January 2013 - Posts

Org This: Tackling Tax Paperwork
Thursday, January 31, 2013 3:34 AM
You know what they say about death and taxes, right? April 15 th is as unavoidable as seeing a Kardashian on a check-out line magazine cover. So what are you waiting for? Time to get your tax papers in order. Corralling Paperwork The tax code may be complicated...
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App-itizing Tools to Help with Your Weight Loss Resolution
Thursday, January 31, 2013 3:27 AM

Dear Dieting Resolution: 

 

It was fun while it lasted. 

 

Sincerely, the End of January

 

Ah, dieting; you always start strong but somewhere near the end of the month, your resolve starts to fail you. This year, stay strong with a host of electronic tools that will keep your weight loss resolution on track.

Women's Health Magazine: Best Apps for Weight Loss:  This useful article features three weight loss apps and makes the case that their real time feedback helps you make smart food choices. Plus, when you track what you eat, it's difficult to lie to yourself or overlook indulgences.  The proof is in the pudding!

 

Shape Magazine: The Best Free Apps to Help You Lose Weight:  Weight loss is not just about diet, exercise is a must as well. Shape Magazine rounds up 10 must-have exercise and diet apps that will have you fit as a fiddle (and with a smaller middle!) in no time flat.

 

Finally, what good are all these weight loss apps if your diet is easily derailed by the office pastry platter? For healthy office snacks, that keep your engine humming and your diet on track, read our past post Healthy Office Eats. Yup, It's Possible.

 

 

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The Coat Off Your Back
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 3:19 AM

Multitasking gets a bad rap: sometimes doing two things at the same time makes perfect sense. Take organizing; when you streamline and edit your belongings down to the things you truly use and value, you create the opportunity to donate unwanted items to those who might better use them. Think of it as purging for a cause.

Take a look around your home. Have stacks of unread newspapers? Turns out the ASPCA can use shredded newspapers for animals' cages. Outgrown clothes? Dozens of organizations will happily take them off your hands. The same applies to unneeded cars, unneeded sports gear and even books and toys.

If charitable giving is on your mind in 2013, we've rounded up a list of organizations that would love the coat off your back (or those toys off your floor!).

Household Items

Goodwill 

Mission: Helps people with barriers to employment learn job skills.

Donations Accepted: Clothing, electronics, appliances, furniture, and more.

Salvation Army 

Mission: Community programs, homeless services, rehabilitation, disaster relief.
Donations Accepted: Clothing, furniture, household goods, sporting equipment, books, electronics, and more

Vietnam Veterans of America 

Mission: Provides aid to Vietnam-era veterans and their families.
Donations Accepted: Clothing, baby items, house wares, electronics, small appliances, tools, and other items.

Volunteers of America 

Mission: Supports individuals struggling with challenges such as at-risk youth; the frail elderly; men and women returning from prison; homeless individuals and families; people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions.
Donations Accepted: Clothing, furniture, toys, and household goods for their thrift stores.

Dress for Success 

Mission: Provides interview suits and career development advice to low-income women in over 75 cities worldwide.
Donations Accepted: Women's business suits and other professional apparel, footwear, and accessories.

Career Gear 

Mission: Provides low income job-seeking men with training, career counseling, interviews, and professional clothing.
Donations Accepted: Men's suits, dress shirts, ties, shoes, briefcases, and other interview-appropriate clothing.

Soles4Souls 

Mission: Distributes shoes to people in need in over 125 countries.
Donations Accepted: All types of new or gently-worn shoes: athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance, and flip flops.

 

Stuffed Animals & Toys

SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies) 

Mission: Collects items for children in emotional, traumatic, or stressful situations such as natural and manmade disasters.
Donations Accepted: New or gently-used stuffed animals.

Ronald McDonald House

Mission: Provides a "home-away-from-home" for families with hospitalized children.
Donations Accepted: New toys, food, and household products.

Electronics

World Computer Exchange 

Mission: Provides used computers and technology to schools, libraries, community centers & universities in developing countries.
Donations Accepted: Computers, laptops, printers, hard drives, peripherals, software, and more.

Cell Phones for Soldiers 

Mission:  Recycles cell phones for money to purchase calling cards for troops.
Donations Accepted: Used cell phones.

Cars

Kars for Kids

Mission: National organization addressing the educational, emotional and spiritual needs of Jewish children and their families.

Donations Accepted: All types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs, motor homes, boats, airplanes, farm equipment, and construction equipment.

Habitat for Humanity Cars for Homes 

Mission: Builds and rehabilitates houses for families in need.
Donations Accepted: Cars, trucks, boats, RVs, motorcycles, and construction equipment.

American Diabetes Association 

Mission: The prevention and cure of diabetes.
Donations Accepted: Cars, trucks, trailers, boats, and RVs.

National Kidney Foundation Kidney Cars

Mission: Funds programs and medical research to prevent and treat kidney disease.
Donations Accepted: Cars, vans, trucks, and boats.

 

 

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Time to Part Company
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:32 AM
2013 is in full swing. Time to shed some extra pounds...of paper that is. Most documents, just like milk, eventually expire so use our handy guides for deciding what to toss, what to keep. Your 2013 is about to get streamlined. Before you dive into your...
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Missing Mittens: How to Organize Gear for Winter Fun
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:17 AM

Nothing derails the fun of a snowy, winter day faster than a missing mitten. And arriving at the mountain with one ski pole instead of two? Big bummer. Take time to organize yourself for maximum winter fun. 

Winter Staples: Cold winter weather means wintry ailments like the flu, chapped lips and runny noses. Stock up essentials like chapsticks and tissues online. And be sure to stockpile necessary meds such as fever reducers, sore throat lozenges and cough syrups before illness strikes; dragging your feverish self to the pharmacy is never fun. Consider purchasing travel sizes of chapsticks, hand cream and tissues to keep in your hand bags or the car so you're never caught unprotected.

Winter Bag: If your family skies (or ice skates, sleds, etc,) create a designated to-go bag for every member of the family. Store hats, scarves, gloves and ski or skate passes and other must-have items here. Don't forget the sunblock! Sun exposure during skiing and skating can take a toll on unprotected skin. Take time to restock the bag after each use, so when you get an unexpected snowfall, you're ready to hit the slopes, confident that all your needs are close at hand. 

Winter Swap: Makeover your hall closet or mudroom into your winter command central. Swap out the off-season gear and create a caddy that houses tissues, extra gloves, chapsticks, etc. so family members can help themselves. Task hanging sweater organizers or bins with storing rolled up ski pants, hats, gloves, etc.

Winter Wet: Winter means dripping boots and bulky gear. Designate a metal tray to capture wet boots and shoes near your door and use a coat rack protected with outdoor paint for hanging sodden snow suits and accessories to dry. Apartment dwellers may want to place an attractive rattan hamper near the front door to capture wet items.

Winter Savings: Ski trips and skating outings can all add up quickly. Ward off empty-wallet syndrome by clipping coupons and taking advantage of promotions. Designate a small wallet or pouch to keep savings offers close at hand. Your bank account will thank you.

Waning Winter: When the cold weather draws to a close, evaluate what gear and apparel need to be replaced, and stock up on sale items for the following season. If kids will have outgrown items by the following winter, don't store the bulky items during the warmer months. Arrange to pass along the unneeded items to friends or relatives or donate them to charity.

 

 

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Why Aren’t You Doing These 5 Simple Things?
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:15 AM

Look, we understand your to-do list is long. Same here. But some things just never seem to get done, right? Time for some gentle prodding: make 2013 the year you add these five simple steps to your usual to-dos. Most only take a few minutes of time to complete. Happy more productive 2013.

Daily: Wake up earlier. This may not go over well with the night owls in the crowd but rising and shining even 15-30 minutes earlier each day will jumpstart your day. More time equals less stress and better organization. You can even use the extra minutes for exercise or other wellness activities such as mediation or journaling.

Weekly: You've got mail!...somewhere. Check your spam folder weekly for emails that have gone astray. And if you have multiple email accounts, do a weekly review to make sure important messages aren't being missed. Finally, take 10 minutes at the end (or beginning) of each week to free up your inbox by clearing out old emails and responding to outstanding items.

Monthly: Max out your 401(k) contributions. Each month countless employees leave money on the table in terms of matching funds from their employers. If a reduced paycheck is daunting, cut costs elsewhere to make up the deficit. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but free money? Yup, it exists.

Yearly: How's your credit history? If you're like many Americans, you have no idea. Given that identify theft is increasingly on the rise, staying on top of your credit history is critical. Once a year, use the three main credit bureaus--Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion--to both monitor and protect your credit. Many experts caution that credit monitoring is just the first step, and advocate signing up for two years of a free credit freeze at each of the three main credit bureaus. With a freeze, no one can look at your credit profile without having you first allow the ban to be lifted. So crooks can't open accounts or buy items under your name.

Extra Credit: Overachievers, we know you love to add a little extra to your routines. How about a thirteenth mortgage payment versus twelve? Did you know that by adding just one extra payment annually, you can shave as much as five years off on your loan?  For homeowners in your fifties, this can mean one less expense during retirement. Now that's golden!

 

 

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5 Things You Ought to be Doing
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 11:25 PM
January's "fresh start" may be getting stale. Continue to make the most of 2013 by focusing on five simple steps to reinvigorate your daily routine. Get Going Self-help books top the bestseller lists year in and year out: people love advice...
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Daily Habits for Happiness
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 11:22 PM
January ushered in a New Year and a host of resolutions for self-improvement. Want the most bang for your resolution buck? Skip the efforts to overhaul your life, and instead make happiness a priority. Getting happier is easier than you think; by adding...
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Projects for the Über-Organizer
Monday, January 14, 2013 11:19 PM

Alphabetized spice rack? Check. Clothing sorted and stored by color? Check. Drawers and medicine cabinets purged of odds and ends? Check and double-check! Face it: You are an über-organizer.

In search of uncharted terrain to organize? Check out this round-up of projects that only an org junkie could love.

Photo Journal: Document 2013 from start to finish with a 365-day photo project. Perfect for new parents or anyone with a passion for detail: take one photo each day of your child, your garden, your yard, or whatever inspires you and share the results on a blog or in a photo book. For inspiration, read Are You Doing a 365 Photo Project? 

Car Star: Do you collect toy cars? Or other small memorabilia? Make a statement by massing your items together for an eye-popping storage meets art display.

Kitchen Aid: Get chart smart with this kitchen cabinet organizer  that doubles as a measuring conversion chart. Now you're cookin'!

Glass Houses: Seeing is not only believing, it's organizing. When you can easily eyeball where things belong, odds are good that items will end up in the right spot. So embrace the glass jar, perfect for decanting cooking supplies and for corralling craft materials. People who live in glass houses...are organized!

Shoe Store: Sure your closet is color-coded but are your shoes stored and organized by photo?  Yeah, now we're talking über-organized! Shoe addicts, meet your dream closet

 

 

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Not Too Late for a Jan Plan
Thursday, January 10, 2013 11:05 PM

Still at loss for resolutions as January slowly slips away?  Fear not, it's never too late to get going.

We've rounded up some "Jan Plan" inspiration to get you motivated. And if it slides until February? Hey, better late than never....

House Keeping: Give your house the old spit and polish with the January Cure from leading home site Apartment Therapy.  You'll be decluttered and neat and tidy in no time flat.

Weight Loss: Fans of TV show The Biggest Loser  know that fitness guru Jillian Michaels can help you drop pounds. Now, lose weight at home with Michael's 30-Day Shred workout, designed to help users shed 30 pounds in 20 days with a 20-minute daily workout. Lose weight, win a healthier body.

Fitter, Flatter Abs: Anyone can do anything for 30 days, even if it's ab-burning crunches. This 30-day regimen from Women's Health Magazine starts slowly and builds as your endurance grows. Ab-flattening eating strategies are part of the equation. Go for it - your jeans will thank you.

Financial Health: Holiday shopping sprees can do major damage to your budget. If you've racked up whopping credit card bills, or wish you had a better handle on your overall financial health, this 30-step path to financial wellness  is for you.

Volunteer More: Heartbreaking stories about natural and man-made disasters filled our airwaves and newspapers at the end of 2012. If 2013 is the year you want to make a difference in the lives of others, read 30 Ways in 30 Days for inspiration about how you can help Ronald McDonald House or other similar organizations.

Happier Relationships: Would you be willing to spend 21 days to vastly improve your relationships? Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project  thinks so and she's crafted a 21-Day Relationship Challenge designed to make your relationships more loving.

 

 

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Pinspiration for an Organized New Year!
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 10:49 PM

Getting more organized tops many a resolution list. Move from resolution to success story with some organizing inspiration from Pinterest. 

Second Act: Many common household items can do double-duty as storage. Clever organizers use everything from a cheese grater  to vintage cups and saucers  for jewelry storage. How about a DIY drying rack for your laundry room? See how this repurposed ladder does the trick. Or declutter a bathroom or kitchen counter with this shoe rack.  Put your best (organizational) foot forward!

About Face: Tame makeup clutter with these ingenious storage solutions. A magnetic board teamed with beauty products bearing small magnets equals storage magic in this clever DIY.  Or think vertical and hang your tools on a wall in attractive canisters.  We also like this smart idea for sorting makeup brushes.  

Found Space: Think you lack the space for effective organizing? Look up: your ceiling is the fifth wall in any room, task yours with storage duty with these handy organizers.  Other resourceful ideas for finding space where you least expect it, include using peg board to turn empty walls into spaces chock full of storage options. Finally, use the space under window eaves for fun places like a book nook, dreamy shoe storage, or this adorable perch for a pooch. 

Fun Space: We think organizing is fun and after you see these fabulous and funky organizing ideas, we think you'll love it as much as we do. Banish boring shelves with some of these spectacular shelving ideas. How fabulous is this bookshelf man? We also love organizing with color: the links here, here and here show how every family member can be assigned a color for effective organizing meets pretty palette. Even boring papers can be transformed when rainbow hued. See ideas here and here

 

 

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New Year, New Notebook: Keep Resolutions on Track with the Versa
Tuesday, January 08, 2013 11:22 PM

You multitask like nobody's business, juggling work, home and family demands all week long. Now, with 2013 in swing, it's time to add New Year's resolutions to the mix.

Keep all your balls in the air, and all your resolutions on track, by plotting your progress in the new Ampad® Versa™ Crossover Notebook,  which offers a crossover design that takes the best of a notebook, binder and dividers and puts it all in one. Want to log your exercise time? Keep track of healthy recipes? Capture inspirational articles on quitting smoking? Get more organized? Whatever your New Year's goals may be, Ampad® Versa&trade can help you keep track of all the moving parts.  

Versatility Adds Up to Productivity

  • Write in it like a notebook; move pages around like a binder.
  • Built-in dividers provide easy sorting and categorizing.
  • Dual poly dividers separate and capture loose papers.
  • Mark key notes with 105 stick-on flags for labeling and highlighting.
  • Track to-dos with a lined stick-on task pad.

The New Year is a fresh start, so why dive into it with an outdated notebook? Now, Ampad®  Versa™ lets you manage multiple projects or subdivide one large project into smaller sections. Plus, the highlighting flags make finding and organizing notes easier than ever. And you can reorder and reorganize your notes, again and again.

Ampad® Versa™ reimagines the notebook; use it for your own 2013 reinvention.

 

 

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What No One Tells You about Resolutions
Tuesday, January 08, 2013 10:44 PM

Articles on sticking to resolutions are an inescapable part of the January landscape.

But while experts are everywhere offering tips and tricks for remaining committed to resolutions, few pundits take a "no resolutions" approach to ringing in the New Year. In the spirit of "there's two sides to every story," we take a look at the notion of skipping resolutions altogether. Hey, you still got the champagne!

Don't Make New Year's Resolutions: They're Not Good for Your Health: If you're thinking about adopting a healthier lifestyle, eliminating resolutions may be the first step, according to this article: Don't Make New Year's Resolutions: They're Not Good for Your Health. The article posits that sticking to resolutions can create stress, rack up unnecessary expenses and can cause depression when resolutions are unmet. Rather, the article promotes the notion that the healthiest, happiest, fittest people are those that develop successful patterns in their lives--lives which involve achievement and close relationships. By building on successes, whatever they may be, and by maintaining committed relationships, health and wellness naturally flow as part of their "active, achieving, and dependable lives." So socialize with the healthy and happy - wellness is contagious!

New Year's Resolutions Don't Work - Here's Why:  Did you ever stop to think that goal setting is akin to declaring that your life isn't good enough, that happiness is always around the corner and is missing and absent from your life right now? The article New Year's Resolutions Don't Work - Here's Why,  makes the case that when we constantly resolve to make changes, that when we look ahead to a goal, rather than focusing on, and enjoying the present, that we miss the chance to focus on the happiness and success that is currently in hand. Food for thought, no?

Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work: This article suggests that many resolutions are made with pie-eyed optimism that generally doesn't translate into success. But rather than truly eschewing the notion of New Year's goal setting, the author does in fact make the case for something quite similar: planning. The article advocates making time for an annual (or better yet, quarterly) planning session(s) to lay out goals and concrete strategies for moving the ball forward. Read on for more about why taking stocking of your life or business, and planning for growth or change should be a part of your 2013: Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work. 

 

 

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Design Your Office for Extra Oomph
Monday, January 07, 2013 11:12 PM

Did you notice how your office looked more festive and welcoming around the holidays? The seasonal décor, baskets of treats and smiling faces gave your workplace an extra glow.

Carry that good feeling througout 2013 with this round up of advice for jazzing up even the dullest workspace.

10 Design Tips for Tiny Offices:  A welcoming environment doesn't need to be costly, as the tips from these ten small startups prove. Snacks and smiles go a long way to warming up any atmosphere. Other ideas include punchy paint colors and pets. Yes, Fido is a welcome guest in some offices; they see the paws-itive benefits of interacting with furry friends! 

9 Pieces of Furniture That Make the Work Day More Fun:  Put a smile on even the grumpiest face with fun furniture. From a swing set that doubles as a conference table, to a green rug designed to mimic picnic grounds, to a ping pong conference table, these designs will put some play in your day.

5 Rules for Office Feng Shui:  A calm, clutter free workplace gives out a welcoming vibe. This beginner primer for organizing your work environment promotes energy and atmosphere.

Finally, we leave you with a mind-blowing design project from a German company that used over 55,000 Lego bricks to create a divider wall  in their office kitchen. This year-long project may not be in the cards for every workplace but it shows that when creativity meets teamwork, magic can happen!

 

 

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Appy New Year!
Friday, January 04, 2013 11:16 PM

No excuses this year: we have fantastic apps to keep your New Year's resolutions on track.

Add Exercise: Put your money where your mouth is and link your fitness goals to a monetary incentive (or penalty) with the GymPact app.  Users commit to a number of workouts and tie each to a monetary sum, when you show up, it adds up. Skip a workout and cough up. Users can even join in a group and challenge friends/family/coworkers. Other helpful exercise tracking apps include MapMyRun's app  and the Nike Training app.  Or use the mobile companion to the monster exercise hit p90X with this app. Get up and get going!

Quit Smoking for Good: Dump those cancer sticks once and for all with the iQuit app,  which lets you track your decreasing cigarette schedule and plot your progress on social media. The social element enlists positive peer pressure: your social network can cheer successes and rally support if you stumble.

Watch Your Money: Whip your finances into shape with the Expenditure app,  which tracks spending across categories as well as one-time only expenses. The user-friendly interface shows where the money is flowing. Or check out award-winning app Mint.com,which lets users track, budget and manage money in both checking and savings accounts, as well as credit card accounts, investments and retirement funds. Reminders also help prevent late fees. You'll love the price tag: free! 

Be More Organized: Ready for a more organized 2013? Productivity app Evernote,lets users create and save notes, pictures and voice memos and sync them across your phone, computer and the Web.  Never lose track of a to-do list again. When you team Evernote with a time-management tool such as OmniFocus, which lets users track tasks by date, person, place or project, you're on your way to an organized day. Still procrastinating? RescueTime,  not only tracks all your time, it'll block you from visiting distracting websites when you work.

 

Get Up Earlier: No time for resolutions?  Wake up earlier each day with the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, http://bit.ly/Vw6Jzr an intelligent alarm clock that analyzes your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase of a set period so you wake up feeling rested and relaxed. The app offers lots of customization such as 15 alarm options, sleep cycle monitoring and wake-up options. Use your extra morning hours to keep your resolutions on track.

 

Finally, if the thought of tracking all your resolutions across various apps makes you overwhelmed, this one-stop-shopping app is for you. Centralize all your goals in one spot with the All My New Year's Resolutions 2012 app. http://bit.ly/YoTDYf

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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