Cool tools to help you clean out your closets

InStyle Best of DIGI_1114_Clean Out Your ClosetsA heap of second-string clothing is usually the by-product of cleaning out your closet. Most people default to donating the items to charity, but what if you just want to store them elsewhere or want to sell them for some extra cash?  The November issue of InStyle magazine’s #BestofDIGI feature lists four cool online tools to help you manage clothing that isn’t in your regular rotation. Check ‘em out!

  • Stylebook:  Remember the scene from Clueless when Cher was using a program to choose her outfit for the day?  The fantasy is a reality with Stylebook.  Use your smartphone or tablet to take pictures of all the items in your wardrobe, then use the app to mix and match to make the perfect outfit, or try out new combinations.
  • MakeSpace: If you have seasonal or B-list clothing that you want to keep, but not in your closet, Makespace can help you well, make space.  Think of it as PODS, but for your clothes.  When you sign up, they’ll send you a bin to fill with whatever you want to store off-site; schedule a pick-up and they’ll store it at their facility. Whenever you need it, log on to have it delivered to your door. They even have a service that you can use when traveling, so your clothes arrive at your destination, and you don’t have to deal with lugging suitcases through the airport or baggage fees.
  • MaterialWrld: When it’s time to get rid of gently used luxury clothing and accessories, MaterialWrld will help you buy new ones by giving you gift cards from retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and shopbop. Simply search the website for a list of accepted brands, and get a quote instantly online. If you agree to the amount offered, ship the item to MaterialWrld for free.
  • Twice: While there are many consignment options for high-end labels, what about popular brands that people buy every day?  Twice buys clothes from brands like GAP, Ann Taylor and Express, as well as luxury labels. Simply request a selling kit, send in your items, and decide whether to accept the offer. If you disagree, you can ask Twice to send your items back to you, or donate them to charity on your behalf–they’ll even send you a receipt for tax purposes. Plus, you can purchase gently used fashions for up to 90% off regular retail.

With all of these fabulous convenient options, managing your wardrobe should be a snap!

Are there any other cool tools that you use to keep your closets under control?  Sound off in the comments!

 

Conquer closet chaos with tips from professional organizers

Now that autumn is in full swing and people in many areas are swapping their warm-weather wardrobes for sweaters and coats, it’s a good time to talk about closets. Closets are one of the main storage areas in our homes that we struggle to keep organized, with varying degrees of success.  If you’re faced with getting your fall and winter clothes organized, read the articles below to see what NAPO professional organizers advise for regaining and maintaining order in your closets.

Photo by James Ransom

The Case for Closet Rotation: Five Questions for Organizing Pro Liz Jenkins

Photo by Getty Images

Closet clutter: How having fewer, better-quality clothes can bring style and happiness

 

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Conquering the Closet

Guy fashion 911: A manly guide to cleaning out your closet

Kate Brown_Keep the closet double the space_Costco Connection

Keep the closet, double the space

Have any tips on keeping your closets under control? Don’t keep them to yourself–share them in the comments!

Could you give up email to get more done?

Email graphic

Ditching email can dramatically increase your productivity, if you’re brave enough to try it!

Email is part everyday of life, and it’s often hard to remember how we got by before this quick and easy method of communication became the norm.  However, over the years it has become more of a nuisance than a convenient method of personal and business contact. Our email accounts (and most of us have several of them) are often brimming with unwanted offers, notices, announcements, and cc’s that cause a sense of dread as soon as we open our inboxes. The time we spend processing all of these messages often eats into a good portion of our day, causing stress and reducing productivity.

Fed up with the time drain email has become, some business and individuals have taken the radical step of eliminating or drastically reducing the use email, and have seen their productivity skyrocket as a result.  Would your life be easier and could you get more done if you gave up email?  Curious to give it a try?  Check out this RealBusiness.com article, How I Stopped Using Email to Double My Productivity, and see if it could work for you.  If you’ve already given email the boot, or tried it, share your story in the comments below!

Sometimes the best plan is one step

Planning De-movitator posterWe’ve all heard the expression, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” but too often, we get hung up on planning the entire journey, which can be overwhelming and lead to procrastination. But setting a goal, focusing on one action, and making decisions based on the outcome (instead of trying to predict all the steps that lie ahead) can be a more effective way to get things done. For those of us who are “control enthusiasts,” not planning for every possible scenario may be scary, but ultimately it’s freeing–flexibility often leads to discoveries and opportunities we never would have found had we stuck to a pre-determined plan.  This recent Lifehack article explores a dynamic approach to planning–do you think it’s sound advice, or impractical? Sound off in the comments!

Pro tips for managing your digital files

Mobile Devices

Organizing your digital files doesn’t have to be a headache if you know the right tricks.

Email. Contacts. Photos. Documents. Calendars. Music. Video. These days, so much of the information we send and receive is some type of digital file, and somehow, we have to manage it all. When you often have to access various files on multiple devices in different places on diverse platforms (whew!) it can become a bit overwhelming, to say the least!

We’ve asked NAPO’s organizing and productivity professionals to weigh in on the the best ways to manage your digital files to minimize frustration and boost productivity. Check out their advice below, and if you have a trick that helps you keep your digital files under control, share it it the comments!

 

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Mastering the work-life balancing act

Feeling burned out? It’s time to restore your work-life balance.

Achieving and maintaining positive work-life balance is becoming increasingly difficult, given the 24/7 access we have to work and work has to us, via voicemail, email and texts. Gone are the days when leaving your office meant cutting off access until you returned. But how do you create and enforce the boundaries needed for you to disconnect and recharge during downtime so you can be more productive during your working hours? This Lifehack article offers six things you can do now to restore work-life equilibrium and make it a habit, rather than another item on your to-do list.

When planning for emergencies, don’t forget Fido and Fluffy!

Your pets can't prepare for emergencies themselves, so be sure to do it for them!

Your pets can’t prepare for emergencies themselves, so be sure to do it for them!

In the aftermath of devastating Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, many of the heartbreaking stories involved the pets who were left behind to fend for themselves when people were evacuated. So all of your family members are prepared for emergencies, make a plan for your pets too. Since it’s National Preparedness Month, we’d like to share this checklist from the ASPCA to help you ensure your pets’ safety, should disaster strike.

If you need assistance putting together a plan for your family, visit NAPO.net to find a professional organizer in your area who can help!

You can’t argue with science–6 proven ways to boost productivity

6 Productivity Hacks Infographic thumbnail

To see the full infographic, click the image.

A recent Lifehack article featured this cool infographic that demonstrates six scientifically proven ways to boost your productivity:

  1. The Perfect Performance Ratio
  2. Stop Multitasking
  3. Take a Power Nap!
  4. Exercise at Work
  5. Crank Those Tunes
  6. Google Baby Animals

Have you found them to be true–based on your personal unscientific experience? Let us know in the comments!

 

Streamline your back-to-school routines

Kids Getting on Schoolbus

Now that the new school year has begun, it’s the perfect time to fine-tune your morning and after-school routines. Check out this great collection of tips from NAPO’s Back-to-School Pinterest board for terrific organizing ideas for your kids and your home!

Is organizing necessary if you’re a minimalist?

Although this room is minimalist, it looks pretty organized . . .

Most people would admit to having too much stuff, and that keeping all their stuff properly stored and organized can be a challenge. When people decide they need to get organized, purging is usually part of the process.  Getting rid of outdated, broken, or otherwise not useful things frees up valuable space, and lets you focus on items that you use regularly.  Once the excess is gone, creating order and efficiency is much easier. But if you’re a minimalist and you’ve whittled your possessions down to the bare minimum, is organizing even necessary?

A recent article, “Minimalism is the end of organizing,” claims that once you’re down to the absolute basics, there’s no need to organize. It’s true that managing a few essential items is much easier than accessing, storing and keeping track of what’s in overstuffed closets, cabinets, files, attics, garages, and storage units. However, there’s still a benefit to keeping your toothpaste, floss, and toothbrush in the same general area and not spread throughout your bathroom.  Or does it matter if your grooming supplies are scattered in your bathroom if there are only a dozen items in there anyway?

What’s your take on the author’s “controversial” opinion?  Speak your mind in the comments!