Posted by: Robin | May 8, 2008

Decluttering Technology

Cell phones, computers, fax machines, audio and video gear: all of it is obsolete almost the minute you walk out of the store with it! How many previous models are you holding on to? How many blank diskettes you no longer have a drive that can read or write? How many cables for interfaces long forgotten?

If you’re not the neighborhood techie and fixup person, you don’t need them. In some areas, there are organizations which refurbish computer equipment and cellphones: if one exists near you, use it. If the equipment is still usable, donate it: some schools or churches may know of families who could benefit from an older computer for kids to use for schoolwork.

Resources

Information on computer recycling and reuse

http://earth911.org/recycling/computer-recycling-reuse

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/04/how_to_recycle_1.php

Cellphone recycling

http://wirelessrecycling.com/home/index.html
http://www.charitablerecycling.com/CR/home.asp

More technology clutter help

Dealing with technology clutter at home

Ways to get rid of clutter responsibly

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Posted by: Robin | April 15, 2008

Decluttering the fridge

If your fridge looks like a bomb went off inside it, or it’s stuffed to the gills and you can’t find anything, or you’re afraid to open it because the science experiments have created their own civilization and reached the gunpowder stage… read on.

  1. Turn the fridge off, pull out everything, and start the fridge defrosting while you work. You can set pans of hot water inside to speed up melting. If the cleaning process will take a while, put frozen and highly perishable foods in a cooler or ice chest.
  2. Throw away the science experiments, anything with fur that shouldn’t have it, and anything that’s gone bad.
  3. Look at all the leftovers. Decide: will you eat them in the next 2 days? Can they be frozen to eat later? No? Into the garbage or compost they go.
  4. Check expiry dates. Throw out anything which is unreasonably beyond it’s date (it seems a shame to waste something which expired yesterday – but be sure you’ll eat it SOON!).
  5. Consider how you use the space inside your fridge: could it be better organized? Can shelves be moved to use the space better? Plan for better space use while it’s empty.
  6. Take out your baking soda container if it’s been there longer than a few months, and use it to clean out the sink drains.
  7. Clean the fridge.
  8. Add new baking soda
  9. Replace everything you’re keeping, using your new space plan.
  10. Admire the lovely clean spacious fridge.

America\'s Most Wanted Recipes

Now you’ve spiffed up your fridge, maybe you’re ready to cook something. Here’s a fun cookbook – “America’s Most Wanted Recipes”: Official Secret Restaurant Recipes – The Original CopyCat Cookbook. Get inside the hidden cookbooks of America’s favorite restaurants. The secret recipes for over 100 all-time favorite dishes have now been revealed in this best-selling new cookbook.  Prepare dishes you know your family will love and save money by easily making them at home.

Get free sample secret recipes just for visiting the site

Resources

Kitchen Organizers Help With Kitchen Organization
Decluttering
Home Organization Tools
Pantry Organizers and Shelving
Get Started on Decluttering Your Kitchen
How to Declutter Your Kitchen
Kitchen Organizing Tips
Flylady – decluttering and organizing your home and life

Posted by: Robin | March 25, 2008

Declutter to a deadline

Make a date to remove the items you’re decluttering, rather than letting the boxes of garbage or “to the thrift store” stuff accumulate indefinitely.

You can schedule a trash service or in some cases, a thrift organization, to come pick up your stuff. Then you have a target date to work towards – after all, you don’t want to waste their time by only having a few things for them to take. Make the most of the pickup and get rid of as much as you can all at once!

If you’re really going gung-ho, and the stuff you’re getting rid of is genuine garbage, rent a dumpster for a day and fill that baby up to the brim.

Posted by: Robin | March 17, 2008

What’s working now?

Consider the areas of your home which are how you want them to be – decluttered, spacious, tidy, organized, peaceful. Even if it’s just one tabletop or one drawer.

Then ask: why does this space work? What’s special about it? It might contain only items for a specific purpose, it might get cleared regularly as part of some household routine, it might have special containers which keep it neat: what’s the secret?

Once you know why and how you keep this area decluttered and organized, you can extend that knowledge of what works for you, to other areas.

more decluttering tips

Posted by: Robin | August 2, 2007

Laundry – Simpler and Easier

Buying Clothes

  • buy wash and wear (and BELIEVE the labels!)
  • buy lots of one kind/color of sock (so no matching or pairing is needed)
  • color-code towels for each family member
  • color code socks and underwear ditto

Creating and collecting laundry

  • use towels more than once
  • keep a laundry-collection bin in every bedroom and bathroom
  • get family members to sort and deliver their own dirties
  • don’t wash things until they need washing

Doing laundry

  • install the washer and dryer near where the laundry is created and stored
  • have enough laundry baskets
  • teach kids to do their own laundry
  • get family members to fold and put away their own clean clothes

More home organization ideas

Posted by: Robin | July 23, 2007

Decluttering cosmetics and medicines

Bathroom cabinets tend to accumulate outdated and part-used cosmetics and medications, sometimes over periods of years! If yours is overstuffed, take a run through the contents…

First, get rid of everything that’s past its expiry date. This applies mostly to medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, but rubber items often have expiry dates as well, and cosmetics may change color or grow bacteria over the years even though they have no “official” expiry date.

Next, anything you no longer ever use, and unwanted gift items. Unopened cosmetics and toiletries may be welcomed at shelters.

Multiple combs, brushes, and other equipment? Keep the ones you use, and toss or donate the rest.

Resource List

Get Organized and Stay Organized
Closet Organization
Decluttering
Home Organization Tools
Stylish Home Organization
How to Start Dcluttering Your Home
Decluttering our Lives
Zen Habits – How to Declutter

Posted by: Robin | July 19, 2007

Keep a “Waiting For” List

Any time you contact someone and need a reply, or send off an application, or place an order, you have to wait for information or goods to come back to you.

A great way to keep track of this kind of thing is one or more “waiting for” lists. A simple list is good for keeping brief notes: a folder in your email system keeps track of emails you’re waiting for a reply to: a “waiting for” file folder lets you drop in applications, orders, complaint letters, and other papers (dated).

Make sure to check your “waiting” for lists and files regularly, at least weekly, and take action when answers don’t come as quickly as they should.

Resource List

Get Organized and Stay Organized
How to Declutter Your Unfinished Projects
Home Office Organization
Decluttering and Organizing our Lives

Posted by: Robin | July 17, 2007

Organizing Emergency Supplies

If an emergency strikes, you won’t want to be running around looking for the supplies and information you need. What you need depends on your possible emergencies (fire, hurricane, tornado, earthquake etc) and your living situation. Think about these:Information – phone #s (emergency and family and friends to inform), first aid instructions, disaster instructions, instructions in case of death or incapacitation, guardian arrangements for children and pets, important documents, (executors and guardians should have copies).

Supplies – first aid, food, water, medications and personal care, lighting, heating, cooking, clothing, shelter, cash, batteries, radio, documents, needed for how long? Supplies should ideally be accessible from outside the house in case damage makes it impossible or unsafe to go in.

A “Bug-out bag” is a container kept near an exit door with emergency supplies and information in it, that you can “grab and go”.

Recommended Resources

US Govt emergency prep information
Red Cross emergency prep information
e-book “Act Now, Survive An Emergency Later! What You Must Know To Prepare For A Disaster And Live Through The Crisis”.
Get Organized and Stay Organized
New Years Resolutions

Posted by: Robin | July 11, 2007

Get things out of your head

Your brain is not a good place to store things. The more things you try to remember, the more stress builds up.

  • Have a place to record things: planner, index cards, voice recorder, PDA or computer.
  • Have a way to get things you’re recorded into your system: use an inbox of some kind.
  • Use routines or checklists for regular or repeated tasks.
  • Have a daily or weekly routine for gathering up stray papers, getting them into the right inbox, and processing them.
  • Keep lists: “To buy”, “To mend”, “waiting for”, and “agendas” for people and meetings.

Recommended resources

Book: David Allen “Getting Things Done”

I’ve read many, many “organizing” books over decades and this is the one which has made the most difference for me. It is eminently practical, detailed and straightforward. It doesn’t require you to buy any specific tools: you can use anything from a paper notebook, planner, or index cards to a PDA or computer. Main strengths are in processes to capture, record, plan and organize tasks and projects. Not so strong on how to actually get yourself to DO all those tasks!

Posted by: Robin | July 3, 2007

Garage wall storage helps make room for your car

Many of the things you store in the garage can be hung on the wall or on the ceiling. There are plenty of systems you can buy to do the job, but it’s also easy to build your own system. Hooks and racks on the wall hold garden tools, hoses, spare wheels, rims and tires, bikes, ramps, small machinery like weedwhackers and even mowers, ski and other sports equipment, and boat equipment. Pegboard on the wall can hold all kinds of tools and smaller items. Shelves on the wall hold auto fluids, garden pesticides and fertilizers (in safe containers), hose fittings, camping gear. Ceiling-hung racks hold lumber, sailboat masts and yards, plumbing pipe, and fishing rods. Bikes can be hung from the ceiling too.

Gotchas in the garage: paint is damaged by freezing so keep it in a heated area. If you have mice or other varmints in your area use tough storage containers, ideally metal: animals can chew through wood and plastic.

Resource List

Garage Organization
Decluttering
Garage Storage Systems
How to Declutter Your Unfinished Projects
How to Start Dcluttering Your Home
Decluttering Before Organizing

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