planning a party

Planning Your Next Party At Home Like A Pro

“You’re invited!” are always welcome words to hear whether it’s to a barbeque, birthday party, cocktail party, graduation, housewarming, girls’ night out or other special event. However, most people think planning a successful party takes a lot of time and effort. Not true, according to Evite, the leading social event- planning service on the Web.

“By following simple party- planning rules, you can plan a fabulous bash in very little time,” said Jessica Landy Raymond, a planning expert for Evite. “Your guests will be so impressed, they’ll think you hired a pro!”

Organization is essential for seamlessly planning a great social event. Evite has helped millions of hosts plan successful events and offers these tips to take the hassle out of party planning:

1. Choose an event theme-A good theme ensures that guests interact with one another. A great theme-such as a barbecue luau, beach party, ’70s-inspired disco, masquerade ball or poker night- will make your party unforgettable.

2. Create an event checklist-Be sure everything gets done on time with a comprehensive to-do list that includes everything from determining an overall budget and selecting an event date to choosing the perfect venue and making a guest list. For tips and sample checklists, check out Evite’s Party Checklist.

3. Bring the theme to life-Pull all the pieces of the party together neatly by selecting invitations, decorations, activities and music that complement your theme.

4. Plan the food and beverage menu-The event theme should inspire your menu and beverages. Make sure you have enough food and drink for your guests by consulting recipes and drink calculators during the planning process. For help, try Evite’s Drink Calculator and Party Menus & Recipes

5. Relax and enjoy the event!-Remember, the number-one party-planning tip is to not stress about any little things that go wrong. Everyone is there for a good time, and the host should be, too!

Tapping into online party-planning resources is a simple and easy way to fulfill all your planning “to dos.”

work at home office

Organized and Loving It – Working at Home In Style

Over the years, working at home all the time, I’ve tried different ways to get organized, with much trial and error. Some worked, some didn’t. I tried some of those fancy looking matching desk sets. They looked beautiful and for some, I’m sure they are perfect. But for me, they took up too much valuable space. Space I needed to proof my work, keep my reference books, or keep those essentials that I use on a regular basis. For me, when I work I want everything within an arms reach. I want to have immediate access to the tools I need to complete my assignments.

I have a kitchen desk, and on it I have my laptop, printer, and about 2 years ago, the phone. Beside my desk I have a two-drawer filing cabinet. This was possibly the greatest thing I’ve ever done to organize my business. I learned this long ago when I studied GTD by David Allen. In it I have my files and supplies that I use on a regular basis, such as, client designs, client files, a file for my receipts, all personal letters, paper, folders, etc.

Whenever these files get bulky with client documents, I simply empty them into the main filing cabinet. For example, my main clients in my website design biz, whom I’ve been working with for almost 15 years, their files in the main cabinet are quite large. It’s nice to have the smaller file close by with just their recent updates. Plus, when I need a folder, an order slip for my books, a copy of my stationery, it’s all right there. AAAHHH, now that’s convenience.

Now for the receipts’ and bills file. We keep it monthly. Everybody in the house knows that. At the beginning of the month, I simply replace the file with the new month’s file. That way, at tax time, I don’t have to go through a whole year’s receipts and divide it up. It’s already separated.

Here are some other organizational tips you might find beneficial:

Mail—We have a round basket by a small table by the front door. All incoming mail goes in there first. Then when I have the opportunity to sort through it, I get it and put it in its appropriate place. Always pitch anything you aren’t keeping. All business-related mail is sorted and put away immediately. Anything that might need work done on it is logged into my Daytimer and then put in the To Do Bin.

Desk—Your desk should have on it only those items that you use on a regular basis. Look around. What haven’t you used in the last month or two? Start dumping. Find another spot for it. But find the RIGHT spot for it.

No Piling of Anything Allowed. This is one of those habits that can be so easy to get into. Definitely one that I catch myself doing a lot! But I stop myself now because I know it will just be brushed off to the side and forgotten. Too often I miss something important and regret the piling blunder again. You will be amazed how much more organized you will feel if you just don’t do this one thing. And time yourself. You think you are too busy, but it takes seconds and how long does it take to look for that missing document.

Daytimer—Now this isn’t only for Time Management. Your Daytimer can have a space for all your business cards, keys, notebooks, etc. How great it is to have all these right in the same place. On the date of your appointment, you simply grab your things and off you go. Also, I have Outlook to log in appointments as well. It has a calendar and I can look to it to get a feel for the day and the week to follow.

Three-ring Binders – I saved my best for last. I got this practice from Anakin’s homeschool. I do a lot of research in doing publicity for clients and also have a lot of e-mails that I need to print and save. I use paper that already has the wholes punched for insertion into a 3 ring binder. I will print out some really important research, client e-mails I need to save, work that I’ve done so I can review it later, etc., on this paper and then put it into the proper binders. I have a binder for all clients, research, PR, myself, and miscellaneous. You would be amazed how clearer things are in a binder than tossed in a file cabinet. For my business it works tremendously. (Not everything gets printed though. I only choose the most important things to save on paper, ink, and the environment!)

Start the beginning of the day and the end of the day with a clean-up. That’s a really awesome feeling. When you are done with a project, away it goes. When you start the next project, out comes all the material you need.

There’s nothing like the feeling of sitting down in the morning to a nice clean organized desk and office. Once you feel this a couple of days, you want to experience this every day so you’ll take the appropriate steps to make it happen.

cleaning up clutter

DO: 6 Steps to clearing up clutter as you go

6 EASY TIPS FOR CLEARING UP CLUTTER IN YOUR HOME

Absolutely no judgement if your house is messy. Most of the time, mine is too. And I can never seem to enjoy a full day when it’s fully clean. But, is your house so messy you can never find what you’re looking for? Are you often late for work because you can never find your car keys? Or can’t switch TV channel because the remote is missing? I know! #reallifeproblems hahaha.

Try this little things to help you keep chaos at bay. These tips will help save time and keep you more organized.

Keep things in a place that makes sense. Drop your keys in a dish or a nail by the front door so you won’t waste time looking for them throughout the house. Put anything you need to take with you by the front door- outgoing mail, the dog leash that always seems to be missing, grocery bag so you wont forget or the umbrella (I’m always looking for the umbrella when I’m going out!). This will save you time in the morning because you won’t be running around trying to gather what you need for the day.

Straighten up as you go. Wash the dishes after every meal instead of once a day. Put your groceries away rather than leave them on the kitchen table. How can you possibly know what food you do or don’t have if last week’s haul is still in the bag? (guilty!)This makes the kitchen an appealing place to enjoy a meal instead of a constant reminder of chores that need to be done.

Finish one project before starting another. I have a friend who has started to update his bathroom, never finished the project and is now working on his kitchen. His house is constantly in a state of confusion and he never manages to get any project completed because it’s now so overwhelming.

Keep your bathroom tidy. Wipe up the sink and vanity top after you shave or wash your face and put your toiletries away. Doing these small things as you go keeps the bathroom looking cleaner in case unexpected guests stop by- you won’t have to be embarrassed if they ask to use the facilities. (#protip)

Organize your closets. If your closet is filled to capacity, you can’t see what you have. Instead of squeezing everything into your closet, keep out of season clothes in the spare bedroom closet or under the bed. Keep shoes in boxes or shoe racks. Donate any garments that no longer fit or if you haven’t worn them in the past year. Don’t hang onto things you can’t use anymore because there is someone out there who will be grateful to have it. Yes, you’re going to get fitter next year and just promise to buy yourself a set of clothes by then. #fitgoals

Keep your important documents and papers in a safe place. Birth certificates, passports, marriage license, the deed to your house and the title to your car should be filed in a fireproof lockbox. Better yet, they should be kept in a safe deposit box at a bank close to home so it’s convenient for you to retrieve them when needed. If you keep important financial information on your home computer, it’s a good idea to backup to a flash drive and keep this at the bank too. The cost of a safe deposit box is worth the peace of mind knowing you won’t have to replace these documents if they were ever lost in a disaster.

Taking small steps every day to keep organized will help keep your house cozy and clutter-free.

clothes closet

DO: 3 Steps to to End Clutter and Make Home Organization Easier

 

I know a lot of people, including me, who still has nice clothes they owned 10 years ago that they cant even wear any more.

The reality is we are a society who likes to accumulate and we tend to keep everything we believe has monetary value when, in reality, it really doesn’t.

For example, a pretty dress or a nice suit you bought ten years ago went for what can be considered a lot of money.

And the problem is you haven’t touched it in nine years because, as most clothes do, it went out of style.

Could it come back in style someday? Maybe. Styles do often return.

But this is not a reason to hold onto things you don’t use…”just in case.”

You feel like, because you spent “good” money on it, you are throwing money away. But ask yourself this… is it putting money in your pocket sitting there in the back of your closet with dust on the shoulders?

Is it giving you anything? Do you benefit at all from keeping outdated outfits?

Now ask yourself one more question… will you gain anything by getting rid of it and donating it to charity?

Of course you will!

The benefits?

More space to be able to keep the clothes you are going to wear (we only wear 50% of the clothes we own, by the way.)

I might even suggest buying a new outfit for every three to five you get rid of.

The purpose?

Because new clothes make people feel good. I don’t recommend buying new clothes for the sake of buying new clothes and throwing away your money. But you’ve got to admit putting on a new pair of pants that make us look better is a nice, uplifting feeling.

The thing is the items taking up space, yes, you paid for them.

But by keeping something you no longer wear or use you are not getting anything in return but more clutter and a lack of storage space you could be using for something else.

Here is something you should do right now with items (they don’t have to be clothes) you are holding onto because you paid good money for them.

1. Go find ten items you own for one reason and one reason only… because you paid for it.

2. Grab a piece of paper and make three columns.

3. Write the items you are having trouble getting rid of in the left column. In the middle column, write “why I am keeping this item” and in the third column write “what will I gain by getting rid of this item.”

My guess is you will have a lot more in the right column than you will in the middle.

Be specific with both.

If you can honestly fill up the middle column with more reasons of why you should keep it, and they are good, legitimate reasons, then maybe you shouldn’t get rid of it.

But I’m willing to bet that won’t be the case.

 

arrange your toolbox

DO: The Organized Tool Box For Moms

 

Are you always digging around for the right tool? Hammers abound, but why are the flat-edge screwdrivers always missing? Wouldn’t it be great to have everything in an easy-to-find space?

I remember when me and my husband was doing our counselling before getting married (a requirement by the Church) and though I don’t remember anything else, I remember the pastor telling the women to learn how to use tools and not always to expect the men to be Mr. Fixit. (I don’t remember him telling the men to learn how to cook, too, but that’s beside the point, lol.).  It’s a wonderful world of women’s liberation, so on top of being able to cook, and clean house, I have to learn how to replace broken bulbs, fix the pipes, or make a cabinet or two.

Anyway, before I launch into a tirade, the entire point is to learn how to organize your toolbox too!

Here are some steps and tips to get you on your way.

Step 1: Inventory.

First, start by gathering all your tools. Make a list of the locations where you found your tools. Garage, kitchen, basement, car, truck? Lay them all out on a bedsheet or blanket. Sort them by type to get an idea of how many different kinds of tools you have.

Next, examine each tool and decide what to keep.

• Is it a duplicate? If so, how many of this tool do I need?
• Have I ever used it? Some tools passed down thru the family should be kept for sentimental reasons, but others that you’ve never used can surely go.
• Is it broken? If it isn’t usable and can’t be repaired then discard it.
• Have I replaced it with a multi-purpose tool that does the job more efficiently?
• Does a neighbor have a better version that I usually borrow?

Toss out the broken tools, sell the good ones on OLX,  donating to a local charitable organization, have a “yard sale for women” or help a favorite niece begin their first tool box. Only keep the tools you are sure to use in the future. <<<<IMPORTANT!

Step 2: Make a Plan.

Using your list of locations from step 1, think about how and where you use your tools. You may decide to centralize your tools in the garage or basement. Begin sorting your tool collection into groups according to their desired location. This will help you to determine the storage space requirements for each area.

Step 3: Choose your Tool Storage System.

The internet is a great tool for finding the latest tool storage solutions. Portable tool boxes are great for on-the-go types to keep in their car or truck. If you have a ton of small parts, you may consider some plastic storage cabinets with sliding drawers. Pegboards work nicely in the garage or basement workspace to keep tools handy and off the countertops. Maybe you need some new shelving to store larger-sized tools. A pallet box will do nicely too!

Step 4: Implement your new Tool Storage System.

If you’ve ordered a new tool box or some other item, then when it arrives begin to place your tools in order. Once you’ve got everything in its place, remember to always take the extra time to put items away when they are done being used. If you’ve added a pegboard, consider drawing an outline around each tool as it hangs on the pegboard to make it easier to know where to return the tool.

Step 5: Record them on Evernote.

If you are a follower of this blog, you know I can’t shut up about Evernote. It’s the modern mom’s tool against disorganization and forgetfulness. No matter how diligent you’ve been at Steps 1-4, chances are, you’ll still forget where something is. No one’s blaming you. Perhaps, it’s been years since you last used that screwdriver! Take out your handy dandy smartphone, take a picture of your tool, along with a view or clue on where to find it and store it in a folder called Toolbox. If you’re ever wanting -or needing to use something, just take out your Evernote to search for it! Handy, huh?

Get motivated—you’ll be glad you did. Once you’re organized, maybe you’ll even have space to buy some new tools! Hah! As if…

What, you dont have Evernote yet? Click this link to sign up pronto!