Get Organized for the New Year

Is  “get organized" one of your New Year’s goals? This is the perfect time to make some life-improving resolutions. With proper planning, goals can help you fulfill your dreams — both big and small — in the coming year. Goal making allows you to evaluate the past and present and make impactful and meaningful decisions about the future. Here’s to an organized and happy new year!

DECIDE ON A GOAL. The first — and sometimes hardest — step to goal making is selecting a goal. Ask yourself, “What do I really want? How can I make myself happier?” Brainstorm a bit and come up with five to ten ideas. Then select one or two to work on. The goal doesn’t have to be daunting; in fact, it should be realistically attainable.

WRITE IT DOWN. The next step to achieving your goal is to write it down. By doing this, you are making a commitment with yourself and are more likely to follow through.

BREAK IT DOWN. As you write your goal, concentrate on the positive and make it specific and attainable. Instead of one big overwhelming New Year’s resolution (like “I will have an organized home”), try to list a series of smaller steps that will get you there in manageable increments.

MEASURE AND EVALUATE. Another key to goal-keeping success is to define ways to measure your success. By enforcing deadlines, you’ll force yourself to be accountable. Look at your goal in the short-term, mid-term, and long-term.

GET HELP. If getting organized is among your resolutions, and you feel you can't do it alone, consider contacting us for assistance. With the proper advice and encouragement, you’ll quickly be on the right path to a more productive, less stressful year!

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Archive Your Files With Ease

What shape is your filing system in? Are your filing drawers stuffed so full that it’s nearly impossible to get another piece of paper into — or out of — them? Once a year, you should take time to review your files and purge as much as possible, leaving room for next year’s papers.

1. Determine what to keep. As you sort through papers, ask yourself, “When will I really need this again?” “Can it be easily recreated or retrieved elsewhere?” Don’t hang onto things unless you have a really good reason! Be ruthless — remember, 80% of the things you file will never get referred to again!

2. Keep records retention guidelines in mind. Your accountant, attorney, or professional organizer can tell you which documents you should keep for legal purposes.

3. Keep only day-to-day paperwork at your fingertips. For rarely-used files that must be kept, archive them in an out-of-the-way area, such as a closet, basement, or off-site storage facility.

4. Some things can be immediately tossed. Instruction manuals for products you no longer own, old research materials, previous drafts of letters, out-of-date magazines and articles, and receipts for items past their return date can be discarded.

5. Stash important documents in a safety deposit box. It is imperative that you stock your safety deposit box or home safe with the following papers: adoption and citizenship papers; passports; birth, death, and marriage certificates; deeds; divorce decrees; insurance policy papers; lease agreements and loan documents; mortgage papers; personal property appraisals (jewelry, collectibles); Social Security cards; stock and bond certificates; vehicle titles; copies of wills; and powers of attorney papers. And don’t forget to LOCK your home safe. It is NOT fireproof unless the lock is engaged.

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Let’s Have A Sale

Whether you’re planning to move or simply want to cash in on your excess stuff, a garage sale (tag sale, yard sale) can be a profitable way to transfer your goods on to their next destination. However, without proper planning and organization, the day can be a disaster. Here are some tips to hold a spectacular sale:

START GATHERING YOUR GOODS EARLY. Keep a large box in the basement or garage year-round to hold household items you no longer want, need, or love. If you’re really industrious, keep some pricing stickers and a pen in the box so you can price as you stow.

ADVERTISE. Make large, colorful signs. Be sure to list the date, time, and place, as well as the types of items you have for sale (kids’ clothing and toys, furniture, tools, collectibles, etc.) Place the signs in high-traffic intersections within a few miles of your home. Consider running an ad in your local paper’s classified section. Place flyers at local stores where allowed.

SET UP THE SALE. Give yourself at least two days to get the tables set up and items arranged and priced. Make sure everything is clean and attractive. Group similar items together: put stuffed animals in a wagon, arrange household items on tables, place books and tapes/CDs neatly in boxes, display toys at kids’ eye level, and hang clothing on racks. Put big-ticket items, like furniture, tools, and larger kids’ toys, near the edge of the driveway to attract passersby.

BE SURE TO PRICE EVERYTHING. People are often too shy to ask. Attract people with balloons and banners. And have a “free” box prominently placed.

DON’T FORGET THE LITTLE THINGS. Make sure you have enough change, especially ones and fives, and a calculator handy. Have bags and newspaper for packing breakables. Play upbeat music on your boombox. Have lemonade and popcorn for sale to prolong browsing. Hand out free candy to kids if okay with parents.

COUNT YOUR CASH AND CONSIDER DONATING. After the sale, donate the leftover items to charity rather than returning them to your house. Many charities will pick up all unsold items. 

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

What Is Home Staging?

Staging:

A process of neutralizing, decluttering, organizing, and beautifying — allows potential buyers to picture themselves living in the house by tapping into their emotions. Staging also starts the “letting go” process for the sellers, as they transform their beloved home to a more neutral-looking home.

A staged home looks similar to a model home. For examples of how your home should look to get the best price, visit some local model homes during their open house periods.

Staging will help you sell your home quickly, at the best possible price. A 1999 Palo Alto real estate survey found that staged houses sold in an average of 14 days for 6.32% more than the asking price, while unstaged houses sold in an average of 31 days for only 1.6% over the asking price. Even if you’re just thinking about moving, it is never too early to start. You’ll have plenty of time to stage your home, and you’ll get to enjoy your improvements for a while, too! And remember: many improvements related to moving can be tax deductible, including the fees for staging your home! Check with your accountant for more details.

Professional stagers assist homeowners by offering advice on clutter clearing, furniture placement, creating “emotion” settings, and much more. Stagers also offer an objective view of a home — a fresh eye and perspective.

Some stagers own and rent out furnishings if a homeowner needs higher-quality or more neutral decor. These professionals are called “full-service stagers.” Other stagers work with what you already own, making recommendations for purchases of only small-priced items when necessary — perhaps a new shower curtain to brighten a dingy bathroom, a beautiful vase full of fresh flowers to welcome visitors in the entryway, or a sparkling new kitchen faucet to add visual interest. Home stagers can tell you:

• what buyers are looking for in a new home

• how to give your home curb appeal

• which inexpensive improvements will add value to your home

• which expensive improvements could be poor investments 

• room-by-room staging suggestions

Hiring a professional stager is a great investment, ensuring a quick and lucrative home sale.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Getting Kids Organized For School

“Getting organized” is more than eliminating clutter and creating neat storage systems. One of the most important areas of organizing is task management. It’s never too early (or too late) to teach kids how to get and stay organized with schoolwork. The skills they learn now will carry over into high school, college, and ultimately, their careers and home management as adults.

Establish a great homework routine. With your child, determine the best time for daily school work and stick with it. For some kids, it will be right after school. Others may need some downtime to play, and then it’s time to hit the books. The most important thing is to stick to the schedule so your child knows what’s expected.

Set up the space. Have a designated study area, such as the kitchen table. But for unique assignments, allow for some flexibility such as moving to a rocking chair for reading chapter books. Create a school supply box and keep it well stocked with supplies (paper, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, ruler, sticky notes, calculator, etc.) so kids don’t have an excuse to get up.

Make sure you know what’s going on at school. Instruct children to unload their backpacks as soon as they come home. Have them hang up their bags in a designated area (try a coat rack, pegs on the wall, or a wicker laundry basket near the front door). This allows for easy access the next day. They should bring homework to the designated study area. Check in each day so you’re aware of their workload and take special care when they seem overwhelmed.

Encourage the use of lists and planners. The older kids get, the more homework and activities they’ll have. Teach them to manage their tasks with the use of simple lists or a planner/calendar of some sort. Office supply stores sell ones with cute kid-friendly designs, or use computer lists (or even smartphones) for techie kids. When they learn of upcoming assignments, tests, or events, they should write them down in their planners.

Encourage color coding. Color affects our mood and memory. Let kids pick the colors of their folders and notebooks to correspond to different classes. If green reminds them of science, then they’ll know instantly to grab the green notebook when looking for their science notes.

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Move Madness (No More!)

I recently had the opportunity to help a family preparing to move. The husband was offered a great career opportunity, and was looking forward to new adventures ahead in the new state.  His wife was thrilled for her husband, but also sad to leave her community and therefore, understandably, less excited about the move.  They had reached a plateau in decision-making about which belongings to move –vs- what to donate, etc.  These decisions are difficult to begin with, but the added pressure of a strict deadline meant they needed reinforcements.

It was rewarding for me to come on to the scene with a fresh perspective and the boost of energy they needed.  Once we talked and developed our plan of attack, things started moving quickly.  They were literally ready to lighten their load and I was happy to help.  In just a few hours we had sorted the entire garage and most of the attic.  We arranged for donation pick-up and had the rest of the items ready for the movers.   “Jane” said: “In six hours you managed to accomplish what would have taken us 3 weeks”. 

It was very gratifying to help ease some of the burden for this family.  They were so wonderful to work with… I’m sad they moved away.  : )          -Sharon