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Monday, May 10th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Sometimes It Takes a Class

Becky

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Well, I began my new year with an “I’m going to get organized!” gung ho attitude. I sustained my enthusiasm for about a month or so, but just like someone on a diet who has hit a plateau, I’ve fizzled out. I sit around trying to come up with “Organization Tuesdays” posts, (or was it “Organization Wednesdays”? I’m so disorganized I forgot which day it’s supposed to be), and I’ve got a big fat nuthin’ for you! So I’ve signed up for an e-course from Simplify 101. The workshop I’ve picked is called Organizing 101 and it seems like a great guide, motivator, and community.  In typical fashion, I forgot to print out the class notes for a few days and when I went to log in, I’d forgotten my username and password. When I tried to retrieve them, I typed in my own email address incorrectly. I’m off to a rip-roaring start! Luckily, their technical support is fast and friendly, and I’m on my way.

I find courses like this are a great kick in the bum. I took Holly Becker’s Blogging Your Way a few months back and it was a delight. What do you do when you hit any sort of creative block or plateau? Have you enjoyed any e-courses/workshops? If so, please tell us about them in the comments. By the way, I heard about the course I’m taking via a comment from Emily last week after we emailed each other a few times, lamenting our need to get our stuff together in the organizing arena! So thanks again Emily!

image swiped from tumblr, which makes it hard to track, but I believe it originated over at the always fabulous The Style Files

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Organization Tuesday: Keepin’ it Pretty

Becky

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Being organized and being pretty don’t have to go hand-in-hand, but it really helps. I recently treated myself to a fun class, and one of the first things our teacher told us was to get a pretty notebook. Cynic that I am, I kind of snorted at that, but two days later I found myself at Papersource plopping down twenty-five bucks for a KOLO linen three-ring binder.* Let me tell you why it was worth it. I put all of my assignments in it and left it out on the coffee table. I wasn’t constantly trying to stash some ugly vinyl binder somewhere out of eyesight and losing track of where that spot was! It looks so nice I want to grab it and read what’s inside.

Unlike Flavia, who showed us her Style Files last week, my notes for blogging are usually scribbled on scraps, post its, paper-clipped to lampshades, stashed in a folder I forget is in my filing cabinet, etc. I decided to bite the bullet and splurge on a blogging files binder. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to go back to Papersource; I’m not sure. However, now when I mercilessly rip sheets out of magazines because they inspire an idea, they don’t wind up crammed between books when I need to pick up. I stash them in plastic sleeves.

Finally, (OK, I swear, after this, no more Papersource for me for AT LEAST a month – that place is my own personal crack den), I took a good hard look at my most hated binder. I’ve had the actual binder since grad school. I think it still says “QUEST” on the side, which was this stupid kumbayah snoozer of a class we budding landscape architects had to take with all of the architects, urban planners, and preservationists our first semester. The lectures were OK sometimes, but the early morning discussion sections – I’m still pissed that they robbed me of hours of my life. The point is, the cheapo hideous binder already has bad juju all over it. In its repurposed life, it says “2008 Expenses” on the cover in Sharpie, and it has two and a half year’s worth of tax receipts in there. I dread having to use it. I actually keep it hidden so I don’t have to think about doing my taxes. Now it’s time to say goodbye to it and hello to the new KOLO home for my tax crap. Of course it’s black! I think I’ll put a skull and crossbones in the square on the front.

So, too review, here’s why you should organize with pretty stuff:

1) You won’t lose it because won’t be throwing it under the sofa and out of sight all the time.

2) You will actually want to look at it and interact with it, because it’s right there in your face and you’ll be admiring it.

3) It will make you actually keep your stuff all in one designated place.

4) It gives you an excuse to go to Papersource and spend obscene amounts of money. OK, maybe this one should not be in the pro column.

Sayanora Quest Class/I.R.S. Folder!

*The Unclutterer recommended these in this New York Times article a month or so ago, and I had been unable to get them out of my head. They make really beautiful photo albums as well.

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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Organize Your Blog Notes with Style Files

Becky

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After feeling motivated by our Organization Blogfest last week, I’ve decided to try and implement a series on organizing each Tuesday for as long as I can keep coming up with them, or as long as I can keep finding others who are much more organized than I am. In taking Holly Becker’s Blogging Your Way e-course, I met Flavia Heupel, who shared the great blogging organization system she’s put in place for her blog, Estilo Home. I asked her if she’d like to share it with our readers, and Yea! She said yes. So without further ado, take it away Flavia!

-Becky

If you are anything like me, you are constantly searching for inspiration for new blog posts, whether it’s from a newspaper or magazine, an online store, or a beautiful pillow you saw while window-shopping – the list can go on and on. Since starting my blog last year, I have been jotting down notes and ideas for blog posts on scattered pieces of paper, which usually end up anywhere from my day-planner, my desk at work, the coffee table in my living room, or the bottom of my purse. And my massive collection of dog-eared and ripped-out magazine pages is no different. As one could guess, this method of brainstorming is not the most effective when you are staring at the computer screen thinking about what your next blog post will be!

In need of a solution, I implemented and personalized a system originally suggested by Holly Becker of the Blogging Your Way e-course: the style files. In doing so, I re-purposed a file storage box that I already owned into a simple, yet effective system to store and organize all of my ideas in one place.

The key is to figure out the right categories for your inspirational images and notes. As I write about interior design, my file is loosely organized with folders for designers and stylists; products and stores; inspiring rooms; as well as a folder for mood board inspirations, which could be anything from artwork to a nice outfit. I can then file all my scribbled notes and ripped or printed out source pages into the relative category. I have left some room for the magazines that I can’t bear to damage, with the pages of interest flagged so I can easily locate the items that sparked an idea or thought.

This method has been extremely effective for me to organize my thoughts, overcome writer’s block, and has saved me a great deal of time as I no longer have to search and dig for my notes. Once I write about an item, I either throw the notes out, or file them in one of my decorating files that are organized by room and style. To implement this system, you could easily use an accordion file, or a simple box with dividers or file folders. I highly recommend it!

Flavia Heupel is a PR Manager and author of Estilo Home, a blog which follows a design-obsessed woman pursuing her love for Interior Design while balancing a full-time job, a happy marriage, and a condo to decorate.

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Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Organizing Links

Becky

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Ah, Organization Week has come to an end! Thanks so much to everyone who participated in Organization Week. I’m feeling motivated and hopeful, and you have all provided me with some clear and easy ways to get a jump-start on getting organized.

Here’s a roundup of our guest bloggers’ websites and blogs:

Penelope Loves Lists

Unclutterer / Unclutter Your Life in One Week (mine is on its way from Amazon)

The Kitchen Designer / Susan Serra Associates Inc.

Turquoise L.A. Blog / Vanessa de Vargas’s Design Site for Turquoise L.A.

The Office Stylist / Sorting with Style

The City Sage

Here are a few more sites I check on for Organizational Inspiration. Please add your favorites in the comments section so I can add them and have a more comprehensive list. I need all the organizing help I can get.

Chez Larsson’s Organization Page

Flylady

February’s Lonnymag is chock full of  FABULOUS jewelry storage ideas.

The Ten Habits of Highly Organized People over at Oprah.com. Oprah’s putting her closet cleanout stuff up on eBay. I spied a pair of Prada Venice Print pumps, size 40 on the cover of the magazine…

Flickr Group Pretty Organized

I’m going to be following Paola as she tackles her home office for the next three weeks.

A great round-up of Storage and Cabinets in this Canadian House & Home (LOVE that magazine) Photo Gallery

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Clear the Clutter from Your Bookshelves by Erin Doland

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by Erin Doland of Unclutterer

I have an affinity for books that borders on an addiction. I usually read three books a week or more, and those books come in many forms — audio, digital, checked out from the library, and purchased. Even with relying heavily on audio, digital, and library books, I continually fight book clutter in my home.

If you’re a bibliophile like me, you may have more printed books than you can (or should) store in your home. Try these five tips from Unclutter Your Life in One Week to decide which books to keep and which ones to let go:

  1. Give away any books that you don’t plan on reading or referencing again, are in the public domain, and can be found in their entirety online.
  2. Keep the leather-bound copy of The Scarlet Letter that your grandmother gave you on her deathbed.
  3. Give away or recycle out-of-date reference books. They’re full of inaccurate data.
  4. Keep books that you love and books that provide you with significant utility.
  5. Give away books that you’ve been storing for the sole purpose of impressing your houseguests. If you’ve never read the complete works of Shakespeare, and you never plan to read the complete works of Shakespeare, get rid of the complete works of Shakespeare.

These tips also work well for books you may be storing in your office at work. Unless you are an executive with office walls lined with bookshelves, you might be sacrificing valuable storage space with books you never reference. Keep the books you regularly need, and take home, sell, or recycle the others.


Erin Rooney Doland is Editor-in-Chief of Unclutterer.com and author of the book Unclutter Your Life in One Week.

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