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May 2010

May 26:

Use a notebook or binder to keep a record of everything in your garden.
• Paste your empty seed packets in it so you’ll always know what variety of tomato you're growing.
• Put pictures of your garden in the binder and track the changes from year to year.
• Use Photos to document your bulb beds, so you’ll know what's there when you’re ready to add more in the fall.
• Keep tip sheets from nurseries, extension services, or garden centers, so you can find them when you need them.



May 25:

"What will be said about you at your funeral? Better yet, what would you like to be said? Begin with the end in mind. Start today."—Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, page 96


by Kelly Pratt

When space is at a premium, organizing options can feel limited to non-existent. If your closets are tiny or already crammed full, or if the only storage you can find is at the top of your garage, it’s time to get creative with solutions that are ceiling- high and off-the-wall.

Ceiling Storage

If you’re looking for a great storage area and haven’t considered outfitting your garage with ceiling storage units, this may be one of your best options. Many garages have wasted space above the garage door opening as well as in the hard to reach areas near the roofline. If you’re interested in ceiling storage, here are some of your best options:

Stationary Units

Stationary units are affixed securely to a garage ceiling and create a suspended shelf for a variety of items. Many companies make this type of rack, and they are available at big box do-it-yourself centers as well as online. One of my favorites because of its mammoth weight capacity is the SafeRack storage system available through Up Above Storage. While most big box retailer ceiling units will hold 250–300 pounds per platform, the SafeRack system will hold 600! This is great new for you as a customer because you will be able to store more in less space and with fewer racks. http://www.upabovestoragesystems.com/

Pulley Systems

Pulley systems offer a degree of convenience that stationary units do not. If you don’t relish the thought of scaling a ladder to access storage items, you can simply wind a lever and bring the storage platform to you. Because of the pulley action, some systems will hold less per platform, although some are comparable to lighter duty stationary units. The Racor Pro Heavy Lift System is one of the most widely available pulley systems and has a weight capacity of 250 pounds per platform. http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00959537000P?vName=Tools&sName=Ceiling+Storage&cName=Garage+Organization+%26+Shelving

In addition to pulley platforms, companies like Thule manufacture storage lifts on pulley systems for large items like car top carriers, canoes, kayaks, bikes, etc., so you can crank a lever and get them out of the way.  Check out these samples:

 Thule large equipment lift: http://www.dogfunk.com/snowboard/Thule-Box-Storage-Lift/THU0031M.html?CMP_ID=SH_FRO003&CMP_SKU=THU0031&mv_pc=r126

 Racor ceiling-mounted bike lift: http://www.amazon.com/Racor-PBH-1R-Ceiling-Mounted-Bike-Lift/dp/B00006JBL3

Containing Tips for Ceiling Storage

As in any garage storage situation, there are some special containing guidelines to consider that don’t apply in other areas of the home. When containing in a garage, remember to—

 Use sturdy containers that will protect items from pests, moisture and temperature extremes.
 Use the smallest possible container, particularly for heavy items.
 Store the heaviest items directly on the storage platform.
 Make sure you have a sturdy means to retrieve your storage items.

Off-the-Wall Storage

Inside your home, where can you find great storage areas when you are certain that you’ve explored every option, rearranged every closet (twice), and can’t find one more square inch of storage space? It’s time to think off the wall and on the door. While the list of over-the-door storage gadgets is extensive, there are three that are stand-outs, not only because of functionality but also because of accessibility and affordability.

Back of Door Shoe Pockets

If your closets and drawers are full and you can’t stand to use one more bank of plastic storage drawers, these versatile pockets can save the day. Shoe pockets range in material from canvas to nylon to clear plastic and generally come with around 24 pockets per panel. They are available at all big box retailers, IKEA and online specialty stores. There’s no installation, and you can use them for MUCH more than shoe storage. Here are a few ways to repurpose a shoe organizer to boost your storage:

 Fabric scraps and sewing supplies
 Craft supplies
 Kids’ toys
 Hair accessories
 Bathroom hygiene items

Back of the Door Purse Holders

These bag holders with adjustable hooks come two per package and simply loop over the top and bottom of the door. They hold up to 16 purses as well as—

 Baseball caps.
 Various accessories, such as belts and scarves.
 Kids’ hair accessories (headbands, clips, etc.).
 Large or long necklaces.

Hanging Sweater Shelves

Hanging sweater shelves are another untapped storage resource that can convert blank closet space to shelving in a snap. They, like shoe pockets, are available at virtually every big box retailer. With these hanging units, you can also create additional storage on the floor below the hanging shelves. One caveat to hanging shelves: they cannot hold heavier items. Things you might consider putting in a hanging shelf unit are—

 Light weight cleaning items (dusters, rags, vacuum bags, light bulbs).
 Hats, gloves and scarves.
 Extra linens (towels, tablecloths, sheets).
 Baby clothing items and diapers.
 Stuffed animals and small toys.

With some creativity and a little help from some common products, you can utilize storage space you didn’t know you had! Have fun sprucing up for spring!

Thanks Kelly!

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May 25:

No matter where you go on vacation, whether it’s a big city or a small lake in the mountains, you’re most likely going to find more things to do than you have time for. You’ll be better off if you prioritize. Decide which few activities or sights are the most important things for you to do or see each day, and give yourself plenty of time between activities to rest and soak in your surroundings. Remember to plan for down time. After all, isn’t that what your vacation is all about?


May 24:

"Every act alters the soul of the doer."-Oswald Spengler


by Joshua Zerkel

Simplify your life while being environmentally responsible!

Getting organized can be a fantastic way to simplify and streamline your busy life. The process of getting organized can involve weeding through (and discarding) some of the belongings that have been keeping you from living how you want to live, and finding other products that can help you live in more comfortable, effective way. Tossing some things out while also potentially getting new things may seem to be at odds with eco-friendly living, but there ARE ways to be eco-friendly while getting organized. Here are four things to keep in mind:

1. Repurpose what you have. Before getting rid of your stuff, see if you can use what you have in new and different ways. Turn things on their sides, take them to different rooms, and match things up in unusual ways. For instance, an extra bowl from the kitchen can make a great “key-catcher” by the front door. Checkbook boxes transform into drawer dividers, and plastic trays that fancy chocolate comes in are great for organizing earrings. Another example: I have a client who is a scrapbook artist. We used transparent plastic bins to store her supplies, which were functional but not very attractive. Instead of buying new bins, we used some of her extra decorative paper to line the bins and hide the contents. Look around your space – what can you use differently?

2. Buy eco-friendly products. You may need to buy specialized organizing products, such as desk accessories, drawer dividers, and other things that will help you get and stay organized. Stores such as Good Girl Goods (goodgirlgoods.com), the Container Store (containerstore.com), and FranklinCovey Products (franklinplanner.com)  carry many products that are made from recycled or natural materials. Consider products that will make it easier for you to recycle, such as sorters that can help you separate glass, paper, compost, etc.

3. Store the right way. Store your items in a way that will best preserve them. First, make sure you have the right containers. If you’re storing photos or documents, choose acid-free boxes, not plastic bins. Keep clothes in a sealed container, not in a suitcase. Second, be conscious of the location where things are stored. Keep issues such as moisture, light, and temperature fluctuations in mind. A damp garage isn’t the right spot for paper, and a bookshelf in direct sunlight will quickly fade your precious photos.

4. Discard responsibly. After weeding through your stuff, you’ll probably be left with lots of things that need to find new homes and some that can be recycled. When working with clients, I usually recommend that they get rid of things in this order: sell, donate, and recycle. Items of value can be sold on eBay (ebay.com), Craigslist (craigslist.org), at a garage sale, or in your local paper. Call your favorite charities and see what items they are accepting – frequently charities will come and pick up your donations for you, saving you time. Items that are left over after selling or donating can often be given away via Freecycle (freecycle.org). Finally, the items that have no value to you or others can be responsibly recycled.

Simplifying and organizing your life while being environmentally responsible is possible! When embarking on your next organizing project, keep these four tips in mind. You’ll be able to feel good about taking steps toward living the life you want in an eco-friendly way.

Thanks Joshua!

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May 24:

Be your own manager. You don’t have to wait for your manager to give you feedback. Evaluate your tasks yourself. Consider how you fulfilled it, how efficiently you used your time, if the result was a success. Most of all, ask if it was your best work and your best effort. If not, learn from your mistakes and try again. Being efficient and disciplined takes work, but it can be done—and it’s so worth it.


May 21:

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."-Albert Pine


Here's what was featured on GO this week:

+ Learn how to meet life's changes head-on. GO contributor, Joshua Zerkel, provides some great insight and helpful tips on how to face new changes in our lives. Read his article here.

+ Enter our latest GO Giveaway! This week we feature the new line of FranklinCovey writing instruments. See the products and enter the giveaway here.

+ Another member of the family gets organized.  Read here about getting your pet buttoned up.

+ How organized is your garden? Get new pointers and ideas for garden organization here.

+ For instanst inspiration, read our GO Quotes here.

Thanks for stopping by GO this week!


May 21:

Prepare for hectic travel moments.Remember, all of the running around you do on your trip is going to shift your focus. Some of the things you do naturally like preparing meals, changing diapers, and drinking enough water may fall by the wayside. Keeping the little things in mind will help maintain some sense of order. However, recognizing that things aren’t always going to be perfect will help you stay calm.