Why should you use a calendar?

September 7, 2017
Pin It

Why Should You Use a Calendar?

One of the biggest mistakes I see my clients make is they try to keep their schedule in their heads. Pretty soon their brain is full of dates and details, they reach critical mass, and they can’t keep everything straight. They forget appointments, important dates, and critical deadlines.

It’s time to get everything out of your head and onto a calendar.

Calendars Prevent Information Overload

Your brain was not designed to keep track of all of your appointments, deadlines, and commitments. Productivity guru David Allen likens the brain to a computer and warns that we only have so much “Psychic Ram.” Our minds can only process so much information at once.

Calendars are Great Planning Tools

In addition to being a great place to keep important dates and information, a calendar can be a great planning tool as well. Before plotting out what you are going to accomplish for the day or week, you should survey the landscape of your calendar taking into account all of your commitments.

If you have a light calendar day, you can knock out a lot on your to-do list, but if you have a day with back-to-back meetings, appointments and/or errands, that is going to affect how much you can get done.

Calendars Help You Prioritize

Getting items out of your head and onto your calendar also makes it easier to prioritize. When you keep two tasks or activities in your head, your brain gives them equal value. The more you add to your mental calendar and to-do list, the harder it becomes to judge their importance, which can lead to you becoming overcommitted.

When you keep all your commitments on a calendar, you can see what is already on the books before taking on a new appointment, project, or task. You will be able to quickly and easily judge how much time you have and determine which commitments you should keep and which activities you should not agree to in the first place.

Using a calendar will help you prioritize and plan the important aspects of your life letting you make time for what is important to you and allowing you to live life to the fullest. This habit will help you stay cool, calm and collected, and is, in my opinion, the first step to organizational bliss.

Want more help with your time management? I offer coaching and I have an online course coming in September 2017 called Simply Fabulous. Watch for more information on my Facebook page SimplyOrganizedYou. Not on Facebook? That’s ok, send me an e-mail or call me for more information heather@simplyorganizedyou.com 404-825-2105

Continue reading...

6 ways to print out & organize your photos

July 31, 2017
Pin It

Do most of your photos stay on your phone or computer? You are not alone!

Smart phones and digital cameras and devices have been a blessing and a curse to those of us who love to take photos. You may share a few on social media but what do you do with the rest?

Here are 6 ways to get your photos out of your phone and into your hands:
1. Groovebook: for $2.99 per month, you get 4×6 book of printed photos that can be used as an album or torn out for a frame. groovebook.com

2. Chatbooks: You get a 30 page book of your favorites from Instagram, Facebook or your camera for $8 per month. chatbooks.com

3. Recently: You choose 50-100 photos and get a monthly magazine (you can edit) for $9.99 per month. getrecently.com

4. Time shel: This is not a book – just prints. You can get 10-30 prints for only $5.95 per month. timeshel.com

5&6: I still love to create my own albums on snapfish or shutterfly. I used two of the books I made myself of our wedding and honeymoon for the photo at the top of this blog post. It’s more time consuming but worth it. Start making an album now to give as a gift for the holidays (you can also make recipe books). snapfish.com and shutterfly.com

Continue reading...

Freedom from clutter

June 29, 2017
Pin It

Freedom means many different things to each of us. On July 4th, we celebrate Independence Day which is commemorating our freedom from the British Empire in 1776.

Today I want to talk about your freedom from stuff. It’s no secret that most of us have too many material possessions (including yours truly). These things are overwhelming our home, car, work place and time which causes extra stress and worry. Let’s free up some of that time and stress!

Are you overwhelmed with everything you have to get done? Are there more than 3 items on your to-do list? Are you avoiding areas in your home because of clutter?

If you answered yes to at least one of the above questions, this will help!

I want you to spend 15 minutes this week:

1.Set your timer for 5 minutes

2.Pick 1 room that’s driving you crazy

3.Choose 3 items you do not need

4.Put them in a box or bag for donation (or trash if broken)

5.Repeat this process in the same room or 2 other rooms (5 minutes each time)

6. Take your box or bags to a charity (www.donationtown.org will show you drop off and pick up charities in your area)

Congratulations! You have now freed up extra space so you will have more FREE TIME! You will feel better, lighter, and on your way to a clutter-free life.

Need hands-on help? Call us at 404-825-2105 or email heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

Continue reading...

The Viscious Cycle of Laundry and How to Tame It

May 30, 2017
Pin It

laundry

Do you hate doing laundry? Does it seem never ending? Have you ever done loads more than once because you can’t figure out if they are dirty or clean? If you answered yes to any of those questions then welcome to the club! Most clients I meet hate doing laundry and get so behind on it that it seems an impossible task.

I can’t get rid of your dirty laundry but I can give you some tips that should help lessen the pain:

  1. Buy clothes that do not have to be washed separately or delicately (and doesn’t have to be ironed). I see this as the first road hump in the laundry obstacle course. You have to do 3 loads instead of 1 because of the fragile or special nature of the clothing. Take dry clean only to the dry cleaners and only buy easy-to-wash clothing for you and your family going forward. You can use the mesh bags to easily toss in under garments and then hang them to dry.
  2. You do not have to watch the washing machine or dryer for it to work. Throw a load in before you run errands or have other chores in the house to do. Set a timer on your phone and transfer to the dryer in an hour or more.
  3. Get your family involved! Teach your kids how to do their own laundry. This will not only save you a ton of time and headaches but also give them a valuable life skill they will definitely need (unless they live with you forever).
  4. After it’s dry, either you or your family member should put it away immediately. This is where most of us get stuck. Fold it in front of the TV and bring some hangers to hang up anything that needs it. Put it away in the closet and or dresser or place the clean laundry in the family member’s room where it belongs.
  5. Each person in the home should have at least 1 basket or better yet 2: one for clean and one for dirty. If there are often mix-ups, get 2 different colors for each person. Dirty clothes go into the darker colored and clean go into the white baskets. No more sniff test to see if it’s clean!
  6. Have a set day each person does their laundry so everyone is not fighting for the machines at the same time. Put it on the calendar. If there is a concern about sport stains have a place (separate basket in the laundry room) to put these clothes that get the stain remover treatment immediately.

If you follow these tips, I promise you will be doing less laundry, less often.

 

Continue reading...

The Rainbow Unicorn – The Myth of Reaching Perfection

May 30, 2017
Pin It

 

unicorn2

Recently I wrote an article for The Atalanta Woman which was published in their May 2017 issue. They were looking for tips and tools that would help busy women with productivity.

Out of all the many topics I write and speak about such as time management, organizing your home and office and creating a working paper system, the one I am most passionate about is women giving themselves and others a break. I meet people everyday who are trying to have the perfect home, perfect family or perfect job and it’s impossible!

To feel better about yourself and take off some of the pressure, please read my article:
http://simplyorganizedyou.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Heather-Rogers-Atalanta-Woman-Rainbow-Unicorn.pdf

Continue reading...

How we moved my 79 year old mother-in-law: tips on moving, downsizing and getting your home ready to sell

March 29, 2017
Pin It

movingphoto

Are you planning to move any time in the next 20 years? This blog post is for you! We recently helped my mother-in-law (Tine – Dutch for Tina) move from Texas to North Carolina. She has been living in Houston for 23 years and lost her husband 15 years ago; she’s never moved or sold a home by herself.

Moving is the 3rd most stressful thing a person can experience. You are often changing your zip code which means getting used to a new area, making new friends, finding new doctors and getting a new driver’s license (yuck). It does not have to be a terrible experience; follow these steps to make it easier:

Step 1: Decide where you want to live?

Do you want to move into a smaller space? Maybe a condo, apartment or independent living is right for you. Is the yard work too much or the stairs to get to your bedroom? A one-level ranch may be your perfect fit.
Tine decided to come back East and live closer to family. She did not want to be responsible for a house or yard anymore and she is physically and mentally fit. The best option for her was an apartment.

Step 2: What do you want to take with you?
Moving is the perfect time to purge! If you are moving into a smaller space, you can’t take everything. Stick to the necessities and irreplaceable keepsakes such as photos. Go through each room and make a list of your “must have’s” and your “really wants”.

I recommended 4-6 of each dish, glass, a few pots and pans, one of each used small appliance (coffee pot), the clothing you wear, the furniture that will fit in your new space, framed photos and art, linens, towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, electronics, etc.

Don’t worry, anything you don’t take can be donated or maybe even sold.

Step 3:Plan ahead for the move: Get moving and packing quotes ahead of time.

Movers will come to your home and give you a free quote. I highly recommend getting at least 2-3. You may find that storage pods are a better fit or renting a truck yourself.

We decided to hire movers and rent a truck that my husband and his brother drove from TX to NC. This is not the best option for everyone but they wanted a bro road trip and we were able to save Tine some money on a cross-country move. I packed her belongings for her 2 days before the move, the movers loaded everything onto a U-Haul we rented, the guys drove to North Carolina and another team of movers unloaded at her new apt. I also hired unpackers for her so she could be completely ready to spend the night in her new place.

Step 4: Estate sale or donation pick up

Anything you don’t want or need anymore is much appreciated by charities. There are many who will pick up your house hold items for free and give you a letter for your taxes. Go to www.donationtown.org to find a charity near you. Would you rather try to sell your items? Contact some estate sale companies in your area and get them to come give you an estimate (estatesales.net will have a list). Most have minimum requirements and take a % of profit. If you are living in your home, there are some online estate sale options too: try max sold or everything but the house.

For Tine’s house, we went with an auction clean out company. Her HOA does not allow estate sales so this was a good option for her. What they did not take, we had a charity pick up.

Step 5: Getting your home ready to sell

You may have to do this step while you are still living in your current home. If so, just move this to step 1 or 2. The key in this day and age is to make your home as neutral as possible for the buyer. You will want to start with a budget; how much can you afford to put into the home without losing too much. The most important thing is to fix anything that needs an obvious repair: leaky roof, water stains in the ceiling, stains or bad odors in the carpet, etc.

For Tine’s house, I interviewed and hired a roofer, painter and floor company to give the house a fresher look without breaking the bank.

For detailed tips see my blog: www.simplyorganizedyou.com/gettingyourhomereadytosell

You will also want to hire a reputable real estate agent. I interviewed 3 in Texas and chose her neighbor who is experienced, knowledgeable about the neighborhood and can keep an eye on the house for us.

 

Step 6: Enjoy your new home

After you have done all this hard work, made your repairs, sold your house, moved into your new place and unpacked, it’s time to sit back and relax! Yes it’s hard to make big changes in your life but you have your future to look forward to. Life is not about the stuff you had to part with, it’s about the memories you have made and the new ones you are going to make.

Need help with project management, packing, unpacking, pre-staging or more? Contact us at 404-825-2105 or heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

Continue reading...

Getting Your Home Ready To Sell

March 29, 2017
Pin It

2220denphoto

 

Getting your home ready to sell

This is a great time of year to sell your home.  Recently, I have helped several clients to prepare their home for potential buyers.  The number one thing to remember is that many buyers want their new home to be “move-in ready”.  The second item buyers want is to be able to picture themselves living in your home.  You do not have to spend a lot of money remodeling your entire home to achieve these goals.  Here are some easy tips you can do that will help sell your home quickly and get you a higher asking price:

#1. Landscaping/ the outside: If your home doesn’t look clean and fresh on the outside, your buyer may never even see the inside. Plant some flowers, keep the lawn mowed and pressure wash anything that looks mildewed. If the front door looks old, put a fresh coat of paint on it. Also remove any items in the yard or deck that look rusted or broken.

#2. Detail clean: I recommend hiring a cleaning service and tell them you want a “detail cleaning”.  Most companies will charge $100-$250 to clean your house top-to-bottom which includes blinds, fans, inside cabinets and refrigerators, ceilings, vent covers and baseboards – THE WORKS!  Of course you can also clean it yourself for no money at all just some time and elbow grease.

#3. Let there be light: The lighter your home is, the warmer and more inviting it looks. Put new light bulbs in all lamps and light fixtures. Use the highest wattage you can for each fixture. Keep all windows and glass doors clean and your blinds and curtains open.

#4. De-personalize: If a buyer is going to be able to imagine themselves living in your home, it helps to not have photos of you and your family all over the house. I know it sounds strange but what if a family with four children walks into the home of someone with no children; they may think there isn’t enough space for all of their kids even if there is. Also, put away anything that shows your school or state spirit.  Could a UGA fan buy a house from a Georgia Tech fan? Probably not! You don’t want to lose a buyer for any easily avoidable reason. Pack up your framed photos, your fanfare, your “collections” and anything that may be offensive. Also, remove the photos and the magnets on the fridge.

#5. Clean floors, clear shelves and open spaces: The more of the floor you can see, the better.  This goes for every room but especially closets.  You want the closets to have as little on the floor as possible and some space on the shelves open so they look more spacious.  It is also good to have open space to walk from room to room and around furniture.  You don’t want anyone having to squeeze past the dresser to get to the closet.

#6. De-clutter: Moving is the perfect time to de-clutter!  If you have not used something or worn an item of clothing in 1 year, donate it.  Take the time to go through your old books, papers, tools, kitchen appliances, clothing, toys, VHS and cassette tapes (you know you will never use them again) and get rid of it.  If you pack these items up, you are wasting money paying someone to move them just so you can toss them later.

#7. Pack it up and store it: Anything you do not need to use for the next six months should be packed up and stored elsewhere.  This includes the bread maker, the train set and the skis. Move the out-of-season clothing out of your closets so they look more spacious. If you can get a POD great, if you can’t, at least have it out of the way in a garage, storage area (like an attic) or under the bed.  Use Space Bags to get the bulky comforters, sleeping bags and coats smaller so they won’t take up so much space.

#8. Touch up paint: Paint is the cheapest and easiest way to make a room look brand new.  A buyer may not appreciate your love of pink and purple polk-a-dots. Try to make each room a neutral color.  The whole house doesn’t have to be painted beige but you should try to stay in the gray, taupe, beige or white family. If you have holes in the walls or scratches on any doors or molding, use touch up paint or the Magic Eraser (how does Mr. Clean do it?).

#9. Decorating and staging: Less is more! You do not have to have every surface decorated or every room full of furniture.  The most important rule here is every room should have one purpose (if possible).  A buyer should be able to tell what the room’s purpose is easily. For example, a bedroom should not have a desk, treadmill and kitchen table in it. If a room has too much furniture in it, it looks smaller.  If all the tables, dressers and mantels are covered with knick knacks and picture frames, it looks cluttered. Your home should look clean, spacious and welcoming.

 

Good luck selling your home!

If you need some help, call Heather at:

Simply Organized

404-825-2105

Continue reading...

Cut the Cord – It’s ok to say no to your adult child (and storing their stuff)

February 27, 2017
Pin It

wsb

I was recently interviewed by Belinda Skelton on WSB radio here in Atlanta, GA. I should not have been surprised that every single caller asked for help when dealing with their family member’s clutter. We often want to blame our problems on everyone but ourselves however, when it comes to stuff, it’s everyone’s problem.

Most of my clients presently have or have had children in their house. We are living with the “boomerang” generation where it seems perfectly acceptable for our adult children to come back home whenever they need to. What parent could turn away their precious baby? But what about their stuff?

One of the callers to last Saturday’s show is in the process of a downsizing move. She has “children” in their late 30’s who have left her basement full of their belongings (Barbie’s, stuffed animals, text books, etc.). She has asked them to come get their stuff and they say they don’t have anywhere to put it.

The way I see this situation is very simple; you have 3 choices:

1. Give them a definitive time period (1 month) to get their things. After the month, whatever is left gets donated to charity.
2. Charge them a storage fee just like an outside company would.
3. Buy your next home large enough to continue storing your “children’s” stuff until they decide to get it.

Which of those 3 choices sounds the most rational to you? Why do they not value your space, time or money? It’s usually easier said than done but I think it’s time for some 1950’s tough love. You deserve to set boundaries.

I’m assuming the reason this process is so difficult for most people is because you do not want to get rid of anything that seems like part of their child hood. It’s also hard to part with items you spent good money on. It feels like they do not appreciate you or the gifts you gave them.

Take it from someone who’s Mom decided to give her back her stuff at 25 years old: they know you still love them! Also, they will still love you even if you get rid of all of the items they obviously don’t want (or they would have them in their home).

Take back control of your space. You will not lose your children, you will gain square footage!

Continue reading...

Donate, Shred & Trash Oh My

January 26, 2017
Pin It

clothes

I get asked every single day about charitable donations. You don’t want your stuff anymore and you can’t seem to sell it so who should you give it to? Charities will pick up everything from furniture and clothes to dishes and décor. Most people have their favorite charities but they don’t all take everything. Because I like to “keep it simple”, I find making one call to one place who picks up almost everything, is the best way to go.

There is a website where you can find a list of charities who will pick up items at your home: www.donationtown.org. Most will need 1 week – 1 month notice to get you on their schedule. The only caution I will give you is not all charities will pick up all of your items. Remember, the charity has to sell your items at their store in order to donate money to the greater cause.
Items most donation companies will NOT accept:

Damaged furniture (scratches, mildew or stains)
Recalled items (children’s car seats, cribs, bumper pads, etc.)
Mattresses
Under wear
Trash, paperwork, magazines, family photos

In the Metro Atlanta area where we live, the best place I have used is a thrift store who contributes to an abused women’s shelter. They pick up just about everything (if it’s in good condition) and they bring trucks and men to do the lifting. The thrift store is called Cheaper By The Dozen 5261 Buford Highway, Norcross, GA. You can contact Bruce Carter at 770-873-6058 to schedule a pick up.

What if you have items like tile, lumber, cabinets, lighting or appliances?

Habitat for Humanity ReStore free pick up 770-962-4200

So what do you do with items you can’t donate? Their are tons of trash removal companies who will come to your home for a fee ($85-$600+). They take anything from old paint cans to whole house clean outs. Here are some companies in my area who can help:
Stand Up Guys 770-369-0305
College HUNKS 888-689-5999
Hullaway 404-380-9395

Need someone to shred your personal documents? Google “free shredding events” and the name of your city first to save tons of money. Shredding companies will also come to your house for the same price as taking it to the local office supply store! Eco Shredding: 770-826-5459

Have further questions or need help figuring out what to keep? sell? donate? or trash? Call us at 404-825-2105 or send us an e-mail: heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

Continue reading...