Category Archives: Digital Life

Looking for the Best Software to Organize Your Digital Photos?

Have you been searching for the best software or app to organize your digital photos or print and share them? There are just so many software solutions, apps and cloud storage services available these days. They all seem to do one thing the others don’t but you’re not sure which is best for you. You’re not tech savvy enough to know which one is the best or if you are, you definitely don’t have the time to do the research. You just need someone to tell you which is the best software app or program and you’ll get it done, right?

Looking for the Best Digital Photo Organizing Software

Except that new & improved software is not the solution where organization is the problem. The truth is that you probably already have a decent software program for organizing your digital photos on your computer, phone or tablet. Or several of them…So, are your photos organized yet? Hmmm, I think I’m onto something.

Software without a system won’t help you get your photos into a beautiful gallery wall in your living room or photo album on your coffee table. But a simple, efficient system can.

So, let’s talk systems, shall we? Professional organizers and productivity experts are always using this S word but it sounds so complicated, right? You hear the word System and think lots of intricate steps, fancy software features and a ton of time invested. It can be…but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, the best systems I know are those in their simplest form. I like this definition from Merriam-Webster: an organized or established procedure.

Another way to think of System is something that saves you stress, time, energy and money. Can’t take credit for that one either but I really like it. That’s it. A system is a set of simple steps you repeat over and over again that save you stress, time, energy and money.

Instead of looking for new software or an app to download, think about how you can create a better system- or established set of steps. The best system to help you get your digital photos in order will:

  • Be as simple as possible- I often refer to this quote from French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”
  • Be repeatable- Consistency is key!
  • Fit your personality & preferences- What works wonderfully for your best friend, might not work for you at all.
  • Help you accomplish YOUR goals- People enjoy photos in different ways. My sister-in-law is great at getting photos into frames and displaying them throughout her home. Your neighbor lives to scrapbook. You just want to get calendars together for the Grandparents at Christmas or maybe you’d rather display your photos digitally. Whatever your goals, make sure they’re truly YOURS. Just because SuperMom in your mom’s group has all four of her children’s lives scrapbooked from their birth story, holidays, birthdays through their current grade doesn’t mean that’s the RIGHT way to do it. Phew, that’s a relief, right?

If this post has you rethinking how you’re going to rescue your digital photos from your drives and devices, I’ve got a workshop coming up at the end of the month that you’re really going to like. It’s called PhotoJoy and you can click on the button here to get more information, tips and updates.

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6 Solutions For Controlling Cord Clutter

Does visual clutter bother you? It makes me feel unsettled. One of the most universal offenders these days are cords and cables. Even in this age of wireless we can’t seem to do away with the cords! Thankfully, it’s one of the easiest problems to resolve.

6 Cord Clutter Solutions

As with most organizing challenges, there is an overabundance of solutions to choose from. I’ve tried many cord organizing products. I’m not a fan of spiral, zipper or wire loom (corrugated tube) organizers as the cords tend to fall out too easily, in my experience. Though they do work well if the wires are running to and from the same location. Traditional plastic cable ties are a solid solution but don’t allow for easy reuse. I also prefer to stay away from “cable organization systems”. The components are too cookie cutter and not as cost effective for the average home.

So, here’s a list of 6 of my tried & true favorite products or types of solutions to corral cord clutter. I am a fan of products that are low-fuss, function well, are inexpensive and often have varied uses throughout the home.

Velcro One Wrap

I have several rolls of these in my house (office, garage, laundry room). I always carried them in my work bag when I was organizing in clients homes. You can buy a 50-pack roll in black or gray for under $6 at most home improvement stores. Velcro also has color-coded or write-on label One-Wrap ties, though they are much less economical at around $7 for only 5 ties. Attach a One-Wrap tie to your cord by wrapping it through the pre-punched hole onto itself. Plus, it’s reusable. At 8 inches in length, they work for many applications but you can attach multiple ties together if you need a longer tie. Or your can easily cut them with a standard pair of scissors if they’re too long. I’ve used them to bundle and corral computer cords under/behind desks, store charging cables, outdoor gear, holiday decor, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Command Cord Clips

I’m pretty much a raving fan of all things Command and these cord clips are no exception. They are clear and come in small, medium and large as well as round and flat profiles. These are great for running cords along walls, trim and under desks or other furniture. Follow the instructions closely for the best results and observe which surfaces Command products will adhere to.

Nail-in Cable Clips

These are typically shaped to fit coaxial cable. You can pick up a pack of 20 for less than $4 at your local home improvement store. They work well to run cable along moldings if you don’t have the resources to run cable in the wall or are renting. http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-Nail-In-Video-Cable-Clips-20-Pack-73502/202698897

Cord Channels/Covers

Cord channels and covers come in lots of shapes and sizes. You can buy basic cord channel or a kit with elbows and couplings to join long runs together or run them around obstacles. They are typically paint-able and attach using adhesive tape. The only downside is wall damage if/when you remove them.

Cord Basket

You can buy a basket specifically intended for this purpose, like the Ikea Signum Cable Management or create your own like this pin from Martha Stewart.

Keyholes

Many electrical devices such as power strips, modems, routers, etc. have a built-in keyhole. This allows you to drive a screw into the side of a desk or a wall to mount the device on. Here’s a tip for perfect power strip mounting from Wood Magazine.

So that’s my short & sweet list of cable management tools. Honestly, I mostly just stick with Velcro One-Wrap to keep things low fuss. Command hooks seem to be at the top of my list these days, too. Do you have any solutions to share with Homeology readers? Any questions on how to get your cord clutter under control? Let me know in the comments!

Best Cloud Photo Sharing & Storage Tools

My first guest post was published this week over at simplify 101, where I’m sharing the verdict (aka. my opinion) on Cloud Photo Storage options. What’s the difference between Photo Printing, File Syncing and Sharing and Photo Sharing and Storage sites? Once you know that, which one do you choose? Not sure?BestCloudPhotoSharing-Storage_S101-BFP

Head over and check it out! And, yes, there’s another chart :D

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31 Days of Real Life Organizing

Last week I posted about whether or not your organizing measures up to what you see & read in magazines, blogs and on Pinterest. I feel strongly that you deserve to have a home that is organized, warm and welcoming for yourself and others who live and visit there. In addition, I am just as convinced that you can have that without putting the rest of your life on hold. There are lots of simple ways to start making progress towards that goal. I’m sharing what I’ve learned on my journey as a professional organizer and in organizing my own home.

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I just learned about TheNester’s 31 Days Annual Writing Challenge and I thought it would be a good way to push myself to write more on the topic. I realize I’m a day late but I figured it’s better to get started late than not to do it at all, right? {a bit of foreshadowing into my second post…}

So for the next 31 days {well, 30, since I’ll post two today}, I’m going to share insights, projects, tips and tools on Real Life Organizing.

You can follow my blog in your RSS feed or follow the 31 Days of Real Life Organizing on Pinterest or you can even pin this post so you can refer back to it throughout or at the end of the 31 days.

Once it’s published, I’ll link up each day’s post in the list below:

  1. How to Get Started Organizing at Home
  2. Perfectly Organized
  3. Oops! 9 Most Common Home Organizing Mistakes
  4. Get Organized. Get Inspired.
  5. How Long Will It Take to Get Organized
  6. RA-RA For Organizing Paper!
  7. The Four Step Foundation for Real Life Organizing & Free Printable
  8. Redefining The Inbox
  9. Are You a Perfectionator?
  10. Get Organized in 15 Minutes or Less?
  11. My Top 10 List of Organizing Myths
  12. Get Organized. Get Inspired. {Useful & Beautiful}
  13. 11 Reasons Your Home Organizing Projects Fail
  14. Create Clutter-Free Holiday Decor: Halloween Edition
  15. How To Organize Product Manuals & Warranty Information
  16. What Organizing Isn’t
  17. How Long To Organize a Room?
  18. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room
  19. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part I
  20. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part II
  21. My Favorite Containers- The Basics
  22. Organizing Rules For Results
  23. 3 Reasons To Think Outside The Box {Or Bin or Container}
  24. Get Organized. Get Inspired.
  25. Take Action On Your Paper Piles
  26. Loathing Laundry?  4 Reasons We Love to Hate Laundry
  27. Organizing Quickie in the Closet
  28. Baby Steps for Tackling Paper Clutter
  29. How Do I Get My Spouse Organized?
  30. Organizing Solution for Kids Activities and Gear
  31. Simplify For The Holidays

Ciao for now!

Quit Organizing Email

As an info junkie myself, I get frustrated about the plethora of information available online about “the what” and “the why” (what you should be doing and why) and lack of “the how-to”. It is so frustrating when you’re on board with an idea and you understand its merits but you’re not sure HOW to execute it. So, where appropriate, I have decided to include that info in my posts.
Quit Organizing Email

Managing your inbox (or not) or “checking email” is a huge source of frustration for many small business owners and if you’re an online business owner the problem can be accentuated because you do most of your business through digital means. Based on my work with and feedback from online business owners, filing and organizing email is a common source of frustration and time suck.

It’s easy to spend way too much time organizing, labeling and filing email messages. I’ve worked with clients who have over 200 email folders, not to mention additional nested folders. Can you say “complicated”?

The What: One of the simplest ways to eliminate time spent on filing, labeling and organizing, etc. is to stop doing it. Seriously.

The Why: I suggest applying Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 Rule to email messages we keep: 80 percent of what you retain you will never look for or at again. While I have never officially tracked this metric, I have seen anecdotal evidence that it is true. So, why spend so much time and energy on messages you’ll never refer to again?

The How-To: Create a single processed or “done” folder (or use the archive feature in Gmail) and file all of the messages you’re going to keep into it. Then, invest some time into learning how best to search that folder so you can find information quickly. For Apple Mail, this MacLife article on using search tokens (i.e. From, to, etc.) will help get you started. If you’re using Microsoft Outlook, I highly recommend purchasing and downloading X1 Search 8 (formerly X1 Professional Client)- it’s so worth it! Feel free to message me privately if you have any questions about X1.  And, if you’re using Gmail, you can find advanced search operators here.

The second part is extremely important. Having the ability to retrieve what you need quickly will help you to trust the process. Trust and confidence in these steps will eliminate the need to spend unnecessary time filing or further processing your email messages. After all, you have more email coming in as we speak. Don’t worry about moving or reorganizing your existing folder/label structure. Simply create one new folder, label it something meaningful to you and file completed messages into it.

When I first introduce this concept to online business owners, they are hesitant to try it. Understandably so. It is a significant change from how you may have been filing email but I promise it will provide you with a meaningful result. I urge you to try it for 2 weeks…most people who have tried it are fans in much less time.

If you’ve already switched over to this method of filing messages, let me know in the comments how it’s working for you. If you haven’t, would you consider taking my two week challenge?