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The Home and Office Organizing Blog
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Organizing The Classics

Classic pieces in your wardrobe that are worn frequently such as a great coat or jacket are essential. Consider these items as your investment pieces. If you have a great jacket that fits well, looks great on you and you feel great its a win, win situation. If you own the investment pieces and decide to purchase similar items that won't get worn as often can actually cost more per wear than the piece you wear everyday.

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Monday, September 27, 2010
The Ticket Exhange

Theres noting worse than having sports tickets go to waste because you've had a change of plans. To solve your dilemma you usually have to organize a ticket drive. Call your friends and family about the available tickets then coordinate the pick up/drop off. What a pain! I love that the NFL now has an option to sell or buy your tickets online. You just enter the barcode of your tickets and follow the rest of the instructions. Buyers can print the tickets themselves. No more dealing with unwanted tickets!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010
The Nest Is Best

Nesting dishes in your kitchen is a great way to save space especially when its your mixing bowls and cups. At my recent visit to the Art Institute of Chicago's new Modern wing I was thrilled to spot nesting bowls from the designers at Joesph Joesph. 8 pieces consisting of 4 measuring cups, a strainer/colander, a sieve, 1 small mixing bowl and 1 large mixing bowl. It can be challenging to keep all of these pieces together on different shelves but when they all fit together...brilliant! I just love the bright assorted colors they are fun and help differentiate between each piece.

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Friday, September 24, 2010
Save Your Phone!

Before your next vacation be sure to back up your phone before leaving town. You never know when you may loose or damage your phone. Its good to back it up often but especially when heading to unfamiliar surroundings. Leaving your phone in a hotel room or jumping in the pool with your phone in your pocket can often be overlooked.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010
Organizing For The Goodwill Sale

We've seen a few dips in temperature lately which is a signal to switch over your summer wardrobe to fall and its a great way to reorganize your closets. Right now you can reorganize your closets and help others by bringing your unwanted clothes to Carson's department store. They are holding the Goodwill sale from now until September 29th. Just drop off your unwanted clothes and you will receive a coupon for 20% off everything in the store.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Replace your dictionary with Google?

Did your dictionary from 1999 let you down when you desperately needed to find the definition of truthiness? Or are you just in need of a couple of extra inches of shelf space to give home to this years family photo? Well Google has your back. The define: search command on Google (and many other search engines) is getting better. Simply type define:clutter into the search bar to see what I mean. Google will give you related phrases, definitions from Princetons WordNet as well as from Wikipedia. Try the same trick in Bing or Yahoo and they will add definitions from and/or

To be fair, the search engines won't provide pronunciation or etymology. You'll have to click through to the links provided for anything additional to definitions and examples of uses, but it is a quick way to look up a word while typing away at your computer.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010
No more phone chargers uglying up your home?

Not yet. But the following article in Gizmag reveals that Korean scientists are looking for ways to charge cell phones from the energy of your voice! It's the reverse process of how speakers turn electricity into sound waves, and while it's not too efficient there are hopes that eventually we can get rid of those ugly wall warts on our desks and kitchen counter tops and charge our phones by calling mom. Other options may be to turn ambient noise into electricity as well, so that guy with the leaf blower outside my window right now would actually be charging my netbook instead of just being annoying.

The exciting part for us organized people is that we could have less of those tangled charging cords in our home to organize!

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Monday, September 20, 2010
Excess Baggage

In an effort to travel light, my goal is to bring as little luggage as possible. Be an organized traveler by calling ahead to your hotel to find out what they provide in your room. Do I need shampoo, lotion, mouthwash or a heavy hairdryer? Some hotels have just about everything including a toothbrush. So dont worry about filling your little shampoo bottles and winding up that old hair dryer. Travel light, call ahead and loose the baggage!


Saturday, September 11, 2010
Filing A-Z

Trying to figure out how to file your folders in the file cabinet? There are several ways file folders can be stored. Here are a few tips when filing alphabetically.

  1. File folders from A-Z starting with the first letter
    (Anderson, Burnett, Commons)

  2. If the first letter is the same move to the second letter
    (Anderson, Apple, Mac, Mc)

  3. Do not file using definite or indefinite article such as "A, An, The"
    (The Opera)

  4. Personal Files are filed Sir name 1st (Smith, John)

  5. Titles are listed after the last name (Jones, Dr Bob)

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Friday, September 10, 2010
Three Rules of Work Quote

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

-Albert Einstein


Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Organizing The Junk Drawer

Junk drawers have become the catch all for everything. Its no surprise to see things from coupons, tools, loose change, toys, important documents, office supplies, toiletries and just about anything that will fit into its space. Do yourself a favor and periodically go through the junk drawer. Pull everything out and sort. Then take everything that has a home and put it away. Keep the items that you use often in the drawer but really try to limit to just one. You dont need 6 tape dispensers and 50 pens, just keep one of each item you really need. If possible use drawer organizers to keep everything organized.

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Friday, September 03, 2010
Gmail gets into the organizing business

I few days ago I wrote a post about an email filtering system being developed to help prioritize email. I was skeptical, and blogged that I would rather cut down on the incoming email rather than have a program try and do it for me. Today I see that GMAIL added a new feature called Priority Inbox that is currently in Beta. Well, I like trying new things, so figured I would give it a try. The first thing it did was to show me a screen of some of my email and which ones it thought was important and which ones had less of a priority. It correctly selected emails from friends and family to the top and subscriptions and solicitations at the bottom. So my skepticism got knocked a little there. Then it organized my email. Important and unread messages went to the top of the screen. The rest went to the bottom, with outlines of little yellow markers next to the ones that GMail thinks are important, but have lower priority since I already read them. And then it gives a space in the middle to list emails that I manually star.

Hmmmm. That's not bad actually. It means I read the important unread stuff first. And since I use my Inbox as a task list, only deleting or archiving when I have completed the task, I could star those items to easily group them together. Then the bottom part gets read and filed when I have a few minutes. OK GMAIL, that isn't so bad and it's nice that I can turn it off any time.

I still think that people who don't manage their email well now, will fall into the trap of subscribing to everything they see and letting it all fall to the bottom of the page. Then never read any of them setting up the perfect opportunity to miss important emails that are incorrectly identified by the program.

For now, I'm going to continue to be stingy with my email address and unsubscribe to those interesting newsletters and special offers that I never take advantage. But I think I am also going to keep Priority Inbox on to help me triage the busy days a little faster.


Thursday, September 02, 2010
!!Email Pet Peeves!!

by hbrinkman on 
OK, I'm not the official e-mail police or anything. And I have NOT read E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide by Janis Fisher Chan. But I do get enough of them everyday to know what is annoying. These are my Email Pet Peeves.

1. Overuse of the IMPORTANT flag. Yes, I know you need something right away. So do the other thirty people that just emailed me. Yes, I know you are in a panic. So am I, from the thirty other people that need something right away.

Here is the rule: The more you use it, the less impact it gets. The less you use it, the more impact it gets. I recommend using it maybe a few times a year. That way when someone sees you yelling fire, they are more likely to help you out rather than decide it's time to grab a coffee before reading your email.

2. CC'ing someone on an email is not an assignment or delegation. That is what the To: field is for. CC is for people who are not directly involved and do not have to act or reply. CC is just keeping someone informed. For instance a direct report CC's me on an exchange they are having with another manager. I don't need to do anything. It's a courtesy to let me know they are working together and lets me monitor what is being asked of my direct report.

Here is the rule: People in the To: field must do. People in the CC field only see.

3. Don't BCC someone's boss. Yeah, I know the BCC field had a bad time when people were using it to tattle on others and managers were demanding that their direct reports BCC them on everything. But ultimately we all learned our lesson when the BCC'er pulled a meat head and replied to all, exposing the secret spy ring. Since then managers have learned that they must trust the people they place responsibility with and the spy game has been put on ice. BCC is just for non disclosure of lists. Lets say I want to tell a bunch of people that I lost my phone. But those people don't necessarily know each other and I should not be exposing their email addresses to one another. What do I do? That's right! I put myself in the To: field and I BCC everyone else. That way, they know that I BCC's them and probably a whole bunch of other people too.

Here is the rule: Either BCC everyone or no one. That is, never use BCC in conjunction with the To: or CC: fields. You should be the only contact in the To: field. If you really want to rat someone out, just forward the sent version of the message. That way you at least won't die from a "reply all" attack or tagged a relic of the cold war.

OK, so what are your email Pet Peeves?


Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Using your address book / contact lists for account numbers -

K, my wife pulled a good one. I was looking for our account number for the cable know so I could login online and see the bill that I always ignore and see if switching to a streaming service would work for us. She was like "it's in my email contacts". Wow! I used to do that trick but fell out of the habit. It's great to store all that info in an easy to access place like your email contact list. It makes retrieving it pretty fast and even faster if it syncs with your phone. Nice going honey! I love you.


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