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Saturday, September 29, 2007
The Gift Of...Guilt

I work with a lot of people that suffer from "gift guilt". This is the sad disease that prevents the recipient from letting go of a bad gift because they are afraid that the gift giver will want to "See" this macramé pot holder the next time they breeze through town in five years. This can take me into another area about letting go, but we’ll save that for another time. If you have a hard time with the gifts you’ve received and HATE, let’s stop this vicious circle and make some changes.

1- Lead by example – give practical gifts to your friends and family. Do they drive a lot? Give them a gift certificate of gas! They will appreciate this on the next commute. Drink a lot of coffee? Give them a gift certificate from Starbucks. Not only will they use these things, they may start reciprocating in turn.

2- Find out what they want! I recommend that clients use the wish list on Amazon where they can find things they truly want and keep on ongoing list. It's sort of like a wedding gift registry. Plus this is something they keep adding to all year round. Your friends and family can use this for every occasion.

3- Stop the madness. Do they even want gifts? Maybe they have everything they could possibly want and don't need another pair of gloves or whatever. But maybe they have a favorite charity or cause that they support. You could give money to their charity or volunteer with them at their next event. Give the gift of "You" and your undivided attention.


Thursday, September 27, 2007
More Key’s Please

Did you ever make copies of household or automobile keys? It can get a little confusing! How do you keep track of which key goes to what and which one is the new key? Yikes! Here is a quick tip on how to avoid confusion while having keys made.

#1 - Take each key off of your key ring
#2 - Write the name of the lock and number of copies needed on a sticky note
#3 - Stick the note to each key
#4 - Place each key in a Ziploc bag so not to loose in your travels.

The key cutter will appreciate the detailed instructions and you will benefit from a complete set of keys.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Salespeople Are MAGICAL!

I'm not a huge fan of the shopping experience. It can be totally overwhelming for me especially when I HAVE to find something. After hours of shopping this past weekend, I found a beautiful black dress that fit perfectly. Then I saw the giant white stain all over the back. Bummer! I was really hoping to purchase this dress because I could not shop any longer. It was a major set back to see this type of damage. I thought what am I going to do now? Pass on this dress after investing so much time? Try to clean it myself? I asked the sales clerk for some advice. Her response was, "if the stain can come out by itself then it will come clean, and if it doesn’t, then it is ruined." So she laid the dress on the counter and used the fabric belt that came with the dress to wipe off the white mystery stain. I could not believe my eyes. It came right out! She said that during a store meeting they had a dry cleaning company show them some tricks of the trade. So give it a try sometime -- use a garments’ own fabric to brush out a stain. I am putting this one in the file!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Too Many Books

Many people are book lovers and collect stacks and stacks of them. But sometimes there are just too many books and no room for your newbie’s. Here's a plan to conquer that growing library. Divide all your books into "to read" and "already read." For the "already read" category, decide if you would like to display them. Do you really want your friends seeing your collection of Harlequin novels? Is it likely that you’ll refer to that book again or have the time to reread it with so many new books coming out? Trust me, if you like reading…you will buy more books. If you decide you can part with the books you’ve read, there are so many organizations that can put them to good use. In Chicago we have a place called "Open Books" that will pick up books and put them to good use. Also, ask your local library or schools if they'd like donations. Think about it as sharing your love of books with others.
Now let’s take a look at the "to be read" pile. Will you really read it, or have you lost interest? Perhaps it was a gift, and you know you will never read it. Add those books to the donation pile.
Now that you’ve whittled the pile down, figure out what categories you have – Reference, Self-Help, History, Romance, etc. Now you can tackle the storage challenge. Good-looking reference books and hardcovers can be attractively displayed on shelves in the living room, family room or den. Also, coffee table books don’t all have to go on the coffee table – where will you put your coffee? Add a bookshelves to each room where you want to read. Like reading in bathroom? Put some books in there! Like reading in bed – add a shelf there too, but keep the reference books and finance out of the sleeping area.


Monday, September 24, 2007
Cleaning Before The Cleaning Crew

Do you know how many germs are floating around the typical officespace? I don’t and I don’t want to know. Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital has done studies that show most offices are virtually petri dishes of germs. Working in a corporate environment means you’re likely to get more exposure to the cold that is going around.
You probably know to wash your hands or use the antibacterial solution wheneverpossible. But what about the germs on your desk and file cabinets? Before you leave the office at the end of the day, it’s important to clean yourdesk off at work before the cleaning crew gets there so they can actually clean off the surfaces instead of around your piles of paper. If you can’t do it during the week, at least do it on Friday's! I bet you didn’t think that getting organized would help you stay healthy especially in your office?


Sunday, September 23, 2007
Handiwipes Are The best!

My husband and are secretly fighting over the travel cup, and while we don’t say this out loud, whoever fills the coffee cup first gets to take it on road. We used to have about 6 and they have all disappeared, even the really good one.
Anyway I have the one that dribbles a little and sure enough this week on my way to a client I spilled tea on my white shirt. That is the worst! Luckily I had some handiwipes in the car and clean up the stain and I was good as new. Emergency stain resolved!


Saturday, September 22, 2007
Magazine Overload

Too many magazines, too many inserts (subscription cards, perfume ads etc) and how I use those to my advantage. - I use them as page markers and also before I even start reading a magazine I flip through and pull out all extra cards and tear outs. If I want to take it a step further I will take out ALL advertisements - you’d be surprised how skinny your mag gets. Also, you can actually flip through the magazine without getting hung up.


Friday, September 21, 2007
Fluorescent Bags

I love my bag but sometimes I can’t see what the heck is in there. I could seriously use a flashlight sometimes but that’s just getting to be too much. I have actually seen some high-end purses with built in lights. But let’s not get crazy here.
So, here is my solution. Bright orange or hot picks smaller bags inside your darker bags for small items that get lost in the darkness. I think you get the visual. Group small items together in your bags like office supplies, small pad of paper and a pen, makeup or even your cell phone. Your items can be easily retrieved, spotting the brightly colored bag in the black hole of a bag.


Thursday, September 20, 2007
What’s In The bag Part 2?

In my last post, I talked about why you need to do a weekly bag clean out and why its
important (if you don’t, your purse turns into a garbage can - gross!) So I’m continuing with my purse theme.
I love my hobo bag and purse. I think they are the best bags I've ever used. Since I am a storage LOVER this brand is perfect for everything. The manufacturer has carefully designed every single compartment for me in mind. Pockets are all a perfect size for essentials, with many great features. BUT sometimes its just one too many pockets and I end up putting too many things in my bag and I'm literally lost in my bag...ouch. So don't go and try to over fill these bags with things that don't belong - ...hello! Don’t try to stuff in your workout clothes or lunch. Add a tote, briefcase or duffle bag if you need it.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Whats In The Bag?

I just got home from a nice vacation to Wisconsin. It was a wonderful get away to a resort that had everything we could possibly want on a trip. Great food, great weather, picture perfect scenery, indoor and outdoor activities, shopping, you name it!
As with any trip you always manage to pick up a few momentos along the way and this trip showed through in my bulging purse. I really managed to stuff a lot of random items in that purse of mine!
As soon as I got home I turned over my purse for that end of trip clean out and found all kinds of stuff like brochures, candy wrappers, food and other signs of a vacation. Local newspaper, paper bag with one pecan turtle, loose change and ticket stubs to the local attraction.
When you get home its best to completely empty out your bags, suitcases, toiletry bags and wallet. Toss out the trash and souvenir mugs...please! Keep the toiletry bags stocked for your next trip and even write a quick note to replenish items for your next trip. Put all your bags away and enjoy your post vacation relaxation while reliving your vacation during the photo upload to your computer.


Friday, September 14, 2007
What Do You Take In An Emergency?

What is the first thing you will grab from your home if your house floods, catches on fire or comes tumbling down in an earthquake? New York Times journalist, Damon Darlin, asks that question in article published October 1, 2005
"How to prepare for one really fast getaway". Whether your answer is the family photo album or your grandmother’s quilt, Darlin points out that most of us wouldn’t even think of our medical and financial records, the very things we would need to rebuild our lives. And yet, who keeps their files in something so compact and portable it can be grabbed in a moment’s notice?
Darlin details a number of technology solutions for backing up your data on flash drives (can’t get more portable than that!) that are quick and practical and can be completed over a weekend.
There’s even a checklist to get you started. You may have a list of all your credit card numbers; Darlin suggests adding the PIN numbers, credit limits, and the 800 contact numbers.
Everyone’s heard the tip about taking pictures or a video of all your possessions, but if you’re leaving in a hurry, will you take them with you? Darlin proposes uploading them, along with irreplaceable family photos to one of the free online photo services like,,, or Then you can access them from any computer. Just be sure to set the privacy options.

I highly recommend this article, which you can access through The New York Times online.


Thursday, September 13, 2007
Exercise – Optional Or Priority?

A friend and I were recently talking about daily exercise. She works out every day for an hour doing the most basic form of exercise...walking. I was saying how I it's so easy to not exercise. Their are millions of things to do each day and you can talk yourself right out of a work-out. I didn’t know how she managed.
She shared her secret with me, saying "Exercise is not a choice; It's a priority. Just like going to your job." I thought this was a good way of looking at your well being

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Quick Tip - Cell Phone File

Have you ever been in a store just staring at a rack of ink cartridges, trying
to figure out the model number for you home printer? Or stumbled across a great sale in men's shirts, but can't remember the neck size of your significant other? Here's a quick tip for keeping important information easily accessible. Use the address book in your cell phone to jot down notes!

First, create a name and enter it your phonebook. My cell phone now has
Printer listed in the contact list and under First Name. The last name says
Home Printer with the name, model # and printer colors listed in the notes
Why the cartridge colors? My printer only works if I have all five colors
plus black, but the black runs out first, then the three main colors and
every once in awhile I have to replace the two oddball colors -- light cyan
and light magenta. Those are not typical colors I'm going to think of when I
'm in a hurry to print black and white.

Under my husband's I've listed all his clothing sizes and brand preferences.
Now I can confidently take advantage of sales and not worry about having to
return items - saving time and money!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Key To The Big Payoff

While getting organized is a BIG goal, don't forget that mastering small habits can have a big payoff. For most of my clients, that starts with their keys. Who knows how much time we all lose looking for keys each day? I suggest setting up a key station by the door you use most. This could be an attractive box or key hooks.
It takes 21 days to establish a habit, so for the next three weeks, focus on putting your keys in this spot as soon as you come in the door. I promise you, a month from now, you'll be on your way to saving hours of time and frustration. An added benefit: seeing how breaking down a big goal into small steps leads to success establishes the way to make positive changes in all aspects of your life.

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Monday, September 10, 2007
The Remote Control Universe

How many remote controls do you own? We have the following in our home:
Surround Sound
Digital picture frame

I must say it's a little too much to have out on the coffee table. A remote
control for a picture frame? Check out the reviews of universal remotes at
These handy gadgets can control multiple electronic devices, from your television and cable to the stereo and video games. Logitech's Harmony 1000 has an easy to use touch screen and controls up to 15 devices. But this convenience doesn't come
cheap. The Harmony 1000 costs a whopping $499. Then there's the programming.
If you don't have a degree in electronics be prepared to hire a professional. Our solution for now?

We are going to store all the remotes, except for the ones for the TV and
cable until they're needed.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Hang It Up!

One of my favorite organizing tools for clothing clutter is a simple hook. Hanging something on a hook takes less time and is just easy to do. It's especially helpful when you are in a hurry or just too tired to hang something on a hanger. I like to recommend using hooks in the closet as much as possible. One of the easiest ways to hang items is on a belt hanger. It hangs on the closet rod just like a hanger but has 4 sides containing hooks. Hang up your pants by their belt loop or even shirts or jackets. Now you have everything up off the floor and not draped over a chair in the "clean" section. No installation required on this project and anyone can do it!


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