Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Toss It Tuesday

When you gotta go, you gotta go. And these 20 things gotta go…

1. Rusty nails

2. Tools you don’t know how to use or have never used

3. Clothes that don’t fit

4. Clothes that are stained or damaged

5. Old bank statements or income statements you can get online

6. Free giveaways like cozies, pens, or coolers

7. Done having babies? Give away those clothes you’re holding on to.

8. Your pencil collection from junior high (guilty as charged)

9. Your matchbook collection

10. Generally any collection started pre-puberty. 

11. Gear you never use or can rent on vacation. When was the last time you went scuba diving?

12. DVDs of movies you can get on Netflix, I’m not even going to mention VHS.

13. Notebooks with old notes from past projects

14. Kids’ art that doesn’t hold sentimental value

15. Crappy hotel shampoo mini bottles

16. Expired pantry items

17. Mismatched sheets

18. Leftovers from last week

19. Manuals for appliances you no longer own

20. Wire hangers from the dry cleaner. Use these instead.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Goodbye Handwritten To Do List, Hello Todoist

One of my favorite feelings in the world is crossing something off a To Do list. I’ve become so obsessed with it over the years that I never thought I could give up my handwritten To Do lists. But I’ve finally done it!

After looking at a few apps recommended by other organizers and some tech-friendly friends, I found that I liked the clean layout and functionality of Todoist

I’m sharing some insight on my experience for all you 
handwritten list lovers out there.

Don’t get me wrong, my handwritten process was working, but it was time to embrace technology as I encourage so many clients to become less dependent on paper whether lists, calendars or files. I told myself for years that it wasn’t a bother to rewrite my lists periodically but who was I kidding. Why waste time when there is a better way?

At first it was hard for me to remember to use the app because I was in such a habit of handwriting everything in my notebook. It took about a month to break the habit.

Here's how I'm using the app:
  • I have separate personal and work To Do lists.
  • I created a Client List to manage follow-up and action items for all clients.
  • I'm tracking lists of books to read, shows to watch, and places to travel. Lists don't have to be boring!
  • The app is also a project management tool. We're throwing a party in May, and I've broken down tasks that I need to accomplish week by week.
  • I took extensive handwritten notes I compiled for planning a tailgate, including supplies, amount of food and beverage to buy, and menu selections and created a list so all that information is neatly in one place. It felt so good to throw away that messy sheet of notes.
I feel like I’m just scratching the surface. There are so many different ways I can imagine using the app.

Now here is the deal, I still hand write my daily To Do list. Old habits die hard and it’s working for me. But now I just open my calendar and the app, scan the list and write down my focus for the day. If I have chunks of time available to tackle larger projects, I hold that time on my calendar. At the end of the day when preparing the next day's list, I cross items out in the app.

Basic v. Premium
I’m using the free, basic user level and that provides enough functionality for me.  At this level you can create multiple lists (or "Projects") and schedule tasks to days to create your daily To Do list in the app. It also allows you to add priority levels to tasks and assign tasks to others to aid in delegation.

A yearly subscription for $29 does some fancier things. It allows you to add labels to tasks, which basically allows you to tag tasks (like, all calls). You can add notes and attachments to tasks (great for items you need to review by a certain date), search tasks, and it syncs tasks to iCal.

Do any of you use Todoist? Would love for you to share your experiences or other helpful apps you use to stay organized. 

Image credit: Casa and Company

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

For a Good Cause: Donating Books

When we relocated last year, I made a bold move. Instead of moving all my old books, I decided to take a photo of every book and then I packed them up for donation. 

For hardcore book lovers, I know it sounds crazy, but it was incredibly liberating. I’m definitely a bookworm, and I now have a lasting memory of books I’ve read without sacrificing the space. Plus books are a major dust magnet and hard to clean! I reference the photos when I want to go back and read something again. Of course, this decision was made easier, because I switched to the Kindle several years ago (best idea ever) so it’s not likely that I’d want to read a hard copy anyway. 

When going through this process, I wish I’d known about these organizations that are putting used books to good use. 

Operation Paperback 
This non-profit organization collects gently used books nationwide and sends them to American troops overseas, as well as veterans and military families here at home. It’s really simple: register as a volunteer shipper, and you ship your own books using the addresses that the organization provides. They feature a detailed FAQ on their website that includes tips for how to ship the books most cost effectively. 

Books for America
Founded in 2002, their mission is to promote literacy, life-long learning and understanding by distributing donated new and used books and other forms of educational media to disadvantaged organizations and schools. Items you wish to donate could also be shipped directly to their Used Book Store in Washington, DC or to their Book Sorting Facility in Fairfax, VA. If you are in the Washington, DC metro area, you are in luck! They will pick-up from you directly, and they have book donation bins across the area. 

The other option is to take books to a Goodwill or Salvation Army near you. If you’re in New York City, all Housing Works take book donations and many are directed to their bookstore cafe downtown. Proceeds from sales at Housing Works go to support programs for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. 

All worthy causes and a fantastic way to declutter and help others.

Image Credit: Better Homes and Gardens