Organizing Mission Link Party – Mission: Spring Cleaning- Week 11

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, Organizing & DYI Monday Link Party

Are You Starting To Get Spring Fever?

organizing mission monday

Spring isn’t very far off. I know I am more than ready to open the window and let the nice cool spring weather into my house to air it out. What about you?

I’m going to start a series on spring cleaning and organizing for the Organizing Mission link party for the next several weeks. Join in and link up your spring cleaning and organizing posts!

Featured Bloggers For This Week

Parents of a Dozen – How We Organize Our Laundry Room

I love how organized this laundry room is. Can you imagine keeping twelve kids organized? Wow.. you can imagine what a house of that size would look like if she wasn’t organize can’t you?

I love how she has all the kids pictures across the wall too!

parents of a dozen Look at the shoes and boots! Shoes coming off at the door can be problem can’t they?

parents of a dozen

I also love how she took off the cabinet door so she had a place to put the empty laundry baskets when they weren’t being used.

parents of a dozen You can see the rest of her laundry room if you go to her blog: Parents of a Dozen!

Denise from Pink Postcard – A Gun Rack and A Skirt

I love inventive ideas and uses of items that can be turned into an organizing tool. Denise took a gun rack and used it to make an organizer for her ribbon.

pink postcardShe painted it and made rods to go across and hung her ribbon on it. Easy to get to and nice to look at. She attached scissors so being able to cut a piece of ribbon is easy.

pink postcard

Then she finished off her craft room with making a skirt to help cover up the table she uses for her sewing machine. She loves a vintage look. I loved this because it brought back such sweet memories of that trim with the little balls… my mom used to have some that she used for things and it sat in her sewing basket for years.

pink postcard

You can see the rest of her craft room make over on her blog Pink Postcard.

Be sure to stop by both of my featured bloggers today and give them some “comment love”

For those of you who were featured this week, please pick up your button (code below the button) for your blog!

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Link up to my Link Party

Link up any organizing or cleaning post to my link party!!

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Rules

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog

2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)

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4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning

5) No sales pitches or web sites.

6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.

8) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Be sure to check out my list of link parties! If you have a link party.. please link it up! Underneath the daily buttons there is a list of text links I have compiled too! (Many more there!)

If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple.

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Shopping Saturday – Master Bedroom Envy

February 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Bedrooms, Blog, Sales, Shopping, Stores

Wow… I want this master bedroom!!

MI Homes master bedroom

This master bedroom was part of a Parade of Homes I attended.  This was a master bedroom from the MI home. I would like to shop and buy a house that had a set up similar to this.

You can see the man’s master closet to the left of that little kitchenette, the woman’s walk in closet is to the left. (omg I’ll have to show you the closets next week.. I’d love those too!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have this little kitchenette in your room too?  How fun!


Feel free to link up or just visit my Organizing Mission Monday Link Party!

Organizing Mission Monday


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Donate To Protect The Planet

February 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Donating & Causes, Guest Post

Great Way To Off-Load Junk without Trashing The Planet

by: Janice Hill

Clearing out the clutter in your home and in your life can have a major impact on how much you enjoy the life you lead. If you and your family feel like your clutter is taking over your lives, it’s time to fight back.

janice hill

Armed with a broom, a few handy-dandy trash bags, and an iron will there is nothing you can’t accomplish – at least not when it comes to the task of off-loading your junk without trashing the planet, that is.
You have to Crawl Before You Walk
Getting started is the hardest part by far. Depending on how long the problem has been building in your life, the task at hand can feel completely overwhelming. Now it’s time to take a few baby steps so that you can divide and conquer your clutter problems.
Don’t tackle the top of the mountain just yet. Instead, start at the bottom, one item at a time. Clear off enough space to create 3 piles: keep, toss, donate. There are plenty of great charities like Habitat for Humanity Stores, Goodwill, and Kars4kids that are all too happy to take your donations. Even animal shelters will be glad to receive things like old towels and blankets to line their cages.
You may need to get a few boxes to label so that you know what’s what. The things that are going to be tossed are generally in no shape to salvage at all. Recycle what can be recycled and carry the rest straight to your garbage container so that they do not find their way back into the clutter pile somehow.
Divide the room into grids and take one grid at a time, with frequent breaks in between, so that you aren’t completely overwhelmed and give up in frustration.
Take Time to Enjoy the New View
Once you finish cleaning one room – that is you have everything out that is going and everything put completely away that is staying – take a moment and enjoy the new view of your room before moving on to the next room. This little moment will help you sustain your momentum long enough to get the job done. It will also allow you a moment to appreciate the fruits of your labor.
When you do move on to the next room, remember all the things that got you through the first room. This new room represents a new beginning and a new opportunity to use what you’ve learned. Break it down into bite-sized pieces so you can enjoy small boosts throughout the cleaning process as you accomplish each and every one of your smaller goals. You’ll be surprised by how much faster the job seems to go when you do something like that.
BOTTOM LINE:
In the end, it isn’t the major changes that you’ve made to the cleanliness of your home that matters most. It’s the small changes in how you approach cleaning and getting rid of the clutter that matters. These are small steps that are sure to get you going in the right direction.

Janice Hill describes herself as a dedicated Mom who is determined to find her way without losing her hair.

Feel free to link up or just visit my Organizing Mission Monday Link Party!

Organizing Mission Monday


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Label Those Cables!

February 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Products for Organizing

Labeling all those Cables Can help You to Keep Them Organized

labeling cables

We can make life so much less complicated by just a few little things. Take for instance labeling all those cables and electrical cords we have all over the place!

I have used several different methods.  One that I have used for a long time are these little clips that clip onto the cord and then you write on the label.

cord labels

But there have been 2 problems with this method of labeling.  The biggest problem I had was that they would come unclipped. The second problem is that the sticker falls off, like this one did (and was stuck back on)

cords 49

The other tried and true method is using a sticky label. This works well and is cheap.  The problem is that it does get ragged and eventually will tear.

cords 48

I was relabeling my cords when I was organizing and decided instead of the sticker labels like in the photo directly above I would use a labeler (just to show my readers how sophisticated I am! LOL )

So I cut off all the new labels that I made (like in the very top photo) and made nice printed ones with my label maker.  I used red tape, mainly because I don’t use it for much and I didn’t want to waste my white tape on this.

cordsThere.. doesn’t that look nice? I won’t go into what a pain it was to try and line up the tape so that both sides meet… and how you have to put a bunch of spaces before and after the wording so that the words are out showing.. and not wrapped around the cord, so that you can’t read it.  I also won’t mention unsticking and resticking it to try and not have wrinkles in it .. because it just looks so nice!

cords 51

Here is one before I took off the white label.  I wish I had just left the white labels on.  You know why?

cords

Because within a couple of hours… look at what happened to my nice labels! They are ALL coming unstuck!! Are you kidding me?  I used a lot of that tape (which isn’t cheap I might add)  Arrgghhh…

cords

Since I was working with the duct tape by now (after I did this project) I decided to make labels out of the bright duct tape.

That label isn’t going any place!  It is easy to write on… sticks well and easy to read. I think it would take years before it would tear off!

cords

In conclusion:

Label your cords to make life easier
Don’t use a labeler
Make life easy – buy a roll of bright duct tape. You will have all the cord labels you will ever need and you won’t have to worry about it tearing off or falling off.

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Organize Cable and Cords

February 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Products for Organizing

From Toilet Paper Rolls and Duct Tape to Binder Clips – Four Solutions to Organize Your Cords and Cables

electrical cord clutter

All those cables! Yuck!

I recently reorganized my office and I’m amazed myself how much electricity I have going on in this room!  Two lamps, a desk top, a lap top, modem, wireless router, external hard drive, printer, pencil sharpener (as she looks around the office to see what else is plugged in) shredder, clock radio and of course my electric blanket!  I know… it sounds like oodles doesn’t it?  It is, but I’m sure not unlike many of your offices.

So obviously I have a lot of cords.  I got discussed yesterday when I pulled out my chair to clean and saw a pile of cords. I’m thinking… ok I am an organizer, I need to do something to organize this mess.

I am going to give you five solutions that may help you organize your mess. None of them are very expensive and one of them can use your creative juices!

Solution #1 – Cable Organizer from The Container Store

I purchased this cable organizer from The Container Store over a year ago and had never put it to use. So… I got it out and decided to try it out.

You open it up by pulling back on the rubber edges and wrap your cord around it. There are different sizes, this was one of the larger ones. I am using an extension cord on this and it fits fine. I don’t think I’d be able to fit anymore though.

cable organizing

See how it wraps around. If you are only using one cord and need some extra length I don’t think it would be hard to unwind at all. If you were to get several cords in there, it might get a little messy. (picturing a skein of yarn)

cable organizer

You then just fold down the edge and your done!

cord organizing

Then it looks like this

electrical cord organizingYou can find this at The Container Store and it runs around $15, so if you need very many it can be a pricey option. I have seen other ones also called the turtle that are basically the same idea, I don’t think they look as cool as this though.

Solution #2 Using Binder Clips To Help Organize Cables

This is not my original idea, I have seen it in several places and I have no idea who originally posted or came up with the idea. They all use this same picture from this post. That solution does not work for me.  I have a huge thick desk and a binder clip would not clip on the back edge like that.   I took these pictures showing another possible way you could use this down lower on a desk to keep it hidden, although I still like the other solution better. (I’m thinking on the back of the desk)

binder clip solution for cords

Problems with this solution – You can’t have a plug end that is bigger than the opening of the binder clip.

binder clip for organizing cordsThen if you have a thick desk like me… it won’t work.   But I do think it is a neat way to have your cords accessible. It doesn’t really organize the underneath mess though.

Solution #3 – Command Strip by 3M

I have been using these 3M Command strips for a couple of years now and I love them.  These are attached to the leg of my desk right by my chair. I have my computer cable, Seagate external hard drive back up cable and my 2nd monitor screen cable right at hand. I don’t have to go searching on the floor to find them when I need them.

3m command strips

Here is another picture of them from a little further away.  Ideally I should have positioned them on the back of the desk leg so they wouldn’t be so visible.  But, it is no problem to take them off and put another adhesive strip on the back and reuse them. I have also used them along my desk top to keep cords along an edge.

3m command strips

Solution #5 Using Empty Toilet Paper Rolls and Duct Tape to create Sleeves and organizing cubbies

You can see my  post from yesterday called Organizing Cords and Cables that I did showing how to make both of these projects.

Cable sleeve

cable sleeve for cords

Cord Connector Cubbies

The 2nd project I used empty toilet paper rolls and duct tape was to make organizational cubbies for my connector cords.

cord connector organizing

Feel free to link up or just visit my Organizing Mission Monday Link Party!

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Organizing Cables & Cords!

February 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Products for Organizing

Using  Toilet Paper Rolls & Duct Tape To Organize Your Cables and Cords!

I got this idea from a post that House on Ashwell Lane posted on my Organizing Mission Monday link party a few weeks back. I thought it was great. This was more of a variation of that idea. (but my 2nd solution is just about the same thing as hers) I’m not sure if this was her idea, or if she saw it somewhere else. But after I saw it, I started saving my empty toilet paper rolls. I also bought some duct tape in fun colors.

Solution #1  Creating Sleeves for organizing the electrical cord clutter.

toilet paper rolls and duct tapeI covered the toilet paper rolls with the duct tape. Since my office accent colors are lime green and hot pink I thought that was a natural choice. But I also liked the black and white and thought I might need something a little more calm.

covering toilet paper roll with duct tape

I started with the pink duct tape.  It took 3 wraps around. I could have cut it width wise to fit and do closer to 2 1/2 times, and then I wouldn’t have had the over lap. It’s up to you.

Take the cord and wind it up so it is a little longer than the size of the roll.

cord organizingTake the toilet paper roll and thread the plug through the roll first, and then work the bulk of the cord slowly in.

toilet paper roll to organize cordsI realized as I put this extension cord through, that had I not used duct tape around the roll, it would have split.

toilet paper roll to organize cords

There you go! I think that looks cute!

toilet paper roll to organize cords

Next I covered a green one. That cord was not as large and I knew the cord would end up falling out. Hmmm…what to do?

I used a piece of tape to cover the ends.

toilet paper rolls cord organziersDo that on both ends and then you don’t have to worry about the cord falling out.

cord organizing with toilet paper rollsMy next one was the black and white one. I ended up using this one more as a pass through with a couple of bigger cables. I think I would rather have a paper towel roll… oh.. or even a wrapping paper roll for this (options are endless! LOL) but it gives you the idea. I did wrap up one of the smaller cords extra bulk into it.

toilet paper roll cord organizing

So this is what the cords look like behind my chair now. I also labeled them for easy identification.

toilet paper rolls to end cable clutter

I also used the black and white on the other side of the room where it is more open and visible.

toilet paper roll sleeve for electric cord

Solution #2 – Organizing Your connector and charging cords

Here is another idea and this one is really more the post that House on Ashwell Lane did. This was my original intent for saving the toilet paper rolls, because I wanted to figure out something for my camera connectors.

toilet paper rolls

I covered four more rolls (saving toilet paper rolls in a household of seven doesn’t take real long..lol) and then had to figure out how to attach them together. I did not want to put them down in a box. I wanted to use them on my shelf and have the openings pointing out towards me, not up in the air.

toilet paper rolls to organize cordsI used the green tape to tape them together. Looks a little goofy… but its fun. (actually reminds me of sticks of dynamite from the Road Runner cartoon or something.)

toilet paper roll But I still wasn’t satisfied. It was just sitting loose on the shelf and even though the four rolls were attached to each other, I knew that each time I pulled a cable connector in or our I would have to hang onto the rolls. So I decided to stabilize them in a basket.

toilet paper rolls for connector cordsNow I am back to having to reach down in and the shelf I want these on is up above my head. So….

cord connectors organizedI’m making progress, but still need some more stabilization. I tried and two more rolls would fit right in the empty spaces.

cable organizersI didn’t end up attaching the extra two, there was no need to. I had cleaning clothes for my camera and computer and they worked in here perfectly!

cable organizing

It works for me! Obviously I can add to it if I need to. How is that for a low cost fun organizing project?

What do you think?  Like it.. think it is craaazzyy…. or are you going to start saving your toilet paper rolls (don’t save them if you aren’t going to do the project thought….or you will just end up with a bunch of toilet paper clutter!)

Feel free to link up or just visit my Organizing Mission Monday Link Party!

Organizing Mission Monday

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(I went back to text links because I had such a hard time getting the buttons to link up nicely, and they were driving me crazy! Althought I loved using them)

A Bowl Full of Lemons
Sassy Sites
Tip Junkie
The Shabby Nest
I’m an Organizing Junkie
Belle Before and After
Thrifty Decor Chick
Beyond The Picket Fence
Handy Man Crafty Woman

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Organizing The McGhee Sextuplets

Organizing The McGhee Sextuplets

by Melanie Dennis

Ohio Professional Organizers Organize the McGhee Sextuplets Storage Space for GO Month!

Melanie Dennis,  from the Columbus branch of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) got to experience some fun when she and five other organizers  helped the McGhee family organize a room over their garage.  She offered to write a post for my blog telling of their experience.  See how these six organizers made life just a little bit easier for this instant family of eight!

The McGhee family is scheduled to be on Oprah Show today February 21 in a show called Miracle Births, Miracle Babies so be sure to watch it! You can also visit the McGhee family on the McGhee Sextuplets Facebook Page.

Sandy

mcghee sextuplets

GO Month – The McGhee Sextuplets

by Melanie Dennis, CPO®
Every January, members of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) raise awareness in a celebration of Get Organized (GO) Month. In the past, the NAPO-Ohio chapter members have gotten together to done Messy Space contests, an organizing lecture series, and decluttered non-profit businesses like the Waste Not Center and Susan G. Komen- Race for the Cure offices. This year a request came from the McGhee family in Gahanna, Ohio who needed help in a new home. Mia and Rozonno McGhee became instant Columbus celebrities after the birth of their sextuplets in June of 2010. Friends, strangers, church members, and family have blessed the family, helping them with the never ending daily needs of six babies.

They estimate they are using around 40 diapers per day at this point. This means they need lots of supplies on hand. The initial assessment of the family’s organizing needs and budget for the project was done by Ellen Limes .

Five other organizers, Susan Sugar, Terry Cowans, Mary Donovan, Debbie McRae, and I, volunteered to help on a very chilly January day to build shelves and sort baby clothes and supplies in an over the garage storage area.

“Before” Photos of the Space above the Garage

mcghee sextuplets before space

There were diapers, diapers, diapers everywhere

mcghee sextuplets before space

People had donated clothes for the sextuplets that had not yet been organized

mcghee sextuplets before spaceAfter sextuplets and moving to a new house, the McGhee’s just didn’t have the time to organize this space above the garage.
mcghee sextuplets space before

The “After” Pictures

mcghee sextuplets space after

The clothes were sorted by age and sex. Everything was labeled for easy identification later.

mcghee sextuplets space after

Just by adding these shelves and getting things off the floor, the transformation was amazing!

mcghee extuplets space after

Mia McGhee is one happy camper!!!

Mia mcghee mom of sextuplets

When we finished, the family invited us in to see the little ones and take some photos. Reluctant to enter with dusty shoes and boots, Mr. McGhee reminded us that he owns a carpet cleaning business so it wasn’t a problem. We posed around their custom built high chair for six. It is always a lot of fun to work on GO month projects with my colleagues, and even more so when the recipients are so darn cute!

mcghee sextuplets

melanie Dennis

Melanie Dennis, CPO®
Certified Professional Organizer
Neat Streak Professional Organizing
Blog: Room-inations

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Organizing Mission Monday – Week 10

How has your organizing been going this week?   How about those offices?

organizing mission mondayI am basically finished with the offices, but I did have a few more posts this week on organizing electrical cords. I suppose that could fall under offices… but we have electrical cords everywhere – so, let’s just be done with offices. I’m ready to move on…what about you?  lol

Featured Bloggers For This Week

Jen from Simply Living: Organized Work Space

I really like this magnetic board that Jen made.  I was actually looking at something like this when I was at Ikea. The magnets I did buy when I was there, and I held off buying the magnetic board thinking I could find a piece of metal and could do something with it for less money.  After that I see Jen’s post! lol  So perfect.

simplyliving blogspot 2She used fabric to cover the the white board she got at Ikea, and used those fun magnetics that I also bought.

simplyliving blogspotYou can see all of Jen’s post with a tutorial on how she made her magnetic board on her blog Simply Living.

DaNita from Delightful Order on her Desk Makeover

It is amazing the difference a coat of paint and a rug can make to a room!  Great vision DaNita, I love it!

delightfulorder desk beforeI thought it looked pretty good already…. but DaNita had other thoughts.  (Ok..notice the cord from the computer. They drilled a hole in the desk and another one through the back to keep it hidden! I’ve been working on organizing cords this week… maybe that is why I noticed that.)

delightfulorder desk afterDoesn’t that look great?  You can see the rest of the blog post on her blog Delightful Order. If you keep looking around her awesome blog, you will see the finished office/craft room!

Georgette from Pink Calaveras with Free Storage Shelf Makeover

This is such a cute shelf that Georgette made over.  She found it on her base where her hubby is stationed in the Air Force. She said he didn’t see the potential  in it, but she did. Here is the “before”

pink calaveras shelf before

Then after she worked her magic on it… here is the “after”

pink calaveras shelf afterIt almost looks like it is attached to the wall behind it. I think it looks great!  Check out the rest of her post on her blog Pink Calaveras.


For those of you who were featured this week, please pick up your button (code below the button) for your blog!

Organizing Mission Monday

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Link up to my Link Party

Link up any organizing or cleaning post to my link party!!

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1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
8) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Be sure to check out my list of link parties! If you have a link party.. please link it up! Underneath the daily buttons there is a list of text links I have compiled too! (Many more there!)

If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple.
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Shopping Saturday – Ikea Cubby Sofa Table

Shop Till You Drop – Or Window Shop like me and Don’t spend

I have to stop shopping at Ikea ..what do you think?  Actually this was from the same Saturday a few weeks ago.

I kept seeing this table throughout the store at Ikea.  Again.. with cubby’s. I must have an issue with those.. what do you think?  lol

I am still working to see if there is a way I can use this at my house. If I figure it out.. I’ll be the first to let you know! It was $99 (guessing I was wrong on the $99, maybe I was dreaming that?)

I can see it behind a couch, but I love the thought of it in an entryway.

I looked it up for someone and it is  called the Hemnes Sofa Table and it costs $149 (plus the baskets cost extra)

Ikea cubby table

What do you think?  Where could you use it?

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Disclosure: I am not an affililiate or working for Ikea in any way (although I wish I was..lol)

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Organize with Wall Units

February 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, Crafts & Craft Rooms, Offices

Organize with Style

I just think these wall unit cubby’s look so nice.  You can use them in so many different ways.  I want to show you a couple different examples.

Wall Unit in a PlayRoom at Jamie’s House

This is a wall unit in my husbands niece’s house. She has five children of her own and babysits several others while most of hers are at school.

cubby wall unitShe has all the little toys stored in the canvas bins.  I am pretty sure she told me the units were not from Ikea.  There are two of the cubby units on either side of a tall book shelf.  But it works great for her space and needs.

Wall Unit in a Spare Bedroom for Crafts at Barb’s House

I had one of my readers send this picture to me several weeks ago.  Barb has the Ikea Expedit in her spare bedroom.  It is the 4×4 size with the 2×4 extension on it she said.  She has used several of the drawer units and it works great for her crafts.

Barb - spare bedroom

Organizing in an Office At Sandy’s House

Most of you have seen the Ikea Expedit unit I recently bought and put up in my office. (I know… you’ve seen it a bunch.. but I’m just going to show what I did with a few of the cubby units)

I already had the hot pink and lime green theme going in my office.  For right now I’m sticking with it, until another color combination hits me.  I did purchase 3 of the Ikea clear drawers. They are really a light purple and after configuring them several different ways, I settled on them doing down the center.

ikea drawerI use my canvas cubby’s along the bottom.  I have my books across the top shelf.  I have them organized by category

booksI have my organizing books in three of the cubby’s.  I then have some books on blogging and photography in another section.

I’m personally not a fan of laying some of the books horizontally and some vertically.  To me that looks messy.  I know it is a “style” and many love it, and that is fine. But I find it hard to access the books when you have to pull them out from other each other. I also feel like it takes up more space.

The one thing I like about the size of these cubbys is that they are taller than the ones I have from Target. My taller books can fit just fine in here.
books

I also purchased the 4 way divider unit for the cubby from Ikea.  It was how I was able to make the smaller units by my chair for the little baskets and my bill area.

Then of course I have my “drink” area for my water or coffee.  Since I am sitting right there in my recliner working, I wanted some place to put my water.

Do you have any Wall Units in your home that help you out?  I would love for you to show and tell!!

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Organize Your Wall Unit


Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in. If you aren’t sure how to link up to a link party, be sure to stop by and read my link party tutorial

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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How To Organize Your Files

February 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper

Files Revisited!

I did a post on organizing your files in a general sense. But I wanted to go a little deeper with you. I have had some people ask me specifics on how I set up my files.

Files can be our Friends

But for them to be our friends, they have to be organized well enough so that you can find what you are looking for.

File

With that being said… there is no one way that is “the way” to organize your files.

There are many recommended methods, but it all comes down to what works for the person who has to use the files… right?

I am going to recommend to you what I do.  If it works for you.. awesome!  If you want to alter it a bit to work for you.. awesome!  The point is to have some files that can function the way you need them to.

Some people file

Do you need to make labels from a label maker?  Absolutely not!  Does it look nice?  Sure…. but does it work to write it on the little pieces of paper that come with your files.  Heck yes! That is what I used until this “re-do”.  It worked fine, it just didn’t look as pretty.

I showed you what my files looked like before and after I reorganized them last month.  This is the “before”
files

This is how I organized them.  I had 4 drawers, but only used 3 of them.

Drawer 1:  Family / Personal Files

files1) Bank – Monthly Statement (you can also have just online version) and receipts (only need to keep until you check your statements)
2) Bills Paid – statements after I pay bills ( some I shred right away after they are pd. Most I keep until the end of the year and then sort & shred)
3) Cable Bill -  Also includes Internet and sometimes phone
4) Car Insurance – Until next quarter/bi annual or annual statement comes
5) Cars & Repairs – As longs as you own that car
files6) Christmas – I keep a copy of addresses I use for cards each year. Also a copy of each Christmas letter I write each year
7) Credit Cards – If I have important information about any card I might have.
8) Dogs – Shot records, adoption records
9) Flexible Spending – Copy of forms we need to send in information
10) Home Maintenance
11) Home Owner Insurance
12) Home Owner Association information
13) House Bill Sheet – My own record of when I pay my bills each month (old copy)
14) Life Insurance
15) Medical insurance

Files16) Nursing – I’m a nurse, so all my CEU’s, resume, certificates.
17) Store Receipts  – Only on things that are returnable – clothes, gifts (can get rid of after return period is over – but I do at the end of the year)
18) Taxes – receipts and info for just the present year
19) Verizon – cell phone carrier

Drawer#2 – My Business Information

files

I keep files for:

1) Each company I am doing work for
2) NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers)
3) Taxes
4) Trademark/Copyright/Vendor or Legal information and documentation
5) Client file
6) Income/Expense Records
7) Blog information

(This drawer I do in alphabetical order according to the part of my business it relates to – Social Media vs my Organizing Business)

Drawer #3 – My Kids Files

This drawer is my files for my boys and myself.  Dave also had started a file for his kids in his desk. Instead of having 2 separate files in 2 separate places, we consolidated. His kids are in his files, my boys are in my files.  Works for both of us.
files

Please keep -  A Copy of your Children Up To Date Immunization Records and kind and dose of any medication they are on in their files! (working at a pediatrician’s office you can’t imagine how many parents have no idea of what their children immunizations or medication and doses are.  If you have a Home Organizing Notebook you could keep it there also.

I also have a place for some of those pictures we all get. School photos, sports etc. Not snapshots from our cameras.

File Cabinet #2

Owner Manuals and Warranties

I have these divided into:

1) Appliances – Large
2) Appliances – Small
3) Cameras
4) Computer Equipment
5) Dell and Mini Laptops
6) Hunting
7) Kids Stuff
8) Outdoor Equipment

For us this hits about everything we need it for.  These folders are very customizable for your family and what you need to file.  Just keep the categories narrow enough to know where to look, but broad enough to not have a separate file for each manual

I have a 4 drawer file cabinet also in this office.  3 of the drawers are being used for other things, but one of them has files in it.  I didn’t have enough purple file folders and a zillion of the ugly old green ones, so I used these in this drawer.

Tips

files1) Place your tabs on the front part of your file folder, not the back. It is easier to pull the tab forward to open the folder
2) Place your tabs all in the same slots – it keeps them in a row and actually makes them easier to see. (I used to space them out thinking it would be easier to see.  I redid these files, and they are easier because your eye is focusing in one row, it isn’t scanning back and forth looking for a label
3) Be consistent. Use either all label maker labels, or hand printed labels
4) Keep your writing bold and easy to read.. and brief

Important Files Tips

Please keep important original documents in a band deposit box or a fire proof safe. Such as passports,  social security cards, birth, marriage, divorce, or death certificates etc…
If you would like copies of them in a Home Organization Notebook (I still don’t recommend SS cards be kept there) then please make copies of them for that. These are records that you do not need routinely and if heaven forbid there were a fire, to replace these documents would be very painstaking.

What to Keep?

Do you have to save every little thing?  Nope!
Am I going to tell you exactly what you need to save?  Nope again… and unless it is your tax accountant that know your states laws…. don’t hold it to gospel.   Each state varies.  But I will give you some guidelines that I got off of the Good Housekeeping Site . I originally found this link from awesome Professional Organizer & friend Monica Ricci’s blog post.

1) Tax Records – 7 years
2) Investment Records – As long as you own them, and then another 7 years.
3) Bank Statements – 1 month (until you have verified your statement matches your records. Unless they have tax information on them)
4) Retirement Plans – 1 year   (Roth IRA until you retire)
5) Credit Card Statements – Shred immediately after you have verify they are accurate
6) Paychecks – 1 year (or until you have verified accuracy)
7) Bill – 1 Year
8) W-2 – Until you retire

Now… I’ll tell you a few of my personal thoughts.
I went through  a divorce  in 2000 – I learned that I had to have all kinds of bills, payments etc that went back 2 years when dealing with spousal and child support.  Not that I would ever say to think that way and save that way. But… if you are in the process of a divorce, or you still have children home and might have to deal with a change in spousal support – you might want to make sure you have access to a record of what your bills are. Or save 1 or 2 statements of each bill, paystub etc…. from the beginning /ending of each year. Just to have something for at least 2 years back.

You can get statements online, but if it is further back than what they allow.. you will pay a fee to get them.

A good investment might be a scanner set up for your receipts such as a Fujitsu Scan Snap or Neat Receipts .  I plan to get one of these for my Mac myself, so I’ll let you know for sure when and if I do.

Disclosure: The links for the scanners are not affiliate links.

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Organize Your File Drawer!


Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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Donating to a Dog Shelter

Kibbles ‘n Bits Bistro Dog Food to the rescue

I had the opportunity to purchase some dog food for my dogs to try and also to donate a bag to a local dog shelter. The timing couldn’t have been any better.  E has been talking about wanting to be a vet for some time. She is in 4th grade now.  She has also talked about volunteering at a dog shelter or vets office at some point.

Evidently the Second Chance Humane Shelter came and talked to the  kids at their school.  She decided that she wanted to go and help out.  Dave got the phone number for her and she wanted him to make the call.  Dave told her no, that he thought it was best if she made the call on her own.  She made the call and discussed it with the woman, and then they of course asked to talk to Dave to verify it.

They were all set for this last Sunday.  The perfect timing came in when last week I got the chance to go to Walmart and purchase a 16 pound bag of Kibbles ‘n Bits Bistro Dog Food to donate to a shelter. I was also supposed to buy one for my dogs, any size I wanted.

So off I went to Walmart.  I had some other shopping to do also, but didn’t have any trouble finding the dog section. I had been there many times before… so I should hope not. But there are hanging signs to make it easier.

The Kibbles ‘n Bits Bistro Dog food in the small 3 pound bags was on the end cap.  It was $4.95 and I decided to get that bag for my dogs.  We had an experience with changing their dog food once a year or so ago.  They both got sick and that isn’t something I want repeated! I figured I would let them have one bowl full and see how their systems handled it. Then if that went well… they could finish off the bag.

kibbles 'n Bits

I had to find the bigger 16 pound bag also.  I went down a couple aisles. Found the dog toys, leashes, bowls etc… and the smaller bags of dry food.  But I didn’t see this brand in the small bags other than this end cap display at first.

I went down the aisle with the large bags and then I spotted them.. up near the front of the aisle (of course)

kibbles 'n bitsI knew I wanted to buy the new Bistro Meal dog food. I have to say that I was impressed with the picture on the bag.  Looked like  a really nice meal!!  lol

kibbles 'n bitsI then saw that there was a $2 off coupon right on the bag.  Coolio!!  So I grabbed one 16 pound bag and figured I’d be on my way. Then I spotted the other end cap (not sure how I missed it coming in!) with the big bags!  It was $12.  Of course then you take off the instant coupon of $2 and now I’m down to $10.  To make the pot even sweeter I printed off a $3 coupon at home.. so now I am down to $7 per bag.

kibbles 'n bits

Now I am no math wiz.. but I am smart enough to know that here I am with a 3 lb bag of food in my cart for $4.95. I could get a second bag 16 lb bag of food for $10 (I only had one of the $3 off coupons).  It was kind of a new brainer.  So I put the small bag back and got a 2nd big bag (that had a $2 coupon on it.. not all the bags did)

I did the rest of my shopping, and then checked out with a total of 3 coupons (two of the $2 instant and one $3 off).  Another fun surprise was that the big bags rang up as $11.48 instead of $12!   Wonder why they didn’t have that on the signs?  Just makes sense that the lower price would attract even more people to buy right?

Home to check out what my girls think of it. Sadie is 8 years old.. and she is checking out the picture of good food! Gizzy is my food hog, she is 6 years old.  She also was very excited.

kibbles 'n bitsAccording to everything that it says on the bag… this stuff looks really good.  There are vitamins, antioxidants and protein.  We buy our dog food primarily on cost.  I would like to say we get our food at the vets office (I used to years ago when money wasn’t so tight) but we have 5 kids at home and 8 total.  We just don’t have the money in the budget to spend on the best food for the dogs.  They are both happy, healthy, and in good shape.

I let them both try it first.. and then I used it for some tricks.  Sadie is the pickier of the two when it comes to food.. and she was ready to do about any trick after she first tasted it…. so that was a good sign.

dogsThen the big test.  I cleared out their other food from their other food.  I washed the bowl out… and then put the Kibbles ‘n Bits Bistro Dog food in.

Instant run for the food.  You would have thought these girls had not eaten in a week.  Seriously!  They had food in their bowl before I switched them out…. and they hadn’t been hungry!.

These dogs ate for like 20 minutes! I cleaned the kitchen and folded clothes and put in another load in the laundry and they were still eating. This is what the bowl looked like after their “dinner”

I think it was a success.  And a bigger success in that I can say two days later that neither dog has gotten sick from it.

Now for the rest of the adventure.  On Sunday we went over to the shelter in Johnstown where E was volunteering.

I told them what I was doing and asked if I could take some pictures. They were fine with that.  It was a house, actually Holly’s house and her sister Paula was there working.  There were also 3 girls (including E) and the one girls father helping out.

I don’t remember all the dogs names or who had what name.. so I won’t even try. lol

She said that they had about 50 dogs there presently and that the cats were in the other part of the house. We didn’t go in to see them. Paula was wonderful with all the dogs.

The place wasn’t in the best of shape… there was nothing fancy about it.  Repairs were needed, but the dogs were all clean, they all had beds up off the floor with blankets.  They had clean paper on the floor and their play yard was clean.

The cages were full walk in cages.. not small little ones that can only hold one dog.  They all had assigned cages and they knew which ones were theirs. They got to come out in groups to eat and play outside. Can you imagine the food that 50 dogs go through?

Or all the work involved with taking care of them?

This is a shelter that is supported by donations only.

They had the smaller dogs inside and the larger ones out back.

E is getting ready to go out to show us the play area.

Someone was getting their belly rubbed…. ahhhh…

I went out to the back area.  Holly was back there with the bigger dogs.  She brought a couple out to show me… they had their own little house back there with heat.  There were cages inside and ones outside so they could play.

Each dog had a story attached to it. The reason they were there. These two brothers had been indoor dogs since they were pups. Then a new baby came into the house and suddenly they were outdoors only.  A neighbor turned them in when the yellow lab got caught under a fence and torn his back open.  Holly said she’d never separate these two.

This pit bull was the funniest thing. He came running out to see me.. all excited and smiling.  She said that he had been in a home with one other pit bull.  The law evidently says you can’t have more than one. This guy had two.  They were going to put this dog down, even though he had never hurt anyone.  Holly said he was the sweetest thing ever.

The biggest problem they were having when we were there was the fact that they had no water.  They were trying to figure out if it was the pump on the well that went bad.  Holly was saying she was probably going to have to go and buy water at the store, but wasn’t looking forward to the cost involved.

I suggested they put the girls to work while they had them here and have them collect snow in these buckets.  There was a whole big yard of untouched snow they could let melt for water.  Holly was concerned about the snow and what was in it.

I have to admit that I chucked a bit on that one only because.. heck, the dogs eat their poop! Snow wouldn’t be that bad would it? But, it also shows the concern that they have for the well being of these dogs doesn’t it?

It was a good experience.  I dropped off the bag of food and got to learn about a new place. I know E is going to go back. I am thinking of the extra blankets I have that I can donate.  A 16 lb bag of food is like nothing compared to what all they need.

I got home to see my girls.. and realized how lucky they were.  Sadie had been a rescue dog. She was 11 weeks old when I got her. But her litter of 7 pups had Parvo and were going to be put down.  The vet at the Annhurst Animal clinic in Westerville wanted to save them. He treated them and only lost 1 of the 7.  Thank goodness because Sadie has been an awesome dog.

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by Del Monteto but the pictures and thoughts and opinions are my own.  Sadie and Gizzy’s opinions are pretty obvious too.

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Donate to the Elderly!

See The Joy You Can Spread!

donate stuffed animals

I LOVE getting stuffed animals and my husband knows it.  But how many stuffed animals do I need?  I keep one on my dresser and then I end up putting the rest of them in a chest at the end of my bed.  I do donate them every few years, but I had six that were just sitting shut up in the chest, not doing anyone any good.

What about my memories?  I have them!  I took pictures of them when I got them and I have the feeling of love that I got when my husband gave them to me.  TIME TO PASS IT ON!!

I got in my chest today, because I knew I had at least two from Valentines day. What better time to give them away?

donate stuffed animalsI actually had three of them.. and three from Easter.  We have a small nursing home right here in town.  I called them first thing this morning to ask if it would be alright if we stopped by this afternoon after school.  I told her we would have six stuffed animals and could she find six residents that do not normally get any visitors that we could give them to.  She was very helpful and told me to ask for her when we got there.

donate stuffed animalsDo you think any of them would care that the foot says 2010 on it?  I don’t think so.

donate stuffed animalsSo I bagged them all up to get them ready to go.

donate stuffed animalsI picked up the kids after school and we stopped by the nursing home.

nursing home

The kids were all excited and each picked out the two they wanted to donate.

donate stuffed animals

The residents had just finished their Valentines party. There were balloons and decorations on the walls.  I didn’t take many pictures inside because I wanted to protect their privacy.

The nurse took us around to six different residents that do not receive visitors.  The black dog went to a man who was almost blind. The big purple bunny went to a woman who started crying and kept saying, “It’s so beautiful!”

This woman said we could take her picture (I didn’t ask all of them). I just missed her little smile.  But she had a hold of that bear.

Do you think she cared that it said 2010 on it’s foot?

donate stuffed animals

Then the last resident we gave a stuffed animal to was a hoot.  She wanted the kids to come over to her bed. She talked to them and asked them questions. Found out they were triplets.  I asked if I could take her picture and she loved it.  She wanted to know when I was printing them out.  I told her I normally don’t anymore but asked if she would like a copy. She said she would love it! So we will take her back a copy of it.

donate stuffed animalsThis was an awesome experience for my kids!  They were talking about it all the way home.   They were uncomfortable in the nursing home, I was too.. and that is ok.  We talked about it.  We talked about what it would feel like to never get a gift or have anyone visit you.

I think they realized all on their own… just seeing these faces and the smiles and how every one of the residents hugged those stuffed animals as soon as they got it!

So next time you go into your child’s room (or look in your own chest if you have some stuffed animals yourself) think if that stuffed animals would be doing more good where it is… or if it would be good to donate it to someone who could really use a pick me up!
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Organizing Mission Monday -Office Week 9

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!

stuffed animal

Donate and Make someone else happy today!!

This stuffed animal is going to hopefully go to someone in the local nursing home today, that doesn’t get visitors to give her something.

I wanted to share with you what I am planning on doing today.  I LOVE getting stuffed animals.  Call it a kid thing, I don’t know… but I don’t think any bouquet of flowers can make me smile bigger than seeing a big soft stuffed animal in my husbands arms on Valentines Day, or Easter.  He doesn’t get them for me all the time, but usually once a year or so he will get me one.  I put it on my dresser (I only keep one at a time up there) and then they go into a chest at the end of my bed. I then clear them out every couple of years to Good Will.

Yesterday evening I started thinking about the 3 that I knew I had up there that were all Valentines Day ones. Today is Valentines Day. I decided after school today I am going to take the triplets to the nursing home and we are going to give away stuffed animals. I went to my dresser and I have 6 to get rid of.  I have to call today to be sure we are allowed. With all the bed bug hype going on now, it is possible they will say they aren’t allowed.

If we can, I’ll do a post on it this week and let you know how it went.  It is something for you to think about doing too!

Organizing Mission Monday

But here is a list of the Mission: Office posts that I have done so far:

1) Your Files
2) Your Mail System
3) The Shredder
4) Pen & Pencil Clean Out
5) Organizing Your Desk Drawer
6) My Office – Before
7) My Office – After
8) Shelf Organizing
9) Organizing Sales from Home
10) Office Chair
11) Organize the Paper Clutter 12) Organizing a Paper Command Center
13) Organizing the Bills
14) Organizing Your Income and Expenses
15) Computer Password Directory

Featured Bloggers This Week!

From Heidi of Budget Wise – My Office Reveal – Part 1

Seriously.. is this too cute or what?  I mean just in this picture look at all the cute features. Clocks on the wall, red frames and highlights, wrapping paper rack and look at the kids desk!

Budget wise homeThis kids desk is perfect! That is a fold down table and those round benches have storage inside! Of course I love the buckets with their crayons!

budget wise homeBut there is more to her office. Be sure to stop by and see the rest of her office and other great things at her blog, and be sure to tell her that Organizer Sandy sent you!

Angie from Echoes of laughter – Absolute Easiest Way To Track, Pay and Organize Your Household Bills..No Filing Involved!

Who doesn’t like the sound of that?  I love Angie’s system.  I might give it a go myself!

Echoes of LaughterShe has a binder and marks down the date that the bills are due on a monthly calendar on the front. See her whole system here!

Echoes of LaughterAren’t her pictures great too!  Be sure to check out some more of her awesome photos along with great ideas on her blog Echoes Of Laughter and tell her I sent ya!

S3 Events & Design: Cloffice?

Look at this awesome office that she made into her office.. hence the term “cloffice” which she does attribute to Jen from I Heart Organizing.

S3 Events & Design I also loved the color scheme she used!  And here again we are seeing the buckets hanging over the desk. Love those!

S3 Events & DesignsI think this is a great idea for a small home. She does have another closet in the room! Check out the rest of her post on her blog S3 Events and Designs.

For those of you who were featured this week, please pick up your button (code below the button) for your blog!

Organizing Mission Monday

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Link up to my Link Party

Link up any of your organizing blog posts, but I will only be featuring “office” posts for next weeks features. Next week we will be moving out of the offices..and on to other things!

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Rules

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning
5) Family friendly
6) No sales pitches or web sites.
7) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog!
8) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Be sure to check out my list of link parties! If you have a link party.. please link it up! Underneath the daily buttons there is a list of text links I have compiled too! (Many more there!)

If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple.

This is a continuous link party for my Mission: Office until Feb. 24th. Feel free to link up another post!

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Shopping Saturday – Ikea Kitchen Island

February 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Kitchen, Products for Organizing

I might be in a bit of an Ikea mood for a bit! lol I went last Saturday and saw several items I’d love to have – but I don’t have any place in my small house to put them.

I’d Love To Have THIS!

ikea kitchen island

Think of all the things you could use it for!   What do you think?  Do you like it?  Could you use it?

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Password Directory

February 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper

Where Do You Keep Your Passwords?

In your head?  Do you keep them on the computer?  Yep… I tried it once, until my computer got a virus and I lost the list because I didn’t have it backed up. I’ve learned.

I know there are secure sites that you can keep them.  I haven’t tried that yet. Trust issue I guess.  I know that if I was backing up my computer every night instead of every week.. I wouldn’t have to worry.

But.. I keep them written down, the old fashion way I suppose.  In a notebook.

notebook Any notebook will do. This is one that I had made up through Avery for a review. I love it, and thought it would be fun to use.  I used to have it in a plain pink notebook, but the binder clip was slipping, so I just changed to this one.

I don’t do anything fancy.  I used a protective sleeve for the first few pages just for protection

password directory

On the back of the main sheet I have my blogger “will” as such.  Have you thought of that?  If something happens to you, who knows how to get into your sites and let your friends know or shut them down if need be?  My husband wouldn’t have a clue, nor would he care as he said. He said the last thing on his mind if something happened to me would be worrying about my blogs.

I have at least gotten through to him where the information is, and who he can contact in order for them to help take care of any accounts, blogs etc.. that need to be seen to.

I did not go out and buy anything when I made up my password directory.

What I did need:
1) notebook
2) paper
3) dividers
4) computer/printer

I didn’t have enough dividers, so I made my own.  I just got colored paper, and used a sticky tab for the letters.

I did this about 2 years ago and they are still working great.  Of course dividers would be ideal, but I want to let you know that simple works!
I also like to reinforce the edges of the papers.   I didn’t have to do it on all of them, but I did it on the most frequently used pages.
So you have the notebook set up.  What I did next was to create an excel form.  Nothing fancy or flowery (not that  I don’t love that stuff, but I just don’t think about it when I am making up a form for myself)

I save this and make copies to use in each letter of the alphabet.

Here is how I set it up.  On the far left the date – so anytime I add an entry, I date it. I write down the html for the site, not just the site name.

I then write down what email I use. I have a personal and a work email.  I also write down the user name if there is one for the site.

Then in the next column I write the password.  Be sure to write if things are capital or there are spaces. A zero might look more like a letter “O”. So be careful when you write them out.
The last column I wrote because I have 3 blogs. But I will sometimes just write notes in this space.

That is it.  I write any new password down, I write new sites I join, I write anything that I might need to remember having to do with getting onto or into a site.

I have heard some people say that they just keep it all in their heads.  If they are able to do that, wonderful.  But.. what happens if something should happen to that head and it can’t remember things anymore?  #just sayin!
password directory

I keep my password directory near my chair for easy access.  I do not announce it to my kids, nor do I have the front of my notebook labeled. It isn’t something that everyone should know or have access to (other than my husband)

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Make a Password Directory!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I am linking this post to:

Fancy This


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Organizing Income and Expenses

February 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper

Owning A Business It Is Important To Keep Track Of The  Income & Expenses

Tax time creeps up fast and if you haven’t been keeping track of what is coming in and what is going out monthly, then you will have one big job at the end of the year!

It doesn’t have to be hard.
Here is a very simple method that can help to keep things straight and distressed at tax time.

I used two cheap plastic trays and labeled one “Expenses” and the other one “Income”

plastic trayThey fit in the white cubby unit I have beside my chair, but you don’t have to have them in there of course.

I then get 24 manila folders and label them Jan – December “Income” and Jan – Dec. “Expenses” with the year.  It doesn’t have to be labeled fancy or with a labeler.  A sharper might have been better than just an ink pen like I used though. I wrote OWS for Organize with Sandy, the month, year and either expenses or income on each one.
I then take all but the present month and put them in a file folder in my file.  Yes.. they are all empty at this point.

I place the present month on the appropriate tray. (you can see that in the pic above with the trays)  Now… you could just stop there and grab that envelop every time you have a receipt or a payment come in. But .. we all know the easier it is to access.. the better success rate we have in doing it. Right?

So I made these two folders.

foldersI put the folders in the trays on top of the envelops.

Each time a payment comes in or I have a receipt, I just slip it in the folder.  When it sits there.. they are just slightly opened and it makes it nice and easy.

filesThe tray below I use to place anything else that I need to file in my business files.

At the end of the month, I make sure that I take all the info and put it into my spreadsheet online.

I made a simple spreadsheet in excel. I make the template and each month I can bring it up, add in month at the top and fill it out. There are a couple of expenses that are the same each month, I added those in so I wouldn’t forget, such as hosting payment and phone expenses.

income spreadsheetIt really only takes a short amount of time (depending on the amount you have coming in or going out each month), but shouldn’t tae you more than 1/2 hour each month.

Then put those receipts in the given manila folder for that month. Done!

Tip: I leave the month previously out also. It seems there is always some stray receipts in your purse etc.. that will need to go in the previous month.  It just makes it easier if the envelop is right there rather than walking across a room and opening up the file drawer to get it.

So for March, I would do my March expenses, place income in the income envelop and the same for expenses.  I would then take my “January” file folder (that should have gotten any strays in it during Feb.) and file it in the drawer.  I would then take out the previously prepared March Income and March Expense envelop and place those on top of Febuary… and under the colorful file folders. Ready to go.

Simple – nothing fancy – nothing complicated – You can do it kind of thing!

There are of course Many ways to accomplish this.  Here is a way I tried at first, but it didn’t’ work for me.  I was going to use a “drop in” method.  I think this would be a great way to do it too. Nice and easy.  It didn’t work for me because I had them in a cubby unit by my chair. I had to pull it out to put full size sheets in. Just too cumbersome to flow easy in my office.  But I think it would work great if it sat on top of a desk.


Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Reorganize Your Income & Expenses!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

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Organizing The Bills

February 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper

Bills are like Laundry – Never Ending and they cause us stress

moneyWe all have to pay the bills (yucky poo) and keeping good credit while doing so is important.

If your bills aren’t organized, they will get out of hand. Then you end up with late payments and a mess on your credit score.  I had a client that as we cleaned off her kitchen counters and island (where she did her bills) along with a couple other rooms in the house.. we found no less than a dozen credit cards (I bet it was closer to 2 dozen.. no lie) that had her name on it.. and just needed to be activated.  I saw her one afternoon pick up one of the cards still stuck to the paper and use it to pay a bill that was late.  I felt bad for her. Her bills and financial situation were so “cluttered” .. and had become something that was totally out of control for her.

I am not going to tell you how to manage your money.  But I will put out my piece of advice – if you use credit cards… pay them off in full each month.

What I will do is show you the system I use for paying my bills.  There are a zillion different ways.  I would love to see your system! So be sure to write a post and show us… so we can help others.  Then link it up.

The bills come in and I put sort them like I showed you in my Mail – Mission Office post. I reorganized my one mail slot to have a little more order than I did in my other post. (I’m still adjusting in my new office… there are lots of little tweeks that I am making)

billsThe top left is where my bills go after I have sorted out the mail and these are things that have to be paid.  The bottom basket is everything (other than envelops) that I need to get my bills done.

I brought up this little mail sorter from the basement and it fit in this cubby perfect.  It took me from this:

To this: Looks much nicer doesn’t it?  I hadn’t figured out what I was going to use when I took the first picture.

bill sortingI separate – on the left are bills that haven’t been opened.
The first slot of the sorter are bills that need to be paid
In the middle slot I now have our payment book for the car and my bill payment sheets
In the last slot I have a few things that I need to keep close at hand when paying bills.

It is just a little metal sorter that I have had for years.
billsI keep track of my bills and what I have paid by hand.  I make up a “bill pay” sheet each year, or just copy last years as I did this year (even forgot to change the year a the top – but it is just for me to see, or my hubby…so no need for glamor)

I keep it right in with my bills, so I can always look to see what I have paid and what I still need to pay for the month.

I put the months across the top and the bills that we pay down the side. As I pay it, I write in the date I pd and the amount I paid.

bill pay sheetI know this could all be done online, but there are some things I still just like to hold in my hand.  I like having it there with my bills, easy to see, hubby can see anytime.  I actually have two of them.  The tan one is all my regular home bills.  Then I have one with purple spaces on it, it is my bills for my business and some other finances.

I use a combination of actually paying the bills.  I do mostly online bill pay.  I have a few automated each month that are always the same.  It makes it nice to be able to go in and check the payment, write in the amount, pick the date you want it paid… and be done.  Be sure to always document your confirmation numbers though.

online bill payThere are always some bills that aren’t in the system (usually medical) that I don’t want to set up an account for. I just pay them by check. (Aren’t my M&M checks cute? Love them)

check

Here is the process I use when paying my bills:

1) Bills come into house – sorted
2) Pay twice a month
3) Pay online – all regular bills
4) Pay by check any others that have to go out
5) Document confirmation # or Ck # on the bill stubs
6) Document payments on my bill sheet
7) Put bill stubs in my “to be filed” bin.
8) Stamp up my bills going by mail and send them off

I also have everything close at hand to get bills ready to go out the door.  The basket on lower left below my bills has everything I need other than the envelops to get the bills out the door if they go by mail.

I have a calculator, return address labels, stamps, stamper for checks (for deposit only for my business) and staple remover.

stampsI have my envelops in the drawer right beside my office chair.  It is easy to get to them.  Two different sizes, I always get the envelops that you can’t see through. If I end up with others, I give them to the kids to use for lunch money, etc.
Tip: Tear off the lids to the boxes for easy access.
envelops

That is my process – I hope it can be of help. But I would love to hear yours.. share it to help others with what system might be best for them!

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Show me your Bill Paying Process!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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Organizing the Paper Clutter

February 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper, Time Managment

Those Papers Coming Into The House – They are  never ending!

I discussed my mail system here, but I wanted to go into more detail with you today on how I handle the rest of the paper trail.

Over the next week I am going to go over how to handle in more detail, so be sure to follow along!

1) Bills
2) Files and how to Organize Them
3) Daily paper file or “Command Center”
4) Receipts /Income and how to handle that for a home business
5) Password Directory

Mail Comes in from the Mail Box or School Papers

You can see my post on “mail” here.

mail

1) One Central Location For Mail

Have just one central location that the mail is to be places when it comes into your house. Make sure each family member that might bring mail into the house has 1 place to put it. That way it isn’t left on the kitchen counter one day, dining room table another, couch – underneath the newspaper another day.. you get the point.
mail

2) Sort It

Separate out your spouse’s mail  or if you have another person in the household that routinely gets mail and have a specific spot that you place that when you sort it from the main “mail hot spot”
mail sorting

A) Bills To Be Paid

bills

B) To Do

This will go into your Daily Files  or “command file center”. School conferences, appointments, things you have to follow up on.

To Do File

C) To File

Papers that you need to keep. There are no “pending actions” to be taken on these papers.
files

D) Junk Mail – To be Shredded

You can see my post on shredders here.

shredder

If you have a specific plan for your paper trail, it will make it run much more smoothly. If you don’t have a plan, things will get lost, be late, appointments missed and life will be a bit more chaotic.

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Track your Paper Trail!


Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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Organizing Your Paper Command Center

How Do You Deal with All the Daily Papers?

I have my daily paper command center, but it needed a bit of an overhaul now that I have my new office set up.

command center

I have tried several different solutions for paper command centers.  Several I have used because I have reviewed them.  You can see them at the end of this post.

I use this Paper command file to deal with daily papers coming in.  This is not for my bills.  This is not for all the drawings that Johnnie and Suzie bring home from school.  (I only keep 1 or 2 of those and they go into the file drawer in their folders) This is for all those papers that you need to follow up on, do immediately or need to reference quickly.

For the other papers

But I have a cubby by my chair in my office that I have plans to put my paper command center.  So I had to have a system that would fit and also would be easy to file papers in.

I went down to my basement where I have some organizing supplies that I have used in the past or plan to use.  Here I found the back plastic filer that has drop in separate file hangers.  These all fit into a file box, but I’m not using it that way now.

paper command centerI got it all cleaned up.

paper command centerI also cleaned the individual files boxes that fit down in. Each one of these has a specific function

1) Home

2) Business

3) Medical

paper command centerI went through each file and decluttered it.  I made the following decisions when I sorted

1) Keep

2) File

3) Toss (recycle)

sorting papersThen I made new labels using my label maker.  I’m not one who makes labels for every little thing in my house, I’m not teasing when I say the label maker tape can get expensive – but I do think it really makes the file tabs look awesome!

I color coded the labels.  Blue is for home.  Yellow is for work.  Green is for Medical / expenses for step kids

file tabsI already had everything, but didn’t have enough of the same color file folders to do them all purple, or red etc.  I did have enough to do the ugly old green..and I had to use those in the last section.. but I at least got to use the purple ones up front where I’ll see them.

I do suggest that you put the file tabs on the front part of the file folder.  I also suggest that you put them all lined up in a row. It is easier to see them lined up rather than darting all back and forth if they are spaced out.

file folders

Here is how I broke them down.  Of course we all have different needs and priorities in our homes, so more than likely my system won’t be your system.

This is my Family section of my Paper Command Center

Keep in mind these are not for long term paper storage. That would be the file cabinet.  This is for

1) Home Business – anything pertinent to the home, but not designated to a specific person.

2) I grouped the triplets together because most of what they get pertains to school or karate and it is all the same anyway

3) Each other family member has their own file, including Dave and I

command center

Now for the medical.  For me this includes insurance, dealing with 2 ex’s and the kids medical and other expenses that have to be split.

file foldersThe last folders are the ones I use most often. They will go in the front of my command center.  It is for my business.

In the very front I have a “To Do” folder.  This is the place that I will put papers that have immediate need.  This is not for bills (that is in a separate location that I will go over in another post). Then I have broken down the areas of my business that I need.  This might include for you

1) To Do

2) Projects

3) Banking

4) Specific projects might get their own folder

5) Income/Expenses (mine are separate, I’ll show you in another post)

file foldersThen each of these 3 separate drop in sections fit down in the main one.

command centerI place the “home section” in the back.  The “medical” section in the middle and the “business section” up front – so it looks like this when it is complete.

command centerThen it fits right beside my chair where I can have instant access to it.

paper command centerI just pull it out a bit and can slip papers in very easily.

So what do I do with all those other papers that need to be filed and go into the file drawers?  Like receipts for bills that were paid, or that special paper that Johnnie or Suzie brought home that I don’t have time to run over to my file drawer and file right now.

Those go into my general file bin that I will sort and file at the end of each month.  At my old desk set up it was a stackable plastic tray.   So I just put them right down below in this pink cubby.

office reorgFrom this pink bin.. they go straight to my file cabinet.

Just to refresh your memory:

Paper Command Center “Before”

command center before

Paper Command Center “After”

paper command center after

Here are a few other Paper Command centers that I have reviewed in the past and that might work better for you.  Remember, none of us are the same, we have different needs and we have different systems that might work better for us than others.  Don’t ever think you have to fit into a cookie cutter mold and do something exactly like someone else.

One of these other systems that I have reviewed in the past might work better for you.

The “In Place System” by Peter Walsh

In place by Peter Walsh

The PileSmart® Desktop Organizer Tray by Pendaflex

pendaflex Pilesmart

You might also like the Smead File System

smead file system

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Show me your Paper Command File!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I am linking this post to:

Keeping It Simple
Sumo Sweet Stuff

Beyond The Picket Fence
HookingupwithHoH

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