Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Vacuum is Not Just For Carpet

I spent the day giving my apt a MUCH needed deep clean and could not have done it without my vacuum. I vacuum everything: curtains, blinds, window sills, surfaces, radiator, books (how else can you clean the edges?), the shoulders of coats, hamper, document boxes, pandan boxes, tweed boxes and carved wood jewelry box, shoes, keyboard (turned off), furniture, baseboards, bare floors, and of course the rugs. The attachments are so easy to use and the little canister is so easy to maneuver around and pick up when necessary.

So I'm always so surprised by clients who only have a little dust-buster, not a vacuum. They give the same "I don't have carpet so I don't need a vacuum"... Is it just me?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reader's Questions: Organizing a Small Biz

(smokey and the bandit keeping guard of my 'files')

Sara asks
"I'm a graphic designer at a publication. I've recently started freelancing and I don't have an organized system for the projects or business side of things. It's so different than working in an office, where a workflow process already exists. Could you give me some tips about how you organize your small business? Do you have a planner or folios for keeping jobs organized? How do you set up billing and filing? How do you archive finished products? I'm at a loss. When I show up to meet with a client, I don't feel as prepared or organized as I could. It's not the work itself that is the stressor, it's the running of the business. Any tips? Thanks so much!"

Personally I use a paper pocket calendar, week-at-a-glance so I always know what's coming up. I keep a large paperclip holding the current day so there's no need to flip around. Since a lot of my work is note taking, I have small notebooks for each client (sometimes 2-3 clients per notebook). A post-it note on the front lists things to do before our next meeting. I also try to do a general list of things to do for the next few days as not to forget. I love lists, but I update and toss old ones often. Not a fan of filing cabinets so old notebooks and datebooks (which I keep for tax back-up) are kept in boxes. 99% of the time get paid at the end of the day so I don't invoice. The point is my needs are different from yours so how I do it may not work for you...

Think about what you have to store; papers, electronic files, inspiration papers (?); and what you need to have a productive meeting with a client. But there's no reason to reinvent the wheel; was there a place you worked that had a good system that you can replicate, or a former colleague or boss who was especially organized that you can offer to buy lunch if they can tell you how they keep it all together? I find most people are willing to share and help others when asked.

I'm guessing since you're freelancing that you'll need to invoice then keep track of who owes you what from when which means an accounting software may be worth buying. Many accounting systems have biz and small biz/personal versions. Not sure what your financial situation is, but if paperwork is not your strength, think of hiring a bookkeeper who can handle all the billing for you.

The point is to keep it simple, easy to keep up, easy to reconcile at the end of the year for tax purposes and do what makes the best sense for you! I hope this helps...


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reader Comment I Needed to Comment On...

(photo: dave lauridsen; dwell via unhappy hipsters)

AilanthusAltissima said...

"I wish I could get to the point that you have. I do realize that things don't make me happy, but I still wish I could figure out how to get rid of more things and not regret it. Things are getting better (slowly) as I work on it. I love reading your blog..."

My approach is about long-term change which takes time. No one can do it overnight, I certainly didn't. As far as not regretting things you've edited; when in doubt, don't. When you force yourself to edit you make mistakes. Make your immediate decisions first; things you KNOW you don't want or need, then go on from there. My philosophy is about doing things for a reason. Not just because of some arbitrary statement. It needs to be meaningful to you and your life. And there are things you can archive. For example, if I have a piece of clothing that fits me, fit's my overall style but maybe I just wore it a lot and am now sick of it, it get's put away until the next season. No reason to get rid of it...

Maybe you're having a hard time because you're having a hard time with something else in your life that needs your attention. It's a common theme I've seen over the years. If that is the case, give your self a break from organizing/editing and focus on the real issue. Otherwise, you'll keep going in circles torturing yourself!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reader's Questions: My Story of 'Living Better With Less'

I've been working on creating video for the blog but haven't gotten it to the point I'm happy with it so back to posting!!

Amanda asks "I would be interested in hearing more about how you saw the connection between your 'over-shopping' and the sense of order that you have found. Thanks!"

As you may know, while I'm naturally neat and organized, I'm a shopaholic. And while my over-shopping is under control, I have to work to keep it that way. Here's how I did it...

Before I became a PO, living in my first apt, there was a moment I looked around and thought "All these things I buy are supposed to make me happy, but the reality is they don't. I hate my apt; it doesn't reflect me or how I want to live and I'm embarrassed to have friends over. I hate my wardrobe; I don't have a strong sense of style and even though I have lots of clothes, I have nothing to wear. I hate my bank account; it's drained from buying all these things!"

I realized it's not the AMOUNT of things, it's about having the RIGHT things, so I stopped shopping and started thinking. If I could figure out how I want my apartment to look, feel, and function, then I should only take things into my life that help me accomplish that. That 'things' should be seen as tools to help me live the life I want, and not just stuff or buy or fill up a space.

Once I changed the way I saw the things coming into my life, I buy much less, but I also hardly ever return anything (common practice before) and have very little to give away at the end of the year when doing spring cleaning. I have less but love and use just about everything I have!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Electronics Recycling in NYC

The Lower East Side Ecology Center is having a number electronics recycling events this summer.

Residential waste only, they won't accept commercial waste.
Accepted items:
  • Computers (laptops, desktops, servers, mainframes)
  • Monitors
  • Printers, scanners, fax-machines, copiers
  • Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc)
  • Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, etc)
  • Components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, etc)
  • TVs, VCRs, & DVD Players
  • Audio-visual equipment
  • Cell phones, pagers, PDAs
  • Telecommunication (phones, answering machines, etc)
  • NO: Microwaves or other appliances
July 10th
10am - 4pm
Tekserve @ 119 W23rd St, Chelsea

July 17th
10am - 4pm
RING Garden at Riverside Dr (between Seaman Ave/Bdway), Inwood

July 18th
10am - 4pm
Stuyvesant Town -14th St Loop
Enter from 14th St & Ave A, to the right

July 24th & 25th
10am - 4pm
East side of Essex St between Hester & Grand St, LES

July 31st
10am - 4pm
Smith St between President & Union, Carroll Gardens