Files with labels

Small business owner? Entrepreneur? Stay-at-home parent? On sabbatical?

There should be a designated area inside your home that can ensure your administrative tasks and business management procedures are streamlined, efficient and orderly.

Take a tip from Feng Shui practice – have your work environment reflect respect for you and your work.

If you implement a few ideas with the way you like to work, you’ll be much more likely to use them.

Take time this month to set it up properly once and for all, and then the future will simply require simple maintenance.

Managing Your Paper

Design a filing hierarchy or have one created for you by a professional organizer that makes sense to your work and company.
Use the language you would normally use, with familiar names. Keep it simple and use categories that summarize the nature of the file.

The simpler the system, the quicker and less taxing it is to use. Give your brain a break – don’t store information with one system for paper, another for electronic and yet another for emails. Constantly using the search function wastes your day, 30 seconds at a time.

Understand your document retention obligations:

Ask your lawyer and accountant for a list of the documents you are legally obligated to keep.

Many people are afraid to throw away items. Set a clear policy for what needs to be kept, and what can be safely discarded. A clear retention policy lets you edit with confidence and avoid a build-up of obsolete documents.

Aim to handle everything only once. When you are holding or looking at a document, determine if it is necessary to be kept. Otherwise, toss it immediately.

 Managing your Space

Your work space is the command center for your work: Is there a logical flow (think of an assembly line) of work through the office? Do you have a place to work comfortably and efficiently on your projects?

A comfortable chair, an uncluttered workstation, drawers or file cabinets, adequate shelving and lighting are essential elements.

If you are short of space, think vertically. Is the area above your desk unused? Install shelving or a cabinet to maximize your storage space.

Choose the products, efficiency tips and time management tools that appeal to you. If you have a favourite brand or colour – use it and be consistent.

If you like things visible, use products to make them accessible while keeping them neat, such as a vertical sorter for files or a magazine holder for the items you use frequently.

Eliminate anything in your workspace that doesn’t relate to your work. Don’t let your desk area become a dumping zone. Provide an in-box for others to use if something needs your attention.

Experiment, if something doesn’t work, try something else.

Are your kids talking about the summer yet? Are they getting excited?  Chances are they don’t know how much more work it is for parents during the summer than it is during the rest of the year. To keep the kids busy with little effort, consider putting advance planning in place so that the rest of the summer can be more spontaneously enjoyed. Here are some ideas you can use to improve the summer months:

Create an activity list or an “I’m Bored Jar” 

Get a large jar for the whole family to add ideas when one strikes. Have all family members write their ideas on notes and put them in the jar. Need some inspiration for summer activities? Organize a picnic dinner, swimming at a local pool, or camping in the backyard. If your kids are acting like wild animals, you might even plan a visit to the zoo.

Install a wall calendar and put the activity ideas on it.

Use some sticky notes and a marker and start by indicating the important dates, such as the first day of school or camp, or time that will be spent away on a vacation. Colour code the sticky notes by category which could make the board look more kid-friendly. Potential categories can include theme days, playdates, planned outings, and activities done at home.

Stick to a normal routine as much as possible.

To make life easier for yourself, make sure you write out sticky notes for your own well-being and apply them to the wall calendar. Write down your date nights, dinner menu plans and babysitter arrangements.

Pre-sort supplies for Grab and Go Bags

Pre-pack backpacks before an activity day. This will help you avoid the hour of preparation time before being able to leave the house. Some ideas for Grab and Go Bags are:
Theme park bags
Walking/hiking bags
Playdate bags
Picnic bags
Library bags
Pool days

If you’re going to the pool, have water excursion supplies pre-packed in a tote bag. Pack swimsuits and towels, as well as sun safety essentials including sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to bring a plastic bag for wet bathing suits!

Road trip essentials
Be sure to pack items that will keep you and your family comfortable and entertained while away from home. Include essentials such as diapers, water bottles, snacks, and sunscreen. To avoid the inevitable cries of “Are we there yet?” don’t forget books, colouring books or clipboards with blank paper, and zippered pouches of crayons for each child along with the electronic device preloaded with learning games and movies.

There is nothing wrong with kids getting bored from time to time, as some ingenious and unique activities can result from that.  Keep art supplies within reach in the craft cabinet, a few outdoor toys in the backyard, and fruit and sugar-free drinks in the fridge.

When in central Mexico recently, I discouvered a fairly common phenomenon in many of the restaurants.  They provide a mini-sized coat rack beside each table for patrons to hang their handbags, scarves, jackets to avoid putting them on the floor or draped around their chairs.  I thought it so practical and considerate.  Here is a photo of the kind of thing:


Clutterless Gift Ideas

December 15, 2016

am an advocate for giving gifts that won’t clutter up your friend’s and family’s homes Sometimes we put in a lot of thought into gift giving; other times we fall victim to the pressure of giving ‘something’ for the sake of it. This of course, can lead to clutter! So, before buying gifts this Christmas, […]

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Keeping Counters & Surfaces clutter-free

November 8, 2016

And remember, once you’ve determined homes for all your things – Don’t just put it down, put it back. [houzz= w=200]

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New Year? Clean Sweep!

January 14, 2016

Posted and quoted in University of Toronto’s newspaper The Medium this month.

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Honoured by POC with the 2015 Ambassador Award

November 8, 2015

I was humbly awarded the 2015 Ambassador Award from Professional Organizers in Canada in recognition of mentorship to peers and  community, as well as upholding the principles of the industry.

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More great ideas for up cycling your stuff

July 1, 2015 But as usual, you’ve got to be realistic about finding the time to do these sorts of things.

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Institute for Challenging Disorganization

August 11, 2014

I’m pleased to have become affiliated this highly acclaimed organization (ICD) and have been taking many of their educational classes. ICD’s mission is to provide education, research and strategies to benefit people challenged by chronic disorganization amongst professionals as well as the public. If you are interesting in reading more about the issues surrounding disorganization, […]

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4 Reminders. You’ve heard them before – now implement them

February 3, 2014

1. Never buy something new unless you know exactly where its going to go. 2. Bring something new in the house.  Take something out. The one in one out rule. 3. Remove the phrase “for now” in your vocabulary. 4. If someone walked into your house unexpectedly – what wouldn’t you want them to see? […]

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