Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Best Free Software - For Productivity, Organizing - Everything!

Computers are not useful without the right programs to do the tasks that you need to do. It used to be that the best software cost a lot of money - for instance, a standard Microsoft Office suite can cost upwards of $400. Times have definitely changed, as a tremendous amount of useful, software is available for the low, low price of FREE. What's really surprising is how polished and professional much of this open-source software is. While I still use commercial software, I'm finding myself drawn more and more to open-source alternatives, which I now am recommending with increasing frequency to my organizing clients.

To get an idea of what's out there, check out PC Magazine's roundup of the best free software of 2008 online at:,2817,2260070,00.asp

Do you have a favorite free software program that's not in the list? Post it in the comments!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

4 Top Year-End Organizing Tips

The final month of the year is here, and for many of us, it’s a time of wrapping things up before the new year rolls around. This year, as part of your year-end wrap-up, consider taking a few moments to revisit the systems that serve you every day, and see if you can improve them.

Clean out your paper files. Over the course of a year, most of us accumulate way more paper than we need, and much of it ends up in our file drawers. The end of the year is a great time to free up space in your files to make room for next year’s new documents. Spend some time going through your file drawer and see if the papers in there are still necessary and relevant to you. Look at your files with a cold eye and shred or recycle what you no longer need.

Revisit your filing system. While you’re in your file drawer, take the opportunity to look at how your filing system is set up, and make any changes that will help it serve you better in the future. Do the file names make sense to you? Are the tabs and folders clearly labeled? Are the file folders frayed at the edges? Are you trying to stuff too many documents in a slim hanging file, when a box-bottom file is a better fit? Now’s a great time to change file names, re-label, and get the right supplies to improve the system.

Donate unused supplies and other “stuff.” Look through your supply storage area, and chances are you probably have some supplies hiding in there that have never been (and likely never will) be used. Sure, those t-shirt iron-on transfers seemed like a good idea when you were at the office supply store, but are you ever going to use them? Free up space in your storage by getting rid of those things you either never used or just don’t need. Most non-profits are happy to take office supplies off your hands. Bonus – you may even get a tax-deduction for donating these supplies to a charity.

Delete junk from your computer. Files stored on our computer may not take up room on your desk, but they can fill a hard drive surprisingly fast. Delete drafts and out-of-date versions of files if you no longer need them. Use the search tools on your computer to find duplicate files, and keep just the ones you need. In your email program, if you no longer have use for a large attachment that was sent with an email, delete it. These can take up a surprising amount of space!

―Joshua Zerkel

Joshua Zerkel, Certified Professional Organizer and home office organizing expert, helps busy people save time, space and money by getting organized at home and at work. For more FREE organizing ideas, visit or call 415-830-6345.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Reduce Your Books and Get Paid Doing It

When I work with clients to help them cut their clutter, one area that generally gets weeded through is the bookshelf. It can be filled with books that are useful, not so useful, and maybe not even read! Getting rid of books that you no longer want or need can be difficult - unread books can be a huge source of guilt. That said, I encourage you to let go of books that you're not likely to get to anytime soon - after all, you can always check a book out from the library later!

Would it take the edge off if you made some money from the books that you're getting rid of? Well, a site sent to me by a client called Cash for Books can help you do just that. You tell them what books you have, and they pay you for them. Cash for Books will even pay for the shipping! Check them out at:

Cash For Books - We Buy Books & We Pay The Shipping!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Best On-the-Go Productivity Applications for your BlackBerry Smartphone

A few days ago, I posted the best on-the-go applications for the iPhone. BlackBerry users, I haven’t forgotten about you – here’s a list of top apps for your smartphones.

Do you have a favorite BlackBerry application? Post it in the comments.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Best On-the-Go Productivity Applications for your iPhone Smartphone

If you have a smartphone like an iPhone or a BlackBerry, you’ve probably realized that these handy gizmos can do so much more than just keep track of your schedule and make calls. With add-on applications, you can turn your phone into a database of maps, a direct link to FaceBook and other social networking sites, and a handy restaurant finder. Other programs can help you prepare expense reports or find the lowest price on office supplies. Here are some reviews of the best iPhone applications. Later this week, I’ll post some reviews for the best BlackBerry applications.,2817,2331274,00.asp,2817,2333964,00.asp

If you have any applications that you particularly find useful for your iPhone, please post them in the comments.