Speed Organizing: Surmountable Tasks

May 5, 2011

Does the idea of getting organized leave you feeling overwhelmed?  It’s easy to think of each project as a multi-day affair – and really, who has that kind of time?  Each day you don’t address the issue, the area continues to collect more and more clutter, and the project feels even more insurmountable in your mind.  Here’s a secret – you don’t need days or even hours to take control!  Here are 7 things you can do RIGHT NOW to get organized, enjoy peace-of-mind and prevent clutter from piling up in the future.

Read more at Affluent Magazine!


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.

Ask the Organizer: When Disaster Strikes

August 28, 2009

My wallet was recently stolen and trying to figure out everything that was in it and who to call has been a nightmare! I think I’m finally through it, and I hope I never have to deal with it again, but if I did, what can I do to make it easier?

Let me start by saying that I am so sorry about your wallet. That’s rough. I imagine the emotions were feeling partly violated and somewhat panicked. And then you had to scramble around for information on top of it all. Awful. Again, I’m sorry.

As your replacement cards and ID are arriving, it’s a great time for you to follow this simple tip. In fact, It’s a great idea for everyone to follow this tip ASAP (as a precaution).

Make a photopcopy of everything you keep in your wallet. This includes your license, credit cards, ATM cards, insurance cards, membership cards — everything.  Make sure you copy both the front and back of each card. *Note – I prefer a physical photocopy to a computer scan for safety purposes, it’s probably not a great idea to have all this information saved as a file on your computer.

Keep the wallet-copy in a safe place – preferably one you’ll remember. If your wallet goes missing, this document will have all the phone numbers and corresponding account numbers you’ll need. It will also serve as a great checklist – when you’ve contacted the number on each card, you can rest a little easier.

IdentityTheftLabs has a great step-by-step list of what to do in just this kind of situation.  It talks about police reports, credit agencies and much more – I encourage you to read it to be sure you’ve taken all the necessary measures. The first step is to call your credit card and ATM card issuers. With your wallet-copy, you’ll be prepared to do just that.

I hope you’ll make your wallet-copy soon and that you’ll never have a need for it!

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Got an organizing question of your own? Email info@chaostheorynyc.com and I’ll answer it in an upcoming Ask the Organizer Friday!

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Ask the Organizer Friday!

July 10, 2009

I know you’ve got questions.  Whenever I tell anyone what I do for a living, they’ve got a million of them….what’s the best way to fold a fitted sheet?  how should I deal with all the incoming mail?  what on earth is a professional organizer?

Well readers, shoot me an email (dayna@chaostheorynyc.com) and ask me!  On Fridays, I’ve got answers.

This week, a reader asks:

What’s your general feeling about when bills should be paid?  Should you pay them as they come in via the mail, or wait for a specific day to pay all your bills.  Also, if you are paying online, should you do all of them via your bank, or through their specific websites (i.e., paying RCN bill through RCN.com).  Lastly, should you do autopay so you never have to worry about any of this?

Let me first say that I am a HUGE fan of online bill pay – it saves me a stamp and a trip to the mailbox.  Let me also say that I’m a firm believer in paying your bills through your bank’s website — why keep track of mulitple usernames and passwords when you can do the same job with one?

Now, on to the rest of your question.  There is a special place in my heart for automatic bill pay – but sadly, it’s use must be limited.  Even so, I strongly suggest setting it up for all your bills that have a fixed monthly cost – things like the rent check, car payment, insurance and, unless you have an egregious pay-per-view habit, the cable bill.

So that leaves us with the bills that vary from month-to-month – the credit card, the electric, and the cell phone (what can I say, sometimes I text more than I should…).  When one of these unwelcome envelopes comes in, the first thing I do is open it.  I know that sounds basic, but you would not believe the number of unopened credit card statements I’ve come across in my line of work.  After perusing the bill to make sure that all the charges are legit, I take a look at the due date and, this is important, I write the due date on the outside of the envelope in big bold letters.  If I have a moment to sit down at my computer and deal with it right then, I do.  If not, the envelope goes on top of my computer keyboard, bold due date staring me in the face, ensuring that it will be the first thing I handle when next I sit down.  When that time comes, I log in and set up the payment so that it will be delivered on the day it is due.*  Then I get back to work so that there will be money in the account….

*Note: Be sure to check the system your bank has going — all banks will tell you how long this payment will take to deliver, but some ask what day to send payment, some ask what day to deliver by — don’t get caught sending on the due date and getting stuck with late charges.)

Hope this helps!

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