An Exciting Announcement!

January 31, 2010

After 3+ years of saying we’re going to move out of our apartment, RB and I are actually moving out of our apartment!  The excitement is palpable. Why?

More space. Chaos Theory is getting a real office!  Not just a corner of the living room! Oh and we have a storage unit in the basement!  I’m a little bit in love with having a storage room in the basement 🙂 And yes, a smiley face – it is just that exciting.

New ‘hood. After 5 years in one place, the prospect of a new neighborhood to explore is thrilling. We’re headed to Brooklyn Heights by the way – about as far out of the city as we were ready to go.

Documentation. I thought some people out there might find it helpful to see how a professional organizer would tackle her own move – day-by-day, step-by-step.  Which is why I’m proud to unveil:

Chaos Theory: The Moving Diaries. Packing Tips. Pictures. And of course, lists galore.

March 1 is move-in. The countdown begins now.


One Small Organizing Step to Help Those in Need

January 18, 2010

Since January 12th, 2010 the world has been tuned in to the haunting stories and images of the Haitian earthquake coverage. In a time when many or our own budgets are tight — what can we do to help those in need?

My answer — the change jar. I know you’ve got one because I’ve seen a variation at almost every client I visit — a massive container where you store your pennies, nickels and dimes with the goal to “someday” take it to the bank in exchange for the more user-friendly paper variety of money.

Why not make today the day? Take your collection to the nearest TD Bank “Penny Arcade”(which will count your coins for free) or Coinstar machine (which will count your coins for a small fee). Pledge a percentage of the money you get back to the Haitian relief efforts.

Not sure where to donate? Find a comprehensive list of worthy organizations here.

This quick errand will clear some clutter, take care of something you’ve been meaning to do anyway, put some money in your pocket — and most importantly, send some much needed funds to the disaster relief efforts.

I hope you’ll join me in helping today.

p.s. My first instinct was to tell you all to clean out your closets and pantries — and send the “giveaways” to Haiti.  This article explains why monetary donations are the best and only real option.

That Suitcase Does NOT Belong There

January 11, 2010

Welcome back! Looks like you just got home from a trip of some kind!  Oh no? It’s been two weeks since you were on that business trip/vacation/out-of-town wedding?  Then what is your suitcase still doing, fully packed, by the door?!

I know it’s tempting to get home after an exhausting day of travel, wheel that suitcase in behind you and say to yourself “I’ll just handle it tomorrow…” But tonight you’ll probably need something at of that bag anyway.  And tomorrow will come and you’re not going to want to unpack that suitcase any more than you want to right now.

So I thought I’d share my #1 tip for getting organized after you travel — UNPACK THE MINUTE YOU GET HOME.

Put away the clean clothes – throw the dirties into your hamper (don’t feel pressure to do the laundry right away – one step at a time, we’re just unpacking here). Put your toiletries away so they’ll be there when you need them to wash up before bed tonight. Bring the empty luggage to it’s permanent home.

In just 15 minutes, you’ll have permanently crossed that suitcase off your list – it won’t be staring you in the face when you come in from work tomorrow – reminding you of a task you have yet to do.

Just think of it as 15 more minutes of travel time before you arrive on your couch. Because emptying the DVR is a much more pleasurable task, I’m sure.

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My Calendar is Color Coded

January 5, 2010

January has got me thinking about calendars.  OK – that’s a lie.  I’m pretty much always thinking about calendars. But I figured that January might have YOU thinking about calendars.

It’s is a remarkable tool really — when kept up to date, your calendar tells you what’s happening today and what you’ve got coming up a week, a month, a year from now.  When kept in a central location, it let’s your family know where you’re going to be and when.  It tells you about your responsibilities, but it also tells you the fun stuff that you have to look forward to (to reward you for living up to those responsibilities).

As a person who plans ahead, you can imagine the love I have for the calendar in general. For many years that love manifested itself in the form of a Filofax (though quite a few models made their way into my heart and into my bag). About a year ago, I went digital — and I never looked back. Here’s why:

  • I can color code without the markers. Back in my corporate days, I used to print out a clean calendar each month using Word’s Calendar Wizard feature. Then I took my markers, assigned a color to each project I was working on, and filled in the due dates. It was pretty to look at and made it visually clear which projects should be prioritized on a specific day.  Happily, the folks over at Apple knew a few crazies like me, and let me set up my iCal to have multiple calendars, each assigned a different color.
My Calendar is Color Coded

My Color Coded Calendar

  • It’s easier than ever to remember an occasion. In my paper days, I always had to set aside some time to copy over all of the birthdays & anniversaries into the fresh pages of the new year’s calendar. Now that I’ve gone digital I can set these events up to repeat every year. If it’s a date that’s really important, I can set an alarm (I like to set it a few days in advance — it’s a good reminder to drop the card in the mail). And I have NO excuse not to remember my newly married friends’ anniversaries….I simply go to the entry with the details about their wedding, take out the location details, and edit it to repeat every year.
  • Someone out there has already done a lot of the work for me. Want to know what date Memorial Day will fall on in 2012? How about game days for your favorite sports team? There’s a subscription calendar for that! Whether you use iCal or Outlook, you can subscribe to an internet calendar that will bring that information directly to the digital calendar you use everyday. Apple users can find calendars for download here. Outlooks users click here for more information.

Whether you do it digitally or on paper, keeping a calendar is key. Need help? Contact me at!

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