Thursday, November 5, 2015

Holidays, Decorations and Decisions

Halloween is over and down come the decorations.   Did you use everything you had and if so were you happy with it all?  As we and our kids get older, we tend to not want to put out as much and some of us decide to put out nothing but a pumpkin.  When you are at that point of being tired of putting out as many decorations as you have in the past, give yourself permission to eliminate those decorations that no longer bring you joy and happiness. 
Me?  I have decided I no longer want to put out the luminaries I put out for so many years.  Why?  A few reasons including, I no longer have a sandbox to get the sand from for the bottom of the bags and 2 years ago they got a little wet from a rain.  The last and biggest reason is because I no longer want to constantly check the candles to make sure they are still lit due to the wind that seems to always occur on beggars night.  Because of these reasons, the luminaries I slaved over for years are now in the trash.   I also decided no longer to stuff a flannel shirt with newspaper and make it look like a body coming out of the ground.  It never looked that great anyway and with the rain that happens before Halloween it always shrunk and looked weak.  I now just use the mask on the ground in my small graveyard.  That flannel shirt is now in the bag for donations. 
As we are coming up on even more holidays for decorating including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukah consider reviewing your decorations before and after putting them out.  If they do not bring you joy and happiness, it is time to give them away so someone else can enjoy them.  If there are decorations that have sat in the bottom of the storage bin for a couple years, it is time to donate.  If you are waiting for your kids to take it, give them the decorations as a pre-holiday gift and let them make the decision.  Do not be upset if they do not use the item.  It is their choice. 
Once you have made the decisions on what holiday decorations to keep, organize them so they are easy to find and easy to put away.  One suggestion would to separate indoor from outdoor and Halloween from Fall decorations.   Make sure you label the containers you have placed them in so they are easily found next year. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

5 Easy Tips for the Seasonal Closet Switch

At least twice a year, everyone takes a look at their closet and changes out their seasonal clothing.  If you are like most, you dread the job because you have to look at all your clothes and decide whether they are going to fit still, if the color is good, and if they can make it through another season.

Maybe you have a separate closet for your out- of -season clothes, or you use bins to store some of your clothes.  When it is time to put away your spring and summer clothes and get ready to start wearing those fall and winter colors and fabrics follow this easy steps.  Most of us look at Labor Day as the ending of summer and based on where you live, this might be your time to start the switch.  
Step 1.  As you are putting away those clothes, look at each piece and decide if the color, size and style still works for you and your wardrobe.  Ask yourself the following questions:  Does it make you look your best?

Step 2.  If you did not even wear it this season, what changes would happen that would make you wear it next year? If you are looking at weight loss as a motivator, that is great, but only keep the really great pieces. You will want to buy new items as you lose the weight.
Step 3. You will probably not be wearing turtlenecks right away, but you will not need the sleeveless shirts for much longer.  Start with the long or 3/4 length sleeve items. 
Step 4.  Your hanging clothes can be done all at once since much of that is more based on color and fabric.  As the summer winds down, put away sleeveless, then shorts and capris.  Remember to repair anything before you store it for the season. 

Step 5.  Do not store your clothing in dry cleaning bags as they have chemicals on them and can harm your clothes after a long period of time especially white fabrics. There are totes by Ziploc with holes near the top to allow the clothes to breathe and keep the bugs and dust out. They come in 2 different sizes and can fit in small areas. Look at storing anything with wool in a breathable storage bag or tote. Anyone can get moths and they will ruin your wool.  If you are lucky to have extra closets, make it simple and switch out the closet and maybe a guest bedroom dresser. 

Statistics show that you really only wear 20% of what you have on regular basis.  80% of your wardrobe is worn rarely if ever. Another good rule to live by is, when you buy something new, get rid of an old one in your closet to make room. 

For your kids, try items on by type such as shirts, pants and shorts.  Make a list of items you will need for this season and remember to donate or sell the items they have outgrown. 

Doing this in steps will make it easier and more manageable as the season changes. 

Please leave a comment if you found this useful. 


Monday, July 27, 2015

10 Things I Have Learned About Organizing As a Professional Organizer

1.       No client or space is the same.  My clients come to me for different reasons and each of their cases is different.  No house is the same, so no space is the same.

2.      Clutter attracts clutter.   Many of my clients have a space that just seems to accumulate stuff and clutter.  The reason is because that specific space does not have a specific use so it just attracts clutter that does not have a home. 

3.      Lack of time management causes clutter.  It is very difficult to control the amount of clutter when one lacks the ability to manage time.  Without scheduling time to do tasks, things get out of control and clutter piles up.    

4.      The inability to make a decision causes clutter.  I have clients who have a very difficult time making decisions when it comes to what to do with specific items.   This causes nothing to be done with the item and clutter again, accumulates.  The same can be said for paper and emails. 

5.      Shopaholics are usually trying to replace something in their lives they are missing and clutter is the end result.  I have many clients with unopened boxes from Amazon, QVC and various other stores.  Once the items are purchased, the “high” from purchasing is gone and when it arrives there is really no interest in it. 

6.      A space gets messier before it gets better during the organizing process.  For many clients, the process of organizing is very stressful and they become very anxious when their items are spread out and many of them visible for the first time.  It gets worse before it gets better is a very true statement in organizing. 

7.      Frequent purging is the key to maintaining the space and conquering the clutter.  The best way to keep all the clutter from coming back is to purge often.  Some clients do well with 1 new item in, one out.  This is especially true when it comes to clothes. 

8.      Having countless containers does not make you organized.  A system is needed and most often a behavioral change is needed to be organized.  It takes time and effort to accomplish the organized space.

9.       Paper needs to be tackled consistently or it will get out of hand quite quickly.  The trash can, recycle bin and a shredder should be your friend when it comes to bringing paper in your home.  When you have your mail, try to eliminate what can be tossed or shredded before you bring it in your home. 

10.   To do lists will never be accomplished unless they are scheduled.  In order to get that infamous to do list complete, you will need to put it on your calendar just like a doctor’s appointment. 

 Please leave me a comment .  Thank you


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

7 Tips to a Successful No Stress Move

Moving is an event that takes place frequently during the summer.  According to 11-13 percent of all moves occur during the summer months.  That is 19 million households that move June through August.  This can be a stressful time for those families.  These 7 tips should help you move successfully and stress free. 
Tip 1 Eliminate unwanted and unused items before you move.  There are 2 good reasons to do this.  One is you usually pay a mover for either the number of boxes or by weight.  Two is it will be easier and faster if you are unpacking only the items you need and not having to sort out the items you should not have packed.  I have many clients I work with who have lived in their homes for a year or more and still have boxes they have never unpacked.
Tip 2 Have the moving company pack at least the breakables.  If they pack it, they carry the liability where if you pack it and it breaks, you have no recourse. 
Tip 3 Pack a suitcase with items needed for 2-5 days.  This will depend on how far you will be moving.  You will not feel the need to unpack everything in one day with some clothes and items available. 
Tip 4 Make sure you do as much of the laundry before the day you move.  There is nothing more disappointing and stressful than unpacking dirty laundry.
Tip 5 Assign a number or letter to each room in the new house and ask that boxes being packed are labeled as such.  Put a sticky not at the entrance of each room with the number or letter so boxes end up in the correct room.  It is very stressful to be searching all over your new house for kitchen items only to find them in the bathroom. 
Tip 6 Avoid using your garage as a storage place.  Try to park at least one or both of your cars in the garage on the first night.  I have had plenty of clients that have done just this and have never been able to park one or more their cars in the garage.  
Tip 7 If you have a limited time to unpack before going back to work and will not be able to complete the major portion, consider hiring someone to help.  They can help get the necessities unpacked the day of the move so you will be able to get your coffee and eat some breakfast your first morning.  Most unpackers will also eliminate the empty boxes and packing paper. 




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

6 Steps in Giving the Organized Garage to Dad

Summer is just around the corner and with 28% of consumers wanting their garage space to be better organized; it makes sense to give dad an organized garage.  In the U.S., 82% of homes have a 2 car garage or larger and only 15% use them to park their cars.  In the U.K. 52% of households have access to a garage and only 24% use them for parking cars.  Many garages end up as the dumping ground for miscellaneous items. 
You can give that organized garage dad wants in 6 steps. 
Step 1 is to divide up the garage into section first so the project will be easier to complete.  You can divide it by the front and back of the garage or for multi car garages, divide by each parking space. 
Step 2 is to remove all the items from the first section you will be working in and put them in the driveway. 
Step 3 is to eliminate all the items that belong elsewhere in the house, are no longer used or wanted, and anything that is broken.  If it has been in there that long, the likelihood of fixing it is gone.  Move on.  If you have multiples of certain items, choose the best and donate, trash or sell the others.  Many of my clients have multiples because they cannot find the original so they buy another and that costs you money.  With an organized garage, you will save money.
Step 4 is to use the vertical space in the garage by installing shelving, cupboards and hooks on the walls.  There are many different products available to accomplish this at various cost points.  Do not buy the storage until you have purged.  Things that are used rarely or are seasonal should go on the higher shelves. 
Step 5 is to use the ceiling for bikes and long boards.  The newest designs in hanging bikes allow for an easy pulley system that even children can operate safely. 
Step 6 is to return all the items to the garage and continue with the remainder of the sections.  Once all sections have been purged, then deciding what shelves, cupboards and hooks are needed will be easier.  Be sure to label areas so others know where to return items
Remember to purge periodically to maintain your space and to allow for newer and more frequently used items to have a place. 



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Keep "Get Organized" as a New Year's Resolution

So many make the resolution to get organized and quickly forget, run out of time, cannot figure how to do it, become overwhelmed immediately, or just plain give up.  Don't let this be you.  You can get organized in 2015.
The first rule is to tackle this project in small manageable pieces.  If you look at entire 5000 piece puzzle and try to do it in one sitting, don't you soon realize that is not going to work.  Most of us start with the edges, and then move onto the inside by color of words.  We do not try to accomplish the puzzle in one sitting.  You come back to it and have fresh eyes.  Organizing operates the same way.  Start with a small section of the room, even just a drawer.  Schedule a specific amount of time to work on it.  Do not try to organize an entire room or house in one day.  That is too overwhelming and unrealistic.
The second rule is to make your time really work for you by writing down the different areas of the room down on your calendar.  That eliminates wasting time trying to decide what area to work on and lets you start right away.
The third rule is to eliminate all interruptions.  That means no looking at emails, answering calls that can easily be returned, and having all those small errands and chores done before you start. 

The next rule is to designate enough time to get enough accomplished that you feel good about your time and see results.  Do not schedule so much time that you are getting upset because it is cutting into family, work or other important events. 
The fifth rule is to realize that the clutter did not appear overnight, so it will not disappear overnight.  Give yourself time to get organized.  Do not expect results to happen instantaneously. 
Organizing is about changing habits, establishing a system to fit your current life and to revisit your systems and areas as your life and situations change.  Give yourself time, patience and some slack when tackling an organizing project.