Friday, March 30, 2012

How to Organize a Junk Drawer

  • Take everything out of the drawer.
  • Spread the items out on a counter/table.
  • From left to right, take one item at a time and decide if you can trash it or give it away.
  • If you decide to keep it, put it in a space above the other items.
  • Continue until you are finished.
  • Decide whether you need containers/dividers for the drawer in order to organize the items you will keep.
  • Return items to the drawer.

Remember: it is not wrong to have a junk drawer. We all have items that can be handy and useful but may not fit a particular category. Even if you just toss these items into a drawer without the drawer itself being overly organized, that is okay. The key is to keep the drawer from becoming so full of unusable junk that you can't open it or easily find something when you may try to look for "that unique item" you "just know you have somewhere."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pray While Folding Laundry

Chances are, you fold a good bit of laundry each week. As you fold your clothing items or those of loved ones, consider praying in this way:

Sweaters/Tops: pray for the warmth of God's love to surround them; for them to embrace modesty before Him.

Sports clothes: pray that they will "run and not be weary" for the Lord.

Underclothing: pray that their hearts will remain pure, that they will guard their hearts from evil, and that they will have a foundation of faith.

Socks: pray that they will walk in "newness of life," that they will walk toward serving God and others and not away from Him

Pants/Skirts: pray that their legs will take them to places that will honor God and that they will walk alongside people who need encouragement

Bed linens: pray they will rest easily "under the shadow of His wings."

Towels: pray that they will be cleansed from sin, poor attitudes, and concerns/worries.

What other ways can you pray as you fold clothes?

Friday, March 16, 2012

It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect

You may have heard it said, 'If it can't be done with excellence, don't do it." Well, Jesus never said that! The truth is, almost everything we do is done poorly when we first start doing it--that's how we learn. It doesn't have to be perfect for God to use and bless it." -Rick Warren, the Purpose Driven Life

Friday, March 9, 2012

Five Ways to Simplify Your Communication Life

We are inundated with all kinds of communication everyday, to the point where it can become overwhelming. Here are five tips to cut down on the noise.

Purge your email. Periodically consider whether you really need that weekly email newsletter. For example, not long ago I tried jumping into the couponing pool. I've come pretty much right back out (that's another topic.) In the process of trying it, I ended up subscribing to several sites and then hardly looking at the deals. Time to unsubscribe from a lot of them.

But Beth, what if you miss out on a deal? I miss out on deals all the time. I can always find the sites later, or bookmark them into a "saving money" folder so if I get the urge to do something like eat out or some other fun activity, or have something specific I need to buy, I can research sales and coupons then.

Turn off notifications. If you are active on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, adjust your settings so you are only getting notifications for things that really interest you. These days, it's easy for people to add you to groups, and if you don't have settings adjusted to your preference, you could have long lists of notifications or emails of when someone posted in that group. I've recently done this myself for Facebook groups that I want to remain part of, without being reminded every time someone posts there.

Also consider adjusting notifications on your cell phone. If you use a phone that lets you see email, it may be best you may not need to have a sound or icon come up every time a new email comes in. You can check it when you want once or twice a day.

Be cautious about your cell phone. Many of you may be using a cell phone exclusively rather than a land line. In that case, you really don't have much choice about  giving out your number. But if you still have a home phone and a cell phone, be cautious about giving out your cell phone number too widely. We already deal with lots of interruptions in life and extra calls may not be necessary in the middle of your days.

Use voice mail. Many messages can be handled by a simple voice mail--both leaving one and receiving one. You don't have to answer every call right away (same goes for email.) Let the phone go to VM if you are in the middle of something that needs focus such as driving or meeting with a friend.

Use “do not mail” and “do not call” lists. From time to time, check and and get your name off of junk mail and telemarketing lists. Now, if you enjoy getting coupons, catalogs, samples, or other pieces of mail, so be it. But if you want to simplify--these services can help you out.

These are just a few ways to reduce communication noise. What works for you?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Where's That Receipt?

Okay, I admit it. Paper filing is one of my weakest organizational points. It seems overwhelming to know what to keep, what to toss, and realize how long it may take to go through all those papers! Most stay safely tucked away in a file cabinet that stays closed all the time!

But I do feel I have a pretty good system for monthly receipts and so forth so here it is:

  • Obtain four sets of three drawer plastic cubes.
  • Label each drawer for each month of the year.
  • Keep the current month's drawer handy on your desk.
  • Stick all receipts, policy renewals, even cards and letters in the box.
  • At the beginning of the new month, put this drawer away. Pull out the next drawer.
  • Go through the new drawer, removing any receipts you no longer have to keep (i.e. Walmart, etc.) Shred those.
  • Keep important papers or things you are unsure of in that drawer. Consider scanning them and saving them to a service like Evernote, so you can discard them. (If tax, legal, medical, move them to special files of those categories.)

Enjoy reviewing nice notes and cards you received this time last year. Then, decide whether you still want to keep greeting cards, etc. Consider finding another sentimentality container for those now, maybe for review on New Year's day. Better yet, scan them to Evernote or scrapbook them.

Continue this rotation every month. This keeps the job manageable, and items immediately accessible for a year. It doesn't take long to rifle through one bin to find that missing Kohl's receipt to return that item, particularly if you have an idea of what month or season you bought it.

What are your ideas for managing files?