Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oh!Spired Features Urban Simplicity

Oh!boy, am I excited! This week, I'm featured on a fun and fabulous blog, Oh!Spired.

Oh!Spired, started by three fitness and health gals, is all about living your best life but not in a preachy, health goddess-y kind of way. These girls are funny, successful, and honest. I could not be prouder to be featured.  

So check it out to learn more about me, including my most embarrassing workout story. Plus, share your best organizing tip to enter to win gift certificate to The Container Store. I'm picking the winner! 

To keep up with the girls from Oh!Spired, definitely follow them on Twitter and Facebook

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Organizing Obsession: Chevron Bins

I'm pretty much obsessed with chevron anything and everything, so you can imagine my excitement when I came across these bins from See Jane Work

Photo courtesy of See Jane Work
Photo courtesy of See Jane Work

Finally! Bins stylish enough to keep out in the open. I would use these: 

  • In a living room to wrangle throws and pillows
  • In a child's room for toys
  • In a small office space to hold product samples
  • In a laundry room or bedroom for dirty clothes or dry cleaning

And maybe I just have the beach on my mind, but they would make a fabulous addition to any entryway to hold towels and other beach necessities. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Organizing Obsession: CardMunch

Today I was raving about CardMunch, and I was shocked that my friend hadn’t heard about this app. I thought I was the last one to the party, but oh no! So, read on if you’re drowning in business cards.

Powered by LinkedIn, CardMunch is simple. After you download the free app, take a photo with your phone of any business card you collect. Real humans (yes, seriously) transcribe the card, and then it’s uploaded into your phone.

Next, decide if you want to save the contact to your iPhone contacts list. I don’t like to clutter up my contacts, so I usually just access the contact information through the CardMunch app on my phone. The other awesome thing is that you can immediately connect with the person on LinkedIn, if you’re into that. And I am.

Only drawback:  CardMunch is only available on the iPhone, but, never fear, they are launching on the Blackberry and Android phones soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top Eight Travel Tips

Memorial Day is around the corner, and I am already plotting my busy summer travel schedule. This year, in addition to weekends at the beach, we're planning a getaway to the Caribbean in July and then to Ireland around Labor Day. 

All that, plus a busy schedule organizing clients, means I need to be a pro at staying organized. So, this week, I’m sharing my top eight travel tips with you.

1. As soon as a trip is booked, label a file folder with the name and dates of your upcoming travel. Add flight information, hotel information, and any other trip details.

2. Schedule time on your calendar, about one week before your trip, to organize your trip file and take care of last minute planning. Depending on the length of your trip, block out about an hour of time.

3. Scan your family’s passports, drivers’ licenses, car insurance, and credit card information. Send them to your web-based email account so you can access them from anywhere in case they’re lost.

4. Email your itinerary and contact information to a friend or family member so someone knows where you are at all times.

5. Copy pages from travel books with interesting information. Don’t carry the whole book. They take up too much space and are way too heavy.

6. Gather items a few days ahead of your trip and put them in your travel staging area. Packing items in advance will take the stress out of packing.

7. Store your travel items in your suitcase, if you’re limited on space and don’t travel regularly. This will keep everything in one place.

8. Unpack right away when you return from a trip, no matter how late it is or how tired you are.  Otherwise, you end up living out of a suitcase for a week.

Safe travels!  Where are you heading for Memorial Day weekend?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Blog Post Series: My Organizing Obsessions

Believe it or not, but I have an organizing obsession or two (or a million). Which got me to thinking that much like Oprah, I should be sharing my favorite things with you. So, I’ve decided to ramp up my blog posting a bit and start a weekly post to highlight my organizing obsession of the week. I’ll highlight specific products, things I love, and brilliant ideas that I’m currently, ummm… obsessing over. 

Without further ado, my organizing obsession this week… Baggu

Photo courtesy of Baggu Bags

I've been using these fabulous bags for years to carry my groceries, and late last year, I finally went to their website only to realize they have so many styles, not just the traditional grocery bags. They make backpacks, leather totes, and zipper bags like the one shown above in various sizes. I now use the Baggu zipper bags to organize my cosmetics, travel and gym necessities, and more. The options are limitless! 

Plus these earth-friendly bags (no more plastic grocery bags!) are incredibly affordable and each season they roll out the coolest colors. Definitely an organizing obsession.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Marketing New York Organizers

Well, say hello to the newest board member for the New York Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO-NY). I was officially sworn in as Marketing Director on Monday night at the NAPO-NY Chapter Meeting.

Since officially launching my business in 2011, I have been active with NAPO-NY. I have been serving as their Social Media Coordinator for a year now. And last spring, I was involved in planning the Organize with New York Style Conference, which was a huge success, and the Chapter’s first foray into planning a regional conference. I’ve also been fortunate to attend the past two NAPO National conferences in San Diego and Baltimore.

So, you might ask, what does the Marketing Director officially do? Well, I’ll be overseeing our PR efforts, community service projects, GO Month activities, merchandising, and various special projects. In my upcoming term, that will include overseeing marketing efforts for the joint venture between NAPO-NY and NAPO-LA to bring the Organizing Awards to New York City in 2013.

It promises to keep me busy, but bring it on!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Guest Blog Post: From Planner to Paperless

I still keep a written (i.e. not paperless) to do list. True story. So when my sister said she officially went paperless with her calendar, task lists, and general reminders, I was pretty impressed. Turns out it wasn't as easy as it sounds, but this story has a happy ending. 

Read more in this week's guest blog post from my sister, Kara Janecek, with some great lessons for all of us considering going paperless. 

From Planner to Paperless
By: Kara Janecek

As a FranklinCovey girl at heart, I have been committed to my “fine leather planner” since college. Okay, so I’ve gone through three since college, but who’s counting? I’m also a wife, mother of two, and a full-time clinical social worker. Like my kids, my planner was attached at the hip. Seriously, it was like a third child. I took it everywhere.  

I tossed around the idea of going paperless for a while. After all, I recycle, use cloth grocery bags, and do my best to reduce and reuse. But when my boss saw me literally juggling my planner and my smartphone, she proposed a challenge. “Go paperless, Kara… It’s so liberating!” 

Better late than never, I acquired my first iPhone last year. Then, Urban Simplicity introduced me to Evernote. I gradually began to use this app to store my children’s artwork, my daughter’s first forgery (gasp!), pet vaccination records, bills, school schedules, workout log, and resource lists for my clients. It was amazing how much information I could keep at my fingertips.

Yet, I kept carrying my "fine (fat) leather planner." I soon realized that I was keeping two separate calendars (Urban Simplicity would not approve) adding my personal info to my iPhone and my professional appointments to my "fine (even fatter by this point) leather planner."  

But wait, it gets worse. I was also keeping two separate to do lists. Seriously? Why? I knew it was time for an intervention. I needed to merge my personal and professional life, once and for all.

So, how did I make it work?
  • iPhone for to do list, mobile synced calendar, and alarms for reminders
  • Evernote (a.k.a. my brain) for workout log, recipes (always have a list of ingredients for quick grocery trips), spur of the moment gift ideas, bills, subscription and account notes, health records, business cards, resource lists for clients, my kids’ art work (I don’t have to keep it all!), car maintenance records...
  • Microsoft Office and Google Calendar so I have access to personal and professional schedules from home, phone and at work.
I’m not 100 percent paperless yet, but I have a few more paperless goals in mind like paperless billing and sorting our family records to make electronic copies of important documents. But the biggest transition is over. My paper trail is dwindling. And I’m feeling more productive and much less scattered.

In addition to being my older sister, Kara is a wife, mother of two, and a full-time clinical social worker in Columbus, Texas. She is not on Twitter (boo!), but you can check out and follow her Pinterest boards here.