Decreasing the load – Decreasing the stress

September 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Time Managment

Do you take on too much?

Are you stressed because you take on too much yourself?  Think you are wonder woman and can do it all?  If you realize you have taken on more than you can handle, how do you decrease that load?

We all go through the same thing –

*We don’t want to let people down
* We don’t want to look like we are quitting
* We want people to think we CAN do it all. lol
* We want to be a great wife & mom

BUT – if we spread ourselves too thin, then no one gains anything from us. We will end up exhausted, stressed and not a happy camper.

I had to make some of those decisions myself.  I took on a college Photoshop class.  I was really excited about it. I did an on line class because I didn’t think there was any way for me to make all the in room classes with my travel schedule.  I figured the online class was videos of the actual classroom sessions that we would see the instructors going over everything.  But you do it on your own time. Wrong!  I have an instructor, someone I can email questions to. They have a written schedule of what projects and quizzes are due and when and what chapters I have to read in the book and when. But…. that is it. The book is the teacher. It goes step by step through how to use photoshop.


I was really stressing yesterday because they sent me the wrong software and I didn’t get the new one until I got back from NC.  So I was already a week behind schedule.  Then looking at getting through 2 chapters (long ones) and going page by page trying to match what it said would look like compared to what it actually looked like on my computer – realizing that not only was I having to learn this, but I had to know all the details of what things were called for tests.  Stress was mounting.

Then I thought – why am I doing this?  Yes I want to learn photoshop. Yes I have the book that goes step by step… yes I also now have the software…. but why do I need to have tests and projects due when I don’t need the credit hours for college?  Plus of course the money I paid for the course to essentially do it on my own without a teacher anyway?

I made the decision to drop the class. I think I can still get a full refund. I have the software and the book, so I can still learn photoshop.  I might try again later with another class….but this time I will be sure to do a class that I can actually sit in and have an instructor instruct me!.

What have you taken on that is too much?  What can you decrease to take off some of the stress?

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Prioritizing and Organizing Your Schedule

September 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Time Managment

I have to heed my own advice here. I am needing to do some prioritizing and organizing in my own schedule!

I have to admit that I am feeling overwhelmed this morning.  I just got back from Type A Mom Conference yesterday evening, and looking at all I need to do this week and realizing I don’t have enough hours in the day to do all of it.

October is a very busy traveling month for me. I actually have an event each week and I’m planning on going to Indiana, Las Vegas, Detroit and then finishing by taking my Dad to see my Sister in Virginia at the end of the month.   Oh…and I have my  huband’s 50th birthday this month! I took on a photoshop class this quarter too.  My first project is due on Sunday and because I was sent the wrong software, I didn’t get the correct one until last night. So…I’m already behind in that class on week 2! lol

Why am I telling you this?  Because I want you to know that I struggle with organizing my own schedule at times. I have a lot on my plate right now and I need to do some prioritizing.  I am working on my schedule this morning and trying to decide if I need to give up one of the trips, or give up cleaning my house and taking care of my family or give up writing as many posts on my 3 blogs!!  (kidding on the family part, although by looking at my house this morning you might think I was serious)

I have been thinking of making a series of video tapes for this blog on some of the basics…. If I don’t edit and make them the way I like to make videos now, then I will have no problems and I think that would be helpful…. but I dont’ think I can do that.

SO….what I think I might be doing is to be running some of my old blog posts.  But I will make note if I am rerunning something. Thanks for understanding.

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DYMO 260 Electronic Label Maker

September 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Products for Organizing, Reviews & Giveaways

Organizer’s Love to Label!

DYMO labelmaker

This Dymo 260 LabelManger Electronic Label Maker is a handheld labeler. One of the things that I love about it is that it uses a rechargeable lithium battery!! There is a portable wall plug so that you can charge as you go. (love this feature!).
There are 3 fonts and 6 different text styles. Another really nice feature is that you can print up to 9 copies of the same label & there is a memory feature.
The DYMO LabelManager 260P uses the DYMO D1 labels in either 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ widths.
It is uses what an “ABC keyboard layout (this is the part I don’t care for, but other people may find it easier). But I do like that it is a nice hand held size.  That makes it very portable and easy to throw in a work bag.

You can purchase it in many retail stores or find the DYMO LabelManager 260P Label Maker on the site for $65.99.

I mean seriously, what organizer doesn’t like to label?  But does it mean you have to be an organizer to use this. Of course not.  But if you are wanting to sort your things out, wanting to find things easier – this makes a great way to do it.

Any kind of labels work great.  This is just a luxurious way to do it!  It makes things look a little more professional, it is great for anything business.  The one thing I have found with this kind of label that can be a bit of a problems is that they often do not stick well to other plastics. Those plastic bins we use in the basement or garage for storage. They tend to peel up and fall off.  So I suggest reinforcing them with clear packing tape.

Disclosure: I was given this DYMO label maker for no charge. The picture and video are my own, along with my opinion.

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Paper Clutter

September 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Guest Post, Offices, Paper

Paper Clutter

by Linda Samuels

What does Paper Clutter & Toilet Paper have to do with each other?

toilet paper

Paper Clutter by Linda Samuels CPO-CD

Linda SamuelsSomeone once stated that we’d have a paperless society when we have a paperless toilet. Almost a decade ago, the paperless toilet arrived, yet unlike the prediction, we still are far from living in a paperless society. In fact, we seem to have more paper than ever. If you are struggling with your piles, you are not alone. While people face a variety of organizational challenges in the digital age, the most common one is pervasive paper clutter.

Let’s be honest about our papers. If your piles are too high and your filing cabinets so full that you can’t easily find the documents you need, you might consider making some changes.
Many people despise looking at their piles, let alone touching them. By postponing the work, are you making the task more difficult? Here is one simple tip for sorting through your papers that might work for you:
* Set a timer for 15 minutes
* Crank up the music
* Put the recycling & garbage bins next to you
* Play the “Sort and Release” game
* When the timer rings, stop working
Instead of having a marathon session and facing potential burnout, try to work in regular, short, focused intervals to tame your paper clutter.
If the growing piles of paper are causing you more distress than the effort involved in organizing, and you are finding it impossible to sort papers on your own, you are one among many. I encourage you to enlist help from a friend, family member, or professional.

The other side of organizedLinda is the author of The Other Side of Organized, and has been featured in The New York Times, Woman’s Day, Ladies Home Journal and Bottom Line Personal. Linda can help your readers find the “balance between chaos and perfection” in their lives, as she is a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization. And, hey, if your readers can’t look around their homes and claim some room ‘chronically disorganized,’ then more power to them!

Disclaimer – The toilet paper and paper clutter picture was taken by me and not submitted by Linda.  I just loved how she related paper clutter and a paperless toilet together!

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Cache-Cachet Covertures Review

A little bit of luxury to store your delicate and fine clothing and accessories

cache cachet

There are times when you want a little bit a luxury to store your dine clothing items. The Cache-Cachet coverture might fit the bill for you!
This is a soft silk bag that has a button closure.  It has been used by Katie Holmes and Kate Bosworth who I’m told have both outfitted their closets with the Cache-Cachet covertures to store their clothes. (now wouldn’t that be a closet to have? wow!! – insert jealousy here)

cache cachetOne of the features that I love for organizing is that there is a clear window so that you can see what is inside.  That is so important to me.  Organizing items can be done, but to make it efficient and usable organization…you need to be make your storage solutions  accessible and easy to use.

cache cachet

Here is a picture off of the site that shows how great these can be for organizing a closet.  (Wishing this were my closet!!)
There are 2 sizes of Cache-Cachet Covertures, the small one is big enough for 2 sweaters – (which is exactly what I have stored in mine).  The other they said is large enough to store a jacket in.

You can use these for everyday storage. If it is for a little longer storage you can use the herbal sachet that comes with it.  This is a herbal mix that will keep any bugs out of your clothing.  Much nicer than moth balls..that is for sure!

Clothing Care Tips from Cache-Cachet:

1) Don’t use plastic bags: storing clothing in plastic bags or containers suffocates clothes and accelerates the aging process, causing your garments to take on a yellow color.

2) Don’t hang your knits: Sweaters and other knitwear will stretch over time and elongate.

3) Do Clean your garments before storing them: Wool and other fabric can become damaged by insects such as moths, carpet beetle larvae, cockroaches, beetles and silverfish.  Insects are attracted to fabrics stained with food, beverages, perspiration’s and oil from the skin and hair.

4) Do keep your closet looking as beautiful as the things that you have in it:  Don’t fill your closet with plastic bins and bags. Not only are they bad for the life of your clothes, but they distract from the beauty of the garments you love.

5) Do extend the life of your clothes and accessories: Store clothing in cloth storage bags with herbal sachets, like Cache-Cachet covertures and garment covers.  This will protect your clothing from snags, deter insect damage and other harmful elements.

My thoughts:

I think this would be a very nice way to store your fine clothing.  I folded and refolded my 2 sweaters a couple of times to try and flatten them out a bit in the bag, so that it would lay a little flatter. But I think if you stacked no more than 2, maybe 3 bags you wouldn’t have any problems.  The silk is so nice, that I could see them sliding a bit if they weren’t flat enough, or you stacked too many on top of one another.

Price: The small one is $39 and the large one is $49.  That works for some budgets, but not all of course.  But even if you have one or two special things, it might be worth the investment to keep them nice.

Disclosure:  I was given a small Cache-Cachet coverture for review at no cost.  The pictures above (with the exception of the closet organizing picture that I mentioned was taken from their web site) are my own and the thoughts are my own.  I did use the verbiage from the clothing tips card and from the Cache-Cachet Web Site.

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External Hard drive by Hitachi Review

Do you use an External Hard drive to back up your work?

Life Studio by HitachiKind of cool looking isn’t it?  This is the LifeStudio Plus mobile external hard drive by Hitachi.  See the little flash drive (integrated USB key to be precise) on the front? That holds 4GB worth of pictures or whatever you need on the go.  That has a magnet that attaches it. You can load what you want to it and carry it with you.  You’ll see more of it on the video I did. I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of writing… to really appreciate what neat things this can do (other than save your data of course….) watch my video.

Hitachi worked together with Cooliris to get that 3D wall! That is my absolute favorite thing! This has more capabilities than just being able to get a neat 3D wall of pictures though. You can access not only Facebook, Picasa, Flickr etc.. but it also organizes your pictures, music, videos etc….

I also love that I can carry around the main hard drive….just throw it in my backpack and go to conferences etc.  I like the conviences and how easy it is to back up, once you are set up.  Very impressive!

Notes: I did have a little bit of a hard time setting this up. But keep in mind I am very technically challenged (lol) and this was a beta version I received….so I wouldn’t worry about having troubles yourself.  Also….I am not sure if what I received was the final package – but when I first opened the box, I couldn’t find the smaller flash drive (key that goes on front).  It was still inside the box. I opened it wrong and what should have been a flip open lid with the key showing…ended up being inside the box and I spotted it when I went looking for the key.  (Again…might be different on the final version).

The cost depends on how much memory you want. You can the LifeStudio mobile Plus drive with 320GB for around $120.00, with 500GB for about $140 or go up to the Desk Drive and go up to 2TB for $220.00 Not bad… because it is more than just an external hard drive.

Disclosure: I did receive this from Hitachi without cost. The opinions, video and pictures are all my own.

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Organizing with Pegboard Walls

Pegboard walls can be lots of fun in a Teenagers room

peg board wallsThere is plenty of space and opportunity to use his walls! No worries about nails! LOL!!

pegboard wallsHe can hang not only pictures, but also his clothes!

By his bed he has a CD holder for his CD’s and then he has his cords (you can see a couple of them on the right) hanging for headphones etc.

This has turned out to be a great basement bedroom for him. We spent probably about $500 total in supplies between the peg and wall board, electrical components to add more power and light for his room, paint, piece of carpet and closet supplies. Not bad for a makeover in an unfinished basement!

Actually it is really functional.  He thinks it is great!

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DIY Closet Under Stairs

In my teens Basement bedroom we had to create a closet underneath the stairs.

With his new room he was going to need a closet.  The kids had used this area as a fort before, so we had to remove all that stuff and do just a little prep work.  Creating an organized closet under the stairs doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. I think the only thing we actually bought was the hardware to put up the clothes rod and the light fixture.

closet under stairsHere is my step son’s closet underneath the basement stairs.  Ended up working great.  My husband put a light in the closet.  He has a rack for clothes, laundry hamper for dirty clothes, baskets for “stuff” and the shoe hanger with a basket above it.

closet under stairsMy husband just had to put the rod in (right after he finished…so all his stuff is still sitting there.)

So… you can be a little creative and create some good usable space where you don’t think you have it.

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DIY Basement Bedroom

Taking an unfinished basement room and turning it into a organized teen bedroom.

basement room

We moved one of our teens down to the basement (his choice). The problem was that we have an unfinished basement. The budget was not there to actually finish it. So we improvized.
pegboard walls

We used a combination of pegboard and hardboard to finish the upper walls and cover up the insulation. Ok…the reason the paint looks purplish? Well…. my step son wanted blue walls and ceiling. My sister who is an artist told me it will look way too cold with blue. She said to make sure to I got red in the blue…added a little violet to the blue. Well….I am not great with colors and the swatch didn’t look purple next to all the other purples. It looked grayish blue. But…. it looks purple on the walls. The ceiling is a darker shade of it. But thank goodness my step son actually likes purple…so he is fine with it. {phew}
pegboard walls

You can see the solid hardboard on the far side of the picture. We used magnetic paint on that area. It didn’t work as well as I hoped it would. We were very careful to follow the directions on it…. only did the size we were supposed to – the only thing we didn’t do is buy special magnets. I still don’t know that it wouldn’t make the difference.

I’ll show you the rest of the room this week.

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How To Organize A Workshop

Dave has a system for organizing his tools in his Man Cave by using a Card Catalog

card catalogDave’s father was very systematic in his organizing techniques when he was alive. Dave has picked up some of his habits when it comes to his work areas.

This card Catalog Dave set up himself. It tells him where everything in his “Man Cave” work room is.  Each item has it’s own index card with the location of where it can be found.

organizing drawersHe has all the little drawers labeled and his shelves labeled… so it makes it a simple system.

The key to making this work is to know where the item goes back to when you are finished using it or when you buy new.  Also when putting something new into your area….you need to be sure to make a card for that item.

It can be a wonderful system…. but it does take attention and maintenance to make it run smoothly and consistently.

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Organizing a Work Bench

September 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, How To Organize

Peg Board can be a big help in Organizing a Work bench

Dave built his own work bench for his Man Cave in the basement. He wanted to make sure he got just what he wanted.  It is sturdy and he wanted a peg board so he could hang his tools.

Man cave work benchOf course you can’t see it in this picture but he put a shelf below for storage and there is a small shelf that you can see right over the light.

But don’t you just love peg board?  I have it on the work bench we have in the garage. That was my work bench when Dave and I first got married. It was very organized at my other house…. but there was no man there at the time. So I could have all my tools right where I wanted them.

Dave has a system…even in the garage… but Kids happen – and tools go missing.

The good thing about his “man cave work bench” is that the kids are not allowed in this area at all.  Dave has reloading equipment, the guns lockers are there and he has tools. So it is a “No kid zone” and the kids know it.  So he doesn’t have the problem with his tools missing from this area…which he really likes.

But finding a place for each of your tools can be essential for being able to get  a job completed on time.

Isn’t this important for other areas of your life as well?

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The Man Cave

September 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, Family & Friends

I Think Every Man Should Have “His” own Space

My husband Dave has an area in the basement that we have recently carved out for him.  I can call it his “Man Cave”, but he really considers his “Man Cave” to be his farm which is 45 minutes away.

But here are our house, we don’t have a lot of space. We have a 2,000 sq ft home with 7 people living in it.  We made a bedroom in the basement for one of our teenagers. (That’s another post to do) We also have a tv room with the game stations in the basement for the kids and all our storage.

But Dave wanted to have a reloading bench somewhere (to reload ammunition for shooting).  Ammunition prices have gone through the roof and this is something he has done before and enjoys.  Call it is “craft time”.

So we needed to make a space for him, we also moved his gun lockers from his farm to our home for safe keeping. Yes, we are VERY conscience of the kids and guns. They are locked up at all times and all the kids have taken the hunter safety course, so they do respect the guns and know the rules. Oh yeah…that is another whole post I could do….I was not raised around guns at all and my friends thought it was hysterical to see me handling guns after Dave and I started dating 6 years ago.

Daves man caveNow…this is a mess right now.  Dave had it pretty organized and we were at garage sales yesterday. He spotted the light colored desk (which is in pieces right now, but it is a corner desk) and got it for $20. He thought he could use it for either an office desk downstairs or a work space.  He has moved it down, but hasn’t set it up yet.

There are 3 shelves that you can’t see in this picture to the right that have storage bins full of kids clothes (next sizes /different seasons) that have to be moved.  I went down and offered my suggestions as to where I thought he could move the shelves to. I will also give him my thoughts as to how I could see his desk and workspace work most effectively.  But….. this will be his space… and it will be his project. I will have to grit my teeth and “Just step away from the Man Cave”.

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