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Get Organized Now!
Mid-Week Mini Edition

By Maria Gracia
August 16, 2017

  Today's Feature

Prepare Yourself for Best-Case Scenarios

I went grocery shopping the other night and when I got inside, it was cold. I'm not talking a little cold. I'm talking 'Antarctica.' I even joked on Facebook that I'd better bring my parka next time.

Luckily, I had a sweatshirt in the car, which I keep in there this time of year. Why? Because it's summer and experience has proven many stores and restaurants to have their air conditioners cranked up to 'freeze zone.'

Part of being organized is preparing yourself for likely scenarios. Essentially, this means thinking a bit before doing things to help ensure that event, trip, or TO DO goes more smoothly.

Here are some other examples:

1) Don't get rained out. After getting caught in a surprise rainstorm at Summerfest in Milwaukee years ago, and having to drive home an hour away soaking wet, I learned my lesson. Now, whenever I'm going to any sort of outdoor festival, I always keep a plastic rain poncho in my purse. You can buy them for a song at many stores...I got mine from Amazon.

2) Save yourself extra legwork and embarrassment. Knowing that I'd likely be tipping some folks on a recent trip I took...airport luggage helpers, parking valets, restroom assistants, hotel maid service and such...I stopped at my bank before my trip and had my teller count out $50 in $1 bills. I kept that money in an envelope in my purse, and always had gratuity ready when needed. This prevented me from having to find change...or the embarrassment of not having any tip money on hand.

3) Early arrival is better than late. Although the facilities where I teach my fitness classes are only 10 minutes away, I always leave my house 30 minutes prior to get there. This way, I don't have to rush, I'll still be on time if I have to wait for a train to pass, and I have a few extra minutes to chat if I meet up unexpectedly with someone I know in the parking lot, which happens a lot.

4) Don't risk dropping the milk. Even if I'm running into the grocery store just to buy a loaf of bread, I always grab a grocery cart regardless. In doing so, if I end up picking up a few more items along the way...which is inevitable...I won't have to balance all of those groceries in my arms throughout the store.

5) Be good to your tootsies. When I wear a new pair of shoes, if I know I'm going to be out for a lengthy period of time, I always bring along a pair that I know are comfy. This way, if the new ones begin to hurt, I can change out of them and give my feet a break. Along this same line, before I wear any new shoes, I always stuff them full with clean, rolled up socks and allow them to stretch out for a few days before I wear them.

You get the idea. A little bit of thinking ahead really pays. I try to picture what I'm going to be doing in my head...and I ask myself what I anticipate needing...AND what I've needed in the past if this is a recurring type of task or event.

For instance, when I was packing for a recent vacation, part of which included a beach trip, I prepared myself for a best-case scenario...which would be a day on the beach without any little blips in my day. I asked myself things I'd want on the beach...a towel, my sunglasses, sunscreen, a water bottle, snacks that don't melt, Chapstick, my Kindle, and a beach bag to carry it all in. Of course, whenever you can record your thoughts on paper or a digital device, those notes act as excellent reminders.

When you're doing something and you find yourself wishing you would have brought something along or done a task ahead of time, engrave that thought in your mind. Experience is an excellent teacher for the future.

Speaking of preparing for a best-case scenario, if you, your kids, or your grandkids are in school, and you want this school year to turn out to be successful (and not stressful), then check out this great resource, 'Get the Best Grades.' It is excellent...great for all ages... and it helps ensure great grades without the hassles, the cramming, the endless hours of studying, the frustration, the whining, or the agony! It makes learning fun!

Plus you can get $125 in complimentary bonuses from me, (but only UNTIL THIS COMING SUNDAY when you get your hands on a copy. Visit:

All the details are further down in this issue.

  Ask Maria

How Do I Organize Photos, Screws, Nails, and Garage Junk

A GON Reader Asks

Love You! Thank you for your never ending GOOD information and insight, Maria! Can you help me with organizing 100s of photos and 100s of screws, nails and assorted 'garage junk' please? Thank you in advance!

Kind regards,

Carol Stream, IL

Maria Gracia Responds

Hi Beth,

Awwwww...thanks! I'm so glad you're enjoying what I'm sharing. That makes me feel great! To answer your question, let's tackle one category at a time.

100s of photos:

1) I'm assuming you're talking about printed photos. Find an empty table to work on that you don't have to keep 'picking up,' like a portable table. Borrow one if you don't have one. One that's six feet or larger is a good size. Then, little by little, begin sorting your photos into categories.

2) Stick a Post-it note in front of each category identifying it. Some large categories to start with are Names, Vacations, Holidays, Events, etc. These are just to give you an may have much different subjects. Sort into large categories first, and once everything is in a large category, pick one of those categories and break it up into smaller piles. For instance, Holidays might be broken up into Easter, Halloween, and Christmas.

3) Do this for 10-15 minutes a day, until everything is sorted. If you find duplicates, send them off to other people in the picture, or recycle them. If you find poor photos that aren't important enough to keep, now's the time to get rid of them.

4) Decide if you want to put these photos into albums or photo boxes. Photo boxes are easier to sort into, but albums are better for reminiscing later. Another possibility is scanning the photos too, so you have a digital backup version of everything.

100s of screws and nails:

1) Decide if you need to keep all of these. How often are they used? Does someone in your family build, do woodwork, or anything like this? If not, it may be time to drop these off at a metal scrap yard/recycler in your area.

2) If you do wish to keep them, you'll need to sort them...just like the photos. However, you'll want to have containers for these items like mason jars or empty, clean coffee cans. Once they're sorted, you can label the outsides of the containers with white labels or masking tape, indicating what's inside.

3) These containers can then be kept in the garage, basement, or wherever they're used most, either on shelves or mounted to the wall for easy access.

4) By the way, if necessary, magnetic pick-up tools are available in most hardware stores and on Amazon, to safely pick up nails, and such, without getting injured.

Assorted Garage Junk

1) Weed out, weed out, weed out. Many items kept in garages are not being used, and won't be used ever. Be discerning about what you keep. Get rid of everything else. If it's something toxic, like old cans of solvent, call your local trash/recycling center to find out how to dispose of it safely.

2) Garages are notorious for clutter because there is often not enough cabinets and/or shelving. Once you're down to the bare bones of what you will be keeping, consider adding cabinets, shelving, and other storage devices to house the keeper items. For instance, you may want a tool storage cart for rakes, shovels, and brooms.

3) Try to keep like-items all lawn and gardening tools in one area, all building/repair tools in another, and all sporting equipment in another.

4) Finally, look up. Does your garage have a crawl space or rafters above your head? If so, you probably just located a whole bunch of extra storage space. For instance, we have a ladder in our garage leading up to a very nice storage area where we keep outdoor holiday decorations and other more infrequently used items. A friend of mine laid planks of wood across his garage rafters to store his camping equipment up above.

Final notes

No matter what you're trying to organize, never look at the WHOLE job, because that's too overwhelming. Focus on organizing just a little bit at a time, for a few minutes a day. Yes, it may take awhile to get it done, but each day, you'll be a bit closer to completion...which is way better than not starting it at all.

Hope this helps!


  New on our Web Site!

Storage: I love coffee. I love tea. And I love storing the cups properly

Top Ten: My top 10 ways to be a better, more organized cook at home

Featured Video: Are you a procrastinator? If so, this video will make you laugh

Dirty Little Secret 1: When I get a gift card to a store or restaurant, here's what I do to ensure I don't forget I have it

Dirty Little Secret 2: To ensure my social engagements don't overtake my calendar, here's what I do

Dirty Little Secret 3: Can't find anything in your purse? Here's one thing I do to keep mine organized!

Mini Challenges: Small accomplishments give us the energy we need to move on to bigger and better challenges. Here are 5 things you can start...and finish...this week!

In ADDITION, on our home page, you'll also find lots of NEW and featured STUFF including...

Social Media Spotlight. How to throw away the memories our kids leave behind

Theme of the Week: Being Average. Enjoy our home page quotes, that reflect our theme, for added inspiration and motivation this week

  In Closing

Good luck is a residue of preparation.
Jack Youngblood

I'd love to hear from you.
Comments, suggestions, or just to say hello. Just REPLY to this email with a short note.

And remember...Being organized creates a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life!


Maria Gracia
Get Organized Now!

This is the end of our
Regular Newsletter Content
If you'd like to learn more about
Today's Special, Gotta Have Resource
you will find that information below.

  Special 'Gotta Have' Resource

Don't Study Harder...Study Smarter!

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How to Use This Newsletter

In this newsletter, you will find stories, ideas, inspiration, links and more to help you live a less stressful, more organized, more fulfilling life. We encourage you to apply these ideas to your own life AND share them liberally with your family, friends, and fan base via email, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, other social media outlets, and in person, of course!

When you share, please mention my name and web site - Maria Gracia - as the source.

Thank you for helping to spread the gift of organizing far and wide! -- Maria

(c) Copyright 2017 by Maria Gracia, Get Organized Now!

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-- Maria Gracia