the shrink ‘rap: issue 8

the shrink ‘rap: issue 8

In this issue:


15 Minute Organizing

Maintaining a Clutter-Free Home

Being organized in your home is about having systems. It’s about doing things in a particular way, putting things in a specific place and knowing what needs to be done to keep the system running. Setting up an organized home takes time, and most of us don’t have much of that to spare. Any time spent on organizing your home is better than nothing at all, and each small effort paves the way to a clutter-free home. If you can only spare 15 minutes, here are some tasks you can do to minimize clutter and save time.

Start a donation box. Walk around the house and gather as many unwanted or unused items you can find in 15 minutes.

Create a master grocery list. Make multiple photocopies. Instead of rewriting the list each week, just circle the items you need.

Donate all wire hangers to your local dry cleaner.

Organize your socks, underwear, utensils, jewelry or medicine cabinet. Toss any old or unused items.

Gather all business cards and notes with phone numbers jotted on small pieces of paper. Copy or type all information into your paper or online address book.

Sort through 3-5 files.

Put all take-out menus in a folder or binder.

Replace all dead batteries and light bulbs.

Sort through photos. Discard photos that are blurry and give doubles to friends and family.

Create self-adhesive address labels for the people on your holiday card list. Reprint the list each year.

Throw away all expired products in your pantry. Arrange each shelf so similar products are stored together.

Clean out your purse or briefcase.

Throw away all Tupperware or plastic containers that are stained or missing lids.

Toss expired coupons.

Shred junk mail.

Mend clothes.

Balance your checkbook.

Walk around the house with a basket and pick up items that belong in another room. Return each item to its proper home.

Cook large quantities of beef or ground turkey. Separate into several containers and freeze for future use.

Write and address all birthday and anniversary cards for the upcoming month.

Discard all user manuals and warranties for products you no longer own.

Schedule all doctor and dentist appointments for the next 6 months.

Watch and label (or toss) any unlabeled DVDs or VHS tapes.

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Water Cooler Rap

Simple Tips for Daily Living

Keeping Track of Receipts

If you need to keep track of your business expenditures or just like to shop a lot, you might find yourself with receipts piling up all over the place. If so, you will ultimately end up with a headache; the onset will strike you around tax time or just when you need to make an exchange or return. Who has the time or patience to sort through piles of small papers, straining your eyes to decipher little numbers?

To keep track of your receipts, invest in a small expandable file folder with labeled (January-December) or blank tabs for each section/pocket.

Sort your receipts by:
Month – This is the best option if you enter your expenses into a software program once or twice a month.
Type – If you need to tally up totals for specific types of items you spend money on throughout the month or year, sorting by type is the way to go. Label blank tabs to suit your needs – parking, hotels, airfare, office supplies, and entertainment.
Alphabetically – This option is ideal if you shop at a limited number of stores on a regular basis and remember where you purchased items. Label blank tabs with the name of each store – Target, Sam’s Club, Acme.

Note: I would not recommend purchasing an expandable folder with pockets labeled A-Z. Because there are few stores that start with letters like Z, several pockets will go unused. Also, do not attempt to organize purchases like gas under “G” or will soon find yourself in a dilemma. What do you do if you purchased a bagel and coffee when you filled your gas tank? Would you file that receipt under G (gas), C (coffee), B (bagel) or F (food)?

Take your receipt file with you in your briefcase, car or handbag so you can file your receipts as soon as you make a purchase.

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Ask the Organizer

We’re excited to include another submission to The ‘Shrink Rap’s “Ask the Organizer” section. Please continue to submit your questions by e-mailing them to Every submitted question related to organizing will be included in a future issue of The ‘Shrink Rap.

Q: My 4-year-old son has Legos everywhere. I’ve tried storing them in plastic containers with lids, but he dumps out every container before he starts building something to find a particular piece. Do you have any recommendations for Lego storage?
– Natalie, Wisconsin

A: Natalie,
The PERFECT solution to your Lego storage problem has been invented! Check out It’s a plastic cube that STORES and SORTS Legos. I think this product will solve your play time and clean-up dilemmas.

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Need more help getting organized? Call Cluttershrink® for more information on receiving hands-on assistance organizing your home, office or relocation. Phone consultations, customized seminars, mentoring for new organizers and gift certificates are also available. Call 215.431.0590 or e-mail Crystal Sabalaske at

Posted in Ask the Organizer, Business, De-Clutter, Filing, Home, Kids, Organizing, Paper Organizing, Storage, Storage bins, To-Do's, Toys