Manys ways to get organized

I recently met Elyce Bader and learned about her business as a Pampered Chef consultant. I was very curious to learn more because I love cooking and like to keep my utensils and kitchen tools organized. My favorite product is the mandolin. What a great way to slice those veggies and save time too.  The business aspect is what intrigued me as well.  I know how vital organization is to growing her business and staying on track with all her clients. So, I asked Elyce to give me some idea about how she stays organized in her business. She expressed the following.

“I have a business that requires personal communication and I need to remember facts about each person. How does one do this? Simple, I went to Office Max or Office Depot (I can’t remember) and purchased a few binders and rewriteable tabs. I wrote the names of the months on each tab and placed notebook paper in each tab. Each sheet of paper has a clients name and contact information written on it, along with where I have met them and other pieces of information. After I call or email each person I write a note and move the paper to the back of the month or the next month depending on the conversation. The binder is not to heavy so I can take it with me any where and have access to to my information when my memory lets me down :-) ” . Elyce Bader www.eemaskitchen.com

I meet with many small business owners and one thing that I notice is that each person has their own way to stay organized. I only help them to create new habits if they feel they need help in that area. Otherwise, as the ol’ saying goes…If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. I only will introduce new organizing techniques and solutions if there is a problem with the system they have. For Elyce, she really likes her system and is comfortable with how she can manage it. You go girl!

Featured organizer- An 8th grader’s tips for the new school year

School Supplies 3

Iliana Elias, a student at Inter-American Magnet School is going into the eighth grade ready and organized! How does she prepare for such an exciting and exhausting grade? She’s here to share a couple useful tips to get you prepared for the new school year. Below are common places for school supplies and materials. These tips will teach your student how to keep their school supplies in place and manageable!

1. The Locker
Place things conveniently in order by schedule, by color, biggest to smallest
Locker organizers can be found at any office supply store, Target® or The container store®. Theses provide more space and also make it easy to take things in and out of your locker.
Magnetic clips are fun locker accessories that can hold important papers and assignments.
2. The Book bag
The “stuff” that is placed inside your book bag should only be “stuff” that will be useful that very day for assignments/projects/homework, etc. Excessive material can make your bag heavy when it doesn’t need to be. Everyone has their own style however, by keeping your things in order of priority makes it easy to find what you need.

3. At home
It’s important to know ahead of time what you’ll be working on so you can be sure you have the materials needed. Having a shelf sorted by baskets or bins for just school supplies and materials will make searching and getting things done a lot faster. I always like to have a little box containing the tools that are necessary for completing my assignment.

According to Iliana, she states “It’s important to me to be organized for the school year because I get things done a lot quicker, leaving me time to do other things like hanging with my friends.”

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
Editor-Chicago