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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 Give away or recycle out-of-date reference books.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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Monday, February 22nd, 2010

My To Do List Hates Me by Meredith Schwartz

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Take Welcome to Organization Blog Fest 2010! I thought the best way to start the week would be with Meredith Schwartz of Penelope Loves Lists, and her advice on how to handle a Daily To-Do List. Take it away Meredith!!!

-Becky
We all make the Daily To Do List. Problem is, most of the time, we do it wrong. There, I said it.

This list, which should be our problem solver, becomes the problem itself. Like some huge, looming, cartoonish thing from our nightmares, the incomplete items from each day’s lists grow until we feel defeated under their collective weight.

Instead, you should have two To Do Lists, one called the “Daily To Do List”, one we’ll call the “Overall To Do List”. You can think of your own pithy names when you adopt this system.

The first step is to know, each day, what your most important tasks are. If you don’t know what your true priorities are, either at work or at home, your list will be a meaningless schedule of tasks. If you’re unsure as to how to prioritize, read this book. If you know what you truly need to do each day, you can then set about step two.

Each evening before finishing work, make tomorrow’s Daily To Do List. This should take less than 5 minutes to do.

This list should have 3-4 of your highest priority items on it, each one with SPECIFIC goals, like this:

  1. Check in with pending clients  – 10 clients
  2. Get product shipment ready for Monday
  3. 1pm Meeting with Jennifer
  4. …If I get that done, I’ll move to:

  5. Work through sales leads – 12 calls
  6. Emails – spend 1 hour getting email inbox cleaned out.

See how specific each item is?

Also, notice that, by separating it into items 1-3, and then 4 and 5, you give yourself room for the day to actually happen. Things take longer than we expect. Emergency items come up. You set yourself up for success by ensuring your top 3 items get done. Then, if you are able to move to items 4 and 5  (which are also very specific and serve to “chunk out” larger projects) you can feel you got ahead by the end of the day, rather than always feeling overwhelmed and behind.

While I use my favorite Bob’s Your Uncle grid paper notebook to keep my daily to do list in line, I’ve also had great success with the online tool Teux Deux. I like that it doesn’t try to be all things to all people. It’s super simple graphic interface just enables you to quickly and easily do what you’re there for: keep and update your daily task list.

Whether you use paper and pen to create your list, or an online tool, if you know what your priorities are and are specific with the items you put on your list, you’ll end each day with a feeling of effectiveness. And, maybe, you’ll have just enough extra energy to go get a margarita. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

What strategies do you use when creating your Daily To Do List? What’s working for you and what isn’t? Please share them with us in the comments section.

Meredith Schwartz is the Founder and Editor of Penelope Loves Lists, an organization inspiration blog. She’s a girl with a To Do List and she knows how to use it. Meredith and her fellow readers make no apologies for their love of lists, notebooks, pretty office supplies and all manner of cool organizational tools. Are you a Penelope?

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Monday, January 25th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Frank Lloyd Wright

Becky

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In my effort to not be featured on Hoarders in the next ten years, I have been cleaning out drawers, cabinets, closets and attic spaces since the new year. It’s funny, there are certain items that are considered for the recycling bin each year, but for some reason or another they never quite make it in. Such is true with my Wright Houses 1997 datebook. Holy Moly. That thing is now 13 years old! I tried to turn it into a birthday calendar book so I’d have an excuse to keep it, but there are about four birthdays in there, and besides, that’s what Facebook is for.

So, after already pulling it from the recycling bin AGAIN last week (What if I want to cut out the pictures for my inspiration board? (O.K., then just do it!). What if I make cards out of the pictures (um, Becky, you never send cards anymore, and besides, you have about 200 you can use before you even get to your Wright Houses sloppy glued together 3rd grade postcards. There will be no craft to your tribute to Arts and Crafts). It’s time. I can let go because I have scanned a few favorite images from the photographs to share with you on Inspiration Monday. It’s the first time I’ve been organized enough to have an Inspiration Monday since 2009. Can you imagine how long it would take the Hoarders crew to get my house cleaned out? Viewers at home would say things like “Oh, did you see the crazy cat lady one?” “No man, that’s nothing, what about the crazy girl who had to scan everything before she put it in the dumpster and blog about it?!”

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio 1889-1909

William H. Winslow House 1893

Dana Thomas House 1902

Meyer May House 1908

Fallingwater 1935

Talieson III 1948

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Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Los Angeles Organizing Awards

Becky

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Thanks to our friend John Trosko of Organizing L.A. for letting us know about the 2010 Los Angeles Organizing Awards! Categories will include:

–   Best Product Retailer
–   Best Closet Design Firm
–   Best Garage Design Firm
–   Best Office Organizing Product
–   Best Time Management Expert
–   Best Organizing Technology
–   Best Organizing Book
–   Best Organizing Website or Blog
–   Best National Makeover Reality Television Program
–   Best Publication Featuring Organizational Information
–   The Green Award for Most Eco-Friendly Organizing Service/Product

The festivities will take place at the historic Raleigh Studios on January 30. Click here for more information.

Thanks John!

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Friday, November 6th, 2009

Flickr Faves on Fridays: Arranging Shelves

Becky

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Stamp Art

Here are some more beautiful shelves from flickr member hnxing. Check out the way she had the stamps framed. I’ve been meaning to do this with my Eames stamps before I use them all up on bills!

photo from flickr member hnxing

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