Life Organized: The Blog

Tips & Tricks from Barbara

Addressing Email Overload

· Digital Decluttering / Technology · , , , , , , , , ,

From CEO’s to soccer moms, we’re all overwhelmed by the volume of emails received each day. Studies show that the average person checks a device approximately 150 times during waking hours. Still, it seems that we can never catch up. If you feel stressed just thinking about your inbox, here are some tips to tame the email beast.

  1. Create a digital filing system. Filing emails reduces visual noise and eliminates wasted time re-reading emails already opened. It also facilitates emptying your email box on a daily basis (getting to “in-box zero”).
  1. Search messages by name. Using the search box, type in the names of your boss, important colleagues, and frequent correspondents. This will help you categorize and file emails in a meaningful way. Most emails more than a week old are probably irrelevant and can be deleted.
  1. Don’t save emails as a visual cue to take action. Unless you have white space on the bottom of your computer screen, a saved email is just clutter.
  1. Touch each email only once. Avoid opening emails multiple times without responding. Make a decision about how it will be handled (delete or file) and move forward.
  1. Any time you receive an unwanted email, take a few seconds to unsubscribe so you never see it again.

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Digital Photo Organizing

· Digital Decluttering / Technology · , , , , , , , , ,

According to a recent study by Sparefoot and APPO, the average person has 10,000 to 15,000 photos. While it’s amazing that smart phones have allowed us to capture our every day moments so easily, I constantly hear people complain that they can’t find a picture when they need it. Similar to those boxes or bags of photos you never put in albums way back when, digital photos can cause you stress and frustration if they’re not filed properly. So here’s what can you do to organize your digital photos. . .

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The Power of Paint, by Guest Blogger Paul Denikin

· Home Improvement / Decor · , , ,

I recently became acquainted with Paul Denikin. While Paul was always interested in home improvement, he became an expert when his daughter, Maggie, was born with special needs. At that time, Paul realized  he needed to modify his home so that it would be safe and functional for Maggie.  He started his website, dadknowsdiy.com, to share what he’s learned with the rest of us.   Here, he talks about how painting your home can improve its value and its appearance.

DIY home improvements are one of the most common ways home sellers will try to increase the value of their home. While some DIY projects can be complex or expensive such as redoing your bathroom, other projects are far less complicated. It may seem difficult to up the value of your home, but in reality, a few simple improvements can dramatically change how your house is viewed by potential buyers. The best way to make an impact without breaking the bank? Paint.

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Unexpected Guests

· Entertaining · , , , ,

Recently, after a great day boating with friends, we decided to meet at my house for drinks before having dinner at a nearby restaurant. Some of our guests were on the boat with my husband and I, and others would drive to our house. They would arrive before I did, so there would be no time for a last minute clean up. Since I’m a professional organizer, that didn’t pose a problem for me. My house is almost always company ready. However, if you’re not like me, what can you do if you get a call that friends “are in the neighborhood” and will be there in 20 minutes? Tilly Rose, founder of TenancyCleaning, a cleaning service in London, offers these tips for de-cluttering your home when it needs to done quickly.

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Fruits & Veggies

You Are What You Eat

· Kitchen / Nutrition · , , , , , , , ,

Over the past several months, I’ve organized several kitchens with my colleague, Lara Metz. One of the issues we’ve been seeing repeatedly is the duplication of items in the refrigerator and pantry. Here’s our advice on how to avoid this in your kitchen:

  1. Start by purging all of the foods that have expired in both your refrigerator and pantry. This should be done on a weekly basis prior to going to the grocery store. Then, in an accessible area, stoIMG_7634re a pad or a white board to keep a running list of what needs to be replaced. Let your family know that this is everyone’s responsibility, not just yours, so even children are in the habit of adding to the list when they take the last bag of pretzels.
  2. In order to maintain organization, group all similar items together. In both the kitchen and pantry, there should be zones for different food categories. In the refrigerator, take advantage of built in compartments. For example, put all fruit in the fruit drawer and produce in the produce drawer. Then, store your products in straight lines with like items one behind the other.
  3. Use organizing products that will make your refrigerator and pantry functional and look great. Here are some of our favorites:
  • White taper bins can be used to corral individually wrapped products. For example, if you have multiple types of tea and tea bags, store these in a bin along with a jar of honey. Use another bin to store snacks like chips and pretzels.IMG_8605
  • Pantry bins are helpful to separate items and keep them them neat.
  • For storing dry goods like cereal, flour, and sugar, I recommend using canisters like these .
  • If there’s a hard to reach corner in your pantry, consider a Lazy Susan.

Studies suggest that people reach for what they see first, so to encourage wellness in your home, position fruit and healthy snacks at eye level.

When a Storage Unit is a Good Idea

· Home Improvement / Decor · , , , , , , , , ,

Over the past few months, I’ve had a number of clients ask me for help organizing storage units. Some clients have multiple storage units and some have just one. In some cases, the storage units are complimentary perks that come with apartments, and, in other cases, exorbitant fees are paid. Sometimes, the client knows exactly what’s stored in the unit and wants to make it less cluttered or more appealing. And sometimes, the items have been put away for years, and the client has no idea what s/he will find there. While I generally believe that a client is better off purging and living within his/her space means, here are some instances when a storage unit is a good idea:

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The Spring Cleaning No One Talks About

· Lifestyle, Spring Cleaning · , , , ,

By: Barbara Reich and Erica Keswin, Founders of Never Caught Up, LLC

Every year, as the weather grows warmer, there’s a flurry of interest in spring cleaning. Morning television segments, news articles, and blog posts will all feature the latest organizing tips, cleaning short cuts, and advice on how to get to those hard-to-reach areas. That spring cleaning is “business as usual.” But, there’s another kind of spring cleaning that no one talks about…that is, spring cleaning your friends.

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Efficient or Overwhelmed?

· Lifestyle

A few months ago I was on hold with a telecommunications company when the recorded voice announced that the wait time would be three minutes. I thought, “Great. I can put my phone on speaker mode while I take a quick shower.” As I reflect on this now, I’m still not sure if this was a testament to my efficiency, or a pathetic reflection of how busy I was.

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Eliminate These and Make the World a Better Place

· Lifestyle · , , , , , , ,

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 5.13.58 PM

After more than a decade of organizing people’s homes and offices, there are certain things that I’ve often wished never existed. The ubiquity of these, and the speed at which I do away with them, has me convinced that the world would truly be a better place if I never saw another one. Sounds harsh, but read on, and I’m sure you’ll agree.  Here are my top ten:

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Decadent Jewelry Storage for Valentines Day

· Valentine's Day · , , ,

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s a great time to think about storing your jewelry and the best options available. While costume jewelry is often bulky and difficult to store in a traditional way, these beautiful jewelry boxes are perfect for cocktail rings, your grandmother’s pearls, and the delicate necklaces and bracelets you’ve accumulated over the years. Here are mScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 8.00.06 AMy favorites:

The Wolf Palermo Large Jewelry Box includes 15 storage compartments, 2 watch cuffs, 3 ring rolls and lots of drawers. Under typical storage conditions, the special LusterLoc fabric lining inside the jewelry box will prevent tarnishing for up to 35 years. $449 https://www.wolf1834.com/item/213093/womens-jewelry-boxes/

 

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