File what? How to eliminate paper with “FileThis”

September 17th, 2014

I am often asked “how can I easily get rid of papers that enter the house?”  My first question is “what types of papers come in to the house?”  The typical answer is mail, bills, statements, etc.  The logical response is stop them from coming in to the house.  I mean, stop the physical papers.

File This Paperless Made EffortlessYears ago, I heard of a service called “File This Fetch”.  It is now called “FileThis“.  Not sure why they dropped the fetch but the service is the same… actually it continues to get better.  The gist of FileThis is you sign up for the service, connect your accounts (utilities, financial statements, pay stubs, etc) and File This fetches your statements and bills.  It then files them in a location you designate.  I will let you read about the security of sharing your log-ins.   I am not concerned about the security.  I have been sharing my logins with reputable sites like Quickbooks and Mint for years.  FileThis enables you to stop receiving the paper statements and bills and still keep them organized.

I was recently asked a bunch of questions about FileThis.  I figured many others may have these same questions.  Check it out.  See if FileThis could help you reduce the amount of papers that enter your home and helps you keep the documents more organized. (more…)

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Use It or Lose It ~ Organizing Style: Cutting Boards

April 16th, 2013

We are down in New Orleans at the National Association of Professional Organizers 25th Annual Conference.  I am presenting on Friday.  The topic “All Things Google: Tools to Organize Your Clients and Organizing Business with my co-presenter, Josh Zerkel.  I am a Google lover and will soon be starting a regular post on “Using Google to be More Productive” so stay tuned.

On my flight to New Orleans, I read the infamous “SkyMall” magazine.  It is always chockful of organizing items.  Some practical… others impractical.  I came across the Joseph Joseph Chopping Boards.  They are today’s “Use it or Lose It?”

Joseph Joseph Index Advance Chopping Board Set

We have seen many cutting boards that are color coded to avoid cross contamination.  We also know that many times in kitchens cutting boards don’t have a real “home”.  This set comes in two colors – silver or dark gray and two sizes – small and large.  They stack within their case so they are vertical taking up less space in your cabinets or countertop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Joseph Index Advance Chopping Board Set – $67.95 (large)

  • Chopping board categorization system with four colored boards
  • Color coding system: red for raw meat, blue for seafood, green for veggies and white for cooked foods
  • Illustrated tabs provide at-a-glance reminder; contemporary ABS storage case with a non-slip base
  • Boards are made from polypropylene; convenient, non-slip feet on both sides of each board
  • Dishwasher safe

The chopping boards get “filed” when they are not in use.

What do you think?  Would you use it or should we lose it?  Leave a comment below.

kim-signature-small-angle1

 

 

 

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What’s New in the Organizing Industry?

March 26th, 2012

The NAPO logo

Last week, I attended the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference.  Over 850 organizers gathered at the Hilton Baltimore in Baltimore Maryland.  There was an Expo Hall with over 58 exhibitors, 3 key note speakers, 30 break out session options.  It was a very busy four days.  In addition to sharing my feelings on Twitter as @PutItAway, I also Tweeted the conference as @NAPONatl. As always, conference was an amazing experience.  I was able to learn, network, hang with old friends, make new friends, meet friends who I knew only from social media, be inspired and inspire others.

Over the next few days, I will share my experiences from the 2012 NAPO Conference.  I will share tips from the sessions I attended, reviews of products exhibited, lessons learned from others and pictures of some of the fun.


Great conference tote bag from tote bag sponsor Tote Buddy!
 

If you attended conference, I would love to hear about your experiences.  What was your one take away from conference or your favorite thing?  Please comment below.

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Top 3 Trends in Past 3 Years

September 24th, 2010

Top 3 Trends in Past 3 Years (Part 1 of 3)

I believe there have been three major trends in the past three years that has changed the way we do things.  I will be sharing my insights over the next three weeks.  I’d love to hear your input and experiences.

1.    Reliance on Tech

We now live in a world where we constantly rely on technology to get us through each day.  If you are not a mobile phone user (do they still exist), you still rely on technology when you go to a restaurant, the post office, the bank.

We have all likely been to a restaurant that uses technology – a form of a pager to notify you when your table is ready.  Some restaurants take orders on a handheld device that automatically transmits the order to the bar or kitchen.  You can even place a take-out or delivery order from home without picking up the phone.

You can make calls without picking up the receiver or handset.  You can write checks, pay bills or transfer money via a mobile phone or notebook computer Skype logowithout getting in the car or spending money on a stamp.  While the security of doing any of these still has some vulnerabilities for the most part they are secure.  Some folks still fear banking online, even if you avoid it, the banks stores your information online.  Security online is one part of the equation, backing up the data is the second.

When I work with clients, sometimes they ask to go paperless and store everything on their computer.  I ask about their back-up plan.  Nine times out of 10 they have none or they can’t remember the last time they backed up, if ever.  When I ask why not, they either don’t know how or it’s too difficult or too hard to remember.  There are many options for traditional back-up.  Many folks purchase an external hard drive.  I have one.  While they are a great option, there are some downfalls.

External hard drive 1.    Your computer must be connected to the external hard drive for your back-up to be completed.
2.    You must create a schedule to back-up.
3.    They can get lost or stop working making it difficult or impossible to retrieve the data. (this happened to me, the drive stopped working and I did not know until I went to look for something on the back-up drive).

I still use an external hard drive to back up but I also use one of the the web-based options as well.  The two big ones are Carbonite and Mozy.  Both offer a free month.  Following you free month, their fees vary based on the size of the files being backed-up.  An additional option is Dropbox.  Dropbox is an online back-up and collaboration tool.  DropboxI prefer Dropbox over Carbonite or Mozy.  I like that you can access it from any online device (mobile phone, pda, iPad, iTouch, notebook or desktop computer).  There is an app for the iPhone/iPad/iTouch and Android phones.  From any of the devices you can access anything in your Dropbox as long as you have internet access.  The Dropbox folder does reside on your computer.  As you create or edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations, audio, video or pictures Dropbox saves a copy on to your computer and updates your Dropbox account.  It also allows you to share files and collaborate with other users.  You can configure your computer to save all files to your Dropbox folder.  The free account includes up to 2GB file storage.  You can grow your storage for free by referring friends, family and colleagues to Dropbox.  They reward both the referrer and referee with an additional 250MB of storage.  You can continue to refer until you reach 32 accepted referrals or 8GB of addtional storage space.   You may not think that is very much space but you’d be surprised.  Take a look at the drive where you store your documents.  I am a heavy user.  My Documents folder currently uses 4.38GB of space.  It includes documents, spreadsheets, presentations and pictures.

Why do I love Dropbox?  Because it is mindless.  I don’t have to do anything.  I work on a document or download pics from my camera as long as I am connected to the web … voila after a few seconds, it is saved on my notebook and it is updated on Dropbox.  I don’t have to schedule anything.  If thinks for me.  I love that it is intuitive and costs me nothing (at this time).  If my storage needs grow faster than my free Dropbox grows, the cost of purchasing Dropbox storage space is very reasonable (All three online back-up systems mentioned do offer a discount if you pre-pay for a year vs. month to month fees).  I love that my documents folder looks identical regardless if I am looking at it on my computer, notebook, smart phone or a computer of a friend or at a hotel when I am traveling.  I don’t know how it could get any easier.  I only recommend it because I use it and find it is the best product available that meets my needs.  Feel free to check out Dropbox and get a free 250 KB of storage space.  I’d love to hear your feedback.  How do you protect and back-up your information?

Are you reliant on technology?  Share with us how technology shapes your life and has changed the way you operate on a day to day basis.

Stay tuned for #2 and #3!

Kim Oser

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Get Prepared for the 2009 Holiday Season – Tip 3

December 6th, 2009

On December 8, 2005 I was fortunate enough to be featured in the Home Section of The Washington Post. The article highlighted my tips for an organized celebration. Four years later as I re-read my tips, I am happy to say that my tips are still relevant. So here are my tips on being prepared for the holidays.

Stock up on the basics the sooner the better, before lines get longer and parking lots fill up.

  • Batteries – Consider what batteries are necessary all of your needs.  Think of which size is needed for everything from the games the children are receiving and the digital camera to the flashlights, mp3 player, remote controls and hearing aids.  Consider using rechargeable batteries whenever possible.  Reminder to charge them before the holidays.  (BTW-  do not store batteries in the fridge.  According to Energizer, To maximize performance and shelf life, store batteries at normal room temperatures with moderate humidity levels.)
  • Food storage – Pick up inexpensive food storage containers (like Rubbermaid TakeAlongs, Ziploc or Gladware) for freezing and sharing leftovers.  By having inexpensive containers on hand you won’t have to worry about someone taking home your good Rubbermaid or Tupperware.  Also – grab zip top bags in multiple sizes while at the store.  They come in very handy when sending home leftovers and take up little space.
    • Decor storage– Get wreath, ornament and artificial tree storage now!  They tend to sell out quickly.  This year especially, stores can’t afford to get stuck with seasonal items so they are keeping a lower than normal inventory.  (Don’t want to spend money on these uni-taskers or trying to preserve the environment?  Stop by the local liquor store and pick-up liquor or wine bottle boxes.  The dividers help protect your ornaments and the stores are happy to share the boxes.  Another option – Did you receive a gift of fruit?  Hang on to the shipping box, they usually come with padding which helps protect your decor.)

    • Last Minute Gifts– Have you ever been in a situation when some unexpected fives you a present?  Be ready to reciprocate with a unisex and consumable gift.  Think scented candles, a bottle of wine, fancy maple syrup, gourmet olive oil or vinegar, or a gift card to Starbucks.  I buy generic wrap in one solid color (white or silver) and have ribbons in many colors.   I customize the gift wrap for specific holidays, gender or individual by using a different color ribbons.  I buy clear cellophane wrap for odd shaped gifts.  Attach a blank tag and keep a pen nearby for quick inscribing.

    I hope this preparation helps you have a more enjoyable holiday season!

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