Wednesday, November 27 2019
I am happy to introduce you to my guest blogger today. Please welcome Scott Sanders of Cancerwell.org. Because, like most people, unfortunately, I personally know of someone who is fighting cancer, I find this blog helopful and want to share it with you. I hope you find it helpful, as well.
How to Make Space for a Loved One Who Is Fighting Cancer
There’s a lot to consider when a family member moves in with you. When it’s a loved one who has cancer, your worries are understandably amplified. From cleaning and sanitizing to organizing and making space, you have a laundry list of steps to take before they come home. Here are ways you can create the ultimate recovery space in your home.
Organize Storage Space for Everyone
Whether you need to clear out a room or make space in the garage for your loved one’s belongings, staying organized is vital.
Of course, if you don’t have a garage, you’ll need another long-term storage option. Adding an outbuilding to your property can help protect your or your family member’s belongings and keep them nearby. Choosing the cheapest option isn’t always the best value, though. Think about what materials to choose — whether steel or wood — and how climate can affect them.
For example, steel has the benefit of being resilient against the elements. However, it can be far more expensive than wood. It also heats up in warmer weather, which could affect your items stored inside. Wood may be less durable, but it’s also more affordable than steel. However, wood doesn’t stand up to weathering as well as other materials. Some wood, like cedar, can resist outdoor conditions better than others, however.
You should establish a budget, then research your area and what materials are most suitable for storing your loved one’s and your own belongings.
Consider Home Care Services
Although you may have the best intentions when choosing to move your family member home for recovery, it can be stressful. Many family members of patients wind up feeling anxious, depressed, helpless, and more when they face caring for their loved one full-time. For everyone’s health and well-being, it can help to seek support.
Cancer.net explains that many types of home care services can help you and your loved ones live fuller lives. Assistance ranges from home health aides who provide nursing care to volunteers who merely sit with the patient so the family can have a break.
Living at home rather than in a facility is often preferable for patients with cancer. Considering in-home help can make the transition easier and less intimidating for everyone involved.
Make Safety and Accessibility Modifications
Depending on your loved one’s health status and mobility level, you may want to add safety features to your home. Side effects from common chemotherapy drugs can include a weak heart, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, poor coordination, and other health issues. In short, the effects of treatment may cause safety challenges at home.
Steps like incorporating grab bars in the restroom or non-slip flooring in the halls can help your family member feel safer and more independent. A shower seat can enhance stability while bathing independently, and a first-floor room means less exertion than climbing stairs.
Think about modifications you can make without renovating your home, but don’t discount the possibility either. Fortunately, many renovations can be low-cost and even DIY.
Give Your Loved One Their Independence (and Privacy)
Undergoing cancer treatment can be stressful, painful, and scary. But it can also be frustrating for a loved one who was formerly independent. For family members with strong personalities, focusing on independence and privacy can help you all live together harmoniously.
Ensuring that your loved one has a say in their moving decision is a good first step. Providing choices for where to store their belongings, how to decorate their room, and what type of home support they have can do wonders for their self-confidence. After all, they’re a person first and a patient second. something many people with cancer want you to recognize.
Studies also suggest that patients who self-manage feel more empowered and confident in their recoveries. Therefore, having a say in medical and other decisions is crucial. Programs like prehabilitation, where patients undergo physical and social training before surgery and treatment, can also help your loved one maintain their strength and independence.
Moving your family member home for cancer recovery is a significant commitment. By working together, you can see them back to good health, and beyond.
Photo via Unsplash
Wishing you all the best!
Monday, April 29 2019
Decluttering and organizing takes commitment. So many people come to me because they are overwhelmed and don't know where to start when it comes to getting organized.
Aside from taking the first, and sometimes, difficult step of admitting that you are struggling with your clutter, you need to decide you are committed to the process. (And it is a process!)
Here are the steps you need to take to commit:
1. (as mentioned above) Admit that you are struggling with your clutter and you need help. Although family members and friends might have good intentions, hiring a professional organizer is the most efficient way to get the job done. A good professional organizer is never judgmental or can only provide one solution. This makes it easier to step up and take that first step.
2. Contact a professional organizer to ask for help. Take that next important step. When you speak with an professional organizer who specializes in a certain type of organizing (i.e. residential, paper management, time management, project management, etc.) and you feel comfortable with them, you have taken a big step forward.
3. Schedule an appointment to meet with your organizer. This will allow both you and your organizer to get to know each other and become familiar with the project you are looking to take care of. This is a vital step before simply jumping in and starting. There is so much information to be gained by previewing the area and creating a plan to move forward. Everyone functions differently so it is vital that your organizer becomes familiar with that aspect in order to achieve a successful result.
4. Commit to the process. Once you have met with your organizer, commit to the process. If you are shopping around and simply scheduling consultations without taking the next step, you are procrastinating. Allow your professional organizer to take you through the process from beginning to end so that your vision for an organized space or completed project can come to fruition. Trust in the process that will get you there.
5. Do your homework. When your organizer asks you to get something done in between sessions, do your homework. This will help to speed the process along. A good organizer will know exactly how much is enough to do in between sessions and what is too much to expect. Follow their guidance to move forward with the plan.
YOU SHOULD BE COMMITTED! (To the process, that is!) If you follow these steps with your professional organizer to get either a room or an entire home decluttered and organized, congratulate yourself on a job well done and then you will be able to enjoy the benefits for many years.
If you are ready to be commited, simply pick up the phone or send an email to A BETTER SPACE and take the steps necessary for a successful outcome and long-term benefits. You deserve to invest in yourself.
As always, I am here to help.
Wednesday, January 16 2019
Another year is underway. Have you made any resolutions? (Honestly, I hate that question.) I don't make resolutions anymore because I have a tendency to fail. I stop exercising after about a month, I start eating more desserts than I should after a few months of eating healthy. It's just too much pressure!
Instead, I set a goal or an intention. I find I am much more successful that way and it makes me feel much less pressured.
Last year, my goal was to declutter and upgrade my entire home, from top to bottom. Yes, one whole year to do so. I focused on one room a month, for twelve months. I planned it out in great detail at the beginning of the year. I decluttered what needed to be, did some cosmetic upgrades and tweaked some organization in my home. By year's end, I was thrilled with the results.
Although I did not get to the basement like I had planned, (mainly because some things took longer than expected), I am setting a goal for the next two months to finish decluttering and organizing the entire basement. With being as busy as I am, this goal is reasonable and achievable.
This year, I decided to have a theme. I decided to name my theme for 2019 "Use What You Have". I am fortunate to live in a nice home and have what I need. Last year's project re-aquainted me with all that I have. I realized, I have enough. As the saying goes "Enough is enough". I am going on a buying diet. I am going to focus on using what I already have, instead of purchasing more. This is especially true for me when it comes to clothing and shoes. I am resisting the urge to purchase more and simply use what I have.
I plan on making more use of my serving dishes and trays, which have been stored away since my wedding in 2002 and infrequently used.
I plan on burning the candles I have been storing. I love candles and love to use them but I have aquired a lot and have not made it a habit of burning them. Now I will!
I plan on reading the books I have aquired without getting more. This is particularly true for my fiction books. I love books! People give me books! I can't resist accepting their offers to take their books they no longer want. I have enough!
Honestly, now that I am in my late 50's, I recognize that I have to be honest with myself and need to make sure I will have enough time to get to make use all of my possessions. Trust me, storage is not an issue. I have plenty of room, but, I don't want to run out of time before I have used what I have.
Hopefully, this is food for thought. Is it possible for you to go on a purchasing diet, like me, this year, and "Use What You Have"?
I am curious as to what you believe you have enough of and what you can avoid purchasing more of this year. Post a response to this blog below and share your thoughts. Let's all inspire each other to Use What You Have.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with too much stuff in your home and want to simplify, don't hesitate to contact me.
I am here for you!
Friday, January 11 2019
Happy New Year!
Admittedly, I was very lax last year in posting blogs, but, the good news is...I'm back! I actually enjoy writing so I am looking forward to providing new, updated blogs in 2019 on a more regular basis.
I thought it would be a good time to start with the topic of "NEED vs. WANT".
When it comes to decluttering, these terms can be confusing. Sometimes, we get overwhelmed with the process.
Just imagine that you want to declutter your storage room. You have all types of items in this space and you want to make sense of them. The storage room can easily become a dumping ground for clothes, tools, kitchen items, holiday decorations, toys and memorabilia, just to name a few. You find that your head is spinning when trying to determine whether you should keep something. That's where "Need vs. Want" comes into play.
When I work with my clients and they are feeling overwhelmed with trying to decide whether to keep something or not, "Need vs. Want" can cause confusion. So what is the difference?
The term Need is defined as " necessity, something required that is lacking". The terms Want is defined as "something that is desired". In other words, Need vs. Want equals Require vs. Desire.
There are various factors to consider when determining whether you need or want something.
First, is it for the right reason?
When you look at an item, do you ask your self whether it's something you need in order to function somehow? Is it a tool that you use for home repair, for example? Is it a small kitchen appliance that you use infrequently, but do still make use of? For example, you might have located a large crock pot for larger dinners and you plan to entertain more this year. Do you exclaim, upon finding it, "I've been looking for that! I need this!"
Do you, perhaps, look at an item and consider whether it's something you want to keep, such as an old photo album or your grandmother's dishes? Why do you want to keep it?
Second, can you downsize?
Let's use the example of small appliances. You have found several crock pots that you have acquired over the years. You don't need all of them. Can you narrow down your collection to one, or two at the most? Do you have a large set of Grandmom's dishes that you no longer need, but want to hold onto, because it evokes a memory of Sunday dinners with the family when you were a kid? Did you ever consider reducing the 12 place settings down to 4? Can you reduce the amount by half or more? If so, you can still hold onto the memory, make use of the dishes from time to time, but not have to keep the entire large set.
Third, are you keeping it out of guilt?
Sometimes we purchase something and it cost us a lot of money. Sometimes, someone gives us something as a gift and we don't really like it. These are two common examples of why people hold onto things they don't want or need. When determining whether to keep something or not, do not keep it out of guilt! Remind yourself that you are to only keep things that you need or that you want. Also, remember that everything cannot be your favorite! If you spent a lot of money for something and you no longer need or want it, see if you can give it to someone else who would enjoy it or, perhaps, see if you can sell it. The same holds true for items you get as gifts. Determine right away whether you like something enough to keep it. Otherwise, let it go! (The money was already spent. The item gifted to you is now yours and it is your decision whether you want to keep it or not, not someone else's.)
Keeping these points in mind as you begin your journey of decluttering an area of your home will help you to determine whether you really should or want to still keep it.
If you are overwhelmed with your clutter and have a hard time determining what to keep and where to put it or what to toss and how to get rid of it, don't hesitate to contact me. As a professional organizer I can help you get through the process and make it less overwhelming.
I am here for you!
Sunday, June 03 2018
It's been a while since my last blog. Besides working with my client's, this year I am working to declutter and update my own home, from top to bottom. I am giving myself this entire year to do so.
My son recently moved out and that now leaves me with an extra bedroom. I took my time to figure out what I wanted to do with that room. About a month ago, I decided to create a reading room with a beach theme.
Two of my passions are the beach and reading. Since I live in suburbs outside of Philadelphia, PA, our beach season does not last as long as I would like. Therefore, I am extending that feeling of calm and relaxation within my own home.
I have painted the walls a sandy beach beige. The carpeting is dark blue and I am leaving it that way. (It will represent the sea.) I will be putting a small area rug in front of the love seat I am repurposing from my family room with a beach theme inspired design. I purchased new window treatments with decorative sea shell beads along the top, a seashell filled lamp, a wicker end table and new bookcases to fill with books that I treasure. I will be purchasing some wall decor and other items to complete the look.
The reason I mention all of this is that I want to make a point.
It is very important that, as we go through life changes, we make sure that our real estate reflects those changes. Whether it's a child moving out the home, like mine, or the birth of a new baby, a marriage, a divorce, the death of a spouse or elder parent who had lived in the home, we need to be sure that the real estate we own is being used to its best potential.
Time and time again, when working with new clients, I always make sure that all of the areas of the home are being used. Often I find that there are bedrooms that lay idle and become a dumping spot for clutter, or a basement is not utilized as good storage space, a garage is so cluttered it does not have enough room for a car.
Over the years, I have transformed many under-utilized rooms in my client's home into something they can use and enjoy, creating a space that reflects their interests.
When life creates change, be sure that your home reflects that change. Reassess the rooms in your home and transform them into something you can use and enjoy. Leaving your precious real estate idle is a waste of space and money. You paid for the real estate; use it.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of creating a new purpose for an old space, don't hesitate to contact me. I can not only help you to visual a room to meet your needs, but help eliminate the clutter, get it organized and take the steps needed to see it come to fruition.
It's all about having A Better Space!
Friday, April 13 2018
Do you remember the movie "Mommy Dearest"! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUkE9qaVgmo. It was such a frightening scene when Joan Crawford was screaming "NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!". I will never forget it!
These days, in a much calmer tone, I gently explain to my clients why I am not a fan of wire hangers. And this is why:
Wire hangers can cause damage to your clothing when clothes are left on them after returning from the dry cleaners or simply used to store clothing. They can affect the shape of the shoulders and can actually create rust. (I had a client once who used wire hangers and had a cream colored suit that she had kept on the wire hanger from the dry cleaner. When we were reviewing her wardrobe to organize her closet, we discovered, unfortunately, that the wire hanger on her suit had rusted, leaving a permanent stain. The beautiful suit was ruined.)
Also, when it comes to dry cleaning your clothes, be sure to remove the plastic bag they are returned in. There are chemicals used when the dry cleaning process is used. If you keep the bag on the clothes when they arrive home, these harmful chemicals stay trapped in the clothing.
I highly recommend that "no more wire hangers" are kept on your clothing in your closet. Switch them to plastic or velvet slim hangers instead. The next time you head to your dry cleaner, take all of your unused wire hangers with you. Most dry cleaners recycle hangers and actually appreciate you returning them because it saves them money. You get rid of clutter in your closet and help keep landfills free of hangers.
Also, unless you have a need for the plastic bags they wrap around your clothing, you can ask for the dry cleaner to keep the bags off of your clothes. It keeps you from having to toss the bag when you get home, and again saves the dry cleaner money. Also, men’s dress shirts can be folded instead of put on a hanger so that you don’t have to take a hanger home with you at all!
When you go to pick up your clothes at the dry cleaners, take your plastic hangers or thin velvet hangers and garment bags with you. It's just like taking reusable shopping bags with you when you go grocery shopping. That way you don’t even need to take their wire hangers and their plastic bags home at all.
Now you will no longer have wire hangers and with these tips, you will have an organized, clean and safe wardrobe in your clothes closet to enjoy.
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting your wardrobe decluttered and organized, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, l am here to help.
Wednesday, March 28 2018
Spring is finally here and the flu season appears to be behind us. I spent the entire Winter season doing everything possible to avoid getting the flu and the good news is, I was successful. That is something that is very contagious in a bad way.
However, there are things that are contagious in a good way! For example: laughter, smiles, a good mood and even a yawn. Did you know that contagious yawning is a sign of empathy and a form of social bonding?
Also, getting organized can be contagious! Yes! That's right. I have seen time and time again how, when I work with a client in their home, other members of the family get the "organizing bug".
I tend to work mostly with busy moms who are struggling to find the balance in their physical space as well as in their heads with time management, etc.
On many occasions, I work with Busy Mom and in the beginning, Dad is not on board. It is interesting to watch how they begin to see the transformation and want a piece of that. They start organizing a sock drawer or getting rid of some paperwork, simply by seeing what is going on.
Most recently, I began working with a family who has several autistic children, one of which is very sensitive to change. I have no intention of pushing that child to straighten up their room or move anything around that they do not want touched. However, Mom recently got in touch with me and told me that her child has observed the changes being made in her master bedroom and took it upon himself to go into his own room and remove the trash and straighten up his video games.
Needless to say, I am thrilled! I want nothing more than for the children to enjoy an organized and peaceful environment in which to live. Whether I help them or they take it upon themselves to do it on their own, it's a positive outcome.
This is a perfect example of how getting organized can be contagious - in a good way!
If you and your family are struggling with clutter and want to get organized, consider starting the process yourself or with a professional organizer such as myself and you just might find that your family get's the "organizing bug" and starts organizing their spaces on their own.
How great would that be!
Monday, March 19 2018
Over the years, I have heard, time and time again, "So how long is this all going to take?". It's a fair question, but not always easy to answer. The honest answer is "It depends."
There are several factors that come into play when determining the answer to this question:
1. How many items are currently in the space you want to organize?
2. What types of things are in the space?
3. What kind of decision maker are you?
4. Does anyone else need to be involved in the decision making?
5. What is the vision you have for the space when it's done?
6. How will you dispose of unwanted items?
Rooms that are the same size can hold drastically different amounts of things. Closets can be stuffed to the brim or under-utilized. Paperwork can take a long time to go through because each piece of paper needs to be reviewed so a home office could take much longer to organize. However, a linen closet or a room filled with furniture will tend not to take as long to go through and make decisions about. It all depends on the contents in the space.
Some people make decisions quickly and are not as emotionally attached to their possessions. Other people need more time to decide. My experience has been that some want to tell me a story about the object before deciding to let it go. That is perfectly normal and understandable as it is a way of letting go. It all depends on what type of decision maker you are. Also, are you the only one that is making the decisions or do you need approval from another family member and a compromise is needed?
Do you have a clear vision of what you want the space to look like in the end? Do you want to re-organize all of the kitchen cabinets and drawers or just the pantry? Depending on what you need to accomplish will determine how long it will take.
How specific you want to be will play a role in how long your organizing project might take.
Lastly, the project is not completed until the items you decide not to keep are disposed of. Do you want to take the time to sell them, donate them or simply throw them away. Sometimes, it a combination of all of them. The key is to quickly get rid of the items once you decide to do so. Do not hold onto them for that once-a-year yard sale!
Generally, once I start working with a client, I can determine how long, in general, it will take to finish the task. They play a key role in how long it will take. Of course, I am there to guide my clients and keep them focused on the project so it can get completed as quickly as possible. Accountability goes a long way in being successful and efficient. I always make sure my clients understand how varying factors will have an effect on how long it will take to get the job done.
If you need to get any area of your home under control and organized, need guidance with time management, paper management or budgeting of your finances, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, I am here to help.
Monday, October 23 2017
With Halloween just around the corner, fear tends to sometimes be on our minds. We experience many forms of fear, but the one I want to talk about is being "afraid to admit".
Over the years when working with so many wonderful people, I have witnessed, time and time again, how the fear of getting organized can stop people in their tracks.
Admittedly, eliminating clutter, for some, can be overwhelming, intimidating and cause a reaction of embarrassment and fear.
I have found that it's the fear of the unknown that is your worst enemy.
Think about it. You finally get up the nerve to reach out for help after struggling so long with your clutter. That's a big step. Then you contact an expert like me to help. Great! Then the fear sets in. After you have scheduled your first appointment you may find yourself saying "What have I done?!?!?" You are starting to think about all of the areas that are problematic for you in your home, perhaps, and then feel overwhelmed and embarrassed. Maybe, you haven't had anyone come into your home in a while because of your embarrassment.
You imagine that this person is going to come into your home and judge you. You imagine that this person is going to come into your home and just throw everything away. You imagine that you will lose things or things that mean a lot to you will disappear. You imagine that it is going to be harder than you thought. This is all fear based, right?
Well, I am here to tell you that, when working with a professional organizer such as myself, this will not happen.
I am particularly cognizant of the fact that my new clients will have a tendency to experience these feelings. I never judge, first of all. What good would that do? I am here to help, not judge. I would never go into someones home and just start throwing things away. How disrespectful! I always make sure that things are put in a logical place that makes sense for my clients so they can always find them, because we work together to find solutions that work. If something is particularly special, it needs to be honored and have a good, safe place to be stored or displayed so it can be enjoyed.
Amazingly, after just one session, my clients become much more relaxed about the process and can see how what they thought was impossible, is, in fact, possible. I always focus on the potential of any space so that my client's vision can come to fruition. It is important to me that my clients to feel comfortable working with me. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Some people are afraid to admit that they are struggling with the actual idea of how they are going to get organized and committing to the process. It feels uncomfortable. They sometimes make excuses as to why they will not follow through, but the truth of the matter is, they are afraid to admit that its the idea of taking on an organizing project that is making them feel uncomfortable, and nothing else. It's not monetary. It's not that they are too busy. It's not any of that.
These feelings are normal, but once it is understood what will be happening and how the process works, the fear disappears. The anxiety and embarrassment go away.
Do yourself a favor. If you are contemplating getting organized and fear is holding you back, give me a call. I can explain how I can help, and you need not worry about the process. That is what I am here for, to show you how its done and be right by your side the entire time, supporting you every step of the way.
Bottom line, don't be afraid to admit you are afraid. Don't let your fear prevent you from having A Better Space.
Monday, October 09 2017
With the holidays just around the corner, it's time to start organizing those recipes. Over the years, I have used various methods for organizing the various types of recipes I have gathered.
I sometimes tear recipes out of a magazine or print out recipes I find on line. I also have an array of recipe books.
First, I have a cabinet that is specificially used to organize my recipe books. Years ago, I had one custom made by the Amish because I had the need to store a lot of recipe books close to the kitchen for easy retrieval. I placed it against a small wall that divides my kitchen from my living room in my dining room area. (I am not suggesting that everyone needs to do this, but I have never regretted my decision to do so.)
Within my recipe cabinet, I have various forms of recipe organization besides the books.
I use an index card box for my "go to" recipes which I typed onto index cards and which I use on a regular basis and have been family favorites for years, including during the holidays. I divide them up with alphabetical index dividers A-Z. (They could also be divided up by category, i.e., desserts, casseroles, vegetables, pasta, etc.)
I use an accordion expandable file for the recipes I have gathered from magazines and online which I need to test out before they become part of my permanent collection. (These are divided up by category as described above.)
Another suggestion I have is to put your full size (8-1/2" x 11") recipes that you have into a 3-ring binder, divided up by category, using sheet protectors to store them. I like this suggestion because you can pull out the sheet from the binder when you want to use it and it will be protected from splatters and spills.
Of course, you can always use your phone or computer to store recipes digitally, but I strongly suggest that you weed through it from time to time to get rid of the recipes you have tried and failed or decided you are no longer interested in them. Otherwise, you are creating digital clutter.
Depending on how much you cook or bake can depend on what type of system would work best for you.
For me, there is not one solution but several that work best.
What solutions can you think of in order to organize your own collection of recipes? Share you ideas here and let's learn from each other so you can have a more organized holiday cooking experience.
In the meantime, if you are simply overwhelmed with your clutter and would like to discuss your particular situation with a professional organizer, don't hesitate to contact me.
As always, I am here to help.
Monday, August 21 2017
Today I am privileged to welcome a guest blogger. I don't often discuss digital clutter because I am not known to be too tech savy, but I do feel that it is an important aspect to decluttering your life and this was written in a way we can all understand.
Let's face it, our digital world has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade and we all struggle to keep on top of our incoming mail, photos, important documents, etc.
This post is the first of two I am publishing. Please welcome Abby Quillen of ereplacementparts.com and I hope you find her information on this topic insightful and helpful.
DOWNSIZE AND ORGANIZE YOUR DIGITAL CLUTTER
by Abby Quillen (guest blogger)
Physical clutter can damage your health. In a study done by the University of California, Los Angeles, women who described their houses as cluttered, disorganized, disordered, or haphazard had daily patterns of the stress hormone cortisol that are normally associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue, and early mortality. These women were also more likely to feel depressed.
If you’ve ever spent a morning trying to track down a lost file on your hard drive or searching through a decade of email, you know that digital disorder can also take a toll on your well-being. Most people handle a constant flow of text messages, emails, photos , videos, and other digital information. When all that digital data piles up, it can slow you and your devices down. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to downsizing and organizing your digital clutter.
Does your documents folder or email inbox resemble a junk drawer with everything tossed in together? Do you usually rely on your search box to help you find files? An organization structure can help you declutter, share, synchronize, move, and easily track down files. Follow these simple steps to get your digital life organized:
Browse through your files and emails and determine the major and minor categories they fall into. For instance, you may be able to divide photos into “work photos,” “family photos, “head shots,” etc. Within those categories, you may have subcategories.?
Once you’ve determined what categories and subcategories you want to use for each type of file, make folders or subfolders for them.
Develop Naming Guidelines
Librarians who manage large digital collections use consistent, meaningful, and descriptive names to identify what’s inside each file. Follow suit, and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to track down specific files and photos when you need them. For documents, designate a naming structure such as “descriptive keywords-type of document.” For example, this article might be named “digital-decluttering-article.” For images, create a structure such as “descriptive keywords-month-year.” For example, vacation photos might be named “Hawaii-vacation-March-2017. For emails, use descriptive subject headings.
Automate Email Organization
Email in-boxes can become unmanageable quickly. Depending on your email provider, you can automatically filter incoming emails into certain folders. For instance, all newsletters can be sent to a “newsletters” folder, and emails from colleagues can automatically be sent to a “work” folder.
Make a Plan
Digital clutter builds up quickly. Get out your calendar, and schedule regular recurring dates with yourself to keep your data in order.
(Original Source: eReplacementParts blog)
Let me know how you make out with this plan. As always, if you are in need of assistance when it comes to your clutter, don't hesitate to contact me. I am always here to help.
Friday, June 09 2017
Thank you to TRI-STAR CABINET & TOP COMPANY for reaching out to A BETTER SPACE and providing this Checklist to share with my organizing community.
If you wish to be a guest blogger on my A Better Space blog, simply contact me at email@example.com and attach a copy of the blog you wish me to post and it will be considered for a future date.
If you have any questions about this checklist or are too overwhelmed to take on this project on your own, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, I am here to help.
Friday, June 02 2017
I was recently listening to NPR (National Public Radio) and heard a story about a book called "Salthouses" -https://www.halaalyan.com/salt-houses/.
“The war may have only lasted six days, but its impact echoes through generations of a Palestinian family in this ambitious debut novel…This is a moving story about a family’s battle to salvage what remains when their home is taken away.” - —Booklist
Aside from the interesting topic, I was drawn to the fact that the author spoke about how the family in this story was so traumatized by their experience that it had lingering effects that lasted for years to come.
They felt that because they had been displaced for forced to move away from their homeland, they did not "belong" anywhere. They could never return. As a result, their photos and other physical momentos are so important to them, so much more than others might find themselves to be.
I began to realize that aside from refugees, people who have had a great loss in their life - whether it is a loss of a home due to fire, the loss of a beloved family member or other type of trauma could experience the same intense need to hold onto their possessions in order to feel a sense of identity and belonging.
There is a direct correlation between traumatic loss and the need to fill a space with physical contents. An example of this is a hoarder.
As a professional organizer, I recognize the need to be sensative to my clients' individual experiences and life history when helping them eliminate the clutter in their homes and their lives. I then can help them get organized. My goal is always to create an environment for them where they can function efficiently and create a home in which to live and enjoy.
There is a difference between memories and clutter and I help my clients go through the process of making those determinations in a supportive and understanding way.
If you are struggling with determining what to keep and what to get rid of, contact me at A Better Space. I am here to help.
Monday, May 22 2017
Do you struggle with how many or how much of something you should keep? This is a common problem many of my clients experience.
There is no clear cut answer to these questions but there are guidelines.
One of the most common guidelines is what you have and where you intend to store it. When I am evaluating a situation for my clients, I always take into consideration the space in which the item or items will live.
It is important to let your boundaries be your guide.
What do I mean by this? It's simple.
We all have boundaries we need to follow - whether it's on a personal level with other people or with our possessions.
Take for example your hamper. It's a boundary! When you fill it, you know it's time to do the laundry.
The same is true for many other spaces in our home.
Here are some examples for you to consider and incorporate into your home and in your life:
1. Clothes Closet - You need to make sure that your clothes hang and/or fold in an area that provides sufficient space so as not to crowd your wardrobe. It is easier to store your entire wardrobe in a closet to avoid having to do a "seasonal switchout", but that is not always possible. However, we do want to limit the size of our wardrobe based on the space in which we have to store it. This might mean downsizing it to make it work for you in an easier way.
2. Cabinets and Drawers - Whether they are in your kitchen, bathroom, home office, bedroom or bathroom, you need to be sure that they are not so stuffed with items, you cannot easily select what it is you want from them. Drawers should be able to easily open and close without items getting stuck. Cabinets should be set up neatly so you can easily see what they contain. Storing similiar items together will make it easier to find them.
3. Donation Bin - Every household should have them. I tend to use 18-gallon plastic containers. I especially like to use them in kids' bedrooms so that when they outgrow their clothing, they are easily identified and can be donated or passed on to another family member or friend. However, when the bin is full, you need to clear it out and start again! If you are storing clothing for a younger sibling to use. Containerize them by size.
4. Storage Room - This room needs to be as organized as any other room in the home that your family and friends see on a regular basis. It is not a dumping ground for everything you want to hide from public view. The use of storage shelves can go a long way in setting boundaries and zones for the various items you wish to store. Be sure to review this area on an annual basis to determine what might no longer be needed or wanted.
5. Garage - The same holds true for the garage as the storage room. It is not a dumping ground. Remember, the original intent of a garage is to store your car. Although there are other items that need storing, such as trash cans, recycling bins, bicycles, lawn care, tools, etc., you need to zone out the various areas and no exceed the size of the garage. You need to be able to easily navigate throught out the space so try your best to avoid filling the center of the room with items. Think vertically and use storage options that help keep your possessions around the perimeter of the room, instead.
Whether it is something as small as a clothes hamper or as large as a garage, pay attention to its boundaries and let them be your guide as to how much space you have in which to store your items.
If you need guidance or assistance in determining how to maximize the space you have or wish to utilize, don't hesitate to contact A Better Space. I am here for you!
Monday, April 17 2017
With the Summer season just around the corner, many of us get on the "decluttering bandwagon" to freshen up our wardrobe and various areas in our home. Did you know that you can actually make money from your clutter? It's true!
Do you have CD's, DVD's, blue rays and video games you are no longer using or want? Why do they need to take up precious real estate in your home, then? Decluttr.com is an online site where you can sell these items. Simply scan the bar code on your item to learn the value, ship them and the money will be direct deposited into your account or even sent to you via check the next day. How easy is that?!?! And...better yet, the site even pays your shipping! You have no excuses!
Nextworth.com is a site where you can sell get a quote, ship for free and get paid for your smartphones, tablets, video games, laptops, ipods, video cameras, portable audio and wearables such as FitBit.
Do you have designer clothing you would prefer to sell instead of donate or throw away? Then, Tradesy.com is for you! All you need to do is list the items in your closet or dresser that you want to sell. (Good photos will help you sell your items faster.) Once they sell, the site sends you a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping kit so you can send your merchandise. They take 9% commission on each sale. Certainly, making 91% is better than having the item take up space in your closet!
If you take a closer look around your home, I am sure you will locate items that you are ready to part with and have just become clutter. Why not sell them and make some money?
Hint, hint - You can then use the money you've made to hire a professional organize like myself to declutter and organize the various areas of your home that are just too overwhelming for you to deal with. It's a win-win situation!
If you are in need of A Better Space, don't hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to help!
Wednesday, March 15 2017
Almost every woman I know or have met has created a crazy, busy life for themselves. They tend to have a house, husband or significant other, kids, full-time job and lots of responsibility around the house and obligations to their family.
Life is complicated enough. We don't need it to be high maintenance.
What do I mean by that?
Often times, there are ways that we can streamline our responsibilities and our possessions to make our lives easier.
As a professional organizer, one of my responsibilities is to help my clients identify where they can change either the way they do things or reduce the amount of possessions they have in their life. Sometimes, we can identify items we possess that could be replaced by items that are simply easier to maintain and use.
Some examples could be:
1. Vacuum cleaner - Is your vacuum cleaner easy to use? Is it portable enough that you can easily move it from one floor to another? Are there tons of attachments? Is the bag easy to replace when full? Does it store away without taking up a lot of room? If not, you might want to consider purchasing another vacuum cleaner that would be lower maintenance.
2. Paper Shredder - Is your paper shredder sufficient for your needs? Does it shred paper efficiently? Does it accommodate credit cards? Does it have a cross-cut feature to ensure confidentiality of your paperwork? Does it jam easily? Does it overheat quickly? Consider these points to avoid wasting time and energy when it comes to shredding your paperwork.
3. Clothing - I don't know about you but I do not like to iron. (I have had the same iron since 1983!) I do anything possible to avoid ironing. One way you can reduce the amount of time you spend ironing is to purchase clothing that is not 100% cotton. Another time-saver is to put your clothes into the dryer - even on a low setting - and hang it up while it is still warm so the wrinkles fall out.
4. Kitchen - One area of the home that tends to accumulate clutter is the kitchen. How many times have you purchased a small appliance only to determine that it is never used and it just sits on your counter, collecting dust and taking up space? How many items are you not able to put into the dishwasher to clean and have to manually wash them? Do you have a set of silver from your grandmother that sits in a box and is never used?
5. Knickknacks - An abundance of knickknacks could easily qualify as a high-maintenance item. Do you have a collection of knickknacks that someone gave you and youa re not even fond of? An abundance of knickknacks can mean having to take more time to dust. Consider downsizing your collection to reflect only your favorites and truly special to you.
Items that are hard to maintain are often unused.
What items do you possess that are more trouble than they're worth? Take a look around and share your thoughts. I bet a lot of you have the same type of items!
In the meantime, if you are struggling with "too much" and your life is "high maintenance", it might be time to declutter and organize your home. Give me a call or send me an email and lets talk about your "high maintenance" life. I can show you how to have A Better Space instead!
Wednesday, January 04 2017
When was the last time you looked around your home? I mean, when was the last time you looked closely at your possessions and evaluated them?
When we have lived in the same home for a long period of time, we tend to not see the clutter that is "hiding in plain sight".
Our homes can have everything in its place and still be cluttered. Some of those items which are well organized are actually things we can do without. However, they go unnoticed.
One example might be an old music system. So many of us listen to music these days online and have downloaded our CD's onto our computer or an ipod and we no longer pull out a CD to listen to our favorite tunes. So why are we holding onto those CD's?
Another example are books. When was the last time you looked at your collection? Perhaps your taste has changed. Perhaps you have read a certain book several times and will not be reading them again. Perhaps you got some books as gifts and felt bad about getting rid of them. Perhaps you now have a Kindle or other electronic reader and use it now, instead of reading a physical book. So now, they are just taking up space on a bookshelf, collecting dust.
How about those collectibles? I see this all the time when working with my clients. Whether its stuffed animals, antique model cars, Precious Moments, etc., they might be collecting dust and no longer appreciated. When was the last time you really looked at your collection(s) and appreciated them?
Other types of hidden clutter that might not be in plain sight but still are accumulating could be pantry items you never use, holiday decorations stored in a bin you never pull out and most commonly, old paperwork. (I once met someone who had old paystubs dating back to the 1960's which he kept in his attic.)
Sometimes we have clutter we purposely chose to hide. Many people have never-given gifts hiding out in the back of a closet or on shelves in a basement. Some have gifts they received and feel guilty about getting rid of.
Although this hidden clutter might not seem as problematic as the more obvious clutter, it can be worth tackling.
Selling some of those items will give you financial benefit while making someone else happy who wants to use them.
Keeping your spaces uncluttered makes it easier to clean, easier to move items around and easier to find storage space for the things we really do want to keep.
So, what clutter are you hiding in plain sight?
Thursday, November 03 2016
I know it's sometimes hard to believe but teenagers can be organized. We need to guide our kids in various areas so the whole picture comes together. There is the physical and mental aspects of disorganization which need to be evaluated.
During the school year, keeping teenagers focused on everything that needs to be accomplished in a day can be a challenge. Here are some ways you can help them:
1. If you have trouble getting your teen up in the morning, buy the most annoying alarm clock you can find and put it far from the bed. That way they are forced to get up and turn it off. Limit their access to electronics as the day winds down to get their mind to relax, providing a better night's sleep, making it easier for them to get up in the morning.
2. To keep bathroom time to a minimum, place a timer inside and set it for 15 minutes. Teenagers are notorious for getting lost in the shower. Once the timer goes off, time's up—period. This is great for siblings who share a bathroom.
3. Help your teen navigate their school roster by copying their schedule on a copy machine to fit in a wallet or backpack. They can also keep a copy in their locker.
4. List activities on a large calendar and color-code them. Keep the calendar in a central location in the home for all to see. Use a different colored highlighter for each member of the household. This is a great way to make sure everyone knows where they have to be and when, as well as assisting parents with carpool schedules.
5. My son never liked sitting at a desk in his bedroom when he was in school. Determine where your teenager would be prefer to do their homework and study. It might be a dining room table, kitchen table or even a comfortable couch with a loveseat. The important thing is that they like where they are working and are productive.
6. Help your teenager develop good time management skills by mapping out a weekly schedule of responsibilities. If they have a larger project to get done, schedule out blocks of time that will enable them to complete the project on time.
7. Provide organizing tools such as a clothes hamper in their bedroom, hooks on the back of the bathroom door for towels, and containers to hold desk supplies, sporting equipment or other items for easy access.
8. Create a chore chart that schedules blocks of time for them to do their own laundry, take out the trash, do some light housekeeping or any other responsibilities you want to assign to them to teach them responsibility and lighten your own load.
Utilizing physical organizational tools and good time management tools will help your teenager to become an organized and productive individual.
Friday, June 24 2016
Being organized does not just pertain to adults. It benefits children as well.
Did you know that you can actually boost your child's confidence, their ability to learn and their maturity level by helping them to create order in their life?
Being organized is more than just a clean room. For adults and children alike, it is essential for learning. If you don't have the materials you need to ace a test or you are surrounded by clutter, it affects your ability to focus.
Organization encourages responsibility. For children, it can be as simple as cleaning up their toys and putting them into clearly marked containers. When your child is organized, they become more independent and their frustration level is reduced. If they know what they want and where to find it, they can do more things on their own, which gives them a great sense of independence and self-esteem.
A few habits is all it takes to help your child develop organizing skills. There are techniques that work for younger children as well as older children.
1. Neatly storing their things:
Younger children can get involved with cleanup. Make it fun by setting a timer and creating a pick-up game that lasts about 10 minutes. If you have more than one child, get the entire family involved. Get your child used to cleaning up as they go and doing a final sweep at the end of the day. By the time your child reaches grade school, they will be able to keep their toys organized on their own. Using simple containers set up by category and labeled with pictures of the type of toy or game will make clean up a breeze.
When it comes to older children, pointing out their successes will encourage them to do more. Your grade schooler or tween can clean up toys and games, help clear their dishes off the dinner table, dust and hang up their jacket. Show them examples of what they are already doing and what else they could also be doing. Make it easy for them to be successful. When your child sees that they already know how to be neat, the task will feel more doable to them.
2. Time Management and Routines:
Younger children do not have a concept of time. However, that does not mean they cannot be taught promptness; it's just a matter of creating routines. For example, every night is "bath, book, bed". If it is verbally stated before the routine is to start and implemented each night, they will get accustomed to staying on schedule.
Older children need to learn not to procrastinate. This can be taught by requiring your child to lay out their clothes the night before or plan out a long-term school project a week or so in advance.
3. Completing the task:
Younger children can learn this concept as young as 1 year old. Read them a story from beginning to end at bedtime. They are taught that things have a beginning, middle and an end. Referring back to what I mentioned above, having your child put away a toy after they play with it before pulling out another toy will teach them task completion, as well. When they are working on a larger project, like a Lego structure, however, you might decide it's okay to leave it for another time to complete. This will teach them how to manage long-term projects.
Older children need to learn rules and limits. Older children get distracted by technology, which is a big hindrence for teens when it comes to completing homework or a chore around the house. Set up tech-free zones in the home and create a quiet place for your child to study. Set time limits as to how long and when they are permitted to use a gaming device or their phone for texting.
Lastly, practice what you preach. Children learn by example, so be sure to follow the rules when it comes to these areas.
If you are overwhelmed with your own clutter or your child's, I can help. I work with busy moms to organize their homes and their time, as well as working with their children to create an organized bedroom or playroom and create time management plans for the family. Don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your particular clutter issues.
Thursday, June 09 2016
In a few months, I will be celebrating another birthday. As I get older and reflect on my life, I recognize how much we, as adults, evolve and change.
Our ideas about how we want to live our lives, our priorities and other decisions we are confronted with as we get older naturally change.
One of the ways we change, and might not recognize, is our priorities. Think about it. It is not only about who we socialize with, live with, spend time with, things we want to do or achieve, but the items we feel we want to hold on to.
Our priorities change as to what we want to keep.
When working with my clients who have gathered items for a long period of time, I find it interesting how we go through those items and they find that some of what they felt was so important to hold on to, is no longer that important.
Sometimes, it's not the item itself, but the number of items we keep. For example, do we need to hold onto such a large number of a particular item, or is it possible to pare it down to a smaller number which can be appreciated and perhaps still evoke a fond memory of the person it once belonged to?
Interestingly enough, my son created a Memory Box when his father died. He was six years old at the time. We make a habit of reviewing that Memory Box once a year. Not only does he get to go down memory lane, but he sometimes finds that there is an item or two that no longer hold the same significance as they once did, and he can part with them.
I once had a client who had held onto a box of handkerchiefs that belonged to her deceased husband's deceased parent. When we found the box on a shelf in her coat closet, we opened it up and she looked at the handkerchiefs she had not seen in years. When I asked her why she had held on to so many, she said because they belonged to her late husband. I explained that now they belonged to her. What connection did she have to them? Did she need to hold on to almost 100 handkerchiefs? She realized she did not and reduced the box down to ten of her favorite, instead.
Is it possible that you have items in your home that you have been holding on to for years and have not looked at for a long time that do not carry as much significance as they once did? Have your tastes evolved?
The next time you are decluttering and organizing your home, take this into consideration. Are you ready to participate in an "evolution revolution"? If so, you will find that those items you are saving will take up a lot less room if they are pared down to what means the most to you.
If you need assistance in determining what to keep and what to donate or trash, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Thursday, April 07 2016
The other day I heard an oldie on the radio and it prompted me to think about clutter. Strange, I know, but hear me out.
Do you know the song "How Long Has This Been Going On?" by Ace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAVl_IJV5eI
I find that I ask this question with so many of my clients when I first speak with them and now, I want to ask you the same question.
Do you have ongoing clutter issues that won't go away? Do you think your situation can be remedied overnight?
The fact remains that if your clutter has been accumulating for quite some time - months, even years - it will take some time to eliminate it and get organized.
The good news is, however, that it can be done!
I know how overwhelming it can be. Sometimes you feel that it is just easier to ignore it. Is that the real solution? No!
At some point it needs to be dealt with, so why not now?
Just imagine what it would be like to walk into a particular room (or perhaps many rooms in your home) and feel that immediate sense of calm. Eliminating clutter and getting organized can do just that!
Sometimes it is so overwhelming that you don't know where to start. Sometimes the answer is to reach out for help and hire a professional.
You and I both know that if we cannot do something on our own, the best solution is to engage the services of a professional. I do it! I hire an electrician, plumber, handyman. Why? Because I don't always know what I am doing and it will take too long for me to figure it out on my own. Also, I want it done once and I want it done right.
The same applies when it comes to clutter and disorganization. Don't you want it done once and for all and don't you want it done right? Wouldn't it be great to have someone come in who can provide a new perspective and create a solution that meets your specific needs and provide ideas you might never have thought of before?
As a professional organizer who has specialized in residential organizing for so long, trust me, I know how to do it once and do it right!
So, ask yourself. HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON? If your answer is months or even years, and you are ready to get past this obstacle and commit to the process, it's time to reach out for help. Simply pick up that phone now and contact A Better Space. You'll be so glad you did! I would love to provide you with a space that you love.
Tuesday, February 16 2016
Are you a busy mom? So many of my clients are. They have young children and/or teenagers. They either work full-time out of the home, part-time at home or are a stay-at-home mom. Their life is filled with time constraints, a long list of things to do and a feeling of overwhelm. Their husbands are great but they just can't seem to understand what it's like to manage it all.
Does this sound familiar?
If so, BUSY MOMS! THIS BLOG IS FOR YOU!
I want you to know that I get it! I feel your overwhelm and frustration. I know how you have tried to get your home and your life organized, but just can't seem to get it done. I want you to know that it is normal to feel that you are a failure and you just can't understand how this happened! I know that your expectations of yourself and your spouse's expectations of you are more than you can live up to. But the truth is, you are not a failure!
So many moms tell me "I know how to get organized, but I just can't." I speak with so many moms who contact me simply because they feel frozen and overwhelmed.
I want you to keep in mind that gathering great ideas on "how" to get organized is not always enough. Just having the ideas does not necessarily create enough time, space, discipline and motivation to actually carry through your ideas.
The reality is, it's just not enough to think you can do it. You need to stop wasting your time and move forward. The longer it goes on, the worse it will become. I am here to help you stop the chaos and get organized, once and for all. And the good news is, I am just a phone call away!
I urge you to acknowledge that it's time to pick up that phone and contact me. I ask that you think enough of yourself to reach out to me and get some help. There is no shame in admitting you are overwhelmed. Busy moms like you are, more so than not, frustrated, overwhelmed and not even sure how to begin the process. These are the most common statements I hear when I get that phone call.
Are you ready to stop feeling this way and learn the tools you need to get and stay organized? I work with busy moms just like you to help carve out the time, create a solid plan and keep you motivated to get the job done.
Follow through on your intent to have A Better Space, because thinking about it is just not enough.
I will be here when you are ready.
Tuesday, January 12 2016
I know it's been a while since I last wrote a blog. I have been spending some much needed time on my own home for a change.
I decided at the end of 2015 that I was going to go through my home and thoroughly declutter, clean and organize each and every room of my home. I had been so busy last year organizing others that I, unfortunately, neglected my own home. It was quite an undertaking, I must admit, but the results are great!
I feel so much better when I walk throughout my home now. I went through my second floor in November and the first floor in December and am finishing up my basement this month.
I took time to assess my possessions and ask myself if I really needed everything I had. The answer was an astounding "NO"! I went through my wardrobe, including my collection of shoes and accessories, got rid of old nick knacks that no longer represented who I am, organized closets, cabinets, shelves, drawers and hung some new artwork. I gathered quite a large number of items for donation and for sale and a lot for the trash.
I organized my home office to get ready to rock it in 2016 and moved old files and paperwork into my storage area of my home to archive. I went through all of my filing cabinets and got rid of four boxes of paperwork at a recent shredding event too.
One of the things I paid attention to was whether or not I needed to repurpose any of the areas of my home.
When was the last time you did that? When was the last time you looked around your home and identified areas or rooms in your home that no longer serve you?
Have your children grown up and no longer need a play room? Has one of your children gone off to college or gotten married and no longer lives at home? Is that well-intended exercise room no longer being used? Do you no longer spend time in the living room, but rather use the family room instead?
It is so important to use your real estate. If a room in your home is no longer being used as it was originally intended, it's time for a change.
Start to re-purpose a room by eliminating what no longer suits you. Determine how that space can be better used and re-create a room that you love. Add a fresh coat of paint and perhaps an area rug to give it a fresh look.
Perhaps you do not have a home office and the paperwork in the home ends up everywhere. Wouldn't it be great to have a dedicated room where all of the paper management in the home can live? You could turn your unused living room or a bedroom into a home office.
How about that sitting room you have always wanted? How about taking an unused bedroom and creating a dressing room? The possibilities are endless.
You don't need to have a living room if you don't use one. You don't need to keep a bedroom unused. It could become a home office, a work-out room, a sitting room or whatever you have envisioned that you would like to have.
Take some time and go through your own home and look at it with fresh eyes and see how you can repurpose your home. "The purpose" of your home is to create an environment that you use and love to spend time in.
If you need assistance creating a room that you love, some interior redesign might be the solution. Feel free to contact me to talk about your particular situation.
Until next time, happy organizing!
Monday, November 09 2015
I have been working with clients for over 11 years, and over the course of that time, I have spoken with hundreds and hundreds of people.
Although I have been able to help so many people over the years, sadly, there are still so many who chose not to move forward and get organized. Are you one of them?
When it comes right down to it, it's not the money nor the time involved that is used as an excuse to not move forward. If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it.
The real reason is fear. There are so many reasons that fear gets in the way. Here are some that I think are most common.
1. Fear of losing the memory if you let go of something. I always say the memory will remain in your head and in your heart. Taking a picture can help remedy this, as well.
2. Being afraid you will upset the person who gave you something that you are not particularly fond of. I call that "Gift Guilt". Why not pass that "something" onto someone else who can make better use of it and enjoy it instead of storing it somewhere, unused.
3. Envisioning that it will be difficult to make changes in the way you do things and have to build all new habits. It is not as difficult as you might think. I make it a point to provide solutions that are customized to my clients' particular style, so the changes feel more natural.
4. Focusing more on what it will cost - in time, money or effort. The value in getting organized quickly becomes obvious and outways the cost. Investing in yourself is invaluable. Making positive changes can last a lifetime.
5. Feeling embarrassed to show anyone, including a professional such as myself, the fact that you live in such a cluttered or disorganized home. From the first time that we meet, my clients recognize that I am non-judgmental. I find that it is not as bad as they think it is. That is because my focus is on the potential of a given space and formulating a plan of action to provide "a better space" that we can envision for a particular room or an entire home. Although I do see the present condition, I can see "the forest through the trees"!
6. Being afraid of letting go because you think you will end up needing that item again some day. I call that "someday syndrome" and explain how that can be detrimental.
7. You have a fear of failure. You think that your attempts to get organized won't work. On the contrary, the systems that I put into place do work because they are so easy to maintain. Again, that is because they are customized, so they are a natural solution that meet your specific needs and coincide with how you function.
Which of these sound familiar to you? What are you afraid of?
On a day to day basis, living in fear only results in people remaining in a cluttered environment.
As we work together to create longlasting results, I spend time coaching my clients and get them past their fears. This is what creates the positive changes in their lives that they can experience for years to come.
Unfortunately, some never experience that change because of their overwhelming fear. Are you familiar with the quote by Albert Einstein: "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"?
If you want different results, you have to do things differently and that involves change. Admittedly, the fear of the unknown can be scary, but with the proper guidance from a professional organizer, such as myself, can you past your fears and onto a much more organized and happy life that is much less stressful.
We have all been there. I have certainly gotten past fears stepped out of my own comfort zone throughout my life, so I know how it feels. Getting to the other side of fear, however, provides a profound sense of relief and freedom. Opportunities open up when you open yourself up to change.
This holds true when you let go of the obstacle of fear in relation to getting organized. What waits for you on the other side is peace, serenity, time, room to breathe, reduced stress and control of your surroundings. It's so freeing!
If you want a life without clutter, you need to know that it is possible if you just get past your fears. You simply need to take action! Take that first step and don't be afraid to reach out for help. I am here for you.
Thursday, October 01 2015
Most people these days understand what a Professional Organizer does. We have come a long way from the days when people thought we were a cleaning service or an interior designer. We have magazines, newspaper articles, social media and the like to thank for that. Over the years, since I began my business in 2004, you cannot miss seeing tips on how to eliminate clutter, get organized, set up a garage sale, etc.
However, I still get the question from time to time "So, what is it that you do exactly?".
I thought this might be an opportunity to explain in greater the detail just exactly what a Professional Organizer, such as myself, does to help my clients get and stay organized, and the advantages of hiring a professional, as opposed to going it alone.
First of all, you do not need to be a packrat or a hoarder to need the services of a Professional Organizer. Although most professional organizers are skilled in these areas, there are so many other areas that we help with.
For example, there are those that are overwhelmed, not sure how to begin, too stressed out, too limited with their time causing an organizing project to take them too long to complete on their own, unable to envision a room or an entire home that is de-cluttered and organized, or in need of new ideas for space planning, interior redesign, paper management systems, tools for better time management.
Sometimes, a husband and wife will hire a professional organizer because one of them tends to be neater than the other and is frustrated. They cannot motivate their spouse to "get onboard". A third party like me can be objective and provide an unbiased, new perspective of the situation and find the middle ground that works for both spouses, relieving the strain this issue is causing in the marriage.
What you see on TV shows such as Hoarders or other reality TV shows sometimes provide a distorted idea of what is involved. In reality, your clutter problems cannot be solved in a 30 minute episode.
There is more to being a professional organizer than just setting up three containers marked "Keep", "Toss" and "Donate" and shopping for product that will magically transform your space into a home that looks like a designers catalog. The key is "comfort". Providing a space or a home that you enjoy spending time in is the goal.
A misconception is that you are "lazy" if you cannot get organized on your own. I hear this time and time again from women who tell me that their husbands cannot understand why they just can't do it themselves. I always say, if they could, they would have by now.
As a Professional Organizer, I am trained and skilled to help people overcome the obstacles they are facing and create order in a comfortable setting and put in organizational systems that will work in the long term. I always provide customized options to meet my clients' specific needs. I have many resources available to me that I share with my clients, including contractors, organizing products, donation sites, etc. that they might not be aware of. I help make those decisions about "what" to keep, trash and donate when my clients are not sure.
One of the biggest benefits of working with a Professional Organizer is their ability to set up a system that will prevent you from falling back into old habits that no longer serve you. My focus is not on the "stuff", but the person and tapping into what works best for them.
Sometimes, I work with clients who are preparing for change in their life - whether it be a new baby, empty nesters, new business, downsizing and staging a home for sale. The list goes on.
Organizing is more complex than just "picking up your stuff" and paying someone to haul it out of your house. It's about dealing with tangle items, time management issues and the anxiety of finding a solution.
These are some of the top reasons that I am contacted to help get people organized:
1. They don't know how to get organized or where to start.
2. They don't have the time to spend doing it all on their own.
3. They want that accountability partner and motivator to keep them on track to get the job done.
This is not a situation where, like on TV, you leave, I do all the work, and you come back to a big reveal. We are a team and we work together to provide you with the best solutions that meet your specific needs. No television show, book or magazine article can provide that.
That is what A BETTER SPACE provides and now, you no longer have to ask "So, what is it you do, exactly?"
If you are ready to get past that feeling of overwhelm and frustration that the clutter or lack of systems in your home which is keeping you from moving forward, don't hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to speak with you about your particular sitation and provide you with solutions that work.
You deserve A BETTER SPACE!
Thursday, September 17 2015
So, now that the kids are back at school and the Fall season is just days away, many of us are looking to shed a few of those pounds we gained over the Summer. Blame it on the Summer treats such as ice cream, those barbecues and parties with friends and family and perhaps lack of exercise due to the hot temperatures outside. However it happened, you are considering going on a weight loss program.
Well, I have a weight loss program we can all be successful at. Are you ready?
I would like to see you shed the "pounds" of clothing in your closets and dressers! Yes, you heard me. You can loss pounds.
So many of my clients have an abundance of clothing in their wardrobe. It is easy to put on the pounds (of clothing) but, just like other weight loss programs, not always as easy to shed them.
We go to the store or go online and start shopping. We come home with those new items we just can't live without and, boom, over time, our wardrobes grow to the point where we no longer know what we have or no longer wear all the clothing we have.
Do you know that statistics show that we wear twenty (20%) percent of our clothes eighty (80%) percent of the time? That means that eighty (80%) percent of our clothing we purchase and never wear or keep and no longer wear but keep it anyway. I find that astonishing!
I guarantee that if you went through your wardrobe, you could identify "pounds" of clothing that you've bought and have never worn or purchased a long time ago and no longer wear.
I challenge you to see how many pounds you can shed just by going through your wardrobe and eliminating those items.
This is a guaranteed weight loss program you can be successful at, and reach your goal very quickly.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, I am here to help. I can help you to go through your wardrobe in a systematic way to help you make choices about what to keep and what to donate or toss (or in some instances, consign) so that you can have a wardrobe you make use of and enjoy. I will help to create a wardrobe that fits your current lifestyle. It will feel like a brand new wardrobe!
Let's eliminate about eighty (80%) percent of your weight when it comes to your clothing. Just imagine how good that will feel!
Contact me if you want to discuss your particular situation. I want nothing more than for you to be successful!
Take the first step to shedding some pounds today!
Thursday, August 27 2015
Last week I had the privlege of working with a new client who asked me to help her organize her Sun Room. It is a room in her home that her husband has not been able to enjoy for several years due to the clutter that had been building up on the furniture and floor in the room. It was intended to be a quiet get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. That was not the case. It only created anxiety and frustration due to the amount of clutter it contained.
My client wanted to get this room organized for her husband as a birthday present for him. I gladly took on the assignment.
The clutter in the home had gotten to the point of it being so bad that it was affecting the couple's marriage. The marriage was on the verge of ending if the clutter that had been accumulating for many years was not cleaned up. My client was stuck. She was overwhelmed and did not know where to even begin.
This is a situation that, unfortunately, I am all to familiar with. Clutter can, in fact, cause permanent damage to a marriage if it gets out of control and cannot be remedied by the spouse who created it.
Needless to say, my client recognized that she needed help in order to get the house back in order and begin to work on saving her marriage. She hoped that the Sun Room would be the first of several projects we would work on together.
My client had asked her husband, unbeknownst to him that it was going to be a present for him, if he had a choice, which room in the home he would like to see organized. He said the Sun Room. He expressed to her that he was extremely doubtful that this room could ever return to its normal condition, let alone in one session, but was willing to have me come into the home and work with his wife.
And so, the project began. For four hours, my client and I went through the contents that had piled up in the room and either relocated it to the proper room elsewhere in the home, organized it within the room, or threw it away. With some interior redesign, I created the clutter free and spaceous room that he desired.
My client was so thrilled with the outcome by the end of the session that she cried and hugged me, thanking me profusely for creating A Better Space for her husband to enjoy. She was hopeful that when he came home, he would be as excited as she was and would ask me to come back to do further work with his wife in their home.
Before I could even get back to my office following this session, I received a phone message from my client advising that her husband did, in fact, walk through the door and was "blown away" by what had been accomplished and, following their vacation, intends to have me return to do other projects in the home.
I was thrilled that I was able to bring such joy to both of my clients and get such a great reaction from the husband.
In a lot of instances, my clients are not able to visualize how such a cluttered space can become A Better Space, but, fortunately, I can.
Unlike my clients who cannot see past the clutter, as a professional organizer, I am able to see the potential of any given space and, with that, can bring their dream of a clutter free and organized room to fruition.
If you want to be "blown away", contact A Better Space so we can discuss your particular situation and how I can make this happen in your home!
Wednesday, August 05 2015
You might not realize that you are living among clutter because you see it every day. Sometimes we cannot see what is right in front of us because we have become accustomed to it being there.
It is possible that you might need to pay closer attention to the signs of clutter in your home. Here are some of the signs:
1. Your guest bedroom requires that you move junk around so your guests have a place to stay. More often than not, because your guest room is used infrequently, it becomes a dumping ground for items that do not have a home elsewhere. The day comes when guests are planning on arriving and you need to provide space for them to stay. All of a sudden, it's a race to get the room in order for their arrival. Learn to put things where they belong and not just throw them into this room.
2. You know you have an extra set of car keys, but you can never find them. If you have trouble finding that extra set of keys or any other everyday item, it's a sign that its time to get organized. Your small items might not have a place of their own. Locate a place in your home where the item is used frequently and dedicate that spot to the item. Be sure to teach the other members of your household to put the item back into this spot after they have used it.
3. You find that you are having to constantly return home when trying to get out the door in the morning. You walk out the door to get the kids to school or you are running out the door to get to work and you have to run back inside for your cell phone or the kids' homework. This is a sign of disorganization. Plan what you need the night before and set up a station by the front door where school bags, purses, keys and anything else you need can be placed. Use a sticky note on the front door to remind you of those last minute things you need, such as school lunches, etc.
4. You are paying late fees and interest charges every month. Think about what it is costing you each year that you are paying those annoying late fees and interest charges because you do not have a system in place to pay your bills on time. Simply set up a bill paying schedule and designate a place for your mail. Create a consistent time to sit down and pay your bills each week or every two weeks to avoid this situation.
5. You never seem to have time for yourself. It is vital, no matter how busy your life is, to create some "me time". You get up early and go to bed late. You are exhausted. Take a breath. It is okay to schedule blocks of time for yourself on your calendar. It is a great time management tool. You need to create some time to do the things you enjoy doing, whether it's reading a book, taking a yoga class or even getting together with some friends for a few hours. Life is about balance; it's not all about work and getting things done. "Me Time" can be so empowering.
Take a look around. Pay attention to the signs of clutter in your home and in your life.
If you are having difficulty with any aspect of getting organized, feel free to contact me. I am here for you! I can show you how to eliminate the clutter in your home and in your life.
Wednesday, July 01 2015
What should you do with all the extra stuff in your house that you don’t have room for? A lot of people deal with this by renting a storage unit and just dumping everything there.
Did you know that the self storage industry has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry over the period of the last 40 years? I find that incredible!
Depending on the size of the unit, you can spend anywhere from $100 to $250 per unit per month. I have known several people who rent more than one unit. Multiply that by 12 months and you are spending at least $1200 a year to store your "stuff".
Personally, in most instances, I find the decision to rent a storage unit is just a form of procrastination, not a solution. It is, generally, a way to put off dealing with the inevitable; going through the items and making decisions about keeping, tossing, donating or selling.
A woman contacted me last month to talk about utilizing my services to help her declutter and organize her apartment. She was going away on vacation so we scheduled a consultation and first session for this week. When I confirmed the appointment the day before, as I always do, she told me she decided not to follow through. When I asked why, she told me she decided to just put her stuff in a storage unit.
But is this really the best solution?
When you have to rent a separate space outside your home to store all the stuff that you can’t fit inside, this is a "red flag" that you just might have "too much stuff"!
It’s one thing if the need is temporary (for example, when your house is being renovated, or you are staging your home and moving to another home), or if you truly have no room in your home for seasonal items, but some people rent storage units for years and years in order to hang on to things that are worth less than what’s being spent to store them. Does that make sense?
Wouldn't it be better to sell them, donate them, or just throw them out!
Think about it! On the off-chance that someday you discover you actually need one of the items you previously discarded, it’ll probably be less expensive to buy a new one than to keep the old one (and all your other junk) in storage for years and years.
Also, if you have something in storage that really is valuable to you (sentimentally or otherwise), why not honor it in a special place in your home, where it can be appreciated? How can you enjoy that item if it is stored in an outside unit and never seen? If you determine that you don’t have room for it, chances are there’s something else in your home that you could get rid of and never miss.
Always remember - Use the things that you use and enjoy today. Don't save them for “someday”. I call that "someday syndrome". That's when you think you’ll need something that you don’t want or need now. That can be an expensive decision.
So, to store or not to store - that is the question. What is your answer?
If you are contemplating renting a storage unit or already have one that you would like to get rid of, contact me. I can help save you money and honor the items you treasure today!
Tuesday, June 09 2015
How many people do you know that have lived in their homes for over five years? Are you one of them?
Just imagine how much has been accumulating in your home since you moved in. Do you know what you have? Chances are you don't.
We tend to gather items over the years and store them away and then forget about them. There is not one time that I have worked with a client that we do not find something they have either been looking for or just completely forgot that they had. It's just a matter of time!
The most common time for people to access what they have in their home is when they are actually moving out of it! But, I ask you, why wait? Why not take some time and create an inventory of what you have in your home now? Here are some steps you can take to get this done:
1. A Room At A Time - Don't attempt to inventory your entire home at one time. Work on one room at a time. Start at the top of your home and work your way down.
2. Make a detailed list of items you want to purchase. Do you want to replace the comforter set on your bed? Write it down. Do you want to change out the light fixture in your bathroom? Write it down. Even if you don't think you will make that purchase right away, put it on your list. Treat it as a punch list that you can use to get things done over time.
3. Make a detailed list of the items you need to repair. Does your closet door squeak? Does your carpeting need to be steam cleaned? Put everything you need to repair on one list and then get them done as soon as you can. It is important to always work on the upkeep of your home. If you create a list for yourself or a handyman, these items can be knocked off your list in no time!
4. Create an inventory of the appliances and electronics in your home. For insurance purposes, it is important to have an inventory of the major appliances and electronics in your home. Include a detailed description and model number. Keep this list in a fireproof/water proof safe box to use in case of a fire or flood. This will speed up the process when making a claim with the insurance company.
Whether staging your home for sale or just keeping up with the contents in your home and the repairs it might need, it is important to create an inventory and know what you possess.
Do you know what you have in your home?
If this process is too overwhelming for you, I am here to help. As a professional organizer who specializes in residential organizing, I can help you identify what is in your home and organize your contents in a way that makes it easy to find what you need, when you need it. Simply contact me to discuss you organizing stumbling blocks.
Tuesday, June 02 2015
Wow! Is it June already? I have been so crazy busy that I have not had the opportunity to write a blog for the past few weeks. I have been working with a lot of clients lately who are downsizing. They are transitioning out of their home into a smaller home. When this happens, many people struggle with how to fit all of their possessions into a smaller space. That is where I come in. I help my clients decide what to keep, what to sell, what to donate and what to throw away in the trash.
I actually get excited when I hear that someone is moving into a new home. Although it can be stressful, it is a great time to evaluate your possessions and decide what is truly needed and wanted. It's a fresh start. So many of us obtain or collect items during the many years we live in a home and do not take the time to weed through our possessions on a regular basis to re-evaluate what we want or need. Moving into a new home tends to help so many focus on this task. However, it can be overwhelming.
It is important to keep in mind the following:
1. Always focus on where you are going and how much space you will have. You need to constantly remind yourself of the amount of space you will have in your new home to help you make smart choices. Stay in the present when deciding on an item. If you hear yourself talking in the past i.e., "I used to use this for...", it is time to let it go.
2. Pick your favorites. As they say, everything cannot be your favorite. Be selective about the items you wish to take to your new home and be sure the item is needed or brings you joy. Don't get stuck in the "Maybe someday I will need it" syndrome. Your home is intended to be lived in, not acting as a storage unit.
3. Set a deadline. Many people who are downsizing are doing so because their kids are grown and have moved out of the home. However, they left their stuff behind for various reasons. Make sure your kids know you are serious about downsizing and cannot take their stuff with you when you move. Set a deadline and tell them that they either pick up or have their stuff delivered or shipped by a certain date or it will be donated. You do not have the room to store their stuff any longer and you do not want the added expense of having it moved to your new home.
4. Become familiar with the home you are moving into. If possible, visit the home you are moving into to do some space planning in advance. This will help you choose the items you will have room for and how they will be set up in the home. This includes furniture placement and cabinet or drawer storage. Take pictures if possible to refresh your memory when making these choices.
5. Organize the packing of boxes and furniture. Be sure to clearly label your boxes and furniture so the movers will have an easier time putting them into the appropriate rooms in your new home. Use color coding by taping a colored piece of paper on the doorway of each room that coordinates with the color on the boxes. Moving companies love when this is done. It avoids them having to ask you every five minutes which room you want certain items. It will also save time, which saves you money.
Downsizing is the opportunity to begin a new chapter in your life. It can be a stressful time but with the help of a professional organizer, it can be an exciting time!
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of downsizing, I am here to help. I can help you go through your possessions to make those important choices, space plan your new home and assist with staging your current home for sale, if need be. I will work with you to help you through the emotional attachment issues you might be experiencing with your upcoming move.
There is an upside to downsizing!
Sunday, May 10 2015
Okay, let's get this straight! I am not a Star Trek fan. Sorry, but it's just not my thing! However, S P A C E is something I can definitely relate to. Especially when it comes to getting organized. Finding a good home for your things is the final frontier, the final goal. Interestingly enough - S P A C E is an acronym.
It stands for Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Equalize. This is vital to getting organized. Let me explain.
1. Sort - When organizing a room, you want to go through the things in that room and determine whether they fit the theme of the room. For example, you should not be keeping children's toys in a master bedroom. Out they go! Do you have a purpose for the item and do you like it?
2. Purge - Now that you have identified the items that do not align with the theme of the room, either throw them away, donate them, sell them or move them to another room in the home where they will serve their purpose. Yes! Get your kids' toys out of the master bedroom and put them in the play room!
3. Assign - All of your "stuff" needs to find a home. When things don't have a home, you don't know where to put them and they end up laying around, on top of a counter, a desk, a table, the floor, etc. The place you select needs to be convenient. Think about it. If it is difficult to put away, chances are you will not put it away. Think of where you would logically look for that item - that is where it belongs! (Your answer might not be the same as someone else's, and that's okay. Just be sure to let others in the household know where they are being stored.)
4. Containerize - The organizing product industry is extremely lucrative for a reason. Why? It's simply - because things need to be containerized and stored. Make good use of drawers, storage bins and shelves in your home. Put like things together by how you use them, not how someone else tells you they should be used or stored. Make sure the container fits the amount of items being stored, it should not be too large or too small.
5. Equalize - Start using the rooms in your home for their intended purpose. Use the bedroom for sleep and relaxation. Do not use it to store items you want to hide from guests when they announce they are stopping by! Use your home office to pay your bills, file your paperwork and be productive.
Keep these concepts in mind and if any room in your home is not working for you, change it!
Do you want to have A BETTER SPACE? If so, contact me. I am here to help. I can help you to create the room you envision by eliminating the clutter, getting it organized and putting in customized systems that work!
Yes, SPACE is, in fact, the final frontier - it is my goal for getting you organized, once and for all!
Thursday, April 30 2015
How many times have you said to yourself "I want to get organized, but"..., then you do nothing about it?
I know, for a fact, that this happens more times than not! Do you want to know why? Why is it we get frustrated, overwhelmed and do absolutely nothing?
For some, it's because they don't know where to start. Perhaps it's because it is just too overwhelming when looking at the whole picture. For others, it's because they have started the process but never finished and gave up. For certain people, however, it is because of fear. Fear can cause some people to not even try.
What causes that feeling of fear? There are several reasons. I mentioned frustration and overwhelm. How about the feeling of failure?
Is it possible that you want to get organized but are afraid you will not do a good job and therefore, do nothing at all?
Do you believe that you will not be able to make the right choices when deciding what to keep, toss or donate? What justifies keeping something, throwing it away, donating it? Do you know? These are questions that tend to come up a lot when going through the process of organizing.
Is it possible that you are afraid that you will commit the time to weeding through your stuff and not get the results you set out to achieve? Perhaps you cannot visualize what the end result will look like, and, therefore, cannot even get started.
Finally, is it possible that you are afraid to let go of things you know you don't want but feel guilty about getting rid of them?
All of these fears can cause you to freeze or feel stuck and either not get started at all, or, in the alternative, start the process and not finish.
As a professional organizer, I work with my clients one-on-one to not only help them visualize the final outcome, but take the steps needed to not only start the process, but get past those obstacles such as fear and get the job done.
The next time you hear yourself saying "I want to get organized, but"..., remember, it is more common than not to feel frustrated, overwhelmed and perhaps frozen with fear when it comes to getting organized.
The good news is, I am here to help! If you want to see what some of my previous clients have experienced, I invite you to visit my Testimonials Page on this website at www.4abetterspace.com/testimonials to see what A Better Space has already achieved for others and what is possible for you, too!
Until next time, I am wishing you an organized day!
Wednesday, April 01 2015
Happy April Fool's Day!
I am so excited that April is here and, hopefully, the Winter weather is finally behind us. We are all getting ready for the upcoming holidays, Easter and Passover, which both are being celebrated this coming weekend. Before we know it, the flowers will be blooming and the warmer temperatures will be here to stay.
In preparation for the warmer temperatures and more time spent outdoors, this is a great time to seriously think about what clutter issues you may be contending with in your home.
Sometimes the Winter months can make us feel a bit sluggish and less productive. We go into hibernation mode and tend to be less motivated to get things done. Since this past Winter was particularly challenging, with severely cold temperatures and, for some of us, tons of snow, this is even more true.
Well, no more excuses! It's time to get moving and get organized!
Do yourself a favor and look around your home and be honest about the areas that need some organizing attention. Is your bedroom floor filled with clothing, is your linen closet stuffed with sheets and towels, are your kitchen counters crowded with papers or other items, does your home office contain piles of paperwork that does not have a home, is your family room no longer welcoming to the family, is your garage so filled that your car doesn't fit in it?
Do you walk through your front door and the first thing you see is clutter? How does that make you feel? Just imagine coming home at the end of the day and having your home bring you a sense of calm instead of dread. I have always believed that your home is your haven and should be a safe and happy place, leaving the chaos of the world behind.
Eliminating your clutter and getting organized can help to bring that to fruition. It has a very powerful impact on all aspects of your life. Here is a comment I received from one of my clients:
"Audrey, I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying my home now. It is much more relaxing. You helped me create a peaceful place. There is a place for everything and it is easy to keep things organized. I was a little nervous when we first started working together. I wasn't sure about someone having opinions on items that were important to me but I knew I needed to organize and downsize. You really listened to me and helped me donate things I really didn't need. Now I have a much more manageable home. I enjoy entertaining more. You were such a help and I enjoyed the time we spent working together. I thank you for helping me in such a caring and professional way. It was such a pleasure to meet you. Many thanks, Karen A., Newtown, PA"
My intent here is not so much to toot my own horn, but rather to show you what an impact getting organized can have on your home and your life.
Don't be "April foolish"! Take some time to evaluate what is truly going on in your home that is keeping it from being what you envision it to be. If you need a fresh set of eyes to help you evaluate your situation and get you on the road to organization, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, I am here to help. I am only a phone call or email away.
Have a great week and a wonderful holiday!
Tuesday, March 24 2015
Spring is finally here. The cold temps seem to want to hang around, however. The time is now to start Spring cleaning your wardrobe and start putting your Winter wardrobe away. The warmer temps are just around the corner, I promise.
Do you have bulky items hanging in your closet that are taking up the space you could use for lighter weight clothing?
Do you have items that you bought and intended to wear this past Winter season but never did?
Are your drawers stuffed with articles of clothing that are now too warn out to be used again next year?
Do you have pieces in your wardrobe that no longer fit?
Now is the time to clear them out.
Here are some steps you can take to Spring clean your wardrobe:
1. Start in your closet. Eliminate the articles of clothing that should be thrown away because they are now worn out.
2. Eliminate articles of clothing in your closet that you did not wear this past Winter season that can be donated. Bag them up and make an appointment with yourself to either have them picked up or dropped off at a Thrift Store or non-profit organization that takes clothing.
3. Pull out and store bulky items from your closet elsewhere which you think will take up too much space in your closet. Clothes need to breathe so make sure they have enough room in your closet to do so. You can use an under-the-bed plastic container, a cedar chest, a garment bag or plastic 18 gallon container for storage in your attic or basement.
4. Take out the items that no longer fit you. If your weight tends to go up and down, store that size in a container. Keep only the clothes in your closet that fit you now. You can always retrieve them later if need be. Do not keep more than one size larger and one size smaller. You are not a department store!
5. Go through your drawers in your dresser and do the same thing.
6. Pull out clothing that you might have stored away during the Winter months for use in warmer weather.
These steps will get you ready for Spring so that when those warmer temps hit, you will be ready with a wardrobe that suits your needs.
If you are overwhelmed and need help, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Tuesday, March 10 2015
Being a professional organizer and having a home office such as I do, I know how important it is to keep it clutter free and organized.
Paper clutter as well as computer clutter are both problematic for most people. It is vital to feel good about your home office environment in order to be productive.
Here are some tips you can use to get and keep your home office functional and enjoyable to work in:
1. Clear your surfaces. Paper tends to pile up on any flat surface such as a desk if it does not have a home. It can be overwhelming to get it organized and under control. So, the first step is the clear the surfaces of all paperwork and office supplies. Start with a clean slate.
2. Provide yourself with sufficient storage space in your filing cabinet. You need to have enough room to store active files and reference/archival files. If you do not have enough space for a good filing system, your paperwork might end up piled on a desk or even on the floor.
3. Keep it separate. Do not co-mingle your personal paperwork with business-related paperwork. They should each have their own zone. If it is not possible to have separate filing cabinets, then designate certain drawers in the cabinet for personal and for business.
4. Create sufficient room to work. If your PC is taking up a lot of space, consider using a lap top computer instead. Designate a portion of your desk for computer work and another portion for spreading out paperwork. Be sure to designate space for your printer, scanner, etc. A good option is to purchase a multi-functional printer/scanner/copier to save space. Make sure your equipment is placed where you can easily reach it from where you are sitting.
5. Out with the old and in with the new. On a regular basis, you should go through your files to clean out old, unused paperwork to make room for new materials either monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. This is vital to staying organized as your paperwork will always have a good home. This applies to your computer as well. Eliminate old email, folders or programs you no longer need or use.
6. Create an environment you enjoy spending time in. It is important to have the furniture, lighting and items that reflect your personality in your home office space so that you enjoy being in the space. This will help you to be more productive. Create a space that is functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Be sure to incorporate items that will not only be functional, such as a desk with drawers as opposed to just a desk surface and select a comfortable office chair to sit in. Add artwork or photographs to the walls that you enjoy looking at. Incorporate bookcases or shelving for added vertical storage.
The less you have out on your desk and work space, the better. You will be able to think much clearer and be much more productive when there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. Of course, you know, that is how you create A Better Space!
By using the tips mentioned above, you will be well on your way. If you are just too overwhelmed and need assistance to get it under control, I invite you to contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, Happy National Organize Your Home Office Day!
Monday, February 23 2015
Last night I was watching the Academy Awards Ceremony a/k/a The Oscars and it got me thinking of the stage. The stage can be set for homeowners who are looking to sell their homes, as well.
I am well aware that we are in the midst of the winter season, but, before you know it, Spring will be here and that tends to be the time of year when people are looking to put their home up for sale. It is a little more complicated than just putting a sign on your lawn. You need to prepare - and what better time to begin the process than during these cold winter months.
Over the years, I have helped realtors and home owners alike, "set the stage" to get their home ready to sell. Although there are many aspects to staging your home for sale, I would like to provide you with a quick overview of some areas to focus on.
1. Closets - If packed tightly, closets will make a home appear to lack closet space. It is vital that you eliminate the unnecessary clutter in a closet and organize it to maximize the amount of open space you want to show to the potential buyer. Using matching hangers for clothing will create a nice visual impact, as well.
2. Bedrooms - The bed should face towards the doorway and be the focal point of the bedroom. Eliminating the excess furniture will provide plenty of space in the room for navigation and clear surfaces on end tables and dressers will be pleasing to the eye.
3. Bathrooms - Be sure the surfaces are clean and clear. Remove soap scum and redo any grout that has discolored over time. A clean bathroom is a great way to stage your bathroom. Create a functional but relaxing environment, especially in a master bathroom. The display of white or cream colored towels will open up the space in the bathroom and provide a spa-like feel.
4. Kitchen - A simple and inexpensive way to update your kitchen is to use a new coat of wood stain or a good sanding and a coat of paint. Replace the hardware for a fresh new look and, as always, clear your surfaces of clutter. Lastly, remove area rugs from in front of the sink to open up the visual appearance of the kitchen.
*On average, most sellers will spend an average of $1950 on their bathroom and kitchen renovations with an ultimate return of approximately $3250, which is about a 65% on their return. Bathrooms and kitchens are essential spaces in the home and where most buyers are either won over or lost.
5. Living Room - Providing plenty of light in this room is a major source of approval by a potential buyer. Be sure that the shades are open and use lighter colors where possible to give the room a more spaceous look. Create clear paths to navigate and avoid having the back of a sofa face the main pathway. You want to open up the room to visitors and not block them off with misplaced furniture.
A few simple steps can increase your home's potential for a higher selling price. Removing clutter is one of the most important ways to do this.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of staging your home for sale or considering downsizing, don't hesitate to contact me. I can help you to "set the stage" for sale.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, February 09 2015
Have you heard of the concept of having a Memory Box? I personally feel that everyone should have one (or a few). Everyone goes through life and gathers fond memories of people they have met, places they have gone or things they have done. You should have a designated place to store those memories, hence...A Memory Box.
The first time I created a Memory Box was back in 1998 following the passing of my husband the previous year. To this day, it contains fond memories of photos, letters and other items I collected during our 15 year relationship. I also created one for my son who was 7 at the time to contain his fond memories of his relationship with his father. Both of us open up our boxes from time to time and go down Memory Lane together, reflecting on our special times with my late husband and his father.
Memory Boxes are great, however, there are guidelines you should follow:
1. Store your own memories in your own box. This box is not intended to be shared with others. It is personal. Moms often want to store their kids' memories along with their own in one box. Keep in mind that you have your own memories of your kids and your kids have their own memories and they should be kept in separate Memory Boxes. Do not co-mingle!
2. Be selective. Just like anything else that you keep, "everything cannot be your favorite". Using an appropriate-sized memory box is great for setting boundaries as to how much you keep. When a box gets too full, it is a sign that you are saving too much and you need to go through the box and eliminate what is not longer relevant. Pick your favorites!
3. Do an annual review. Contrary to popular belief, what was important at one point in your life might not be as important now. Your memories and emotional attachment to things change. I have found that over the course of the years, what was once so important and relevant is not so much any more, and that's okay. This is especially true with children. That macaroni art from Kindergarten was so amazing when it came through the door ten times that year, but now, your child is in 6th grade, and that macaroni art is not so incredible anymore - at least not all ten! I highly suggest that you go through your Memory Box once a year and do a review. (For kids in grade school, I recommend the end of the school term.) Make room for the new memories that you will gather in the coming year.
4. Don't confuse a Memory Box with a random storage container. Your Memory Box is not intended to be a place to put things that you don't know where else they should be stored. It is not to be used as a catch all. If you have different categories for memories such as I do (I have one strictly relating to my relationship with my late husband and another more current box of memories), that is fine. Don't keep memories that evoke sad or bitter times in your life. You want to be sure they are "positive memories" that evoke happy times in your life.
I encourage you to create a Memory Box for you and every member of your family. Store them in a place that is accessible for those times when you want to go down Memory Lane and relive those happy times in your life.
Remember, it's a Memory Box, not a random storage container. Fill your box with happy memories that you will enjoy for years to come!
Wishing you an organized week filled with fond memories!
Monday, February 02 2015
Have you found during your lifetime that you have been organized and other times not? It is very common but can be frustrating. When your organizing train has derailed, how do you get back on track?
Here are a few recommendations:
1. When feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and just not sure where to begin, don't try to take on the whole project at one time. Make a list of the things you need to do to accomplish a task or project and do one step at a time. Stay focused on a particular task and it will get done before you know it.
2. Get the family onboard. Have a family meeting that focuses on the tasks that need to be accomplished and determine who will be responsible for those tasks and when. You can set a time each day for everyone to help get organized. For example, at 7:00 p.m. every night, everyone will spend 15 minutes putting things where they belong. Creating a reward system for the kids is a great motivational tool.
3. Taking that sentimental journey can cause the organizing train to be delayed. If you find that you are having trouble parting with belongings, keep in mind that holding onto belongings for the wrong reasons can create clutter. There is no need to suffer from "Gift Guilt". Set a timer to go through the items in small segments. Determine what is most important to you and only keep those items that mean something special to you. If you have inherited items, be sure that they mean as much to you as the person who passed them onto you intended. When your emotions are involved, it can be more difficult to part with items but be selective. Considering donating the items you choose not to keep to a charity so someone else can make use of them.
4. Stop drowning in paper. Your computer can be a huge paper clutter eliminating machine! Instead of a large paper filing system, consider purchasing a scanner and scan documents into your computer. Setting a limit on how much space you allow for certain paperwork will help, as well. Paper is something that is constantly coming through the door. You need to create a system that can easily be maintained. You need to go through your mail and other paperwork on a regular basis.
5. Someday Syndrome. Do you keep telling yourself "I will get to it someday"? If so, you have what I call "Someday Syndrome". If you find that you are having trouble getting started with becoming organized, perhaps you should consider contacting a professional organizer. A good organizer will help you identify the reason you are collecting and hanging onto your stuff and can customize a plan to get you onto the train to success!
There is no need for your organizing train to continue to be derailed. Get back on track. If you are having difficulty doing it on your own, I am here to help. Contact me and let's talk about what is going on and I can explain how I can help.
In the meantime, have a great day!
Sunday, January 18 2015
Usually it is fairly easy to get rid of certain types of clutter: food storage containers with missing lids, broken items that you don't intend to repair, clothing that has not been worn in years, etc.
However, when it comes to items that you have inherited, that can be another story.
The rule of thumb is that you don't need to keep something just because it belonged to a beloved relative. If it's something you don't like and don't use, and you've stored it in the back of a closet, in your garage, basement, or anywhere else (including a off-site storage unit) for years, it's not serving anyone. If it is sitting on a shelf, a table or any other flat surface and collecting dust, you are not honoring that possession and it should go elsewhere.
Are you really honoring the memory of that person if the item is not being used? It's much better to get the item back into use, even if the person using it is not you. Keep in mind that your relative's intention was not to burden you with their things. They want you to enjoy the item.
This is similar to what I call "gift guilt". We believe that if someone gives us something, we have to keep it. Not true! If you don't like something that they gave you, either return it to the store where it was purchased or pass it on to someone else who will make use of it. Perhaps another family member would appreciate having the inherited item. Perhaps you can sell it and use the money for something you want. Give that item a whole new life by passing it on to someone else who can make it part of their home.
If you want to remember the item, take a picture of it before you pass it on. It will take up a lot less room that way.
I have worked with numerous clients over the years who were holding onto furniture, jewelry, dishes, handkerchiefs and knick knacks because they were given to them.
My theory is that the point of holding onto items that you have inherited is to remember the person. Having 100 handkerchiefs in a container that you never open and look at is not necessary in order remember them. I think that keeping a few items or collectibles makes more sense if they are special to you. If you hold onto all of them, just because, I do not believe you are honoring them in the way you should.
Sometimes, we are holding onto items that we have inherited from our adult children because they moved out of the home and left them behind or they do not have enough room to store the items where they live. I have seen this happen time and again and the items end up staying where they are and not being used. This is another form of inheritance, by default.
If the items are taking up space that you want for another purpose and you have the items for a long time, you might decide it's time for a change. Send pictures of the items to that person and let them know you will donating any items they don't specifically tell you they want. Be sure to include a deadline in the not-too-distant future for responding to you. Set a deadline for them to pick up the items or when you intend to have them mailed or shipped to them.
Setting deadlines to accomplish this is vital to your success.
Remember, your home is not a storage unit for others. Honor your home by creating an environment that is condusive to your style of living and that brings you joy. Do not inherit clutter!
If you are overwhelmed and need help deciding what to keep, what to toss and what to donate or sell, contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, January 06 2015
As we all know, the New Year is a time to renew and refresh.
Let me ask you something. How long have you been living in your home? When was the last time you looked around and "re-evaluated" your real estate"?
What do I mean by that?
I find that so many people live in their homes for years, and although their circumstances might change, their home does not reflect those changes.
For example: Have your children grown up and their bedroom is stuck in a time warp from when they were little kids? Have your children gone off to college and left their bedroom unused? Have you started a home-based business and have not created a home office space to work out of? Have you been widowed or divorced and the remnants of that person still remain untouched in your home? Have you wanted to create a gym in your home but instead have an unused space in your basement?
It is very easy to go from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year without making changes to our home.
I find that to be a waste of real estate. You are paying a mortgage on a home you are not making the best use of. That does not make any sense to me.
Last year I moved my home office from an area in the basement to a second floor bedroom that was unoccupied for some time following my divorce. I now have much more room and have a large window which provides great natural light. I am so much happier! I feel I made much better use of my real estate by doing this.
Do yourself a favor. Re-evaluate your real estate. Take some time to walk around your home (physically, not just mentally) and take a look at all of the rooms in your home and ask yourself whether they are being put to the best use. What changes could you make to better maximize the space you have?
If you are not sure, feel free to contact me. I have helped my clients over the years transform under-utilized spaces into rooms they can make better use of and enjoy at the same time. By being in a space, I have the ability to visual it's potential and make suggestions for how to best utilize it.
Make your place A Better Space!
Wednesday, December 31 2014
Happy New Year! Are you ready for 2015?
This is a great time of year to not only eliminate clutter and get organized, but incorporate a little Feng Shui into your life and your home. I dabble in Feng Shui from time to time and use the basic principals when working with my clients in their homes.
This list was created by Kathryn Weber, Feng Shui Entrepreneur & Nationally Syndicated Columnist.
Notice that de-cluttering is at the top of the list!
OUT WITH THE OLD
Grab a laundry basket. Next, set a timer and take it with you from room to room. Set it for five minutes. Now, start throwing out old papers, magazines, empty bottles of shampoo from the bathroom, old clothes you know you’ll never wear again! Do it.
Got CDs you never listen to? Throw those out or donate them to charity. Have some old coffee mugs that don’t match or odd drinking glasses still hanging around in your cabinets? Pitch ‘em.
When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t forget to look under the bed, too! And toss that lipstick you haven’t worn in two years! Remember to clean out the pantry, too, and toss that half-empty box of Rice Krispies that’s gone stale.
2. Sweep or vacuum
Get the old energy out by making the floors clean.
3. Do the laundry
Don’t have dirty clothes hanging around. You can throw in a load or two while you declutter. Be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.
4. Clean the bathroom
Make it sparkle. You don’t want a nasty mess to greet the next year of your life!
5. Empty all trashcans
Don’t want last years’ trash hanging around, do you? Toss, toss, toss.
6. Clean out the refrigerator
Got a half-empty jar of apple butter? Get rid of it. You don’t want to go into the New Year with old food or a moldy science project lurking in the fridge.
7. Clear out visual clutter
Too much stuff everywhere? Clear off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchen. Clear off your desk and dust it. Pitch the sticky notes and papers and things taped everywhere! You can do it. Don’t forget the refrigerator! Make it a blank slate.
Make as much space as possible. You cannot bring in new things if there is no room for it and we want a fantastic year, right? Then make your space “open” for the abundance of the New Year!
8. Yard work
Make sure the yard is picked up and the front door step is swept and clear.
9. Change the sheets and towels
Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen. New sheets are even better.
10. Clean the car
This is what gets you around during the year. Drive through a car wash, take out the trash and do a quick cleaning.
All done? Wow, doesn’t that feel good! Now you’re ready for the next step.
IN WITH THE NEW!
1. Fill your pantry and kitchen
Stock the refrigerator with food and make sure the pantry is also stocked. It is bad feng shui to have an empty refrigerator and pantry. If you have canisters in the pantry or on the countertops, be sure to fill these.
2. Got citrus?
Oranges are excellent symbols for the New Year and the Chinese often celebrate the New Year by rolling oranges (symbols of gold) into the house. Place a big bowl of 8, 9, or 10 (the numbers of prosperity!) oranges in the living room or central location in the house next to dishes of nuts or candies to symbolize an abundant, fruitful home.
3. Buy a new plant
Put a beautiful new plant in the East (health & family relationships) sector of your house or office to symbolize a healthy beginning. You can also display some beautiful flowers here to symbolize your good health in the coming year.
4. Welcome good news
Place a golden bell in the NW corner of your home, office, or bedroom to bring good tidings from helpful people. Like old school bells? If so, place one of these in the NW corner of your yard for good news from helpful people.
5. Hang up new calendars
What better way to greet the New Year than by throwing out the old one? Take down all of last years’ calendars.
6. Fill your wallet
You don’t want to go into the New Year with an empty wallet. Put some money in your wallet — or better yet — go and buy a new wallet (red is the best!) or purse and start your financial off with new energy!
7. Invite a toad to your house
Place an old, broken clay pot upside down next to a water spout so a toad can make its home here. Toads are believed to invite money into the household; they’re especially nice by the door. You can also place figurines of toads by the door.
8. Feed the birds
Birds are excellent feng shui and believed to bring good news. Fill your feeders or put out a feeder for the New Year.
9. Have fun and celebrate
Fun is good feng shui. A happy vibrant home or space is a good space, so plan a party of some kind of happy gathering. Remember, a home or office with good feng shui is easy to spot it’s the one where everyone goes and doesn’t want to leave! Make your space that kind of place!
OR, as I say "Make your place A Better Space!
So, what do you think? I am not sure about inviting a toad into my house. I think I will go ceramic, thank you, but a little Feng Shui never hurt anyone! Go through this list and do the best that you can. Do one thing at a time to help stay focused and soon, you too will have A Better Space.
Wishing you a very Happy (and organized) New Year!
Saturday, December 20 2014
It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so it is said.
Granted, we get together with family and friends, donate our time or make monetary contributions to help others and think about all that we have and take time to appreciate those around us.
However, I have to wonder whether it is "the most wonderful time of the year".
I personally think it is the most stressful time of the year.
Right around Thanksgiving, a frenzy begins. We begin to plan holiday meals, go to or have parties, make lists of people to buy gifts for and then go shopping for them, decorate our homes, send out holiday cards, cook large meals, bake cookies, cakes and bread, invite friends and family into our homes. It can be downright exhausting!
Some of us plan ahead. We create a plan and meet our deadlines well in advance. Others, well....not so much. Many of us wait until the last minute and then run around like chickens without heads, trying to get everything done in time.
We are only days away from Christmas and so many of us are just getting started. We are out at the malls and stores trying to figure out what to get everyone and dealing with crowded parking lots and long lines and perhaps picked over merchandise. I always wonder why people put themselves through all of this. Talk about stress!
Can you truly enjoy the holidays when you are exhausted and frazzled? It doesn't sound like fun, does it?
Although it certainly is a magical time of year for kids and adults alike, there is something to be said about the commercialized portion of the holidays. We feel obligated at times to purchase gifts for people that simply just add to their clutter.
Think about how many times you might have received a gift from someone that you bring home, put away and never look at again. You feel you can't get rid of it because someone gave it to you.
For me, personally, it is more about spending time with those I love and slowing down to appreciate them. Granted, I like gifts as much as the next person, but if you ask me what I really want this holiday season, it's the opportunity to hang out with friends and family and tell them how much I appreciate them being in my life. It's about giving joy to others. That, to me, is what the holidays are for.
So, perhaps next time around, we can all make it a point to plan in advance, purchase less and have more time to spend with those we love. Less clutter, less stress and more joy will make this the most happiest time of the year.
I wish all of you a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year! See you again in 2015.
Tuesday, November 18 2014
I am curious. What are your shopping habits?
Are you the type of person who goes to the grocery store or the department store with a list of things to purchase and sticks with it? Or, are you the type of person who goes without a list and has no idea what you are going to purchase and just "sees what happens"?Did you know that the latter choice is one of the contributors to clutter?
Interestingly enough, I have found that most men are the type that go to the store, get what they need and leave. They tend not to be the brousing type. I know there are exceptions. Not to stereo-type but when it comes to sports equipment, cars, motorcycles tools or other hobby-related items, you might just catch them brousing in a store and coming home with more than they intended.
Women, on the other hand, are generally "shoppers" in the true sense of the word. For the most part, they are the ones that come home with items they had no intention of purchasing when they first entered the store. Whether its food, clothing, decorative items, they fall victim to the enticement of those "bright, shiny objects".
Remember, a deal is only a deal if it is going to save you money on an item you use. Don't use a coupon on an item you don't use just because you have a coupon.
These days, it is especially easy to shop "without intent", thanks to the internet. We are bombarded with pop-up ads and can easy brouse a site of interest. Before we know it, UPS is at our door with items we chose simply by clicking a few buttons. Painless, right? It might not be painless at first, but over time, these purchases can become clutter.
I cannot tell you how many times my clients complain about having "too much stuff" and the feeling of overwhelm. A lot of times, it has to do with purchasing items without intent.
I coach my clients to set healthy boundaries for the items they possess and how to make smart, intentional choices so that clutter can be eliminated and balance can return to the home.
With the holidays quickly approaching, we will all be doing more shopping. Do yourself a favor. Shop with intent and keep the clutter at bey.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your clutter and don't know where to begin, I can help. I will bring balance back to your home so you can enjoy what you do have and what makes sense to keep.
In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Monday, October 20 2014
Now that we are well into Fall with Halloween just around the corner, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chanukah will quickly follow. Before you know it, we will be participating in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping.
I would like you to keep something very important in mind.
I recently spoke to a Moms Club at their monthly meeting and my topic was about organizing the kids. One of the points that I made, which is so relevant at this time of year, is that when it comes to gift giving, you need to remember the concept of "presents vs. presence".
Did you know that the United States has about 3 percent of the world's children, yet U.S. families annually purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally. This tends to happen because there are so many working parents. They now have less time to spend with their kids so they tend to shower them with toys to compenstion for that perceived "loss of quality time". Other relatives, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles can also contribute to this statistic.
There is a difference between "presents" and "presence".
Presents are great, but in excess, can cause clutter.
Don't spoil your child by providing too many presents. There are other alternatives. Have you considered asking grandparents or other family member to purchase movie tickets, tickets for live events or a favorite restaurant instead of a toy? Try to come up with creative solutions that do not involve a lot of toys, clothing or other items that are in excess of what is reasonable.
Relatives and friends tend to want to give "things" to your children to show them how much they love them. However, they need to understand that, although it is appreciated, their time is more precious than possessions. Too many possessions tend to lead to clutter.
I once worked with a hoarder who used to purchase toys and clothes for her grandchildren and ship them out three times a week. Can you imagine what that house looked like with all of those "presents" arriving at their door? I was able to get her to understand that her time with the grandkids meant so much more to them that the gifts they were receiving. She ended up taking a trip to visit them and spent about 10 days of quality time with them instead. Now that, in my opinion, is a "gift".
Before the holiday season gets under way, why not take some time to contact those relatives and friends and express this concept in a tactful way so as not to upset the gift giver. Having alternative ideas in mind ahead of time will guide them in the right direction and help you reduce the clutter of too many possessions in your home. Consider doing the same for those you love. Give your time instead.
Remember when gift giving this year - "presents" vs. "presence". Why not choose "presence".
If you are overwhelmed with the toys, clothes and other items that have accumulated in your home, don't hesitate to contact me. I will help you bring balance back into your home so you can enjoy time spent with your family instead of stressing over the clutter.
In the meantime, have a great day!
Tuesday, September 02 2014
It's that time of year when we are settling back down into our routines, either with work, school or the household. Vacations are behind us, the kids are returning to school and the normal routine of running a household returns. It's all a balancing act.
There are some ways that you can (again) create balance in your life when it comes to getting organized.
1. The "One in, one out" rule. Whenever you bring something new into the house, get rid of something. Are you purchasing new clothes for the upcoming Fall season? Go through your closet and get rid of the items you did not wear this past Summer.
2. Do not transfer your clutter. You will not do yourself any favors by clearing off the dining room table of clutter and moving it to the home office floor. Deal with it now to avoid a project later.
3. To do or not to do, that is the question. Consolidate all of your "to do's" onto one list and decide whether you are going to do it yourself (and schedule a time to get it done), delegate it to someone else or not do it at all. Keep your "to do's" moving.
4. Finish what you start. Do not move from one area to another when organizing. Finish what you start and then move on to the next area.
5. Store it where it's used. When deciding where something should go, ask yourself where it is used. Keep like things together so you can easily find them when you need them.
6. Don't be afraid of open spaces. It's okay to keep a drawer empty or a shelf in a cabinet empty. You don't have to fill every nook and cranny with "stuff". It's a great back-up spot for those times when you need a little more space.
7. Location, location, location. Mark shelves, bins and boxes with labels so everyone will know where things belong and can help put things away in their correct location.
8. Double trouble. Don't keep multiples of things that are not being used. You do not need two can openers or four pair of tweezers. Get rid of the duplicates either by passing them onto someone else, donating them or throwing them away if they are not in good condition.
9. Get back on that horse. Everyone falls off the organizing horse from time to time. Maintaining organization is a continual process. Allow yourself to fall behind from time to time, but don't delay in getting right back up, dusting yourself off, and starting over again. (The good news is that if you are organized to begin with, it will not be so hard to do!)
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, I am here to help. As a professional organizer, I can help you find your balance. Now, with a new season approaching, it's a great time to create A Better Space. Don't hesitate to contact me.
Thursday, August 21 2014
Not only do people need to have a home, but so does their stuff.
Interestingly enough, I was working with a client of mine the other day and we were discussing her cluttered closets in her home. She has clothes everywhere. Her dresser drawers are stuffed and she has clothes that she no longer likes or wears.
She asked me about helping her to create a laundry schedule because she feels she can not get a handle on it. Of course, I could help her with that. I have done it many times for many of my clients over the years.
She mentioned that she hates doing laundry. I asked "Why?", that the washer and dryer do all of the work. She said she agreed with that except for one thing. When it comes time to put the clothes away, she does not have a place to put them. Basically, her clothes are "homeless". There lies the problem. It's not the task that she dislikes, it's the frustration afterwards to try to put her clothes away; to give them a home.
It got me thinking. I have counseled clients over the years on how important it is to find a home for their things. It is beneficial in so many ways. Not only can you easily put things away, but you can easily find them when you want them. It is a tremendous stress reducer and applies to all aspects of your home. It eliminates procrastination in many instances.
Think about it. It is important to have a home for all of your paperwork in your home office, groceries in the fridge, cabinets and/or pantry, linens in the linen closet, clothes in closets and drawers, tools in the garage...the list goes on and on.
I have seen it time and again. When I work with my clients and we find homes for their possessions, they get an immediate sense of relief and reduction of stress. Their lives are made so much easier, just by being able to put things away where they belong.
So, I ask you. What items in your home are "homeless"? Are you able to find a solution? If not, contact me. I can help. My passion is to find homes for your possessions and reduce your stress so you can enjoy doing the things you like to do and have the time to be with the people you want to spend time with. You deserve A Better Space.
Let's knock out homelessness together!
Monday, August 11 2014
How many times have you said to yourself "I want to get organized, but..."? We have lots of reasons as to why we put off what we know we should (and hopefully, want to) get done. Do you tend to procrastinate? Do you dislike doing certain things? (We all do!). Whether it is at home or at work, there are tasks we dislike and, therefore, procrastinate doing. The result can be clutter and disorganization.
It is possible that changing just one thing associated with those tasks could improve how you think about completing the task. Here are some suggestions:
1. It's Time For A Change - Sometimes changing when you do an activity can make all the difference in the world. It can improve how you think about the task. For example, if you normally attempt to tackle an unpleasant task right before you leave work for the day, try moving it to either first thing in the morning, or perhaps right after lunch instead. If you don't like to go food shopping on weekends, make a change and try food shopping one evening during the week instead.
2. Looks Mean Everything - This might sound superficial, but if you don't like the appearance of something, you might not enjoy using it. If your home office is cluttered, not well lit and does not have some things in it that bring you joy, you might avoid spending time in that room. You are not utilizing the space for which it was intended. Get some brightly colored file folders, a nice pen to write with and create a system for staying up to date with your paper management. Paint the walls, hang some pictures and make the room more pleasant to spend time in. (A Better Space can help you create a room you enjoy spending time in.)
3. Game Time - Challenge yourself. If you have some menial tasks you need to get done but keep putting off, set a timer or put on some music and challenge yourself to get them done within a certain period of time. Clean up your desk surface, take out the trash or wash some dishes. It just might help you to get those tasks completed.
4. Connect The Dots - As in all types of organization, it is best to put like things together. The same is true with your tasks. Find a task that needs to be done and see if you can link it to another activity that is more enjoyable. Plan a business meeting near a favorite restaurant that you can go to afterwards. Carpool to a distant location with a friend or colleague to make the long drive more tolerable. Play some of your favorite music while cleaning the house. Some tasks are just not enjoyable but if you link them to an activity that you enjoy, you will improve the overall experience.
5. Break It Down Into Manageable Pieces - Some tasks, like getting organized, can be so overwhelming that we do nothing to get the job done. By doing a task or project in small, manageable pieces, you will find that you are more productive. If you don't like to file, set a timer once a day for 15 minutes. You don't have to do it all at one time. Small, consistent chunks of time can sometimes be much more productive. (A Better Space can show you how to eliminate the clutter, get organized and put systems into place that are not time consuming, but productive.)
Try one or all of these suggestions and see if you feel a difference when it comes to getting organized and your tasks completed. Feel free to comment below and share your experience with others.
In the meantime, if you want to get organized, but...you are overwhelmed with your clutter and don't know where to begin, let A Better Space help.
Monday, July 14 2014
Are you looking for some tips to maintain your newly organized home? Some of you have already gone through the process of eliminating the clutter and finding a home for your things. Are you done? No, you are not!
Now you need to maintain the organized space you have created.
There are some super simple and easy ways to put your things away. They are short, sweet and to the point.
1. Make sure it's easy to put your things away. You found a place to store your holiday decorations in your garage on top of a shelf above the garage door. Now you realize it's a bit difficult to get to. (Been there, done that! My ex-husband built a geat shelf above my garage door years ago to store the Christmas holiday decorations. However, he always had to climb an 8 foot ladder and squeeze into a narrow opening to get the items up and down. When we split, I changed that. I was not about to climb up an 8 foot ladder, even if it was only once or twice a year, to retrieve my holiday decor.) Consider how difficult it might be to put away and retrieve your items before committing to that space.
2. Make sure everything has a home. All family members who share in putting things away should know where items belong. When bringing something new into the home, think about where it is going to live before you make that purchase.
3. Invest in good tools. I don't mean the hammer and the nails necessarily. I mean items like filing cabinets with drawers that extend all the way out so you can easily access the back of the drawer. Purchase a better shredder to avoid paper jams. Get items that will last so they don't fall apart and have to be replaced all the time.
4. Develop routines. Do your filing weekly. Set a timer each night for 15 minutes for the family to participate in cleaning up. Eliminate junk mail on a daily basis. Schedule one day a week to pay your bills consistently. Determine what routines work for you and your family and be sure to stick to them.
5. It's doesn't have to be perfect. Unless you are putting your home on the market for sale, your home does not need to be pristine. Set a comfortable standard in your home. It's more important to have a home that is safe, functional and generally uncluttered. Pefection is too strong of a standard to maintain and can be very stressful. Relax and enjoy the comfort of your home without the clutter.
If you have yet to start the de-cluttering and organizing process in your home, I can help. I can set the stage for a home that is comfortable, functional and enjoyable for all members of the family to enjoy. I have lots of ways to provide you with the tools you need to maintain the home long after the organizing process is completed. Contact me if you want to discuss your organizing struggles.
In the meantime, happy organizing!
Tuesday, July 08 2014
Even if you are not looking to take on a large organizing project, there are some things you can do on a daily basis to get and stay organized. The good thing is, little effort is involved.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Make Your Bed - This simple task will not only give your room a nicer look, but if you have pets in the home, it is especially helpful. Pets have litter, dirt, fur, dander, dust or other items on them that you don't necessarily want on your sheets. Take five minutes to make your bed first thing in the morning.
2. Determine Your Route - Are you running errands or taking a trip? Plan the best route you will take and know travel conditions before getting into your car. Getting lost or sitting in a traffic jam is not saving you any time.
3. Load The Dishwasher or Hand Wash The Dishes - Dirty dishes left in the sink, on the counter or elsewhere in the house is an invitation for bugs, pests and bacteria. A cluttered sink makes it difficult to prepare meals. Load the dishwasher throughout the day and run it regularly to keep your dirty dishes from building up. Wash your dishes by hand and let them dry in the drainboard as you use them. Put the dishes away on a regular basis to avoid clutter.
4. Open Your Mail - On a daily basis, bring your mail into the house and immediately sort through it, eliminating the junk mail by shredding and recycling. Open up the rest of the mail to decide what you need to do with it. This will avoid the build up of paper clutter in your home.
5. Lay Out Your Clothes - The night before, decide what you want to wear the next day, even down to accessories and lay them out for the next morning. This will save you time when you are rushing to get somewhere the next day.
There are many other ways you can do some "everyday organizing". Can you think of any?
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized or have a larger project you want to tackle, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I am wishing you an organized day!
Wednesday, June 11 2014
As a professional organizer, I have the ability to visualize the potential of any space. I approach any organizing project from the positive end. However, I must admit, that for some, there is a downside. Here are some examples:
1. Stirring up dust and dander. Getting down to the nitty gritty of decluttering can mean that you might experience physical reactions to dust and dander. If you have pets (or even pests), moving items around that have been stationery for some time can cause the dust and dander to result in an allergic reaction. You can take an over-the-counter allergy medication or, in certain instances, put on a surgical mask while you are working and avoid rubbing your eyes.
2. Muscle soreness. Sometimes getting organized can be quite physical. You tend to reach, bend, clean, left and carry items. Soaking in a warm tub or getting a massage can help. Taking a mild pain reliever at the end of the day can help minimize those aches and pains as well.
3. Minor injuries. It is not uncommon to suffer cuts, bruises, chipped fingernails and other minor injuries. It is not a bad idea to keep a small first-aid kit close by to disinfect and bandage small scrapes you incur as you go. Use gloves in areas, like the garage, where you might be more susceptible to injury. Proceed cautiously to avoid serious injury.
4. Travel time. More than likely you will need to make donations to your local charity. If you already have a lot of things to do, it might be stressful to have to schedule a trip (or two) to your favorite donation site. Plan ahead before you start your project to detemine what types of donations are accepted and whether they do home pick-ups. This can save you the time and energy it takes to load up the car and travel to the site.
5. Creating more things to do. Getting organized will inevitably increase your to-do list temporarily. You find items that are broken that you want to fix, home repairs you want to make, items you need to donate, paperwork you need to file or follow up on and more. Be prepared and know that it is temporary but once completed, you will be able to maintain balance in your home which will save you time in the long run.
6. Moving on. Sometimes when decluttering and getting organized, you tend to find things that bring up the past and not always in a in a fun way. It can bring up sadness or even anger at times. It is best to take a moment or two to reflect on the object and what memories it brings up. If they are not positive memories, it is a good idea to get rid of the object and move on.
In my opinion, there is nothing better than going through the process of eliminating the clutter and getting organized. It is freeing, uplifting and motivating to do so. Although there are challenges, the end result is worth all the time, energy and effort it takes to get the job done.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and are only able to focus on the downside, feel free to contact me. I am here to help you focus on the up side and show you the positive aspects of eliminating your clutter once and for all!
Tuesday, May 27 2014
Is your home starting to look like an episode of "Hoarders"? Perhaps not, but it might be time to get rid of the clutter and get organized. You have three choices - throw it away, donate it or sell it. Which one do you choose?
Toss It - Get rid of old receipts and any paperwork that is no longer needed. For confidential information, be sure to use a cross-cut paper shredder. Throw away anything that is broken and you have no intention of fixing or cannot be fixed. Eliminate expired food in your pantry, refrigerator, freezer or kitchen cabinets. Toss old make-up and other cosmetics that are past their prime. Check with your county or municipality to visit Earth911.com to locate a facility where you can drop off automotive and home-improvement items such as oil-based paints and, pesticides for proper disposal.
Sell It - Some of your items can find a second home and get you some cash in the process! Utilize E-bay, Craigslist, consignment shops or specialty sites for books, clothing and tech items. For books, log on to Bookscouter.com, enter the ISBN number (located over the bar code) and receive price quote from online booksellers who want them. Sell your designer clothing and accesories at The Snob (www.thesnob.biz) and Snobswap (www.snobswap.com). For vintage clothing, try Etsy (www.etsy.com) and Fashiondig (www.fashiondig.com). Have a yard sale!
Donate - Get that warm, fuzzy feeling and even a tax deduction by donating your things to charity. Whether you donate to a local non-profit such as Goodwill, Salvation Army or other local thrift stores, it is easy to eliminate your items from your home quickly. You can either drop off the items at the site or have a truck come pick them up, depending on who you choose. Purple Heart and other veterans organization are also a good choice. Always check with whomever you choose to be sure that they accept the items you have to donate and be sure to get a receipt to use when preparing your annual tax return. When it comes to electronicss, be sure to erase personal information. Erase the SD car, SIM card or destroy the hard-drive. Donate your old cell phones through Verizon's HopeLine program for victims of domestic violence or support the troops overseas at CellPhonesforSoldiers.com. Donate your shoes to Soles4Souls.org and books to your local library. Senior centers and day-cares need arts and crafts. Animal shelters needs towels, blankets and sheets. There are so many choices.
When it comes to eliminating your clutter and getting organized, you have three choices. Toss, Sell or Donate. When it comes to getting help if you are overwhelmed, consider using a professional organizer such as myself, to help you get the job done! Together we can eliminate the clutter and create A Better Space for the things you wish to keep.
In the meantime, I am wishing you an organized day!
Tuesday, May 06 2014
Have you taken a look around lately? All of us have things scattered around the house that can be re-purposed. There is something in almost every room of the home, in fact.
Today, I want to share with you 10 ideas for items you already have in your home that you can "re-purpose on purpose":
1. A CD tower in the bathroom can be used to hold toilet paper, toiletries or small towels. You can even turn it on its side with the openings upright and hang it on the wall for additional storage.
2. A tennis ball canister or Pringles canister that has been cut on the bottom can be used to hold paper baking liners for cupcakes and muffins or to hold paper cups. Hang it on the wall to save space. It can be used for so many other things too!
3. A hard glass case is useful to store your ear buds or other small items in your luggage or handbag.
4. A muffin pan is a great way to store small items in your drawer in the bathroom or bedroom such as children's hair clips or jewelry.
5. An upright magazine holder can be used for gift bag storage or sheets of wrapping paper.
6. A long towel holder with knobs can be mounted on the back of a door or on a wall to organize your jewelry.
7. Use a business card case to transport your favorite sweetener packets.
8. Re-use a tissue box to store plastic grocery bags.
9. A small shower caddy can be hung on a doorknob in your laundry room to hold detergent, dryer sheets, clothes pins, etc.
10. Use an acrylic napkin holder to organize your bills to be paid, putting them in chronological order to avoid late payment.
Which of these items will you repurpose? What other ideas do you have for re-purposing your items? Take a look around and get creative!
If you are simply overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, contact me at A Better Space. I will be more than happy to help. Let's "re-purpose on purpose" together!
Monday, April 14 2014
Do you multi-task? Is it really possible? This subject is constantly debated. Some say yes, it is possible. Some say no.
The truth is, when we think we are multi-tasking, in most instances, we are not. Yes, we might be doing several things at one time, that is true. However, we are not saving any time doing so. We are working on pieces, we are not completely focused on a task and, most importantly, there is no time being saved by doing two, or even three things at a time. It's all about focus. If we take the time to focus on one task at at a time, we will get it done more quickly and more efficiently. That is a fact!
Now, can we use items in our home for various purposes? Sure we can! That's what I call multi-tasking! Here are some examples:
1. ICE CUBE TRAY -
* Gather desk supplies such as thumb tacks and paper clips.
* Organize sewing items such as buttons, beads and hooks.
* Use one in your dresser drawer to organize small earrings or pins.
2. SHOE ORGANIZER WITH POCKETS -
* Store art supplies. A plastic hanging shoe organizer can hold, paints, pens, brushes, glue sticks and stickers.
* Use one on the back of the bathroom closet door to store small soaps, razors, sample bottles of lotions or nail polish.
* Place one in your clothes closet to separate pantyhose or pairs of knee high socks.
3. LAUNDRY BASKET -
* Protect delicate plants during a rain storm or hail storm by turning the basket upside down on top of them and burying the edges in the dirt.
* Gather garden supplies, including a garden hose. Coil the hose and stash your sprinkers, nozzles and other attachments in the middle of the coil.
* Take one to the beach filled with beach toys for the kids. Flip it over to use as a table at lunch time.
Can you think of other ways to multi-task, besides running around doing two or three things at a time? Use your imagination and take another look at what you already have in your home that you can use for other purposes. Be creative!
Share your ideas! I would love to hear from you!
If you are simply overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help. I can show you creative ways to use what you already have and repurpose them to help you get and stay organized once and for all!
I am just a phone call (or email) away! I would love to hear from you!
Monday, March 24 2014
Many people are baffled and confused and cannot imagine what they need to do to be organized. Today, I want to help you start to think about some guidelines to follow when you are attempting to get and stay organized.
1. KNOW THY SELF. Those that are organized tend to know themselves very well. They are in tune with how to access information and products to create storage systems that reflect their preferences. They know how to simplify tasks to maintain order. They know how they prefer to work and live. They are clear about what they need and don't need. They know what they want in life and their priorities. Time and time again, I have worked with my clients to help them identify these aspects which are the foundation for getting and staying organized.
2. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT. There is a misconception out there that if you are organized, you are perfect in every aspect of your life. I am here to tell you that is not true! No one is organized in every aspect of their life, every day of their life. We all fall off the organized wagon from time to time (even me!). The difference is, organized people accept this as part of the process and simply get back on the horse and start again. If you are organized to begin with, it is easier to get back on track.
3. A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING, AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE. I credit my paternal grandmother for teaching me this adage. When you have a place to store your items, they have a home. If something doesn't have a place to be stored, you cannot put it away. Every coat or jacket needs a hanger to hang it on. If you don't have a hamper, your dirty clothes will land on the floor. Store items where you tend to use them most often and it will be easy to put them away and retrieve them when you need them.
4. CREATE ROUTINES. Organized people have routines throughout the day. Clear your desk at the end of your workday. Create a to-do list for the following day. Lay out your clothes for the next morning. Routines create stability for actions that need to be attended to regularly.
5. FINISH THE TASK. Those that are organized know that the laundry is not done until the clothes have been folded and put away. Dinner is not done until the table has been cleared and the dishes have been loaded into the dishwasher or washed by hand. Wrapping a present is not done until the supplies - scissors, tape, wrapping paper - have been put away. You are not finished until the task has been done to completion.
6. ANYONE CAN BE ORGANIZED IF THEY WANT TO. Being organized is a skill set. Anyone can learn tools to get and stay organized. Although it can come more easily to some, it does not mean it is not achievable. Being organized takes practice and maintenance.
If you are overwhelmed by your clutter and want to learn what it takes to get and stay organized, don't hesitate to contact me. I can show you, no matter where you are in life, how you can acquire the tools you need.
In the meantime, happy organizing!
Monday, March 03 2014
No, not me, but many of you are "moving on". You are getting ready to move out of your current house, condo or apartment and into a new home.
Sometimes we are happy about the move, sometimes not. We might be leaving behind great neighbors, a home we grew up in or the first home we bought when we moved out of our parents home. Sometimes we have raised our children in the home but it no longer serves our needs Sometimes we are moving because we need to relocate to another city or state for a new job or it's time to downsize (or upsize). There are so many different reasons that we decide to move.
And talk about stress! Moving is one of the more stressful things we do in our lives. There is so much to do! There is so much to prepare, but not to worry. If you create a plan, you will be able to more easily transition from one home into another.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you have a "smooth move".
1. This is a great time to declutter. It's amazing how the thought of moving all that stuff gets us to re-evaluate our possessions and begin to focus on how we can declutter so that we do not have to take it all with us. This is so important to do. Do you really want to spend the time now throwing all of your stuff into boxes, paying the moving company to move it and then have to weed through it when you get to your new home? Do yourself a big favor and do it before you move so that you can be sure that what you are taking with you is what you really want to keep.
2. Select the right type of box for your item. Moving various things involves using various types of boxes. Although moving companies have great heavy duty boxes and wardrobe boxes, you can also collect boxes from local liquor stores or supermarkets. These smaller boxes work well. The divider inserts in the liquor boxes are great for transporting alcohol or other glass bottles you might have in your kitchen. (If you are moving across state lines, be sure to check the regulations for transporting alcohol.) Produce boxes from the supermarket tend to be heavy duty and have handles on each side to make it easy to carry. Check into purchasing used boxes to save money. There is a store near me in Doylestown, PA called Box-It that is great for this purpose.
3. Divide and conquer. When packing boxes, consider dividing them up into categories. Besides the items you are packing and taking with you, you might have charitable donations, giveaways, items to sell or trash. Try to use different types of containers/boxes/bags for these various categories. Do not use a trash bag to pack up items to move. You might very easily throw the bag away, thinking it is trash when it's not.
4. Label, label, label. You cannot be too careful. Clearly label all sides of a box with not only the contents, but which room the box should be moved into when you arrive at your new home. This will make it easy for the movers to put the box in the right room, saving you from having to physically move a box from one room to another.
5. Color coding. Whenever I have moved, I not only labeled the boxes but labeled the bedroom doors and other areas of the home using "color coding" on the boxes to match. Inexpensive round sticky labels work well. I found this to be a great tool for the movers. It avoided them having to ask what goes where. They were able to do it on their own, saving them time and, therefore, saving me money.
6. A room at a time. When packing, set a goal. For example, pack the living room on Monday, the kitchen on Tuesday, the garage on Wednesday, etc. Focusing on one room at a time will reduce the feeling of overwhelm.
If you are thinking about moving some time this year, now is the time to start preparing. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the thought of decluttering and organizing the move, feel free to contact me. I am here to help make sure you have a "smooth move".
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, February 07 2014
Now, you might be thinking "Yes, I am Wonder Woman"! I do it all! Can you really? Are you really a super hero? Honestly, no offense, but I highly doubt it.
We only have so many hours in a day and we have so many things we want to accomplish in a day. I need to ask you, "Are you running yourself ragged"?. If so, is being "Wonder Woman" really such a great thing?
In my opinion, a "Wonder Woman" is the Queen of delegation. She is the type of woman who has a lot to accomplish but also recognizes that she can't do it alone. She knows that she needs to delegate to others. Whether it's at home, at the office or running errands, delegation is the best tool in the organizing tool box to get it all done.
How do we delegate? This might be difficult for some who have never done it before. It involves trust and imperfection. It's okay to pass off some responsibility to others! It's okay that it will not get done perfectly. The important thing is that whatever it is will be one less thing you need to worry about. That is smart time management, needless to say, a great stress reducer.
You might want to start by making a list of things you want to accomplish that you either don't have time to do or don't like to do.
Next, you want to compile a list of people to delegate certain tasks to. They can be your spouse, your kids, other family members, friends or someone you pay to get the job done.
Then, you match up the task with the appropriate person. Understand that even though it might not be done exactly the way you would do it, it can still get done. You might surprise yourself and find that the person you delegate the task to does an even better job than you would have done. That's okay! You don't need to be insulted; be grateful! Everyone is good at something and some are better at certain things than others. You have your strengths; they have theirs.
If you need assistance, having to hire someone to help you out is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about.
For example, as a professional organizer who specializes in residential organizing, I am an expert when it comes to eliminating clutter and getting others organized. I save people time and reduce their stress by providing solutions. This is a form of delegation.
The important thing here is to evaluate all that you have to do and find a way to get it done efficiently without having to do it all yourself. That's how you truly become "Wonder Woman"!
If you need to reach out for some assistance when it comes to your clutter, time management, paper management or any other type of residential organizing, contact A Better Space. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a "WONDERful Day"!
Friday, January 24 2014
Sounds crazy, right? Why would you want to "maximize" to minimize. Is that an oxymoron? Not when it comes to organizing!
When getting organized, the focus is on eliminating clutter and organizing items or thoughts in a way where we maximize the potential of what we have. Whether it relates to the items themselves, the space they occupy or what's going on in our heads, we want to focus on maximizing in order to minimize.
Any space can be maximized to create an environment that is more "user friendly". We want to create a place where everything is easy to find and easy to put back. We want to create a space that makes sense, based on how we function. That doesn't mean we need to make it bigger by adding on an addition. It means we use the space we have to its best potential.
Everyone functions differently, but there are some general rules that can apply to everyone.
For example, when it comes to "maximizing" the hanging space in your closet, it is best to choose the correct type of hanger. Using matching hangers for an entire closet is best. This might sound petty, but it is more than just aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
It makes it easier to locate your clothing when all of your clothes are hanging at the same height. Using the correct hanger will protect your clothes from damage and keep your clothes from sliding off the hanger, onto the floor. Hanging like-things together will help also. Some people hang their clothes by color, some by type. That is a personal choice and both can work well.
When it comes to "maximizing" in order to minimize, you are focusing on the use of the space itself and the contents within it. How we store items (or even information) is so important in how we function on a day-to-day basis.
I suggest that you start paying attention to the space in your home, your office and your head to figure out where you can possibly maximize their potential in order to minimize your clutter.
If you need assistance in figuring it all out, I can help. You can utilize my knack for minimizing the clutter and maximizing the space, no matter where it is and making sure that the system you put into place will work for you.
In the meantime, happy organizing!
Wednesday, November 20 2013
Now that Halloween has come and gone, we are gearing up for the official holiday season which begins next Thursday with Thanksgiving (and Chanukah). After Thanksgiving, we only have twenty-seven (yes, 27) days until Christmas.
Are you ready for the holidays?
This time of year I get so many inquiries about how to transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas in an organized way.
Recently, I was asked how to combine Fall clean up with holiday prep.
The answer is all of these questions is to create a plan. As with any other type of organizing project, you need to start at the beginning and systematically work through the process.
Here are some ideas:
1. Create a holiday notebook. You can use a paper version (such as a binder), an app on your Smart Phone, a bulletin board or any other method that works best for you. Do the "brain dump" and jot down all of your thoughts about the things you need to do to get the job done. This will take the "remembering" out of "remembering" and immediately reduce your stress by providing you with a sense of control and a plan.
2. Divide and conquer. Take your list and create various categories with deadlines. What type of things do you need to accomplish? When do you need to get them accomplished by? Here are some suggestions:
Cleaning the Home, Decorating the Home (inside and out), Sending Out Holiday Cards, Gift Giving Ideas, Gifts Purchased, Supplies For Wrapping Presents, Preparing A Menu, Guest Lists for Holiday Parties, Budget/Expenses, etc.
3. Create a holiday calendar. Devote a calendar to holiday activities and tasks. Indicate the deadlines you have established for getting things done. Assign a different color to each member of the family so that nothing is missed. This can include chores for the kids to accomplish and invitations for parties. Don't forget to include gift giving to teachers, the mailman and other service providers in your life. What good is purchasing a gift for them if you forget to give it to them?
4. Choose a select few. You cannot accomplish everything at one time. Do yourself a favor and prioritize what needs to be done sooner as opposed to later. Select a few items at a time and focus just on them before moving onto something else. Obviously, it makes sense to clean the home before you decorate it, so don't worry about decorating until the home is clean. Each day that you do this, you will be able to check things off your "To Do" list and move forward.
5. Work with a deadline in mind. Even though you want to start at the beginning of a project, it is best to be aware of your deadline so you can plan backwards. What I mean by that is, for example, if you are having a holiday party at your home on December 21st, you want to make sure that your To Do list for that project is completed by that date. Determining how long something will take will enable you to provide sufficient time to get it done and, therefore, everything will be done on time.
6. Ask for assistance. Are you getting bogged down with the details and don't know where to begin? As a professional organizer, I can help you to create some time management tools you can use to supplement these suggestions so that you can enjoy the holidays with less stress. (Feel free to contact me.)
In the coming weeks, I will be providing more tips on how to get and stay organized through the holiday season.
In the meantime, I am sending you best wishes for a happy and ORGANIZED Thanksgiving holiday.
Friday, November 01 2013
Most of us have a desire to maintain organization in our homes. We strive to keep our homes de-cluttered and organized on a regular basis. Sometimes that is easier said than done.
Life gets busy. Items enter the home and don't get put where they belong. So, how, you ask, can I keep clutter in my home under control. The answer is having habits and routines that you follow consistently. Here are a few:
1. Make it easy. Complex routines that require more than three steps can be difficult to maintain. Create simple routines that are easy for you to manage. Be sure the system works for your current lifestyle. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the right solution. Some examples are to get up 30 minutes earlier to allow time to get things done; keep a donation box inside your closet, sort your mail on a daily basis. These are easy but productive ways to stay uncluttered.
2. Do it regularly. To maintain a clutter-free environment in your home, it requires an ongoing process. This is not "one and done". Add some time to your calendar on a regular basis for a specific amount of time (for example 30 minutes a day and 60 minutes on the weekend) to go through your home and put things away.
3. Do what's right for you. Be sure to incorporate the right strategies and tools that work for you. Don't do something just because it's popular. Use techniques that suit your personality. For example, you can use a notebook or perhaps a digital option to remind you to get things done. There is no right or wrong solution. The best solution is the one that works best for you!
4. Put it away not down. It is best to touch something once instead of over and over again. Put things away the first time instead of just laying them down. This will avoid you having to take additional time to put it away later. This will avoid clutter piling up and you will always know where to find something without having to search for it.
5. A place for everything and everything in it's place. I grew up hearing my grandmother saying this all the time. Be sure to have a home for everything. It is much easier to put things away when you have a place to store them. Put items where you tend to use them.
6. Be selective when making purchases. I always teach my client to purchase with intent. Purchases made without much thought have a greater chance of not being used. Attempt to plan out your purchases before you go to the store or order on line. (This applies to groceries, clothing, toys, etc.) Think about where you are going to put the item when you get home. (Other than the kitchen table.) If you are purchasing a piece of art work for your walls, do you have room on a wall to hang it? Do you already have 8 pair of black pants? Chances are you don't need another pair. The fewer things you have, the less you have to maintain and store!
These habits can sometimes be overwhelming until you can find balance in your home. If you are having some difficulty with this aspect of organizing, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here to help.
Until next time, happy organizing!
Monday, October 14 2013
The holidays will be here before you know it and you will be shopping in the malls and in the local stores. Now is a great time to organize your wallet so that using it will be easier.
You probably use your wallet on a regular basis. (I know I do!) When was the last time you cleaned it out? Are you able to find what you need when you need it? How long does it take you to find that credit card you want to use or a store reward/loyalty card? Is your wallet bursting at the seams with receipts and information? Do you need to hold it together with a rubber band? (Yes, I've seen this!)
Here are five simple steps to organize your wallet:
1. Purge your receipts. I recommend that you do this daily to keep it all under control. Log the debit expenses into your checking account ledger and put your credit card receipts in an envelope until the bill arrives. Hold cash receipts for no more than 30 days following a purchase in case you need to return something.
2. Use digital coupons. If you carry store loyalty cards or paper coupons in your wallet, they could be taking up too much space in your wallet. Try using digital coupons or a smart phone app instead. Try Passbook for iPhone. They attach your phone and loyalty number so you don't need those cards anymore. (This might free up your keychain as well!)
3. Determine your "Must Haves". Everyone has difference needs and routines. There is not one way to organize your wallet. Whatever works best for you is the right way. However, that does not mean it should be stuffed or stretched beyond its limit. Take a few moments to figure out what you really need to have in your wallet on a regular basis. Consider how many credit cards you need to carry with you at all times. Do not carry your social security card in your wallet! For me, I keep it simple: debit card, major credit card, wholesale store membership card, drivers license, health insurance card, AAA membership card, some business cards, and a small amount of cash. The rest of my credit cards are kept in a separate wallet that I use when I am going shopping at a particular store. (I plan ahead for any excursions to the store.)
4. Decide whether your current wallet fits your needs. There are many types of wallets to choose from. Find one that comfortably fits what you need. Sometimes a wallet can be too big for your needs and you can downsize. Sometimes you need a longer one to fit your contents. (Remember to make a copy of your credit cards and keep them in a safe place in case your wallet gets stolen.)
5. Have a spot for emergency money. Keep a small sum of money in case of emergency in your wallet. Sometimes you find that a store only takes cash (my local produce store is a good example) or you find that your credit card is not working. Fold up some cash and keep it separate for use in an emergency only.
What do you have in your wallet that can be removed?
If you find that you are overwhelmed with your clutter and need help getting and staying organized, contact me. I am here to help!
In the meantime, Happy Organizing!
Thursday, September 05 2013
As the Summer ends and Fall begin, this is a time of transition and renewal. It's also time to evaluate where we are in our lives and what we have.
We can all agree that having multiples of certain items in your home (for example, toilet paper) or in your office (pens) are helpful and make sense to have. Since we use these items often, we need to be sure that we can store them in a way that makes it easy to access them.
However, sometimes, multiple items can accumulate and begin to take up valuable space. We want to be sure not to let those items cause us "double vision". They should not get out of control.
Here are five items that you probably have duplicates of:
1. Paper shopping bags. How many have you accumulated from the grocery store? Although they can be useful for various purposes, if you find that they are accumulating, consider donating them to charities that could benefit from them. Some charities bag up meals, clothes, supplies or purchases and are always looking for bag donations. Check with your local charity to see if they are in need of this item.
2. Hotel toiletries. I have talked about this in a previous blog, but I think it is worth repeating. If you are a frequent traveler, chances are you have come home with travel-size toiletry bottles and packets. If you find that you are just collecting them and not using them, you can offer them to overnight guests in a basket in the bathroom, use shower caps as food container covers or donate them to a local shelter. You can even leave them at the hotel and not bring them home at all. Let others make use of them instead.
3. Pens, pencils and markers. I don't know about you but the pens, pencils and sometimes markers seem to multiply in my house. How often do you come home with a pen that you borrowed and forgot to return? I must admit it happens to me from time to time. When my son was in public school, he "acquired" lots of pens and pencils throughout the school term. Don't ask! If you end up with an abundance of pens, pencils or markers, consider donating them instead of holding onto them. It's impossible to use all of them! Donate them to your local school or community center or the Pencil Project.
4. Bedding. When was the last time you went through your linen closet and eliminated the older sets of sheets or blankets that you no longer use? We tend to hold onto more sets than we need. If you change your sheets once a week, you don't need more than two, maybe three sets per bed. The third set might be a set of flannel sheets. Are they stained, torn, or don't fit the beds you currently own? Consider donating them to a local charity if they are in good shape or a local animal shelter. They are always in dire need of bedding.
5. Mugs. Do you bring home mugs from places that you've traveled or received them as a promotional item at an event? They can accumulate in your kitchen cabinet over time. We tend to have our favorites and don't tend to reach for the others. If you find that you have too many, consider donating them to a local charity in your area or to that college student living in a dorm or apartment.
So, are you seeing double in your home? Take a look around and start putting things together that you can donate. You will gain more space for your important items and help others in the process.
If you need assistance in downsizing your possession, feel free to contact me at A Better Space. I am here to help.
Until next time, HAPPY ORGANIZING!
Monday, August 12 2013
Recently I helped a client prepare her home for sale. She was downsizing from a three-bedroom rancher with a full basement to a two bedroom condo. I not only helped her de-clutter, I helped organize, downsize and stage her home in preparation for putting it on the market.
This prompted me to think about some low cost ways you can spruce up your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers (or even for you to continue to live in):
1. Landscape - Your home's curb appeal is the first thing that people notice when they drive up to your home. Keep your lawn mowed and weed-free. Trim the shrubs low enough to be able to see the front windows. Put out some colorful hanging baskets of flowers near the front door to create an inviting entrance.
2. Paint the interior - A fresh coat of paint or a new color on the walls can change the look of a room very quickly. If you are painting in order to sell your home, avoid dramatic colors and stick with neutrals. Save the color for accent pillows, area rugs or other items that are mobile and easily changed out.
3. Give the kitchen cabinets and drawers a makeover. You can refinish the cabinets and drawers with a coat of paint or stain to give them a fresh look. Updating the hardware on will provide a whole new look.
4. Update light fixtures. If you are currently dining under a chandelier or light fixture that is 20 years old or if you are getting ready each morning under drab lighting in your bathroom, it's time to add some new lighting. Select tasteful yet simple fixtures and add a dimmer in the dining room for extra appeal. Use bright, natural lighting in the bathroom. By cleaning your fixtures, you will be able to provide additional brightness to a room very quickly.
5. Maximize storage. As a professional organizer, I believe that this is very important. Cramped closets are unattractive to buyers and frustrating to your family members. Clear out everything from the closet and only put back what you currently need to keep. Use a closet system that provides plenty of shelving and rods for efficient organization.
Whether you are putting your house on the market or want to simply spruce up your home for you and your family, utilizing these tips will start you on your way.
After helping my client to stage her home, she was able put it on the market and received an offer within six days. She is making settlement at the end of the month.
If you need assistance with preparing your home for sale, contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, July 26 2013
Do you rent a self-storage unit (or two) to store your "stuff"? Some of my clients do.
I have a theory about off-site self-storage. Basically, I believe they are great if used short term. They are very useful when you need additional space to store items that you are transitioning from one place to another, for example, after the passing of a parent. There are other examples as well.
However, I do not believe they should be used over the long term as they can become expensive to maintain. Calculate the monthly fee by 12 and see what you are spending over the course of a year. It is worth it or can that money be put to better use?
If you are going to rent an off-site self-storage unit, you should at least know what to look for.
With literally hundreds of local self-storage facilities in any given area, how do you choose one of another? Do you choose one closest to home, one your Aunt Jane's friend rented last year, the one you keep seeing advertised on television? You need to find one that best suits your needs.
DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN ALL THE HYPE - When it comes to making a choice, hindsight is 20/20. Don't get caught up in the bright and snazzy colors on the bulletin board ads, local newspaper ads or elsewhere. Don't take your eye off the ball. The bottom line is service.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK - Seek out a knowledgeable customer service associate to help you. Make several phone calls and visit several locations. Ask lots of questions so you can make an informed decision.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION - Where are the various facilities located? Is it located in a congested area? You want to be able to get to your unit when you need to without hassle.
SAFETY AND SECURITY - Is the facility located in a safe location in case you need to go there at night? Is there 24-hour surveillance? Are there separate alarms for each unit? What kind of fire protection or sprinkler system is available? Is there climate controls such as air conditioning or de-humidified units available? Is there heat for colder months when your items might freeze?
ACCESSIBILITY - You want to be able to get to your unit and access your items at times that work best for you. What are their hours of operation and are there any restrictions on the times of day or days of the week you can load or unload your unit. If 24-hour, seven day admittance is important to you, make sure you find a company that can accommodate you.
TRANSPORTATION - Are there dollies or carts available on the premises or do you need to supply your own. Is there sufficient space to bring a U-Haul or trailer on the back of your vehicle to load or unload items?
OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT - What size units are available? What are the various prices? Are there any discounts available? (Some offer the first month for a $1). What is the cancellation/refund policy? Is the facility insured for break-ins, theft, fire damage, water damage or natural disasters? What insurance are you required to carry? How do they handle non-payment (just in case you forget to pay your bill) and how long do you have to retrieve your items?
Renting a storage unit at a storage facility requires that you take the time to get the facts. Be sure that you are "Self-Storage Savvy" when it comes time to renting a unit.
My hope is that you eliminate the clutter in order to avoid having to incur this additional expense, but just in case, I hope this helps.
Until next time, I wish you an organized day.
Saturday, July 13 2013
Clutter is not just clutter. There are more deep-seated reasons why we can be plagued with it.
Most reasons fall into one of three categories:
1. External - Living with a cluttered parent/roommate/spouse or inherited clutter.
Clutter rooted in external causes can be tricky to overcome. You might not be able to
transform someone else completely, which means you may be continually plagued with clutter to
some degree as long as you live in the same space with them.
If you are struggling with inherited clutter, the situation can be stressful as you are required to take
the time to sort through the items you have acquired. The good news is that this type of clutter
will most likely be short-term. A professional organizer can identify the external reasons and provide
solutions that work for everyone involved.
2. Behavioral - Mediocre decision-making skills, lack of energy, poor categorization and
Clutter resulting from behavioral causes or lack of skill can be more manageable than other
categories of clutter. You can learn and/or improve skill sets, change habits and discover ways to
increase energy levels. It can take some time to overcome these behaviors, but it is possible to do
so within a reasonable amount of time with practice. A professional organizer can help you to identify
and improve your skills and habits more efficiently.
3. Internal - Grief, depression, anxiety, lack of trust, overly sentimental.
Internal clutter is similar to external clutter in that its solutions vary greatly from situation to
situation. In most cases, working with a licensed mental health practitioner or doctor in conjunction
with a professional organizer is a positive step in the right direction. For those that are overly
sentimental, uncluttering assistance from a professional organizer might be all that is needed.
Sometimes it can be more difficult or a slower process, but there are tools that you can learn to
better manage the situation or solve it altogether. Seeking help from an outside source is generally a
You might find that your clutter is stemming from more than one of these three categories at the
same time or perhaps by another cause. Clutter can be a complex issue, but knowing why it is in
your life can go a long way in helping your find a solution that works for you.
If you find that you are overwhelmed with your clutter, no matter what the cause, I can help you to
identify the why and find solutions that work specifically for you. I am here to help.
Contact me to schedule a phone consultation if you would like to discuss your particular situation in
Sunday, July 07 2013
We are currently in the midst of the Summer season which prompts a lot of people to take vacations. Vacations can come in many forms but one thing tends to be true. When you travel, you stay at a hotel.
Those travel-size shampoos, lotions and soaps found in many hotel rooms can easily accumulate when traveling and even easier to become clutter in your home when you return home.
I am not saying that you should not take them with you when you go home but over time, an overflowing stash of these freebies can outgrow your space or take up room that other important items should be occupying.
So, in order to avoid this conundrum, I recommend that you repurpose them.
Here are six suggestions:
1. Keep them in your purse or handbag. Whether you walk, bike, drive or take public transportation, you tend to have a bag with you. This is a perfect solution for storing your mini-sized toiletries and having them easily accessible.
2. Keep them in your desk at work. For easy access while on the job, keep a stash in your drawer of your desk and simply grab what you need when heading to the rest room to freshen up.
3. Keep them in your car. Do you spend a lot of time traveling in your car? Put some lotions, mouthwash or even a sewing kit in your car's glove compartment.
4. Use them at the gym. If you regularly shower at the gym after a workout, travel-size toiletries can be very useful and don't take up a lot of room in your gym bag.
5. Use them on your next trip. Are you staying at a vacation spot that does not involve a hotel? Keep a bag in your suitcase or backpack for camping with the other items you use most. Use a few of those shower caps to pack your shoes next time to keep them away from your clean clothes.
6. Donate them. If you find that you do not have a need for the amount you have collected, donate them to a shelter. Clean The World accepts unopened or unused bars of soap and shampoo for distribution domestically and internationally. The Global Soap Project also collects and reprocesses soaps into new bars.
Of course, you can avoid having to make a decision about what to do with them by leaving them behind during your next hotel stay. However, just in case you need to know what to do with all of those hotel toiletries, I hope this helps.
Monday, July 01 2013
Is there such a thing as a fake de-clutterer? Yes, there is!
As crazy as it might sound, it's true.
Do you find that you are telling people you are organized, but instead you are just moving the clutter from one room to another? This is not de-cluttering. De-cluttering involves the elimination of items that are no longer needed or wanted, not just moving them around. You still end up with the same amount of things, they are just located elsewhere.
Does your home appear neat and organized until you open up a closet door and it is crammed with stuff? This is not de-cluttering. It's hiding. Even your closets, drawers and cabinets should be clutter-free. How many sets of linens or towels do you have? How much clothing is crammed into your closet that you don't wear? Is your pantry filled with expired food?
Is the first floor and second floor of your home in good shape clutter-wise but your basement is another story? Is your garage a dumping ground for the items you just don't know what to do with?
Even if you have items categorized and neatly organized in plastic containers or boxes, you can still have clutter.
Do you just have too much "stuff"? Perhaps you have a container with hundreds of twist ties. There is no problem keeping a certain amount, but you need to pay attention to the quantity of like-items you are keeping.
For example, do you have a lifetime supply of pens, pencils, notepads, grocery bags, hotel shampoos and soaps? (Just to name a few.) Anything in abundance can be considered clutter.
Keep in mind that you are not ridding yourself of clutter if you simply move things around to different locations, hide it or make everything look neater. It's still clutter. If items are useful but not being used by you, that's clutter too.
Here's what you can do:
1. Figure out why you are keeping certain items.
2. Think about the purpose of each item.
3. Create a plan and take action.
This doesn't have to be a difficult process. If it seems overwhelming to you, that's okay. With the help of a professional organizer like myself, you can eliminate that clutter and get organized once and for all. Don't be a fake!
Enjoy the upcoming 4th of July holiday and declare your independence from clutter! If you need my assistance, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Monday, June 03 2013
It's very common to add more to our lives by adding something - a bigger home, more clothing, more decorations, more, more, more...
However, the funny thing is - less is actually more.
Last weekend I decided to declutter and organize my own home. I had been spending so much time helping others get organized, I was neglecting my own space. Over time, things built up and it was time to do something about it.
Being a professional organizer, I know all too well that less is more. When you clear out the clutter in your home and in your head, you clear out the clutter in your life.
Sometimes, our clutter means that we have too many time commitments.
I decided to commit Memorial Day weekend to my own home and did not commit to any social activities. I knew that if I committed this block of time to this project, I would be able to enjoy the rest of the Summer. That was my motivation.
I systematically went through my home, starting on the second floor and moving down to the first floor, one room at a time; just like what I do when working with my clients when they hire me to organize their homes. I cleaned, I decluttered, I organized. I worked 12 hours a day for two days. It was a lot of work, but, oh, it felt so good! During this week, I am going to work on my basement and storage room. Then, my entire home will be organized!
Here are four steps you can take to create more with less:
1. Enlist an "accountability partner". Select someone who is committed to supporting you and perhaps creating change in their own life. This "accountability partner" can be a friend, family member or even a professional organizer like myself to keep you focused and moving forward.
2. Make a list. Break down the various areas of your home that you wish to tackle and create a chronological list so you can check them off as you go and get that wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end. As you think of things you need to do or want to purchase, write them down as well. This will keep you on track.
3. Subtract as you go. Look closely at what you have and eliminate the excess. It could be clothing, paperwork, old linens, pantry food items, etc. Take the time to truly evaluate what you need and will use. Don't create excuses for keeping something you know you will never use.
4. Find the additions. This does not mean that you find more stuff to keep. It means finding the joy in having less. Celebrate your successes by inviting people over to see what you have accomplished. Enjoy your new space and "live" in your home. Your have now created more space for good things to enter your life.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and need assistance in creating a home you enjoy living in and are ready to eliminate your clutter, once and for all, contact me. I can help you to create a step-by-step system so you can have A Better Space.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, May 19 2013
There are times in our lives when we need to step back from our day-to-day lives and evaluate what is going on and whether it's time for some change. We all need to do this from time to time.
There are times when we need to make some changes to perhaps better manage our time, re-purpose a room in our home or grow our businesses.
When life changes, we need to change with it.
Are you finding that you have more responsibility these days and you are not getting everything accomplished that you want to? It might be time to step back and evaluate how you are spending your time. It might be a matter of re-prioritizing in order to make room for more, while eliminating what is no longer needed.
Do you have a room in your home that was being used for a certain purpose that no longer serves you? Perhaps that home office in the basement that you no longer work out of or enjoy spending time in needs to be re-purposed into a work-out room instead.
If you own your own business, as I do, you might need to evaluate where you are and ask yourself where you want to be. Is what you are doing working for you? If not, it might be time for a change.
I personally just moved my home office upstairs from my basement into a spare bedroom that was not be used. It was wasted real estate. I have now created a new office space that features a large window and lots of natural light. I purchased brand new office furniture that provides lots of space to spread out and, therefore, I find myself being more productive.
Aside from that, I am evaluating my current business structure and considering changes that will help me grow my business even more. I feel a strong need to reach out to more people and am working on ways to make that happen.
For some time I have felt the need to step back and evaluate my personal situation and take the steps necessary to make some changes. I invite you to do the same.
Don't become stagnant in your life. We are always moving forward and with that comes change.
If you need some assistance in making that happen, perhaps by determining how to repurpose a room in your home to maximize its potential or learning some time management skills to make better use of your time, please feel free to contact me.
I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Thursday, April 18 2013
Finally, Spring has arrived and with it Spring Fever. It's a time for fresh starts. For me, I am moving up. I am taking my office space from the basement which has no natural light and moving upstairs to a spare bedroom. This room has soft neutral tones on the walls and a big window that provides a nice view and, best of all, that natural light I desire.
I ordered new furniture that will provide me with more room in which to work. It is expected to arrive in about four or five weeks. In the meantime, I have contacted my handyman who is going to install a new ceiling fan/light fixture and I am in the midst of arranging the room so it is condusive to my productivity.
One of my passions is books and I love to surround myself with them. They make me feel warm and cozy. I love to hold a book in my hands and feel the paper's texture and get lost in the pages. I am not a fan of Kindle for this reason - just a personal choice.
When I was doing space planning for my new office space, I decided to incorporate two bookcases in the room just for my leisure reading. I love to see my collection of novels yet to be read - it is quite extensive.
However, I am aware, as you should be, that there is such a thing as book clutter. Piles of books laying around on a coffee table in your living room, on an end table in your bedroom, on your desk in your home office or anywhere on the floor is clutter.
The author of the blog Epic Write summed up the complex relationship she has with books in her post "Show Me Your Book Clutter":
"The problem is I have so many books I want to read. Or, that I need to read...Aside from my cluttered side table, I have digital and paper clutter where I have recorded books I want to read. From my "wants" list on Goodreads.com to titles scribbed on scraps of paper, I am overwhelmed with the amount of books I will get to someday. even with feeling almost buried by it all, I have no desire to change. I love books. I want to see books everywhere."
For me, I do not want to feel buried by my books. Although I have a lot of books, I do not have clutter. My books are lined up neatly in my bookcases with hardbacks in the back and paperbacks in the front, in alphabetical order by author. I can put my hand on any book I want within moments. If my books do not fit within these boundaries, I weed them out, which I recently did.
I want my new office to feel spaceous and calm because I know that it will provide me with the space I need in my head to be productive.
If you have a large collection of books, take the time to organize them in a way in which you can enjoy seeing them. Not on the floor in a pile, but rather, on a shelf or bookcase that can accommodate them. Do not hold onto books that you have already read (especially fiction). There are way too many books out there to still be read.
If you find that you have too many, donate them to a local library or pass them onto a friend who will enjoy them. Books are meant to be shared with others.
Clearly people love books and everything about them. But, it is possible to keep a reasonable number so that they don't contribute to clutter in your living spaces.
Honor your books by being selective about the ones you purchase and by keeping your collection in order.
If you are overwhelmed with your book clutter or any other clutter in your home, contact me. I am happy to help.
In the meantime, get outside and read a book!
Sunday, March 24 2013
More and more people are starting home-based businesses these days. Did you know that it is expected that there will be more than 20 million home-based business in the United States by the end of 2013?
I have been in business almost nine years. I have found that there are some great advantages:
- I can create a flexible work schedule.
- I can control my work environment.
- I can deduct a portion of my home expenses on my income tax return.
- I have created a great sense of independence by being my own boss.
- I focus on doing what I enjoy the most - helping others get organized
- I find it easier to balance work and personal responsibilities.
- I have an overall greater level of fulfillment and satisfaction in my life.
However, there are some disadvantages that you need to learn to overcome:
- It can be difficult to turn work "off" when your workspace and personal space are intertwined.
- Working from home can be very isolating.
- Home-based businesses can cause stress on the family.
- It can be difficult to grow your business working as a solo-preneur.
- Depending on the type of business you have, you need to consider if there are zoning regulations you need to explore.
The key to running a successful home-based business is organization, commitment and accountability.
CREATE A SEPARATE WORKSPACE. It is critical that you have a separate workspace in your home away from your personal space. You can use a bedroom, a section in your basement or even change a formal living room into a home office. Find a location where your work will not interfere with your family life. At the end of the day, you want to be able to walk away from it.
YOU MUST GET ORGANIZED! It can be overwhelming but it is the key to your success. Create a space where you have everything you need close by to run a successful business. It is important to know where everything is located at all times. By doing so, you will stop wasting time. Adding up all the times throughout the day that you cannot locate something and having to try to find it will make you realize how much time you are wasting. Being organized with reduce stress. By doing so, you will enable yourself to think more clearly and make decisions faster.
SET A SCHEDULE. One of the biggest transformations that occurs when you start your home-based business is the difficulty in determining your work schedule. When you work from home, you are not necessarily working 9-5 like you might have in the past. Your day might be divided into chunks, especially if you have children. You might work in the morning and then when the children come home from school, you take four or five hours to be a parent. You will probably need to return to your "office" later that evening and work some more. If you are in direct sales, you might be doing in-home parties at nights and on weekends. You might need to attend networking events several nights a week. You should determine a schedule that best fits your needs for your business and your personal life.
UNPLUG. Besides closing the door to your office space, you need to unplug. It is helpful to end your work day by clearing up your desk and writing a "to do" list for the next day. Otherwise, your mind will race alll through the night with thoughts of what you need or want to do. You will feel overwhelmed and exhausted. If you don't take some "me time" at the end of the day, you willl burn out fast. That will take a toll on your body and in the end, will cost you money.
GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Find someone you can account to on a weekly basis. Decide what you want to accomplish. Let them know what you intend to do and the following week you can detail what you did in the past week. If you get stuck, you can bounce ideas off of them to get your past your obstacle so you can keep moving forward. Accountability is a powerful tool in growing your business.
When I work with people who have home-based businesses, I focus on paper management, time management and putting in customized systems to maximize potential.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized when it comes to your home-based business, contact me. I can help. I can provide you with a system made just for you and be an accountability partner so you can maximize the potential for growth in your business.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, February 24 2013
Last week I addressed the issue of spousal clutter. I explained the reasons why your spouse, partner or roomate might be causing clutter.
This week I would like to provide you with some routines you and your family can begin to implement to bust through that clutter.
- When you finish reading a magazine or newspaper, process the information and recycle the rest. Did you find a great recipe in your favorite magazine, an article your spouse might enjoy or a coupon for your local store? Pull them out from the magazine or newspaper and immediately recycle the rest. Stacks of magazines or newspapers cause clutter.
- Leave enough room in your coat closet for coats, jackets, boots and accessories. If your coat closet is too full, it's difficult to put things away and retrieve them easily. Clear out the items that do not belong in the closet. Create sufficient room for hangers, the floor and top shelf so that these items don't end up scatttered throughout your home.
- Keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bureaus and tables are all culprits for clutter. Having a home for paperwork is the key to success. Create a system that works and you will avoid flat surface clutter.
- Wash dishes right away. Do not put dishes in the sink after using them. Immediately handwash them and put them in a drain board or load them into the dishwasher. It will take less time than you think to do this. Otherwise, you end up creating a "project" and we just don't have the time for that! Take the time to do this as you go and you will avoid sink clutter.
- Take five and grab ten. It will only take you about five minutes to grab ten articles of clothing from your bedroom closet or drawers that you no longer want or wear and put them in a box for donation or in the trash if they are no longer useable. This will free up space for the clothes you do want to keep. This will avoid clothing clutter.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know which tips you plan to implement. If you need assistance in setting up some systems in your home to make these areas clutter free, let me know. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, February 19 2013
I cannot tell you how many times people say to me "My husband/wife/partner/roomate has so much clutter" or "They are such a slob" or "I think my spouse is a hoarder". I hear the frustration in their voice and their struggle to understand.
I thought perhaps that I might be able to help you understand why.
The tendency to accumulate items on flat surfaces is, contrary to popular belief, not necessarily because of a psychological issue.
There are other possibilities:
- Some people simply prefer the visual aesthetic of many items. (It gives them comfort.)
- Some people have a hard time remembering where things are so they find them more easily if they are out in the open. (I believe that if something is put in a logical place, it can be found.)
- Some people have positive memories associated with photos and knick-knacks. (I believe that several items can evoke the same emotion or memory as a lot of items and therefore, you only need to keep out a few at a time.)
- Some people have issues with visual processing and literally don't see the items that others consider "clutter". (My son is a perfect example of that!)
- Some people feel it is a waste of time to put things away when they're just going to use them again. (i.e. Why make the bed every morning when you are only going to sleep in it again that night!)
- Some people say they don't care about how their space looks. (I have to believe they also don't care about themselves either.)
- Some people say they have other pressing problems and don't have the energy to put things away. (This is common among people who are depressed.)
- Some people say their schedules are so packed that they don't have time to put things away. (My theory has always been that if you put them away as you go, it will not be a project. I believe you can find 10 minutes at the end of the day putting things away if you cannot find time throughout the day.)
You might personally be trying to overcome this tendency yourself or, perhaps, you are frustrated with your spouse or significant other.
If you can pinpoint the source of the clutter habits, I believe you can find a solution. If you need assistance in determining why the clutter continues to exist, contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Saturday, February 09 2013
Wow! January was crazy busy for A Better Space. So many people contacted me to help them get organized. That is why I did not blog in almost a month! I believe we can all find a little time in our day to get organized, right?
If you need to get organized but can't seem to find the time, I have some suggestions for things you can do to at least get started. They only require about 15 minutes a day! I am sure you can carve out 15 minutes out of your day to get some organizing done.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Organize a 15 minute family pick-up. Get everyone involved to go around the house and gather up items that do not belong in that particular room and put them away. (This can be done on a daily basis to keep the clutter under control.)
2. Gather your remote controls for the television and gaming devices in your family room and put them into one basket. If there are similar devices in other rooms, do the same thing.
3. Go through your sock drawer. Gather those single socks, ones that are worn out or no longer worn. Old socks sometimes make great handheld dusters. Only keep a few for this purpose, though. The rest have to go! Pair up the rest and put them away.
4. Match your plastic containers with their lids. Go into your kitchen and gather all of your plastic containers and plastic lids. Put the lids on the containers and get rid of the ones that don't have a matching lid. Reduce the amount that you have if you have too many. With the lids in place, you will never have to find a matching lid again.
5. Do a clothing toss. Go through your closet and quickly eliminate those items you no longer like, you never wear or no longer fit. Donate the items that are still in good condition.
6. Do a medicine cabinet review. Eliminate old or expired medications. Only keep the items you still use. Old medications can be returned to your pharmacist to recycle.
7. Organize your bathroom towels. Go through the linen closet and get rid of the old and worn out towels you no longer use. Only keep enough on hand for one week's use. Too many towels means too much clutter.
8. Check the back of the fridge. You probably have items that have gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator and are no longer useable. Get rid of them and then organize like items together in the fridge so you can easily find what you need when you need it. Keep leftovers at the front so they get used up first.
There are many other ways to get organized in just 15 minutes. What will you do to get your home organized with just 15 minutes a day? I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with others.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, January 14 2013
Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a fan of the winter months. The snow can be pretty but I do not like cold weather.
However, there is a reason for me to love the month of January. It's National Get Organized Month! What better month is there for a professional organizer like myself.
I don't know about you but I do like to start off the New Year with a new start. I have been diligently working in my own home to rid it of clutter. Understand that it is not out of hand but there are still things that need to be gone through and eliminated.
I started the month by working in my clothes closet in my master bedroom. I have a nice size walk-in closet and it is easy to fill it with clothes, shoes and accessories. As busy as I can get with my business, I tend to not review my wardrobe as often as I should. I do go through and eliminate items as I put them on and find that I don't want them anymore, but this time was different. I took the time to actually try on pants, jackets, dresses, skirts and tops. I was amazed at what I found; namely, two and a half trash bags of clothes that no longer fit or that I liked. Wow, I could not believe that I have held onto that many articles of clothing that no longer serve me.
Granted, I put on some weight over the Summer and it is likely I will not return back to the weight that will allow me to get back in these clothes again. What can I say, I am getting older and my body type has changed. Moving on... I am realistic enough to know that holding onto these clothes is not in my best interest. I do not live with "Someday Syndrome".
As I continue to work through my home to eliminate the excess, I am feeling the difference. My home actually feels lighter and more spaceous. It brings a sense of calm.
So let me ask you. What are you doing to lighten the load in your house during this year's National Get Organized Month?
If you need any assistance in doing so, let me know. I can help. In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, January 08 2013
One of my goals for the New Year was to go through my wardrobe and weed out what no longer fits or I no longer like. Happens to all of us!
I am fortunate to have lots of closet space in my home, but the down side of that can be that I fill it. My wardrobe has become quite extensive as a result. I had room for everything but I decided it was just too much.
Little did I know, that when I went through my walk-in closet and guest room closet, that I would be eliminating as much as I did. (I didn't even get to the shoes or my dressers yet!)
I decided to view my wardrobe as if I was shopping. I would try on clothes and look in the mirror. I asked myself several questions:
"Do I still like this item?"
"Do I like the way it looks on me?" And most importantly,
"If I were to try this on in a store, would I buy it?"
If the answer to any of these questions was "No", it was removed from the wardrobe.
I had suits, pants, tops, dresses, skirts and jackets that I swore still fit me. However, when I went to try them on, I found out differently. Some classic suits had been in my wardrobe for years. I discovered I had tops, pants and skirts that were no longer comfortable. Admittedly, I have put on some weight so those clothes no longer fit. It was now time to get rid of them. Realisticall, I will never be a Size 0 or Size 2 again.
Using the last question I think is the most important and easiest to detemine whether to keep something in your wardrobe. This can apply to everything you wear - jewelry, purses, belts, scarves, etc. I believe it eliminates the "Someday Syndrome" or the "Maybe" syndrome. It helps you to be more definitive about your decisions.
So the next time you are going through your closets and your drawers, pretend you are shopping and ask yourself "If I were to try this on in a store, would I buy it?" If not, either throw it away or, better yet, donate the clothing to your local non-profit such as Goodwill. Others will appreciate your contribution and it can be a tax deduction.
If you have difficulty weeding through your wardrobe, contact me. I can help. Remember, less is more!
In the meantime, have a great day!
Tuesday, November 27 2012
The holiday season is officially upon us as of Thanksgiving. The holidays tend to center around the kitchen and one important aspect of the kitchen is the pantry.
This past weekend, I worked with a client to organize her pantry. She loves to cook and a key aspect of that is being able to go to her pantry and quickly retrieve what she needs. She was, however, having difficulty doing so because she was not sure what was in the pantry and where things were stored. She did not have a system.
We emptied out the entire pantry and looked at everything. We eliminated the excess and then grouped like items together according to her own personal preference.
Containers had been purchased ahead of time when we first evaluated the space to help containerize certain items. Then, it was just a matter of figuring out what items belonged where. She already had a hanging rack on the inside of the pantry door. We repurposed it so that items being stored on the door were the items she most frequently accessed. We utilized her various shelves to store like items together.
After the process was complete and the layout met my client's needs, we noticed that certain items were missing. She now knew she needed to go shopping for pasta, tomato sauce, cereal and crackers. We had left space for those items to be incorporated.
To make sure you have the staples needed in your pantry, I am providing a list of items that I recommend: (Your items might differ slightly)
Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Spices, Red Cooking Wine, White Cooking Wine, Chicken Broth;
Canned Tuna, Tomato Paste, Jarred Marinara and/or Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Rice, Pasta, Beans, Cereal, Crackers,
All-purpose Flour, Sugar, Oats, Bread Crumbs, Condiments, Salad Dressings.
Again, your items might differ but you can use this as a basis to get started.
So, now that you have an idea as to how I helped my client organize her pantry, you don't need to ponder your pantry anymore. If, however, you need further assistance, don't hesitate to contact me.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, November 16 2012
Next week is Thanksgiving and the official start of the holiday shopping season.
Do you want your younger children to understand more about uncluttering and organizing?
I have gathered some suggestions for gifts you can give them that they might enjoy with an underlying theme on uncluttering and organizing:
- Room Enough for Daisy by Debbie Waldman. Little Daisy has so many toys, she wishes for a larger bedroom to accommodate them all. Eventually, her mom convinces her to donate some items to a rummage sale. Cindy Revell’s illustrations are really cute.
- Too Many Toys by David Shannon. David’s books are fantastic, starting with the hilariously relatable “No, David!” Too Many Toys has a similar theme to Room Enough for Daisy, in that David is required to thin his massive collection of toys. It’s a fun story that kids think is funny and adults find useful.
- Mr. Messy, part of the Mr./Mrs. series by Roger Hargreaves, is an untidy fellow until he meets Mr. Neat and Mr. Tidy.
- More by I. C. Springman is about a hoarding magpie whose friends teach him the value of “enough.” Again, the illustrations are great and the minimal text is great for new readers.
Do you have any suggestions that you would like to share that go with this theme of child organization tools? Please share by commenting.
If you need assistance in getting the toys and clothing organized for the holidays, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, October 31 2012
Two days ago, the eastern portion of the United States experienced Hurricane Sandy first hand. The devastation is still mind boggling. Some sustained no damage to their homes. (I am one of them.) Some sustained minor damage and some sustained tremendous damage. Many are dealing with flooding in their homes and more are dealing with the loss of power.
When these natural disasters occur, I can't help but think about how being prepared can go a long way in making it easier to deal with the outcome.
I envision homes where clutter is everywhere, things are difficult to locate and when disaster strikes, there is chaos. Imagine having everything laying around in no particular place and having to find things quickly. It's next to impossible. Something as simple as your keys being misplaced can cause a lot of stress in this type of situation.
Things like food, clothing, medications, bedding, pet supplies, cell phone chargers, insurance policies and other important paperwork, etc. need to be easily located and gathered. Simple things such as batteries, flashlights, battery operated radios, non-perishable food, water and blankets are all needed when the power goes out. Sometimes, an evacuation plan is needed.
However, I also envision an organized home. An emergency preparedness plan is in place, essential items are gathered or easily accessible. There is no clutter to contend with and life is that much less stressful.
Clutter and disorganization are very stressful in our normal day to day lives. However, when we are suddenly dealing with a situation such as Hurricane Sandy, clutter is even more stressful.
Are you prepared for when disaster hits? Is your home clutter free and items are easy to locate? If not, you might want to re-evaluate your situation and think about how getting organized can go a long way in dealing with these types of situations.
If you need assistance in eliminating the clutter in your home and in your life, remember that you can have A Better Space. I am just a phone call away and I am here to help.
For those of you contending with the after effects of Hurricane Sandy, please know you are in my thoughts. Be safe.
Monday, October 15 2012
There comes a time when most people need to reach out and ask for help to get organized. It can be prompted by life changes such as marriage, divorce, birth of baby, empty nest, death of a loved one, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, downsizing, etc.
No matter what the reason may be, people reach out to me for organzing help mostly because of the following:
1. I'd like to be organized, but I never learned how.
2. I am overwhelmed and frozen. I don't know where to start.
3. I do not have enough space for my stuff.
4. I do not have enough time to get things done. My To-Do List goes on forever.
5. When I go to purchase organizing products, I don't know what to buy or where to get the best products.
6. My kids are out of the house and my parents have passed away. I have too many things that I have held on to and need help letting go.
7. I know what I want to accomplish but I can't figure out how to get there.
8. I know that the only way I will get organized is if I have an accountability partner who can guide me through the process.
9. I'm organized but my spouse is not. It's driving me crazy and I don't know what to do.
10. I have ADD and having difficulty staying focused and organized. I need to figure out systems that work for me.
Do any of these sound familiar? It could be one reason or a few. No matter, a professional organizer like myself is skilled in these areas and can help you to get "unstuck" and moving forward towards a decluttered, organized and stress free home and life.
Comment below and let me know which of these are keeping you stuck. I am here to help if you need further assistance.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Thursday, October 04 2012
Clutter and children have a strong correlation. It begins the day they come home from hospital.
How is it that you bring a tiny new human being into your home and with them comes all this stuff!
Toys, clothes, bottles, pacifiers, bed linens, books, stuffed animals, you name it. We have reached material saturation according to a recent study released by the UCLA Center on the everyday lives of families.
The clutter might begin in the closet, basement, attic or drawers but then it spills out onto our table tops, counters and floors. We currently have more visible clutter than ever before in the history of the world! Our children's stuff is at the top of our clutter piles.
Each new child in a household leads to a 30 percent increase in a family's inventory of possessions during just the preschool years alone! There are several reasons for this increase:
1. Parental guilt because of working outside the home;
2. Generous grandparents.
The United States has 3.1 percent of the world's children. However, US families purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally on an annual basis. The toys can spill out from their bedrooms and play rooms into living rooms, dining rooms, the kitchen and parents' bedroom.
There is a sense among working parents that they have less time to spend with their children, causing them to shower their kids with toys to compensate for a perceived loss of quality time at home.
Aside from that, other relatives contribute to children's collections of material items. Grandparents alone spent about $500 or more, per child, per year, on toys, clothes, books and other gifts. Due to the high divorce rate in this country, many children end up getting gifts from multiple sets of grandparents. If children divide their time between two households, they tend to have double the amount of possessions, as well.
The influx of objects is relentless. The outflow, not so much. We need to develop rituals and mechanisms for getting rid of stuff.
Here are some solutions:
1. Have grandparents purchase movie tickets, tickets for live events or a favorite restaurant instead of a toy.
2. Review the inventory accumulated every 6 months. Get rid of clothes that no longer fit, toys that no longer work, books that are no longer read, school papers that are no longer needed. (End of the school term, Christmas time are two suggestions.)
3. Have a conversation with other gift givers to come up with creative solutions that do not involve a lot of toys, clothes and other items that are in excess of what is reasonable. Relatives and friends want to give "things" to show how much they love them. They need to understand that their time is more precious than possessions. They need to understand that, although it is appreciated, it is causing clutter in your home.
4. Be selective about the items you purchase for your child. They don't need to have everything. Remember, less is more. Too much can be overwhelming for a child. They tend to play with their favorites anyway.
Take a look around your home and see where the clutter is accumulating and make some changes so you can be clutter free.
If you need some assistance or more ideas for solutions, contact me. I am glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great day!
Wednesday, September 26 2012
I'm wondering whether you have duplicates of items that you could donate to help you reduce your clutter. Having doubles can be trouble!
Granted, having duplicates of certain items in your home, such as plates in your kitchen cabinets or reams of paper in your home office are very helpful. However, if there are items that we don't use often, it might be difficult for us to find a way to store them. We just might not have the room.
We don't want to waste space on things that will take up valuable space in our home. We want to be sure that we don't let those "every day" items get out of control. You just might want to donate the excess of which you have duplicates. Here are some examples:
- Paper shopping bags. How many do you have? They do tend to accumulate and, although they can be useful, too many is too much. Now that reuseable grocery bags are being recommended, you might find yourself with an influx of old paper shopping bags. Consider giving them to charities that can use them. (Some charities bag up meals, clothes, supplies and are looking for bag donations. Just make sure they are not musty or carry an odor from pets or smoke.
- Hotel toiletries. If you are a frequent traveler, chances are you return home from a trip with travel-size toiletry items you got for free at the hotel. If you don't use them when you get home, they can take over your closet, drawer or cabinet shelf. You can, instead, donate them to a local shelter, or, why not just leave them at the hotel to begin with!
- Pens, pencils, markers. I don't know about you, but these items seem to multiply in my drawer! Do you come home with a pen you borrowed and forgot to return? Do your kids come home from school with more writing utensils than you sent with them? I bet that if you take a look around your home, you probably have more pens and markers than you will ever use. Honestly, it's impossible to use them all, so donating them is a great option. Be sure to remove the ones that don't work. Give a bunch to a local school or community center or The Pencil Project.
- Sheets/Bed Linens. The number of linens you need depends on how often you do laundry. If you change your sheets every week (or every two weeks), you likely won't need more than two or three sets total (including the one currently on your bed). I wouldn't be surprised if you have sheets of various sizes that used to fit beds you no longer have. If they are still in good shape, donate them to a local charity. Perhaps the sets you have are just worn out. Consider giving them to your local animal shelter.
- Coffee Mugs. They tend to collect on our kitchen cabinet shelves without us even realizing it. We get them as gifts, we travel somewhere and bring them home as a souvenir, we get promotional mugs from marketers at events. When was the last time you took at look at your mugs? We might have a favorite mug along with the ones that came with our set of dishes. Check to see which ones you never use and pass them onto someone moving into a new apartment or a college student who lives away from home. Otherwise, donate them to a local charity.
You may not realize that you have unused duplicates unless you are actively decluttering. Check out your storage areas and start gathering like items togther so you can get a true sense of the amount you have. Pinpoint those items that are good candidates for donation. You will gain more space for your important items and help others in the process. Avoid that "Double Trouble".
Let me know what you discover.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Thursday, September 20 2012
Can you believe I just said that! Well, it's true!
It's true that decluttering can lighten your load. If you wish to sell items you no longer want, you CAN make some money. That's true. However...
Have you ever thought about this? Although repairing broken items instead of purchasing a replacement can save you money, you sometimes end up with more clutter than when you started. It is likely that you will add new items before the old items leave your home and, if you don't get rid of them quickly, they can linger in your home and take up space.
Here are some ways to AVOID the "clutter build-up" that can occur:
1. Stocking up on coupons and sales flyers. They can start to fill up precious space in your home if you do not have a specific space to keep your coupons (as well as the large quantities of things you get that you might not need - just to satisfy the requirements of that coupon).
2. Buying in bulk. It's true that shopping at BJ's, Costco or any other warehouse type store can offer big savings and the convenience of purchasing paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. is helpful. However, be careful when it comes to perishables (meat, poultry, dairy) and other items that expire. It's possible they can expire before you get the chance to use them and then you are just wasting your money. Also, purchasing in bulk is great if you have the room to store such items. If not, don't buy more than you can store.
3. Saving useless things to make something new. We all have good intentions but saving scraps of wrapping paper, buttons that come with that new sweater or those single socks with no mates can create clutter. If we do not have a clear plan for how we are going to use them and a deadline in which to do so, it just all becomes clutter. Get rid of them!
4. Saving things that need repair. It's true that you can save money by doing your own repairs (like hemming pants or sewing on buttons) but if you don't continually keep up with the repairs, the items can become a pile of clutter. I have seen this time and time again when working with my clients. Sometimes the cost of having someone repair the item for you may be higher than replacing it. (A zipper on a jacket, for example.) Skip the repairs that cost more than 50 percent of what it would cost to buy a new one and immediately get rid of the old one.
5. Collecting items for consignment. Clothing is a very popular consignment item. Consignment can be great if you have the time to take the items to the consignment shop and it's exactly what the shop is looking for. Otherwise, it's a waste of time. Also, you tend to not get a great deal of money for your item. Why not have a clothing swap party instead?
Feel free to go ahead and turn your clutter into cash. Just remember, your attempts at saving money just might be creating clutter. Pay attention to your lifestyle and whether doing these things make sense. Don't let your clutter consume your space or your time.
Let me know your thoughts. In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, August 27 2012
This time of year many people are eliminating their clutter and getting organized for the new Fall and Winter seasons.
On many occasions, while working with my clients, I get asked how to recycle an item. Today, I thought I would take some time to help you find out how to recycle some of your own items.
Here are some ideas you might not have thought of:
Backpacks - The American Birding Association accepts donated backpacks, which its scientists use while tracking neotropical birds (www.americanbirding.org).
Batteries - Recycling batteries keeps hazardous metals out of landfills. Many stores such as RadioShack and Office Depot accept reuseable ones. Car batteries contain lead and can't go into landfills because the toixic metals can leach into groundwater. Almost any retailer seling them will also collect and recyle them. Hazardous waste events will take them as well.
Carpeting - The Carpet America Recovery Effot (www.carpetrecovery.org) will help you find a carpet reclamation facility near you when you ask "What can I do with my old carpet?". Some carpet manufacturers, like Milliken (www.millikencarpet.com Shaw (www.shawfloors.com) and Flor (www.flor.com) have recycling programs.
Crayons - Send them to the National Crayon Recycle Program (www.crazycrayons.com) which melts them down and reforms them into new ones. Be sure to leave the wrappers on them so they are more easily identified by color.
Wire Hangers - Some dry cleaners and laundromats will reuse them. Check with your local dry cleaner. My dry cleaner happily accepts them as it helps them reduce costs. If not, recycle them with other household metals but be sure to remove any attached paper or cardboard first and recycle that separately.
Hearing Aids - The Starkey Hearing Foundation (www.sotheworldmayhear.org) recycles used hearing aids, any make or model, no matter how old. The Lions Club also accepts hearing aids (and eye glasses)
If you are not sure how to recycle items in your home, visit www.earth911.org to find out where and if those items can be recycled.
Do you have any other recycling tips for unusual items? Please share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of August and your Labor Day weekend.
Monday, August 06 2012
We certainly live in a fast-paced world these days, don't we? The stresses associated with work, home and our social lives can leave us feeling overwhelmed and disorganized.
However, a disorganized life is often the culmination of a number of bad habits. And we all know that habits can be changed.
By making a few small changes in how we do things can make dramatic changes in your life from one of chaos to calm.
Here are a few to try. Now remember, it takes about 21 to 30 days to form a habit so give yourself some time to form that new habit. Be patient, but persistent.
1. CHAOS - cleaning the entire home when it is trashed. CALM - cleaning a little bit each day and tidying up each night.
2. CHAOS - dropping your mail on the dining room table and going through it once in a while. CALM - sorting through your mail daily and immediately recycling and shredding the items you don't need.
3. CHAOS - tossing your keys or cell phone on the nearest table or counter, hoping to remember where they are the next time you need them. CALM - having a designated spot for your keys, purse, cell phone, etc. so you don't waste your precious time searching for them.
4. CHAOS - tossing dirty clothes and wet towels on the bathroom or bedroom floor. CALM - immediately putting dirty clothes in the hamper and wet towels on a hook or separate hamper.
5. CHAOS - scrounging around the pantry at 5:00 p.m. wondering what to make for dinner. CALM - planning your means a week at a time so you know what you are making and be confident you have everything that you need.
There are many other ways to turn your chaos into calm. What suggestions do you have? I would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, July 31 2012
Are you familiar with an old song done by Neil Sedaka - Breaking Up Is Hard To Do?
Well, he's right. I recently ended a long relationship with a man and it was so hard to do. It took me some time to get up the nerve to do it and prepare my thoughts for how I was going to break the news to him. It included lots of anxiety. Now that it is behind me, I am experiencing a sense of relief. I have cleared space in my life for new opportunities.
It got me thinking that the same is true when you are in the process of decluttering and parting with items that you believe are so near and dear to your heart that you can have anxiety attacks, become frozen and emotionally distraught.
Eliminating clutter can be difficult and overwhelming at times, especially when you have to make those tough decisions about certain items. As a professional organizer, I work with most of my clients, at one point or another, on just such issues. Sometimes there are tears, anxiety or even resistence to what they know, deep down inside, needs to be done.
Emotional attachment issues connected with material things need to be dealt with by taking small manageable steps. I always tell my clients that, although they may have collections of items from a relative or friend that either passed away or reminds them of a special time in their life, they all tend to evoke the same memory and can be downsized considerably without erasing the memory of the person or event. People are afraid that they will forget - they won't.
Sometimes it's guilt that prevents them from getting rid of things. Someone gave it to them and, although they don't particularly like the item, or collection of items, they've held onto them because they feel bad about letting them go.
My philosophy is that once the item is given to someone, the giver of the item gives up their right to it and it becomes the responsibility of the person they gave it to. It is up to that person to decide whether to keep it or get rid of it. If the giver is keeping such close tabs on what they give to you, causing guilt, you need to have a conversation with that person. This emotional burden needs to be lifted.
Being realistic about what makes sense to hold on to and what makes sense to get rid of is not always easy. It helps to remember that less is more. As in ending a relationship with a person, ending a relationship with a material thing can be very very difficult, yet very freeing.
Although "breaking up IS hard to do", it can be done. By eliminating the clutter that inhabits your space and that sense of overwhelm that comes as a result, you will feel free as well.
If you are having trouble letting go of those items, utilizing the services of a professional organizer can help.
Thursday, July 05 2012
Although the title of my blog might be evoking cooler temperatures on this steamy July day, I want to talk today about the current state of your home.
How long have you lived in your home? When was the last time you made some changes to the look, feel and functionality of your home? These are important questions to consider. Why? Because we tend to get "frozen in time".
Working in hundreds of homes over the years, I find it a common problem that people live their lives day after day, year after year, without making any changes. It's inevitable that your life has gone through changes since you originally moved into your home. However, has your home kept up with those changes? Have you gotten married, had children, become an empty nester, a widow or widower, gotten divorced? These changes effect your lifestyle and therefore, should be reflected in your home.
Do you have double the items because you have gotten married or become a blended family? Do you now have children you did not have when you bought your home and need to find room for their things? Have the children gotten older and they no longer need or want older toys, games or clothing? Have your grown children moved out (or back home) and you now have a lot more room or a lot less, depending on your circumstances? Are you now divorced or widowed and living alone with the items from your spouses past?
This are major life changes that change your needs and desires for what your home should reflect. It is important to keep up with these changes. Weed out the old to make way for the new. Use certain rooms for new purposes - ie, using a child's old bedroom as a gym or home office. Make sure to use the space you have to its best potential - otherwise it becomes a storage space and not a functional home.
Take some time to walk through your home with a new set of eyes and make sure that it reflects your current situation. If not, make the changes necessary.
If this means eliminating the clutter and getting organized, then do it! If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I hope you had a nice July 4th holiday. Keep cool but don't be frozen!
Friday, June 15 2012
I get lot of calls from people who are in panic mode. They sound like they are ready to jump off the roof. They need to get organized and are at wits end. Wouldn't you assume that they are "committed" to making a change? I would. As it turns out, however, sometimes the fear of making a change deters them from making a commitment.
One day they call me and can't wait to get started and then the next day they call back and cancel. I hear lots of reason (or excuses) as to why, but I truly believe that it is the fear of commitment that prevents them from moving forward and making a change.
They might spend a restless night following our conversation on the phone worrying about what is going to transpire. Is Audrey going to invade my space, make me throw out everything, force me to do things I don't want to do? The answer is "no".
I am respectful of everyone's private space. I do not judge. I primarily see potential as opposed to the clutter that exhists. I help find that balance that provides calm and I never force anyone to do anything they don't want to do. I gently guide them towards the right decision.
However, I do require that my clients make a commitment and give it the sufficient time needed in order to see the process work itself through. When they commit to the process, amazing things occur in a very short period of time. The anxiety disappears and the peace and calm return to their living space. They can relax and enjoy their environment as perhaps they never did before.
I truly believe that "When you're simply interested in an outcome, you do what's convenient. When you're committed, you do whatever it takes." [John Assaraf].
When you are truly ready to make a change and get organized, you need to be committed. No excuse in the world can stop you - money, time, outside influences.
Do yourself a favor and "commit". It promises to be life-changing.
If you feel overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact me and I will help.
In the meantime, have a great week and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL OF THE DADS IN MY ORGANIZING COMMUNITY!
Thursday, May 31 2012
The summer season has unofficially begun with Memorial Day Weekend and the official start is just around the corner. I am thinking that this is perhaps a good time to re-group.
With the start of the new season, the kids will be getting out of school and a more relaxed way of life can begin with the lazy days of Summer. Hopefully this time of year means less schedules to comply with and less structure can mean more relaxation.
This is a good time to consider your priorities and "re-group". Are there projects you have been meaning to get to but because of the craziness of the school term, you haven't found the time to get to them?
Take some time to consider what projects you would like to get off your "to do" list and then create a plan to get them done. Does the school paperwork need to be weeded out? Does the garage need to get organized to allow for Summertime toys (and maybe even that car!)? Does your wardrobe need to be gone through to determine what to keep, toss or donate to make more room in your closet?
I would suggest taking a tour of your home and creating a fresh new list of things to tackle. Walking through your home can provide the clarity you might need to create that list.
If you are in a state of overwhelm and don't know where to begin, contact me. I will be glad to help you "re-group" to get those projects taken care of so you can enjoy the rest of your Summer.
In the meantime, enjoy your week!
Friday, May 18 2012
I have always approached getting organized in a postive way. When all my clients can see is the clutter, I see potential. Also, I never thought it was productive to look at a large project with the only approach to getting organized as what is being eliminated.
What I mean by that is, instead of viewing what needs to be eliminated, I take the approach of what needs to be kept. I find it much easier to approach any organizing project this way.
Most times, people are overwhelmed because they don't know what to take away from the picture. Instead, I suggest looking at what is important enough to keep. The remainder will automatically become what gets eliminated.
This works well for adults and children alike. When parents are helping their children decide what to keep and what to toss, I have them go in with a positive approach as to what are the favorites. It makes it a lot easier to get through the process.
So, the next time you are working on an organizing project, try the positive approach. I guarantee it will be a much more pleasant experience.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and have difficulty picking your favorites (it can't be everything!), don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Have a great week and happy organizing!
Saturday, April 28 2012
This coming Monday, April 30th, I am privileged to be invited to conduct my very first webinar in conjunction with ADD Resource. I will be talking about "GETTING ORGANIZED THE ADD FRIENDLY WAY".
One of the major topics I will be covering has to do with Time Management. Do you know what time management is and how effective it can be when working to get organized and reduce stress? Very powerful.
Did you know that the average person will spend one year searching through desk clutter looking for misplaced items?
One hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.
It costs over $200 in labor to track down a misplaced document or about $500 in labor to re-create it.
Anything you can do in your work day to improve efficiency and be more in control of your responsibilities means you are managing yourself in order to make the best use of your time.
One of the things I talk about in my upcoming webinar is doing what I call "The Brain Dump". I believe you should write everything down that is on your mind in order to eliminate the clutter in your head and the stress of trying to remember things.
The other thing I talk about is prioritizing. Planning your day to take care of the most important tasks and not wasting time on insignificant or unnecessary tasks will help you be more efficient.
Taking the time that is needed to focus on important projects and tasks and avoiding as few interruptions as possible is a great time management tool.
Having a good paper management system is place will reduce the amount of time it takes to locate what you are looking for.
There are many ways that you can better manage your time. These are only a few.
If you want to learn more about this topic and several others that affect adults with ADD, I invite you to attend my webinar on Monday, April 30, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. EST. It's free but the information I will be providing is so valuable.
Hope to see you on the call!
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, April 17 2012
Has your living situation changed recently? Have you decided that you and your significant other should now be living together? Congratulations! It can be a very excited time; the prospect of a new life together. However, it can bring challenges. One of them being blending two people (or families) into one.
I get contacted quite often as a professional organizer by people who have recently married or moved in together and are now struggling with trying to fit two households into one. We all know, we can't keep everything we own and still have room for someone else. It takes compromise, a concept we become so familiar with when in a relationship.
Perhaps it's you who is moving into your partner's home; perhaps your partner is moving in with you. Perhaps you are both moving into a new home together. Just how do we make it all work?
Communication is key. You need to discuss what is going to stay and what is going to go. You cannot expect that one person is to give up everything in order to move into the other person's home. It requires "blended organization".
You might have double the furniture - two bedroom sets, two living room sets, two dining room sets. You have to decide which sets of furniture will stay and which will go. Will they be sold, given to other family members or friends or donated? I discourage using a storage unit long term to solve this problem. It is an expense we don't need to incur if we make some decisions.
You might have multiple sets of pots and pans, dishes, silverware. Which sets will remain, which will go? This kitchen is a very common area in which blended organization comes into play.
You might have lots of artwork, nick knacks, collectibles. Do you have enough room to incorporate all of it? Does some of it need to be eliminated? I find that if someone is that passionate about something, you should do whatever you can to keep the collection in tact, but within reason. If it's a large collection, it just might need to be downsized in order to make it fit into the home. Discuss solutions that work for everyone involved.
My late husband was an avid record collector. We had a wall in our apartment and later in our home that had cabinets filled with record albums and boxes of 45's (all in alphabetical order by artist, by the way!) We agreed that the entire collection would stay in tact and we were able to come up with a solution for storage that did not intrude on our style of daily living. The key is to whether the items will take over the home. Remember, we need to own our possessions, not have our possessions own us.
Are you sharing closet space? If so, it's possible that you might both need to weed out your wardrobe to reduce its contents to make it fit into the designated area.
My wardrobe currently occupies my entire walk-in closet in my master bedroom and spare bedroom. However, I can tell you that if and when someone special comes into my life and we decide to combine our households, I will need to reduce the amount of clothing being stored to make room for that special someone. For now, I have the space to myself and can spread out. We need to live within the space that is provided.
The bottom line is that when you are combining households, you need to be sure to take the time to communicate about how each other's possessions will fit into the living space. It might mean eliminating things altogether or it might mean reducing the amount.
The other factor that comes into play is how each of you function but that is a blog for another day.
If you have questions about how to blend your home to accommodate each other, contact me. I am glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, April 09 2012
Most people who plan to read through their stacks of old magazines never do, so why keep them?
By Kathryn Weber, Tribune Media Services Living Space
March 13, 2012
Everyone has to deal
with general messiness around the house, but clutter can become overwhelming -- judging by the number of TV shows about hoarding! Whatever the level of disorder in your house, solving the problem starts with motivation. The problem isn't the possessions, but us. Once we get our thoughts straight about clutter, stuff has a way of finding its way out the door instead of in.
VISUAL WHITE NOISE
The problem with clutter is like the story of the frog in the soup. The unfortunate frog doesn't notice the temperature being raised a degree at a time until he's frog soup. In our homes, stuff can flow in until we're overloaded. Over time, we stop noticing all the clutter and it becomes visual white noise. Some of this is related to our best intentions. We believe that box of ticket stubs and postcards will make its way into a scrapbook one of these days, or that we'll read through that pile of gourmet magazines and rip out recipes, but somehow this never happens.
THE WAY WE WERE
Clutter often represents a personal history. and we hang on to that history, believing these items represent us. In fact, they merely represent a point in time in our lives. The joy of de-cluttering is the ability to feel unstuck, unburdened and moving forward again. Saving
a few special pieces is understandable, but be selective and only hold onto those items you feel strongly about or will actually use.
Getting a handle on clutter calls for an all-hands-on deck approach. Everyone in the family has to understand the toll that clutter can take on their time, energy and quality of life. Too often, clutter control falls on one person's shoulders, but any mess created by two or more people requires everyone's efforts. That's why getting the whole family involved, including children, is more effective in the long run.
Even small children can help pick out organizers for their toys and sort them into tubs. Older kids can learn the joys of selling their unwanted video games and making some money. There are few better incentives for kids or adults than turning their excess stuff into money.
REDECORATE TO UNCLUTTER
Since de-cluttering is seldom seen as its own reward, a fun redecorating project could just be the ticket to get everyone motivated to spruce things up. In the end, you'll have a new look, better organization and extra space, proving that the secret to clutter is all in how you think about it.
(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her Web site, www.redlotusletter.com
Monday, April 02 2012
I have been in business now eight years - hard to believe. In that time I have spoken with thousands of people about getting organized. Whether it is over the phone, by email or in person, everyone says they either want to get organized themselves, or knows of someone.
The truth is, when it comes right down to it, most people are not truly committed to getting organized. They just want a magic wand to be waived over their clutter to make it all just disappear. Sounds nice but, it's not going to happen!
If you are truly committed, you either jump in and do it yourself or reach out for help. This is not something that should be taken lightly. If you want changes to happen, you have to take action.
If you are at the point where you are in a state of overwhelm and just cannot seem to get it done yourself, contact a professional like myself to help you. Take action! Talking about it and then doing nothing about it will get you nowhere.
When you decide to hire a professional organizer, you need to be prepared for the commitment, not only to time but some expense. However, when the job is complete and you can move on with your life, the paybacks cannot even be measured.
Your entire life can change for the better. If you have ever taken the time to read some of the testimonials I have received from clients I have worked with in the past, you can see exactly how life changing it can be.
Do yourself a favor - commit to getting organized and if you need some professional help. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed. Get the help you need. You will be so glad you did. And lastly, when you make that commitment, stick with it. Make it the priority in your life that you so deserve. Don't let "stuff" get in your way of your focus. If it is that important to you, you can always find a way to make it happen. Trust me, I know!
I am here to help if you are ready to commit to getting and staying organized once and for all.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, March 20 2012
Last time, l spoke about tips to get organized for Daylight Savings Time. Now that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with some tips for getting organized for the Spring season. After all, Spring is the time when we look forward to a fresh clean slate - in our homes and in our ourselves. Here are some ways to start off the season with some fresh ideas:
1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as sitting outside and reading a special book or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many at-home' spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. Whatever you choose to do, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for Spring.
2. Switch Out: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn't put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn't use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don't put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away.
3. Lighten Up: Clutter can't be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When your spaces are filled with things, your perception is that rooms are closing in on you. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten it up. The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale!
4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize your work-out routines. It's likely that through the winter you had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it's possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and change your schedule with some new scenery and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.
5. Cooking Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven't used and don't plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have eliminated those you don't want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week! Also, if you try a recipe and no one likes it--toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own cookbooks at all!
6. Trash Tattered Towels: Have your bath towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of Spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter like the SPCA. They will appreciate your donation. Take inventory what remains. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel.
7. Outdoor Organizing: With warmer weather, many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks. It's also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Did the cement or driveway crack over the winter? Does your house need a new coat of paint? Organize your gardening tasks and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar every weekend. Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant since all danger of frost is now past.
8. Organize Your Refrigerator: I always advise to do this before Thanksgiving but this is also a good time of year to organize the fridge. Organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small baskets or bins to group like items together. [CLEVER CONTAINER has a great line of bin organizers for your fridge and pantry. Check them out right on this website! Just look for the CLEVER CONTAINER tab on the home page. They are on Page 6 of the catalog.] Use them to put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator can be a welcome change!
Get Spring off to a good start but using the tips above and enjoy the season of new beginnings!
If you have any additional tips, we would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, March 05 2012
Clutter is one thing but when it's not yours, it's something else.
Here's the scenario:
You were always relatively organized. However, you had kids. Everyday you struggled to keep pace with their toys, electronics, paperwork, clothing and the like. Their stuff invaded your home from the moment they were born until the time they grew up and moved out.
And, finally, after all those years, they grew up and moved out. Okay we had to deal with "Empty Nest Syndrome" but, admittedly, a piece of us was thrilled! Yahoo! We finally had our space back and we could again control the environment in which we lived. Right? Wrong.
It is said that when they move out, they never really leave. Is that true in your household?
Two things could have happened. One, they moved back home again. "There's no place like home; there's no place like home", or, two, their stuff moved back home again. How did this happen? You were just getting used to having your own space and the calm that comes with it.
In the first scenario, your kids were so anxious to get out in the world and be in charge of their own destiny. (The grass is always greener on the other side, right?) Instead what happens is they find out they can't afford to make it on their own. This is more common than not these days due to our economy. So they move back home and bring all their stuff with them. (Probably more than what they left with!)
The second scenario is that your kids do move out but cannot afford a large enough space to hold all their stuff. So they turn to you and say, "Mom, can you hold onto a few things for me because I have no place to put them?" How many of us have heard that question?
Now what do we do? We want to help out our kids but still want to maintain the balance in our lives that we were finally able to obtain.
I have one word of advice - "BOUNDARIES". You need to set limits on the space that your returning kids can occupy and the stuff that comes with them. They cannot bring it all back and then some. Just like before, it is a shared space, but this time, they are adults and need to respect your boundaries.
You need to set boundaries on the amount of stuff you are holding onto for your kids who now reside in their own home. They need to learn to live within the space that they have and make choices. You have to and so do they. Remember, your home is not a storage unit!
Whether your kids are returning home to live or using your home to store their items, you need to sit down and talk with them about those boundaries and have them understand that they must be respected.
Spring is a great time of year to evaluate your current living situation. To me, it represents growth and change. It's time to make a change and claim your boundaries.
Until next time...
Monday, February 27 2012
There are so many options available to us these days to help us get and stay organized. I love options because everyone does not function the same way. Some people are auditory, some are visual and some are experiential learners (hands on).
There are several ways to organize your paperwork if you like clear your surfaces (who doesn't) but still be able to see what you have. (Visual). One way is to make use of binder clips!
Here are some examples of how you can use Binder Clips to get and stay organized:
Use them on the back of a door, a cabinet, a bulletin board or a wall. Adding a magnetic hook or push pins to the mix are a good complement.
I like to take a label maker and put labels on the actual clips themselves to give them a specific purpose. You can even color code the binder clips as they come in so many different colors these days. You don't need to stick with black.
A use for color-coded Binder Clips is to use them for various tasks or for each family member. Assign a specific color to each.
You can clip recipes together for the week and hang them on the inside of a cabinet door.
Use a magnetic hook on the side of your fridge to hang the Binder Clip on for a shopping list with coupons.
Use push pins on the front of a shelf to hand the clips.
Hang a Binder Clip inside the door, under the sink in your kitchen or bathroom, to hold your rubber gloves.
Hang magnetic hooks on the side of a filing cabinet near your desk and create binder clips for "hot" action items.
You can also use a bulletin board with a labeled binder clip called "HOT".
If you can't locate your label maker, you can use a binder clip to clip a labeled index card onto the front of a small bin on a shelf.
If letter trays do not work for you to sort your mail, use a Binder Clips that are labeled "Pay", "Action" and "File".
For paper management purposes, Binder Clips create a boundary. They limit the amount of paper work that builds up. It forces you to create a limit as to how long you put off the inevitable. You will need to keep it under control!
As you can see, there are multiple uses for just a simple Binder Clip. Use your imagination! I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with everyone!
So, get out those binder clips and put them to good use in organizing your home and your life.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, February 20 2012
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the winter has been somewhat mild this year and we might not have had the opportunity to wear those very heavy wool sweaters, our fur lined boots and heavy winter coats.
If you are anything like me, that's quite all right. However, it does not mean that it's not time for that mid-winter check to see what we have used or what we wanted to use but because of the warm temps this year did not get to use.
This is a good time for you to go through those winter-related items and donate the excess to charity. You will free up space in your home and provide others in need with items they can use to make it through the rest of the winter comfortably, by donating them to a local charity.
Take some time to check out the following:
Blankets - Are there blankets in closets or in a cedar chest that you have not used in the past several years?
Sweaters - If you haven't worn certain sweaters by now, will you wear them by the end of the season?
Hats, gloves and scarves - If you have children, do their hats and gloves still fit them? Do you just have too many that have accumulated?
Coats - Just like your sweaters, if you haven't worn that coat this year, are you going to wear them by the end of the season?
Boots - If they are still in good condition, someone in need could use the ones you no longer wear. Are they not comfortable, out of style, not your favorites?
Outdoor recreation items: Have you checked your collection of snow shovels lately? Did you purchase a new one and not get rid of the older one? How about your sleds, toboggans or ski equipment? Don't have them take up additional space in your garage or attic if you are not using them anymore.
Decorations: Is there any holiday or winter decoration you didn't put out this year? You can sell them on Ebay, Craigs List or give them away thru Freecycle. See if any local day care centers can use some of them.
Eliminate the excess by either selling the items, donating them to a charity or giving them away thru Freecycle or to a local entity. Someone else will be glad to have them.
Let's make space for Spring! It will be here before we know it.
Tuesday, January 31 2012
There seems to be a phenomenon that is growing by the day.
It's common for our socks to have lost their mates after we have done the laundry. They have been known to hide inside a fitted sheet, stuck inside a shirt sleeve or attached to the inside of a pants leg.
The common solution for this phenomenon is to have a laundry basket filled with odd socks. I have worked with so many people who have this laundry basket in their laundry room, bedroom or elsewhere in the house where the odd socks live.
Sometimes we never find that odd sock. I have a theory that there is a large hole in the earth somewhere where all of the odd socks get sucked out of our washing machine in the spin cycle and end up. This leaves the other sock without its mate forever more. How sad.
However, don't be distraught. I have begun a support group for all of the odd socks that get left behind to survive on their own. I have called it "Socks Without Partners".
The support group is not intended for long term, however. It's is intended for a 30 day period of time. The group meets after every laundry day in a laundry basket and they remain there for only 30 days. After that, they move on to become dust rags.
The by-laws of this support group state that after 30 days, the chances of finding their mates has become so minimal, it is not worth staying on. They have already hung out with other single socks and are now ready to take on the world of dust. I am thinking that a Veteran's hospital might be a choice as well since they care for some amputees who need socks. Whatever you choose, do not get caught up in the "What If" syndrome that plagues so many of us. "What if I find that other sock 3 months from now?" It's not a great loss; it's okay. Move on.
Bottom line, you can create your own support group in your laundry basket called "Socks Without Partners" but remember, after 30 days, they are to move on. There will be more single socks in your future, I promise.
I would love to hear if you have started your own support group for your single socks and how many members you have!
In the meantime, have a great day!
Monday, January 02 2012
Happy New Year! I hope you had a great holiday season, but now it's time to get down to business.
As a women entrepreneur who began my Professional Organizing business over 7 years ago, I work with many other women entrepreneurs who struggle with time management and paper management in their home offices. As a result, I pay lots of attention to the struggles with growth and prosperity that entrepreneurs alike contend with.
There are many habits that can hold us back so I thought I would list some:
- Not returning phone calls.
- Being late for appointments.
- Not returning emails.
- Not having a schedule.
- Not filing important documents.
- Not saving money or paying yourself first.
- Failure to understand the law of reciprocity.
- Handling mail or email more than once.
- Forwarding nonsense emails.
- Not scheduling events.
- Not exercising.
- Lack of systems.
- Not choosing healthy foods.
- Not drinking enough water.
- Not taking time to rejuvenate.
- Watching meaningless television.
- Failure to invest in personal development.
- Failure to listen.
- Trying to be perfect.
- Waiting for the right moment.
- Failure to budget.
- Lacking or not providing sufficient or efficient communication.
- Having a messy or disorganized workspace or home.
- Unprofessional voice mail.
- Not having a dedicated workspace.
- Not having a business card.
Which of these apply to you? Choose two or three habits at a time and replace them with good ones.
If you need help with time management, paper management, or organizing your messy and disorganized workspace or home, contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, have a wonderful week!
Tuesday, December 06 2011
We can all acknowledge that this time of year can be very stressful. It seems like a whirlwind from Thanksgiving right thru to the end of the year.
I have business goals I want to reach by the end of the year, I prepare for my Thanksgiving feast several days in advance and then head right into decorating, sending out cards and shopping for the holidays. Before you know it, it's New Years Day.
Especially during this time of year, it is very important that we attempt to reduce our stress levels as we have so much to deal with in such a short period of time.
Stress can lead to clutter in our head. When we are stressed out, we tend to not think clearly and then can not visualize the path we need to take in order to get things done.
The best way to help clear the clutter in your head is to write things down. Make a list of all the things you need to get done either on paper or on your Smart Phone or other device that you use to keep track. Then, map out when you will do them and schedule it on your paper calendar or electronic device.
I make a habit of mapping out my "To Do's" on my big wall calendar (even up to a year in advance) and then create a daily "to do" list of things I need to accomplish - putting the most important things at the top of the list.
It is amazing how much you can accomplish when you do this. It tends to keep you more focused on the task at hand. You tend not to get so distracted by other things and, before you know, you can check it off your list.
Do yourself a favor this holiday season and reduce your stress by eliminating the clutter in head. Write it down.
Try this and let me know how you make out. I would love to get your feedback and hear about your experiences.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, November 27 2011
When is it time to let go of the past? I am speaking of those items that represent the past, and not necessarily in a good or bad way. It could be either.
My first husband, Paul, died of cancer over 14 years ago at the age of 40. His legacy, aside from our son, was his treasured music collection - LPs for the most part. When I relocated from our marital property into my current home after he passed away, I transported the large collection and for the past 14 years, they have been stored in my storage room. They were stored in a way that was unobtrusive and so they sat, well preserved.
At first I thought I would hold onto them because, not only did they represent a direct emotional connection to my late husband, but that they would increase in value. Besides his passion for music, it was one of the reasons he kept such a collection. I was carrying on his wishes. Also, knowing they were with me in my home made me feel that a part of him was always with me.
I married again in 2002 and accumulated items with my second husband until we separated in 2009. We traveled, we spent holidays with our combined family and when we split up, some of the items from our past remained.
This year I turned 50 and my divorce was finalized. I have spent a great deal of time evaluating where I have been, where I am now and where I want to be in the future. The "stuff" is no longer a part of the picture. I am ready to let go of the past.
I am selling the large music collection and going through my home, room by room, and getting rid of the things that remind me of my failed second marriage. It's time. I want to focus on who I am today and what that represents to me. The sad memories and the "stuff" associated with it no longer belong in my life. The music collection no longer holds that emotional connection to Paul. The wedding presents from my second marriage no longer evoke fond memories.
Letting go of the past can be very healing in a lot of ways and one of the ways is by getting rid of the "clutter". I believe that you should only hold onto the good memories and you can do it with a lot less "stuff".
So, what things are you holding on to that evoke sad or bad memories of your past? Perhaps its time to let them go.
If you need assistance with this or any other aspect of organization, let me know. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, November 01 2011
When you think of getting organized, do you think it means that you have to "clean up"? Believe it or not, cleaning up and getting organized are two different things.
Cleaning up is more about how something looks. Cleaning up involves putting things away, or at least getting them out of sight. (That can mean different things to different people).
Cleaning up is what you do before your guests arrives.
Cleaning up means straightening up those piles or perhaps putting things into boxes or bags and hiding them away. (We're all sometimes guilty of that!)
Cleaning up can mean gathering up all of those magazines and articles that you have been meaning to get to and putting them into a nice, neat pile. That's not getting organized.
Getting organized is more about how it works or functions; creating systems that meet your specific needs. Organizing really has nothing to do with how it looks, although I still think that is important to create a nice look in a particular space or room in your home.
When you get organized, you decide, honestly, what you will use and how best to store it so that it will be available to you when you want it - quickly and easily.
Organizing is something you do for yourself - not your guests!
Are you ready to do something nice for yourself? Are you ready to get organized, once and for all?
You can! Take that small step and contact me. We can discuss your needs and I can show you how you can have A Better Space.
Monday, October 17 2011
I don't know what has happened lately, but I feel that my list of things to do has become endless. Not only professionally, but personally as well.
Lately I have consolidated bank accounts to make things easier, changed my credit card features to provide me with more "perks", purchased a new car and am transferring my old car to my son, and handling all that goes with these transitions. Not to mention, all of the other things that need to get addressed on a day-to-day basis.
Professionally, I have been working with my clients and accommodating their changing schedules, writing articles, blogs and my newsletter, preparing for various public speaking engagements and taking classes online to provide the best service to more people.
Whew! Many people know how busy I am and wonder how I get it all done.
My key to success is taking all the clutter in my head and writing it down on paper. Then I have my "To Do" list. As my day progresses and new things come across my plate, I write them down on a pad of paper (not a bunch of notes on different pieces of paper). Every evening I evaluate my list and select the items I need to tackle the next day. They go on my "To Do" list for the next day. One by one, I work through my list and VOILA! I get it done. You can do the same thing with an electronic device, if you wish.
I find that writing it all down takes the pressure off of having to remember everything and an itemized list is easy to follow and check off items as I go.
Do you have a bunch of things you need to get accomplished? Do you have a "To Do" list? I would love to hear from you as to how you manage your "To Do" list.
In the meantime, if you are feeling overwhelmed with any type of clutter or organizing issues, please feel free to contact me. I am glad to help.
Have a great week!
Thursday, October 06 2011
Just how do you handle the onslaught of paperwork that comes through your door on a daily basis? Most of us hear the word "paperwork" and think of "work".
Well, it doesn't have to be that way! Trust me!
By creating a "Communication Station" in your home, you will be able to create a zone where all the daily paperwork can gather and have a home while it is active. The keyword here is "Active". This is not a place for old paperwork to gather and accumulate. There are other solutions for that.
The "Communication Station" is intended for kids' permission slips, bills, incoming and outgoing messages, mail and any communication among family members.
There are key pieces to have in place to make this area function as it should.
First, it needs to be in a convenient location in the home (like a kitchen or mudroom).
Second, use either stackable letter trays or wall mounted magazine racks for each member of the family to have their own slot for his or her papers.
Third, a large wall calendar that is color coded for each family member provides a clear view of the schedule for each person. Use it to jot down events that involve multiple family members (such as appointments that require a driver, etc.)
Fourth, a bulletin board (be creative with it if you wish) and use it for flyers, invites, etc. This will provide a clear view of the details for upcoming events or RSVP deadlines. You can add an envelope tacked to the bulletin board to stash coupons, gift certificates or other money-savers you might need to grab on the way out the door. (Be sure to clear the board on a regular basis to avoid clutter build-up.)
Keep a cup or pencil holder on the flat surface in this area for the various colored markers you are using for the calendar. Keep a note pad and pen as well as some post-it notes in this area as well.
Keep a trash can or recycling bin and paper shredder in this area to eliminate the "Junk".
Use letter trays to sort your mail DAILY into various categories for various purposes. Each piece of mail should have a purpose or it is trash!
By utilizing these tips, you can create your own "Communication Station" and eliminate the chaos of paperwork strewn throughout your home. You can have A Better Space.
If you are overwhelmed with the concept of getting organized, whether it be paper or any other type of clutter, let me know. I am more than happy to help.
Submit pictures of your "Communication Station" to provide others with ideas they can use. They might end up in my monthly newsletter "Organizing News You Can Use".
Not getting your issue? You can sign up right on this page!
In the meantime, have a great and organized week!
Monday, September 19 2011
When working with my clients, I find there is always a need for a way to store "memories". We always come across items that are not currently being used but need to be stored away for another day.
Memories can come in many forms and various categories. They can be memories of your child's school years, your childhood, your parents, a close friend or family member who has passed, etc.
For your children's memories, I suggest creating a School Memory Box (one for each child). This can be as simple as a plastic container or a cardboard banker's box. You can divide it up into 12 sections, one for each year from 1st to 12th grade, using accordion hanging folders with tabs in a file folder container. That is even better!
During the school year, file away any artwork, projects, special memories, creative writing and awards in a separate box for that year. Then, at the end of the school year, go through your file box of completed work with your child and pull out the best and most meaningful. File them away in their School Memory Box in the appropriate year. By the end of high school, you'll have a wonderful, handpicked history of your child's development and accomplishments with very little effort.
For other types of memories, a simple plastic container to hold them in is a great way to keep them together and dust free. Put a label on the box for the particular member of the family and store it in the top of their bedroom closet on the shelf. Then, pull it down from time to time and enjoy going down Memory Lane.
Using these methods, you will contain your memories in one container. The container will help you to set boundaries on the amount of memories you keep, as well.
If you need any more assistance with this or any other form of organization, contact me and I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, August 30 2011
I don't know about you, but I am an avid reader. I have always loved books and get a real sense of comfort from holding one in my hands and flipping through the pages.
You might call me "old fashioned" but I prefer holding a book in my hands as opposed to a Kindle or other type of electronic reader. There is just something cold about holding a piece of plastic as opposed to turning pages of a book.
If you are an avid book reader, chances are you have quite a collection of books in your home. If so, are they organized? If not, here are some suggestions on how you can organize them so you can find what you want when you want it.
When it comes to non-fiction or reference books, it's best to organize them by category and then alphabetically by author.
When it comes to fiction, it's best to organize them by author and then in alphabetical order by book title. Organize your hardbacks separate from your soft backs. That doesn't mean they necessarily need to be on separate shelves. I put my hardback books in the back of the bookcase with paperbacks lined up in front of them. This makes it easy for me to read all of the titles and find just what I am looking for.
Personally, I have numerous bookcases for various types of books throughout my home. I have my non-fiction books on a bookcase in my upstairs hallway (there is plenty of room so it does not interfere with navigating to and from my bedroom), I have my fiction books in my guest bedroom/sitting room and business related books (marketing, organizing, etc.) on a bookcase in my office. I also have a cabinet that was specially made to store my cookbooks which sits just outside my kitchen, in my dining room.
Because I have an extensive amount of fiction (I love to relax at the end of my day by sitting down and reading a good fiction book.), I have taken the next step and created a small three-ring binder with alphabetical tabs in it, listing each author on a separate page with the titles of the books I currently have in my collection. This might seem extreme to some but I recognized the need to do this as I carry this binder with me when I go to the bookstore, the library or purchase books online. I do not buy duplicates because I know exactly what I currently have or have read in the past from that author. This works well for me as I tend to read books from the same general group of authors.
The other point I want to make is that when I am done reading one of my fiction books, I donate it or pass it on to a friend. I DO NOT keep fiction books after they are read. Life is too short and there are too many books out there to read so I don't want to go back and read the same book again. The non-fiction (if they are more of a resource) are kept after they are read. Biographies or autobiographies are passed on after they are read, as well.
Organizing your books is so important so that you know what you have and you can enjoy your collection.
I intend to continue to purchase books well into the future and am happy to say that I can locate what I want when I want it because my collection is organized. Yours can be too.
If you need assistance in sorting through the books, donating those that you no longer need or want and getting the restorganized, contact me. I'll be glad to help you out.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, August 23 2011
I have no idea where the Summer has gone. As it seems to do every year, it flew by and we are now looking at getting the kids back to school, resume our normal routine and put the lazy days of Summer behind us.
The change of seasons is a great time to evaluate and perhaps re-evaluate what we need to do in order to get organized. Sometimes things tend to fall by the wayside (especially during the Summer months).
Perhaps you had a project that you meant to get to this Summer but you never got around to it. It could have been something such as decluttering and organizing the storage room, trimming the hedges, painting a bedroom, evaluating your wardrobe and eliminating items that no longer fit or that you don't like, getting rid of toys your child no longer plays with, organizing the pantry or organizing your desk area where you pay bills.
Before you get too inundated with the responsibilities that the new season will bring, I suggest that you take some time to walk around your home and make a list of things you want to declutter and organize and then get started on that list.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, let me know and I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your Summer!
Friday, July 29 2011
As someone who wants to keep your home and office organized, it’s your job to immediately identify when things are out of wack and some attention needs to be paid to those places that might be out of place or broken and then fix the situation. There are a few easy ways to do this:
- Create a "Closing Duties" or "Daily Chore Chart". It seems elementary to write out chores and end-of-day assignments, but these lists can be very beneficial for helping you avoid Organizational Demise. Before leaving the office or heading to bed, review your printed list of closing duties or daily chores to make sure all tasks were completed properly. If they weren’t, quickly do the chore or re-do it. Don’t leave work or go to bed with an essential task undone.
- Keep an easily accessible shopping list. Again, this is pretty basic, but having a grocery shopping checklist (such as the U Can Do It Grocery Shopping Checklist) can be a huge help in avoiding Demise. This list needs to be in a place where any of your family can effortlessly add to it (right when they notice something is running out or has broken. A pen or pencil needs to be kept in at this location for convenience. You then take the list with you when you go to the store or run errands.
- Having the right tools. If clothes end up on the floor of your bathroom, then you need to put a hamper in your bathroom. If clothes end up on the floor of your bedroom, you also need a hamper in your bedroom. If you want to shred junk mail by your front door and also shred sensitive documents in your home office, have a shredder by your front door and also a shredder in your office. Having multiples of something isn’t clutter if you actually need multiples of something to stay organized and keep from avoiding Organizational Demise.
Do you have receipts on the top of your bedroom dresser that accumulate? If you empty your pockets and just set the receipts down on the top of the dresser, within a week you can cause Organizational Demise. It’s amazing how something as small as receipts can cause complete disorder, but time and again they can become a culprit.
If, instead, you have the tools necessary to keep these simple types of clutter from accumulating, you will eliminate these problems.
At the end of the day, leave enough time to finish those tasks that can cause Organizational Demise and it will go a long way. Simply processing those little slips of paper, getting your dirty clothes into the hamper and all your other end-of-the day chores completed is the key to success.
So, what is your Organizational Demise? Can I help? Let me know.
Until then, have a great week!
Friday, July 22 2011
It's that time of year when we tend to spend a lot of time in the car. We take the kids back and forth to summer activities, camp, go on vacation, visit friends and family, take day trips. You name it, it involves the car. So let me ask you...
If you had to produce your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance in a hurry, could you? Many of us don't give a lot of thought to controlling clutter in our cars. We spend so much time in our cars and yet we often don't think of it as a place for organizing.
The best place to start is removing the clutter. Depending on the time of year will determine how you tackle it. If the temperature is warm (right now it's broiling hot where I live and you can't even stand to be outside for more than 5 minutes!), it’s not a problem working outdoors. If the temperature is cold, you may want to put everything into boxes and take it indoors.
Once the car is empty, vacuum it out thoroughly, clean all the windows, wipe down the dash and console and clean leather seats. Stores sell cleaner made for upholstered seats as well.
When you begin to sort through the boxed items, sort out the trash and of course, trash it. Then sort through the remaining items. There will be items that won't need to go back into the car and you can put them into a ‘goes somewhere else’ container. These can be put away as part of your cleanup.
Some of your 'return to the car' items can go into the trunk. You will probably need a way to contain them. Standard items generally consist of a small tool kit, jumper cables, a flashlight, and if you live in cold area of the country, emergency supplies like water, high-energy snacks and blankets. These can be contained either in a collapsible open top container or in a container with a lid. This will keep all of your supplies in one neatly contained area in your trunk.
Inside the car, you can contain items to keep them safely stowed, yet accessible. Things like your car’s care manual can go into the glove box or console. A small tissue box can go into the console, along with antibacterial wipes and such. Keep some reusable canvas bags to cart things in and out of the car.
Don't forget to put a little sack or plastic bag in both the front and back seats for trash. You could also store a couple of extra collapsible crates to allow you to carry your groceries into the house in fewer trips.
Don't neglect this important area of your life. It is just as important to organize your car as it is to organize your home.
If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact me.
In the meantime, keep cool and have a great week!
Saturday, July 09 2011
Are you in "disorganization" denial? Let's be honest. We get used to living a certain way and sometimes forget to look around and see what is really going on.
Have you gotten so comfortable in your cluttered environment that you cannot "see the forest through the trees" so to speak?
I think it's time to be honest with yourself. Take a good look around and really see what is going on in your home and in your life.
If you are not sure whether you have clutter and disorganization issues, I recommend that you check out my "Quiz" found on this website [the tab is at the top of this page] to determine whether you might need to get organized. This short quiz can be very helpful in doing so as it triggers in on main issues that you might be experiencing.
It might be time to stop living in denial and start focusing on improving your situation.
Whether you take on the task yourself or reach out to a professional organizer like myself, it's time to do something about it.
No matter how small or large a task you might think it will be, you can do it! If you are feeling too overwhelmed, there is help out there. You just need to ask for it.
Imagine how much better your quality of life will be when you don't have to continue to be stressed out because you can't find things in your home, you are late for appointments or the paperwork is piling up. Putting systems into place that are manageable are the key to your success.
You deserve a better way of living and getting organized can give you that.
So, are you ready to be honest with yourself and admit that you are living in clutter and disorganization? I challenge you to take that first step and admit that you might need to make a change.
Contact me if you do and I will be more than happy to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, July 01 2011
Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate others to get and stay organized, especially a loved one.
Perhaps you are working to get organized but you feel that the people you live with are undermining your progress by not helping out.
There are some questions that you can pose to that person to help make decisions about what to keep and what to toss - without starting arguments or passing judgment. Getting organized can sometimes be a sensative subject if it is not approached in a positive way. Remember, the goal is to reframe the discussion away from the item or items themselves, but rather towards its significance in your lives.
Here are some examples of how to refrase the question:
1. Instead of "Why don't you put your tools away?", ask "What is it that you want from this space?"
2. Instead of "Why do we have to keep your grandmother's sewing kit?", ask "Why is it important to you? Does this particular item have meaning?"
3. Instead of "There's no room for all of your stuff in there", say "Let's see how we can share this space so that it works for all of us".
4. Instead of "Why do you have to hold onto these ugly sweaters your dad gave you?", ask "What do these sweaters make you think of or remind you of?"
5. Insteady of saying "I don't understand how you can live with all this junk", ask "How do you feel when you have to spend time in this room?"
Hopefully these suggestions will help you better communicate your message to someone who you live with who has clutter issues.
Let me know how you make out and if you need any assistance, I am here to help.
Have a great holiday weekend!
Thursday, June 09 2011
School is letting out soon, if it hasn't already, the kids are home and the toys are everywhere! What is a mother to do? Get organized, of course!
All those summertime toys can get out of hand if we do not have simple tools in place to keep them under control. A few rules for the kids to follow is helpful as well.
First, I want to go over some simple tips that you can begin to utilize immediately to keep all those toys under control.
1. Limit the number of toys your child owns. This might seem like a no-brainer, but those toys have a way of multiplying before our very eyes. I suggest that you start off by evaluating what your child already has before making any additional purchases. When you have a good handle on what they already have, you will avoid duplicates and lots of toys that are similar. Look to see if any toys are broken or if your child has outgrown them. If you are not sure what they want or don’t want, hide them away for a while and see if they ask for them. If they don’t, consider donating them, if they are still in good condition, to a local charity or selling them at a garage sale. (If you need tips on how to have a successful garage sale, I can help you with that.) This will be helpful when you are trying to decide what type of storage you need for the toys you want to keep, as well.
2. Be selective. When we are in the store, with or without our kids, we see those "bright shiny objects" that we just know our son or daughter has to have. Try to avoid temptation and be more practical. Consider purchasing toys that are most beneficial to your child; that promote imagination and creativity. Make sure your purchase is age appropriate.
3. Don’t buy toys that take up a lot of space and are difficult to store. I know that this can sometimes be a challenge, especially with outdoor toys. They tend to be big, plastic and oddly shaped. I would suggest limiting the amount of items that fall into this category and consider purchasing toys that can be more easily stored. If your child insists on big toys such as a play tunnel or a play house, make sure to purchase the one which can be disassembled easily and stored compactly, if at all possible.
4. Stop giving toys as gifts. It’s their birthday. What is the first thing most people think to get the kid - toys! However, when you get to the point where you have enough, stop! Don’t buy any more! Give your child a gift card for a restaurant or an activity they can enjoy, instead. Also, ask those relatives and friends who want to always supply your kids with toys, to purchase something else instead. I truly believe your child will get more out of spending a day doing a fun activity with you at an amusement park, gym or at the movies. It’s a better alternative than filling your backyard and garage with more toys!
5. Create a system for organizing toys. One of the first things you need to do is review some simple rules with your children when it comes to cleaning up their toys. Although having a good system for storing toys does not guarantee that the toys will not invade various places in your home, regular clean up is necessary to avoid having toys scattered all around the house, inside and out. Train your children to put their toys away.
So now that we know what toys we have, we are now ready to find solutions for putting them away. There are many options available, especially when it comes to outdoor toy storage. Here is a list of options to consider:
1. Bike racks to keep the bikes from laying all over the garage floor;
2. Sports racks to hold basketballs, soccer balls, baseballs, hockey sticks and bats. A good wall mounted sports ball holder can be found at ww.ballclaw.com
3. Deck boxes for larger items. (These can also be used to store outdoor chair cushions and umbrellas as well as pool equipment.)
4. Big plastic toy boxes such as those sold by Little Tykes.
5. Rubbermaid containers with lids.
6. Milk crates or laundry baskets to carry toys as they are being picked up.
7. Pop up net laundry bags to hold small balls and other items.
8. Large trash cans on wheels for larger sports equipment.
9. Back packs to store a swimsuit, towel, sun screen, flip-flops, etc.
10. Labeled bins for the younger children to easily sort their things.
We all know that it can be difficult at times to keep that toy collection under control. Without a good toy storage system in place, the toys will undoubtedly take over. Having a good system in place for storing your toys is one way to ensure that your home and yard are kept organized and you can enjoy spending more time there.
Lastly, enjoy your summer. It goes by quickly!
Sunday, May 22 2011
For most people, their clutter issues are on the floor, on a desk, a table or any other flat surface in their home. However, it is also possible to have clutter on the walls.
When was the last time you looked up? Take a moment to get a good look at what you have on the walls. When was the last time you hung a picture, a piece of metal art, a clock or put collectibles on a shelf? Have you really taken a good look at them lately?
After a while, we become so used to what we have on the walls, we don't see it anymore. Has the framed art been on your walls for years? Is the fridge filled with pictures your kids drew months and months ago? Is the sculptured art on your walls screaming 1980? Have the nick knacks or collectibles been on your shelf, collecting dust, since your trip in 2005?
Is the artwork in your home and office now just clutter, or is it something you truly value? Does it still inspire you? Does it make you smile or challenge you or create within you a sense of awe? Or, are you indifferent about it and it is simply there so you have something to hang in that space? Are these images ones you still love?
It is easy to become numb to the images we see every day, especially when those images are ones we don’t love, cherish, or appreciate. It’s also very simple for these items to become part of the invisible clutter in our homes because they usually don’t take up floor space — we don’t trip over the things hanging on our walls.
Take some time today and walk around your home. Look up and see what is on your walls. Perhaps, now, these items no longer bring you that joy, make you smile or evoke a fond memory. If that's the case, it's time to make a change.
Let me know what you see on your walls and what changes you intend to make.
In the meantime, if you are feeling overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized, contact me. I'll be glad to help.
Have a great week!
Monday, May 16 2011
I am working in my office today and decided I wanted to focus on reducing the amount of mail in my email "in box".
Just like everyone else who has a business and a personal life, I get lots of emails on a daily basis and sometimes it is a true struggle to keep them under control.
But I am determined to clean up my act today and get back on track. In doing so, I had an epiphany!
My emails are always listed with the most current at the top, like most people, so you can see the latest activity.
However, today, I decided to flip it around so that the earliest e-mails are at the top and the latest at the bottom of the list. This worked so well for me today and I am excited to be able to share this with you!
Since I could not see the new entries coming in during my designated period of time that I set aside for this project, I was not getting distracted. It helped me to focus on the task at hand and get through my list a lot faster.
Another idea is to shut off your notification so that every time a new email comes in, you don't hear a bing, a dong or a bell or whatever sound your email makes to indicate a new entry.
If you try these tips, I assure you that you will be able to remain focused for a longer period of time and will be able to greatly reduce that in-box.
Let me know how you make out.
If you need any other assistance in order to get organized, please feel free to contact me. I am here to help.
Have a great week!
Friday, April 22 2011
If you have been following my blogs for the past several years when I began posting in January 2008, you will know that I don't tend to "vent"; I simply provide information that I feel will be useful to you.
However, lately I have been noticiing how several advertisements for organizational products have been "selling their wares" so to speak in print and on television.
One company in particular has a great line of products, but let's get real here. Have you seen the ads for Real Simple? Their products are available at Bed, Bath & Beyond. They sell over the door shoe organizers, storage bins, purse organizers, sweater organizers and slim line hangers, to name a few.
The products are great - I use them quite often for my clients - but their ads, that's another story.
There is one ad in particular that was in the Real Simple magazine not that long ago. It shows a picture of a closet. I don't know about you, but in all my years, I have never seen such a minimalistic closet as this one. Granted, their products help categorize items together and that's a great thing. However, do you know any woman whose entire wardrobe consists of 6 pair of shoes, 8 handbags, 18 tops and two pair of pants? And to top it off, the floor is completely clear! Who lives like this? Not anyone I know.
Most people I work with have closets so full of clothing, they don't even know what they have until we go through it. There is stuff on the shelf above the rod, the rod is jammed with all types of clothing on all types of hangers and the floor is filled with shoes, boxes of miscellaneous items and some things that are not even identifiable. That's to be expected when you are dealing with clutter, but trust me, when I get done doing what I do best, it will never end up looking like the closet in the picture above.
I truly think the advertisers should put more effort into how they display their products in a more realistic way. Don't make people feel bad that they have so much more to store away. Show them how a full closet full of clothing, shoes and accessories can realistically look with the use of their products. I know their line of products is called "Real Simple" but...
That's all I'm saying.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the clutter in your closet and need some help, don't hesitate to contact me. I will be glad to help - but please, don't expect me to get rid of so much of your stuff that it looks like the ad above. That will not be happening!
Friday, April 15 2011
One of the main reasons I became a professional organizer 7 years ago was so that I could help others overcome the feeling of overwhelm when it comes to getting organized. I have the ability to see past the clutter and overwhelm and break things down into manageable pieces so that we can move forward to achieve the goals my clients have in mind.
I have found when I first meet with so many of my clients that they feel a sense of dread. They cannot imagine how we can clear the clutter, get organized and put in systems to simplify their lives. By the time I leave their home after the initial consultation, they are already feeling better about their situation and the potential of the space we are going to work on, whether it be one particular room or the entire home. At that point, the process has already begun. There is hope, there is potential.
The reason I bring this issue up is that sometimes we need to get past our fears in order to move forward, whether it relates directly to getting organized or taking on challenges that are new and different.
As my business continues to grow, I am given many new opportunities to get my message out to others. I have been doing more public speaking this year and I now have been asked to appear on a radio show to share my knowledge and skills with others about the vast topic of organizing.
I must admit I am a little nervous about this new opportunity. I always want to be prepared so I can provide the best content possible and this type of situation is more informal and "off the cuff", so to speak. I have certainly worked hard in the past several years to challenge myself and get past any fears I may have about taking on something new, and so far, it's all been good. I plan to take this same philosophy to the radio show I will be recording at the end of May/beginning of June. I will simply do the best I can and be confident that it will be just fine.
Take my advice. When it comes to overcoming the fear and overwhelm in your life, whether it is getting organized or simply doing something you have never done before, jump in. As Nike says "Just Do It"! I believe you will find that it will all work out.
So, get out there and do that something new and enjoy the journey!
If you need any assistance in getting over your sense of overwhelm when it comes to getting organized, contact me. I would be happy to help.
Until next time, wishing you an organized day.
Sunday, March 06 2011
Spring is coming soon and it reminds me that it will soon be time to do some weeding. However, that doesn’t necessary mean your garden or other outdoor space.
You can begin to weed out your computer today! You heard me. It’s time to weed out your computer.
There are many people who come to me and ask how to do this. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Now granted, if it hasn’t been done in a while, it could take a good bit of time, but, like everything else, breaking it down into small manageable steps will get the job done.
So, let’s get started...
Just like physical clutter can wreak havoc on a home, virtual clutter can clog up your computer and make searching for files a bit chaotic.
Start with your files on your hard drive. Get rid of old reports, documents, spreadsheets and databases you no longer need. Once the unnecessary files are gone, uninstall the programs you don’t intend to use again.
When this is done, tackle your email contacts and email folders. If you are you no longer in contact with a company or a person, eliminate them. You want to leave room for the ones that are in current use and important to you.
Finally, browse through your Internet 'favorites' and delete any sites you don't plan to visit in the future.
I suggest that you schedule just 15 minutes a day for this task. Do this every day until the job is done. By keeping your time to a minimum each day will ensure the job doesn't become too overwhelming. This way you are still being productive and before you know it, you will have done the weeding; just in time for your outdoor weeding!
Good luck! Wishing you a great, productive week!
Sunday, February 20 2011
You might have noticed that I have not written a blog in a few weeks. Not my intent.
There are a lot of changes happening as I continue to grow my business. Not only am I working on more and more in-home service projects, I am writing more articles (both online and offline in publications), guest blogging, and creating more U Can Do It products.
And, if that wasn't enough, I have recently decided to do more public speaking. I want to let more people know about the benefits of getting organized - how it can save you time, money and reduce stress among others. I felt the best way to do this locally was to create more opportunities for those in my community to get to know me and how I can help them.
As a result, I have created a series of FREE seminars that I am providing along with joint venture partners to provide information on how to get organized.
The first one is called "SPRING INTO ACTION" - How to Organize To Maximize The Sale of Your Home. It takes place in Doylestown, PA on February 25th. For more information and to register, go to http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e3ca5kl0cb9d0498&llr=75dnw9cab
The second one is called "YOUR HOME BASED BUSINESS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SO TAXING" - The Secrets To Getting Organized and Maximizing Your Tax Benefits. It also takes place in Doylestown, PA. It is scheduled for March 11th. For more information and to register, go to http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e3ele72j8e7d46bf&llr=75dnw9cab
I am speaking to a Mompreneur Group in Horsham, PA on February 28th, a Moms Club in Buckingham, PA on March 16th as well as at a networking event at Bounce U in Horsham, PA on March 24th.
I also have another seminar/workshop in the planning stages with a representative from Tomboy Tools http://www.tomboytools.com where I will be showing women how to organize the garage to make it a space they can use. The garage is not just a "man cave" anymore!
Needless to say, it is quite a balancing act. I use myself as an example of how when things change, you need to change with them. I have had to make changes in my priorities as a result. The things I used to spend more time on that are less important now are now being put more on the back burner.
This is true for anyone and everyone. When there are changes in your life, whether in your control or not, you need to be flexible. You need to take a look at your situation and evalute what is most important and what can be set aside or delegated to someone else. When a system no longer works, it needs to be modified or perhaps recreated altogether.
Perhaps you just moved in with your boyfriend (or girlfriend), got married, had your first child, had your third child, are getting or have gotten divorced, going through empty nest syndrome, widowed, downsizing or relocating. These are major life changes that affect the way you do things.
If you should find that life changes have caused your balance to be thrown for a loop, it's time to figure out what you need to do to get back on track. As a professional organizer, I can help you create the organizing systems that will work for your changing needs.
After all, it is a balancing act!
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, January 23 2011
Are you sick of the clutter in your home but don't know how to even begin to get rid of it? This is a common problem - getting started. Why not take advantage of the cold temps outside and take some time today to get started?
If you follow the following 5 rules, you will be well on your way to eliminating the clutter.
1) Don't keep things you don't like.
This may sound obvious to you, but so many people have things in their homes that they're really not fond of. It could be a sweater that you never wear because you don't like the style any more or how it fits, but you're keeping it anyway because it was an expensive purchase.
It may be an old, beat up and ugly piece of furniture gathering dust in your storage area and the only reason you are keeping it is because it belonged to a loved one. The bottom line is, if you don't like it, it should not have a place in your home. Donate it to someone who will enjoy it.
2) You're keeping it for someone else.
Remember that your home is not the town storage facility! If you're holding on to things for your daughter who is now married with kids, give them to her and have her decide whether to keep or toss them. They belong to her, not you!
If you and your next door neighbor had a yard sale over the summer at your home, and your neighbor's goods that did not sell are still at your home, have them come over and pick them up today. If she doesn't want them, offer to have a charity pick them up instead. Just get rid of them! Your storage space should only be reserved for you and the family members currently living in your home.
3) Reduce by a definite number.
When getting rid of clutter in a specific area, have a goal in mind. Be specific. Saying you want to get rid of SOME clutter is very vague. However, saying you want to get rid of 20 items, or 50% of the clutter, is very specific. Focus on reaching your definitive goal.
4) Out with the old and in with the new.
This classic saying applies to this situation. When you buy something new, get rid of something old. If you just keeping adding possessions, without getting rid of anything, your home will soon be overflowing. Avoid this overflow by simply following the one in, one out rule to create balance in your home.
5) Never say never.
Lastly, if you constantly feel like you're drowning in clutter and you don't believe you'll ever be able to surface, the chances of you getting rid of your clutter are pretty slim. Never say "I'll never get rid of this clutter!". Always have a positive, can-do attitude and believe in yourself. Never allow your clutter to rule your life. Remember, you are in charge!
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and you want a better space, don't hesitate to contact me and I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, stay warm and have a great week!
Sunday, January 16 2011
What are you supposed to do if you are organized and your partner isn't?
This situation is more common than not when it comes to relationships. I get contacted all the time by people who feel that they are neat and organized and their spouse is just the opposite and they are at wits end. Ying and Yang.
Although I find that both parties tend to contribute in some way to the situation, there can be a lot of frustration when you are living with someone who is very disorganized and you are forced to live with it. It has an overwhelming effect on the entire household and your relationship.
I want to help you if you feel you are a mismatched couples. (I don't mean that you aren't meant for each other, but rather, you are in a situation where one is clean and organized and the other is messy and disorganized and, as a result, there tends to be animosity.)
If you’re already in a living arrangement and are disappointed by your partner/roommate’s level of order, you need to have a conversation. Yelling and passive aggressive behavior isn’t productive and damages the relationship. Having a calm, sincere, and respectful conversation has the possibility of yielding powerful results.
It is good to have ground rules for what to do when frustration takes hold. Here are some productive rules you might consider establishing:
No nagging. This is a problem that effects both of you and nagging someone about it will not benefit either one of you. Try to find a reasonable solution that works for both of you. Create a plan.
No backpacking. Set a time limit for how long after something happens that it is discussed (like one week). If you don’t bring up the frustration within that time limit, you have to let it go. You can’t fester or stew on a frustration. Also, if you’ve already discussed something, you can’t bring it up again. The reason it’s called backpacking is because it’s like people carry around another person’s wrongs in a backpack and pull every wrong out of the bag when there is a disagreement. Backpacking isn't fair.
Discuss the real problem. If you’re upset that your wife/husband/partner or roommate repeatedly leaves dirty dishes strewn about the living room, your frustration has very little to do with dirty dishes themselves. You’re upset because you believe they don’t care about the cleanliness level in the living space. So, talk about the real problem and use the dirty dishes as an example of how that lack of caring is being expressed and how it makes you feel.
May times, the person who is messier than the other doesn’t care one bit if his or her living arrangement is disorderly or orderly. When this is the case, and if you’re the one who prefers a more orderly home, prepare to possibly take on the full responsibility for cleaning up after the other person. Do it because you’re the one who gets the sense of joy from an organized space.
If a pair of shoes in the middle of the living room floor annoys you, just move the shoes to a location that doesn’t annoy you. The five seconds it will take you to move the shoes are less than the time you will be angry over the shoes if you don’t move them.
Arrange that you will do this for them if they agree to do something for you that you dislike or don't care that much about. This will make it feel more like you are sharing responsibilities and they are not just falling onto one person. Everyone has their strong suits.
Perhaps the problem is that there aren’t any systems in place to deal with the mess where it happens. For instance, perhaps your husband stores his wallet in a valet in your bedroom. Perhaps you store your purse in a cube near the front door. He puts his wallet in his pocket first thing in the morning and takes it out at night before he goes to bed. You only grab your purse as you are entering and exiting the house.
If your purse was supposed to be stored in a valet in your bedroom, I can guarantee you that it would never be in the bedroom. It would be on the dining room table or living room floor or wherever you happened to have dropped it.
So, a storage cube near your front door is perhaps the best place for your purse because it’s a storage location that works for you. Think about how you live and find solutions that meet your actual needs.
If need be, designate "clean rooms" or "messy rooms" in your home. You can decide that all public spaces are "clean rooms". This would mean that the rooms visitors will see when they come into your house must be free of clutter at all times. (Generally this is the first floor of your home.)
Visitors rarely come upstairs to your second floor, so perhaps the rules can be less stringent. Things can’t be dirty (no food or bug-enticing items), but if objects are left out of order in these spaces, it’s less of an issue. Schedule a once-a-week cleaning for these areas.
Finally, if you’ve tried all of the previous options and nothing is working for you, try seeking outside help. This help can be in the form of a professional organizer or perhaps a couple’s counselor. You want to work with someone who isn’t a part of your relationship and can see it more broadly.
I don’t recommend using a friend or family member for this task. I find that they tend to impose their own agenda (not out of a wanting to help, but, rather, from lack of professional knowledge and experience). Also, how they want you to get organized is not the system that would work best for you.
This situation must be dealt with a mutual agreement between the parties; agreeing that it is something that is important and needed. Otherwise, the one party might feel resentment towards the whole process.
Professional help could also be in the form of a cleaning service coming into the house twice a month. However, most cleaning services will request that the clutter be eliminated so that they can do their job properly. I get contacted many times before a cleaning service is hired. I come in and help eliminate the clutter. After all, they can't clean the floor if they can't find it! Letting someone else handle the deep cleaning will make the light housework is less of a burden.
If you’re a part of a Ying and Yang couple, what effective strategies have you employed? I would love to hear your thoughts and I’m sure that everyone would benefit from reading your positive results in the comments below.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and are living in a "ying and yang" situation, don't hesitate to give me a call. I can help you find the middle ground that will work best for both of you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, December 31 2010
One of the biggest and most common New Year's resolutions made every year is "I HAVE TO GET ORGANIZED"!!
Disorganization causes arguments, frustration, lost opportunities, embarrassment, stress and much more. You can't find things when you need them and clutter takes over your home. There is always too much to do and not enough time to do it. There's no time left for YOU!
The list of negative results from disorganization is sad and long.
I happen to know a secret - When you are organized you are free to live the kind of life you've always dreamed of, one that is free of clutter and stress, and full of time for the people you love AND all the fun things you want to do.
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to get organized in 2011 and you are ready to live the kind of life you have always dreamed of - one that is free of clutter and stress, then NOW is the time to take that first step.
I am an expert in residential organizing and have been helping others just like you since 2004. I can help you too. Take that first step and contact me. Find out what A Better Space can do for you!
Wishing you a happy, healthy, prosperous and ORGANIZED New Year!
Tuesday, December 28 2010
The end of 2010 is only days away. With that in mind, this is a great time to do some tasks to prepare for and be organized in the New Year. Here are some things you can do now to make 2011 more organized:
Reconcile financial accounts. Now is the time to get all of your financial paperwork for the year completed so you’re ready to file your taxes when your forms arrive.
Year-end personal goal and resolution review. Review all you accomplished over the course of the year and create goals and resolutions for 2011.
Back-up all digital data. Even if you do this daily, it’s good to take a final snapshot of the digital year.
Review beneficiary information on all investments and policies. If your family has grown or changed in the last year, now is the time to make sure your beneficiary information is current. Additionally, it’s a good time to do a general review of these investments and policies.
Review systems and routines. Are the systems and routines you follow meeting your family’s and home’s needs? If not, now is a good time to create new practices to implement in the new year.
If one of your goals is to create a budget for the coming year, I invite you to check out my "U Can Do It Budgeting System" in the ABS Store. http://www.4abetterspace.com/abs_store
If you need some help getting more organized and creating some new practices to implement in the coming year, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous and organized New Year!
Thursday, December 16 2010
Have you ever heard of the ripple effect? I'm sure you have. Did you ever think about how it might relate to organization? Well, it does!
I picture myself as a small drop in a large body of water. I believe that my purpose is to drop my knowledge, information and value into that large body of water so that it can ripple and touch others' lives. Then, the lives that I touch will pass their knowledge, information and value onto others. That is the ripple effect. I simply do it through organization.
I was speaking on the phone the other night to a new client and she asked if what I would be teaching her in the process of us working together would help her children. Without a doubt, it would.
We start by my teaching not only how to get organized, but, more importantly, how to stay organized. With this newly learned knowledge, understanding and skills, it is easy to pass that information onto the others in your household. You end up teaching them.
Many times, my clients were just simply never taught these skills - it's never too late. I believe that my purpose is to stop the process of disorganization that might have been passed down from generation to generation simply because it was never taught.
With your new found knowledge, you become the teacher and are able to show your children, not only through conversation, but by example, how to control and manage the clutter in their lives.
These skills are so valuable and will carry them through the rest of their lives. That is how the ripple effect works. Are you ready to be that drop in the large body of water? Simply by learning and passing your knowledge on, you will be doing just that!
If you are overwhelmed by the process of getting organized and don't know where to begin, contact me. I will be more than happy to help you create your own ripple effect.
Have a great week!
Thursday, December 09 2010
We all have "stuff", but there comes a time when you need to make decisions about your stuff. The options are keep, donate, sell, recycle or trash.
This past week, I went through my clothes closet and tried on all of my jeans. (I have nice jeans and jeans that I use strictly for work. You can imagine that working on some organizing projects require me to be very hands on and that tends to put wear and tear on my jeans.)
The jeans I was using for work, even though they still fit me, were getting worn out. I could have easily justified keeping them "because they still fit", but decided that was not good enough. I emptied all of them from my closet and took some of my older "nice" jeans and will now use them for work instead. I got rid of 8 pair of jeans!
I feel so much better now because I don't feel so sloppy when wearing my worn out jeans. This did wonders for my closet and for my self image. I don't want those old, beat up jeans any more. They are damaged goods. I have other pairs of jeans that I can use instead. The life of these old jeans has expired. I want to make room in my closet for nicer jeans and they no longer fit into my lifestyle.
Are you trying to decide if you should keep or get rid of something? These are six reasons to trash, recycle, sell, or donate an object:
- You don’t use it, love it, need it, or want it.
- It’s broken, busted, damaged, or destroyed and you haven’t fixed it in six months or more.
- You have multiples of the same object, and the other one is vastly superior in quality.
- It’s expired.
- You don’t have anywhere to store it.
- It doesn’t fit in the life you desire.
When you ask yourself these questions, your answer will come to you and it will make it a lot easier to decide what to do with that "stuff".
Be honest with yourself and remember the end result. You are creating less clutter and more room for the things you do want.
So, now you can "let it go".
Hope this helps you. Let me know what you have decided to "let go" and why by posting a comment below.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of eliminating your clutter and finding that balance in your life by doing so, contact me. I am more than happy to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, November 21 2010
Did you ever wonder about those people who seem to have it all together? Contrary to popular belief, they are not perfectionists. They simply follow a few simple rules.
Here are a few habits of highly organized people:
Rule 1 - Walk Away - Just because you can buy something at a good price doesn't mean you should. You need to ask yourself "Do I already have something similar?" and "If I did buy this item, do I have a place to store it?" The answers to these questions will help you decide whether you actually need to buy it or you can walk away. Remember, purchase with purpose.
Rule 2 - It's Okay To Not Be Perfect - Some people won't do a job unless they can do it perfectly. Most people do a job that's "good enough". That's fine. It's okay to buy that store bought pie instead of making one from scratch when having company over. You can easily get bogged down with the details of a task if you try to do every task perfectly. You tend to be your own worst critic. Lighten up! It doesn't have to be perfect to get it done.
Rule 3 - Never Label Anything Miscellaneous - This term is too broad and only causes confusion. If you randomly put a bunch of things in a file or a box and just write "Miscellaneous" on it, I guarantee that within a week, you will have forgotten what's in there! Sort your items by specific groups and label them accordingly.
Rule 4 - Schedule Time To Declutter - Instead of waiting until you get in the "mood" to declutter (that will never happen!), create a routine that involves spending no more than 15 minutes a day. Sort through your mail, pick up toys, clean up the dishes, etc. Than, take one day of the week to tackle a new project in more detail. You will find that the clutter will no longer build up and become another "project".
Rule 5 - If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It - Do you find yourself having to try out every new gadget or thing that comes down the pike? Be happy with what you already have and stop wasting your time. Stick with what you have and you will save a lot of time, energy and money.
So, do you think you possess the habits of a highly organized person? If you do, keep on doing what it is you do.
Perhaps you aspire to be a more organized person and just don't know where to begin If so, let me hear from you. I am more than happy to help you become the organized person you have always wanted to be.
In the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving holiday!
Saturday, October 16 2010
Does everything in your home "have a home"? Most likely not. The problem that most people run into is not only finding homes for the things they already have, but finding homes for the new things that come in the door.
Where is everything supposed to go?
You cannot expect to have an organized home in which to live if you don't have a place for everything. That old adage still holds true "A place for everything and everything in its place".
Whether it belongs in a drawer, a cabinet, a closet or a specific room, finding designated space for items you possess is vital in order to stay organized.
Group like-things together when storing items so that it's logical and easy to find when needed. Don't keep your toothpaste in the kitchen. Don't keep your snacks in your bedroom. You get the idea.
Once you have created those places to store your existing items, you are now able to bring in new items. (Use the "one in, one out" rule as often as possible to help maintain balance.)
Always remember, when making a purchase, you want to ask yourself "Where am I going to store or place this item?" If you don't have an answer, then now is not the time to make that purchase. Create the space before you buy!
You might be able to afford the item, but if you don't have a home for it, it's not the right time. This is especially true for large items, for example, small appliances in your kitchen, snow blowers or ride-on mowers for your garage or artwork for your walls. Once you figure out where the item will live, you are ready to make that purchase.
I have plenty of suggestions on how to store your "stuff" so if you need some assistance, contact me. I'll be glad to help.
Want more tips on how to get organized, sign up for my free monthly newsletter "Organizing News You Can Use" right on the Home Page. Just look for the newsletter icon on the right.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, September 26 2010
Recently I learned a very important lesson I want to pass on to you.
Lately, I have been on a webinar and research frenzie, trying to grab all the information I can possibly put my hands on to work on growing my business and providing the best I can to my clients and everyone else who is interested in getting organized.
I signed up for so many webinars, I can't even count them. I downloaded so many e-books, I ended up gathering such an extensive virtual library of information, I will probably never get a chance to read it all.
As a result of signing up for all those webinars, I ended up on so many mailing lists and my in-box was filled daily to the max. Everyday I would receive emails from marketers, coaches and other experts who wanted me to sign up for this or go to that...it was really getting out of hand.
It got to the point I had to put on the brakes. It was taking so much of my time to do all this, I was not spending enough time on what was really important. I have always wanted to provide as much content and information as possible and spending so much time receiving instead of giving was causing an imbalance in my business and my personal life.
So, I made a choice to stop all the noise. I removed myself from all but a few mailing lists of the people I was most interested in receiving information from. I reset my limits as to how much time I take each day to review the information I do receive.
I took a good hard look at how I was spending my time and refocused. I began by making a list of all the things I needed to do in order to work on my business, not just work in it, and scheduled time in my calendar for them. This included all the writing I do (besides this blog), networking, joint venture meetings, creating products, following up with potential clients, connecting on Facebook and Linked-In, answering email, and working with my in-home clients. I set guidelines for myself as to how long to allot for these tasks and when they would be done. Now, these important things take precedence again. If there is any time left over, I will listen to a webinar or two, or download an e-book I actually intend to read.
Bottom line, I cut out all the noise so I could hear what was really important. I now have my balance back and it feels sooooo good!
So, what noise can you cut out of your life so you can hear what is really important? I'd love to hear from you.
I hope you can cut out some of your own noise but, if not, and you need some assistance, let me know. I am here to help.
Until next time, have a great week.
Wednesday, September 08 2010
I found two great "Take Back Initiatives" that can help you in the process of decluttering your home.
One can be used when decluttering your medicine cabinet and the other when decluttering your clothes closet.
These are great incentives for getting those areas organized:
- The US Drug Enforcement Administration is sponsoring a national take-back initiative to accept unused or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal on Saturday, September 25, 2010. “Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.” Check the DEA site for locations in your community.
- Along similar lines, but with clothing instead of medications, the Men’s Wearhouse is accepting lightly used men’s suits, sports coats, slacks, dress shirts and shoes, business casual clothing, coats, ties, cuff links, and other accessories during the month of September. The Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive gives the suits to local non-profit organizations. Donations can be made at any Men’s Wearhouse.
I would love to hear from you about how you made use of these initiatives and how they encouraged you to eliminate your clutter.
Until next time, have a great week!
Saturday, August 28 2010
Okay, so now you've organized your junk drawer, your closet or perhaps your garage.
Are you done? Absolutely not! There is one more thing you forgot to do.
You need to commit to "staying" organized. Getting organized is one thing; staying organized is another. Without commitment, you are likely to fall back into your old disorganized way.
Before you know it, that drawer is a junk drawer again, your closet is a mess or you can't get your car back into the garage. All because you didn't commit to staying organized.
Most people think that the "process" of organizing involves decluttering, categorizing and organizing. That's true, but there is still one more step - Maintenance.
Without this important step, the rest will fall apart and all your hard work will have been for nothing.
It's not that difficult to do; it just takes a conscious effort on your part, and on the part of your family, to maintain the organization of the space. Just by putting things back where they belong when you are done with them is the easiest way to insure that you are staying organized. By staying organized, you are saving precious time and energy because you don't have to go back and do it again!
So, can you commit?
A professional organizer such as myself will not only help you get organized, but show you how to stay organized. Contact me if you could use my assistance.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, August 01 2010
I heard a story this week that I wanted to share with you, just to give you some perspective.
There was a woman who needed to videotape some rooms in her house for insurance purposes. Having just cleaned her home from top to bottom, knowing that she was going to video tape it, she shot the tape and then watched it quickly before delivering it to her safety deposit box.
When she watched the tape, something happened...
She was astonished to see the amount of clutter and junk left on the various surfaces throughout the house. She realized that the camera’s eye was picking up clutter her eyes were simply moving past. She had lived with those items hanging around for so long, she was no longer seeing them!
So, she went back and scrutinized the tape, marched back to those rooms that she had filmed and really went through the stuff, making firm decisions and tossing several items.
She found out how helpful it was to see these rooms through the video.
So, why not get out your video camera and give it a shot. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve never really seen….
Leave me some feedback and let me know how you make out. If you need some new ideas from a fresh perspective, as to what you can eliminate and organize, contact me. I am more than happy to help you see your home through a fresh set of eyes.
Wednesday, July 28 2010
If you find that you are having trouble making a decision about whether you should keep or get rid of something, here is some good advice to consider:
There was a thread on Ravelry about minimizing stuff. One person had a twist on the velvet rope test: If your hated ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, or a friend-turned-enemy had the item, would you be willing to contact them and talk to them to get it back?
I think this is a great evaluation technique, especially for clothes, tools, and knickknacks. If you wouldn’t contact an ex to get it back, then you know you’ll be okay getting rid of it.
On the other hand, if you would go through the pain and frustration of talking to an ex to get an item back, it’s definitely something you’ll want to strongly consider keeping. It’s simple and straightforward — a good litmus test, don't you think!
Do you have similar questions you ask about your things? Share your techniques in the comments.
In the meantime, have a great week!