Get Control of Your Email

It’s easy to let your email inbox get the best of you. Anyone with an email address can easily receive dozens of messages a day and with a work account and junk mail included, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by a hundred or more emails per day.


We’ve all seen images of inboxes with hundreds or thousands of unread messages, and you may even know someone who’s snowed under with unread email. Hopefully, you’re not in that situation, but if you are, now is the time to regain control.


Last week I suggested that you empty your home of excess by taking part in the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. Emptying your email can be part of this challenge. While you won’t need any physical bags to clean your inbox, you’ll need time and an organizational system.

First, set up a few folders to move emails you may want to find at a later day. Maybe something like these:

  • Financial Info
  • Orders
  • Reservations
  • Family
  • Personal


Then start cleaning out unopened messages.

  • Delete everything more than 30 days old. If you haven’t read it in 30 days, it can’t be that important so just select these messages and DELETE in mass.
  • Now open, read, file or delete the remaining messages.
  • Repeat this process daily so that at the end of the day no messages remain in your inbox.

An empty inbox and the mail icon on your phone without a number screaming at you to check your email is a great stress reliever since you won’t be worried about missing or losing important messages.


Open, read, organize and most of all get control of your email.



Grab a Bag

You may have seen pictures I’ve posted recently of bags of clothes, books, videos, and trash I’ve discarded as part of a forty day Lenten practice. This started when a friend posted a message on Facebook…I am ready for some decrapifying…with a picture of a black garbage bag.

Martha participated in #40BagsIn40Days last year during Lent and said it really changed her so she was coming back for round two this year and would be posting daily pictures on Instagram to track her progress. Instantly motivated by the idea, I took the challenge and started collecting a bag of things to donate or discard each day.

Today will be day 17 of decrapifying, and it’s been wonderful to see the difference a single bag and a few minutes each day can make.

Bags of books donated to the Friends of the Library.


Bags of papers removed from file cabinets for shredding.


Bags of clothes donated.

Organized desk drawers, bathroom drawers as well as drawers of clothes.


So while it’s too late to start this project for Lent, it’s not to late to fill a bag with things you no longer need or want. Grab a bag and get started.

Clean cupboards. Clean your closet. Clean the trunk of your car. Clean your purse. Clean the refrigerator.

But take it easy! The beauty of #40BagsIn40Days is a task broken into small manageable parts. Better to fill one bag a day than burn yourself out with a dozen bags in a single day. When you fill the bag, quit for the day. There will be more to do tomorrow. Make the rules fit your needs. I’m filling a bag every day, and that’s keeping me motivated, but set a different schedule if that works better for you.

Grab a bag. Fill it. Discard or donate. You’ll love the way decrapifying makes you feel.



And remember, getting rid of stuff is NOT an excuse to buy more things for your newly found space.

Organize Your Car

Like many people, my car is my home away from home so it’s important to take the time to clean and organize your car just as you would any room in your house. While I don’t have a housekeeper, I do pay others to clean my car.

Cleaning out the sand after a trip to the beach or mud after camping in the rain requires running through a car wash, but it’s a good idea to occasionally pay to have your car detailed and thoroughly cleaned. Of course, you can do this yourself, but I appreciate the the shiny tires, the vacuumed carpets, the polished dashboard, and the new car smell that comes with a $25 car wash experience.

But just as important as cleaning the car is organizing all the things you carry in your car: the umbrella, extra shoes, jacket, jumper cables, tools, cords, maps. So here’s a list of my suggestions for car organization:

  • ¬†Get a change purse so coins aren’t scattered all over the car.
  • Keep your registration and insurance card in an envelope or plastic bag for easy access. (You might even want to use a coupon organizer so it’s easy to find.)
  • Store napkins or wipes and Ziplock bags in the door pocket for quick and easy clean up.
  • Use plastic boxes or other small containers to organize your phone chargers, pocket knife, GPS, and other items in your glove compartment.
  • If you carry shoes, jackets, or other clothing in your car, keep in a basket or reusable grocery bag that can be easily carried in the house (you may even consider one for each family member).
  • Jumper cables and tools should be kept in a toolbox or other plastic container, but remember, you don’t need to carry every tool you own everywhere you go.

And finally, clean out those items you’ve been carrying around for no reason. Keep the flashlight, grocery bags, and umbrella, but do you really need cups, mail, old magazines, a bicycle pump and three jackets?

If you’re trying to keep your car fresh and tidy, you may want to put a dryer sheet under the car seats to use as an expensive air freshener that’s out of sight and take a couple of minutes every time you fill your tank with gas to clean out the scraps of paper, cups, receipts, or other trash that’s accumulated since your last fill up.

Clean and organize your house, but don’t forget to clean and organize your car as well, after all, it really is your home away from home.





Wunderlist Wonderful

wunderlistOrganization depends on list making…at least for me and I’ve been searching for the perfect list making tool to use on my phone, iPad, and computer. I’ve tried several, but until recently they’ve all come up short. Wunderlist makes it possible for me to keep multiple lists in a format that allows tasks or items to be checked off upon completion. I set due dates and reminders attached to lists and can email the lists I want to share with others.

Collaborating on lists makes Wunderlist wonderful. John and I can both add items to our shared lists so he doesn’t have to rely on me to remember to add razor blades to the grocery list or I don’t have to ask him to add a blanket to the camping list. Both of us have access to the lists with the ability to make changes and then whoever happens to stop at Publix has the list. No more leaving the list at home or in the car or losing the scrap of paper. We’ve even started a list with ideas for next year’s 14 in 14.Wunderlist-iPhone

Not all of my lists are shared. I have a list for gift ideas. One for writing ideas. Another of books I want to read. Of course, I have lists for packing for weekend getaways, vacations, and items needed to resupply a first aid kit. If you’re a list maker and are ready to graduate from paper and pencil, Wunderlist may be just what you need. And did I mention it’s free! That makes it worth a try! I hope you agree that Wunderlist is a wonderful tool to keep you organized.

Remember Everything

evernoteThanks to Evernote remembering everything is now possible. I downloaded the Evernote app to my computer, iPad, and phone a couple of months ago, and since it syncs data between all three devices, it lives up to it’s promise to help you remember everything.

I’ve set up notebooks in which I can store recipes, work notes, home projects, gift ideas, order information, and best of all wedding notes. Evernote lets users type or dictate notes, but the feature I like best is the ability to forward email into an Evernote notebook. When Emily sends me ideas or price quotes for vendors, I simply forward the email to my Evernote account and can even designate the appropriate notebook for storage in the subject line. My Wedding notebook contains 41 notes with pictures of dresses, decor ideas, venue contact information, and vendor quotes. Everything is in one place and can be accessed on any device. I can share a single notebook or all notebooks with others, even if they don’t have an Evernote account of their own.

I tested Evernote during the Christmas holiday keeping lists of gift ideas and then forwarding orders insuring I didn’t lose any important receipts. I also took pictures of receipts for other gifts using the scanner function which enabled me store them for easy access. Impressed, I decided to make Evernote my new organization system.

Save webpages, organize research, work with others, plan a trip…so many possibilities…a must have organization tool!