Thursday, April 23, 2009


Checklists, in my opinion, are different from to-do lists. To-do lists, to me, are all-encompassing, but checklists can be for many things like preparing for a babysitter, packing for a vacation, writing out a grocery list, making a list for what goes in your child's diaper bag or creating a specific task list for a gardening project. has great notepads for sale. Check out these great checklists that I found: (click on the image to enlarge it)

All Out Of pad: my absolute favorite notepad! This hangs on my fridge and I can check items off as they're depleted from my kitchen. It seriously doesn't get easier than this!

Menu Planning pad: I LOVE this one! I'm a big time meal planner and this can stick to the fridge for easy planning and memory refreshing. Plus, I can hang it right next to the grocery list for convenience.

Pack This pad: great for packing help. Somehow there's always something as necessary as a toothbrush that seems to escape my mind when I'm packing for a trip.

Don't Kill the Kids pad: helpful handout for the babysitter.

Errand Manager pad: I like this because I seem to always leave my house with the intention of accomplishing my tasks but end up forgetting to go to half of my destinations!

Endless Voicemail pad: this voicemail message pad is superior to its predecessors because of its size. You can see 12 messages without flipping the page! How convenient is that?

Do your Chores pad: this is great for everyone in the house, not just the kiddos.
These are from:

Babypack/Kidpack pad: super convenient to have when you've got munchkins and you need to pack their necessities for every little day trip you take. Even just a walk...

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moving Efficiently

One of my least favorite things to do is move to a new home. I can't even keep track of the number of times I've moved in my life because it is such a high number. It seems like things always get lost in a move and people just run around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get everything done in the smallest amount of time possible. Moving is very important, but incredibly stressful, so hopefully I can give you some tips on how to remain calm and organized and get through it efficiently.

Well, if you're planning to move I'm assuming you have a short timeframe to prepare. So, first thing first: stockpile your home with boxes, boxes, boxes galore. And packing tape! Oh, and some permanent markers to label your boxes. Hmm, better stock up on newspapers and bubble wrap, too. Boxes can be purchased at office supply stores, or you can fend for some free boxes at grocery stores, liquor stores, gas stations, restaurants and really any retail business you can think of. This all unless, of course, you have a packing service. Then, you can just sit back and watch the movers do everything.

Need I even say that moving is the perfect time to get rid of belongings you no longer use or need? Set aside some boxes for donating. Or, better yet, throw a garage sale before you begin the moving process. Whatever you have left after your sale can go straight to charity. Don't overlook Internet sites like craigslist to sell appliances, furniture and even clothing.

I've already mentioned that I really hate moving. It's so much work and it's really hard to pack away your home and not be able to access those belongings. So, in order to avoid packing things you still use I would advise you to plan carefully. Start packing the things you hardly ever use: books, things in storage (which should sort of already be "packed"), extra office supplies, off-season clothing, random and hardly ever used tools, movies and CDs, and old keepsakes are good places to start. From there, go in phases as your moving date gets closer and closer. Start cleaning as you go to avoid a last minute cleaning frenzy. The last things you should pack are: daily toiletries and supplies, a few days worth of clothing and shoes, cleaning supplies (you have to leave your place clean, right?) and a few plates and glasses, etc. Think about what you use most often and go down a list until you figure out what in your home you use least often and pack according to that.

If it helps you to go room by room, I would suggest that. Start in your storage room and make sure everything is securely packed and ready for the moving truck. Work from there. I like to create a task list with specific tasks I need to accomplish and then prioritize each task into a chronological order to complete.

When it comes to packing, do pack appropriately and efficiently. Your unpacking efforts will flow seamlessly if you pack each box pertaining to one specific room. It is incredibly helpful to be very detailed when labeling boxes. If you are hiring packers make sure that you supervise this and be up front about your labeling expectations -- trust me, you don't want to be searching for your bedding and have it end up in the box labeled "pots & pans."

When it comes to unpacking I would highly suggest sticking to one room at a time. Unpack just like you packed, so you put away the items you use most often followed by your belongings used least often. This will help you get into your new home and find commonly used items without rummaging for them.

Quick Tips:
• Schedule, confirm and RE-CONFIRM your moving truck/moving company
• Obtain extra (times 10) boxes, rolls of tape and packing materials. You will run out!
• Get some easy to move snacks and water bottles for the day of your move
• Prepare an extra large cooler and ice or cold packs to put your perishables in during the move (do this last) -- only do this if you're moving close by
• Make alternate accommodations for your pet(s) the day of your move -- see if you can pawn the kids off on a friend or relative, too

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Friday, April 17, 2009


Last week I was in a house that I had never been in before. The house was nice, kind of bland with very white and bare walls, but sort of cozy. Then, I walked into the laundry/storage room and was completely surprised to see it completely full of oversized clear plastic containers with nice, neat labels written on the side. The garage was the same. The more I peered into this family's home the more random organizational containers I found. And the more uncomfortable I felt.

I was quite surprised by my reaction to this. My home is organized, but not like this. I have a feeling it could become that way at some point down the road. This makes me sort of torn - I love organizing and being organized but I certainly don't want to make people feel uncomfortable in my home because of that. There were baskets, containers and buckets galore! I would have thought this would be my heaven.

The more I thought about this home I realized that part of my lack of comfort was due to the sheer volume of stuff they have. The family has 2 storage rooms and a garage literally full of shelves with clear plastic containers maxing out the space of the room. Nothing in the home was misplaced. There was a basket and container for everything. So, the point of me continuing and writing this is to say that no matter how organized you are if you have too much stuff it is quite possible you'll still feel overwhelmed and suffocated in your home. And your guests will feel it.

I'm definitely going to keep this in mind now and in the future. I plan on remaining as organized as I am, but I don't want to ever intimidate people by that or make them uncomfortable in my home. I think there are two things that I'm going to take away from this:

1. Don't accumulate useless stuff that just sits in a tub for the duration of its life.

2. Store storage in a storage room that your guests do not have access to. Keep your stuff to yourself and make your home as cozy and comfortable as possible.

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Monday, April 13, 2009


Ugh, the dreaded word. I don't like thinking about procrastination, much less writing about it. I am a firm believer in budgeting your time appropriately leaving out the need or desire to procrastinate. But, after getting through college I realized that I am probably the only one with that mentality. How many people can really say they don't procrastinate? Believe it or not, I don't procrastinate.

The reason why I don't procrastinate is because I realize that it is a mentality and my crazy organized brain doesn't allow me to not plan ahead and get things done within an allotted time period. If I know I need to do something I do it. I don't sit around and push it to the back burner until crunch time comes. I just do it. Think Nike.

If you're a procrastinator my best advice to you is to change your mind set. I don't know why procrastinators procrastinate, but I do know that it's up to you to get out of that awful habit. I've heard the common excuse from a lot of friends who say that waiting until the last minute makes them think better because they know they need to get it done and that they work better under pressure. I kinda sorta believe that - but not really. I think that if you give yourself ample time to accomplish a task or project and take the time you need that you will do your best work.

My logic tells me the opposite would be true if you're fighting the clock to meet a deadline. If you're up for the challenge I say go for it - drop the idea that you work better under pressure and get things done in a reasonable amount of time and finish them early.

Whenever I have a project or an assignment of any kind I like to plan out a schedule of when I am going to accomplish each part of the project, like creating a timeline. This works for home improvement projects, assignments at work or school, planning a wedding or a party, writing a book or anything else that requires planning at length. I work backwards and plan out the amount of time it will take me to do everything while leaving myself a little wiggle room just in case. The important part to following a timeline is to stick to it and follow your schedule. I have reason to believe that if you take the time to create a project timeline that the amount of procrastination on your part will decrease.

Now that you've had some time to think about procrastination I hope you'll consider changing your mind set and just do it.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Organizing your Health

Being healthy is something that is very important to me. I maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious, local, homemade and (mostly) non-processed foods; regularly exercising; seeing my doctor on a regular basis and keeping track of my health and well-being. Organizing my health, if you will, has been something that has really stuck with me and made a big impact on my well-being.

I keep track of a lot of things throughout the day, with regard to food and exercise. I've got this great little tracker where I write down my weight, everything I eat and drink, how I feel that day and what exercise I get. I think that by keeping track of all of this really makes me think about what I'm doing. I want to write down the good choices I make when it comes to my meals, but I certainly don't want to write that I licked the brownie batter bowl - but I write it down anyway. My health tracker is kept in a file folder that I can take around with me to work and also have at home. On the outside of the file folder lists my health goals - some are for fitness, some are for food, some are for overall well-being and some are for maintaining a healthy weight. Did you know there is a convenient application for iPhones where you can keep track of all of this? No excuses now!

In conjunction with my health tracker I use a workout chart that helps keep me motivated to get to the gym, do Pilates or go out for a run or do something active. I create a chart that I can hang up on the bathroom mirror or on the fridge and have one column for each week and one column for the number of days I am striving to exercise. I can make a check or give myself a gold star every time I work out. I love to see the progress I make with charts like this and see how well I am sticking with my fitness goals - even though I completely realize that they're a little bit nerdy.

For those of you on a weight loss kick creating your own goal chart is a great way to keep motivated and see your progress as you move forward and drop pounds. What I love most about these health trackers is being able to refer back to earlier dates and see what I ate and how much I exercised and how much I weighed and then looking at today's entry and seeing the positive improvements. I also think that keeping track of such things is a great way to maintain and achieve goals and is a way to be held accountable for living a healthy lifestyle.

Another element that I feel is vitally important is keeping track of your medical records. I actually haven't done this for myself yet, but I recently had all of my records sent to my new clinic and am hopeful that I can obtain a copy. My goal with maintaining my medical records is to create a file and store any important lab results, immunization records, hospitalizations, records of my normal blood pressure and any abnormal medical history. I think it is very helpful to know your medical history and be able to regularly access and refer to it. This is especially important if you have an ongoing disease or chronic condition that you are dealing with, not to mention if you go to battle with your insurance company over a medical claim or procedure. Going back to my daily health tracker, I think it is important to take note on how you are feeling everyday and if you notice any changes in your health, etc., because then you have a record to fall back on in case you fall ill and need to relay your progressing symptoms to your physician.

Keeping track of what you eat, how you feel, your day's worth of exercise and your weight should really reinforce your personal goals. This should help to keep you on track and monitoring your progress. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me!

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Saturday, April 4, 2009


There was a time in my college life where I barely had a minute to stop and smell the spring lilacs as I ran from class to work, but these days I have time to breathe and enjoy life. I have a feeling, though, that will soon change. For those of you supermoms/superdads and overachievers in the workplace who are struggling to balance your time and your life and still get the most out of it, hopefully this can help calm your busybody life and greatly reduce your stress.

Of course there are different techniques that work well for some and don't work well for others. I think it is important, as a busybody, to quickly figure out what will work well to keep you grounded and organized. You for sure are going to need some type of planner or agenda to keep your day straight. Unless you have a photogenic memory there is no way you can keep it all straight if you are a busybody. I think that it's important to have one planner for work and home, not two separate planners or calendars. If you're at work and need to leave early for Susie's soccer game, how are you going to know that unless it's on your work calendar? Some ideas are: using a computer calendar (Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Google calendar, etc.), purchasing a nicely bound agenda that is easy to carry with you wherever you go, use the calendar function on your smart phone (synch it with your Outlook or whatever you use), or use a notebook where you can keep track somehow of all of your tasks and appointments.

After you arrange your appointments and obligations is time to figure out how to accomplish what you need to get done in the allotted time. I love, love, love the idea of creating a calendar or a planner for when you need to do something specific in a certain amount of time. For this, I work backwards if I am just making a list or using a calendar and make a note when I have a deadline or need to start or do a particular task. You can even just write down the different tasks onto a piece of paper and use that as your reference, though I do recommend using something where you can denote dates and deadlines. It's all about creating and sticking to your timeline.

Still can't fit everything in? Now is the time to prioritize. Make a list of what you have on your plate and determine what issues are the most pressing or carry the heaviest weight. What is the most important thing you have going on right now? Do that first. For everything else, you really need to work time into your schedule to be able to get it done. Block off time in your daily scheduler to accomplish the remaining tasks, allot a specific amount of time for each task, and get it done. If you are such a busybody that you literally do not have time to get everything done on time I must admit that I have a hard time believing that you are as organized as you could be. I think there are probably ways you could become more organized and manage your time better. I heard an appalling study about the amount of time the average person wastes checking their e-mail. Consider shutting your e-mail off if you have urgent matters to attend to.

I firmly believe that if you create an efficient timeline that lets you know at what time/day a particular task needs to be accomplished by that you will finish this project in ample time. Don't forget to plan for emergencies, urgent matters, sick days or just plain wasted time.

I also firmly believe in to-do lists or project lists. Have you ever had a project assigned to you that you completely forgot to do? Get a white board, a pack of post-its or a piece of paper and write out your to-do list or your project list and keep it in a spot where you can regularly refer to it and accomplish your tasks.
Take some time at work each Friday (or any day!) to organize yourself. Look over your meetings, deadlines, answer those pesky e-mails you keep putting off, clean your desk and get rid of papers that are creating clutter. I like to mark on my calendar "me time" which I use to reorganize myself.

If you're a stay at home parent or retired or unemployed you should still have things that need to get done. Take a few minutes or an hour or however long it takes to make your to-do list, follow up with anything you have been putting off, plan your weekend errands or whatever it is that you need to do to organize your schedule. Create a daily routine or a schedule that is flexible and works for you that you can follow. If you don't want a fixed schedule at least outline what you need to get done each day or week and stick to your list! Don't forget to plan ahead.

Planning out your schedule is sure to be a huge stress reliever. This will enable you to see in plain sight that you do have time to get everything done. This is all about time management, prioritizing and becoming more organized. It's an important mindset especially for busybodies.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Organize your Clothes

Clothing organization is probably the organizational area in which I am most meticulous about. I've become less anal through the years - when I was 12-ish I used to evenly space the hangers in my closet. I don't care if you color coordinate your clothing (which I'm totally guilty of doing) or not, but at least make an attempt at hanging it nicely (this will help it wear better on your body) and making your closet and drawers look well-kept. There are tons of secrets and tricks to organizing and properly storing your clothes, so hopefully you can benefit from some of them. Best of all, this is a great opportunity to just get rid of cluttered clothing.

Whenever I'm doing a closet organization I start by removing everything (from both the closet and the drawers and anywhere else that clothing is stored!) and throwing it on the bed or in a wide open space to take inventory. It is vital to go through all of your clothes and determine whether or not there is still a future for each item in your life. Sometimes it is helpful to have a spouse or friend to assist with this process - try questionable clothing on and ask for an honest opinion. Find a charity or a consignment shop to bring the clothing that was vetoed to - don't forget to follow through and actually bring it there. While you're doing this it is also important to make a pile of clothing that needs attention or mending because of a missing button, a hole in the armpit, a need to be ironed or a stain that needs removing. Don't put these things away until they are properly dealt with.

It is important to figure out the needs of storing your clothing and what your capabilities are. I have a pseudo-custom shelving system in my closet that I sort of like. I can hang quite a few things from the shelves in addition to stacking clothing on top of the shelves. I also have a large dresser where I keep my undergarments, socks, pajamas, bathing suits and workout gear. Surprisingly the combination of the two is enough to store all of my clothes and still have room to grow. If that wasn't the case, I would store off-seasonal clothing in a large plastic tub, so as not to clutter and overcrowd my closet.

If your clothing organization system is not working for you I would recommend you think about why that is and what you can do to make it work or improve it based on your needs. Do you need more drawers? Clean yours out and get rid of unnecessary apparel, buy an inexpensive set of Sterilite stackable drawers or get another dresser or a wardrobe. Do you need more places to hang your clothes? Go through your clothes and eliminate what you don't wear. Is it possible to remove some things from your closet and fold them up elsewhere? Think of other places in your home where you could hang some off-season apparel. Still need more room? Consider adding another clothes pole if you have the room - or re-design your current space, if able. As silly as this sounds, what about adding a clothes line to your laundry room, or a stand-alone clothing bar (see image below)? Have you heard of the innovative "Wonder Hanger" hangers that cascade your clothing down (see image below)? There are quite a few options for custom closets at various price points that can be great options to maximize your clothing storage space.

Clearing away off-season clothing from your dresser and closet can really eliminate a lot of your problems. I would suggest that if you're running out of room to store your clothes that you corral some extra large plastic tubs or under-the-bed tubs to store off season clothing and swap it out when you do your seasonal cleaning.

Let's talk about your dresser drawers. What do they look like inside? Well, mine are pretty darn neat looking (I bet you're shocked) and everything is folded and kept in its place. I make sure that everything is folded nicely and has a spot where it belongs. One thing I know for sure is that if everything is neatly folded I can fit a whole lot more than I would otherwise be able to. This also helps me to see everything inside my drawers and not allow messy buildup and unnecessary accumulation to occur.

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