Thursday, October 25, 2007

Turn a Stack of Photos Into a Book!

I happened upon a company today that makes books out of your digital or physical photos. You send them a stack of same size photos and they bind them into a cool little book and mail it back to you. As far as I can tell, it looks like it costs $30 and up. This is a really neat gift idea and would also be a great thing to do with collections of special photos that haven't yet made their way into albums.

Go to and check it out if your photos are begging for some attention.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Pretty" File Folder Labels-Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Do you ever feel like giving up on your filing system looking "pretty"? Have you ever decided to "Just Do It" and make computer generated labels only to discover that it's impossible to keep it up as you add new files. It just takes too much time. There are too many steps involved to do it quickly. Why bother?

I asked myself all those questions many times before I came up with a solution. I used to get so frustrated with trying to keep my files looking good that I would just use my handy dandy pencil to make a new folder and tell myself, "Who cares if they're pretty, anyway!" I would get around to making a new pretty label later (much, much later, if ever!).

As much as I told myself it didn't matter, I soon discovered that I cared if they were pretty! I found that I wanted the uniformity and more importantly, I wanted my files to be easy to read so I could find what I was looking for faster. After years of this, I finally realized that in order to keep the files "pretty" I had to do something to make it easy to print new labels as soon as I made a new folder. Here's how to make uniform, pretty labels in 3 easy steps:

1. Buy file folder labels from any office supply store and follow the directions to create a template for your labels on Microsoft Word. I use white Laser/Ink Jet Filing Labels Avery 8366 but you could use colored labels or removable if you want to get fancy. If you are not very "computer literate" don't worry! This is much easier than you think it's going to be so stick with me. Once you've opened Microsoft Word go to Tools, Letters and Mailings, Envelopes and Labels. Click on Options. From the list choose product number 8366-File Folder (or the number that matches your labels). Now click Okay. You should be back to the Labels window. Just make sure Full Page of the Same Label is selected and click New Document. Now you can choose your favorite font and type in all your file names. Print and apply your labels.

2. Create a shortcut file to your desktop so you can print new file labels with ease! Now you want to save this document on your desktop. You do this by going to File then Save As. Here you want to choose Desktop from the Save in: menu to the left of the Save As window. (It sounds more complicated than it is, trust me!) Type the name of your document in the File Name box. Call it "File Folder Labels" and click Save.

3. Keep a few sheets of labels in a folder labeled "LABELS" :) and keep it near your computer/printer. From now on when it's time to make a new label all you have to do is pull a sheet of labels out of your "LABELS" folder, open the "File Folder Labels" document on your desktop and make changes to the template. The key here is to clear the old file folder labels you've already printed and start fresh each time you make new labels. Don't try to save each new change (I've tried that and it's too confusing!). Just type the new file labels on your cleared template, print the new ones and be done with it! If you really want to save your file labels save them in another place/folder on your computer and not on the desktop template that you made.

Once you do it a few times you might actually start to think of labeling files as "fun"...or maybe that's just me again! Good luck and let me know how it goes or if you have any other great filing tips!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Words to live by

The Zen of Clean

Clutter-free living begins with an attitude of respect. Every item you possess
has its own function, whether practical or sentimental, so it’s important that
each has its proper space. Keep only the most useful and meaningful things —
it’s distracting when every surface is covered with objects. Prioritize what you
really need, then think about each object’s purpose and respectfully honor its
place in your home.

Kate Henninger

Katy, Texas

Looking for some inspiration?

There are always great organizing articles at Real It's one of my favorite places to go for inspiration and ideas.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What's Your Motivation?

How do you get from here... here?

By writing down your goals, that's how!

What's the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? If you're anything like me you might be thinking, "I'd like a few more minutes of sleep before I start thinking, thank you very much!" By the time the bed is made, the prayers are said, the shower is taken, the make-up is on, the kitties are fed, breakfast is eaten, the dishes are done, the laundry is in...need I say more? In a matter of 30 minutes I've become so focused on what needs to be done today and all my to do's that I forget about why I am doing it all in the first place.

Recently I was reminded about the power of setting goals and the impact they have on our lives, even when we don't see it right away. The reality is, we all have goals whether we speak them aloud or not. But how often do we take the time write them down, flesh them out and make them real, measurable and attainable?

A few months ago I felt inspired to put my mental/unspoken goals into words and write a few of them down. I wrote down my 1-year career and business goals and my 1-year personal and family goals and then my 5-year career and business goals and my 5-year personal and family goals. I also cut some pictures out of a magazine to go along with those goals to help me visualize them better. As a part of this project I found and framed my favorite quote that symbolizes what I call "my motivation". It hangs above my desk so I can read it often. It has been so inspiring!

And what's even more notable is that in just a short few months I have already seen ways that I have moved toward achieving my goals. Most of the time I don't even realize that's what I'm doing until later. Articulating and writing down my goals also makes me look forward to finding ways to achieve those goals during the day when otherwise I would just be caught up in the who, what, when, and where of my life, forgetting all about the why.

So what does all this have to do with organizing you might ask? Well, a whole lot if you ask me (which I'm pretending you did!). If we can focus a little more on the why aspect of life we begin to live with more purpose. We make better decisions about our time and the things that fill our time and that, my friends, has a lot to do with organizing--the decisions we make with our time are an important part of living a balanced, happy life.

So ask yourself, "What's my motivation?" and then take a few minutes to write down some long term goals today. Put the pen to the paper and don't be afraid of writing down those "big dreams." Seeing those come true is the best part! Then, put your mind and your energy to achieving those worthwhile goals. Let the things that aren't truly important slip away and start living with direction and purpose! You will thank yourself later for it and so will your family and friends! :)

P.S. As a result of Googling for a good picture for this post I ran across some great links that expound on goal setting. Check out Goal Setting: The 90-Day Challenge and Cultivate Greatness. Both have great information on them. Happy goal setting--I'd love to hear what you have to say on this topic!


Take a look at some of my organizing success! (Photos and text used with permission.)


Cluttered Desk


Clean and Clear of Clutter

Chaotic Shelf

Neat and Tidy Home Office

Client Feedback

I work out of a home office without any administrative support. I worked with Melissa to organize both my personal and professional effects as I prepared to relocate. I wish I had done it years ago. While organizing my office and paperwork Melissa identified my natural tendencies and created an organizational structure that was easy for me to maintain. When I began looking for a personal organizer, I mostly wanted someone else to come in and take care of the mess I had allowed to build up over the years. Working with an “uninterested” party during the purging process helped me lighten my load considerably. During the process Melissa provided me with simple intuitive skills that have not only allowed me to maintain my newly found order but help friends and family organize as well. I can honestly say hiring Melissa is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Kelsi Reeves