Category Archives: Organizing
In the past, my patience has been severely frustrated by how slow my computer would get. It would take an eternity to open up more than a couple programs or it would freeze easily. Web pages would load insanely slowly. Sometimes my patience level is not as high as I would like it to be. Besides, technology is supposed to make our lives easier and faster, right? I’ll bet most of you know some of these tricks of the trade but perhaps some of you will appreciate this. (I use Windows 7 so sorry to all you Mac users.)
1. Clean-up files.
In your control panel, type “disk cleanup” and choose “Free up Disk Space by Deleting Unnecessary Files” under “Performance Information and Tools.” Next, select the drive that you want to clean up and click ok. It will scan your computer and come up with a variety of files that could be deleted, for example, temporary internet files and files in your recycle bin. I usually delete these as well as the offline web pages. Select those you wish to delete and click ok.
2. Defragment your hard drive.
Defragmenting your hard drive takes small files and folder and internally “re-files” them. Just like at an office, where filing and organizing papers helps the office become more efficient, so is defragmenting. To do this, open your control panel and type “defragment” in the search box. Then click on the defragmentation link. You can also choose to have scheduled defragmentation on this window.
3. Install a reputable internet security program.
Once upon a time, I used Norton Anti-Virus, which is certainly a reputable company. However, even though it scanned my computer top to bottom daily, my computer became quite slow. It was then that I heard about AVG Internet Security. I uninstalled Norton after downloading and installing AVG and… guess what?!? AVG found 18 Trojan horses on my comuter among other things. After cleaning all those up, my computer worked beautifully again. I have only ever used the free version of AVG which suits my purposes just fine, but they also have more involved paid versions as well.
4. Uninstall unnecessary programs.
Every once in awhile, I look at the full list of programs and files that are installed on my computer. Sometimes I see a program that I have no use for and that I can regain space on my hard drive by uninstalling. This is especially true of all those annoying toolbars that somehow seem to sneak onto my computer in the small print of other programs.
Hope you’re having a happy Tuesday!
Is your computer a complete mess (or even a partial one)?
Do you have trouble finding photos or documents that you have saved?
Over a few blogs, I’ll address a few of these issues so your computer can be the best that it can be. I’m certainly no computer-mastermind, but perhaps a few ideas will help you get your folders and files in order and save you time in the long run.
Here’s an impressive statistic. Would you believe that the average person wastes 76 hours each year looking for things on her computer or in her home or work office?? Incredible, isn’t it? That’s over three entire days or almost two weeks of full-time work!
One of the most basic things you can do is to keep your desktop clean. You know what I mean! All those crazy icons jumbled crazily across your screen. Only keep the icons that you use most often. For me, that is a web browser, iTunes, a word document program and Windows Live Messenger. I also keep two shortcuts to folders that I use most often, My Documents and My Pictures as well as a handy sticky note or two. Taking the time to put various files into hard drive folders instead of directly on the desktop will actually boost computer performance speed. And don’t leave shortcuts on your desktop to programs you rarely use.
Once you have sorted and separated documents, music, pictures and any other main categories, you can further divide and conquer. For example, in My Pictures, I have separate folders for digital pictures from my camera, desktop wallpaper, clip art and miscellaneous categories.
My most frequently used folder is digital pictures. Within here, I subdivide by years and then months. If a special activity has occurred during a month (such as a vacation or special photo shoot) I may create a separate folder for this as well. I also often separate pictures for my blogging into sub-folders. This way, I can see all of my pictures in chronological order. Besides, it only takes a few seconds to start a new pictures folder each month!
If you don’t already have a great virtual organization plan, try this one out for your digital pictures. Or perhaps you have an organization style that works for you. I’d love to hear about it in a comment!
Hello everyone! I took a brief break from blogging to spend a wonderful Valentine’s Day with my husband. However, that means that I didn’t blog anything yesterday about finding amazing deals and coupons to make shopping cheaper. Even though it’s Wednesday today, I’m going to backtrack to what I would have blogged about yesterday.
Here are some of the best tips, websites and apps that I’m aware of. Happy couponing!
1. There’s nothing quite like the Sunday newspaper! The coupons inside can more than pay for the price of the paper. This makes a pretty sweet deal for my husband and I since he reads the paper and I clip the coupons!
3. One of the highest rated coupon websites out there is www.coupons.com. Pretty easy to remember, right? The only caveat for this and other coupon clipping sites is that you typically need to download their coupon printer. If you are planning to make regular use of these coupons, downloading the printer is a no-brainer.
4. My all-time favorite is www.retailmenot.com which I have previously shared about on my blog. Without fail, I have found that it lists the most coupon codes and printable coupons for major store and online retailers than any other site. The great thing about this site is that people who have used the coupon codes can let others know if the code worked for them and how much money they saved. This alerts customers to the best codes out there. Another site to try that is similar to this one is www.couponcodes.com.
5. If you’re out and about with your cell phone, look at www.maps.google.com. There is also a Google Maps app that can be downloaded to your smartphone. After you search for a business or store, you can click on the location for more information including the address, phone number and store hours. Occasionally, businesses list a special discount or coupon there that customers can claim if they show their phone to the clerk. I once found a 10% discount for a bookstore this way.
6. If you’re a smartphone junkie, there are tons of other apps that you can find. I use an iPhone and the best rated app there is CouponSherpa. These coupons can be scanned at the store right from your phone. Plus, most apps work with GPS to get the best coupons for your location.
7. If you’re looking to save money on gas when you’re out traveling, try the app GasBuddy which shows the last recorded price at area gas stations. This app also works by GPS or you can insert a specific city or zip code.
8. Here’s what I do to find savings on airlines. I check www.kayak.com first since it lists most all of the major airlines’ prices. Once I find who has the cheapest flight, I then book on the airline’s official website since the prices are almost always the same. Even when the prices are a bit higher than on a discount travel website, I still like to book with the airlines since they will then be more apt to work with me on changing dates and times of travel.
9. If you don’t know where you want to travel to but just want to get away for a while, check out www.airfarewatchdog.com. This site finds some amazing deals that change every day.
10. The best option for saving at hotels is to become a member of the chain’s rewards program. Hotels reward loyal customers quite well. I am a member of Best Western Rewards and love it since this chain is often adding new premium hotels.
11. If you rarely stay at hotels, then your best option is www.hotels.com. Out of all the discounted hotel websites, I have found that this one is the best since their taxes and fees are much lower that others including Expedia and Hotwire.
12. If you’re feeling daring, try bidding on www.priceline.com. When I bid for a hotel, I always make sure I pick at least a 2 ½ star hotel or better since then I know that the amenities will be great. Just remember that a bid can be made only once every 24 hours for a specific locale.
13. If you find a better price on a hotel on an outside website, call the specific hotel you are wishing to book and ask if they will honor the lower price themselves.
These are just a few of the many, many ways that I save money. Leave a comment to let me know what some ways are that you have found great bargains!
Couponing can be taken to any number of levels including the extreme all-consuming level. My preference is to actively keep my eyes open for them but not to spend hours (or even one hour) each week searching for them. No dumpster diving for me, thank you very much!
Here’s a brief look at how I organize my coupons so that I can find and use them more quickly. In my purse, I have two wallets. One, of course, has all the essentials in it… checkbook, driver’s license, cash, etc. But the other wallet is for coupons, gift cards and extra cards that I don’t use as often such as store membership cards, library cards and frequent flier airline cards.
I also keep two small white envelopes in it. The one envelope holds stores’ reward cards so that I always have them with me to get punched when I go to that store.
The other envelope is exclusively for coupons. I clip out and organize these coupons into four sections to make them easier to look through. For my own benefit, I have categories for food, health and beauty, household and cleaning products and pet supplies. I clip each section together with a paper clip. Then, before I go on my major shopping trip every two weeks, I pull out my coupons and sift through them to see if any of them match the items on that week’s shopping list. For especially good deals, I may even plan a few meals around products that I have good coupons for.
I find that this method is far easier than using some of the detailed coupon folders and wallets that are made these days. Besides that, this way is much more economical.
Check back next Tuesday for some more info on some great ways to find savings on food, clothing and more! Also, curious about how I manage to do my major shopping trips only once every two weeks? I’ll share some of my strategies for that in a couple weeks.
See you tomorrow for a look at some big plans that I have for decorating with family photos!
To some people, organizing comes easily. It is a habit, a way of life. These people can organize in their sleep. They can’t possibly imagine why non-organizers are not like them.
To others, organization is equivalent to putting a 1,000 piece puzzle together without the foggiest notion of how the finished picture is supposed to look. To them the best option is to simply light a fire and call it arson.
Do you need a place to begin with organization? Here is a quick rule. When organizing anything, limit yourself to one area or room at a time and finish that room before moving on to another. There are generally four options for any item.
1. Throw it away.
Is it obviously garbage? Old papers, mail, junk that you pulled out of your purse to take care of at a later time. If you are never going to look at it again and you do not need to keep it in your records (such as for taxes, retirement, etc.), erase any compunction you may be feeling from your mind and mercilessly (and immediately) throw it into the trash.
2. Give it away.
Is it something that you never wear or use but that others may? Then give it to a charity such as Goodwill or Salvation Army and take it as a tax deduction. Would a family member or friend love it, use it or wear it? Then ask them if they would like to have it. (A word of caution: no one wants to take all of someone’s old junk. However, if it is in good condition and they genuinely say that they would like it, then by all means, give it to someone you know.)
3. Store it in a box to save for old times’ sake.
Some items, such as your great grandmother’s china dishes, an old book that your father would always read to you when you were a child or a Christmas dress that your mother sewed for you when you were 10 years old, hold very special memories. I am a firm believer in saving some things simply because they are sentimental objects. However, typically you only need to save a sampling of the most precious items. If you save every single thing, chances are that you will never open the dozen boxes that they are stored in to look at them again.
Another option with especially bulky items or large sets is to take several photographs of the items. Then save these files to a much-more-easily-stored compact disc.
4. File it away or make a home for it.
Everything that is left now needs to be put away. Put it back in its original place or make a new home for it. File papers by subject such as health insurance, cell phone bills, craft patterns, recipes, etc. Place other items in cupboards, closets or storage baskets in the rooms where they are most likely to be used. Remember, like needs to go with like.
Yesterday was the first time that my official shopping list was used. (Check out my original post about it here.) However, oddly enough, I wasn’t the one who used it. My week, and especially that day in particular, were jam-packed with last minute tasks and activities. My fiance ended up being the first guinea pig of this organizational mission; not only that, but he took my very vivacious niece with him as well. I had previously filled the list out and marked which items had coupons. Here are my fiance’s thoughts.
“I liked that grocery items are on one side and that non-perishables are on the other side. It seems like this list or pattern is designed for a Walmart because the items go in order according to the store layout. It was especially helpful when I was babysitting a four-year-old because we never had to backtrack through the store. I felt like this made it as fast as possible for me.”
Thank you, Michael, for taking that on a test drive for me! It was just one way that organization made a potentially crazy day much more sane.