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Last month, I was asked to join a group of bloggers working on a collaborative ebook to encourage married couples to “love everyday”. Although I don’t blog specifically about marriage and relationships, we all know that organization, time management and setting priorities impacts our marriages, for better or for worse.

Today, after a ton of work by the editors and contributors, the Love Everyday ebook is available, and it’s 100% free, no strings attached.

I hope you’ll download it today and take some time to read through the 27 short but powerful chapters as we celebrate “National Marriage Week” and count down to Valentine’s Day!

View Love Everyday on Scribd

I’d also encourage you to take some time and get to know the participating bloggers. Each of them is encouraging, knowledgeable and practical, whether they offer advice on marriage, family, finances or life!

Feel free to share the ebook with your friends, family and blog readers. Then come back and tell me what you think because we’d love to hear your feedback!

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way February Magazine Deals

Country Living Magazine

Phew, I finally made it home last night after being stuck in Nashville after Blissdom due to the second blizzard of the season to dump several feet of snow on our area!

I’ve been meaning to post these magazine deals since the first of the month, and I wanted to be sure to post them today because there’s some good ones:

Home Decorating & Landscaping

:: Country Living (2-year), $13

:: Better Homes and Gardens (1-year), $9.97

:: Veranda (1-year), $10

:: House Beautiful (1-year), $10

:: Country Gardens (1-year), $14.97


:: SmartMoney (1-year), $10

Home Management

:: Good Housekeeping (1-year), $7.97

:: Woman’s Day, $9.95

:: Ladies Home Journal (1-year), $12


:: Pregnancy, $5

:: Disney Family Fun (1-year), $9.95

:: Working Mother (1-year), $9.97

:: Parenting Early Years (1-year), $9.97


:: Town & Country (1-year), $5

:: Vegetarian Times (1-year), $7

:: O, The Oprah Magazine (1-year), $13

And more!

What is your favorite magazine? Do you see any other great deals?

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way

3 Things You Can Do to be Happier in Just 48 Minutes


source: Dawn Ashley

The following is a guest post from Michele of Get Organized Wizard:

Being organized has all kinds of benefits – greater productivity, saved time, less stress and more motivation, to name a few.

But some organizing tasks give you a happiness hit, too. What a cool bonus!

Once I've enjoyed my favorite herbs with one of these beautiful pipes, I like to get down to business. Here are three of my favorite organizing things to do – all guaranteed to put a little spring in your step and a smile on your face.

Just try them and see – and let me know if you agree!

1. Make your bed

I’m not talking hospital corners and 25 fluffy pillows, here. Just the covers pulled up neatly and the pillows fluffed will make a difference.

There’s something about starting the day with your bed made that tells your subconscious you’re ready to face the world, and that adds a little pep to your mood.

It’s a lovely way to end the day, too. How nice to enter your bedroom after the day is done, and find a nice, inviting bed waiting for you.

If you aren’t a regular bed maker, take 3 minutes today to try it.

2. Savor surfaces

People who’ve lived a long time with clutter invariably get a happiness boost when they uncover the surfaces buried underneath. They love the clarity, the order, the absence of chaos.

Another reason clear surfaces make you happier is that the stuff lurking atop surfaces can prompt unpleasant feelings.

Like worry over bills left on the counter. Irritation about dust on ornaments that no longer bring pleasure. Stress that you haven’t gotten around to fixing something.

If you have a surface that’s muddying your mood – perhaps a counter, coffee table, dining table or dresser – then make today the day you give it a facelift. Spend 15 minutes today getting rid of anything you don’t use or love, putting away things that have a home, and finding a home for things that don’t.

3. Exchange too much past and future for more today

If you constantly feel disorganized then ask yourself these questions:

:: How much of your disorganization relates to the past or future?
:: How much of your clutter is pieces of the past you’re clinging to – clothes, mementos, yearbooks and journals?
:: How much of your stuff is for a future that’s not part of your life today – sports or hobbies you’ll start one day, things you may need some time in the next century?

There’s nothing wrong with mementos or plans – both can add meaning to your life. But if these things are crowding out your life today, then you’re paying for them with happiness.

Instead, let some – or all – of them go, and make room for a little more of the present. Spend 30 minutes today clearing away the things in your life that are keeping your focus on yesterday or tomorrow, instead of today.
A 48-minute happiness prescription

So here’s my happiness prescription for you today:

* 3 minutes to make your bed
* 15 minutes to clear a surface
* 30 minutes to release past- or future-focused things from your life.

Take your happiness temperature after completing these steps and see how you feel.

But please don’t wipe the smile off your face.

Michele Connolly is the founder of Get Organized Wizard and creator of Design Your Life, a comprehensive e-Program for achieving your goals, organizing your life and being your best.

Question of the Day: February “More Than Resolutions” Check In

New Year's Resolutions

source: lism.

(I’m writing this from the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Hotel as we get ready for BlissDom ‘10!)

Although we just finished the 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series, I am planning to dedicate the first Question of the Day each month to see how you’re doing with your goals and resolutions, and I didn’t want to wait for March for the first one!

What goals and resolutions have you made for 2010?

Are there any you made just for the sake of making a resolution and not because you really want to pursue them right now?

Have you set measurable, concrete goals rather than just broad, vague resolutions?

Is perfection holding you back from working toward your goal?

Let’s make 2010’s goals more than resolutions. Let’s make them a reality!

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way

5 Tips for Working at Home

source: Aristocrat

The following is a guest post from Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists:

More and more of us are enjoying the freedom and flexibility of working from home. But, working from home also comes with it’s own set of challenges. Distractions abound when you mix your two worlds.

Here are my Top Five tips to make your time working from home as productive as possible.

1) Be disciplined about your schedule

Each day before you begin, use your notebook or calendar to set a schedule for the day, in the same way you would if you were working at an office. This is more than a To Do List, this is a rough “sketching out” of the actual hours of your day.

The thing is, when you work from home, “working hours” can easily become a slippery slope. It’s crucial to maintain time boundaries and decide what hours you’ll work each day. Once you’ve worked those hours, stop. (Yes, I know it’s hard. Do it anyway.) By maintaining these time boundaries, you honor your own mental health and your relationships with your significant other and your children. Resist the urge to let work seep into your every waking hour.

2) Build in breaks and take advantage of being at home

Come on! Working from home is awesome. It has tremendous upsides. Let’s take advantage of them, but responsibly.

Each day, I make two To Do Lists, one for work and one for home-related items. During the day, after I work for 90-120 minutes, I need to get up and move around or various parts of me will fall asleep. I use that break time to do a quick chore from my home list. Then, when I return to work at my desk, I’m smugly satisfied that I’ve been productive during my short time away.

In a long phone meeting? Put on your headset and do a (silent and) mindless chore like folding laundry. This is, of course, if you’re contributing to the meeting while doing so, and often, this is totally possible. For some sick reason, I get a kick out of folding clothes while talking to high-level executives. Seriously, if you knew who I’ve spoken to while folding underwear, you’d laugh.

3) Define your workspace

A great temptation when working from home can be to work in a makeshift space. Perched on the side of the kitchen cabinet, legs facing one direction and your body another? Leaning over your computer on your bed? You know who you are. Don’t risk your physical health by working in ways that are tough on your body. That’ll just make you cranky later. Make sure you’re comfortable and working in an ergonomically-correct form.

Honor your work by having all the tools you need to do your job, plus some pretty office supplies that inspire you. Reduce the clutter around you, which includes “visual clutter” (close your closet door!), so you can concentrate.

4) Vary where you work

Another huge advantage of working from home is that you aren’t stuck in your cubicle. Use this as a opportunity to vary where you work throughout the day. If you have a laptop, you might choose to spend the mornings at your desk and your afternoons outside at the patio table. Varying your work surroundings will keep your mind and body fresh.

I purchased this fantastic laptop desk, giving me the ability to work part of my day from my favorite living room chair without hurting my neck and shoulders. (Bonus: this “desk” even has a little drawer, perfect for sticky notes and pens. Or candy bars you don’t want your husband to find.)

You might also consider having a space you always move to when you have long phone meetings, one where you won’t be tempted to answer emails or browse the web while you’re supposed to be listening. Folding laundry is one thing, but composing email messages while you’re supposed to be listening is another.

5) Turn off the TV and home phone

It’s tempting to have “Law & Order” or “The View” on in the background of your work (I’m a huge offender here) and sometimes it’s fine, depending on the kind of task you’re working on at that moment. Sometimes, though, the background noise can be unconsciously draining.

Try starting your day off with a scheduled 90-minute period of time where you work in silence on your highest priority items. No TV, no music, home phone line turned off. Most importantly, and this is really tough: don’t check your email. (Yes, I said it.)

You’ll be surprised how much you’ll get accomplished in that short period of time. And because that work is concentrated on your most important tasks, that feeling of productivity will carry you through the rest of the day.

Working from home should be a blessing to our productivity, not a curse. I think that, with some strategies and discipline, you can have the best of both your work and home worlds.

Working from her home office in the San Francisco Bay Area, Meredith Schwartz is the Founder and Editor of Penelope Loves Lists, an organization inspiration blog. Meredith and her fellow readers make no apologies for their love of lists, notebooks, pretty office supplies and all manner of cool organizational tools. Are you a Penelope?

31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Wrap-Up

31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010

Did y’all notice I didn’t post yesterday?

After 31 days of posting every day (sometimes more than once!), it was strange and refreshing not to sit down and write a post yesterday morning. However, I really enjoyed the 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010, and I’m excited to tell you that I am in the process of putting together a free ebook based on the series — including each of the posts along with extra resources, worksheets and more. Watch for that very soon!

I did want to take just a few minutes today to wrap up the series with some final thoughts.

What is your word?

You may have heard about the popular one-word alternative to resolutions, where instead of setting resolutions, people choose one word to represent their goals for the year.

Although I still think it’s important to write down actual goals to work toward in order to see change in your life, I love this idea. As I was writing the series, it became abundantly clear to me that my word for this year is intentional.

I want to be:

:: an intentional wife

:: an intentional mother

:: an intentional blogger

:: intentional about our family’s TV time

:: intentional about what we eat

:: intentional about our finances

:: intentional about making time for family & friends

Really, the list could go on and on, but intentional sums it up. I want to live an intentional life, making the most of every moment I’m given (which happens to be the tagline on my personal blog).

Set MICRO Goals

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a guest post for the Space Savers blog about setting goals and getting organized. As part of that post, I came up with this acronym about the importance of setting MICRO goals that are:

:: measurable

:: inspirational

:: concrete

:: realistic

:: obtainable

It doesn’t matter what your goals are — whether they’re related to home or work, your physical environment or your relationships — they should have these five characteristics.

I hope the 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series has given you the tools you need to set and achieve your goals, whether it was on our list or not, and I look forward to hearing about your progress throughout the year!

What are your 2010 resolutions/goals? If you had to choose one word to sum up what you hope to achieve in 2010, what would it be?

The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Make 2010 the year you get organized and achieve your goals with the Life & Goal Organizer, the ideal system for organizing your goals, plans and life!

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way

Win a Set of OXO Office Supplies (3 Winners!)

OXO Good Grips at Staples

Last spring, I showed you the new line of OXO Good Grips office supplies developed exclusively for Staples  to make everyday work tasks easier, more efficient and more pleasant.

The product line continues to expand with a full line of retractable pens, dry erase markers and highlighters, each designed to provide a comfortable grip and with a focus on functionality.

I was sent another set of products to try and share with you, including:

:: 8″ scissors w/ box cutter setting. These scissors have become a favorite in my home! We use the box cutter setting — which works by crossing the tips to allow you to use the sharp edge — almost every day, for everything from opening packages to cutting arm holes in a cardboard-box-turned-robot-costume.

:: Retractable ballpoint pens. The unique retractable motion of these pens retracts the clip when exposing the tip so that you can’t clip it to your clothing with the tip exposed, which inevitably results in ink-stained pockets. I’m loyal to plain ol’ Bic pens, and I still find myself reaching for those, but the design is innovative and a great alternative for someone on the go!

:: Retractable dry-erase markers. Like the pens and highlighters, the dry-erase marker tip extends when you twist the pen, but these also feature a built-in eraser that extends as well. The chiseled tip and comfortable grip adds to the functionality of these markers.

This week, three lucky Organizing Your Way readers will each win a set of OXO tools, including:

:: 8″ scissors
:: retractable ballpoint pens (2 pk. black and 2 pk. blue)
:: retractable highlighters (3 pk.)


Every reader has four methods available to enter this contest (for a total of up to four entries):

1. Leave a comment. Which OXO Good Grips product do you think is the most innovative or addresses the biggest need in your own life?

2. Subscribe to my feed via RSS or email. You must confirm your email subscription for it to be a valid entry! Leave a separate comment letting me know you have done so. If you’re already a subscriber, simply leave a separate comment letting me know you’re already subscribed.

3. Become a fan of Staples on Facebook. Be sure to come back and leave a separate comment once you’ve done so!

4. Follow @mandiehman and @OXOGoodGrips and tweet the following on Twitter. Be sure to come back and leave a separate comment once you’ve done so!

Visit @mandiehman to win 1 of 3 sets of @OXOGoodGrips office supplies from Staples:

(3) sets of OXO Good Grips products, as described above

This giveaway ends at noon EST on Saturday, 2/6. I’ll use to select the winning comment. Winner will be notified by email, and this post will be updated with their name as well!