral and grieving your loss, criminals could be hijacking your Facebook account.

Do you know how to protect your “information afterlife”?

Just as you organize your tangible vital information, you also need to organize your digital vital information. A Digital Estate Plan provides for the safe transference of digital information to your family and authorized representatives. A Digital Estate Plan also accounts for digital assets that might be overlooked by your estate. And, a Digital Estate Plan helps protect your information afterlife from unauthorized access from identity thieves and other digital mischief-makers.

“Creating Your Digital Estate Plan,” is a one-hour teleclass on March 4th, 2015 at 7:00 PM EST. It is designed to take you through the Plan step-by-step, so you are prepared … because you never know when tragedy, illness or debilitating injury might strike.

Who Should Attend:
* Professional organizers looking to extend their service offerings
* Members of the financial or legal community responsible for the estate of others
* Prudent baby boomers who understand the value of estate planning
* Adult children of senior citizens

You can participate by listening via computer or on your phone.

To Register, CLICK HERE
Hurry! Registration is limited.

You receive:
60 minutes of cutting-edge content
Link to free post-class audio files
Q & A session
PowerPoint handout
Sample DEP spreadsheet
Certificate of Attendance.

This teleclass may be eligible for CEU credits. Contact your professional association for more information.

It’s the best $79 educational dollars you’ll ever spend!

JudithKolbergOur presenter is Judith Kolberg, a thought-leader of the organizing industry. She is the author of the soon-to-be-released ebook, “Creating Your Digital Estate Plan,” and the book “Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not,” http://bit.ly/1L0LTPL. Kolberg is credited with launching a profession specifically dedicated to the needs of chronically disorganized people. She is blazing the way on conquering digital disorganization.

REGISTER HERE

Please note: This teleclass is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information regarding the general subject matter covered. It is offered with the understanding that the content providers and presenters including Judith Kolberg are not engaged in rendering estate, financial, legal or other professional services. Contact a qualified professional for the particulars about your situation.

 

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Urge to Purge, Purge, Purge

January 24th, 2015

FileCabinetIt’s the first month of a new year, so do you have the urge to purge? I’m not talking about having bulimia or anorexia. Although losing weight is the number one resolution of all time, getting organized comes in a close second.

“Getting organized” means different things to different people. That’s because each of us has different needs and a different tolerance for disorganization. Therefore, I am going to suggest an important place for you to start, a place which applies to almost everyone.

And that brings us back to the word “purge.” In organizing language, purge implies ‘to remove.’ You remove unwanted holiday decorations. You may purge your garage of unwanted items. You may decide to move things from one room as they can be of better use in another room. But have you also thought about purging your file drawers and file folders? Now is the time of year to do so if you haven’t already. The very end or the very beginning of the year is the optimal time to do so.

Further, purging can mean archive, throw away, give away, or donate. Since we are focusing on papers, purging will mean throw away or archive.

What papers can be thrown away?
Some of the following come down to comfort level, so in general, anything that is outdated, a duplicate or un-useful can be tossed. If you have a manual or a warranty but no longer own the item, toss. If you planned on returning an item but the deadline has passed, toss the receipt. Unless the item has high value, then keep the receipt.
What should you archive?
Papers you may need to refer to in the unforeseen future, but not often. Tax returns are a good example. Archiving them means to take them out of your everyday filing drawer and move them to another drawer, box or room where they will be accessible in the future, but not in the way daily.
Dealing with “Fear of Purging:”
Too many people don’t purge their files for fear of throwing out something needed in the future, and because they are uncomfortable knowing how to decide what that may or may not be. Think about this. There is almost nothing that cannot be replaced. The only thing that can’t be replaced would be something that is one of a kind or sentimental. If you go through your papers as I am instructing, you won’t throw something like that out by mistake.
So the Key is:
Go through each file and each paper within them. Never just throw out the entire contents of a file without looking at each paper.
Short on Time?
This need not be an all or nothing chore. You don’t have to do the entire activity in one sitting. Break it down into manageable chunks. Do a few minutes a day. Or do a few files a day. Or do the fattest files first. Or plan a weekend to do a 2-hour or more block of time. See what works best for your time and motivation level.
There is a Reward:
Think of this as a treasure hunt. You may find something valuable. The goal is to open up space in your file drawer to make room for this year’s incoming papers. It also makes it easier to find what you’ve filed when searching for something. There is no need to replace your file folders. Just keeping using them.

Help is here!
But if you still feel uncomfortable making the decisions about what to keep and for how long, call us at Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc., 954-252-7511 or contact us by e-mail at diane@timesaversusa.com. We are skilled at helping you purge your files! Start your new year off right.

Happy New Year and Happy Organizing!

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What’s Your O.Q. (Organizational Quotient) ?

November 20th, 2014

QuestionMarks1

You have certainly heard of IQ, and most have heard of EQ or Emotional Quotient. But what of OQ? In an ever-changing world and workplace, though, the most important skill may turn out to be OQ, or organizational quotient. Take the quiz below and see where how organized you really are. Don’t worry if you’re not perfect. We’re here to help.

 

WHAT’S YOUR O.Q. (ORGANIZATIONAL QUOTIENT)?

Read each statement carefully. Respond either ”T” (true/mostly true) or ”F”(false/mostly false).

1. There’s never enough time to complete what I start.

2. I feel fragmented most of the time.

3. I have areas of clutter in my house that I never seem to get handled.

4. I. have areas of clutter in my office that I can’t put in order.

5. Sometimes I just don’t know where to put things.

6. It’s hard to get going in the morning.

7. There’s too much information for me to sort through at work.

8. I use the “kitchen table sorting system” to manage bills.

9. I feel rushed and go from one thing that must get done to another.

10. My systems for storing and retrieving information don’t work.

11. I am often distracted by interruptions that demand immediate attention.

12. When I delegate, things often don’t get done the way I want them to.

13. There’s always too much to do in too little time- both at home and at work.

14. There’s no way to take time for myself each day to regenerate and relax.

15. I procrastinate until a deadline is looming.

16. My ”to do” lists are seldom complete.

17. I don’t get enough sleep ..

18. I have a fairly good idea of what 1 want my life to look like in five years.

19. I wish I could clone myself to get everything done that needs doing.

20. Most of my time away from work is spent doing chores and catching up at home

*********************

HOW DID YOU DO?

How many statements did you answer TRUE?

• 0-5: You’re one of the lucky few! You have discovered how to avoid frenzy in your life. You know how to prioritize, set realistic goals and move toward them. You use your time to get what you want and have fun along the way. Call Diane at Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. (954) 252-7511 or email diane@timesaversusa.com  to share some of your victory stories.

• 6-15: You’re like most of us: too much to do, too many pressing demands, too many responsibilities and not enough time to do it all. You have a feeling there must be a better way but you don’t know what it is or how to find it. Organizing skills can get you back on track. Call Diane at Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. (954) 252-7511 or email diane@timesaversusa.com  to get started.

• 16-20: You need help …. Fast! Quick, before you lose the phone number, call Diane at Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. (954) 252-7511 or email diane@timesaversusa.com

 

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Big October Events

October 10th, 2014

NAPO

 

We would like to invite you and your friends and family to a unique, educational organizing event being held locally at the Sunrise, FL IKEA on Saturday, October 18. Local experienced professional organizers will be present providing free organizing workshops. We will also be providing free tips. Visit http://naposouthflorida.com/clearyourclutter for more information.

As an additional service for you, bring bags and boxes of papers for shredding which will be done by Iron Mountain onsite. Dispose of your useable, recyclable clutter by bringing your donations for Salvation Army which will also be onsite.

As a service to the community, please bring food for the Feeding South Florida Food Bank.

This is event is brought to you by the South Florida chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers and IKEA. Remember, if you ever want to work with a professional organizer, be sure to check that they are NAPO members to be assured of credibility, quality training and ethics.

Pink RibbonWe also would like to make you aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So if you are a woman, or know a woman, and they are over 40 and have not had a mammogram in the past year, this is a great time to remind them that they are due. Early detection via mammograms saves lives. Just ask me, Diane Hatcher, a 25-year this month, breast cancer survivor! Breast Cancer if caught early, does not mean a death sentence. It is curable and there is wonderful, vibrant life after breast cancer!

Until next month,

Happy Organizing!

Diane Hatcher, CPO®

Owner, Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc.

http://timesaversusa.com

954-252-7511

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A Year’s Worth of Savings Tips

September 20th, 2014

CouponsThis is one of those informational articles that you are going to want to cut out and keep handy  for reference. When you are in the market to purchase big ticket items, you may as well purchase them while they are on sale!

As it turns out, different types of items go on sale annually, typically  at certain times of years.

And although calendars are not necessarily on sale at a discount, September is the time to buy next year’s calendar. Many organizations have already sent out their schedules for next year and you should be filling yours out.

So without further ado, here are a year’s worth of discounts:

January
Luggage, Sports Equipment, Exercise Equipment, Linens, Furniture
February
TV’s, Cameras and Camcorders, Winter Clothes
March
Grills
April
Save Your Money. Hope for a large tax refund. When it arrives, deposit it in the bank. Since sellers know that many people will be getting an influx of cash, prices tend to rise.
May
Vacuums
June
Tools
July
Furniture
August
Summer Clothes, Computers, Small Appliances
September
Cars, Outdoor Equipment
October
Big Appliances
November
TV’s
December
Toys

Bonus Tip: The Cheapest Time to Book a Flight Is Eight Weeks Before You’re Traveling

Happy Organizing!
Diane Hatcher, CPO®
President/Owner

954-252-7511
diane@timesaversusa.com

Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc.

 

 

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If You Can…

August 20th, 2014
Dog (200x133)
If you can live without caffeine,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend’s limited education,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can honestly say that deep within your heart you have no prejudice
against creed, color, religion, gender preference, or politics,
THEN, you have ALMOST reached the same level of
development as your dog.
                     ~Author Unknown
Contact us at  954-252-7511 or  diane@timesaversusa.com
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SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK – AUGUST 3-9, 2014

July 22nd, 2014

SIMPLIFYSince the first week of August is considered Simplify Your Life Week, Time-Savers Organizing and Productivity Services, Inc. offer the following tips to get you started:
Declutter: your desk, your wardrobe, your kitchen drawers, your kids’ rooms, your garage shelves, anything you haven’t decluttered in the past year. The less you have the less there is to clean, keep up with, make room for, find space for new things, etc.

Bank on Line: This is not for everyone. If you are fearful of getting hacked, and don’t have a secure computer for which to use only for banking, you may not go for this one. But if you like the idea of the time it saves, and the simplicity of doing so once you have followed on screen instructions to set up, you will love it. No more trips to the bank for deposits- at least hardly ever. Pay all your bills every two weeks. It takes only seconds online from the bank website. No checks, no envelopes, no stamps, no mailing.

Organize your Errands: Plan out your trips out of the house. Combine them with other errands. No need to run to the store just for one item, or to buy food more than 3 times a week. (And skip the bank now).

Delegate: To whom you say? Exchange chores with friends. You like to iron? They don’t? They like to cook? You don’t? This is just a simple example. Barter, swap, or hire someone. Talk to your friends and neighbors about helping each other out. Car pool.  Have play dates. Get your kids to help with laundry, chores, clearing the table, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning up their own toys before going out to play, or before dinner, or before bedtime. Husbands- this means you too, but I am sure I didn’t have to tell you that. What could you be doing of value instead of cutting the grass? Or cleaning the house? Would it be worth it to you to pay someone to do what you don’t like doing to free up time to do what you like or that is valuable to you, such as playing with your children or seeing clients? Let go of micro-managing and be ok with the job others do for you.

Gifts- Shop on line. For holidays and kids’ birthdays, make sure your friends and family know you prefer gift cards to restaurants, services, and tickets to events such as movies, over “more stuff.”

Distraction: Turn off pings to e-mail notifications on your phone or computer, at work and home. Read your e-mail when you are ready, not when someone else decides to send one. Control impulsivity to check e-mail often or answer every call and you manage your time much better. Make use of caller ID.

Curtail Shopping: Just because something is on sale is not a good reason to buy. ALWAYS ask yourself these 2 questions before making a purchase: What am I going to use it for AND where am I going to put it? If you can’t answer BOTH questions, don’t buy it! Most likely it will end up as clutter!

So there are some things to think about-making small changes to affect large improvements.

And don’t forget, we are here to help. If it’s all too much for you, contact us at 954-252-7511 or diane@timesaversusa.com.

Everyone needs help once in a while.

Happy “Simplify Your Like Week” and Happy Organizing!

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