Organized With Clardy

Solutions For Simplifying Your Life

Declutter Your Life: Reduce Stress, Increase Productivity, and Enjoy Your Clutter-Free Life September 27, 2012

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Right now you can get Declutter Your Life: Reduce Stress, Increase Productivity, and Enjoy Your Clutter-Free Life for FREE on your Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle device, simply download this app to read the book on your phone, PC, or iPad.

Declutter Your Life: Reduce Stress, Increase Productivity, and Enjoy Your Clutter-Free Life

Amazon Book Description

Publication Date: September 12, 2012
Michelle Stewart, author of Declutter Your Life, draws on her professional and personal experiences to craft an easy-to-follow e-book on reducing clutter in all aspects of your life. She shares personal success stories regarding home, office, and mental clutter and talks about how modern culture can lead to anxiety and depression. Declutter Your Life is full of tips for decluttering specific physical and mental areas and Stewart provides advice that can be implemented with a minimal amount of time and money.Whether the piles of stuff in your dining and bedroom areas are beginning to drive you crazy or you know you need to make some changes to your office space, this book can help. If you are tired all the time because you never have a minute to yourself or you cannot fall asleep due to racing thoughts about what you need to do the next day, this book can help. From social situations and calendar management to tips on relaxation and reducing mental stress, Michelle Stewart walks the reader through actionable steps to a more organized and reduced-stress life. With information on how to get the entire family involved in decluttering, this is the perfect manual for living a clutter-free life.

Do you have any organizing books that you would recommend?
 

An Organized Deep Freezer ~ Simplifying Meal & Menu Planning August 9, 2012

As part of my menu planning project, it was apparent that my deep freezer chest needed a major organizing overhaul. It was a jumbled mess!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After reading this blog post by Amy Bayliss at Cajun Joie de Vivre, Creative Organization: Organize Foods in the Deep Freezer w/ Printables,  I was inspired to clean out and organize my deep freeze using the method Amy Bayliss discusses.

I made my tags….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I removed everything from my freezer and sorted everything by category into reusable shopping bags.  I used the insulated, cooler bags for all of my meat products to help preserve product in case of a short power outage.

 

It is amazing how easy it is to find items now that everything is categorized and tagged!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I reserved the basket for items that we use frequently, i.e. deli meat for lunches, individually frozen snacks (never know when you will need a chocolate chip cookie!!)

 

Fortunately, I was already in the habit of labeling everything so I already had half the battle won.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will definitely make menu planning each week much easier, as well as, pulling out what I need for tomorrow’s dinner the night before.

Would love to hear your best menu planning tips and tricks…

 

 

 

Simplifying Weekly Menu Planning August 6, 2012

Today is Monday and I am going to do what I said I was going to do…I am going to plan my meals for the week.  I have a cup of my favorite coffee, I have my supplies…I am ready to get started.

Getting Organized

I use to write my meal plan out in my daily planner but I believe this is one reason I got off track before.  It was an out of sight, out of mind kind of thing.  I decided this time to go with a magnetic notepad that I can put on the front of my refrigerator…right in front of my face!

#1 large divided notepad to write out my menus – this way I can see at a glance what is going on for the week, as well as, what meat I need to pull out of the freezer when.

#1 small notepad to write out my shopping list – this also goes on the refrigerator so we can easily write down an item we use up during the week.

Menu Planning Notepads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also realized that I already have quite a bit of food on hand between my pantry and my deep freeze.  HOWEVER, this is what my deep freeze looks like…

Deep Freeze Unorganized

Yikes! who knows what is in that unorganized mess.  I do know that there is nothing older than a year in there…only because we lost all our food in a four-day power outage when hurricane Irene came through at the end of August last year.

I started searching the internet for the perfect freezer inventory printable and while I was doing that I came across this blog post by Amy Bayliss at Cajun Joie de Vivre, Creative Organization: Organize Foods in the Deep Freezer w/ Printables.

Love her ideas on organizing a freezer without the use of an inventory list!

 

 

 

 

 

Goals For The Week:

  1. Organize my deep freeze using Amy Bayliss’ method
  2. Make a menu based on the food I already have

 

Menu Plan for the Week:

Monday ~ Taco Salad with Guacamole Salad

Tuesday ~ Thai Chicken Pasta with garden salad

Wednesday ~ Leftovers

Thursday ~ Pork Chop Casserole w long grain rice

Friday ~ O.T. E (we are going out to eat with friends)

Saturday ~ Homemade pizza (sauce)

Sunday ~ Whole fryer (cooked in crock-pot) with mashed potatoes and Weeknight Dinner Rolls

 

Anybody else tackle meal planning this week?  How do you keep track of your menu?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organizing My Photos and Other Keepsakes- Finally! May 21, 2012

Organizing my photos has been on my to do list since… well forever (for four years anyway!).  I was never a photo person, I always forgot my camera, I would lose my film before I got it developed (I’m dating myself here), etc. etc. etc.  Then my girls were born almost four years ago and I have been snapping away ever since.  I have photos everywhere…on my phone, on my computer, in my e-mail, in boxes in my closet…..

Not only do I have all these photos but I have tons of other memorabilia, i.e. my baby shower invitation, first coloring page, first haircut curl, etc.  The goal was to make beautiful scrapbooks with all of these photos and keepsakes.  The girls will be four in July, so far I have their first two months of life complete in a scrapbook…ugh!

The task just seems so overwhelming….until this post from GetButtonedUp showed up in my inbox this morning, The Ultimate Guide to Curating Memories for Scrapbooking Slackers.  I have been officially motivated!!  I know that I won’t get four years worth of memories complete this week but I will make progress!!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Curating Memories for Scrapbooking Slackers

Scrapbooking.

There’s something truly wonderful about that concept, isn’t there?

The idea of gorgeous volumes, one for each major family event (or year), standing spine-to-spine on a shelf in the living room for all to enjoy is simply wonderful to imagine. Too bad reality gets in the way of those memory-curating fantasies, right? Most people are months, if not years, behind where they think they should be when it comes to organizing their pictures and mementos of good times spent with family and friends. One woman we spoke with recently figured she’s at least 6 years behind and many more still hadn’t sorted through and organized the thousand or so pictures they snapped on their last family trip.

If you’re behind, don’t despair. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for getting your memories organized.  Read more…

 

Do you have your photos organized?  If so, how do you keep up with it?

 

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If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

Teaching My Kids About Stranger Danger May 15, 2012

My girls are going to be 4 in July and their need for independence is rapidly growing.  It is getting harder and harder for me to take them out in public by myself (or even with my husband for that matter).  They are refusing to hold my hand “I do it by myself” and when I go to put them in a shopping cart I get “really moooommmm” with an eye-roll included (where do they learn this stuff at such a young age??).  It is nearly impossible to keep them contained so I can keep track of them!

Well, the final straw broke the camel’s back this past weekend where for 60 seconds I thought one of my daughters was gone.  60 seconds doesn’t sound like a long time but it was like everything moved in slow motion.  She was there and then she was just gone.  My husband and I took the girls out to a little carnival, they had snow cones, face paintings, balloons, playgrounds, a band, etc.  We were all sitting at a picnic table eating snow cones, I got up to throw my snow cone paper away and when I returned to the table Lil’ Bit was not there.  I asked my husband where she was…he said she went with you to the trash can…I told you she was following you.  Unfortunately, with the band playing it was very loud and I never heard him say Lil’ Bit was following me.  She was nowhere to be seen.  We frantically searched and yelled for her (which was all in vain because the band was so loud) and nothing!  I can’t even describe the feeling, it was such an overwhelming feeling of fear, dread and helplessness.

Fortunately, we had a happy ending.  Lil’ Bit had got up from the table to follow me to the trashcan but had been distracted by the band.  She loves to dance so she had gone up in front of the band to dance.  When the song was over she realized she was by herself and walked up to a women who looked very similar to me (hair color, height, etc) and just started holding her hand.  Thankfully, this women was a mom and realized what was going on and was able to spot us pretty easy (read: frantic parents and an identical twin sister in tow).  Well, of course I made a scene….I have never been one to stay calm under pressure….lots of sobbing ensued!  It makes me sick to think of how this story could have ended completely different.

I don’t know if it is because there have been several missing children in our area lately or because I just finished reading The Shack (highly recommend) but Stranger Danger has been on the mind lately.  So, all of this lead to me spending the day looking for the best resources for teaching my 4 year old’s how to handle Stranger Danger.  Here are my findings…..

*Just a side note – I am not endorsing any of these sites or opinions, just sharing the resources I came across….*

Online Resources:

Teach Kids How – This website gives a breakdown, by age group, of tips to assist you in the process of talking to your children.

  • Pediatrics –  Have your kids take our Stranger Danger Quiz to see if your child knows who the strangers really are.  Just because they look nice  and normal  – they are still strangers.  Unfortunately, the boogie-man isn’t always an ugly scary monster that is easy to pick out.
  • Child Care – More general safety tips such as: Parents should be cautious about blatant use of a child’s name on a back pack or jacket. Kids sometimes believe that a person can’t be a stranger if they know them by name, when the reality is that their name was easily readable on their attire or the individual heard a youngster’s name mentioned.

Momeo Magazine – Stranger Danger: Why You Need Teach Your Kids How to Fight Off an Abductor  – Set up a code word set up with your child and remind them it’s not OK to go off with anyone, even their uncle or babysitter, if they don’t say the code word. If someone other than you is picking them up from school and this has not been prearranged, tell your child to refuse to leave the principal’s office until you have been called and it’s been approved.

Free For Kids – List of websites that may help parents, teachers, grandparents, etc. teach children about stranger danger and child protection.  Coloring pages, quizzes and puzzles are provided, which are a ‘non-threatening’ way of instructing children about this often worrying threat to their personal safety. Songs and poems are also valuable tools as well as, helpful video clips and animations to reinforce the need for protecting children from strangers and to provide safety rules for kids.

Child Safety and Abuse Prevention Programs  – Child safety coloring pages, activities, games, handouts and more.

Amazon Books – has tons of books on the topic of Stranger Danger

YouTube – Stranger Danger video for kids

The Masons’ Child ID Program – We did this about a year ago, the Masons had a booth at one of the summer festivals and it took less than 10 minutes for both of my kids.  Very worthwhile (and FREE!).  This video is from a specific chapter but it is my understanding that all chapters provide this service – contact your local chapter for more info.

While I don’t want to scare my girls and make them live in fear that all strangers are evil, I also want to make sure that I prepare them adequately for whatever life throws at them…….

Would love to hear your thoughts on finding that fine line between too much and not enough preparation…….

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If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

Creating a Memory Tote For My Kids – Organizing All Their Art Work May 1, 2012

Now that my girls are in school and bringing home art projects on a regular basis, I decided it was time to put a system in place for organizing and protecting all of these projects.

To create a Memory Tote we used:

  • 18 Gal. Storage Totes – (I picked these up at Wal-Mart for $5.50 each)  You will want one for each child.
  • Legal Size File Jackets – (These are file folders with enclosed sides.  I found these at Staples for $12.49 for a 12 pack)  You will use one folder per year per child.
  • Small bin with lid – (Wal-Mart had for $1.00)  This is to hold non-paper arts & crafts.
  • 12X12 box for the inbox – (Also found at Staples on the clearance table for $3.99) This will serve as your designated arts & crafts inbox.

Memory Tote Supplies

I let my girls pick out the color of the totes and small bins and we even found matching makers to label everything!

Step 1: Get all arts & crafts into the new designated inbox. To keep them from getting mixed in with our regular inbox “stuff” I have designated a separate inbox for their projects and the girls are in charge of placing their crafts in the inbox as soon as they walk into the house with it.

Step 2: Once the inbox is full, the girls and I go through the inbox together to decide what to do with each project.  My girls are only 3 so we do not have an overwhelming amount of arts & crafts just yet but I know it is only beginning so how to decide what to keep, what to give away and what to (gasp!) throw away!

Some questions I ask myself when deciding what to do with a particular project:

1.  Is it unique to my child?  Does it show her personality off?

2.  Does it show a stage of her writing or drawing capabilities and skills?

3.  Does it represent a certain memory that is special to my child?

Step 3:  Process each paper/project…

To keep – for those projects that have been deemed worthy of keeping file into the appropriate folder.  We used one folder per kid per year.  When this folder is full we made it a rule that we cannot keep anymore projects, unless the folder is purged and room is made for the new project.

To give-away – the girls’ grandparents LOVE receiving art & craft projects from the girls in the mail.  We do not have family close-by so this is something the girls can do special for the grandparents and aunts & uncles.

To throw-away – unfortunately it is not possible to keep every sheet of paper that the girls color.  So, if the girls and I together decide to throw an item out we always take a picture of the project before tossing.  That way we can look back over all their creations without contributing to any clutter!

Seasonal art – fall is my favorite season and last fall the girls made this really cool project with trees and leaves at Sunday School.  In our living room we have frames that hold art projects.  So, instead of filing these away I  have stored them with the fall decorations so that this fall I can put them in the frames and enjoy them all over again.

Kid Art Frame

For items that are not flat/paper, place in the small bin….

Small Bin

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

Tackling My Paper Overwhelm Continued…. March 14, 2012

In my last post, I set up a new updated system for handling all the mounds and mounds of paper that is coming into our house.  The key to making this system work for me is committing to processing all the papers in my inbox on a regular basis.  Once a week is what works best for me…specifically Wednesday mornings.

Every Wednesday morning, I take my downstairs inbox and my upstairs inbox to my desk and process each paper.  The rule is I have to make a decision for each paper….I am not allowed to put it back in my inbox.  For each piece of paper, I ask myself, what is the next action that needs to happen and when?  I then sort accordingly:

To File: These papers just need filed away in the appropriate folder, for later reference, i.e. insurance papers.

Action Taken: After sorting all papers in my inbox, I immediately file this pile away in my filing cabinet.

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To Do Now:  This would include anything I needed to take action on in the next week, i.e. bills, RSVPs.

Action Taken: After sorting all papers in my inbox, I add these tasks to my day planner and file the paper in my To Do folder in my Tickler File Box (more on this below).

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To Do Later: This contains anything that needs action – but not necessarily in the next week, i.e. a catalog that contains something I want to buy, vacation information.

Action Taken:  After sorting all papers in my inbox, I move these papers to the appropriate month’s folder in my Tickler File Box (more on this below)

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Pending:  Anything in which I am awaiting a response on, i.e. receipt for a catalog order purchase that hasn’t arrived yet.

Action Taken: After sorting all papers in my inbox, I move this pile to the Pending File in my Tickler File Box.

 

Tickler File Box

Normally a Tickler File system would look something like this…

It would include a file for each month and then include a file for each day of the month.  This works great for some people but I always forget to pull my file folder in the morning and I also like to use my day planner to plan further in advance.  My Tickler File Box has a file folder for each month of the year along with a TO DO and PENDING file.  I like to use these folders from Current and a file box like this from Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I am filing away my To Do Later pile, I move the paper to the appropriate month’s folder.  For example, vacation fliers…We are planning on taking the girls to Disney World next March but I know I need to start planning this trip about 6 months in advance so I would put these vacation fliers in the September folder.  Another example, we have to pay home owner’s association fees where we live every quarter.  I know that my next payment is due May 1st so I put my payment book in the May folder.  Once I pay these fees in May, I will move it to the August folder so it will be ready to go next quarter.

To keep up with the to do’s in my monthly folders, I pull out the next month’s folder the last week of the current month and move all these tasks to my day planner and move the papers to my TO DO file.  So, around the 26th of March I will pull out my April folder and move my task over to my planner…this helps me avoid missing any deadlines.

Anybody else have success using a Tickler File Box?

 

 

 

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If you would like to Simplify Your Life, visit: www.organizedwithclardy.com for free organizing solutions, tools and resources and info on private coaching.

Sign up here for monthly tips and solutions for getting organized.  Register now and receive “Purposeful Parenting” & “Simplified Life” tips as our gift to you.

Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer

Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System

Office:(757) 809-7503    jodi@organizedwithclardy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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