September 2004
Vol. 2, No. 9

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”

–Epictetus, Roman philosopher

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Organizing for every day

One of the best things about being organized is being able to save time. If you can save time doing mundane stuff, you have more time for the fun stuff in life.

Following are five ways to organize and save time on the everyday stuff that can really bog you down:

1. Purchase necessities online.

Many supermarkets are offering online grocery services. Here in the Phoenix area, you can order groceries 24 hours a day from Basha’s Supermarkets and they will deliver within 24 hours for $9.95. Do a Google search to find online grocers in your area.

I order all of my office supplies online from one of two major stores, both of which deliver orders over $50 for free and often send me discount coupons. By the way, you can find good discount offers for lots of online stores at http://www.jumpondeals.com

I also order my favorite makeup direct from the manufacturer, which saves me a trip to the mall department store. I’m not a big shopper so I don’t go there often and it’s a one-hour return trip for me. I figure the cost of shipping if far less than the cost of my time.

2. Double recipes.

It’s only my husband and I in our household, but I will occasionally double recipes and freeze half for an easy dinner another night. I also use my vacuum-seal Foodsaver to freeze individual portions of leftovers for those nights when one of us has to fend for ourselves.

3. Organize your online passwords.

Roboforms allow you to store up to 30 user IDs and passwords plus all of your personal contact information for free. So all you have to do is click on “Fill forms.” Check it out at http://www.roboform.com/index.html

4. Take five minutes at the end of each day to write a “To Do” list for tomorrow.

Use your list not so much as a way of remembering things you need to do, but as a way of getting them done. Start by asking yourself: If I could accomplish only one thing, what would it be? That’s your first priority.

Number each item on your list in order of priority and stick to your priorities. The more you can stay focused on the task at hand, the more you can accomplish – and the more free time you’ll have at the end of the day.

5. Ask for help.

Think about everything you do at home and at work and ask yourself: Does this require my personal doing? Or could someone else do it? For example, at home you can divvy up household chores by making a list and asking family members to choose the chores they least mind doing. You might discover that someone actually enjoys a chore that you detest!

Next month: Favorite kitchen organizing tips

To read back issues, go to: http://www.unclutter.com/newsletter


September 8 is National Fight Procrastination Day. What are you procrastinating about?

A good way to get started is to take five minutes today to write a list of the tasks involved with the project. Star the task needs to be done first.

Then get your calendar out and schedule in 15 minutes tomorrow – or as soon as you are able – to work on that task. If it’s important enough to be on your “to do” list, it’s important enough to make time for.

Repeat this process for each task until the project is complete.

SURVEY RESULTS: Misplacing things

Last month, I asked: “How often do you misplace things?” As promised, here are the results of that survey:

43% said: Pretty much every day
30% said: Once in awhile
27% said: Hardly ever

Thanks to all of you who responded.

More than once, several readers mentioned that the tendency to misplace things seems to worsen with age.

Having a place to put everyday things such as your keys, mail and cell phone helps as long as you train yourself to put those things where they belong – now, not later.

Another little trick is to never place a larger object on top of a smaller object. That tip comes from my professional organizer friend, Harriet Schechter, author of Let Go of Clutter.

NEW SURVEY: Preparing for the winter holidays

When do you start shopping and preparing for the winter holidays?

a. Right after they’re over (for the next year)
b. Throughout the year
c. One to two months before
d. Days or weeks before
e. At the very last possible moment

TO RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, Please DO NOT REPLY to this message. Send an e-mail to editor@unclutter.com with the word “Survey” and your letter answer in the subject line. Feel free to include comments in the body of your e-mail. I really enjoy reading them.

I will share the results of this survey in the next issue.

READERS WRITE: Organizing school papers

This is was my first year to have a child in public school.  So many papers were sent home from the school to remind parents of upcoming field trips, parent-teacher conferences, musical and theatrical events, money due for various projects, etc., and the papers were all over the counter.

I had trouble keeping track of all the different dates. So I found a clipboard and placed it on the counter next to the refrigerator. I place the first activity to remember on top and then stack the rest of the papers in date sequence.

Every morning when making lunches for school, I review the clipboard to see what the next activity is so that I can get myself and the children ready for it.  I know where the vital school information is right away and the clipboard has removed a lot of the clutter from our kitchen counter.

–Submitted by Karen Moss, Jackson, New Jersey

WRITE TO WIN an autographed copy of my most recent book!

Do you have a question about uncluttering ororganizing? Or a really great organizing tip that you would like to share with other readers?

Send an e-mail to editor@unclutter.com with “Readers_Write” in the subject line. (Please DO NOT REPLY to this message.)

I try to answer all questions and, if your question or tip is used in a future issue of this newsletter, I will send you a free autographed copy of my latest book, Organizing Plain & Simple. Check it out at http://www.unclutter.com/books.html.

SHAMELESS PROMOTION: New organizing book out!

My latest book, The One-Minute Organizer, will be available this month in book stores everywhere.

This hefty little tips book, which was written especially for busy people, is based on the premise that you don’t have to stop everything to get organized; you just have to start.

I will be touring the country in September and October with stops in Dallas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, Lexington, Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York and Philadelphia.

My Web site is currently being updated with upcoming events. Meanwhile, I want to personally invite you to
attend or tune in for any of the following:

9/15   9:00-10:00 Good Morning Texas (ABC) – Live segment to air sometime during show

9/15   7:30 p.m. Book Signing
Borders Parker & Preston
1601 Preston Road
Plano, TX
(972) 713-9857

9/17   7:00 p.m. Book Signing
Borders Fashion Plaza
132 E. Winchester
Murray, UT
(801) 355-6327

9/18   6:15 a.m. KMGH-TV (ABC)

9/18   2:00 p.m. Book Signing
Borders Arapahoe Crossings
6606 S Parker Rd
Aurora CO
(303) 680-4023

9/27   6:00 p.m. Book Signing
Davis-Kidd Booksellers
387 Perkins Rd Ext
Memphis, TN
(901) 683-2032

9/28   6:00 p.m. Book Signing
Davis-Kidd Booksellers
869 North Parkway
Jackson, TN
(731) 661-9775

9/29   6:00 p.m. Book Signing
Davis-Kidd Booksellers
Graces’ Plaza
4007 Hillsboro Rd
Nashville, TN
(615) 783-0218

9/30   12:30 p.m. “Let’s Do Lunch” WLEX-TV

9/30   7:00 p.m. Book Signing
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Lexington KY
(859) 422-1424

10/4   WGNU Radio “Atlanta Issues” 30-minute interview

10/4   7:00 p.m. Book Signing
Borders East Cobb
4475 Roswell Road
Marietta, GA 30062

10/6   6:00 p.m. Talk & Signing (& Free Books while supplies last!)
Lord & Taylor
424 Fifth Ave
New York, NY
RSVP (212) 391-3008

10/8   7:30 p.m. Book Signing
Chester County Book Co.
West Goshen Center
975 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA
(610) 696-1661

9/20   9:00-10:00 a.m. Pacific Time “Get Wise — Get Organized!” radio show at World Talk Radio. We will be highlighting tips from my new book, The One-Minute Organizer.

Please visit
http://www.worldtalkradio.com/show.asp?sid=94  to listen to the show. You may also call-in to ask questions during the show at 888-514-2100.

Just a reminder: If you would like to get a signed copy of one of my current books, go to: http://www.unclutter.com/books.html

Click on the SignedCopy.com logo to purchase a signed copy directly from my Web site and have it delivered right to your door!

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