Fellowes Shredder Powershred 63Cb Review and Giveaway #SmartGiftsforGuys

December 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Offices, Paper, Reviews & Giveaways

Need a Gift For The Man In Your Life?

What about a POWERSHRED Fellowes Shredder?  Even the name sounds tough! It’s not a delicate shredder, or pretty shredder… it’s a POWERSHRED! Right there, we know we’ve got our men hooked! The nice thing is, is that it also benefits us! We have less paper clutter around right, and we don’t have to worry about identity theft because it shreds it so small.

fellowes shredder

I’ll tell you now that this Fellowes Shredder is heavy! I picked up the box when it came to the porch and I was thinking.. wow, this sucker is good! I have a shredder now that is soon going to be replaced. It gets jammed really easy and then heats up after just a couple minutes and I can’t do anymore shredding.

Here it is! It’s such a nice size.  You just put the upper power unit down onto the basket, remove some tape and plug it in… it’s ready to go.

One of the things that we accumulate way too much of is paper! Think about how much junk mail you get on a daily basis.

So much of that junk mail can be used to cause you a deal of great anguish if it falls into the wrong hands.  Any mail with your personal information on it should be shredded. Also any old credit cards need to be shredded. I’m happy to see that this can also handle those.

fellowes shredder

Here is a size scale, you can see the actual size of it.  You all know the size of hanging files right? So I put it next to my portable hanging file so you can see.

fellowes shredder

Now I’m going to test it.  One of the things that we all get so much of are those pesky charge card offers. I don’t even like to open them, but my other shredder couldn’t handle putting them in whole. In fact, I had to open them and unfold the papers to feed it in.  Here we go….

fellowes shredder

It worked!  It did stop about 3/4 of the way through and I thought it was going to be jammed. The red light came on and after about 3 seconds it started going again and finished the job. I did several more the same way and the same thing happened.  Of course when I opened one and took the envelope off, it went easier and didn’t stop. I didn’t have to unfold it to run easily.

fellowes shredder

Here are the results. They were little strips 1 1/2 – 2″ long. As a suggestion from me, I would have liked to have seen those strips diced even smaller, but this still did a better job than my other shredder.

shredder

I really like the fact that when you touch the area around the feed… it turns off automatically.  When you have young kids, that is a really nice security blanket to have.

Features:

* Jam Blocker ™ There is an electronic sensor that measures the amount of paper and prevents over feeding
* 10 sheet cross-cut – Turns a piece of paper into 399 pieces so you can’t read anything.
* Shreds credit cards, paper clips and staples
* 5 gallon basket
* 8 minutes continuous run time without shutting off
* Safesense® Technology – automatically shuts off when hands touch the paper opening
* Energy Savings System is in use rather the shredder is in use or not.

I can hardly wait to give this to my husband this Christmas! (Now to pack it back up so I can wrap it!) It is larger than I thought it was going to be. It’s heavier than I expected it to be. Both of those things combined in a shredder, mean a higher quality shredder to me.

I am planning on giving this to my Dad. He LOVES office equipment and he only has a small one sheeter shredder. He will be SO excited! I will update this post with a picture once I give it to him.

Be sure to check out my “Smart Gifts For Men In Your Life” Pinterest Board and feel free to pin any of these pictures onto your pinterest boards!

 

You can Purchase one!

The Fellowes Powershred 63Cb can be found on Amazon ($125 right now as I post this) and at Office Depot (I couldn’t find this model on the site, but they might have it in the stores) and Office Max (179.99).  The suggested retail price is $149.99
fellowes shredderYou can WIN one!
Win a Fellowes Powershred 63Cb shredder!  The contest is going to run from Monday Dec 13rd – Friday Dec 21th at 12:01am.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will notify you via email and you’ll have 48 hours to respond. If I haven’t heard from you at that point, then I’ll pick another winner.  You must be 18 years of age and have a US shipping address. (no P.O boxes)

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: I received product from Fellowes, Inc. and The Motherhood as part of my participation in this program. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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How to Organize Your Coupons

November 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Amy, Blog, Food, How To Organize, Paper, Sales, Shopping, Stores

Organizing Coupons Continued…

by Amy Trautvein

Today we are going to talk about clipping coupons, when to pull out expired, and how to organize a shopping trip with your coupon binder.  Are you as excited as I am?  Good!

I only get one Sunday paper, believe it or not.  I don’t want to spend hours cutting coupons and I can get some great coupons on the internet anyway to help bulk up my binder a bit and get some coupons that you won’t see in the Sunday ads.  Every Sunday night, or Monday morning I pull out the coupon inserts, have a seat on my couch, turn on the TV and cut away.  As I’m cutting, I stack the coupons into my categories so it saves much time putting them into my binder.  A must do! Here are my coupons after they ‘ve all been cut and are ready to be filed.  Classy, huh!?coupons
REALITY CHECK:  Do NOT clip every coupon that is printed. Only clip coupons for products you regulary use, would like to buy if it was on sale, and/or are willing to try.  If you’re not sure, say to yourself, “Would I buy this if it was a steal?”  If your answer is yes, then clip it.  I don’t have babies in the house anymore, so why clip coupons for baby products?  I don’t drink coffee, so I obviously pass by the coffee coupons, there are certain products (that I won’t name) that I’ve tried and not enjoyed, and even if it were a steal I wouldn’t waste my time so those get trashed too.  I know it’s just common sense, but I’ve talked to a lot of people to clip every coupon that is in the insert.  Don’t, just don’t.

Internet coupons are great, but it can be overwhelming.  There are SO many places you can go.  My suggestion is to pick your 2 favorite coupon sites and just stick with those.  My top favorite is coupon.com. They have a wide range of coupons from grocery to nonfoods and you don’t have to give your name, address, phone number, first born to print them, and it’s free.  You are also allowed to print up to 2 of each one you want.  I’m not a huge fan of clipping services because you are having to PAY for coupons to then save you money?  Plus like I said, I’m not a shelf clearer and don’t recommend it either. Why would somone need 50 coupons of ketchup?  Here are my internet coupons from this week.  They reset and add new coupons at the beginning of the month so that’s why I have such a stack for this week.  They had some good ones this time.  :)couponsNow back to filing your coupons into your binder…  Just start at the front of your binder and go to your first category, mine is the breakfast asile.  Before  you add any new coupons, go through that section and pull any expired ones.  Then add your new coupons into any empty slots. Do this every week!  It saves time in the long run and saves you from trying to use a coupon that expired a week ago at the reigister.  No need to organize by expiration date.  That adds TONS of time shuffling all your coupons up to the front and adding new ones to the back and doing it all over again week after week.  Remember, you only have 2-4 pages in each section to go through.  Why create more work for yourself?  See how nice and pretty?  coupons
*One other thing I do that is a good idea:  As I’m putting coupons in my binder I keep a sitcky note list of high value coupons that I want to use, but the product may not be in any of your sale ads.  That way, while you’re at the store, it’s easy to take a look at those products, see what the price is and decide, at the store, if they are worth using that day.  My rule: it needs to be more than half off for me to consider, OR just a really great coupon that I don’t want to forget about.  I then put the sticky note on my list for easy reference.

Now you can go through your store adds for the week and compare with the coupons you’ve got.  As you find coupons to use on sale items, pull them out and paper clip them together.  I only do 2 grocery stores and one drug store.  That’s as much as I can handle without having to run around alot.  Also, some weeks are way better than others.  If I find that I’ve only found 2 or 3 good deals for a store, I scratch it and don’t even go.  It’s not worth my time and gas to only save on a couple items.

First, I list how many items I want to get, then I list the product, next the sale price, then my coupon amount (double it if your store doubles coupons, which mine do) and then the final price.  Once you’ve gone through all your ads, put your list into the front of your binder for east reference and marking off as you put it in your cart.  Here’s what it all should look like.  My list of “on sale” products with coupons and final prices, my sticky note of high value coupons, and my paper clipped piles of coupons I know I will be using this week.  Just keep those in the front pocket of your binder.coupons
**Don’t forget about digital coupons either.  Most stores let you add electronic coupons from their website to your store card AND they let you also use a paper coupon fro the same item!  Double the savings!  The only store I know of that does NOT do this is Kroger, but check your stores coupon policy just to be sure.  Also, some stores let you combine a store coupon and a manufacture coupon together for ONE item (CVS, Target to name a couple), also double the savings!  So yes, please check their coupon policy, you may be missing out on saving even more than you thought!

Now you are ready to shop and save!  And be organized so you can save time AND money!  Just remember, this is what works for me.  You may need to do some tweaking for what works for you.  There’s no one right way to do it, just do it!  Let me know how you coupon, I’d love to hear from you!

Love to all!  ~Amy

 

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Kids Artwork

August 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Crafts & Craft Rooms, Family & Friends, Paper, Playroom

Kids Artwork – Great Ideas

What do you do with all that great artwork the kids bring home from school?  They are So proud of it!

kids artwork

 

1) Photograph it

If you have a hard time throwing away their artwork, then one solution is to take pictures of it. You can have it on your computer or in a scrapbook and remember it for years to come. You can now do all kinds of neat things with them.

2) Photo Gifts
I just had mugs made for my Dad and sister for their birthdays with special pictures on them from SnapFish

3) Give them as Gifts

You can give one or two a year to a Grandparent or Aunt and Uncle if you can’t stand to throw it away, but you have your paper for the month. (My rule of saving only one paper for the month…but with most of these ideas, you can actually get rid of all the actual artwork but still see it for years to come!)

4) Frame Them

kids artwork

Frame some of their artwork and hang it. I was just getting a picture framed for a client and there was a woman there with her grandchild’s art work that she was having framed to hang up. She was going to have it hanging in the guest room where her granddaughter stayed when she came to visit. She was using an expensive frame and mat, but the frames above in the picture are only $1.99 at Ikea. There are all kinds of cute colors and they would work great, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money.

5) Art Gallery

kids artwork

I remember growing up that our upstairs hallway was the art gallery. Both my brother and sister are artist and did wonderful work even in grade and high school. My mother had their pieces displayed in the upstairs hallway. They were her favorite pieces. Then if something new came in she would take one down and put the new one up. We all thought that was great and anytime guests came to our house, mom proudly took them upstairs to show them the “art gallery”.

6) Photo Book

I heard a great idea from watching Peter Walsh on Oprah the other day. He suggested taking pictures of your child’s artwork with your digital camera and then putting them in a digital scrapbook. You can use snapfish.com or shutterbug.com, and I also know that Creative Memories(their package for a 20 page book is about $99) does the same thing too.
But I do think his idea was great. You could make one of these each year with their artwork and it would be great fun for them to look at through the years and easy to pass on to them when they are grown.

7) Wall Art

Another thing they had on his segment of the Oprah show was to take carpet squares and use double sided tape and tape them to the wall to make a bulletin board. What they showed was using two different colors with two across and 3 down. Then they used that for a bulletin board and hung one piece of the kids artwork in each square to showcase it. This is one way you can change them often.

Let me know if you have any other ideas of what to do with your child’s artwork!

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School Papers!

August 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, How To Organize, Paper

How To Handle All The Kids School Papers

How could you possibly think about throwing away the school papers your kids bring home? That just doesn’t seem right… right? Wrong! If you kept all the papers your kids did during school, your home would be over taken with papers!

school papers

School Papers – What do you do with them all?

Now we have a sorting system for mail and other papers coming into the house. But what about all those school papers that come in everyday?
You also need to work out a similar system to sort those papers.
I have the triplets come in each day (they are in 2nd grade) and take out their folders and put on the couch where I sit so I can go through them. They get their snack and then do any homework they have for the day. While they are getting their snack I am going through their folders.

Sort the Papers
I first of all see if there is any weekly papers to update us for the week from the teacher. They usually send something like that on Monday and Friday. Then I see if there are any homework papers for the kids to do. Once I have pulled those out to read in a few minutes…I go through the rest of the papers. Most of them are worksheets with a few pictures thrown in. If there is anything really special, like a story they made up with pictures then you can set it aside to keep it. I recommend only keeping at the most one paper per month. Yes…per month!! Think about it. That is still 12 papers per child per year. Multiply that times 12 years in school and that is still a lot of papers to store! It is enough to remember what level they were on and to see how they drew.

Blended Family
Our situation may and hopefully is different from yours in that since this is my 2nd marriage and these are my step kids. So I have to save all the papers so that their mom can see them when they go to her house at the end of the week. I have a folder that I keep all the papers in for the week from the kids. At the end of the week on Friday when they are going to go home with their mom I put all their papers in one of the kids book bags so that their mom gets to see everything. We let their mom keep those special papers for them. If there is something that we really like, we make a copy of it and give the original to their mom. Then when they come back to our house again in a week, they will have a boat load of papers that their mom kept for us to see.

Ok to Get Rid of School Papers.

We go through those to see what happened that week and read everything. After we have seen everything and have gone through it with the children (if necessary), then I throw them away. (recycle)

You don’t have to feel guilty about throwing these away!! These are worksheets for the most part. If you keep everything….then nothing will seem special.
I have heard some mothers say that they want to keep everything to give their child when they grow up. Is this really a favor you are doing for them? You hand them over boxes and boxes of papers. Now they have to go through them and either throw them away or store them (more clutter)themselves. They may enjoy looking at a few of them, and if there was just a few from each year it would be fun. But if its all their stuff then it is cruel to do to them. You are basically giving them boxes of guilt so they can decide what to do with it and its off your chest now. I think that you would find that most kids wouldn’t want you to keep everything they did.

What To do with Special Papers and Pictures
You can have a bulletin board that you keep a special paper of the day or of the week on to showcase it if its a little special and they worked hard on it that week. This will make them feel proud. Then when you take it down, if its not that most special paper of the month…throw it away. The kids don’t have to know you are throwing it away, chances are they will never miss them. I have done this for years with my kids and my step kids and I can not think of a single time that the kids have been upset or realized that their papers were gone.

Remember, it is not like you are saying your child isn’t special or you don’t like the work they do by throwing it away. But keeping everything is not feasible if you want to have a home that is comfortable and not cluttered.

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Organizing School Papers

September 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Paper

Simple Steps to Organize Your Kids School Papers

school papers

School papers can be harder to deal with than if someone came in and dumped a garage truck full of trash in your driveway. Why? Because they are personal! Your children did them, worked on them and created them. That is why so many mom’s have trouble getting rid of them. They just love to see what their child has accomplished.
So can you keep everything all your kids do from the time the start school until they finish? Sure…if you want to live in a trash zone or store them in a storage unit so they can rot in there.
No..of course you can’t, and better yet, there is no reason you should.

Should you keep a few special papers each year so that you can enjoy them and they can see them when they grow up? Certainly! But only a few.

Here is a guideline to help you decide what papers to keep and what to get rid of.

ONE PAPER PER MONTH PER CHILD.

How is that for simple? It gives you a limit, a guideline and a goal. Can you keep less than that….YES!!

But what if they have 1 really good picture that won a school coloring contest and then an A+ on their first big report, but they are in the same month? Ok…no problem, go back through the other months and decide on which one is not as important to keep as these.
So really it is 12 papers a year. Yes…you can use the summer months as a cushion.

  • Don’t keep all the worksheets that they do.  – They are worksheets..just to learn.
  • Look for the stories they wrote by themselves.
  • Look for the pictures they did not trace, but drew themselves.
  • Look for the reports they worked weeks on and were so proud of.

So what do you do with all the other pictures they drew, science fair projects with huge poster boards?

Take a picture!! Just like the above pictures. My triplets were thrilled to pose with their projects and loved that I liked them enough to take pictures of them. They don’t care if they don’t have that big poster shoved back in some cubby space in the basement anymore. They still have the memories..and that is all we need too.
You can scan them into your computer if small enough and you have the memory space on your computer.

You can create a photo book from some of these online places like Snapfish. Peter Walsh shared this idea on one of his Oprah shows. He said take pictures of their art work (you can put more than one of their pictures in the photo) and then at the end of each school year create one of these photobooks with their art work. There is room to write in the book accomplishments, teacher’s names, accomplishments for the year. This would be much nicer for them to have when they are older than a box full of papers.

You can have a bulletin board that you keep a special paper of the day or of the week on to showcase it if its a little special and they worked hard on it that week. This will make them feel proud. Then when you take it down, if its not that most special paper of the month…throw it away. (They do not need to see you physically throw it away, nor do you have to tell them – they will just be thrilled their new picture is up now.)

bulletin boardThis one is in our basement, in the kids zone.  Since we made a bedroom on the other side of these basement steps, we wanted to do something to block looking under the steps.  We placed three bulletin boards to block the opening… and also to provide a place the kids could display any artwork or school papers they wanted to.

If you keep everything….then nothing will seem special!!

Keeping big boxes of papers to give your children is a burden not a gift. They have to deal with getting rid of all the papers you felt to guilty getting rid of.
Being handed one box of things that goes from k-12 is not so bad, and photo books would be even better.

Remember, it is not like you are saying your child isn’t special or you don’t like the work they do by throwing it away. But keeping everything is not feasible if you want to have a home that is comfortable and not cluttered.

 

This post was adapted from a post I did in 2009.

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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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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:

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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.

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 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
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Organizing Mission Monday – Week 7

How are your office Missions coming?

organizing mission mondayHave you started working on your offices?  Take small steps.  I have several posts that will help you work through just one thing at a time. When you do, link up your blog post so we can all enjoy it with you!

Here is the list of the Office Missions 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

This week we will be going over your Paper System. What to do with all those incoming papers.  Also redesigning your office space.

Here are my Featured Bloggers for This Week

I have a few people who have started working on their offices. Yeah! Thanks I love it!

Mom Starting From Scratch – Daily Declutter Challenge #8 – A Special Kind of Chaos

Lynn takes these papers and makes organized binders for them.  She has a special kind of chaos because she is the mother of a special needs daughter. I know too well what these parents go through. (I used to case manage the pediatric home care cases for special needs children).  If you think you have a lot of paperwork coming into your home… then triple it (at least) for a special needs child. Check out Lynn’s blog. She is new to blogging and it would be great if you could stop by her blog.

mom starting from scratch

I Forgot What I Was Doing -  “Organizing To DeStress”

I totally agree!  Organizing is such a destresser for me. I feel like when I get all irritated, many times it is when things aren’t organized.  Once I get things in order… I feel better

She worked on her pens – and found some change and realized that not all of them do work. (imagine that!)

iyampam

Mom Nonstop – 21 Day Organizing Challenge – The Mail Station

Cris worked on her mail station. She has a different way of keeping track of how she pays her bills. Be sure to stop by her blog and check out the rest of her post.

mom.nonstop

Thank you featured bloggers.. don’t forget to pick up your button on my sidebar!

Link up to my Link Party

Rules- Just a couple basic ones.  Your link doesn’t have to be office related, just organizing… but I will be looking for the office related on this Office Mission for my Featured Bloggers. Thanks!

1) Link back to my blog with either the button or my link. (Use the Organizing Mission button on my sidebar)
2) Would also love it if you could follow me on google or FB
3) Blog posts related to Organizing or Cleaning please.
4) Family friendly (or I will delete)
5) No sales pitches or web sites please.

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 links I have compiled of link parties.

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

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The Shredder

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

Mission Office – The Shredder

The mission today is to discuss the shredder. I think every office should have a shredder.  It is just a good idea to get rid of all those papers with account numbers on them etc.  I’m going to share my new shredder experience with you and a little tip that worked for me. But I’m open to hearing your ideas.

shredderI got a new shredder.  I had been using a very small desk top shredder that could only handle 1 piece of paper at a time.  But I kept it out by my “mini office” in the family room, so it worked out great.

After I rearranged my office (you will see in coming posts) I was going to be using my office and had an area underneath the desk and next to my recliner (yes… recliner) that one would work.

shredderI know this isn’t a very pretty picture.  It is under the desk and behind a file cabinet, so not seen from the front of the desk.  The box is all the papers I need to shred, after cleaning out my files.  See how this shredder is long and narrow?  I thought it would work out great in this space.

So…. I started shredding away.  It was working great.  Then it slowed down… ok time to empty

Yes… it was full.  I grabbed a trash bag, and got back behind the chair to empty it.

Ok..I could see this was not going to be pretty.  As careful as I was … the little shreds of paper still went all over.  It reminded me of the big cool shredder we have at work (yes… I think it is fun to use). But every time it gets emptied… it is such a mess.

I moved the box out of the way, vacuumed and then got a black trash bag.  I considered getting a plastic bin to put underneath of it.  But, with this being long and narrow, I would have to pull it all the way out from under the desk…. anyway… logistically that wasn’t going to work. The drawer wouldn’t have pulled out without being out of the bin…

I also knew that putting a trash bag liner wasn’t going to work. The drawer wouldn’t have been able to close, and if it isn’t closed all the way, then the shredder won’t turn on. So.. although it isn’t pretty… it should work.

Let’s see if this is going to work. I filled it again with shredding
Still a little messy, but it is contained in the trash bag now. I got a separate trash bag to empty the bin into and left the one underneath the shredder. I am also going to use a clear trash bag next time underneath the shredder.  Even though no one sees it but me, it will still just look a little nicer.

Some paper dust… but ready to shred some more.  Once the box is empty, I will probably put a nicer basket or plastic bin to the right of it to put the shred pile in. There are times that you have more shredding to do than you have time for, or in my case the shredder heats up enough by lots of shredding and it turns off. Until it cools it won’t work.   So there may be times you have to have a storage area for the shred pile.

Do you have a shredder?  Do you use it?  Do you have problems with it being messy when you empty it?  What do you do to take care of that?  I would love for you to share any shredder posts that you may have… and if you don’t have any yet, why don’t you make one?

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Show Me Your Shredder!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

If you have a blog post on your shredder or lack there of & how you use it, I’d love for you to link it to my Organizing Mission Monday link party. This link party will be left open for a month to go with the Mission – Office that I am working on with my link party.

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 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’m linking this post to:

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Organizing The Mail

Check out My Mail System

mail box

My mail generally comes around 10:15 am.  I don’t always rush right out to get it, but at some point during a break in my day… I’ll head out.

mail boxIsn’t it kind of fun to open that box and see what you’ve gotten for the day? Usually it is just junk mail or bills, but every once in awhile you get that surprise letter or check that just makes your day

footprints in the snowWith the newly fallen snow (and more to come) I just thought this was fun… out to the box.. in to track in my house (not really…shoes off)

mailI sort out what is my husbands and what is mine.  He likes getting mail too… so I don’t open his.. even though he wouldn’t care if I did (unless its a bill…then I take it)

mail centerThis is our command center by the front door. Below this area are the cubbys that the kids use. My hubby just moved his office down to the basement (his man cave) and we started using this mail slot that has previously gone unused for his mail.

command centerIt seems to work alright if he picks it up. But he tends to let it build up… which drives me a bit crazy to have to see when you first walk in the door.  I tried to talk him into a plastic slot that could go on the wall on the way down the basement steps, but he felt that people would hit it. So for now.. this will work.

mail in box My mail goes into my “in” box sitting on my desk.  I usually try to take care of it right when I get it, but if I am too busy or I’m not home, then it goes into this clear tray.

mail in boxNow.. when I am home, what I normally do is to sort it right then.

The junk mail that has information that could be harmful to us.. ..goes into the shredder.

shredderThen the envelops or any other junk mail goes into my trash can by my chair. I will then take it out to the recycle bin when it’s full.

trash can

Then the bills and any other pertinent mail that I have to deal with, will go into my “bill box”

mail in boxWhich is a new section of my Ikea wall unit (that you will be seeing before long when you see my office make over.

I tab them with the date they are due and put them where I can work on them once they are due.

mailThis system works for me.  I love the daily reminder bill files, but I don’t have the space for one with the new office set up I did. That is fine for me… I like this system.

I was inspired to do this post because of Toni’s A Bowl Full of Lemon’s 21 day challenge. I haven’t been participating in the actual daily challenge, but I’ve added a few links but sure love looking through them.

organizing mission mondayIf you have a blog post on your mail system, I’d love for you to link it to my Organizing Mission Monday link party.  This link party will be left open for a month to go with the Mission – Office that I am working on with my link party.

I would love it if you could vote for me! You can vote up to once per day!


I’m linking this post to:




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Organizing Your Files Drawer

January 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper

Paper Clutter… yuck!

I don’t know of anyone that really likes all the paper clutter.  We have SO much coming into our house all the time. From the daily mail to the kids school work, things we need to print from the computer.  It is never ending and easy to get out of control.

I have recently reorganized my office and with that I finally went through and reorganized my files.  They were a mix match of file folders and hand printed labels.

I pulled together all my purple files that I purchased several years ago and decided to only use those (cuz their pretty! lol)

Before Files

filesKind of all over there aren’t they?

Here is another drawer
files messySome tabs and folders from my husbands files when we got married… came over to my file drawer.

messy filesThe kids files were a mess too.

My husband recently made his own “man cave” in the basement for his projects and added an office space. So we were able to move him out of this main office upstairs. He took all the tax info and some other financial family info downstairs.  He had already started files for his 4 kids.. so we decided to merge those. So his kids files went downstairs with him.

file cabinetHere is the file cabinet I mainly use. It goes with this big stinky cool desk I have.  It is a little worse for the wear.. but hey… it works great.

So I emptied everything out of it.. drawer by drawer

and of course had a bigger mess then I started with for a day

office filesI was in the middle of the entire office reorganization in this picture… (see all the stuff in the back?)

files and taxesI was also working on taxes.. that is what this picture is of.  But.. while I was reorganizing the files.. it looked much the same.

labelerGot out my old but reliable labeler that I had the right color (and enough of it) label tape to complete the project.

file tabsI labeled the tabs.  I had several different kinds of tabs…. but I didn’t want to go and purchase anymore of one specific thing.. so I had no problem that some look just a little different than the others.  I tend to be more practical than anal.

I went through and sorted.  I kept all tax info of course. Also major purchases, policy info, records for kids and dogs and the rest of us for medical purposes.

One thing I did get rid of was all the bill stubs from bills I paid.  I have kept them for years.. and the reason for that was because I went through a divorce. If they want to reconfigure child support… I have had to come up with things that go back 2 years.. in all my bills.  But, since my youngest will be graduating this year, I don’t have to worry about that any more! (yippy!)  But I did keep the visa bills, just to follow up on if need be for a purchase or credit.

organized files

Here is the kids file drawer with only my boys and my file in it.

filesAnd look at this!!!

empty file drawerI have an empty drawer!!  Wow!!

So lets review…

Before File Drawer

After File Drawer

Tell me about your File Drawers!

organizing Mission Monday If you have a blog post on your file system, I’d love for you to link it to my Organizing Mission Monday link party.  This link party will be left open for a month to go with the Mission – Office that I am working on with my link party.
I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once a day! Thanks so much!!


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Paper DeCluttering

January 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Guest Post, Offices, Paper

Guest Post

by Stephanie Calahan

Stephanie’s Comment On My Blog Became a Guest Post

The following post was actually a comment on my “What would Sandy Suggest” blog post.  I felt there was so much great content in here that I decided to take her comment and make it a guest post!

Paper is one of the biggest problems for people and I know I have people ask me about it all the time, just like Stephanie.  Here are her tips on paper decluttering.

Sandy

***************************************************************************************************************************************
Paper Decluttering – by Stephanie Calahan

I have found that paper paralyzes many of my clients. We hold on to a lot of the stuff! Here is one way of thinking when you are in declutter mode:

Think DART — Throw your DART and You’ll Hit Your Mark Every Time!

The D in DART is for Decision. You have to make a decision about the items in the piles that you have.

The A in DART is for Action. There are different types of action, but no system works unless you ACT!

The R in DART is for Reference. We all have items that we keep for reference. There are specific tools that you use to keep those items where you can remember them.

The T in DART is for Toss. Now, toss does not necessarily mean throw away. I can mean recycle, shred, sell, does not belong in this room, etc…

8 Questions to Use as You are Making Your Decisions

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make the decision process process easier:

Does it require any action by me/us?
If an item requires action (a phone call to make, a report to write, a bill to pay, an outfit that requires altering) then it is an “ACT.” Keep everything that requires action in one location, so that when you have time, you will be able to go through and check the items off of the list! This is the A in DART — for action.

Are there tax or legal implications?
Have you talked to your council about the information you keep and how long you keep it? If not, you might want to consider doing so. Each industry has different documents that should be retained as does residential paperwork. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Is it recent enough to be useful?
Is the address book that has not been updated in 3 years really current? Just like food has an expiration date so do the things in your life. If you are keeping things that are no longer current, you are not allowing yourself the space for new and better things to start. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Is it difficult to obtain again?
Birth certificates, legal documentation, marriage licenses, company incorporation papers, the list goes on and on. If there are items that are difficult to find or obtain again, you may want to consider keeping the item in a container designated for that type of item. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Is it beautiful, useful or loved?
Are you keeping something that you think is hideous because it was a gift to you from someone special? Don’t. Only surround yourself with things that bring you joy. Most likely, the person that gave you the gift would not want you to keep it if they knew you did not like it. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Can I identify specific use?
Do you keep things because you might “need them someday?” That is fine if you #1, have the space to keep the items and #2 know what you are going to do with the item. If you are keeping something for the express purpose of keeping it, consider that item a little harder. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Does it reflect the person I was or the person I am now?
Are you keeping things that were important to you in the past, but really do not have the same meaning anymore? Does your space reflect who you are or who you were? Get rid of things that no longer hold meaning for you. If you answer “am” put in your Reference system; if “was” then Toss.

What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I get rid of this?
This one is one of my favorite questions! If you can ask yourself this question and find that you can live with the answer, then it can make it easier to let go.

I look forward to the next edition of What Would Sandy Suggest.
To your success!

Stephanie

Stephanie runs Productive and Organized Home

Stephanie LH Calahan

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Christmas Card Donation

Do You Save All Your Christmas Cards?

Christmas card

If the answer is yes…. may I ask why?

Guilt?
Because you thought you were supposed to?
Because you want to remember who sent you a card?
Because you enjoy going back and looking at them?

There are many reasons people save cards. But think to where you are storing them.
Do you have plenty of room for them?
How often do you actually go through and enjoy them?
Are they neatly organized by year so that you can find cards you are looking for?

My guess is that most of those answers are “No”.  More than likely they are scattered in a few different places, or thrown in a big box. They might even be musty smelling by now.  You haven’t gone through them in years…. I’m I close?

I would like you to consider some options.

1) Donate your cards – There are several places that take card donations.

St Jude Hospital accepts card fronts.
Cancer Research Foundation also accepts card fronts.
Your local nursing home might have craft programs
Your child’s art teacher or pre-school, church youth program, local recreation center or adult day care center. These are all places that use them for crafts.  They can recycle the fronts of the cards.  They might use them to make gift tags or other cards.

2) Recycle them instead of throwing them away

Be sure to put them in your recycle bin if you are going to throw them away. If you are in the mood that you just have to get them out of the house now, and you don’t have the time to take them to a nursing home etc, and don’t want to or have the funds to ship them to a donation center…. don’t beat yourself up. It’s ok. Just put them in the recycle bin. They will still go to good use.

3) Crafts

Please don’t keep them yourself for crafts unless you KNOW you will use them within the next couple of months.  We are all good at saying, “Some day I will get to this, so I want to be sure to save it now”.   Donate them instead.

4) Put only the special ones in a Card Memory Album

If there are some really special ones – maybe from your mother who has passed on, and she has written a personal note – then save it. But pick and choose the really meaningful ones. There are actually greeting card albums – called “Card Memories“. I did a review on one awhile back. Heather who created this album designed it so that the card slips in and is in an “open” position. So that you can read the insides.  I would suggest for those cards that you feel you have to keep – purchase something like this and place those special cards someplace that they seem special. Then you can enjoy them.

christmas cards

5) Take pictures of them

If you want to remember them and have some guilt pangs about donating them, then take some pictures of them. Put them in groups and you will have digital memories – more than likely you will see the digital pictures much more often than you looked in that box anyway.

6) If you keep the cards to remember who sent you cards the previous year

That is an easy one. Just either make your own list of who you sent them to and who sent them to you on your computer. Or they have little card address books that have places to mark that down in.

7) They have pictures on them or in them. I can’t throw it out.

Again, think about those pictures. If they are pictures of people that you really think you need, then keep only the pictures.  But if you are keeping those pictures – plan to get them into an album.  If you have good intentions, but you still have Christmas pictures of families from 1982 that you “plan” to get into albums… well, you get the idea.

Here is an idea – for those families that you get pictures from each year and you want to watch them “grow” up in the pictures?  Then put 2 or 3 of them together…in order of the years – snap a picture to keep digitally of them… and then discard the actual picture. You have it saved…it’s ok to throw out (recycle) a picture.

Getting rid of your clutter in those boxes of old cards is one way that you can help others.  Donate….

I linked this post to these Great Link Parties

1) Keeping it Simple
2) Making the World Cuter Mondays
3) House of Grace
4) The Gypsy Corner – Three or More Tuesday

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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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Smead File System Review

I got to review this file system from Smead.  I am always up to try new ways to organize all those papers we constantly have flowing in. This is one of the areas I find that SO many of my clients have issues with also.  I tend to try different methods myself…I want to keep myself open so that I can find something that can work for everyone.  Different systems work better for different people.

This system has a unit called a Stadium File that can sit on your desk or counter.  I placed some empty folders in here so you can see the different colors in this pack of file folders and see that they have the 3 different tab positions.

There are file folders – Smead SuperTab File folders –  that you can get to go in the Stadium file. They have the 3 tabs (one left, one right, one middle) in different colors. I was sent a sample pack of pastel colors- pink, purple, blue, brown and green.  I have to admit when I reviewed this file system I primarily used the folders I already had labeled and loaded the Stadium file. I did change over these 3 folders that I hand labeled so that I could try the SuperTab File Folders sent to me. I did not find any difference from the ones I currently used – these work just fine.

I was also sent these labels – the Color Coded Labeling System Viewables Starter Kit that can be used to really make this look very professional.  They are color coded and you can print them on your computer.  I did not do this myself, but love the looks of them.  They look much better than just hand writing like I did.

I have been using this system for a couple of weeks now.
I liked it because it was very accessible…I sat it on the corner of my desk. So instead of taking papers that go in the files and putting them in a pile to file later (when I’m in a rush) it was easy to just slip the papers in this system quickly.  No drawer to open, nothing to pull out.

The only issues I have with it would be that if the folder is a little full…papers don’t just slip down easy…you have to pull the folder out a little bit and then place the paper in, so it doesn’t stick out.  It is also a little big and bulky.  I have a large desk so I was able to make a place for it.  I like it in my “Zone A” area of my desk (used frequently and daily). So for me it worked just fine. In a small location it might not be as easy to use. But on the other hand, it might work better for some who might not have room for a whole file cabinet in a small space – but could use this instead. So just a matter of how someone wants to use it.

Would I recommend this?  Yes…I have no problem recommending this to someone. If you have the space for it and like a system that is easily accessible.  I would not recommend this for long term storage, as there is a limit in space allowed for the file folder. But for current files and an “inbox” this is a great system. Will I continue to use it? Yes…I plan to leave it on my desk and use it!

Places to purchase:

1. Stadium File $18.29
-Office Depot
-Franklin Covey
-Amazon.com

2. Viewables $20.99
-Buy Online Now
-Office Depot
-Staples

3. Supertab $19.99
-Office Depot
-Staples
-Buy Online Now

Disclosure: I will receive a $20 Target gift card for doing this review.  Did that influence my thoughts?  Nope..I’ll tell it like I see it. The thoughts are my own, the pictures are my own.  The list of locations to purchase the merchandise I did get from Buttoned Up.

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School Papers

June 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, Family & Friends, How To Organize, Paper

Simple Steps to Decrease the Paper Clutter

 

Papers from school can be harder to deal with than if someone came in and dumped a garage truck full of trash in your driveway. Why? Because they are personal! Your children did them, worked on them and created them. That is why so many mom’s have trouble getting rid of them. They just love to see what their child has accomplished.
So can you keep everything all your kids do from the time the start school until they finish? Sure…if you want to live in a trash zone or store them in a storage unit so they can rot in there.
No..of course you can’t, and better yet, there is no reason you should.

Should you keep a few special papers each year so that you can enjoy them and they can see them when they grow up? Certainly! But only a few.

Here is a guideline to help you decide what papers to keep and what to get rid of.

ONE PAPER PER MONTH PER CHILD.

How is that for simple? It gives you a limit, a guideline and a goal. Can you keep less than that….YES!!

But what if they have 1 really good picture that won a school coloring contest and then an A+ on their first big report, but they are in the same month? Ok…no problem, go back through the other months and decide on which one is not as important to keep as these.
So really it is 12 papers a year. Yes…you can use the summer months as a cushion.

Don’t keep all the worksheets that they do. They are worksheets..just to learn.
Look for the stories they wrote by themselves.
Look for the pictures they did not trace, but drew themselves.
Look for the reports they worked months on and were so proud of.

So what do you do with all the other pictures they drew, science fair projects with huge poster boards?

Take a picture!! Just like the above pictures. My triplets were thrilled to pose with their projects and loved that I liked them enough to take pictures of them. They don’t care if they don’t have that big poster shoved back in some cubby space in the basement anymore. They still have the memories..and that is all we need too.
You can scan them into your computer if small enough and you have the memory space on your computer.

You can create a photo book from some of these online places like Snapfish. Peter Walsh shared this idea on one of his Oprah shows. He said take pictures of their art work (you can put more than one of their pictures in the photo) and then at the end of each school year create one of these photobooks with their art work. There is room to write in the book accomplishments, teacher’s names, accomplishments for the year. This would be much nicer for them to have when they are older than a box full of papers.

You can have a bulletin board that you keep a special paper of the day or of the week on to showcase it if its a little special and they worked hard on it that week. This will make them feel proud. Then when you take it down, if its not that most special paper of the month…throw it away. (They do not need to see you physically throw it away, nor do you have to tell them – they will just be thrilled their new picture is up now.)

If you keep everything….then nothing will seem special!!

Keeping big boxes of papers to give your children is a burden not a gift. They have to deal with getting rid of all the papers you felt to guilty getting rid of.
Being handed one box of things that goes from k-12 is not so bad, and photo books would be even better.

Remember, it is not like you are saying your child isn’t special or you don’t like the work they do by throwing it away. But keeping everything is not feasible if you want to have a home that is comfortable and not cluttered.

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