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Save Your Change To Save More Money

Filed under: AdviceJohn Trosko

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No matter what shape the economy is in, everyone will ALWAYS be worried about their finances.

With your time and money in mind, professional organizer and FitPerez contributor John Trosko has a priceless idea for anyone looking to find a little extra holiday cash this year — save your change!

Yes, it's that easy! There is approximately $10 billion worth of spare change laying around America, so make sure you don't let your fair share go to waste, as John explains:

At any one time, approximately $10 billion worth of change is sitting idle in American homes through piggy banks, pickle jars, and unknowingly dropped in sofa cushions, junk drawers, under beds, stuck between car seats and in suit jackets.

Collect that lose change and forget about sorting, rolling and counting it all yourself. Save time this holiday season by having your local self-service coin collection machine automatically do the dirty work. The machines (aptly named Coinstar, CoinMax, Penny Arcade) are located inside local grocery and drug stores, credit unions, banks and selected Starbucks nationwide.

Bring them your bags or jars and simply pour the coins into the counter. Once processed, the machines issue a voucher to turn in at the retail register. While there's a fee (9.8%) if you insist on cash back, you'll save a lot of time not having to roll coins yourself.

Here’s a money saving tip: Save the counting fees entirely by opting for a gift card from national retail brands, an eCertificate for online purchases or you can even choose to donate your counted coins to charity.

What have you done with your spare change? Tweet your answersto @johntrosko or visit John’s blog OrganizingLA.

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EXCLUSIVE: Clutter-Free Gift Ideas For Mom!

Filed under: Exclusives!Tips

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It's tempting to go out shopping and find as many bargains you can this Black Friday.

But Perezitos.com correspondent and organizing expert John Trosko has a better idea:

Gobble Down Black Friday Clutter-Free Gifts For Mom

According to the annual Black Friday shopping survey from The National Retail Federation, over 152 MILLON people are expected to shop in stores or online this coming weekend. Will you be one of them?

Before you head out into the frenzy to shop for gifts, consider giving thoughtful clutter-free gifts this year. Clutter-free gifts are gifts from the heart; offerings that are healthy, consumable, imaginative and not necessarily budget-busting. Think how you can gussy up the presentation of clutter-free gifts with bows, ribbons, nice boxes and wrapping paper.

· Neighbors, distant friends, business associates and colleagues –Try consumable gifts; homemade cookies, fruit or jam you canned personally, car wash coupons;
· Close friends and family – Consider gifting them with “experiences” and not stuff. A membership to the local museum, pottery, scrapbooking or horticulture club is thoughtful. Or a trial membership to Curves gym (if they won’t be offended) or a circus school program
· Kids – Theme park admission, circus tickets, science center membership, an arcade or family entertainment center gift card.

Window shopping quickly turns into impulse purchases. To avoid clutter avoid in-store shopping to get gift ideas and do not buy gifts for future gifting. Listen to gift-giving clues and make sure the item given is relevant to the person receiving it. Nobody likes a turkey (gift).

Keep it a happy, safe, and clutter-free holiday season!

For more tips or if you have any questions, follow John's Twitter at @johntrosko or visit John’s blog OrganizingLA.

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EXCLUSIVE: Decluttering For The Autumn Season

Filed under: Exclusives!Tips

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Not only do you outgrow many of your belongings, but kids also outgrow their things too. Whether it's old clothes, toys, books, etc, autumn is the perfect time to declutter your life - just in time for the holidays!

Perezitos.com correspondent and organizing expert John Trosko teaches you how to use the "Pareto Principle" to help you get rid of all that clutter!

What if you could use statistics to declutter your life? The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule was developed in 1906 by Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist and sociologist who observed that 80% of land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Since then, we’ve learned the idea of the 80/20 rule has relevancy in almost every area of our lives: business, time management and usefulness of everyday objects.

· We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time;
· We read 20% of our magazine subscriptions 80% of the time;
· Our shelf space holds 80% clutter and junk you’ll never use;
· We spend 80% of our attention reviewing 20% of our mail and paperwork;
· We use 20% of our kitchen gadgets 80% of the time;
· We clean 20% of the house and it takes 80% of our time to clean it;
· We will use 20% of our loose recipes to make 80% of our meals;

The Pareto Principle gives us an excellent opportunity to look at the usefulness of daily clutter in our lives. Just because you have the space to store something, doesn’t mean you necessarily need to keep it. Because according to the 80/20 rule, you my not be using it! You can make the rule work for you by understanding the importance of priorities.

How could you use the 80/20 rule in your life?

Tweet your answers to @johntrosko or visit John’s blog OrganizingLA.

[ http://www.organizingla.com ]

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Get More Time In Your Life By Getting Organized

Filed under: Exclusives!Advice

John Trosko

It's not quite time for your New Year's resolution yet, but with an hour lost in time and winter quickly approaching, it's not a bad idea to start reorganizing your life!

John Trosko, a professional organizer and blogger, is here to offer some simple tips that can not only make your life a little easier, but save you precious time during your busy daily schedule!

Night arrives earlier this week. The change in time signals an hour of less sunlight. This means we’ll all want to find ways do more in less time and cram more into daylight. A great way to gain more time in your home, work and school is to look at your daily routines and find simple ways to improve them.

A routine is something you do the same way every day without ever really thinking about it, it’s just the way you tackle a chore (brush your teeth, make breakfast for the kids, walk the dog). This November, the next two weeks are important to the Thanksgiving holiday. I challenge you to take a look at your daily routines and unearth small subtle ways to improve or add to them. Follow these tips and you’ll squeeze out a bit more time each day. What could you accomplish if you had an extra hour in your day?

- Wash your breakfast dish before leaving for school or work (so you’ll return home to a clean sink);

- Always make your bed as soon as you get out of it;

- Adopt a weekly schedule of filling your gas tank. “I always get gas on Thursday so I am ready to GO for the weekend”;

- Plan for the morning the night before (choose your clothes, unpack and repack your gym or school bag, make lunch);

- Don’t walk the dog; exercise the dog….commit to a specified walk time or distance that is a work-out for the both of you;

- Pack a healthy snack in your work or school bag (so late-day temptation does not make you grab something you know you shouldn’t);

- Use a bowl or hook to hold your keys (so you’ll save a few minutes searching for them);

- Place a recycling receptacle inside the front door for junk mail (don’t let it come past the door);

- Wear shoes in the house (and not slippers) while doing chores (signaling it’s “work” time);

- Store your TV remove in an attractive canister or box or just switch to one Universal device;

- Do it now, or do it later? Tackle projects that will take 2-minutes or less and just do them!

A few simple tweaks to your daily routine can make a big difference. Remind yourself how good you feel when you are more in control. Effective routines mean more “you” time!

What are some of your small habits you’ve changed or tweaked to gain more time each day? Tweet your November super time savers to @johntrosko or visit John’s blog OrganizingLA.

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EXCLUSIVE! Avoid Halloween Clutter From Gobbling Up Your November

Avoid Halloween Clutter From Gobbling Up Your November

If your Halloween wasn’t scary enough, it’s time to start storing those plastic pumpkins, spiders, death masks, witches’ cauldrons, devil pitchforks, skeletons, tombstones, autumnal wreaths and mummies. Oh my!

You can stop being scared, professional organizer and Perezitos.com correspondent John Trosko is here to help! John writes:

"Seasonal décor are hard-earned investments and should be protected! If the items are specific to Halloween, they should be culled, organized, boxed, bagged and labeled together as a grouping. Not only will you save time when you pull them out next year, but setting up will be fun and bits and pieces will be projected from damage.'

Use these tricks not only for organizing your Halloween décor, but for other holidays like Christmas, Easter and Fourth of July!"

Here are John's Halloween Décor Storage Tricks:

· Use color-coded orange boxes available at your local Wal-Mart or Target. Color-coding by the season makes sense because the color communicates what is in the box. Clear bins are an option because they allow you to see what’s in them without opening the box and you later you can always add more.
· Snap and place a set of photos inside one of the boxes so you’ll be able to refer to them for next year.
· Review decorations and costumes for use, damage and over-accumulation;
· Consider donating unused décor to your favorite charity;
· Completely dry out decorations and make sure items are reasonably clean;
· Remove batteries from animated figures (to avoid corrosion or leakage);
· Wrap anything sharp and seal with removable blue tape;
· Use clear “contractor-size” lawn and leaf bags to contain giant-size outdoor décor;
· Use zippered baggies to contain hardware and manuals (label the bags);
· Check for frayed wires on the fog machines and electrical units;
· Make use of cable ties to control unruly cords;
· Wrap fragile collectibles in packing paper or acid-free tissue;
· Collect scary music CDs or playlists and leave with decorations;
· Store flammables (matches or lamp oils) away from your décor;
· Package Halloween plates, serving ware, utensils and trick-or-treating candy bowls with regular décor so everything is together in one place;
· Use labels on the outside of each box to identify the contents.

Our organizing expert says once you have this system in place, you’ll find that decorating and storing your seasonal décor gets done in a snap. Your time won’t be gobbled up hunting for things you thought you already owned. It will all be there!

What tips and tricks can you share for storing holiday décor and creating a less stressful holiday?

Tweet your spooky thoughts and chilling challenges to @johntrosko [ http://twitter.com/#!/johntrosko or visit John’s blog OrganizingLA.

[Image via WENN.]

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