We're trying something new at Eliminate Chaos starting with this newsletter. Designer and Organizing Specialist, Cheryl Ford, will be writing some of our featured articles. We hope you enjoy them - and get to know Cheryl and her beautiful work. You can read more about Cheryl here.
Re-Use, Re-Cycle, Re-Shop...From Home
Journals and stickies and note cards oh my!
When we work in our client’s home offices, closets, and kitchens, there are a fewitems that appear in multiples. Women, in general, seem to have a special affinity for all things cute made of paper that are marketed or on display at the office supply or specialty stores. These precious papers can be “simply irresistible” to many of us, but just how many will actually be used or given as a gift is another matter. How many pretty little notebooks and themed “to-do list” pads do you currently have in your possession? Maybe it’s time to take inventory of these and other things that have magically duplicated themselves without your knowledge.
First, dig deep through those junk drawers, comb your hall closets, root through the guest bedroom, and empty out the car of every notepad, notebook, sticky pad, thank you card, and while you’re at it, round up all of the stray pens at the same time. Did you find enough supplies to outfit a complete classroom? It may seem that way. Will you ever have the time to send out all of those notes and re-write and consolidate all of your to-do lists onto your most recent pretty pad purchase? Probably not, unless you are retiring soon.
Next, take a physical and mental inventory of your supplies. Don’t bother trying to decide what you need to eliminate, instead, decide what you can’t live without. Instead of asking yourself if you need “it”, ask yourself if “it” needs you! Every one of them will be good for something somewhere at some time, but your home shouldn’t have to be the warehouse that stores them, even if you did get them on sale. Give the ones that don’t need you to a friend whose birthday you recently forgot, as a hostess gift at the next party you attend, or as a token add-on to another gift that was already in the works. What about all of those journals, notebooks and pads that you only used for a short time, writing on only a few pages of each before moving on to something newer, prettier, or more suited to your current project? Pull out the used pages to toss or save, and give the “updated” versions to a women’s shelter or school. They would surely be overjoyed to receive your donation.
Once you have gathered and thinned out your note-worthy items into one location, you can begin shopping from home. Set aside a small closet, a couple of drawers or a cupboard and store your inventory together and shop from it, rather than the store. You will save time, money and gas this way. It is ok to re-gift, re-use, and re-cycle; a method that applies to many other items you may also have multiples of in your home.
When your inventory of supplies is depleted, don’t buy the first thing that catches your eye or is a bargain. Stick with one or two types, sizes, formats and/or colors of the things that actually work for you, that you like using and that you have used completely in the past. Don’t shop for “something for someone for some time for somewhere” but for yourself when you run low, or for the person that you need an immediate gift for. Carrying around a designer journal or notebook in your purse will not make you instantly stylish and more organized, so you may want to save the bling for your shoes and jewelry. The only thing that will keep you organized is something that is functional for how you, and you alone, take notes or make lists, be it plain or fancy
Try composing lists and notes on your smart phone or laptop using the applications that it came with and let it do what you “hired” it do to… be smart and do the work for you. If you need some advice for a new app, take a look at the ones that we have recently reviewed on real estate.com. If you can’t shake yourself out of the pen and paper mode, try using plain or lined 3 x 5 cards, or folded pieces of paper from all your “misprints” that you have been tossing into the recycle bin lately. Be selective with your choices of paper products from now on. Quantity does not necessarily mean quality. If you are even close to having one hundred and eleven versions of something to write on, you couldn’t begin to use them all up in a decade
Most food and drug items that we buy have an expiration date on the label so that we don’t attempt to use things past their safe shelf life. Maybe manufacturers should put a “best if used by” date on everything that we bring into our homes, “just for our own good”. Then we would at least have some guidelines about if, when, and how we could make the world a better place by re-using, re-cycling and re–shopping!
Organizing with Laura Blog
Keep up with our new blog on Real Estate.com. Here is a list of topics I’ve posted so far that you may be interested in reading:
Hanging Out with Your Closets
Emergency Preparedness: Make a Plan & Create a Long-Term Storage Kit
Entertaining Ideas for CD/DVD and Other Media Storage
"Like" us on FaceBook for more fun tips and bursts of inspiration or "follow" us on Twitter.
Upcoming Classes and Seminars
Topic: Eliminate Risk and Gain Rewards Using Technology: A Look Inside How Savvy Successful Small Businesses Operate
Date: November 1, 2012
Organization: Professional Organizers in Canada
Place: Vancouver, B.C, Canada
Topic: Eliminate Chaos: Get Organized so You Have "More Time for Life(R)"
Date: November 13, 2012
Organization: Hospitality Mixer
Place: The Rainier Club
Investment: For Members and their Guests Only
Topic: Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life
Date: January 10, 2013
Organization: Eastside Mother's Club
Place: Life Community Church
Address: 232 5th Ave. South - Kirkland, WA 98033
Bookmark this page and check back often for places where Laura will be speaking that you can attend at no charge or for a nominal fee.
iPhone, iPad apps - Nest Egg and iStorage Lite
Hopefully you have realized that if you have an idea of the type and quantity of the things that you have on hand at home, you will not be tempted to purchase unnecessary quantities of those items when out shopping.
To help you do that, there are a few apps for the iPhone and iPad that will make managing your home inventory easy. One of them is called “Nest Egg” and the other is “iStorage Lite”. They both turn your iPhone into a barcode scanner to inventory your belongings… from Trader Joe’ s wines to Lego kits. You get lists by categories of what you own, who you may have loaned it out to, and when it has reached a minimum replenishment level. There will no longer be a reason for duplicating food, office supplies, or toy purchases ever again.
Where Did I Put That?
Let Eliminate Chaos find it for you.
Are you tired of misplacing things and tired of spending time looking for them, with little or no success? Are you buying duplicate items because you can't remember what is at home when you are at the store? Sometimes you just need a little help in organizing and making accessible the things that you already have and use everyday. We can systematically and logically get your ducks (aka inventory) in a row for you to easily find them when you need them. We can also help you to re-use, re-cycle and re-shop!
Give us a call at 425.670.2551 or 877.342.8592 to discuss your needs and see how we can put together a team to help.
Best Regards - and Happy Organizing,
You may reprint this article in its entirety with the following credit: © 2012 Eliminate Chaos. Reprinted with permission from Laura Leist, CPO of Eliminate Chaos. To receive Eliminate Chaos eNewsletters, click here.