How to Organize Warranty and User manuals

Posted on January 25, 2012 by Tanya

This weekend a friend, Nina asked how to organize her warranty information. Another friend, Maribeth provided additional ideas. Together, this is what we came up with:

1. gather all your paperwork into one pile and recycle any manuals you no longer need;

2. separate the manuals into different piles that make sense for you: home products (refrigerator, washer/dryer, stove…), outside tools (mower, saws…), personal products (hair dryers, razors…), kids toys and so on;

3. determine if file folders or large envelopes will work best for you and if you will store them in a file cabinet or other box; and

4. label your folders so you will know what is in the file or the envelope.

It is really important that you keep these where you will easily access them and where you will be sure to add to them as you purchase new products.

If you still have the receipt, staple it to the front cover of the manual. Also, note which credit card you used to make the purchase as the credit card company may extend the warranty past the manufacturer’s warranty. Plus, many of the receipts are printed on paper that will degrade and you won’t be able to read it years from now.

Here are some other online resources (click on the image) you can use for more inspiration and organization of your warranty information and user manuals:

From the Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking blog

From the blog I Heart Organizing

Getting Your Ducks in a Row starts with taking just one project at a time and organizing it to your satisfaction for your success! If you need any help in eastern NC or the Raleigh area, contact us today by sending a message!



Apps Alike — or Not?

Posted on January 17, 2012 by Tanya

So I said I would review these apps — “10 Must Have Apps for Moms (and 5 Guilty Pleasures)”. I have some of them on my iPhone and to those I can speak with my very limited authority. Here goes:

FacebookTwitter and Pinterest — of course these are great! They work very well meaning they are easy to start and once you are logged in, they come up quickly and they are easy to use from your smartphone. I must say, I switched to Hootsuite for managing my posts because that app is as good or better than the laptop version. These are must have apps if you are into social media at all.

FBI Child ID – if you have children under the teenage years, this is incredible! What I like is that it is one easy place to store a picture and details about your child(ren) with easy links to get the information to authorities should something happen. This is one app I hope you never use.

Wunderlist – If you don’t have a task or list program already, this one is very simple to use. I set it up online and can now access it from my iPhone. However, I have a task list I can use already in iMail (or many of you have it in Outlook).


MomMaps and SitOrSquat are awesome! The first one will tell you where there are kid-friendly restaurants, playgrounds and such based upon where you are located. The second one tells you where there are nearby bathrooms. You can also have it just tell you where there are changing tables or you can add your favorite gas station chain to the list. (Plus the picture of the people dancing because they have to go is too funny!)

Real Simple’s NoTimetoCook app is really quite ingenious. You click on what meat you have on hand or want to fix and then how much time you have. It will immediately give you lots of recipes. Then, when you find one you like, you just tap to add the ingredients to your shopping list. There they are sorted according to the grocery aisles. Simply amazing!

The key is utilizing any app is to use what you have, keep it updated and make sure it is convenient for you! There are so many more I love and would love to check out, but this is a great start.

Let me know what apps you have and use or which apps you want tested for you. I will blog the results right here. So, go forth and start getting your ducks in a row with an app or two!

Call Structured Chaos if you need help with these apps or any other organizing support. Serving eastern NC and the Raleigh area by appointment.


Time Management — When?

Posted on January 11, 2012 by Tanya

There are so many things to take up your time — family, friends, work, social media… It is amazing we get anything accomplished at all. But, there is hope! The answer to WHEN you manage your time is: NOW!

You can’t do it if you don’t start, otherwise your time is managing you. Take control by sitting down and mapping a plan. How will you do what you need to do without losing your mind?

1. Make making lists a natural extension of what you do.

  • Have paper and pen handy for that moment you remember something OR
  • Sign up for one of many free apps for your phone or computer *
  • Use time waiting at the doctor’s office or for your car repairs to make a list
  • Encourage family members to do the same
  • Buy only what is on your shopping list – if they did not write it, they must not need it
  • Complete at least one thing on your list before moving to another activity*


Use Evernote to capture anything and remember everything








2. Determine what time of day you are most productive and use that time.

  • If you are more productive at 5:30am, then get up and get going
  • If you do better late at night, then plan to stay up and do something

3. You don’t need a lot of time to manage your time. Often it is a matter of looking at what we do each day and find where we are wasting.

  • Multi-task easy things while doing something else (clip coupons while talking with your kids or watching the news
  • Make phone calls while driving — hands free only, make your grocery list while dinner is cooking…)

So make lists during the time of day you are most productive and your time will become a useful part of your day!

Go to our Facebook page to comment on what works for you — paper or digital, morning or night, your favorite site or app.


Traveling Apps

Posted on January 7, 2012 by Tanya

When I travel, I really like to know where I am going and how much it is going to cost me. Here are some of my faves:

 GasBuddy – FREE – This is my most used app while traveling. Whether I am going 20 miles or 200 miles, I use this to find what is the cheapest gas near me and then I know how to choose the gas station. After all, I won’t drive 10 miles out of my way to get gas $.01 cheaper! This app has yet to fail me and I know it has helped me to save money and that is as precious as my time these days.

 Sit or Squat – FREE – Charmin was a genius to come up with this app! With it you can find bathrooms while you are on the go. “A place to find and record bathrooms anywhere in the world”. Love it!! This is especially good for those of you with young children. You can easily add bathrooms that are not on the map or list and identify them as ones where you would actually sit or if you would recommend improvement, where you would only squat. This is a must try app!

 AroundMe – FREE – “Because you’re going places” With this app, you can quickly locate an ATM, coffee shops, gas stations, hospitals, theaters, parking, restaurants… Just tap the topic and it immediately pulls up what you need. This is truly an easy, full service app whether you are traveling or simply in need of finding out something near you. I pulled up the movies playing “around me” and local restaurants (for one we don’t typically think of going to) and then planned a date night!

 GigWalk – FREE – Need to make a few bucks while you are on the go? With GigWalk, you can do just that. Download the app, create an account, log in and check out posted gigs. You complete the gig and the money is deposited into your account. You can make just a few dollars by taking a picture of a place or building or make more by doing a store audit. It is “connects people with businesses to get work done anywhere”. This is fascinating and worth checking out!

 GPS Drive – FREE, but Annual Upgrade is recommended – I loved this app before I got my car with navigation. I still use this one, especially when riding with others. The upgrade was worth the $9.99 for the year given all the traveling I do. It was easy to use with several options for viewing. This is what made it valuable to me – it was spot on and it was clear enough to me when driving in heavy traffic and I could only glance at the screen periodically. It allowed me to find addresses stored in my iPhone as well as other places of interest (hotels, coffee, restaurants, gas stations) and incorporate them into my trip. Plus, I like the time and distance estimation and constant update so I could follow my progress in real time.

So these are just a few of the “traveling apps” I seem to go back to time and time again. They are FREE and they work. Try them out for yourself and let me know of others you have found that are just as user friendly.

Keep Papers Organized — Really??

Posted on January 6, 2012 by Tanya

Thanks to Balaoing Ventures, LLC for asking what products work best for keeping home/business papers organized. So my answer is easy — it depends!

  • First you must look at what you have:
  1. Do you have a ton of papers or just a few?
  2. Do you want them on your computer or in a paper file?
  3. Do you have a special place to house your files or limited space?
  4. Do you have a method to sorting the trash from the shreds from the keeps?

Once you know what you have, then you need to decide what kind of system works for you. Just because it works for me, does not mean it will work for you.

  • You have to devise and USE a sorting system. For example, when your mail arrives immediately sort through it. With a very quick glance you can decide if it is:
  1. A keeper – bills, letters, appointment reminder cards…   OR
  2. A goner – junk mail, solicitations
  • Then, open up all the envelopes and put the empty envelopes and other junk inserts in a bag to go in your recycle bin. The rest will either be put in a shred basket/box or on your desk to pay or respond to later. This keeps the extra paper and junk away from your desk and allows you to handle something rather efficiently!
  • If you have a small file cabinet, you can use simple file folders with labels. Nothing beats the tried and true manila file folders – plus they come in many different styles (box bottom, folder or sleeve style, and just plain ole regular file style).

You can write on the tabs and if you need to change the label, you can fold the file folder in reverse and have a clean tab. I prefer using the simple and inexpensive Brother P-touch label maker. Using these labels keeps the files much neater and easier to locate when you need them. Plus, you will look and feel more organized!


If you need help getting started, call Structured Chaos at 252-665-3424 or visit on Facebook.