Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Organizing Tips

These tips will help guide you through a simplified, stress-free holiday season. Well, almost stress-free...unfortunately we can't de-clutter your house guests!
Tip #1 - Be Prepared
1. Create a holiday planner. Use a basic multi-subject notebook. Create sections for gift lists, holiday card lists, menu planning, decorating, coupons, etc. Bring it with you everywhere, so you can always reference it or add to it.
2. Schedule realistically. You don't have to say "yes" to every invitation. Leave time for yourself and stick to the routines that keep you stress-free, like going to the gym and getting a good nights' sleep.
3. Do a wardrobe check. Make sure you have the perfect party outfit. Stock up on a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched.
4. Hire a cleaner. Arrange to have a cleaner come a few days before your guests. Then you'll only have to worry about doing some last minute tidying.

Tip #2 - Shop Smart
1. Start shopping early. Many retailers are already offering holiday discounts. Do your homework. Make a list and check it twice. Include a budget. This will cut down on wasted trips to the mall and over-spending.
2. Shop Online. Online retailers allow you to shop around and find the best prices. Many retailers are now providing free shipping. Visit our Holiday Resources page for some coupons and gift suggestions.

For a complete list of holiday tips, please visit our website:

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Don't Toss, Recycle!

Does your office have a paper recycling program? If not, it's easy to set one up. There are many recycling companies that will pick up barrels of paper for a small fee. In Massachusetts, I am a fan of Earthworm recycling. But, there are companies nationwide. All you need to do is make a phone call, order some plastic recycling bins (or put a sign on regular trash bins to designate them as paper only), and put them under everyone's desk. I first did this at a small company (40 employees) I worked for 10 years ago. A few people teased me, and my boss was reluctant, but I pushed for it and got the program going. The first month the recycling program sent me a report. We had saved 35 trees that month (that's almost one tree per person!). The company still uses the system today. In 10 years – that's over 4,200 trees saved! All I did was take initiative. You can, too!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How to Set up an Effective Paper Filing System

First…make sure you have a good quality, full suspension file cabinet, with enough space to hold all of your files.

To Begin
Use separate filing drawers for business and personal files.
Use 5-tab, letter size hanging file folders and 3-tab manila file folders to go inside.
Use headers and sub-headers to divide the files into categories.
Name the files the way you think of them.
Label the tabs well.
File alphabetically if that works for you, otherwise file by category.
To save space, open and unfold documents (bank statements, stock reports, etc).
Staple documents, do not paperclip them.

To Maintain
Regularly weed out old files.
Only current files should be in your file cabinet. Keep long term, archival files in a cardboard or plastic box and put away. Date and label the box.

For a complete list on managing your paperwork, please email us at

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Spring is here!

With a temperature of 60 degrees here in Boston today, I found myself pulling out my bins of summer clothes and trying things on for fit. (Sadly, not everything fit as we as last year). Now is a great time to asses your wardrobe and purge clothing.

Use these following guidelines:
1. If you haven’t worn it all winter, toss it! There is no sense in letting them waste valuable storage real estate for another year.
2. If it doesn’t fit, toss it! Be realistic about the clothes that you are keeping in hopes of fitting into them again. If you do lose weight, wouldn’t you rather treat yourself to a nice, new outfit?
3. The same rules apply to shoes. Those boots that were oh-so-cute last fall are still sitting in the box, unworn and the shoes that you wore every day are water-stained and completely worn out. Don’t worry, there will be plenty more cute boots next fall.

To help let things go with ease, just think of all the cute spring outfits you can buy to replace them!

10 Traits that Make you Filthy Rich

This article appeared in the Wall Street Journal last week. The #3 trait on the list was "Organization".

The article states:
"Being organized can make you more productive and ensure that all the many issues pertaining to personal finances are addressed.
It means not paying late fees, not buying two of everything, knowing deadlines that can affect your finances and getting more done in less time. All these can greatly benefit your finances."

Think beyond your physical space. Are you paying late fees for overdue bills? Think of how much this is costing you. Getting organized will save you money!

Monday, January 7, 2008

As the daily juggle moves into '08, what's hot, what's not

Boston Globe
December 30, 2007

As the daily juggle moves into '08, what's hot, what's not
By Maggie Jackson

The word of the year is overload. Will 2008 bring a cure?

Work hours for many keep creeping up - and vacations are going the way of the rotary telephone. We live in a time of communications on steroids - and the off-button doesn't limit the onslaught. It's a noisy, hyper, workaholic era, and yet I see a few gratifying signs that we're tiring of overload, speed, and limitless living.

These embryonic changes surfaced in 2007, and I predict they will gain strength in the coming year and hold the potential to remap our careers, home lives, and even our mind-sets. Here's a peek at the trends to watch, beginning with the state of careers after the walls came tumbling down - the walls of work, that is.

Fluidity is in. Piecemeal flexing is out. How can flexible work arrangements be so popular yet so passé? Listen to Cathleen Benko, vice chairman and chief talent officer at Deloitte & Touche, and you'll begin to understand. She helped invent a companywide approach to career management that is creating a stir across corporate America. After noticing that employee satisfaction was declining slightly despite 69 different flexible work programs, Benko and other executives took a radical step.

In brief, they realized that workplaces still operate largely on Industrial Age models of uninterrupted, male careers and mom-based care giving. These days, Generation Y wants time off to volunteer and dual-earner parents struggle to do it all, and yet "flexible work" -now available to 65 percent of employees nationwide - is largely treated as an exception to the norm, granted if you have a willing manager.

Instead, Deloitte's "Mass Career Customization" program, despite its rather clunky name, assumes that flexibility is the new norm. Deloitte now talks of a "career lattice," not a ladder, with many paths leading to different kinds of success. Scale back to care for an elderly parent, for instance, then return to the fast track. By the end of next year, all 40,000 US-based Deloitte employees will be able to customize their careers by periodically adjusting their work pace, job setting and schedule, workload, and company role under the program.

If the program succeeds, workers and employers gain a framework for holistically managing fluid 21st-century careers, plus a new means of tackling overload. "Policies alone are not enough," says Ellen Kossek, a Michigan State University professor who studies alternative work and is the coauthor of a new book, "Ceo of Me," on "flex-styles," from integration to "volleying" back and forth between home and work.

Career fluidity is coming. Parents land good jobs after years out of work, bosses care less about where you toil, and career customization and a new lexicon of flex-styles can inject some needed consistency and individuality into the messy arena of today's work. What we need next, as we chart our course, is to better see the road ahead.

De-cluttering is in. Multitasking is out. Sarah Buckwalter organizes homes and offices for a living. What does her Boston business have to do with our daily juggle? Clearly, finding your birth certificate or car keys quickly is a plus, but more important, she and other professionals see, as I do, a rising desire for simplicity - in possessions and in life.

"I think people are still frenzied," says Buckwalter, owner of Organizing Boston. "But people are aware of the fact that they don't have to be so frenzied, that they can have a choice."

Says Mary Carlomagno, owner of the Hoboken, N.J.-based organizing business, Order: "The organizing trend is all about taking stock. It's taking stock of your life, of your relationships, of your time."

Watch for the word "de-clutter" in 2008. People are increasingly tired of hyper-connectivity, information overload, excessive work hours. As I noted in past columns, companies are trying to boost face time and creative "white space" to offset the diffusion and fragmentation of virtual, hyper-interrupted work days. Workers are rethinking gadget addiction, and asking whether constantly chopping up and switching tasks is all that efficient.

"Americans value efficiency, achievement, success, busy-ness, and it makes our society very rich but deprives us of an internal sense of peace and contentment," says Margaret Hothem, a professor of recreation and leisure at Gordon College in Wenham. She has been trying to slow down by "monotasking" more.

Yet can a society that devalues rest learn to de-clutter? More than half of Americans say they don't use up their vacation time, reports staffing firm Hudson. When we do take brief breaks, we tote work along. We need to see the benefit of sometimes slowing down in daily life, and over our long careers.

At a recent end-of-year staff meeting at the Families and Work Institute in New York, anyone who'd used up their vacation days got to put on a humorous light-up crown. Only two people couldn't be anointed, including president Ellen Galinsky. She had to work through one scheduled break this year to tackle a work crisis, although she usually takes her vacation time. "There's this image of a career as a marathon that you cannot stop running until you keel over," says Galinsky. "But the people who train for marathons do take time to rest and recover."
She spoke the day before leaving for a nearly two-week family vacation to the Caribbean - without her laptop.

Alternative to the yearly clothing purge...

If you're lucky like I am and have an awesome little sister who buys you cool new clothes for Christmas...well, you might need to purge a bit to make room in your closet.

Or, if you're handy...installing a double hanging rod is a great way to maximize your closet storage space. :-) They are available at Home Depot and very reasonably priced. ($22 for a 5' shelf and rod).

Also, the Container Store is having a 30% off sale on their Elfa closet systems this month. They will help you put together a design based on the dimensions. You can also hire a Professional Organizer to help with the design (we also do the installation).

Good luck!