Got Milk (crates)?

Milk crates.  They’re in pretty much every college dorm room.  They come in just about every color of the rainbow.  They are also stackable in multiple directions, hard enough so they don’t warp under pressure, relatively inexpensive, and completely useful in your post-college years.  At realsimple.com, they show them being used in a laundry room.

In my house I have a few on a pre-existing shelf in the garage.  They hold an assortment of sports paraphernalia.  They are also the correct size to hold file folders, and thus make a pretty handy office organization solution as well.

Anyone else still using milk crates for anything even though you’re now a big-bad adult?  Fess up…you know you do…

I kind of hate that Christmas shows up in stores before Halloween, but this year, with everything that’s going on–I thought that I should start making a plan.  I don’t really know how my time will need to be spent over the next few months.  Things seem to just keep…popping up right and left and work has been oozing into my evenings and weekends this semester more than it has since my first year at this job.

So what did I do?  I turned to the App store on my trusty iPod Touch.  I found an App called “Better Christmas List” by Andrew Grant.  Here are just a few of the pluses:

  • It’s on my iPod, which means it comes everywhere with me
  • It breaks your list down for you into “Family,” “Friends,” and, “Other” (you can also add groups and customize it as you’d like)
  • Under each heading, you can add your specific family or friends, co-workers,etc…  It creates a folder for each and each person’s name shows up on the main “homepage” list so you can easily access their information.
  • It also has an “overview” that lets you take a look at everything.
  • It has a budget calculator and lets you know what you’ve spent on everyone.
  • Under each heading, you put in what to buy, wrap or mail.  Then you can check off what you’ve already done.  You can set this feature to show both the gifts that are all set AND the gifts left to deal with, or you can have it just show what’s left to do.
  • Finally–it tells you how many days are left until Christmas in a header at the top (that’s 74 by the way…)

This is going to make keeping track of Christmas gifts and budget much easier this year.  Now if only they would make an App that would go out and actually do the shopping for me…


It’s friday, and while on friday’s I try to provide something to inspire organization or beauty in your weekend…this was just too perfect.  Thanks to Gabriel for sending it along.  (And of course…LOL Cats…)

Happy friday everyone!  I hope your weekends are nice…and neat!

Story time everyone!  Gather ’round…

Once upon a time there was a girl who had a rather busy job doing all sorts of random things at a school at a university.  She took care of the schedule for her school, answered phone calls, moved chairs and other items…pretty much anything asked.  As part of her job doing the schedule, she was often called upon to schedule pretty important things, so she kept very close track of all of her phone calls in a single, chronological log, and kept all of her emails.

One day, the girl’s boss’s boss’s administrative assistant called.  One of those important people called about one of those very important things that was scheduled.  They were under the impression that it was scheduled for a different day than the girl had scheduled it.  The girl, having the emails, brought one forward which described the original date of the event.  They countered that the very important people had claimed to have called and “confirmed on the phone” the change of date.  The girl asked what date the call had come.  The answer was “sometime after August 2nd.”  The girl looked back through that chronological log of every phone call and message she had ever gotten and confirmed that no one had called to change the date.

The moral of this story is that organization can not just help you save a little time or money.  It can help you save your job.  If you are consistently more organized and thorough, then even when you come up against the word of “more important” people, you will fair alright because you will be able to go straight to the document, the phone call, the email, the fax, the notes…and produce the truth.

Lost and found

Most of us have lost something at some point in our lives that we thought might be found by picking through smelly gloves, damp umbrellas and old sweatshirts.  Often enough these items are contained in a worn cardboard box stuffed out-of-sight in some moderately secure place.  Maybe we found what we were looking for.  Maybe we didn’t.  But it’s a good idea all the same.  The things that are contained in that box belong somewhere else–and yet they’ve all been conveniently organized in one place–the Lost and Found.

This concept is not exclusive to public schools and bus depots.  You can employ it at home as well!  Set up your own Lost and Found box or area.  Each week, as you find something that seems out of place, place it in that spot.  Give each family member until say, 7:00PM on Friday to look through the box for anything that might be theirs.  Saturday morning, anything left in the box might be put aside for donating, given or thrown away.

This process allows for quick and easy straightening up on your part, but if you have kids it also helps them to keep track of and care for their belongings.  It is likely that if they’ve ever lost anything after the purging of the Lost and Found–they will take better care of their things after that.

Once again, I’ve been delinquent in my duties to this blog.  I assure you it was not my intention to be away so long.  Even so, I’m not sure how long I will be able to regularly update this semester.  I’m currently still at my day job, and in addition I am teaching clarinet lessons, teaching a class at the university three times a week and also acting as “manager” for a couple of youth wind ensembles on the weekends.  All of my skills in organization have had to be funneled straight into my life lately!

I will say this though, especially for all of you still in college who are wondering how you are going to survive the rest of the semester: it will all get done.  Sometimes it will be ugly.  You might not have time for all the things that you really want to do.  You might not be as prepared as you’d like for things that you have to do.  You might make some mistakes.  But if your heart is truly in getting it all done–it will happen.

Take just a few minutes and really think about the most important things in your life right now.  Do any of them have deadlines?  Attend to those first.  Then think about the rest.  Can you kill two birds with one stone with anything on your list?  Can you get by “on autopilot” for a week with any of your responsibilities?  Do it.

My Mom has a saying…I think it’s that, “anyone can do anything for a week.”  At least I think it was a week.  At some point in my life it became “a month.”  During college I decided that the phrase should have said, “a semester.”  Then I realized when I started teaching that when I repeated it I was saying “a year.”  And now I am repeating to myself, “anyone can do anything for two years…or possibly three?”

I’m not saying that I’m “right” about this in the way that I suggest you follow in my footsteps.  But I do know that I’m “right” in that you can do so much more than seems possible at this moment.  All you need is a healthy dose of perspective.

And possibly a Starbuck’s hot chocolate.  😉

Chin up people.  This too shall pass.

We’d all like to save a little money…but sometimes finding the best deal takes so much time, energy and research, that by the time you’ve made a decision…the sale might be gone or the product may be sold out!

That’s where Copy Cat Chic comes in. Reichel B. writes this blog and it is fantastic!  She is a decorator who loves to bargain shop.  If you want, you can hire her to design a room for you (on the cheap!) from anywhere in the country–but her blog alone is full of all kinds of great deals and steals.  Her readers write in and ask her to find different (usually pretty expensive) house-items and she finds them for less.  Sometimes she’ll find the same item in several different price brackets.  The blog is easy to search and her style (and her readers’ style) is wonderful!

Sometimes it’s not about organizing yourself–sometimes it’s about finding some other talented person who’s doing the things that you don’t have time to do.

You are what you eat

Ever feel like you’re so busy that there’s no time to eat?  Or maybe you have a little bit of time to eat something during the day, but you didn’t get a chance to pack yourself a lunch?  There’s also the possibility that you’re going somewhere where the people you’re around don’t keep the same kind of eating schedule as you.  What then?

Anyone who knows me knows how important I think eating is.  Because of this, I always keep something in my desk/car/purse…or all three places!  A plastic bag with seeds or nuts makes a great snack that can last a few days.  A Kashi or Luna bar stays well in a purse (the harder varieties–some of the Kashi bars crumble pretty easily).  If you have a fridge at work, you could keep some hummus and all of a sudden your snack of pretzels from the vending machine can turn into a semi-legitimate lunch!

It’s important to eat throughout the day–maybe even more than three times a day–to stave off debilitating hunger, help you concentrate and keep your blood sugar up.  Try some of these tips to save time and still get to eat!

Out of time

In Yoga, there is a belief that you have a certain number of breaths in this life.  Once you have used them all, whenever that may be, you will pass on.

I don’t know if that’s true or not.  In fact, I am often acutely aware of how little I know, and how much there is still to learn about life, the universe and everything.  So it is with sadness and a little bit of confusion that I say farewell to my friend Sean.  If it’s true, and we only have so many breaths in this life–his were spent in the best ways possible–in laughter…and in song.

I am always pleased to hear when one of you is inspired into action because of something you read on this blog–but I implore you to also relax and not take it all too seriously.  I honestly believe that being a little more organized can improve your quality of life but I also believe that if you’ve organized your sock drawer more times than you’ve taken walks or visited with friends, you’re missing the point.  Stay organized so you can spend more time living and enjoying your life.  Spend your breaths, however many we get, like Sean.  

He didn’t waste a single one.

Try something like this!

From September 2010 edition of Canadian House and Home

Thanks to Paloma Contreras at La Dolce Vita for a beautiful post (as always), and inspiration for my own blog!  As you can see, this room should be a guest room, or a living room, or something…but instead of full curtains there are clothes hanging.  Instead of books on the bookshelves–there are shoes.  Some of us have no closet space…but if you, like me, have an extra bedroom…why not let the inspiration flow?  Sure, I have other eventual plans for that space–but for now–it’s got 2 desks and a dressing table in it.  Why not up the functionality and turn it into  a full-fledged closet?

Well that’s it for me–I hope your weekends are nice…and neat!