weekly organizing Tips

Brought to you by Beautifully Organized

Month: January, 2012

Clearing Electronic Clutter – Pictures 2

I had so much fun writing last week’s blog post I decided to continue on the theme. I have a small picture obsession so thank you for following along and letting me indulge myself a bit!

I am often asked what to do with digital pictures once you have them. It’s not like it was years ago when you would print every picture put it in a frame or the fridge or an album… or a box for “future sorting” that very rarely happens.

Today I’ve decided to write about  some of my favorite ways to share digital pictures – once they are organized into easy to find and identify categories on external storage, of course… see last week’s blog post for more info.

My favorite ways to share / display my pictures:

Apple photo books – hands down the best photo book on the market. They are beautiful, easy to make and $20 for 20 pages. You can choose different themes and colors to go with the mood of the book and they make amazing gifts. I’ve never given a photo book to a disappointed receiver.

Photo Calendars – This makes a great gift for grandparents or friends / family you don’t get to see every day. Send them shots through the years that will make them smile everyday all year long – talk about a priceless gift!

Digital Photoframe – I have mine scrolling in my office right now. It’s such an amazing piece of memorabilia and motivation for me. It displays all the people i love and the places I’ve been and would like to go back. If I need a moment of clarity through the day I space out on it for a few moments and I’m ready to go!

Wallpaper on your computer – Scroll different inspiring images on your computer – display our pictures and find inspiration in them – bonus!

Share them with others – You can share them with family and friends or strangers on different sites like flickr or picassa. This gives you a creative outlet and a way to share multiple images without having to send them a few at a time via email. You can create albums for your family and friends to view and share with the touch of a button.

Pictures as gifts – Never underestimate the impact of a meaningful framed photo to a loved one… They are cherished every time!

Thank you for allowing m to indulge in one more blog post about pictures. I would love to hear from you if you have creative projects you use your pictures for! I hope you have a great week!

Happy Organizing!

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Clearing Electronic Clutter – Pictures

The invention of digital pictures, in my mind, is without a doubt one of the most amazing inventions of my lifetime… So far! It was a game changer – No more schlepping 15 rolls of film on your family vacation only to get home and never develop them AND you can take as many pictures as your heart desires and edit it down to the best of the best later.

However, as always, with this amazing technology comes a bit of consumer responsibility to keep your pictures under control and organized in some way that you can actually enjoy them.

I LOVE to take pictures so this is near and dear to me. I take pictures of everything – I probably have 100 sunset pictures from my 20th floor condo. My fiance laughs at me every time I oohhh and aaahh over the same pictures from the same view, but I know each and every one is unique. With this small obsession of mine I had to come up with a system for keeping track of my photos.

First, you need storage space off of your computer’s hard drive to archive them. You can use flash drives, external memory or a site like Dropbox to store them. Picures take up a lot of memory and can slow your devices down if there are too many lurking about.

Next, start categorizing your pictures. You can get as detailed as you need to – by month and year, by event, by family member or pet, by season – whatever works for you and you will remember! I sort mine by event and date.

Set a system for archiving your pictures on your new storage device. If you save them once a month or once a year that’s fine – just make sure you do it. I tend to save mine every 3 months. This way I’m not overwhelmed at the end of the year, but I’ve built enough pictures up to really feel like I’m accomplishing something.

Finally, stick with it. If you are able to develop a system and stick with it you will have a safe copy of all the digital memories you have created over the years. They take up minimal to no space at all and you can share them with the click of a button… Brilliant!

I could probably do another full blog post about picture storage… maybe I will! Stay tuned for more tips next week!

Happy Organizing!

Clearing Electronic Clutter – Email

We are all familiar with the physical clutter that lays around the house… It’s there when you go to bed at night and there when you wake up in the morning. This is what people tend to think of when I say “clutter.” However, with the digital age there is also electronic clutter that is not as obvious or talked about as frequently.

Electronic clutter is just as much of a problem as physical clutter and it can actually weigh you down even though it’s as light as your iphone or laptop. So what is it and where should you start?

This is actually a blog post I will carry out for a week or two because there is simply too much for one little post to cover. There is email, social networking, calendar appointments, music, data, pictures etc. etc. etc. We are so lucky to have such a wealth of information at our fingertips, but we are also burdened with how to manage all of it.

Let’s start with email. First, your email is not meant to be a historical record that you can share with your grandchildren one day. So, for gosh sakes delete some emails. I challenge my clients… and myself to keep only active emails in my inbox. If you have solved the problem, noted the date on your calendar or responded to the funny picture your best friends sent then delete it.

Keeping your inbox list to one page is a great start, but it’s just that, a start. Next step, set up some boundaries for yourself. You don’t have to check your email every 5 minutes – or even every time it dings that you have an email. Start small – maybe set up a chime to go off every hour, turn your phone volume off for the day and see how often you check it without the bell dinging at you or simply leave your phone at home one day and see how freeing it can feel. Anyone that needs you will know how to get in touch with you – and it won’t kill people to pick up the phone, I’m just saying! This sounds great, but trust me it’s tough and still something I am learning to master.

Last, set a time at night when you cut yourself off from email. In our house 9:00 is the cutoff. Power down and give yourself time to regroup. You will give your brain the clarity it needs to lull you into a good night’s sleep and leave you rested and ready to tackle the day in the morning.

Good luck with this first step in clearing out the electronic clutter. Next week… Pictures!

Happy Organizing!

 

15 minutes a Day to an Organized Home

When you look around your home you might find that there are piles everywhere, clothes that need to be washed or put away, expired food in your fridge or just chaos in general.

The power of an organized home is usually overlooked and the benefits are underrated. A lot of people I speak with are also under the impression that it takes hours and hours at a time to wrangle your clutter and organize your home into functional and beautiful spaces.

Challenge yourself this week to 15 minutes of organizing a day. That’s all! Set a timer and stick to it. With a focused 15 minutes you will amaze yourself with the results. If you commit to 15 minutes a day for 7 days you will complete 1 hour and 45 minutes of clutter wrangling a week… oh the possibilities!

So what can you do in 15 minutes? Here is a list of small projects that can help you reach your goal of organization this year:

  • Clear off the kitchen counter
  • Organize a drawer
  • Do a sweep through the closet and donate clothing your not wearing
  • Clean out the fridge
  • Sort through books
  • Focus on a pile of papers and handle each one – file, recycle, action items etc.
  • Work through a list of to-do’s your dreading – 15 minutes max – don’t overwhelm yourself
  • Throw in a load of laundry
  • Clean out your filing cabinet
  • Clean off your desk
  • Sort through your purse or briefcase
  • Sort through your children’s toys

These are just a few suggestions – the tip of the iceberg! Take a look around your home and pick a starting place. Small changes make a big impact. Start today and work it into your routine. Amaze yourself and find comfort in the small things!

Happy Organizing!

Realistic New Year Resolution

Here we are again at the beginning of a new year. 2012! Have you set a new years resolution? Are you hoping to lose 10 pounds by spring break or quit smoking this year? There seems to be one thing that is pretty consistent with new years resolutions and that is most people can’t keep to them.

So – how can you change the pattern this year? What can you do differently to make sure your resolution is held throughout 2012?

First, be realistic – if you set a goal that is unreachable you’re setting up yourself for failure.

Visualize your resolution. Create a vision board or write it down and stick it on your mirror. We are visual creatures – if we have a constant reminder about our resolution we are much more likely to keep it. Ever hear the saying, “If you visualize it you can achieve it” It’s true!

Check out these sites for more information on vision boarding:

Tell someone about your resolution. Become resolution partners and make sure you both stay on track. If you don’t know who to tell – Tell me, I’ll keep you on track!

Set benchmarks. It’s impossible to reach a goal if you don’t set steps to reach it. Take a few minutes to write down HOW you will reach your resolution and keep it alive for 12 months.

Good luck setting and keeping your resolution this year! I completely believe that you are capable of anything you put your mind to.

Happy New Year… and as always Happy Organizing!