3 Warning Signs You Might Be Stuck & 1 Quick Trick to Move You Forward

Find out what's on The Practical Sort's mind today.  The latest blog "3 Warning Signs You Might Be Stuck & 1 Quick Trick to Move You Forward"  is now available.

Are you feeling like you are getting nowhere with the tasks on your to do list?  Are you frustrated because your goals seem unreachable?  When we are not achieving our daily objectives, many of us experience the same tension as being stuck in a traffic jam.  Notice your physical and emotional reactions when you look around your home or scan your calendar.  There is so much to do and scads of stuff to attend to.  You might feel trapped like you do in an endless line of vehicles miles from the nearest exit. You are literally immobilized. 

The Practical Sort looks at 3 warning signs that you might be stuck and a little trick to get you moving again to knock some of your tasks out quickly and easily.   Check out the latest blog today to get you on your way to a more productive day.

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Creative Uses of Small Spaces: A Fresh Set of Eyes Can Transform a Vexing Room

Small rooms and limited storage cause unique organization challenges.  Do you have pint-sized spaces that you find perplexing?  Maybe you are too close to see the answers that will bring about the desired change.  Engaging an organizer brings in a fresh perspective, a new way of looking at old or vexing problems. 

In this month's blog, we will examine a client's relocation from a 3 bedroom condo to the bedroom of her youth and the resulting storage and layout issues.  With a few simple, inexpensive adjustments, we devised some solutions to house most of her beloved and frequently used possessions.   Bottom line:  the changes in her surroundings yielded immense emotional benefits.  Check it out.

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I Know What You Are Going To Say

Wouldn't it be mind-blowing to never have another: 

  • Frantic morning impeded by misplaced keys or cell phones
  • School forms requiring signatures while the school bus waits at the curb
  • Tax time nightmares because receipts are scattered

Just a little bit of organization could spare you a myriad of stressful moments.  But what is holding you back?  Find out the 8 misconceptions that might be preventing you from living a more relaxed, productive life and learn how to put the "wow" factor back into your home.


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5 Key Ingredients for a Green Spring Clean

Getting ready to start your spring cleaning project?  These 5 key non-toxic ingredients will get your house sparkling clean.  You probably already have them on hand.  They are often more economical than their harsh chemical counterparts.  Find out what they are and how to make your spring clean a green clean.

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Recently Discovered: The Secret to Making Cleaning Easy, Safe & Fun

It takes heavy duty persuasion to convince this minimalist to purchase new, non-consumable products.  A major wow factor is necessary for The Practical Sort to sing the praises of a product or product line.  Check out these eco-friendly cleaning and home products that will not only make your life easier while being kind to the environment, but you might enjoy the chores that you normally dislike.

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Put That Mouse on a Diet

If you give a mouse a cookie, he will want a glass of milk.  If you give him a glass of milk, he will want a straw and so on and so on.  Do you ever feel like your life is an endless stream of actions begetting more actions?  If so, here are 5 handy tips to guide your through projects so you can keep your sanity when the mouse gets feisty.

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Get Organized Month is Your Invitation for the Change You Desire

January is Get Organized Month, why not take advantage of this celebration to launch your home and lifestyle transformation?  Remove the frustrations, overwhelm, embarrassment, and disorder from your life.  Today is the day, now is the time to manifest the productivity and comfort you desire.  National Association of Professional Organizers are available to guide you along the way.  For more information, contact The Practical Sort Eco-Organizing Solutions at thepracticalsort.com or sherri@thepracticalsort.com to get started.

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Why I Choose to be a Freebird

A few months back I initiated a Facebook Challenge seeking an alternative to the depressing label, “empty nester”. For months as my son prepared to venture off for his college freshman year, I cringed, fought off tears and occasional anger each time someone asked “Are you going to be an empty nester?”  “What are you going to do with yourself when the nest is empty?”  “Your house will be so quiet and lonely, how are you feeling about that?”  With a simple change in terminology, I overcame the sadness and negativity that "empty nester" implies.  Maybe this reframe can help you too.  Read on to learn more.

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Join My Eco-Challenge Team

Join me and my team October 14-28 as we participate in the Northwest Earth Institute's Eco-Challenge.  Earn points by doing your part to create change for greater preservation, conservation, and sustainability for your community and the planet as a whole.  Join the team at http://2016.ecochallenge.org/dashboards/participants/curley-sherriThank you!

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My Top 12 Tips for Eating Out and Traveling with Food Sensitivities

Dining out, traveling, and attending parties can be a challenge for those with food sensitivities.  Here are my top 11 tips for easing the stress in these situations.  Eating away from home when dealing with food allergies and intolerances can be managed with a bit of planning, compromise, and strategizing.

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Treasure Your Personal and Global Space

Have you ever thought about ways to lived a more minimalistic lifestyle?  What is minimalism and is it for you?  Does it mean extreme life changes? This blog might shed some light on being mindful about treasuring your own personal spaces and our stewardship of the global space around us. 

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Saving Time vs. Shaving Time

The phrase saving time is a fallacy.  We cannot deposit time into our savings account for some future rainy day when we are craving an extra hour or two.  Instead, we can use some techniques to cut corners and shave a few seconds or minutes off the total time it takes to accomplish a given task.  For example, prep dry ingredients for baked goods, pancakes, crepes, etc. and store them in labeled glass containers.  I prefer glass such as an old wide mouth jam jar or canning jar since plastic can sometimes impart odors if stored too long.   For your label you can choose to identify the ingredients or the intended end product.  You might want to include on the label what other ingredients are needed such as eggs, milk, extracts, etc. so that you don't forget to add anything later.  When you are pressed for time, your basic dry ingredients will already be measured out, assembled, and ready to add to your batter, a few minutes shaved.

Keep Your Grocery List Handy

Always keep your grocery list near your prep area.  As you use up ingredients or they run low, be sure to add items to your list.  If it is something you frequently use, keep an extra on hand so you are not caught short at the wrong time.  You don't want to have to make an unexpected time consuming trip to the store if avoidable. This is especially true for essentials such as tissues and toilet paper.  If you have the storage space, an extra supply is recommended especially during cold, flu and allergy seasons with no concern about these products spoiling.   When I say an extra supply I should clarify that I mean only an extra box or two or multi-roll package so as not to get bogged down with too many storables and no storage or crammed space. 

Templates Can Shave Time

Speaking of groceries...a few minutes taken to generate a template for grocery lists could spare some time for you each week.  Frequently purchased items can be pre-listed then crossed off if not needed.  Organize the list by grocery aisle or category.   Some grocery stores have their aisles mapped out online to give you a hand in preplanning your template.  Free templates are available online so no need to recreate your own if you choose.  Check out:  http://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/grocery-list.html or the more fanciful ones on Pinterest such as https://www.pinterest.com/pin/524387950332911675/.  If possible, consider using recyclable scrap paper for these lists since you will likely dispose of them after you are finished shopping. 

Efficiency Packing for Rapid Grocery Unloading

If you bag your own groceries, do so by storage location so that you can drop each bag in front of that area for rapid unpacking.  I love that my reusable bags all have straps so that I can tote multiple bags on my shoulders from the car to the kitchen.  After unloading, the bags are stored inside one large bag and returned to the car headrest so I never forget to bring them with me.

Shave Time with Laundry

As for laundry tips, when slipping clothes off, pull them straight off so that they remain right side out.  The tricky part is convincing family members especially children to do the same.  You will be surprised at how much quicker laundry goes when you don't have to return the clothes to the correct side out when you retrieve them from the washer or dryer.  And speaking of making laundry go quicker, if you have the room for a few laundry baskets in each room or partitioned baskets, presorting as you undress hastens the entire process.  I am fortunate to have some room in my closet for three baskets: whites, lights, and darks.  The night before laundry day, I place the baskets in the hallway for the rest of the family to sort their baskets into.  Then as I have time during the day, I grab a basket and throw that load in.

Spend Less Time on Chores and Errands

Electronic banking has expedited my bill paying process.  By taking a few minutes to set up the vendors on my banking site, when the bills arrive the total payment time is minimal for paying and logging my transactions.   I am also saving money by spending less on stamps and check reorders.  Rarely do I purchase stamps now so less time is expended (and gas) driving to and from the post office or waiting for the grocers to find their stamp allocation.  I also make far fewer trips to the neighborhood mailbox to deposit outgoing mail.

Crafters Can Shave a Moment or Two

If you are a crafter, keep work in progress supplies segregated in a particular area of your studio or container so that you can dive right in.  Without reamassing necessities and attempting to analyze where you left off, you have shaved a few more minutes than can be put to better use.

Shave Time and Enjoy Your Time

These are just a few ideas, there will be more in the future. By using time saving or more accurately time shaving tips you can spend more time doing what you enjoy and saving some pennies along the way.

Simple Ideas are Simply Awesome

The Simple Answer is Often The Best

Sometimes we overlook simple solutions to perplexing problems or everyday annoyances.  For example, take a look at that infamous junk drawer, the repository for all those miscellaneous items that do not have dedicated sensible space elsewhere.  Often times it is filled with as the Brits say, "bits and bobs" that we have difficulty locating when we need them because they are buried under all of the other STUFF occupying the drawer.  Many times I have opened my junk drawers and immediately closed them in frustration for not being able to find what I need or lacking the time to wade through the piles scattered about.  That is, until I became serious that these pesky areas needed the same level of organization that the rest of the house enjoys.  But what to do with those small bits and bobs?  As I have previously mentioned, I do my best to repurpose whenever possible.  This is kinder to the environment, my wallet, and my time. 

Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

One day as I was grabbing some detergent from under my sink, I noticed some old ice cube trays that I had set aside.  I used to use extra ice cube trays when I made baby food, I would freeze the food in the cubes until solid.  At that point, I would dislodge the food from the trays and store in freezer containers until needed.  I have also used the trays when I have cooked up large batches of soup, and I would freeze the excess in ice cube trays until the cubes were ready to be transferred into freezer containers.  Then as with the baby food, I could thaw just the right amount.  Well, the baby food making days are over, and I have not made soup in a while, but I now have another use for those trays.  They are the perfect for all those little bits and bobs.

It's a Relationship Not a Marriage

When you decide that the time is right for you to make a change in your surroundings and embark on an organizing project whether physical or time management, in your home or at work, etc. keep in mind that the process is a fluid one.  I believe that one of the most critical steps in getting and staying organized is the reevaluation stage.  Your life changes, your lifestyle may fluctuate, products that you use today you may no longer use in a few weeks or months.  That old appliance taking up space on your counter top may no longer serve your purposes or the remaining prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet may no longer be indicated or have expired. It is time to reassess.  In my own home, I continuously monitor placement of items.  My kitchen is one area that probably sees the most frequent rearrangement.  As cooking and baking needs change or you purchase a new gadget, go ahead and move stuff to enable easier workflow.   Relegate items no longer or less frequently used to more remote storage areas, donate if still usable, or toss if broken and not fixable.  The same tends to be true with ingredients.  Store less used products at the back of cupboards or those hard to reach cabinets so that their often used brethren are within easier reach.  Clothes closets are another area that should receive frequent scrutiny.

The point of this is that nothing is set in stone.  This helps to relieve any stress related to "what if I don't like where I relocated my recycling bin", "now that I can retrieve my bill file quicker, my paper supply is further away," "I don't wear that dress often, but I don't want to let it go," etc.  Sometimes we have to respect the limitations of confined spaces, locations of outlets if your budget prohibits electrical work, or preexisting cabinetry and counters if once again renovation is not in the cards, but that does not stop creativity and cleverness in redesigning work spaces or clearing areas for your mediation exercises.  Off-site storage is an option budget permitting for those rarely used goods, but too precious to let go. 

As personal relationships continue to evolve so will your relationship with the new order in your life to ensure that it works best for you and your family.  Do you need assistance creating a new relationship, contact the Practical Sort at www.thepracticalsort.com.