Organize While You Winterize

Organize While You Winterize

Fall is here and it is time to start thinking about car preparations for the cold months and getting organized. After a summer of trips to the pool and transitioning to school and sports programs, it is a good time to get winterized.

Here are some steps to get your car winter ready: check for changes in tire pressure once the weather turns colder, assess whether it is time for new tires or seasonal tires, check your manual to see if oil and coolant needs upgraded, consider a good sweep out and seasonal wax.

But don’t just winterize! Go a step further and get your car mobile-ready. Car organization can be a challenge because space is limited and mobile.  The items that we store need to have a “secured” home not just an assigned home such as these areas.

Supplies for the trunk. In a secured storage bin, include an ice scrapper, keep cold-weather emergency supplies such as a blanket, extra windshield fluid, jumper cables, a flashlight, sensible shoes, a set of flares or emergency light. Also for the trunk, keep your favorite shopping bags, an umbrella, and a small set of general tools.
Car and trunk organizer

Supplies for the Glove Compartment. Keep important auto papers in the glove box including title and registration, proof of insurance, car manual. If you have a AAA membership then consider keeping a copy of the membership card here. I recommend having a couple of writing instruments and notepad, and an extra car charger for your phone.

Supplies for the Center Console may be more of a personal nature: a quarter dock, extra sunglasses, gum, an extra chapstick and a small bottle of hand cream or other personal care items of your liking.

Dont’ forget the space under the seat! I like to use a thin-profile document box such as this one to store napkins, wet naps, straws, sweetener packets, and an accordion file for coupons.

Great for under-the-seat organization

In addition, if you use your car like a mobile office, a console organizer is a great tool for keeping papers and supplies to support your work.

Storage and organization for the car

My favorite car hacks are hooks that hang from my headrests. One holds a car garbage tote and the other holds bags of items for returns. They are also great for purses, book bags, and sports duffles.

car_hooks

One quick tip to keep your car clean and feeling good is to empty the trash every time you get gas.  After I gather the trash from my car, I take a napkin (out of the napkin “home”) and run it over the dash.  A fresh addition to your car is a dryer sheet under one of the seats to keep things fresh.

Wishing you smooth travels and safe journeys in your organized and winterized vehicle!

 

Getting Carded

Getting Carded

Oh the lovely greeting card! In this day and age it is so nice to receive a kind, hand-written message in the mail. Greeting cards are often a lovely work of art with sentiments that ring true to everyday life. But what about life after the card–where do they end up? How long should they be kept? Where should they be kept? When is it okay to let go?

Card piles usually manifest themselves in 2 ways: they get thrown into an ever growing incoming mail pile, or they end up in boxes and boxes of memorabilia.

As a general rule of thumb, we tell our clients that the majority of cards are meant to celebrate a moment–not to be stored into perpetuity. Only ones that are particularly special, usually with a meaningful message from the sender, are the ones to consider keeping long term.

But before deciding to keep, we should determine the end game. Are we keeping to review again one day, do we want to make a collage or a card album, do we want to share them with others or put them on display–or will they live their days out in a box? The end goal is important. Here are a few ideas that might help with how to keep cards in a meaningful way:

  1. Use a photo/memory album to store favorite cards by theme. For example, I like to keep the family-photo Christmas cards together in albums. I generally have the albums available around the holidays for others to enjoy too.
  2. Do you have several meaningful cards from the same person–a favorite Aunt, perhaps? Why not collage them in a memory book or shadow box along with photos.
  3. Framing certain cards-especially that remind you of a place visited-can be a nice addition to a guest room.
  4. Photo memory boxes designated for your card memories will show nicely in a room
  5. Scanning to an app like ArtKive will help you preserve the card without keeping the pile. Apps such as these allow you to make a book, calendar or other media from saved files.

If none of these sound appealing, then card keeping may not be for you. And we never recommend holding onto a card as a reminder to send a thank-you note or to record an address. Rather, put the address in your contacts list and make a calendar notation to send thank-you’s.

On the flip side, if you know someone who struggles with paper disorganization, we recommend refraining from sending paper cards. There are a number of eCard services that will allow you to create greetings to send via email. Save a tree–save a friend.

For more tips on paper management, visit us at http://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com

 

Pros and Cons of Merchandise Subscriptions

Pros and Cons of Merchandise Subscriptions

Many who struggle with organization struggle with one or more of the following issues: issues with quantities and having more than is useful, issues with consumption and buying more than is useful, or issues with time management and challenges with attention span.

So when I see the trend in the merchandise subscriptions who will send unspecified merchandise on a regular basis to members based on a profile, it gives me pause. This can be in the form of clothing, jewelry, or beauty products, and specialty foods. Some convenience companies offer the opportunity to return anything unwanted, for others, you agree to keep what is provided. I don’t usually write opinion pieces, but I can’t imagine a more dangerous consumption pattern for those who struggle with organization.

On the positive side, if you are someone who is new to a product line or has trouble pulling together an outfit, this type of service offers the potential to be exposed to merchandise you may have never otherwise tried. In addition, it eliminates the time commitment of shopping for such items.

But there are also drawbacks with receiving “surprise” merchandise. If you haven’t decided you want something or need something, there generally is not a reason to make a purchase. We become passive consumers instead of savvy shoppers when we receive items whose value we have not identified, or when quality and best price have not been considered. Admiring an item is not the same as wanting to purchase an item. Imagine that you are window shopping: you like all of the things that you see and appreciate how attractive they are, but you choose not to purchase because you don’t want or need it. Recieving items in the mail which may at first appear interesting but aren’t actually desired, is the equivalent of receiving the items in the window display.

Receiving something random in the mail may stimulate the pleasant feeling of receiving a gift, but the unconscious reception of goods likely results in receiving unwanted merchandise. Like gifts from well-meaning friends and family, it is so easy to miss the mark.

Once the initial feeling of interest has passed, you are left with a relic that will need to be managed, i.e, stored, maintained, paid for. Or if you don’t like it, you must take the time to return the item. So many clients struggle with completing returns that the errand often doesn’t get completed. Now we are putting time toward managing this item that we did not intentionally decide to bring into our home.

Another concern is waste. Many of the convenience services for beauty products send random sample-size items. Like the “free” cosmetics we receive with purchase, many of these items don’t get used and go to waste. Are we just throwing it away? Are we having it pile up in a drawer? The potential for waste is concerning.

From an organizational point of view, I think the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. But for those who have tried convenience services, I would love to hear your experience and tips for managing unwanted items. For more discussion about organization, visit us at http://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com