Have you ever made a conscience effort to save money during the holiday season? Pretty tricky, right; because what you typically have to forfeit to save money, is time. Vice-versa, if you try to save time during the holidays you generally end up spending more money. How can you save time and money during the holiday season?
First, DON’T, NEVER, EVER go holiday shopping without a plan and a budget. Taking a little bit of time to think about what you really need will make a huge difference on your wallet and on your stress level and ultimately save you are great deal of time. Write down some of these things to give yourself a general idea of what you really have to purchase.
- Who do you have to give a gift? Bosses or co-workers, gift exchanges or white elephant gifts, hostess gifts for holiday parties, etc.
- Who would you like to give a gift? Family, friends, gifts to donate. Jot down a few ideas for each person.
- How much do you have to spend? Be realistic. Think about how you are going to feel when you receive your credit card bills in January if you overspend, then make a reasonable budget with that feeling in mind.
- Don’t forget to budget the incidentals. Wrapping paper, bows, a few extra gifts to have on hand in case you need one at the last minute, food for holiday dinners, cookie exchanges, etc.
Next, download the RedLaser app to your smartphone. This app allows you to scan the barcode of any item and compare the price with other local retailers. This app is especially handy when shopping for toys for kid gifts, since so many store carry the same products it can really cut down on wasted time trying to figure out where to shop. RedLaser also stores all your loyalty cards helping to cut down on the weight of your wallet.
Finally, remember to stop for a few minutes to really enjoy the holidays. Use the time you save with the RedLaser app to have coffee with a relative, meet your husband for lunch or have a cocktail with some friends.
Happy Holidays and Happy Organizing!
This time of year it seems that every company in the world is sending me catalogs or coupons or advertisements. I have never purchased anything for Harry & David yet I still get their catalog every holiday season. Why is that?
The truth is that companies are buying address lists from other companies, that sell similar products or services, so they can increase their customer base. So, unfortunately, if your name and address gets on one list you will likely end up on hundreds of other lists. The problem is, that receiving junk mail adds clutter to your home and wastes your time in dealing with it.
Several months ago I did a blog about a company call Paper Karma. They help stop junk mail by using an app on your smartphone. With the holidays coming and the additional junk mail rolling in, I thought it might be good to revisit this topic.
I have discovered two additional websites that help stop junk mail. DirectMail.com is a site that works like the Do Not Call Registry. You simply add your name and email address to the list, you are asked what types of mail you would like to receive or if you want to be taken off all mailing lists and DirectMail.com takes care of the rest for you. I like this because you can choose the mail you actually want to receive and decline the rest. Catalog Choice is another option to help curb the junk mail. According to their website you “simply log in to create a free account and register your opt-outs online. Just search for the company, and submit the opt—out”, then Catalog Choice takes care of submitting your requests. With Catalog Choice, you can keep track of your opt-outs and can change your preferences if you would like to receive mail from that company again.
Whatever you choose, or if you don’t choose any of these options, just be sure to take care of the junk mail the first time you touch it. Respond to it, file it, or trash it at once. You will waste a great deal of time handling that junk mail more then once and we all know that this time of year, time is the most valuable gift you can get.
Happy Holidays and Happy Organizing! BridgesRead More
During my time spent with my client’s I have become acutely aware of how little thought people put into storing and saving their cherished memories. I continually come across piles and boxes of people’s old photos and albums. The most common reason I hear that people don’t do more with their photos is that they simply don’t have the time to deal with them. However, now people don’t even print most of their pictures so how do you keep your digital photos safe?
The Picture Keeper is a great product for backing up your digital photos. There are several memory sized drives, storing between 4,000 and 250,000 pictures that you can choose from. What I really love about this memory drive is that it is designed specifically for saving photos and it’s so simple anyone can use it. After your initial backup of your pictures, the subsequent times that you run a back-up The Picture Keeper only saves the new or modified photos on your computer. That means that you save time, every time you back-up because you don’t re-save every picture on your computer, only the new items. Also, The Picture Keeper works on all of your computers and laptops and is PC and Mac compatible. There are no downloads, no wires to connect, and no dragging/dropping necessary. The Picture Keeper does all the work and saves you time and worry. So during the upcoming holidays feel confident that your newest memories can be safely and quickly preserved.
Happy Organizing! BridgesRead More
Do you get stressed when you think about adding anything else to your already busy schedule? How can you possibly find time to stay organized when you have NO time? This is how a lot of my clients feel. The key to increasing the time you have to organize is to use “habit hooks” (phrase coined by Lorie Marrero with The Clutter Diet).
What does that really mean? It means that you attach a new habit to an already existing one. For example, if you have to take a new medication you can set the bottle by your tooth brush so that you remember to take it every day. Maybe you get into the habit of cleaning out your car when you are pumping gas. You could sort your mail or your kids school work while you are cooking diner.
Try to think of things that you already do on a regular basis, then think of something you can hook to that habit that makes use of the time have available. “Habit Hooks” makes it easier for you to remember the new habit, keeps you more organized, and makes great use of your time.
Happy Organizing…BridgesRead More
It is easy to look around and see the clutter in our lives. It’s in that pile of papers that we dread going through and in that overstuffed closet that we hate looking at. It’s in those crafts made by our kids that line our shelves and the gifts given by friends that we can’t part with, but don’t care for. It’s in those boxes of sentimental heirlooms or items from our past that are stored in the attic. We know why we feel overwhelmed and bogged down, because we can see it all.
The harder thing to see is our emotional clutter. Those feelings that we carry with us that overwhelm and bog us down are a much harder problem to solve. Fortunately, physical clutter and emotional clutter are not mutually exclusive, they work together. As we clear physical clutter from our home, some emotional clutter will automatically leave with it. As we take a hard look at our emotional clutter, we will more easily be able to remove some of our physical clutter as well.
“Just as physical clutter gets in the way of our ability to get things done in our home or office, emotional clutter gets in the way of our being able to achieve our goals, have satisfying relationships, and be happy” according to Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. (http://innerresourcecenter.com/how-to-get-rid-of-emotional-clutter)
I always say that “delayed decisions create clutter” and most of the time we delay our decisions because we are not prepared to deal with the emotion of making a decision. For example, you receive a gift that you don’t care for. You choose to set it aside and deal with it later. You know, deep down, that you don’t want to keep that item but the guilt you feel about getting rid of it is something that you can’t or don’t want to deal with – therefore the emotional clutter (the guilt) has caused you to create physical clutter (the unwanted gift) in your home.
Instead of setting that item aside to deal with later, take a moment to acknowledge the thoughtfulness of your gift. A friend or family member has taken time give you something they think that you would like. Give them credit. Send a note or text message to thank them, being sincere that you appreciate their thoughtfulness, that it was nice to hear from them, etc.. Then, allow yourself to let the item go – guilt free. Donate it. Give it to someone who you think will appreciate it. Even throw it away if necessary. But deal with it and the emotion of it at that time.
It’s important to understand that our feelings are tied more to the memory of something then to an item itself. It’s possible to get rid of items that provide memories because the memory will always be there even if the item is not. By keeping the things in our life that we find beautiful, we add value to our daily life and by saving fewer things we increase their value.Read More
Most people might not think about this, but Halloween is an excellent time to go through your closet and purge your old items. You have the time now before the holiday rush sets in. Plus, you might just find that perfect costume among your old clothes. Grab those old bell bottom jeans, find a great vest or flowing shirt and dress up like your favorite 70’s character – Groovy! Maybe you are still holding onto those wacky parachute pants (yikes) or your old leg warmers, if so, find a florescent shirt and sport an 80’s look – Like. Totally. Awesome. Dude! Let your kids sort through your purged clothes to see if they can find a creative, fun costume and save yourself a little bit of money this season. (Check out this website for great homemade costume ideas: www.coolest-homemade-costumes.com.) Just promise that once Halloween is over, those old bell bottom jeans and those parachute pants will be purged from your closet.
Another great thing about sorting through your closet now, is that you can get rid of your old and tired outfits and make room for some new holiday gifts. Once Halloween ends, the holiday madness begins. You need to find time to purge your closet now because you will be to busy after Halloween. Going through your closet now will also give you a good idea of what to add to your holiday wish list.
A great way to keep up with purging your old clothes is to keep a bag or bin in your closet for “Goodwill” items. As you find something that no longer works for you, simply toss it in the bin for year around purging. You will find that this saves you a great deal of time (and room in your closet) in the end.Read More
“What’s your best tip to quickly organizing my closet?” It’s one of the questions I get all of the time. People really seem to struggle with keeping their closets organized, however because organizing is not a “One Size Fits All” thing, there is no quick tip to I can offer that works for everyone…except Velveteen Hangers.
One of the only things that I can ALWAYS tell people, even before I look at their closet, is to purchase velveteen hangers.
These are the thinnest hangers on the markets which creates extra space in a cramped closet. The velvety material keeps any garment, even silk, from slipping off and cluttering up the floor. They are curved at the shoulders to prevent those annoying bumps that get created from other hangers. These hangers create a uniformity that keeps your closet looking neat and orderly. Plus, they can be purchased in suit hangers as well allowing your suit jackets and pants/skirts to be hung together.
The velveteen hangers I like the best can be purchased at The Container Store – “Huggable Hanger” for $9.99/pack of 10 and come in a variety of styles and colors. Costco also sells a velveteen hanger that is nice for $9.99/pack of 35 (but the quality is not quite the same, they shed slightly).
Yes, I know that I sound like an infomercial but this is one product that I tell all my clients to purchase even before I arrive at their home. It’s my “best tip” to organizing your closet.
Happy Organizing! BridgesRead More