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Organizing Checklists And Tip Sheets

When you’re in organizing mode, nothing helps more than do-it-yourself instructions. I’ve put together a number of checklists, tip sheets, and other how-tos for organizing every area of your life — home, office, finances, kids, paper management, holidays, traveling, you name it…

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Copyright 2012

  • Online Auction Checklist

    Every so often while cleaning out, you’re bound to come across an item that’s just too good to toss in the “donate” box or chuck onto your lawn at the next yard sale — a rare book you have no interest in reading again, an expensive item of never-worn clothing lurking in the back of... Read More

  • Clearing The Clutter

  • Clutter Control Checklist

    Some folks treat decluttering like the organizational equivalent of having a root canal, behaving as if the sheer act of making decisions about their stuff is causing them physical pain — but clearing the decks doesn’t have to be that damn hard! Anyone can do it — with a little patience, a little stamina, a... Read More

  • Consignment Checklist

    It’s generally easier to let go of spendy items that serve no purpose in your life if you can recoup at least a little bit of your investment by selling them — feels less like wasted money than simply giving them away. So what do you do with something that’s too good for the “donate”... Read More

  • Garage Sale Checklist

    When you have a lot of items to sell — household goods, clothes, toys, tools, things that everyone can use — a garage sale is an affordable and effective way to make a little cash as you clean out. But a successful yard sale involves more than putting out a few tables and some signs…... Read More

  • Selling Your Discards Online

    As you clean out, you may discover a few items that are actually worth something (it’s not all junk!) If you’re too impatient for consignment and don’t have the energy for a yard sale, try selling your stuff online — either through a free listing like Craigslist or an auction like Ebay. Describing Your Product... Read More

  • Tax Deductions For Charitable Donations

    Donating unwanted items is a win-win-win situation — the charity benefits from your generosity, someone else will find a use for your things, and you can get a nice deduction on your tax return. Just make sure you follow the rules or that deduction could raise a red flag with the IRS. Avoiding Tax Traps... Read More

  • You Can Recycle More Than You Think

    Cleaning out doesn’t have to mean creating a mountain of trash. “Green” organizing involves making sure that as few items as possible end up in a landfill. So much of what we toss out is actually recyclable — you just have to know what materials can be accepted and where to take your discards. Commonly... Read More

  • Financial Organizing

  • Bill-Paying Checklist

    Making sure your bills get paid on time requires a reliable system — not only for organizing your schedule and paperwork, but making sure you are focusing on your highest financial priorities first (especially when money is tight.) Here’s a plan that will help anyone regain control over their money. Begin At The Beginning block... Read More

  • Budgeting Made Easy

    Being organized means being proactive — in every area of your life. This includes your finances. If you’re just drifting along with no real idea of where your money goes, you’re not organized. This easy step-by-step budgeting system will give you peace of mind and more cash in your wallet. Step 1 — Know What... Read More

  • Checklist For Financial Freedom

    A truly simple life is a debt-free life — one in which you don’t have to work to pay the bills. This may sound unrealistic in the current economy — but financial freedom is achievable on any income, as long as you understand your true priorities and eliminate money clutter from your life. Be Clear... Read More

  • Choosing A Financial Institution

    With financial institutions behaving so irresponsibly these days, it’s tempting to just keep your cash in a sock under the mattress. But with a little research, you can find a reliable and affordable bank that provides the services you need to manage your money and organize your finances. Automated Tellers how many automated teller machines... Read More

  • Tax-Time Checklist

    Most people fear tax time because they dread having to gather up all that paperwork and documentation — they are certain that they will overlook something vital and mess up their bottom line. No worries this year — just follow this step-by-step checklist and you should have everything covered. Begin With General Information number of... Read More

  • Health And Wellness

  • Ask-The-Doctor Checklist

    With the current state of medical care, doctor visits can be frustrating — you’re lucky if you get 5 minutes of one-on-one time with your physician. This checklist will help you keep track of your medical questions and the doctor’s answers — as well as any treatments, test results, or prescriptions. Before Your Visit make... Read More

  • Check-Up And Vaccination Timetable

    Being organized means taking responsibility for your own health care — knowing what tests and shots you should have at what age, when you should start paying attention to your cholesterol level or bone density or prostate. This checklist makes it easy to be proactive about your family’s well-being. For Everyone cholesterol blood test —... Read More

  • Choosing The Right Doctor

    You doctor should be someone you trust completely — after all, you’re putting your life in his or her hands! You want a doctor who respects your time, is always looking out for your welfare, and really listens to your concerns. Here are a few tips for evaluating your doctor and his or her staff.... Read More

  • First Aid Kit Checklist

    A well-stocked first aid kit is a good thing to have around — you never know when an accident will occur at work, at home, or even in the car. Follow this checklist and you should have everything you need for any minor emergency. Basic Supplies scissors and tweezers adhesive tape — to hold gauze... Read More

  • Holiday And Special Occasion

  • Christmas Timetable

    When you wait until the last minute to shop for gifts, decorate the house, bake cookies, and send greeting cards — you are guaranteed to have a stressful holiday. But with a little planning and an early start, you can get it all done with plenty of time and energy to spare. 1 Year To... Read More

  • Make The Holidays Easier Next Year

    If your holidays didn’t turn out exactly as you had planned this year, you have another chance do it a little better the next time around. Here are some tips for organizing your holiday to-dos, re-evaluating your priorities, and creating systems to make the season easier and more enjoyable. Create A Gift Wrap Station keep... Read More

  • Party Planning Checklist

    Whether you’re throwing a small casual get-together or a huge formal event, a birthday bash or the company holiday party, this checklist will help you with every aspect of your planning — deciding on a theme, choosing the food, theme, sending invitations, decorations, you name it! A Few First Steps determine the type of party... Read More

  • Preparing For Visiting Houseguests

    Welcoming visitors into your home should be a joyous occasion — not a burden or a stress. Preparing before their arrival is the key to an enjoyable visit — creating a comfortable environment, making sure you have extra supplies on hand, and helping your guests understand the rules of the house. Before They Arrive ask... Read More

  • Stress-Free Gift Giving Tips

    Gift-giving doesn’t have to be as emotionally taxing or financially draining as we make it out to be. It’s an easy recipe — just combine a good system for tracking gift ideas, an organized place to store gift wrap and supplies, and some tricks for saving money while finding the perfect present. Voila! Avoid The... Read More

  • Household Organizing

  • Housecleaning Checklist

    How much do you hate housecleaning? To be fair, it’s no sane person’s idea of a fun time. (Frankly, very little about home maintenance seems fun to me — especially gardening. I do not understand gardening. Sitting in the hot sun, digging holes, pulling weeds, sweaty, dirty, killing your back and knees — where’s the... Read More

  • Home Maintenance Timetable

    Do you know when to change your furnace filter? How often you should have your plumbing inspected for leaks? What’s the best time of year to clean your gutters and downspouts? Even if you don’t, that’s okay. Use this checklist to keep your home in good shape all through the year. During The Fall remove... Read More

  • Home Safety Checklist

    Keeping your family safe doesn’t mean getting all crazy-paranoid — hiring armed bodyguards or keeping rabid pit-bulls as pets. Just be smart, use some common sense, and follow this step-by-step checklist — your family will be well protected against injury, burglary, or attack. Avoiding Household Accidents fasten carpet edges and tuck cords away to avoid... Read More

  • Household Inventory Checklist

    If any of your belongings are ever stolen, damaged by acts of god, or destroyed by a natural disaster — well, good luck collecting your claim! (Just kidding — not all insurance policies are written in blood, and not all agents have a core made of pure evil.) But it can still be a challenge... Read More

  • Tips For Organizing Your Closet

    Can you easily find just the outfit you want in the morning — or do you struggle through piles of clothes that don’t fit and are out of style? Are your shoes, hats, bags, and other accessories stored in an organized fashion? If not, here are some proven techniques for creating a closet you’ll love.... Read More

  • Tips For Organizing Your Kitchen

    The kitchen is the heart of any home — but does your home have heart disease? Are cooking and cleaning more of a chore than they need to be — because your cabinets and pantry are jumbled and disorganized? Try these tips for clearing the clutter and setting up an efficient and functional kitchen. Creating... Read More

  • In Case Of Emergency

  • Disaster Planning Tips

    No one wants to spend their life worrying about all the bad things that can happen — fire, flood, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc. But burying your head in the sand doesn’t work either. Fortunately, having a plan and being prepared allows you to stop worrying and enjoy each day as it comes. Before An... Read More

  • Protecting Your Legal Rights

    When you need to an attorney, how do you know which will best serve your interests — at a price you can afford? (And it’s not necessarily the guy with the ambulance-chaser commercials or the huge ad on the back of the phone book). Here are a few tips for choosing the right legal representation.... Read More

  • Steps To Take In A Car Accident

    Crash! Dammit! Getting into an accident is no fun, but you can make the clean-up process go more quickly and smoothly if you have a plan. Just print out this checklist and put it in your glove compartment — you’ll know the right steps to take to protect yourself and and your rights. A Few... Read More

  • What To Do If Your Wallet Is Stolen

    Identity theft is a large pain in the neck — so the moment your wallet is stolen, you need to take swift action. The faster you respond, the less hassle you’ll have later on — you also reduce the chances that the thief will have time to do any real damage with your credit cards.... Read More

  • Meal Preparation

  • Grocery Shopping Checklist

    So you showed up at the grocery store with no idea what you meant to buy — or you arrived back home and realized that you forgot some vital ingredient. Print this list out, sort through the fridge and pantry, and circle the items you need to pick up on your next shopping trip. Bakery... Read More

  • Moving And Relocation

  • Change Of Address Checklist

    You might think that, when you move, all you need to do is change your address with the post office and utilities — but there are many more people who need to know that you’ve shifted locations. This checklist will make sure that everyone is updated and none of your mail gets lost in transit.... Read More

  • Moving With Pets

    While your new home may be great for pets, you have to take some precautions when you bring your hairy (or feathered or scaly) babies on the road with you. Here are a few tips to keep them safe and comfortable and as stress-free as possible as you go from one house to another. Ask... Read More

  • Packing Tips

    Packing to move is one of the hardest and most exhausting things you’ll ever do. There’s a lot of emotion tied up in your “stuff”, you’re trying to clean out as you pack, and you want to make sure everything arrives at its new home in good condition. Challenging, but not impossible! Begin With A... Read More

  • Taking Moving Expense Deductions

    If you are being relocated by your work or are moving for a new job, you may be able to count your moving expenses as a legitimate deduction on your tax return. These guidelines will let you know if you are eligible — as well as what you can (and can’t) deduct. Use IRS Tax... Read More

  • Office Organizing At Home Or Work

  • Computer Maintenance Checklist

    Are you taking proper care of your computer? Backing up your data? Protecting your system from viruses and worms? Cleaning out unused programs and outdated files? If not, follow this checklist to keep your most valuable technological tool organized and in good working order. Backing Up back up any documents you create on an external... Read More

  • Office Supply Shopping List

    You can’t complete your work efficiently if you don’t have the right tools on hand — but you may not realize that you are running low on an item until you are standing in an aisle at Office Depot wondering what the heck you needed to buy. This list will serve as a handy memory-jogger.... Read More

  • Setting Up An Ergonomically Correct Workstation

    A desk by any other name does not necessarily smell as sweet (although I’m not 100% sure what a desk is supposed to smell like!) There are certain workstation arrangements that encourage productivity and comfort — others that just leave you frustrated at the end of the day. How does yours measure up? Adjusting Your... Read More

  • Tips For Internet Safety And Security

    The internet is a wonderful tool, but it’s also filled with dangers — people who want to take advantage of your kids, steal your identity, or infect your computer with a virus. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid these pitfalls — to protect yourself, your family, and your equipment. Don’t Trust Everything You... Read More

  • Organizing Basics

  • 15-Minute Organizing Tips

    If you don’t think that you have time to get organized — think again! You don’t need to block off a full 8-hour day to clear out a little clutter in your life. Here are a few suggestions for quick organizing tasks you can tackle in 15 minutes or less. Lightening The Load check your... Read More

  • Organizing Your Kids

  • Age-Appropriate Chores And Responsibilities

    The trick to getting your kids to help out around the house is to give them jobs that they can easily accomplish at their age and ability level. But you also want to make sure they don’t get bored — keep challenging them more and more as they get older and older. Here’s some help.... Read More

  • Babysitter And Pet Sitter Tips

    When you give your most precious possessions to someone else for safe-keeping — be they your kids or your pets — you want to know that they are well cared-for. This checklist will make sure that your sitter has every bit of information he or she needs to keep your babies safe and happy. Ask... Read More

  • Childproofing Checklist

    Bringing a new baby home is a joyous but stressful event — you can’t help but worry about them, 24 hours a day. But with a good childproofing plan, at least you needn’t worry about them sticking a fork into the light socket or deciding to go swimming in the toilet bowl! A Few General... Read More

  • College Planning Checklist

    Applying to college is exciting, if a little nerve-wracking. You can help your prospective freshman organize the school search with this checklist — covering issues like the securing of recommendations, financial aid, campus visits, and what to do with all of the attendant paperwork and documentation. College Considerations location — near home, long-distance cost (both... Read More

  • Homework Tips

    As a parent, your job is to teach your kids the organizing skills that will allow them to succeed as adults. That includes study skills — setting up a conducive environment for learning, providing the proper supplies, and helping your kids learn how to focus fully on the task at hand. Being An Involved Parent... Read More

  • Sending Your College Student Off To School

    Your baby is leaving home! While no checklist will help you get through the emotional side of letting go, this one can assist your new freshman with setting up a dorm room, finding an apartment, managing daily life on their own, and organizing all the documents necessary to become a real adult. Before They Leave... Read More

  • Tips For A Smooth Back-To-School Transition

    Are you dreading back-to-school time? So much to do — supplies to buy, extracurricular activities to join, summer habits to shed, trying to get your kids back into a routine? Good luck! These tips might help a bit — some suggestions for making the back-to-school transition a little easier. Buying School Clothes And Supplies paper,... Read More

  • Paper Management

  • Creating A Filing System

    Your file cabinet is the core of your paper management system — it can make or break all your other good efforts to get organized. How do your files measure up? Can you find any document in seconds? If not, try this customizable and entirely scalable system for personal or business files. Begin With The... Read More

  • Document Locator Checklist

    If something were to happen to you — emergency, illness, disability, death — could you easily lay your hands on your most vital documents? If one of your family members needed to retrieve your birth certificate or insurance policies for you, could they? Be sure you can answer “yes” to this question. A Document Locator... Read More

  • Eliminating Junk Mail

    Junk mail is a modern-day plague — no vaccine will protect you from it. But there are steps you can take to cut down on the amount of unsolicited mail you receive — if not entirely eliminate it. It does take a bit of patience and perseverance — but it’s well worth the effort. A... Read More

  • Records Retention Guideline

    Do you know how long you legally have to keep all those papers in your filing system? Tax records? Credit card bills? Old insurance policies and appliance warranties? Some might be longer than you think — others could be tossed out right now. Read on to find out which is which! Business Records — Keep... Read More

  • Senior, Estate Organizing, And End-Of-Life Issues

  • Caring For Elderly Parents

    As the population ages, more and more of us assume responsibility for the care of our elderly parents. Whether you have your folks move in with you, help them find suitable assisted living, or just oversee their legal and financial situation — you need to be armed with the right questions to ask. Assessing Their... Read More

  • Downsizing Tips

    You may downsize to simplify, save money, or because you are moving to some form of senior or assisted living. But the issues are the same — how do you decide what to take with you, where you’ll put it all, and what do you do with the items you choose not to keep? Ask... Read More

  • Estate Organizing Checklist

    No one likes to think about dying — but planning ahead is a much better option than leaving your most important decisions to bereaved loved ones. Do your family a favor and give them a little peace of mind — by getting your affairs in order while you’re still able to make your own decisions.... Read More

  • When Someone Dies

    Death is never a pleasant experience — and when you are responsible for disposing of a loved one’s remains, the emotional burden makes it twice as hard. Don’t worry about what you need to do if a family member or friend dies — this checklist will make sure that nothing is forgotten. First Steps call... Read More

  • Time Management Tools

  • 20 Ways To Say No

    If you have trouble saying “no” to other people’s requests — and subsequently find yourself wrangled into activities that don’t interest you, or that fill your schedule and prevent you from focusing on your priorities — perhaps it’s just because you don’t know the right way to say it. Here you go! I Can’t Right... Read More

  • Creating A To-Do List That Works For You

    I am a consummate list-maker — I love my lists! But a list is only as good as your ability to complete it. If you have problems finishing off your to-do lists, you’re not making the right kind of list. And hey, maybe you even need to move a few items to a “not-to-do” list.... Read More

  • Meeting Planning Checklist

    Some folks will tell you that meetings are a complete waste of time. They don’t have to be — as long as you know why you are meeting, you have verified that a meeting is the most efficient way to accomplish the goal at hand, and the meeting is well-run and organized. How To Know... Read More

  • Scheduling Your Time More Effectively

    What does your day look like? Are you able to get everything done that you want? Or are you sidetracked by distractions and derailed by interruptions? There are steps you can take to schedule your time more effectively — you just have to know the right time techniques. Avoiding The Time Myths it’s not time... Read More

  • Tips For Dealing With Interruptions

    Interruptions can be really annoying, but they aren’t fatal. In fact, most interruptions are pretty preventable. It’s all a matter of knowing how to properly deflect an interruption, how to hone your own ability to stay focused, and the best tricks for getting back into the moment after you are interrupted. Different Types Of Interruptions... Read More

  • Tips For Overcoming Procrastination

    Do you have a hard time getting going on a project? Or maybe you start off fine, but run out of gas halfway through? You might even stay busy all the time, checking e-mail or re-organizing your desk — but not working on the really important tasks. You have a bad case of procrastination! Acting... Read More

  • Top Ten Motivators

    Staying motivated to complete your goals is a challenge — even when it’s something you really want to accomplish in life. I know, and I’m an organizer! Here are ten proven techniques that will keep you on task, excited about what you’re doing, and making progress every day. Break Your Goal Down most goals are... Read More

  • Travel Made Easier

  • Airline Travel Tips

    Since 9/11, air travel has become a huge pain in the neck. It now takes 2-3 times longer to get through security and onto a plane than it did before the war on terror. But even with so many ridiculous rules and regulations, there are things you can do to speed up the process. Before... Read More

  • Business Travel Tips

    When you do your work on the road — as a salesperson, putting together international business deals, or just attending a professional conference — you need to take extra precautions to stay organized. It’s all here — from making travel plans to tracking expenses to returning to the office. Packing For Your Trip keep a... Read More

  • Car Maintenance Checklist

    Does your car go to the doctor as regularly as you do — for oil changes, tune-ups, and inspections? Or are you running on a tire and a prayer — hoping to God the thing doesn’t die on you in the middle of a long trip? Get organized and get on a regular maintenance schedule!... Read More

  • Choosing The Right Travel Agent

    A competent travel agent can be a wonderful asset if you’re on the road regularly — especially if you go overseas or need a package of services (hotel, car, airfare, tours) in one location. But some agents are better than others — how do you find one who will really work on your behalf? Credentials... Read More

  • Hotel Reservation Checklist

    Getting a good hotel room involves a little bit more than finding the best price on Hotwire (I can say this from personal experience.) And this is doubly true in foreign countries where you might not be able to get a personal recommendation. Here are some questions to ask about your potential lodgings. Basic Information... Read More

  • Keeping Safe While Away From Home

    When you head out on a trip, what kinds of precautions do you take to protect your person and your property? I’ll bet you think that illness, lost luggage, and threats of theft or violence are unavoidable — well you’re wrong! There are steps you can take to be safe away from home. Financial Security... Read More

  • Packing Checklists

    Some of my friends take several days to pack for travel. Not me — I can pack for any length trip, any type of trip, inside of an hour. Do you know why? It’s not because I have super-powers (I save my those for other things.) It’s because I have fantastic packing lists! Adult Packing... Read More

  • Traveling With Children

    If you’ve ever traveled with (or next to) an unhappy child, you know how important it is to keep kids occupied, fed, and entertained on a trip. Here are some tips for packing, flying, and car travel — as well as ways to keep your little one from asking “Are we there yet?” Creating A... Read More

  • Traveling With Pets

    It’s great to take your animal-children with you on a trip — but it does require a little extra pre-planning. You can’t just throw Fido or Boo-Boo Kitty in the car with you and go. Do you have the right supplies? Are they secure and safe during transit? Are they comfortable and happy? Ask Your... Read More

  • Your Vehicle

  • Choosing The Right Auto Mechanic

    If you’re like most people, you’re hugely dependent on your car for transportation — so you need to know that the person caring for your automobile is a) qualified, and b) trustworthy. Ask these questions of your local mechanics, and you’ll get a pretty good sense of where they stand. Beware Of… shops that offer... Read More

  • Stocking Your Auto Emergency Kit

    It’s Murphy’s Law — the only time your car will break down is when you don’t have an emergency kit in the trunk. Conversely, if you have onet, you’ll never have mechanical trouble! Probably not, but it’s still a good idea to have these items with you at all times — just in case. Accident... Read More