How can a mirror, a picture frame and a game board help you organize your work area this summer? (Organizing tips for business professionals and entrepreneurs)

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In the 80s, I use to like a show on the CBS network called, MacGyver (… for those of us who remember it).  Although it was fictional, I enjoyed how the main character, Angus MacGyver, would just get common objects around him and create something totally different but functional.  I was a kid but even I knew that it was a genius concept and super cool at that.  So how does the concept of a show from over twenty years ago relate to getting organized?  Well, I’m going to share a few quick tips on how you can “MacGyver” or repurpose a mirror, a picture frame and a game board to help you organize your work area, whether it’s your office at work or at home.

Need something to post friendly reminders to yourself and prevent your desk from becoming a cluttered eye-sore?  How about creating a memo board… out of a mirror.  Why not take it a step further… a magnetic memo board!  Just grab a framed mirror that you really like (or take a short trip to your local thrift store), give it a little TLC by may be adding a coat of paint, swap out the glass with a metal sheet from your local home improvement store, cover it with some fabric, add a few magnets, and there you have it!.. you’ve got yourself a handy (and fancy, I might add) way to temporarily store those reminder notes, networking cards, or shopping lists.  It helps you to keep your desk cleared of the thousands of tiny paper-items we consume on a regular basis and, if you’re like myself, your memo board can be customized to fit the décor in your work area.  Check out a previous post I did on how I used this same concept to create a vision board.

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Need a place to discreetly store away and maintain your mobile devices?  What if I told you all it takes is a dual, 8×10 picture frame and a drill? Now, you have a convenient and clever charging station.  Just remove a couple of the templates and the glass from the inside of the frame, carefully drill a hole in the side of the frame where you want to thread your device cords through, and WHAA LAA!  Wanna personalize it even more?  Take one of the templates and glass that was removed from the frame and place it on the top so that you can add your favorite photo.  Be sure to seal the glass down and the edges where the frame slides out in order to secure anything from falling out.

TheElephantInMyRoom.net   TheElephantInMyRoom.net   TheElephantInMyRoom.net

An organized desk usually consists of an area to neatly store your commonly used office supplies, some good lighting, a sorting tray for temporarily storing documents, and an area for your electronic devices or writing.  So keep this space light.  Most of that work surface on your desk is for writing or using your electronics.  How about using a marble game board and repurposing it into a tablet, keyboard, or book prop for your desk?  This is a great option if you don’t have a tablet cover that enables you to angle your device to reduce screen glare, or if you have a desktop keyboard that has a broken prop-up leg, or if you’re reading and would like to prop your book up slightly from the flat position on your desk.  Just open the marble board, placing the actual playing side face-down on the table or surface.  Using batting and fabric material, wrap it around the board and secure it with a hot glue gun.  Allow it to dry and in that little time you have a new prop board for your desk.  When you’re done with it, you can close the board and store it away, increasing your work surface.

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BAAAMM!.. you’ve been MACGYVER’ED!!!  Enjoy these quick repurposing tricks to help you get your workstation organized this summer.  Remember to subscribe to this blog for many more tips on how you can evict the elephant in your room.  C’mon back!  We’d love to hear from you.

Until the next post…

– Sy

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Home-based Moving/Relocation series (Pt.5): To Shred or not to Shred…THAT is the question! (Paper Clutter)

To finally cap off this series of tips on moving/relocation, I’ve decided to touch on a common problem we all have… paper clutter.  I know what you’re saying… “Yeah, I know I need to do something about all of this paper but how do I know if I get rid of it that one day I may need it for something… how do I know what I’m supposed to get rid of?”  Well let’s put an end to that right nowSmile.  Here’s a list of the most common things that not only you should part from (worry-free) but they should be shredded in order to prevent clutter and incidences of identity theft – a major issue that we face today when it comes to our private information.

Papers to Shred

  • Any documents containing you, your family, or business information such as social security numbers, names, birth dates, etc.
  • Pins/password information
  • Purchase receipts/invoices, especially those with credit/banking information on them (unless required for tax purposes then consult your accountant/attorney first)
  • Credit cards or bank cards that are expired or no longer in use (yes, even if the account is closed, shred it!)
  • Credit/bank account statements or any financial records no longer needed (such as loan/credit applications)
  • Tax documents that are seven years or older (consult your accountant/attorney… you may be able to dispose of them a little sooner.)
  • Old business documents no longer needed
  • Old customer/client forms that are no longer needed (you want to go the extra mile to protect them as well)
  • ATM receipts no longer needed (unless required for tax purposes then consult your accountant/attorney first)
  • Checks that are voided or no longer in use (again, even if the account is closed, shred it!)
  • Personal/business bills that are already paid or no longer needed (including medical bills)
  • Insurance documents no longer needed
  • Personal/business legal documentation no longer needed
  • Expired identification (such as an old state i.d., driver’s license, employee i.d., passport, etc.)

Once you’ve freed yourself of these things then you’ll find that there’s a lot less to fuss over on a daily basis.  Then take a little time out of your schedule to swap out any new documents like bills or business-related forms that come in so that you don’t have to be overwhelmed with a pile or more all over again.  Keep those desk trays as light as possible.  Once you see a pile begin to form, that is your cue to jump in and determine if you need to keep those papers and if you do put them where they belong.  Those trays are TEMPORARY storage, guys.

Well I hope this series was helpful to you all.  Remember, feel free to comment below and share these tips so that we can empower other entrepreneurs to get organized and stay organized.

– Sy

Friday’s Inspired Space (Home-based Business Organizing)

TheIdeaRoom.netTheIdeaRoom.netTheIdeaRoom.net

Guys, today I am highlighting a space that inspired me this week from a fellow blogger over at TheIdeaRoom.net.  Amy Huntley, the owner and super-mom of five, unveiled her newly organized and decorated home office/craft space and I must say the pics that I’m sharing does it no justice.  When you have a moment definitely head on over to her blog and check out the rest of her gorgeous pics and also enjoy her many other creative projects.  She converted a room that was originally in need of some serious TLC into an amazing workspace for herself.  It took her some time but she is completely happy with how it all turned out (as she should have).

Organizing your home-based business space does not have to be an overnight success, just like your business may not be.  It’s about taking the time to sit down, evaluate what your needs are, and actually execute everything that needs to be done.  Tackle one area at a time and then when it’s all done, let it be motivation to not be put back into the same overwhelming situation again.  Realize that no one is perfect and that you may have tiny encounters with stacks of paper, inventory products, or the occasional stuffed animal that your two-year-old insists on leaving on the floor… but as long as you take a little time every day or at least a few times a week to put everything where it needs to be then you’re goldenSmile

Getting your home business space organized and keeping it that way can take your business a loooong way.  It never hurt anyone.

Enjoy the weekend, guys!  Really enjoy it… Lord willing, the business can stand to do without you until Monday.  Weekends are made for rest.

– Sy

Home-based Business Moving/Relocation series (Pt.4): Cord Organization…don’t get it twisted. They can be a pain.

How many times have we run across the ever-so frustrating act of trying to pack for a move, or just to travel, and encounter the daunting task of unplugging, detangling, and wrapping cords from a dozen different devices/machines?  Oh, no… that’s just the beginning!  Then when it’s time to unpack them we have to remember what they belonged to?.. Is the location of the cord (once it’s hooked up) within reach of an outlet?.. Are there too many cords over here?… Where’s that cord?!  Uuuuggghhh!

Yeees!  We know it all too well.  It’s enough to drive you crazy!  This is how chaotic and crafty that elephant can be when you let it take control.  But there is good news… there are ways of eliminating, even avoiding, that intertwining mess no matter what your particular situation.

May be it’s not an issue of the number of cords but organizing or storing them in a way that they don’t become a major eye-sore.  Although I just moved, I’ve found that I have to get a little creative with the cords around my work area.

I finally got the room organized the way I wanted, everything in its perfect place but now I have this unsightly view near my desk and it’s driving me CRAZY!  So instead of just hiding it behind my shredder (because even though it’s all somewhat hidden, it still bothers me with a passion), I’ve decided to embrace the challenge of finding the perfect solution to clear it up.

“SO… I’LL SEE YOUR CORD CLUTTER, “ELEPHANT”, AND RAISE YOU A COUPLE MORE CORDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MY DESK!.. On to one of my favorite things… shopping!

More on what I’ve done to my cord clutter on another post… in the meantime, here’s some tips on how you can escape the web of cords in your home workspace during a move:

  • First thing’s first, when removing your cords from your devices/machines, be sure to label each one according to what they belong to.  You can use a label maker or special tag to do this.  There are a number of different products out there that you can use to label cords.  Find the one that works best for you.
  • If you have a drawer full of extra cords, wrap them individually with something such as a rubber band and label them as well.  So the next time you need a spare cord, you’ll know what they belong to without having to shuffle through a bunch of cords to find what you need.  TAKE IT UP A NOTCH: if you have a number of cords that need to be stored away, create an organized drawer system specifically for them where you can label the front of the drawers according to the type of devices/machines.  You’d still be labeling the cords as well but by labeling the drawers, in addition, you can get to what you specifically need even quicker.  This is also a big help to business owners who have a shared space with a business partner or team members/employees.  You have to think of everyone who works in that same space.
  • When packing your cords, try to store your cords in the same box/bin as their devices/machines.  If you have a number of extra cords, pack all like cords together.  So if you have more than a couple of the same type of laptop cords, label them and put them all in the same box/bin.  By taking this approach, when you unpack, it will just be a matter of storing them away.
  • Once you’ve moved into or arrived at your final destination, store your cords in the room where they will be used.  Trust me, it’s no fun trying to remember where you put a cord when you’re short on time or battery power.
  • Inspect all your cords to be sure that they are in good condition.  If you notice signs of wear-and-tear, such as exposed wires, consider the cord dangerous then discard and replace it.  SIDE NOTE: Cords such as USB cables can be a headache after a while of continued use.  If you’ve noticed that your devices are not charging as they should from the connection of your laptop or computer, check the drive that your USB cable is connected to.  The cable could in fact be the problem.  You can either try another drive on your laptop or computer or you may have to just replace the USB cable.
  • Once you get situated, Invest into some handy cord organizers to help you keep those cords easily accessible and neat behind or beside your work area.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you.  Feel free to share any ideas you’d like to add below in the comments and, hey, help some other home-based business owners, too, by sharing these posts with them also.

– Sy

Friday’s Inspired Space (Home-based Business Organizing)

HouseofDots.com

While we are on the topic of moving, let’s take today’s inspired space to the Netherlands.  Marielle, co-owner of HouseofDots.com, is a stay/work-from-home mom.  Her retail business specializes in women’s apparel so you can imagine the inventory and supplies she needs in order to carry out her day-to-day responsibilities.  Check out her amazingly organized space.  She has created a simple system of organization for all of her items in one zone while taking full advantage of her vertical space (floor-to-ceiling) for storage.  She has a separate work area as well as a sewing station that she managed to locate next to her shelving.  By putting her sewing station near the shelving, it definitely makes it easier to grab what she needs and place it back.  She utilized a wall in a neutral area to be able to see what she needs to display from every area she is working in.  If that wasn’t enough, she cleverly leveraged her storage boxes to display one of her design pieces… um, yeeess!

So for you retail entrepreneurs out there, take notes from Marielle’s space.  She’s proven that you can make the best out of any size space for your home business.

Enjoy the weekend, guys!  More tips on the way…

Sy

Home-based Business Moving/Relocation series (Pt.3): Are cardboard boxes really as good for moving and storage as we’ve made them to be?

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We recently had another round of rain and ice in the area but not as bad as the weather from the previous weeks.  Interesting enough the schools we’re eventually closed for the day; in all fairness, the bridges and bypasses were covered in ice and causing major problems for drivers on the road.  Let’s just say even salt trucks ended up on their sides… yeah.

On a positive note, the scenery has been looking pretty nice as a result…

TheElephantInMyRoom.net  TheElephantInMyRoom.net  TheElephantInMyRoom.net

As much as I love winter, I am kind of glad to see it go for one reason – ice.  How can something we so commonly see and use regularly (… not to mention, beautiful) be associated with damage?  But that’s just the reality of it.

So what does this have to do with cardboard boxes?  Well, I had this same question regarding boxes as I was organizing my storage unit a couple of years ago.  How is it that something we commonly use be associated with damage?  However, we continue to use them in spite of that fact.  Think about it… we assemble the boxes, line them with tape, and then pack and cram them with a bunch of stuff, some items of which carry a good deal of weight so that we end up dropping or spilling all of the contents inside them.  Then, we lift those same boxes, taking a risk of either pulling or causing serious injury to ourselves.  If we’re storing things in the boxes in places like the basement, attic, or a self-storage unit, we throw those same packed boxes on top of each other, causing them to become damaged or overused, and they’re never replaced in order to protect your precious valuables.  Not to mention the little critters that like to feast or hide in the boxes, especially in non-climate-controlled environments.  DAMAGE!

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Now with all that said, my suggestion is one of two things… when moving or even just storing your items, consider more sturdy, reliable forms of containment such as plastic bins with lids.  Plastic bins are a great solution because they are durable and they protect your items from water damage and bugs/rodents.  However, if you must use the cardboard boxes, keep these handy tips in mind in order to get the most use out of them and to preserve the items in them:

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  • Be sure to use boxes that are in the best condition possible.  You can usually call your local grocer or department store to request some of their used boxes in order to save you a few dollars, in comparison to purchasing them.
  • Replace boxes you may have that are showing clear signs of damage, like holes, tearing, or crushing.
  • Do not over-pack the boxes.  Leave plenty of room to close the boxes completely and comfortably packed enough to lift without risking damage to yourself (be sure to lift with your knees…ALWAYS!).
  • Be mindful of items that require proper temperature-control and store them accordingly, especially your PRODUCT INVENTORY.
  • When sealing your boxes, use at least three layers of tape to secure the bottom of the box in order to prevent items from falling out.
  • When stacking, store heavier boxes on the bottom and lighter boxes on the top.
  • Use the handy label tape that identifies what boxes go in what room or write directly onto the boxes with a bold magic marker.  Be sure to write the room name on the top and side of the box so that you can identify the boxes at two different angles.
  • Package like items together or items that you typically use together in the same box.
  • Boxes with handles are very convenient for moving. (Just so you know…)
  • In the process of preparing to move, store all boxes that need to be loaded onto the moving truck close to the door for easier access.
  • For those who plan to keep their current property or frequently visit, despite their relocation, separate boxes that will be loaded on the truck for moving to your new home from boxes that will remain for storage in your current home. This will prevent confusion and mingling of the boxes when the movers arrive.

So there you have it.  Just some of the great tips to consider when utilizing boxes for your move or storage.  To continue this series on moving/relocation tips, we’ll touch on cord organization and storage.  How often do we become frustrated by the constant tangling of cords under, behind, or on the desk?  Or how can we conveniently package, store, and recover our cords in the process of a move?

Oh trust me… I gotcha’…

– Sy

Home-based Business Moving/Relocation series (Pt.2): Declutter while you move… how?

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In the previous post I shared how important it is to consider the size of your new space in order to determine if it will fit your specific storage needs.  When I was searching for my new home, I knew that we needed to consider not only the items that were in my apartment but also the items that were in my storage unit.  And coming from an apartment, if I was going to pay for more room, I at least wanted to get something that was going to accommodate everything I had without the added expense of off-site storage.  I posted a pic of what my storage unit looked like prior to me decluttering it about two years ago.

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We had a 5×5-inch unit that housed a combination of seasonal items, personal items, business supplies, and memorabilia.  Yeah… a lot for such a small space.  But by cutting some time out of my schedule on an early, Saturday morning, I was able to purge many of the items that I acquired over the years.  Now when I say “purge”, I mean I removed the items that I no longer needed or loved in different ways… not necessarily trashing things.  Some items I donated, sold, gave to friends, or recycled.  My new home came with an attached garage and now everything we needed to store in the house fit perfectly.

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Preeetty goodSmile.  The garage is a work in progress but it’s blessing my family right now… and our pockets.

All of this leads to my next moving tip… decluttering.  This is the perfect opportunity to declutter your home as well as your home-based business spaces.  Save yourself another headache of transitioning to a new place with a ton of items, much of which you probably forgot you had and don’t need.  Some of those things you may find useful in your new place because you may not have had a chance or the space to use them.  But be sure you actually need those particular items.  My philosophy is if you have to make it work in your space then you don’t need it.  You have to have a genuine need for them.  Apply this to your business items as well.  You have enough to deal with as far as household items, let alone your business items.

Check and recheck your business inventory.  Be mindful of expiration dates and low supply.  Discard damaged or unsellable items.  Wait to restock or reorder after you get settled in.  This will make your transition much easier – less to transport equals less stress.  As far as the inventory you currently have in your stock, pack and label the moving boxes according to how you typically store them so that it will be as simple as just taking them out of the box.  Pay special care to any temperature-sensitive items.  If you have to change the current system of organization that you have to accommodate your new space then refer back to the photos you took of the new space and create a plan.  (You can refer back to my post on creating a plan to get organized – – Smile.)

When it comes to your office supply, you can actually have too much.  For example, if your desk caddy is overloaded with pens, pencils, and paper clips then, yeah, it’s probably time to let a few go.

Create defined areas in your current space such as a “Keep” area, a “Donations” area, a “Trash” area, and a “Storage” area (for those who find that you may still need additional storage for things like business inventory or you are moving into a smaller space).  You can then label the boxes or items within the “Keep” area based on the specific places you want them to be in your new home.  For example, you may have toiletries and bath towels in the “Keep” area, so box and label them as Bathroom or Linen Closet.  Box and label like items together… in other words, pack your items according to where you actually store or use them.  Remember, you want to keep it as simple as taking them out of the box.

Well, since we’re talking a lot about boxes, I thought it would be a great opportunity to dig into some tips on those.

Are those cardboard boxes really as good for moving as we have made them to be?… Hmmmm.  More on that on the next post…

– Sy