Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Storing Manuals

Photo Source: Carolyn Anderson-Fermann
When it comes to getting and staying organized there are no hard and fast rules. 

Take today's subject of storing manuals: you can store manuals with the product, in a box or in a file folder. These are just three options and they are all correct. 

And, if you want to think out of the box completely, who says you even have to keep a paper manual? Some new products, such as the iPhone or Kindle e-reader, do not even come with a manual. It is all on-line if you need it. 

The important thing to remember when storing manuals, particularly for big ticket items, is retrieval. Will you be able to find what you want, when you need it? 

While it was not very fun at the time, I recently had a great opportunity to test my method for storing manuals. In February of 2008, I wrote a blog post about storing the manuals for our home water pump and tank. The photo above shows the water tank for our home and the manuals in a plastic sleeve taped to the wall. 

A couple of weeks ago, my family awoke to no water. It was a good thing that I had the manuals for the pump and tank taped to the basement wall. The manuals included the following information: the well company's contact information, installation dates and warranties for each item. 

It turned out that our tank had failed and was still under warranty. Our water was running again by 10:30 a.m. that morning. 

The thing about being organized is that it makes our busy lives just a little bit easier. Are you tired of living in clutter and chaos? Of not finding what you need when you need it? Let me guide you on what I like to call your "organizing journey". 

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. To receive a free copy of Carolyn's "Secrets of a Simply Organized Life"and a monthly subscription to the e-newsletter "Your Simply Organized Life" sign up here

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Planning for International Travel with Kids

Photo Source: List Mama,
Do you have family overseas? Do you dream of expanding your vacation horizons, but worry about traveling internationally with your children? 

Check out my guest blog on planning for international travel with kids over at ListPlanIt, a membership based website full of any list you could imagine. Why reinvent the wheel?

My guest blog is a time-line based list of steps for any family planning a trip overseas. Many of the steps can apply to domestic travel as well. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Get Organized for Back to School

Photo Source: 
I love the idea of a fresh start. If things have gotten cluttered over the summer, back to school is a great time to make a fresh start in your home. Why wait until January 2013?

Here is what I am doing with my children to prepare for back to school before Labor Day rolls around:

1) Update the Family Binder
If you do not have a family binder, or even know what it is, now is a great time to set one up. The family binder functions as one place where you can store all of those important papers that you will need to refer to in the future. 

My family's binder is simply a three ring binder (that I already had) filled with babysitter information, school class information and information related to activities such as swimming or soccer. I like to use and reuse Avery's erasable tabs, so it is easy to switch from year to year.

Take the time now to clear out the old and make room for the new.  

2) Update the Calendar
By now most schools will have their annual calendars posted on-line. While more detailed calendars are forthcoming, take the time now to post all those holiday breaks and random days off into your personal calendar. 

Transferring the school, church or activity calendar into your own calendar as soon as it is available is a great habit to get into to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. 

3) Start the Schedule Shift
Most of us let our schedules slide a bit in the summer. If your kids have turned into night owls over the last two months, now is the time to slowly shift bedtimes earlier. 

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will be presenting "Get Organized for Back to School" at My Urban Toddler in Saline, Michigan on August 17, 2012 (childcare is available, check with My Urban Toddler for details). Register with My Urban Toddler by Friday, August 10, 2012. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Travel Tips

Carolyn in Torun, Poland, circa 2005
Today's post is an oldie, but goody, originally posted on this blog in May 2006. 

Having left a corporate career in sales and lived overseas, I have traveled a lot. My last trip as a corporate road warrior had me off to Japan with all of four days notice. When I showed up at the airport my male counterparts were surprised that my only luggage was an 18 inch Travelpro carry-on and a purse large enough to hold my computer.

With a little bit of organization, you too can be jetting off to far flung places at a moment's notice. Here are my tips for packing light and enjoying the ride:

1) Pick your bags---Try to limit yourself to one small sturdy bag per person. This can even save you money with the airlines’ nickeling and diming for baggage charges these days.

2) Pack your bags---If you travel frequently, keep small sample sized toiletries in your travel bag at all times. This saves packing time and avoids forgotten items.

3) Start with your itinerary---For business or pleasure, you should have an idea of your daily travel plans. This will help you pick out the necessary clothes and shoes.

4) Get back to the basics---When traveling, stick to easy care mix and match separates or suits in the same color palette. I always try to limit myself to two pairs of shoes of the same color: one casual and one dressy.

5) Use every nook and cranny---Rolling knit items can save space. You can also pack socks and undergarments inside of your extra pair of shoes that are covered with plastic bags. Neatly folding dirty clothes inside of plastic bags saves space on the way home.

6) Relax---Don’t worry if you forget something. Unless you are traveling to a very remote part of the world, you can almost always buy what you need or wash clothes at your destination.

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. To receive a free copy of Carolyn's "Secrets of a Simply Organized Life"and a monthly subscription to the e-newsletter "Your Simply Organized Life" sign up here