Uncomplicate your inbox

Email went from a delightful novelty 20+ years ago to the mainstay of our personal and professional lives. Couple it with social media and you’ve got a major reason for why people are distracted and overwhelmed every time they look at their phones and computers.

TOO MUCH INFORMATION 

Decluttering your email inbox is a great activity you can do when you’re waiting in line or just sitting in the air conditioning trying to cool off. Deleting old, no longer needed messages is great but what if you just had fewer to deal with in the first place?

This week is a great time to #uncomplicate your email by unsubscribing to emails you don’t read, no longer want, or didn’t sign up for in the first place.
 

  1. Set a timer for 5 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in just 5 minutes!
  2. On your computer, I think it’s helpful to resort your inbox so you look at it with fresh eyes. Sort by “from” to see all your messages grouped by sender. 
  3. If you’ve got a lot from a real person, you may just want to select all from that person and delete.
  4. Notice the ones from stores, restaurants, magazines, or services you don’t use and start the Unsubscribe process.
  5. It is required that if you have people sign up for a newsletter, there has to be a way to opt out. Most companies put this at the bottom of the email with the word “unsubscribe.”  The text can be very small and sometimes hard to find but it’s there. 
  6. Delete the message once you’ve unsubscribed. It’s easy to delete a lot if you’ve sorted by sender. Click away on unsubscribe until your alarm goes off.   You’ll get through a lot more than you realize.

The best part of this exercise is that you can see results almost immediately. Your inbox number is smaller than when you started and you’ve got the hang of unsubscribing down. You’ll get fewer emails in the future and have to do this task less and less. 💪🏻

Challenge yourself this week to declutter your inbox AND unsubscribe from unwanted emails. You’ll feel much lighter and have less junk to look at (literally!). 

Happy Spring Cleaning!

organized closet

Who is thrilled that Spring is here besides me? I love spring so much because the weather is perfect (not too hot, not too cold, and usually sunny), people are in better moods, and the blooming flowers and trees are gorgeous!

I also love spring because it signals a new season of growth which makes me think of shedding anything old, worn out, or tired. I’m more excited about spring organizing than spring cleaning and I love anything that makes organizing easier.

I put together a list of 51 Things You Probably Have Too Much of and Can Get Rid of to help you (really me) purge the excess and stuff that is old, worn out and tired that you no longer need. Don’t let the long title scare you! Having a list to use makes your spring organizing work more focused and effective because you’re not just wandering through closets wondering what you’re looking for.

Go through the list of 51 Things You Probably Have Too Much of and Can Get Rid of and mark off anything that you were able to get rid of. There is nothing more satisfying than marking things off a list!

Oh, and remember that “getting rid of” can mean giving away, donating, recycling, or throwing away. Someone may need exactly what you no longer need so try to find a good recipient. Here in the Atlanta area, I love taking things to the Sandy Springs Recycling Center because they also have donation resources there. You can search for “recycling center” and your town or county name to find something similar in your area.

Happy Spring organizing!

Organizing Your Pantry: Canned Food

We’re celebrating National Canned Food month at the end of the month by sharing with you the best ways to store canned food in your pantry. Modern technology is great that it allows us to store food without refrigeration but you still need to create a system to keep track of what you have and not waste time buying duplicates.

  1. Check expiration dates

Foods going into a can are marked with a “Best By” date upon packaging. Typically it is 2 years from the package date. Past the expiration date you’ll notice color and texture changes in the contents.
While it technically probably won’t hurt you, I don’t recommend taking any chances.
If you’re cleaning out your pantry, check all of the dates and only keep the cans you are going to eat that haven’t expired. Unexpired food that you’re not going to use can be donated to a food pantry.

  1. Group like foods together

The easiest way to keep track of the canned food in your pantry is to designate a specific shelf or two to store them and grouping like foods together. The categories I group together for clients are: beans, vegetables, fruits, meat, and tomatoes. You can further subdivide if necessary like grouping your white and black beans together or your crushed tomatoes with your tomato sauce.
When you have them grouped together you most importantly know where to store them. When you are checking your inventory, it’s easy to take glance at one or two shelves to determine what you need prior to heading to the grocery store.

  1. Make them visible

Your pantry is like your closet: you should be able to see what you have when you open the door or walk in. You want to limit the amount of digging around you have to do in order to find what you’re looking for. Deep shelves are great for storage until they’re not; food can get lost in a dark shelf.

Use stair step shelves to stagger the height of your canned goods. Wire shelves on existing shelves allow you to double the usable space. Use lazy susans (turntables) , especially in corners, so you can take advantage of deep shelf space. What to use all depends on how your pantry is configured and what your specific needs are. Measure your shelves before you buy anything to make sure a potential solution will fit.

 
Here are some of my favorite pantry organizing tools, especially to help with storing canned goods.

5 Things You Can Declutter Today

I’ve been helping people declutter and create organization systems for more than 6 years professionally. In that time, I’ve noticed see some patterns in clients’ homes. First, everyone is embarrassed and thinks they are the only one who has ever struggled with organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. We all struggle with some kind of disorganization. Second, just about everyone has too much of the following items in their home. The problem is that if left unchecked they will continue to accumulate and they multiply when you’re not watching 😉 Here are the 5 things that I know you need to toss today to declutter your home:

Cardboard Boxes

Whether you order regularly from online stores or not, there is never a dearth of cardboard boxes in our homes. Whether they are leftover from buying a new printer, phone, or pair of shoes, they seem like they could be used for something really important in the future but they never do. They get tossed in a cabinet or a closet and never heard from again. Go through your house and recycle all of the excess cardboard you have. You’ll be amazed at how much you have when you put your mind to finding it all. *I only keep cardboard boxes from purchases until I know I am going to keep the item. If there is a question that I might return it, I hang on to it. Once the decision is made the item is either shipped back or the box is recycled.

Condiment Packets

Like cardboard boxes, these multiply when you turn your back. Has anyone ever gone back and used the extra duck sauce/ ketchup/ mayonnaise/ salad dressing that came with a take away order? It is much healthier to keep your own bottles of dressing or condiments in your home than to use mass produced/ chemically enhanced products.

Hangers & Plastic Garment Bags

Not to go all Joan Crawford on you but, “no more wire hangers!” The hangers and plastic bags that are used at the dry cleaners are intended for you to get your clothes home safely, protected from the elements. Your clothes need to breathe so throw away the plastic bags once you put them in your closet. If you want to recycle the bags, you can tie a knot in the bottom and use it as a trashcan liner. The only time I suggest you hang on to a couple is when you travel to prevent wrinkling.

Wire hangers leave creases on the shoulders of shirts and sweaters so use velvet or wooden hangers whenever possible. Recycle your wire hangers by returning them to the dry cleaners. Keep a paper shopping bag in your closet to put them in until you return to the cleaners.

Plastic Cups

These also fall in the category of “things that reproduce behind my back” and they are always spilling out of cabinets. They come from parties, networking events, fast food restaurants, sporting events and always seem so important to hang on to. But they don’t last forever—they lose their tops, they melt in the dishwasher, and they get used as a dirty paint brush holder for an art project. Once they’ve past their prime, toss or store them where they are being used: garage, craft room, play room, or under the sink. You’re not going to immortalize a special event by keeping a plastic cup forever.

Shopping Bags

It could be plastic or cloth or paper, but I guarantee you have more than enough! These fall in the category of “I know they are useful for something so I should hang on to them.” True, plastic grocery bags are useful for lots of purposes (doggie poopy bags, trash can liners, wet swimsuit holder, etc.) but limit the number you have to a specific container or number. These can be recycled at the grocery store if you’re not using them faster than they are being replaced.

Cloth grocery bags accumulate as promotional or business swag or party memorabilia. Keep a few,  just don’t keep all of them. Pick your favorites or the ones in the best condition and use the rest for taking donations to be dropped off.

Paper bags from boutiques feel like a badge of honor, especially if it was a treat purchase. Just like the cloth bags, keep your favorites or ones that you really like. You just don’t have to keep ALL of them. The small ones make brown bagging your lunch much chic-er. If they are plain and in good condition, you can use them as gift bags. Set a limit of space and don’t let them exceed their allowance.

These items will continue to accumulate, like a lot of other things in your home, because they are a part of how we function. Today is the perfect day to tackle one of these areas and clear out what is no longer serving you. Clearing the excess makes room for new plus you get to enjoy what you currently have.

Edit, enjoy, repeat!