09.05.10

10 Tips to Start the Fall Off Right

Is your child heading off to college? House a mess? Moving? Here are 10 ways to keep your sanity from Barbara Guggenheim and Nadine Schiff, creators of The Ultimate Organizer.

If you’re wondering why we took time away from our day jobs to create The Ultimate Organizer, here’s why. We were women who wanted it all: a husband, family, job, and home. It wasn’t until we got it all that we realized we were totally screwed.

We not only were working at our jobs, but we became the CEOs of our houses and families, taking care of partners, children, aging parents, friends, and pets. Our desks overflowed with crap: scraps of paper carrying important phone numbers, access codes, and passwords that we needed to remember to get even the simplest of tasks off of our massive to-do lists—but couldn’t find and had nowhere to keep.

So, we admit it. The Ultimate Organizer was created out of that great motivator: desperation. We decided to reclaim our lives by creating one place to store all the phone numbers, checklists, and bits of information we picked up along the way. We’ve created templates for entertaining, packing, taking care of aging parents and children, and just about everything else you can think of.  No more reinventing the wheel with the over three hundred forms, lists, and templates. And the best part, we’ve filled a lot of them in, so you don’t have to waste time.  Want to know what to pack, what to put in the guest bath when you entertain? It’s at your fingertips.

We know you get it. We understand the frustration of your life running you and not the other way around. We’re here to help you. That’s why we’re giving you a top-ten list of things we think you’ll need to get ready for fall.

1. Summer's over. No more sleeping in or lazy weekends. Make a list of chores and responsibilities in and around the house and assign them. Have built in consequences for non-performers and carry them through. (Also make a calendar of everyone's extracurriculars, so no one’s confused)

2. Make a list of everyone's medical insurance numbers (yours, your partner's, children’s and aging parents’) so they're all in one place—The Ultimate Organizer. Heaven forbid there’s an emergency, you won’t be responding an in panic mode.

3. Your cupboards are bare, depleted over the summer. Throw away the stale Fritos, take our list out of The Ultimate Organizer and restock your pantry and refrigerator, buying multiples of things you use frequently. (That includes your bar—especially your bar!)

4.The summer guests have gone, but with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, more guests are on their way. Use our checklist to refresh your guest bedroom/bathroom.

5. If you went on a car trip this summer (or loaned your van to your kids) it's time to clean it up. Use our list to make sure you put everything in your glove compartment and trunk you'll need in an emergency.

6. If your kid’s going off to college, use our list and make sure to buy everything he needs. Fill in the names and numbers of stores near campus to buy kid staples and goodies he needs and craves for pulling all-nighters. If your kid has a car, make sure the insurance and registration number are in the glove compartment as well as a list of what to do in a fender-bender—after he clutches.

7. It's finally time for you to do your work. Make room for a home office and use our supplies checklist to stock it.

8. It's time for a fall makeover. Rearrange your closets (replace those sleeveless dresses with sweater sets), try on old clothes and give away what you don’t need, and while you're at it, get thee to a hairdresser and a new pilates class.

9. Get out that toiletry bag with the toothpaste caked on the bottom and wash it or get a new one. Refill it with new carry-on items and medicines for your next trip. Get ready for adventure!

10. If, horror of horrors, you're moving, use our timeline to ease the pain. Don't forget on the day of your move to take a set of sheets, pillow, and blanket with you so you can make your bed first and then lie in it.

Barbara Guggenheim is a partner in the art consulting firm Guggenheim, Asher Associates. She has written three books and co-authored with Nadine Schiff, The Ultimate Organizer: Be Your Own Personal Assistant, a system designed to keep your life organized, which is available now.

Nadine Schiff is the co-author of two books and the executive producer of several film and television movies. An on-air journalist for several networks, including the CBS Evening News, she holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Not a day goes by in Hollywood that she doesn’t use it.