Monday, December 19, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #10

Toy Soldier in Chicago
Tip #10 Have Fun

The holidays are now upon us. This is the time when we all have a choice. As a recovering perfectionist (see holiday tip #8) I have to remind myself that I can choose to stress over all the little things that might need to be done. Or I can make another choice and focus on having fun with my family these next two weeks.  

After a few bumps in the road, I have chosen to have fun. Only the really essential tasks will make it onto my to-do list and calendar, while the others can wait.

I have decided that what I have done thus far is enough. Those last few gifts that I did not purchase can go on  the list for birthdays. The stockings will be hung as a family activity, but the other decorations can stay in the box until next year (note to self, start earlier next year). What my family really needs is for me to be present and not stressed out. 

So, this holiday season, please remind yourself to be really present with your family. Most likely, it is the experiences, not the stuff, that will be remembered years from now. 

Happy Holidays!

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will taking a break from blogging until the New Year. On Saturday, January 14, 2012 Carolyn will be presenting "Simply Organize the New Year:  5 Simple Strategies to Keep Your New Year's Resolution" at the Women's Health and Fitness Day, a free event. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #9

Tip #9: The Reason for the Season

As I near the end of my 10 Tips for Stress Free Holidays, it seems time for contemplation over why we do all that we do during the holiday season.
No matter what faith or what holiday you will celebrate this season, I hope that you will take time to remember why you celebrate. At the end of the day and the end of the holiday season, that is what matters most.
I know that finding time for yourself or any type of quiet contemplation can be difficult at this time of year. In my home there is still some decorating to be done (if I so choose), shopping, wrapping and finishing up that photo book for my mother that I started way too late.
However, I truly believe that if you take a few minutes out of each day to ground yourself during this busy season, you and your family will benefit tremendously. This can be done alone, with your family or with a group.
One of my clients makes a point to wake up early before her family for quiet time. Many of us choose to worship with others in a spiritual group. In my household, opening up an Advent calendar and eating the chocolates inside is an evening ritual that includes a chance to remember why we celebrate Christmas in our family.
Whatever holiday you are celebrating this season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzah, the New Year or something else, take a few moments out of each day to remember the reason for the season.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will be speaking on "The Secrets of a Simply Organized Life" this Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at the Dexter United Methodist Church monthly soup and salad dinner.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #8

Tip #8: Accept Imperfection

True confession time....My name is Carolyn and I am a recovering perfectionist.
Fortunately, I have a team at home reminding me daily that perfectionism is not the way to go. My husband is a get it done kind of guy. You know, done is the new perfect. My young children teach me that what doesn't matter, doesn't matter. And the big dog gives lots of love while making sure the house has that lived in, dog hair everywhere, feel.
The holiday season has a way of bringing forth the perfectionist in nearly everyone. Even my husband was intent on finding the perfect tree this past weekend at a local tree farm. We found and cut down a lovely imperfect fraser fir that now graces our home with mismatched ornaments (all the fragile ones at the top).
The thing about holiday induced perfectionism is that it causes more stress at an already stressful time. If we can accept that things will not be perfect at the holidays or any day, we can relax and enjoy the blessings that we do have.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #7

Tip #7: Clutter Free Gifts

As we get closer to the holidays it is natural to feel a little pressure to get that "perfect gift" for a family member or friend. Rather than rush out to the mall or the nearest big box store, consider gifts that are both useful and clutter free.

What is a clutter free gift?
I consider clutter free gifts to be anything that the person receiving has requested, can use or will not take up much space. This can include consumable items such as food, home spa items, bird seed, or basically anything that will be used up in the months ahead. Clutter free gifts can also include services such as organizing, oil changes, snow removal, spa treatments or any kind of service that offers gift certificates. Charitable donations were also mentioned in stress free holiday tip #6.

A clutter free gift does not have to cost anything but your time and can be homemade. A friend told me that she (along with her siblings) prepares and gives complete frozen meals to their elderly parents. What a wonderful way to share and care for someone you love!

A note about gift cards
Gift cards are great, but are not always clutter free and some do expire. When working with clients, I often stumble across unused gift cards. Please be sure that the gift card is for a store or restaurant that the person frequently visits and that using the gift card will not add more clutter to their space.

Being organized is not about being perfect. In my next post I will write about accepting imperfection during the holidays and every day.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #6

Tip #6: Ask for It

My intention with this holiday tip is not to focus on material gift giving or to make demanding requests of family members. Instead, the intent is to get away from giving meaningless gifts or worse yet, something that might be considered clutter.

The truth of the matter is that most people stress over holiday gift giving. This tip is meant to eliminate some of that stress both on the giving and receiving ends.

By letting your loved ones know what you want for the holidays you help them give a gift that will be appreciated for years to come. Furthermore, what you might want for the holidays may not be material at all.
This is especially true for our older relatives that probably have everything that they need, but just want to spend some time with family.
You should also ask others what they want for the holidays. If your friends and family respond openly, this tip can save you time, frustration and money---especially if you happen to be a last minute shopper.
There will be people that readily tell you what they want. Then there are others that will say something like "oh, I don't need anything" and you know well they will expect a gift come holiday time. For these more challenging folks on your list, look and listen for cues they might give you regarding something they might need or be able to use. A donation to their favorite cause may be just perfect.

By sharing our wishes with our friends and family during the holidays, we get away from frenzied holiday shopping and focus on what is really important during this special time.

In tip #7 I will share my ideas for clutter free gifts.
Would you like more tips on surviving the holidays without a big mess? The December 1st edition of "Your Simply Organized Life" delivers. Sign up here and receive a free gift.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #5

Tip #5: Declutter

I have written about prioritizing how you use your time and money during the holidays. Now it is time to discuss how you use your space during the holidays. Leading up to Thanksgiving, I have been helping many clients declutter their kitchens, family rooms and dining room tables. It is great fun and the rewards are plenty.

If you plan to decorate for the holidays at home or in the office, all of your beautiful decorations will be overshadowed if clutter abounds. Now is the time to declutter. This can be very empowering. Not only will you make room for those beautiful decorations, you will also make room for new gifts.

Making Room for Decorations:
Holiday decorations are usually displayed in the most public areas of a home or office. These are the areas that you want to look nice for visitors throughout the year, but especially at the holidays. If you are overwhelmed by clutter in these spaces, focus on one area at a time that you plan to decorate. For example, if you want to decorate your staircase banisters, focus on clearing the steps of any clutter.

Making Room for New Gifts:
This tip is great for anyone that expects to receive a gift during the holidays. Have you ever heard of the "one in, one out" rule? This is a way of achieving equilibrium in your space. If something new comes into your space, something old must go out. This simple rule can keep clutter from taking over. By letting go of some things before the holidays, you can free up space and share with others that may be less fortunate. It is also a great lesson to teach children.

Getting and being organized is a process, not an event. For continuing tips on decluttering, sign up for my monthly e-newsletter "Your Simply Organized Life".
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and the founder of Simply Organized Life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #4

Tip #4: A Financial Plan!

One of the biggest stressors in life (not just at the holidays) is money. My 10 Stress Free Holiday Tips will help you keep spending in check this holiday season. If you are able to follow these tips, or even some of the tips, you will feel better for it come January 2012.

Rather than calling this a "holiday budget" I like to call it a plan for financial success during the holidays. The goal is not to add to debt in January! You can do this by being in control of what you spend and save this season.

Each of these 10 Tips builds upon the tip before it. By keeping it simple (Tip #1), creating a plan (Tip #2) and using a calendar (Tip #3) you are prioritizing how you want to spend your time this season. You also need to prioritize how you spend your money.

The first step is to determine the overall amount that you can afford to spend on the holidays without adding to your debt in January. Once you have your "magic number" you need to break down your spending plan into categories. This should include not only gifts, but also extra food, decorations, utilities, and travel expenses to name a few.

The difficult part for most people is sticking to the plan. If you find you are a little too freewheeling with the credit card, you may want to make an envelope with cash for each of your categories. Another alternative is to purchase prepaid credit cards for in person or on-line shopping. It is okay to use your regular credit card, as long as you can pay for all of your purchases when the bill comes.
The next post will focus on making room for wise purchases by decluttering your space.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and the founder of Simply Organized Life.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #3

Tip #3: Use a Calendar!

If you have been reading my blog posts, subscribing to the "Your Simply Organized Life" newsletter or have attended any of my seminars; you know I am a fanatic about calendar usage. I don't care if you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a retiree, in my humble opinion EVERYONE needs to use a calendar daily.

Hopefully, most of you are already using some sort of calendar or planner in your daily life to keep track of personal, professional and family appointments. It does not matter what type of calendar you use (paper or electronic) but I recommend using one calendar for all appointments if possible. If you are not using a calendar, now is a good time to start.

To avoid overbooking (and going crazy) during the holidays, put all of your appointments on the calendar. This includes the company parties, family gatherings and even your kids' holiday events. Be sure to ask your family members about these events and if you will be required to bring anything, dress a certain way or in general make any preparations. Remember, to say "no thank you" to events that do not fit with your holiday plan. This is the difference that will keep you stress free!

If any of your scheduled events require preparations, check to see if they fit with your holiday plan. If they fit with your simple holiday plan (i.e. it is something you want to spent time on), schedule time in your calendar for those preparations and do not forget to schedule driving time! For example, if you want to attend your company holiday party, but do not currently have the appropriate attire, schedule time in your calendar for shopping in person or on-line.

If the scheduled events on your calendar require preparations that do not fit with your holiday plan (i.e. it is something that you do not want to spend time on), try to outsource or avoid those duties whenever possible. For example, if your child needs treats for the school party and you are clueless in the kitchen, schedule time with your child to purchase or order an alternative. It can still be homemade, just not from your kitchen (ask me about my cupcake lady anytime).

With so many service providers available these days you can outsource just about any holiday task from baking, to decorating, to even sending your holidays cards (I have a great system for holiday cards). The key is to make sure that you can afford to outsource holiday tasks. In my next blog I will write about making a financial plan for the holidays!

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #2

My last entry covered Stress Free (or at least less stress!) Holiday Tip #1: Keep it Simple! In that blog we mentioned creating a holiday plan which leads us to...

Tip #2: Plan, Plan, Plan!

Once you have decided what is important to you for simple holiday celebrations, you need to create a plan to make it happen.

Going through the holidays without a plan is kind of like driving in the car without a map or GPS system. I know, many of you will resist this metaphor with the logic that you do not need a map for somewhere you have already been. But if you got lost (i.e. stressed or sidetracked) the last time you went through the holidays, a plan for this holiday season is going to help keep you from getting in a wreck (i.e. overdoing, overspending, and regretting it come January).

You can create a simple holiday plan, by writing down what you want to do this holiday season and scheduling time to do those things on your list. You do not need a fancy notebook or special paper, but you should have your calendar nearby for scheduling time. Any paper or calendar will do, or if you are a techie, you might want to do this on the computer.

Next time we will talk more about using a calendar for scheduling both holiday events and tasks!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #1

Tip #1: Keep it Simple!

Complexity adds stress. It is that simple.

The key to avoiding stress during the holidays is to keep things simple. I know that is easier said than done especially with all of the media messages, stores all decked out and expectations from family and friends. However, with frugality coming back in style, I believe simple holidays are a breath of fresh air for many.

One of the ways to keep things simple is to focus only on the things that you enjoy during the holidays. This may take a little thought, as there are so many things we do "just because". Think about what you and your family enjoy during this season and why. For example, if you enjoy putting up a tree is it because the way the tree looks when you are finished or is it because your kids have so much decorating it with simple things? Asking yourself these questions, will allow you to focus only on the enjoyable elements and keep it simple!

As for those things that always stress you out (and maybe you never seem to get done) if it is not necessary, eliminate it from your holiday plan. What!? No holiday plan!? We will talk about making a simple holiday plan next time.

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Organizing for Stress Free Holidays

Yesterday the November 2011 edition of Your Simply Organized Life hit in-boxes. In it I provided 10 simple tip for stress free holidays.

From my perspective being organized is an essential element in enjoying the holidays and living well every day. My 10 tips for stress free holidays do not cost anything and will help you save time and money during this busy time of the year.

1. Keep it Simple

2. Plan, Plan, Plan

3. Use a Calendar

4. Make a Financial Plan (and stick to it!)

5. Declutter Your Space

6. Ask for What you Want (and ask other what they want)

7. Give Clutter Free Gifts

8. Accept Imperfection

9. Remember the Reason for the Season

10. Have Fun!

Over the next few weeks I will be elaborating on each of these 10 tips at the Simply Organized Life blog. Please join me as we prepare for stress free holidays (or at least holidays with less stress)!

If you are in a crunch to get your house in order before Thanksgiving, check out November's special and schedule your complementary telephone consultation today with Carolyn to learn more. Please also feel free to sign up for my newsletter, Your Simply Organized Life. You will receive a free gift just for signing up.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

October Seminars

October will be a busy month for me with three seminars, including my first "international" seminar in Windsor, Ontario, Canada!

Carolyn will be traveling to Canada on Saturday, October 15th to present "The Best Organizing Tips for Busy Families" at the 33rd Annual Multiple Births Canada National Conference. Parents of multiples certainly need all the help they can get.

On Monday, October 17, 2011 Carolyn will be presenting "Organizing Tips for Small Business Owners" at the Women Making Connections Fall Empowering Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Come out, network with wonderful women business owners and learn practical tips for making the most of your time.

Register now to join Carolyn on Friday, October 28, 2011 for "Five Habits of an Organized Office" with Ann Arbor Rec & Ed. If you have an office at work, at home or on the road this seminar is for you. Learn five simple habits to keep your office organized for optimal efficiency.

Do you need an organized speaker for your event? Carolyn has availability from November 2011. Give me a call at 734-646-4177 to learn more.

Monday, September 26, 2011

One Small Thing at a Time

When people find out that I am a professional organizer/organizing consultant, they often make comments like: "Your home must be perfect" or "You must have everything labeled perfectly". While I would never hesitate to let a surprise visitor inside my home; I am often busy like you and I share my home with a husband, two children and a 70 pound shedding dog. Perfection is not the goal. Having a clean, livable home where we can find stuff is.

The fact of the matter is that maintaining organization takes a little time and a little effort. For the most part, with daily tidying up things stay fairly organized in my home. There are those areas that get messy and need some attention from time to time.

My latest mini-project (that took all of 5 minutes) was the area where I keep shopping bags and grocery bags. Let me preface this by saying that, yes, I do employ reusable bags often, but not always. In our home we reuse a lot of stuff, including shopping bags, grocery bags and plastic bags.

The "bag shelf" had become completely overrun with bags, packing paper and even a few kids' toys shoved in at random. To organize this area, I took everything off the shelf. Note, that I didn't try to organize the whole room, just one shelf. This is important. Then I sorted the bags into two categories: grocery bags and all other bags (i.e. shopping bags and reusable bags). All the rumpled bags were put into recycling and kids' toys returned to their proper home. Here is the result:
This is not fancy or even labeled. It is just a shelf where I can go to when I need a bag.

During this process, I came up with a lot more grocery bags than you see here. If you have an over abundance of grocery bags, like I did, check with your local food pantry to see if they can reuse them. Faith in Action took my extra grocery bags. Here are two volunteers stocking the shelves at the Dexter, Michigan location, which is currently in need of crackers for the food pantry. They also have a facility in Chelsea, Michigan.
In addition to the blog, I also publish a free e-newsletter that is distributed on the 1st of every month. Sign up today to receive the October edition, where I will provide tips on what to do with all those receipts.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mom 2 Mom Sales in Dexter and Saline

With school in full swing and fall upon us, there is no better time to clean out those closets, get organized and make a little extra cash while doing it. This coming Saturday, September 24, 2011 there are two Mom to Mom sales being held in the Ann Arbor area, specifically Dexter and Saline.

Head out to Dexter's Cornerstone School at 7480 Dan Hoey Road bright and early Saturday morning. The Cornerstone Parent Teacher Group (CPTG) Mom to Mom sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The entrance fee for adults is $1 with all proceeds benefiting the CPTG. For those of you with children's items to sell, there are still a few tables available. You can reserve your table by contacting Kathy Fletcher at 734-637-9646 or

From Dexter drive over to Saline's Mom2Mom Consignment sale at Liberty School on Saline-Ann Arbor Rd. This sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a consignment Mom2Mom sale--a little different than the "normal" kind. All toys and clothing must be dropped off by Friday, September 23, 2011 with prices marked. The items will then be aggregated by type and size for re-sale. Any unsold items can be picked up at the end of the sale or donated, if you choose. There is a $1.00 admission fee at the door. For more details on selling or shopping, please check out the website at

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Musings

Despite all of my good intentions, it has been a long time since I have posted to the blog and summer is rapidly slipping out of our hands here in Michigan.

After such a hot summer, I welcome fall, my favorite season of the year. I recently discovered, however, that many busy families dread fall. They are stressed by new schedules, the deluge of papers from the school and the general busyness of it all after the supposed lazy days of summer.

Here are three quick tips to address the stress families feel in fall:

1) New Schedules---Times of transition and change can be difficult for adults and children alike. For many readers this may be the first full week with kids back to school. Remind yourself it might take another week or two to adjust to new schedules. In the meantime, pull out your calendar and put EVERYTHING in it. Your calendar is your time management bible.

2) School Papers---This is where nearly everyone struggles. The problem with paper is that it just keeps coming at you, ready or not. The trick is to have a few simple systems in place and keep ahead of that paper monster. Designate one place for incoming papers and take 5 to 15 minutes daily to file, act upon or toss those items.

3) Busy Days---Mahatma Gandhi once said that "There is more to life than increasing its speed." I always joke that my clients have much more interesting lives than myself and there's a lot of truth in that joke. My clients are often the folks that hold up our communities: the go-to people in the schools, churches or synagogues. They are wonderfully kind people, who sometimes take on too much. Remember, to take a step back and slow down life a little if you have inadvertently taken on too much.

I hope these quick tips will help you feel just a little less stressed this fall. For more free tips and a free gift, sign up for my monthly newsletter at Simply Organized Life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Home Office Organizing Tips

Even if you do not own a business, nearly everyone needs a home office (or kitchen corner).

Last week, I wrote a guest blog for Entrepreneurial America titled "Home Office Organizing Tips for Solopreneurs". If you own a business, these tips will help you be a success in your chosen field. Non-business owners can glean a few tips for the home office as well.

Entrepreneurial America is a blog for those in business and contemplating their own business. It is edited by my good friend and former business school classmate, Amber Clark.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Insurance Paperwork Filing

Getting rid of items that are no longer needed is a key strategy to getting organized. However, sometimes it can be difficult to know what to toss when it comes to paperwork like insurance policies. These are the items that we tend to hang on to, citing "what if" scenarios.
The folks at Freedom Filer, a "self-purging" document storage system, say that it is generally alright to get rid of old insurance policies if you've received a new one, unless one of their following circumstances apply to you:
  • If you have a claim pending, hang on to the expired policy and any related paperwork.
  • If you think there may be a claim filed in regards to something that happened during the life of your old policy, keep the policy documents.
  • For businesses, it doesn't hurt to keep all policy paperwork through the life of your business.
*Remember, always check with your CPA or attorney about what legal paperwork to keep and for how long.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Organizing Resources

In my last Dexter Patch blog post, I wrote about "Being Organized". For my clients and myself the level of organization in our spaces fluctuates with how busy we are, our health and our level of motivation for any given day or week.

Being organized is not about being perfect. To me, being organized is all about taking small, easy steps every day to maintain the level of order we need to thrive. If we skip a day or two (or a week) it is easy to literally pick up where we left off.

If you are struggling with being organized, resources abound! I just found out this morning that this Simply Organized Life Blog was included in a list of "Best 50 Blogs About Reducing Clutter" with the comments "These great little tips will transform your life!" I am honored to be listed among some of the leaders in my industry. I hope each of you reading will find a little gem to use in your daily life.

In addition, on August 26th at 10 a.m. I will be returning to the Dexter District Library to present my seminar titled "Downsizing Your Home: What to Keep -- What to Toss!" This seminar is for anyone who thinks they might have too much stuff in their home. Best of all, it is free.

Please send your comments and questions. I would love to hear about your organizing journey!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Free Downsizing Seminar

So many of us want to simplify our lives, but don't know where to start. You do not have to make a move to downsize your home and simplify your life.

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann, founder of Simply Organized Life and a NAPO Golden Circle Member, will present the following seminar at the Dexter District Library in Dexter, Michigan on Friday, August 26, 2011 from 10 to 11 a.m:

"Downsizing Your Life: What to Keep - What to Toss"
No matter what stage of life you are at, it is difficult to downsize, especially in our "super-sized" culture. Making do with less does not have to be a struggle. In fact, life can be more peaceful without the excess clutter.

In this seminar, Carolyn will provide simple tips to guide participants through the process of downsizing your home. Whatever your age or situation, this workshop will give you some helpful direction to set goals and time-lines when deciding what to keep and what to toss.

There is no charge for this seminar, open to the general public.
Sign up at the Dexter District Library.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Organizational Seminars

This summer, Carolyn will be presenting two great seminars through the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed on organizational strategies. These seminars are excellent opportunities to get organized this summer at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one consulting.

"5 Habits for an Organized Office" will be offered June 28th from 6 to 8 pm, and is perfect for anyone with an office, either home or corporate. This seminar offers advice on how to maximize your efficiency while minimizing office clutter.

"Tame the Paper Monster" will be offered July 15th from 10 am to 12 noon, and is a hands-on seminar that offers guidance in sorting through your own household and personal paperwork, helping you to reduce clutter and manage your documents.

For more information on both of these great opportunities, check out page 24 of the Rec & Ed Summer Catalog and the seminars page of the Simply Organized Life website.

*Photo from the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed website:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Other Container Options

The sistema container sets mentioned in April's post are a great way to containerize and manage food storage. While the system mentioned can be found at Sur la Table, Macy's also carries a similar line of storage containers by Martha Stewart that are a great way to organize your kitchen and pantry. Additionally, don't overlook Gladware containers for reusable food storage!

You can use any of these options to containerize - that is, to stick to a few stackable sizes of storage containers. Pick a couple sizes that you'll get the most use out of; ones that can fit a variety of sandwiches or leftovers. Stack lids and containers together, and you'll have a clutter-free way to store and save a wide variety of foods.

When searching storage options online, don't forget that customer reviews can be especially helpful in finding the right type of containers for you!

New Blog

I am pleased to announce that I am now also blogging for Dexter Patch. Click on the Dexter Patch link to read my introductory blog on Being Organized. This is another outlet for tips and tricks from a professional organizer. I will continue to contribute to this blog, the Simply Organized Life Facebook page and my monthly newsletter Your Simply Organized Life.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Organizing Medicine

Here's a great little tip for organizing medicine. I came up with this while packing for our March trip to Atlanta and ever since have been asking myself why I didn't think of this sooner.

My favorite organizing product, has to be zipper bags like the quart size one shown at right. I only buy two sizes: quart and gallon, thus eliminating baggie clutter.

The bag in the photo was put together as a travel kit and went in our carry on. I have since kept it together at home. This basic kit of pain/fever reducers contains:

  • A note card with my children's names, weight and dosage on each side.

  • Ibuprofen and acetaminophen for my children.

  • Marked syringes to measure and administer the children's medicine.

  • An ear thermometer.

  • Ibuprofen for myself and my husband.

The note card has been really helpful in not confusing the kids' dosages in a moment of worry over a sick child. In addition, I have everything I need in one place when I need it.

For more organizing tips, sign up for my monthly e-newsletter "Your Simply Organized Life" and "Like" Simply Organized Life on Facebook.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Food Storage

February and March 2011 were busy months for Simply Organized Life. I have been helping lots of clients get organized in their kitchens, home offices, kids' rooms and storage areas.

In March I got away with the family for a few days, joining my husband on a business trip to Atlanta and staying with family in the area. We visited Stone Mountain, the Georgia Aquarium, and one of the area's many malls where I discovered these sistema containers (photo at left) in Sur La Table.

While I do not need any new food storage containers, the sistema containers are BPA free and the lids snap on tight. Currently I use Glad containers with interlocking lids for food storage and Japanese bento boxes for my kids' lunches. The bento boxes have two tiers and a locking lid similar to the sistema containers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saline Mom to Mom Sale

As a parent of young children, I occasionally enjoy the Mom to Mom sale format that is popular here in Southeast Michigan. Recently I have noticed a new concept in Mom to Mom sales that can benefit both sellers and buyers. The consignment or department store format allows sellers to drop off items beforehand for resale and buyers have the benefit of presorted items.

Theresa Ferenczy sent me this listing for an upcoming consignment sale in Saline, Michigan:

"Mark you calendar for Saline's first Mom2Mom Consignment Sale on March 12, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be held at Liberty School in Saline (7265 N. Ann Arbor Saline Road). This is a great way for parents to clear out closets and make some extra cash. No more sitting at a table all day and selling---you price your items, drop them off on Friday, March 11, 2011 and we sell them for you on Saturday, March 12, 2011. For shoppers everything is in one room and sorted by gender and size. There is a $1 admission fee."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Filing Car Paperwork

When it comes to paperwork, knowing what to keep can be tricky. When it comes to vehicle documents, knowing where to keep it throws an additional wrench into even the most well-organized plans. FreedomFiler, a document-organizing system, offers these tips as to how to save and file* vehicle documents:

  • Your current proof of registration, proof of auto insurance, and any emergency contact information belongs in the car (the glove compartment is a great place for this!)
  • Paid registration renewal notices can be organized with your other tax documents.
  • The title for your vehicle should be kept in a safe spot, and organized in a file with other long-term documents.
*Always check with your CPA or attorney for advice on what paperwork to keep and for how long.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Donate in Dexter

Looking for another reason to let go of some clutter? The Dexter, Michigan Knights of Columbus will be accepting donations for their annual rummage sale on the following dates and times:
Thursday, January 27, 2011, 1~6 p.m.
Friday, January 28, 2011, 1~6 p.m.
Saturday, January 29, 2011, 10:30 a.m.~4 p.m.
Sunday, January 30, 2011, 10:30 a.m.~4 p.m.
The Knights of Columbus will not accept furniture, computers or large exercise equipment.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Labels for Kids

After scoffing at the need for professional labels for my kids' belonging, I broke down this morning and purchased a "Party Pack" of Name Bubbles for each of my kids. Hopefully, these labels will live up to my expectations, as they are quite expensive.

Up until now, a Sharpie Laundry Pen or my Brother P-touch labels have been sufficient. However, labeling shoes and clothes without tags gets tricky. I also hate to deface items that can be passed on. I am hoping these labels, particularly the laundry labels, will stay put for my kids and be able to be removed when the time comes for the items to leave our home. Besides, they are a lot more stylish than my handwriting or a P-touch label.