Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life February 2011 – Vol. 10 No. 2
“We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough.” ~Helen Keller
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3 Timesaving Strategies for a Simpler Life It’s 9:00 p.m. As you look with weary eyes at a sink full of dishes and a pile of bills to pay, you ask yourself, “Where did the day go?”

It’s not that you didn’t try to get everything done. You were on the go all day! You even skipped your daily workout (again) in an effort to make up lost time. Why then, at the end of the day, is so much everyday stuff left unfinished?

Following are three simple strategies to help you take back your time – as much as 25-40 hours a month – and give it back to your family, friends and self.

#1 – Leverage your time.
Want more time? Forget about linear time. You can’t change the fact that there are 24 hours in a day. Instead, start implementing ways to leverage your time.

Prepare meals in advance. Spend a few hours in your kitchen over the weekend to prepare food for the week. Companies such as Dream Dinners and Super Suppers invite you to spend two hours cooking up two week’s worth of dinners.

They do all the prep work; you save time on shopping and chopping, which could add up to as much as 15-20 hours a month. You don’t have to spend time cleaning up your kitchen! And it often works out that you spend less on groceries.

Streamline your banking. Have your payroll check direct deposited and save a trip to the bank.

Check and balance your account every few days in just a few minutes instead of an hour at the end of each month.

Frequent peeks at debits and credits might also help you spot little errors before they become big, costly errors that can eat up even more of your time.
Pay bills online and save 1-2 hours a month as well as the cost of postage and checks.

Get your bills delivered via email and you’ll also spend less time opening mail and filing statements. #2 – Get connected.

Running errands can eat up a lot of time. Turn to the Internet instead and let someone else do the “running.”

Shop for groceries online and get them delivered to your home for about $10. National services include Peapod.com and Netgrocer.com.

Many supermarket chains such as Safeway and Basha’s also offer this service. You can save grocery lists to speed up subsequent orders for items you buy frequently.

Eliminate trips to the dry cleaner. Companies such as 1-800-DryClean.com will pick up and deliver your dry cleaning for about the same price as a full-service dry cleaning operation.

Buy stamps at USPS.com to avoid waiting in line at the post office. Save on gas, too! You can also print postage for Priority Mail and Express Mail envelopes and packages from your computer.
Then just drop them in a mailbox.

#3 – Delegate the dirty work.
If you can’t delegate to a family member, consider hiring out your dirty work. Think you can’t afford it? Take a closer look at your budget. Find an item (or two) you would be willing to trade off to cover or at least defray the expense of hiring a professional service.

Housekeeping. How much time do you spend cleaning your home each week? Hiring a professional cleaner can save you 2-3 hours a week. It’s one of those services that’s well worth the money. Window cleaning. Let’s face it. A professional window cleaning service will get the job done faster and probably better than you can. Put it in your budget and it’s one less job you need to find time to do.

Organizing. Are you forever looking for your keys or important paperwork? A professional organizer can help you design systems to save time while also creating a more organized living or working environment. Find an organizer near you at www.napo.net.

Favorite organizing products and resources

As a professional organizer for the last 10 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources.
Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

This month, I’d like to introduce you to organizing bliss.

Imagine having all your home and life information in one place! BLIS is a web-based management system that allows you quickly view your calendar, link to a website, pull up your family’s medical information, plan a birthday party, make a to-do list, locate the plumber’s phone number, or 1,000 (literally) other tasks.

BLIS is organized into 7 sections: Calendar, To Do & To Plan, Home, Health, Activities & Interests, My Blis and Address Book. The web pages print easily to beautifully pre-designed pages, perfect for saving hard copies in the stylish, “take and go” leather bound binder.

Check it out. It might be just what you’re looking for. Ahhhhhh. . . BLIS*.

For a look at more of my organizing favorites, visit www.unclutter.com/favorites

Shameless promotion: Thanks for your vote! Thank you for voting for my book, Organizing Plain & Simple, a finalist in the Best Organizing Book category at the upcoming LA Organizing Awards. Though my book did not win the award, I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the gala event. (It was also really nice to escape winter for a few days!)

I’d like to share with you a nice article with tips from another of my books, The One-Minute Organizer, published in the Gainesville Times.

I was also interviewed for this article on “10 Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher” published at WomansDay.com. Did you know you could wash hats in the dishwasher?

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.