March 29, 2007

The Junk Drawer

I am not really a hard ass when it comes to clutter. I believe that every home should have what is the equivalent of a junk drawer. One of those places where the things that have no place to go are thrown.

This, however should not mean that the junk drawer evolves into a junk closet or even a junk room. I have seen homes where one room is designated the catch-all area. It won't be long before the clutter in that room begins to invade the rest of the house.

My junk drawer at home has those little, loose objects like extra keys, half-tubes of SuperGlue, extra stamps, nail files, etc. Understandably these items should go into their respective places, but I see no problem in having ONE drawer where these wayward items live.

March 23, 2007

Scrapbooking Madness

I don't really understand the whole scrapbooking fad. Stores are popping up in every strip mall that cater to scrapbooking. They sell everything from overpriced photo albums, stickers, stamps, ribbons, etc. all for the sake of creating memories.

For most of my life, I have kept my own version of a diary/scrapbook. They include my journal entries, sketches, notes, lists, plane ticket stubs, stickers, stamps, old letters, postcards, you name it. I have never had to go out and purchase special scrapbooking equipment. Just a journal a pair of scissors and some glue. The rest are found or already aquired objects.

I have also never been pushed out of my home by scrapbooking material. I see homes with a special "scrapbooking room" full of purchased items for making books. The thing is, the clutter gets to be so overwhelming that there doesn't seem to be any time for scrapbooking at all.

If you enjoy scrapbooking, a system is necessary for keeping your materials clean, organized and off the floor. has a great list on how to organize scrapbooking supplies.

Keeping your supplies well organized will also help you save money. You will not have to rebuy or stock up on any materials that you realize you already have.

March 20, 2007

The Simple Purse

According to Real Simple Magazine, women spend approximately 55 minutes every day searching for items. Probably about 45 of those minutes are spent searching for something in the deep, dark reaches of their purses.

I am guilty of having the cluttered purse. It is a bottomless pit, and that's what I like about it. I can sneak an entire picnic into the movie theater in my purse, it doubles as a suitcase AND a briefcase and is as tough as nails. Having something so dependable can also be a burden and it is not great for my back.

Women feel they have to be ready for anything. The contents of my own purse prove this:

1.Leather wallet with money, credit and debit cards, coins, business cards (my own and others), coupons, receipts and stamps.

2. My One Book

3. Cell phone and cell phone charger

4. 3 to 4 various USB drives

5. iPod, headphones and charger

6. Chapstick, lipstick, hand lotion and face powder

7. Gym pass

8. Sunglasses and sunglass case

9. Various pens

10. A small tape measure

11. Keys attached to a bottle of pepper spray

In all, too much stuff. But I do work on keeping it clean and manageable. Every Saturday morning as I do chores, I include cleaning out my purse as one. I take everything out and clean out all excess pennies and candy wrappers. I go through all receipts and file or shred as necessary. I check all coupons and business cards and throw out the ones that are expired or I will not be using.

It is an ongoing job, but my everyday business would not be complete without my tough, trusty purse at my side. However, I still envy men and their simple wallets.

March 14, 2007

Kill Bills

The bane of many people's existence is an overabundance of bills and other unwanted mail. The natural thing to do when you owe money to someone is to put the bill in a pile and forget about it for a few weeks.

Then the late notices appear.

Procrastinating on bill paying and not having a bill paying system can cost you time, money and frustration.

The first step is to create a "Bill Paying Center" on your desk. This can include some hanging files, a desktop filing organizer (horizontal or vertical) or a special drawer just for bills. But be careful about "out of sight, out of mind". This system will have areas categorized as "Bills to Pay", "Bills Paid" and "Checks/Bills Cleared". Also in the Center will be a desk or wall calendar to be used to mark bill due dates.

The second step is once a bill comes in, open it and throw away the outside envelope and mark the due date of the bill on your calendar. If you are not ready to pay the bill, put it in the "Bills to Pay" category or file. If you do pay the bill, with either a check, credit card on with online bill paying software, write the payment information on the bill:

"Paid 3/14/07 with check #12345" or
"Paid 3/14/07 online. Confirmation #123456"

Put that paid bill into the "Bills Paid" file. Once the bill has cleared your account, put it into the "Checks/Bills Cleared" file. These will remain in here for three months until you either shred them or file them for tax purposes. Always shred letters or bills with your personal information on them.

Having a predesignated hour or day for bill paying is helpful in getting the dreaded job done. Say every Sunday morning before breakfast. Once you have spent about three months using this system, knowing when bills will be coming in and when they are due will be second nature.

March 1, 2007

Too Many Magazines

Magazines are beautiful, I know. Whether they are your stacks of Architectural Digest, National Geographic or those ones covered with Brad Pitt, we love our magazines.

But they can be a heavy, slippery mess that collects dust. They also become dated very quickly and the information being referred to is most likely more current on the Internet.

Dedicate some time during the week to go through and really read each of the magazines you get. Keep a pair or scissors and a filing system handy to clip out information, articles or photos that you like and file them in an order that makes sense to you. Have categories such as: Financial, Architectural and Home, Recipes, News and Opinion, Sexy Hollywood Stars, etc. The rest of the magazine then should not hang around for any longer. Put it in recycling the next time you pass the recycling container.