Excerpt: Six tips for organizing your time spent on the telephone
Since most of us spend time at work dealing with facts and data, the phone should be taking a backseat to other forms of communication. That being said, it’s impossible to avoid the phone in the workplace. And there are times when picking up the phone is the best way to handle a situation. The following are suggestions for how to use the phone in an organized way during those times when you need to rely on it.
Unitasker Wednesday: Mystery Unitasker!
Instead of putting the product name in the headline and immediately telling you what this week’s item is used for, I thought it would be fun to have you guess. What does it do?!
Study: Physical possessions and U.S. families
According to a recent study released by the UCLA Center on the Everyday Lives of Families, U.S. families have reached “material saturation.” The back areas of our homes (closets, basements, attics, cupboards) are so stuffed with possessions that our things spill out into our front areas (table tops, floors, furniture) and create more visible clutter than ever before in the history of the world. We’re no longer enjoying leisure activities and our children’s stuff is at the top of the clutter pile.
Repercussions of uncluttering and organizing
We often talk about the benefits of uncluttering and organizing, but we rarely even hint of their being downsides. Today, I thought we’d break that trend and discuss all the work that — at least in the short term — uncluttering and organizing create.
Over the years of writing about organizing and working with clients, I continue to be baffled by how to neatly organize a small number of items. Whenever I see these items or hear about them, I cringe. Organizing them successfully is a complete mystery to me. Maybe you have a few, too, in your home or office — a specific item that always seems to be out of place, cumbersome, or impossible to store well?
Ask Unclutterer: Is something put away if it’s in cardboard?
In your situation, one of you believes that the cardboard box is in its place against the wall and that the stuff inside of the box is in its place, too. The other of you believes that the cardboard box and the stuff inside of it are all out of place and they need new places to live.
Three laws of basement storage
If you use your basement for storing things other than root vegetables, let me introduce you to my Three Laws of Basement Storage.
Off-beat solutions for organizing your mail
If you don’t immediately process your mail when you come home each evening, then I strongly recommend having a set place to store your mail until you do have time to process it.
The Simple Meal
Over the years, my husband and I have come to rely on The Simple Meal when we’re stressed and don’t want to make a production out of dinner. This meal consists of a protein, a vegetable, and a drink.
Unitasker Wednesday: FreshTECH Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker
When a new product doesn’t improve convenience or functionality, why abandon the older, traditional product? Avoid the Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker and simply use your microwave or stovetop or oven or slow cooker or even your bread maker (if you have such a thing).
Making Mondays — and your week — more productive
Mondays are opportunities to start new habits and the day to begin a productive path for the week. While others grumble about Mondays, I try to think of them like the first day of school or the first day of a new job. The possibilities for success, fulfillment, creativity, and all the reasons you do what you do are open for you to experience.
Blog to watch: UN v2.0
Alec Farmer, a graduate student in Glasgow, Scotland, is spending a year living in a micro-structure and is blogging about his experience on the new UN v2.0 site. The UN in the blog title is an abbreviation for urban nomad, and it aptly describes Farmer’s interesting project in small-space living.
Ask Unclutterer: Having it all
Reader April asks: How do you have time for all of this – running a blog, writing a book, all of these musical activities & all the other stuff you seem to do?
Unitasker Wednesday: Tug of War Rope
This week’s unitasker is not just a 30-foot piece of abaca rope for $60. No, this is 30′ of rope for $60 with a knot in the middle of it, which is totally different.
Unitasker Wednesday, er, Tuesday: Toastie Knife
This week’s selection comes to us from across the pond and could easily have been one of the reasons our fore fathers seceded from British rule. (I jest.) It’s the perfect tool for those of you with consistently torn toast from spreading too cold butter. HOW TRAGIC! Introducing, the Toastie Knife.
Finish it! Erin’s third set of 2010 resolutions
How are you doing with your 2010 resolutions? Even if you don’t keep resolutions, could you spend the next three months finishing all of the unfinished projects in your life? If so, join me on my adventure. My goal is to head into the fourth quarter of 2010 with more energy and less stress.
If it’s not important to you, don’t consume it
When I read the book Voluntary Simplicity seven or eight years ago, I interpreted the focus of the book to be about reducing one’s impact on the environment. However, Trent Hamm of TheSimpleDollar.com points out in his review of the book that there is a larger theme beyond responsible environmental behavior that speaks to the heart of simple, uncluttered living.
Ask Unclutterer: What to do with diplomas
Reader Kathy asks: “What do people do with their diplomas? I have my high school, undergraduate, and graduate diplomas. They’re sitting in my closet because I don’t know what to do with them.”
Unitasker Wednesday: Potato Grilling Rack
It’s summer! (Well, at least it is for those of us in the northern hemisphere.) It’s grilling season! It is also apparently time to buy stuff to use on your grill that you don’t need!
Love your laundry room
A clean, uncluttered, organized laundry room is welcoming and makes doing laundry much more enjoyable. Additionally, an organized room speeds up the process so you spend less time doing what you may not enjoy.If your laundry space could use some attention, try these 10 steps to get it in order.
Organizing to foster creativity
Creative personalities have the stereotype of being messy, disorganized people. When, in reality, the incredibly successful creative people of the world are often profoundly organized — they have to be to manage their work and schedules, so they can be ready when inspiration strikes.
Unitasker Wednesday: The can grip
Some weeks, I need to write a great amount of exposition about our featured unitasker because some folks might not be aware of how a product lacks utility. This is not one of those weeks.
Office upgrade: An extraordinary project for Wired magazine
I was standing in author Steven Levy’s office holding a trash bag and asking him if I could throw away a crumpled business card I’d found at the back of his closet. Turned out, the card belonged to a current executive at a major tech firm, but was from a time when the guy was a nobody at another company. I told myself that if Levy decided to trash the card, I’d slip it into my pocket instead.
Unitasker Wednesday: The Grillion
My friend uses an onion on the end of a barbecue fork to clean the grate of his barbecue grill. I use a metal grill brush. Neither of us turn to the Grillion to melt plastic onto our grills while we clean.
Own This, Not That
A reader asked if we had ever seen the weight loss books Eat This, Not That and wondered if we might be able to create something similar for uncluttering, so we took him up on the challenge.
Will someone be able to use this before I do?
Check your long-term storage spaces and see if there are things others might be able to use before you do. If so, consider getting these things out of your home and into the arms of someone who could actually use them with regularity.
Getting a handle on your craft supplies
Guest post author and professional organizer Janine Adams gives seasoned, practical advice for keeping your craft and/or hobby supplies from taking over your home.
Searching for inspiration for a multipurpose guest room
I’m looking for ways to make our guest room into a fabulous guest room and a practical hobby room in one. The solution will have to include storage for the hobby supplies that can be completely closed up when guests are present and using it for their retreat. And, I want it to be extremely practical as a hobby room when guests aren’t visiting.
Musings on children’s birthday parties
As a parent, you want the world for your kid. You want your child to be liked by his classmates, you want your child to be happy, and you want to celebrate his life. A basic swimming party with hamburgers can easily cost a hundred dollars — spending 10 times more once a year on a birthday party wouldn’t seem like such a big deal, especially if you’ve got the disposable income to do it. Research even shows that experiences make you happier than physical possessions.
Unitasker Wednesday: Unplastic Tray
The Unplastic Tray, especially for people who want to look like they’re serving store-bought cookies in a plastic tray but who are really duping their guests by serving store-bought cookies in a glass tray.
Unitasker Wednesday: Corn Desilker
In all of my years of shucking, cooking, and eating a ridiculous amount of corn, I have never once thought I needed a device to remove the silk from an ear. However, someone out there apparently thinks I am wrong and believes a special tool is necessary for doing a very simple task that your hands can do. Exhibit A: The Corn Desilker.
Organizing advice from classical Greeks
More than 2,000 years ago, famous Greek philosopher Socrates and a man named Isomachus were having a discussion about how Isomachus wished his wife would run their home (the conversation is recorded by Xenophon in chapter eight of his writing Oeconomicus). Isomachus told Socrates he had asked his wife to keep house by finding a place for everything and having everything in its place.
Organizing your home and family with notebooks
Notebooks are great because they keep all of your important papers in one place and they are easily portable. In our home, we have a recipe notebook, appliance notebook (instruction manuals, purchase receipts, maintenance and repair receipts, and warranty information), and important information notebooks for all four of us (our cat even has one).
The Uniform Project
We’ve recently stumbled upon The Uniform Project and are amazed at the variety Sheena Matheiken is getting from a single dress and a lot of accessories.