What’s for dinner?

That’s a question for many folks after a long day of work. But the hard work it takes to create a meal can be made easier if you are “uber-organized” says Cynthia, our featured organizer: an editor, mom and wife. Today she provides a helpful tip on how to prepare and feed your family with fresh healthy meals.

“There is nothing more stressful than those three words at the end of a long day. The only way I combat the stress of cooking dinner every night for four while holding down a hectic day job is to be uber-organized. And this is how I pull it off.

Every Sunday morning I wake up early, make a pot of coffee, and while everyone is still asleep, I plan the meals for the week. I pour over my cooking magazines for inspiration and start working on my shopping list. I have a master shopping list with all our staples typed out with check boxes. I keep a dozen blanks in a kitchen drawer. The list is organized by the layout of the grocery store-in my case Dominick’s on Fullerton. First I list the produce, then deli and bread items, then meat and dairy. I work my way around the perimeter before I hit the main aisles. This way I fill up my cart up with the freshest, healthiest items first and then I can skip aisles if I don’t need anything down them.

Having this master shopping list is key. It means I don’t have to worry about forgetting something. During the school year I have things on the list like drinks for the kid’s lunches, snacks for the kids, green veggies (meaning any green vegetable that looks good), ketchup, Ranch dressing, butter, eggs and bread, etc. That way I only make one trip to the store a week and we never run out of essentials until next Sunday morning. Now I know this sounds compulsive, but trust me, once you make the master list in your computer and tweak it every season or so, you will never go back to shopping without it.

Once I know what we have and I have checked all the staples I need on the list, I turn to my black binder of recipes. The recipes that graduate to the black 3-ring binder are the ones that everyone likes, that are easy to make in 20-30 minutes when I get home from work, and are healthy and low-fat. If I pick a recipe from this “magic” black book, I know I can get food on the table by 6:30PM and it won’t blow my diet. So all I have to do on Sunday morning is flip through the book and pick my seven recipes for the week. Then I add any special ingredients I need to my shopping list and I am good to go.

No, it’s not quite that easy. By this point I’m on my second cup of coffee and the angels are awake. My husband sits down and I ask him what the schedule looks like that week. He’s a stay-at-home dad and musician, so the family schedule can get pretty complicated. This is when he tells me which nights he’s home for dinner and which nights he has a gig and when our daughters have late-night soccer practice or karate. Then I might switch up a few meals and write in “leftovers” or “pasta,” the quickie fall back meals. I usually try and cook a big meal on Sundays so we can have some leftovers throughout the week. I write the week’s menu on the back of the shopping list and I am off to the grocery store. Sticking to my list and planning out all the meals helps me save money and reduce stress”.

Cynthia Sherry

Is there a formula for keeping your New Year resolutions?

If  “A New Year resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other”, then your New Year resolution is only as good as your commitment to it. Resolving to be true to your commitments this year will help you achieve other goals. But how can you do this? Does it take will power? or something more?

I believe one doesn’t need will-power just the right support system that you create around you. If you don’t want to eat junk food, for example, then don’t purchase them and have them around your pantry for starters. Keep only healthy food around and when you feel like snacking then your only option will be a healthy one. Finding someone to help you be accountable will contribute to your success. Someone else will help motivate you when you can’t find the inspiration yourself.

I  approach maintaining and organizing in the same way. Create boundaries that help you visualize how much disorganization is enough. Acknowledge that you have reached your limit. Once you reached those boundaries, then resolve to tackle your piles, tasks or chores then ask someone to make you accountable. Many daunting tasks can be reduced to manageable goals.

There may not be just one formula to keeping your new year’s resolution but having a vision, making a choice and setting your goals will certainly get you closer to success.

Cork it!

Did you know that you can recycle Cork? Why? you ask? Not only is it an energy efficient, biodegradable, renewable and sustainable 100 % natural product but because there are 13 billion natural cork wine stoppers sold each year into the world market, and presently they are ending up in landfills.

Cork is a natural, buoyant material and has the ability to absorb and retain up to 9 grams of CO2. It is an important source of CO2 retention.

These recycled corks are used for shoe soles, bulletin boards, place mats, fishing rod handles, building insulation, playground equipment, floor tiles and packaging material.

According to an article posted on the ReCork America website, they have a plan with Whole Foods to accept wine corks in California. So, why not ask your local Whole foods to participate in the same program.

Visit ReCork America for cork recycling locations: www.recorkamerica.com

Contact info:ReCORK America
Roger Archey, 415-927-4207

Organizing workshop



Organizing Workshop

An organizing workshop presented by Elizabeth L. Miranda

sponsored by:

at work logo

Elizabeth Lulu Miranda of Mercury Organizing Professionals
is a personal organizer who assists business operations and home owners
by clearing out their clutter and creating systems for better organization.
She is an innovative and resourceful organizer and an inspired motivator
who loves to help people help themselves to create a better way to control,
manage and enjoy their work and living spaces. 

in organizing to create a functional and efficient work space.

July 16, 2009 - Thursday
6pm-6:30pm Half hour of networking
6:30-7:15 pm Workshop/ Presentation
7:15-7:30pm Questions/ Conclusion

RSVP by replying to this invitation
7500 W. Madison St.
Forest park, IL 60130
708 488.9297
Julia Archer: Owner

Parking: There is free parking and should be easily available after
6pm on Madison St. or the side streets.
This event is closed and no longer taking attendees.Please stay tuned for other workshop schedules.

How to start recycling in three steps.

Start here: How to Recycle.

Click on the link “how to recycle ” above to learn the basic steps. Print it out and use as a resource.  It is easy and you will be happy that you are doing something good for our environment. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse.  If you need assistance call Mercury Organizing Professionals.

How long should I save my financial records?

How long should I save my fianancial records? As a professional organizer I get this question a lot. This is one of the top questions asked by most of my clients. I suggest to go through all your paperwork weekly or bi-weekly. Once you get the hang of scheduling this task and marking it in your calendar, it isn’t so grueling.  Trust me, you will be happy you did because it keeps the chaos and stress at bay. There is nothing like trying to find the things you need in the pile of paperwork you don’t need to see anymore.

Begin each year with new folders in your filing cabinet and store last years paperwork away. One reason we save financial paperwork is for our yearly or quarterly taxes, but another reason we keep financial records is to discuss any kind of dispute over a certain purchase or insurance claim. You can have a monthly statement and all the details in hand,  with the popularity of electronic statements and paying bills online, this information can be retrieved easily.  If you are considering transitioning to a paperless system in your office then I suggest you back up your data as many ways as you can afford.

To start, make sure you have a reliable computer; does your computer have enough space to save a lot of data? Purchase an external drive to save your info and make frequent back ups.  Back up your information in as many forms as you can manage. For example; back up on a disk, an external drive and on an off-site server. Depending on the kind of work you do it isn’t extreme to back up nightly. You can schedule these back ups with your computer and server. Once you set this system up, it will be easier. If this sounds too daunting, find a reliable computer “guy” “gal’ to help you with this.  Now that you have room and the system in place use a scanner and create a pdf of anything you’d like to keep.

The goal is to use as little paper as possible and to continue backing up with as many sources as you can manage. At best, the most you will keep will be the seven years of financial records in case of an audit. Go to the website; bankrate and look at their table for more detailed information. The info they provide is for the general public and will not entirely apply to the self-employed or businesses. But it is a good place to start before meeting with an accountant.


At the end of each year save those disks in the permanent storage, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!