Organizing Maps & Travel Brochures

March 6, 2015 19:46 by elizabeth

Do you still keep paper maps and travel brochures? I have to admit that I do. I keep a few for sentimental reasons (Paris restaurants, Geneva map) but also keep selected maps and brochures from places that I plan to visit again.

During one of our many snow storms last month I was looking for something in the attic and found a box half-full of travel maps and brochures. I decided this would be a good blizzard organizing project. (I could also dream of warm summer vacations ahead…)

Here’s what I did:

  • First I dumped all the brochures our on my dining room table. A few wereIMG_4125 sorted by place so I kept those together.
  • I reviewed all the maps and brochures and recycled a good amount.
  • Then I sorted what I wanted to keep by location.
  • I was hoping to put the maps/brochures into a blue accordion file I had (see corner of photo) but there were too many for the file.
  • Next I the thought of keeping everything together by rubber bands, but some piles were too large.
  • Finally I decided to use one of my favorite organizing tools: gallon size plastic bags. Easy, and the bags had a spot for a label.
  • All the bags were “filed” into a plastic bin back into the attic, waiting until the next trip is planned.

What’s great about this system is that for our next trip to VT, I just have to pull out the bag labeled VT and enjoy looking at all our favorite places.

AFTER: Organized into bags and ready to go!

IMG_4126

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Reduce Unwanted Mail and Phone Calls: Get off the Lists

January 8, 2015 15:16 by elizabeth

IMG_4133I noticed that this past December I got a ton of catalogs, many more than I had ever ordered from. I also seemed to be getting a lot of unsolicited phone calls to my home phone. 

Time to get off the lists, and sign up (again) for the national “do not call” and “do not mail” registries. These lists are only good for 5 years so if you find yourself getting a lot of unwanted mail or calls, it’s probably time to re-register your information.

Here are my favorite resources:

And here's one to try for unwanted email subscriptions: unroll.me.  
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7 Tips & Tricks to Organize your Gift Wrap Supplies

December 22, 2014 08:21 by elizabeth

1. Want to get your gift wrap supplies in order?  The first step is to gather all the wrapping paper, bags, cards and other supplies you have in one place.  Once you have it all together, reduce it to at least half. Yes, half! In most cases you aren't going to need all those gift bags you've saved. And if you love gift bags, you probably don't need all those rolls of paper. 

2. Store the supplies you are keeping in one place. Here are some different ideas:

  • I use the Rubbermaid Wrap-n-Craft that fits into my closet
  • Stand up rolls in a wine crate or wire wastepaper basket
  • Store wrapping paper rolls in a hanging garment bag; I haven't tried this but it's a creative idea to get supplies off the floor
  • Try pantry shelving designed for the back of a door

3. Recycle the gift wrapping supplies you aren't using, pass them on to a friend, or even donate the wrapping paper. Goodwill may take it, as will some thrift stores or charities that wrap gifts to give at the holidays. (Here is one Boston charity that can use wrapping supplies.)

4. Simplify the whole gift wrapping process with a "signature" gift wrap: use just one kind of paper or gift bag for all gifts. You can personalize with fun cards or ribbon.

5. Reuse. Turn old maps into gift wrap. A client recently told me she saves maps of certain places, like London, Paris or Harvard Square, to use as wrapping paper. It's especially fun for graduation gifts. You probably don't navigate with your paper maps too often, so consider reusing some as gift wrap.

6. Get into the zone. If you are wrapping a lot of gifts at one time, set up a wrapping zone in your office or dining room.

7. Party; throw a gift-wrapping party that is. Each December a friend invites a group over to eat, drink and wrap. Everyone shares wrapping supplies. It's a fun way to get that chore done.

This article first appeared in the November / December 2014 edition of my newsletter, The Neat Sheet.

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How Do I Get Rid of: Books

December 11, 2014 22:29 by elizabeth

Books, books and more books! Clients ask me all the time how to get rid of books, so for my last installment of this blog series, I’m sharing my favorite resources.

BookstackDonate:

  • More Than Words – Donate and help at risk youth
  • Boomerangs – Supports AIDS Action programs
  • Salvation Army
  • Goodwill – A client told me that if you bring books to a Goodwill store they will pay you a $1/book
  • Check with your local library as many hold books sales as fundraisers

Sell:

  • Bookscouter – Website to sell your books, including textbooks
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Organize Your Safe Deposit Box

May 2, 2014 14:06 by elizabeth

Safe deposit box: do you have one? If you do, do you know what’s in it?

MP900422392When I had to get a copy of my daughter’s birth certificate recently, I found that I didn’t know what important documents we had at home, and what we kept in the safe deposit box.

This is one of those less-fun organizing projects (even for me), but one that is critical for every family.

  • First, make sure you have one place at home for the important documents you may need quick access to, such as passports, birth certificates, and your original wills. Gather these documents and get them in one place that you will remember. One client calls this folder her “proof of identity” folder; it’s a name she can remember and she knows exactly what’s in there.
  • Next, take an inventory of your safe deposit box. (If you don’t have one, get one at your bank!) Yes, this means making the time to get to the bank and get to your box. While reviewing the contents you can write down notes on paper or your smartphone, take a picture of what’s inside, or even type up a list. I made notes on paper and then typed up a document at home.
  • Let others in your family know about your safe deposit box inventory and have it filed in a place they can find it.
  • What should you store in your safe deposit box? Things that are valuable and you need to hold on to, but that you don’t need immediate access to. Here’s a good summary of what to keep in there, and what not to keep.

Now you can relax and you’ll be ready when you need to find your vital documents.

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