5 Kinds of Paper to Get Rid of…Now!


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Can you relate?

If you have trouble determining what paperwork stays and goes, you’re not alone! This is a challenge for so many. Here are 5 kinds you can clear your home of right now!

  • Manuals and warranties for items you no longer even own! This can include that old oven you replaced a year ago, a car you traded in in 2009, and the Barbie dreamhouse you assembled 3 Christmases ago.
  • Receipts for items that are either no longer returnable or that you no longer own.
  • Outdated homework, permission slips, and fundraising flyers that always come home weekly in your kids’ backpacks.
  • Irrelevant notes and hand-outs from past meetings and conferences from long ago.
  • Tax returns that are older than 7 years. Yes, the IRS says it’s okay! One note: if they are business returns, consult your CPA or tax accountant first.)

What’s the hardest thing about dealing with paper? Share with us in the comments!

How to Pack Like a Pilot!

My dad is a retired commercial airline pilot. The great benefit of this was that we, as a family, got to travel quite a bit more than the average American family. The downside – flying ‘Space Available’, as in, only if there were 4 empty seats for us did we get on the flight.

The result of growing up flying nothing but Space Available is that you never have the luxury of checking baggage. My sister and I were raised with the golden rule of ‘If you want to take it, you’d better be able to carry it!’

There is nothing like the combination of having a pilot dad and only being able to take what you could carry that trains you into a lean, mean packing machine. If you doubt, ask me about living in France for 6 weeks out of only 2 carry-ons.

Airline pilot hurrying from gate to gate

Having given you that background, here are a few hard-and-fast guidelines I’ve used over the years. Let’s fly!

  • Choose a color palette for your outfits, so that all of the clothing you pack can be mixed and matched.
  • Choose a comfortable but presentable ‘flying outfit’ and wear it for both your departure flight AND your return flight. (And a gentle reminder, here: The world is not our pajama party. ‘Nuf said?)
  • Yes, we’re allowed to take 3 ounce bottles of liquids and gels. But 3 ounces is a lot more than it sounds like – 3 ounces of hair serum would last you months. See if you can pare down to 1oz and 2oz bottles. If you’re staying more than a week or two, buy liquids once you arrive.
  • If you have a front zippered compartment on your luggage, this is a great place for your quart-sized bag of liquids, your boarding pass, and a scarf/wrap. Airports and planes are notoriously cold. This also allows easy access of these items, which speeds you through security.
  • Use every inch of space in your bag. Stuff socks, underwear, and rolled belts in packed shoes.
  • If you travel fairly often, it might be worthwhile to buy smaller versions of your hairdryer, flat iron, or curling iron. Or if you’re visiting family or friends, see if you can use theirs!
  • Though trendy, the ‘train case’ style of cosmetics bag is one of the bulkiest. Try one of the roll-up bags that hang from a towel rod.

Do you have any packing tips and tricks you’ve discovered? I’d love to hear from you – feel free to share in the comments!

Now that I’m Organized….

“It’s unbelievable how much time you can waste if your tackle’s not organized. In 2003, I had my worst season. Then during the off-season, I went to work on my tackle, got it organized, and I was back in 2004. I finished second in the Classic and was Angler of the Year the next year. Now that I’m organized, I’m five times more efficient.”
Bassmaster Elite Pro Aaron Martens
Source: ESPN

Best Productivity Tip Ever? Say NO!

I saw this quote a few days ago on Twitter from author Richard Doetsch (www.richarddoetsch.com)…


 ’Learn how to say no without having to explain why.’


I know many of my clients, especially my moms, really struggle with this. They are constantly bombarded with requests to lead a scout troop, chair a school committee,  manage a field trip, run a carpool. And many feel they are powerless to say no. If they do say no, they feel the need to apologize and justify the reason why not.

One of my personal ‘rules’ is this: ‘If you don’t respect your own calendar, don’t expect others to do.’

Do you have difficulty saying no? Why do you think that is?


15 Organizing Projects in 15 Minutes or less!

Decluttering and organizing a whole room or a whole house can seem too hard or overwhelming, right? But if you can identify little 15 minute chunks of time, here are 15 mini-organizing projects to get you on your way.

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(These time chunks might be found while waiting for your kids to finish their homework, get ready for lacrosse practice, while you’re waiting for the pizza delivery guy…..)

  • Go through as many books as you can and pull out any you have owned for 6+ months but never read OR that you know you won’t reread
  • Whiz through your fridge door for expired or never used condiments
  • Still have baby spoons and sippy cups but your kids are in middle school? Clear ‘em out!
  • Grab a trash bag and clear out the wrappers, traveler cups, and Starbucks cup sleeves from your car!
  • Go through your desk and toss any nubby pencils and pens that have dried out
  • Take an honest look at your cosmetics – toss any colors and products you can’t remember when you last wore!
  • Donate 5 pieces of clothing that either don’t fit or that you don’t make feel good
  • Check the expiration dates on all of your over-the-counter meds! Don’t forget the first aid stuff like Neosporin!
  • Pull out 5-10 books your child has long outgrown
  • Toys that are obviously broken? Gather ‘em all up!
  • Pull out and recycle all those chargers for phones you no longer have!
  • That basket of catalogs? Toss all but the most current versions
  • Unsubscribe from as many unwanted newsletters and shopping sites as you can
  • Grab up all those hotel toiletries and drop them off at a women’s shelter
  • Corral those loose spice and flavoring packets in the pantry into a basket or bin

Before & After: Johns Creek Storage Room

Very frequently, areas like basements and storage rooms are low priority because they rarely impact daily living. This was definitely the case with this new client in Johns Creek, who reached out to us for help on her overloaded storage room.

She had all the things necessary to make great progress – high motivation to get the project done, a willingness to make a change, and the confidence to ask for help!

Take a look at her storage room before (click pictures for larger image):

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Stressful to look at, isn’t it?

Furniture, extra home improvement supplies like boxes of tile, and over 75 paint cans – check it out!

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Paint from many home decor projects!

We worked together to make decisions that best fit her needs and her current life – always the most important step! Once those decisions were made, we moved forward with creating a storage system using totes and shelving that she already had.

Now, our very happy client has a clear, organized storage room that makes sense, reflects her family’s current needs, and even has room to grow!

Check it out now!

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Does it look the same room?

I am thrilled with how this room turned out. But more importantly, both my client and her husband are over-the-moon and couldn’t be more excited. And that’s the best part of my job!


Rockin Those Resolutions: Week 3 – Get More Exercise!

This month, we’re talking tips and tricks to help you finally reach that New Year’s Resolution. If you’re just joining us, feel free to check out Week 1: SMART Goals and Week 2: Eating More Healthfully. This week, we tackle another Resolution: Getting More Exercise.

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Psst: This one makes your back feel great!

Tip 1:

Find the time. We all have the same amount of time – some just use it more wisely.  How much TV do you watch? Surf the internet? What can you give up in order to prioritize time for exercise?
Tip 2: Prepare the evening before. If you go the gym, make sure you have a bag packed with everything you’ll need to hit the gym the next day. Gym clothes, towel, an extra pair of ear buds, yoga mat, etc.

Tip 3:

If you’re joining a gym, see if you can find a gym on your regular route from work to home. It’s so much harder to skip the gym after work if you have to drive right by it!

Tip 4:

Above all, be creative! If you can’t allot a full hour’s block during the day, break it up! Take the dog for a brisk walk in the morning before work, then a 30 minute yoga session after the kids are in bed.

Tip 5:

Find a friend or neighbor to be a workout partner – it’ll help you accountable – to yourself and to each other!

Resolution: Organizing Tips for Healthful Eating

Last week,we talked about setting SMART goals. Did you resolve to change your eating habits for the better? Here are some tried-and-true tips to help you get there!

Tip 1: Create a snack box. Once or twice a week, fill a plastic shoe box with pre-portioned healthy snacks – grapes, carrot sticks with hummus, low-fat string cheese, whatever snacks fit within your goal. Use this box, too, to help pack your lunchbox full of the good stuff.

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Healthy snacks, ready to grab and go!

Tip 2: Eliminate the temptations. This one is a bit harder when you have kids, but it can be done! If certain foods don’t fit in with your goal, don’t keep it in the house. Keep only healthy food in the house, and you will only eat healthy food!

Tip 3: Plan your lunches by the week. The fastest way to break your resolution of eating more healthfully is to not have a plan in place. If you can, cook and portion out your lunches a week at a time. This, plus the Snack Box, will give you no other option than healthful eating.

Tip 4: Watch out for ‘liquid junk’, even the ‘healthier’ ones. Americans consume almost 33% of our calories through beverages. Vitamin Water has even more calories (120) than a regular Coke (85), and two of its top three ingredients? SUGAR.

Resolved to Keep Your Resolutions? Read on!

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions! Most of us make them, even if only on the subconscious level of ‘this year, I really should….’ Reaching any goal takes two things: planning and organization. So this month, our blog will feature some of the most common resolutions and some organizing and planning tips to help you reach your goal.

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General tips:

#1: Write down your goal, and let everyone know it! Studies have shown that the more public we are with our goal, the more we’re likely to reach it. Use supportive family and friends as friendly accountability.

#2:  Set a SMART goal.

S – Specific: Instead of a generic ‘get healthier’, try ‘eating more healthfully’ or ‘getting in more exercise’.

M – Measurable: Nail it down. Instead of ‘I will eat more healthfully by eating less meat’, try ‘I will eat 3 meatless meals per week.’

A – Attainable: Eating more healthfully, getting more exercise, quitting smoking are all attainable by most people. ‘I will fly to the moon’….not so much.

R – Realistic: Be kind to yourself. This is not a time to beat yourself up or change everything about your lifestyle at once. That’s a recipe for certain failure. If weight is a concern, losing 10 pounds in 3 months may be realistic. Losing 100 pounds in 3 months is not.

T – Timely: Set a deadline. Losing 10 pounds in 3 months. Having your tax prep done by March 1. Be ready to run a 5K by June 1.


And just because it’s after January 1 doesn’t mean it’s too late! Any day is a good day to improve your life – the important thing is to START!

Keep your (gift) wrap wrapped!

Keep it simple. Use a section of paper towel tube split lengthwise to keep a grip on your wrapping paper!

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