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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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!
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, 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.
Monday, February 08 2016
So many times, my clients and potential clients want to know how I do it. How do I keep my own home organized when I am so busy organizing others? I found a video on line that explains, quickly, how it gets done.
The key is maintanence on a small scale. It does not require a lot to keep it going after the initial organizing has been completed.
When you have a home for everything and everything is put in its place, it is easy to keep it maintained.
I hope this short video gives you some ideas and inspiration about what to do after your home gets organized. Knowing how to maintain an organized home is the second step in getting organized.
If you are looking to take that first step and create a home and life that you "love" this month, don't hesitate to contact A Better Space.
I am here to help and have lots of great ideas and inspiration so you can maintain your home on a daily basis, too!
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, 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.
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.
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, February 17 2015
This blog is geared for those who have already gone through the process of eliminating their clutter and have organized their home and/or their life.
It is very important that once you go through this process, you are able to easily maintain it. Of course, from time to time, we need to tweak some areas, but it should not become a large project. That would defeat the purpose of the work you have already done.
Maintenance can come in many forms. When checks bounce or bank accounts are overdrawn, it's because we didn't balance our checking account properly to always know what we have available to use. When we run out of clothes to wear, it's because we failed to do the laundry.
Home and office clutter tends to result in the "no maintenance" approach to living. It tends to be the "toss, pile and deal with it later" approach that gets us in trouble. Avoid dumping and you will avoid procrastinating (putting off what can be done now for later).
It is not difficult to maintain your "organizing mojo". If this is a problem for you, here are some tips to help:
1. Put items away in a pre-designated location, each and every time. When you initially organized a particular space, such as a drawer, closet, shelf or an entire room, you created places for your items that should make the most sense for them to be. If you should discover that the place you selected is not working for you and you "dump" your stuff elsewhere, I recommend that you re-evaluate the location you selected to see if it is, in fact, the right place for the item to be. If not, change it.
2. Some items require more maintenance than others. Items such as paperwork, dishes, food items, clothing, etc. are examples of items that might require daily maintenance. If systems are not created to control your clutter, you end up creating more work for yourself in the long run. It could be as simple as creating a basket that is designated for magazines near the coffee table in the living room and making a point to read the magazines on a weekly basis. Clearing off your desk at the end of each day will help to control your clutter and avoid creating a larger project for later. It is vital that you have the right organizing tools in place.
3. Make it convenient. If you commonly use a particular item, store it in a place that is easily accessible. Less oftenly used items can be stored high up on shelves or in a storage area as opposed to the main living space.
4. Create a routine. On a daily basis, schedule 15 minutes or so at the end of the day to put away items that are laying around. Sort your mail daily. Do your filing weekly. Determine what routines work best for you and your family and stick to them.
5. Consider hiring help. If the idea of maintaining your organizing mojo is overwhelming to you, consider hiring someone to help you. From time to time, your needs change. Items have a way of building up in the home and you need to bring some balance back into your life. Consider hiring a professional organizer who can tweak certain areas of your home or office to get it back to the way it should be or create a new, updated system for you and your family to help you regain balance.
Remember, your home or office does not need to be perfect. It needs to be functional and feel comfortable and maintaining your organizing mojo can help make that happen.
Contact me if you want to talk further about maintaining your "organizing mojo". Have a great week!
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 06 2014
Earlier this week I had the privilege of being interviewed by Teresa Mears, a reporter for U.S. News and World Report which is currently an online publication.
I was asked to provide tools that would help those individuals who are thinking about creating new resolutions for 2015, one of which made by many year after year is to get organized, once and for all.
Here is the article. I hope you enjoy it and find value in its content:
If you need assistance in organizing your life in 2015, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
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!
Thursday, October 02 2014
Wow, it's been quite a month here at A BETTER SPACE. I have had the pleasure of working with some new clients and continuing projects with existing clients as well as doing a vendor event at a Senior Activity Center and an interview that will air on You Tube next month where I discuss time management tools. (Stay tuned for details coming soon!)
My latest project was to work with a client who is relocating out of state and needed to declutter her basement. She had lived in her home for the past 8 years. We spent two days going through her basement and determining what to keep for herself, what to give to family members, what to sell at an upcoming garage sale and what was trash.
The basement had not had much attention in the past and some of the boxes we identified had not been opened the entire time she had lived in this house. They came with her 8 years ago and were never looked at again, until now. (This is more common than you think.) The basement was filled with cobwebs and dead bugs as can be common in many unfinished basements.
I am happy to report that after two days, the basement is now decluttered, the trash is ready for pick-up and my client feels so much better after getting through a project that was too overwhelming for her to tackle on her own. She has now identified what she can sell at her upcoming garage sale and looks forward to making some money to put towards her moving expenses. She is now able to sleep better at night knowing that her basement went from "Spooky" to "Spooktacular" in just a matter of two days.
Fall is a great time of year to eliminate the clutter in your home. Think about how much better you would feel if you were able to eliminate what you no longer need or want, whether it is by throwing things away, donating them to a local charity, passing items onto family members who would enjoy them or selling them at a garage sale or perhaps online.
Imagine how good you will feel when you turn your home from "Spooky" to "Spooktacular" before Halloween! Pick a room in your home to work on and get started now!
If you need any assistance in getting past your feeling of overwhelm and want to get that project done once and for all, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, I am here to help and I would love nothing more than to help you make your home "Spooktacular"!
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.
Wednesday, July 30 2014
Even though it's Summertime and we intend to be lazy, it can sometimes be the crazy days of Summer instead. The kids are out of school, we are running from one activity to another to keep them busy, we are planning and going on day trips or vacations and we just can't find the time to get organized.
Not to worry. You don't have to wait until the kids return to school. You can still do some simple things to get on the road to organization now.
I have some suggestions that will take five minutes and help you out:
1. Hang Some Hooks - They take very little time to install and are a quick solution for getting things up off the floor - towels in the bathroom, camp bags in the mudroom, clothes in the bedroom, etc.
2. Do A Hanger Purge - Hangers that are laying around are not being put to good use. Gather the extra wire hangers and give them back to the dry cleaner. Refuse hangers when making a clothing purchase at the store. Keep hangers on the rod for clothes that will be returned from the wash to mark the space where they belong. One hanger per item is all that is needed. The rest can go!
3. Eliminate Junk Mail - While bringing in the mail each day, identify the junk mail before it even enters your home. Keep a recycling bin and paper shredder near the entrance to your home for easy disposal.
4. Take It With You - Whether you are leaving a room in your home to go to another, going upstairs from the first floor or downstairs from the second floor, take something with you that doesn't belong there and put it away. This applies to your car as well. Before you get out of the car, take your trash or other items that do not belong there.
5. Create A Donation Destination - Pick a room where you can have a container for donations. A great place to keep a donation box is in a closet or the laundry room for clothing that no longer fits or that you no longer like. Other suggestions are for toys that hte kids outgrow or no longer play with. Add to the box as you go and when it is full, take it to your local Goodwill or other non-profit charitable organization.
So, no matter how busy you are, you can still find ways to get and stay organized with just five minutes of your time.
Which tip did you like the best? What other ideas do you have for five minutes of organization?
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help. I have lots of great ideas for you to create A Better Space anywhere in your home. Contact me! I am here to help.
In the meantime, enjoy your Summer!
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 21 2014
I love using inexpensive solutions to help my clients get organized. A great tool that I use quite often is a simple basket or plastic shoe box. They can be used in so many different ways. Have you considered these ideas?
1. Group jewelry in a drawer or on your dresser.
2. Hold coins found in your pocket.
3. On your bedside table to hold hand creams, lip balm, etc.
1. Contain eyeglass cleaning accessories or contacts and solution.
2. Gather Hair bands or barrettes.
3. Use to hold make-up and accessories.
4. Group together nail polish and nail care accessories.
5. Hold razors and shaving accessories.
1. Compartmentalize hats and gloves for each family member.
2. Containerize first aid products.
3. Keep shampoos, body wash and other personal hygiene products in one spot.
4. Gather extra toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste you get from your dentist.
5. Use one to store travel size products for quick packing.
1. Hold packets of sauce mixes together.
2. Group spices together.
3. Keep your measuring spoons together in your kitchen drawer or cabinet.
4. Gather twist ties in one place.
5. Use to store small sharp knives in a drawer.
HOME OFFICE -
1. Contain paper clips and binder clips.
2. Keep erasers and correction fluid together.
3. Gather pens, pencils or markers.
There are so many uses for inexpensive baskets and containers! Use your imagination and start getting organized.
If you are just too overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, contact me and schedule your free phone consultation. I can get you started on the road to A Better Space!
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!
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, 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 email@example.com. 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!
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
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, 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!
Monday, December 03 2012
With the holiday season in fulll swing and the New Year right around the corner, many people begin to evaluate the past year and start thinking about the future. People think about what they had intended to accomplish in the past year and note the things that just did not get done. Then, they begin to look towards the New Year as a time to reset some goals and plan for the future.
It's a time for reflection and planning.
For me, I love the prospect of a New Year. It gives me the opportunity to take a look at what I accomplished (or did not accomplish) in the past year, both personally and professionally. It gives me a chance to re-evaluate my priorities. Are there things I wanted to get done but did not? Are the things I intended to do this past year still important?
The New Year gives me a chance to plan for the coming year. What do I want to accomplish THIS year?
I have always been an advocate of writing things down. At this time, especially, I find this true. I like to take some time and make a comprehensive list of projects and "To Do's".
That comprehensive list then gets planned out over the coming year. I pick my priorities, one by one, and work on them. When something is completed, I select another.
You might have set some goals last year and found you did not complete them as planned. Why not start fresh?
Do you need to do some home improvement projects? Do you want to lose weight and be healthier? Do you want to get your finances in order or get out of debt? Do you want to improve a relationship with a friend or family member? The choices are endless.
Do yourself a favor. Take some time in the next week or so and reflect on where you have been and where you want to go in your life. Start planning now for the New Year by setting some goals and create a list of the things you want to accomplish.
If getting organized is on your list, seek out the assistance of a professional organizer who can help you to set those goals and get them accomplished.
Enjoy this holiday season and the opportunity for a fresh start in 2013!
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!
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!
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 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!
Saturday, March 10 2012
In the early morning hours of this coming Sunday, most of us in the US will "Spring Forward" an hour to begin Daylight Savings Time.
We do lose an hour of sleep and tend to feel it's affects for several days thereafter, but it's also a great time to take on a few quick Spring chores.
- Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. In addidtion to replacing the batteries and testing your alarms, be sure to also check the units' expiration dates. For your family's safety, you want to be sure all of these devices are functioning at their best. If you can't find expiration dates on your alarms and detectors, replace the units every 10 years.
- Recycle batteries. Since you will be removing the old batteries from all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replacing them with new ones, now is a great time to recycle all of the old batteries you've collected over the past six months as well. Every Best Buy in the United States does. They also accept all kinds of old electronics and some appliances, so check out what services your local store offers and recycle some other clutter while you are at it! (Another option for old electronics and appliances is to list them on Freecycle. Someone will come to you and take them away.)
- Turn on the water. If you shut off the water to all of your exterior water faucets in the Fall, now is the time to turn those faucets back on for Spring. If you might run the risk of another hard freeze this year (doubtful where I live), you might want to wait a little bit longer. If you need to bring out water hoses, now is the time to pull them out of storage.
Although we lose an hour of sleep on Sunday, I love that we get an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day!
What other chores do you like to do when the clocks spring forward? I would love to hear your suggestions.
In the meantime, Happy Daylight Savings Time!
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!
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 15 2011
Sometimes, in order to stay organized, you need to break some bad habits that you have had for quite some time. This comes into play especially after you have worked to create organizing systems in your home and in your life.
You can put systems into place, but if you end up reverting back to those bad habits you have had all along, chances are those systems will not continue to work.
Good habits are things you do each and every day that, over time, gradually lead you towards becoming the person you truly strive to be. Sometimes, habits are formed to achieve your most important goals in life - like getting organized.
On the flip side, bad habits are those things you do repeatedly that make you unhappy and move you further away from achieving your goals.
The good news is that it IS possible to overcome bad habits - but it does take practice. They say it takes about 21 to 30 days for something to become a habit.
When it comes to habits, we experience a specific trigger, which could be a thought, a feeling or a situation. In response to this trigger, we activate a response and that leads us to perform a certain action.
You can change this process by using 5 steps:
1. Identify a specific bad habit to focus on
2. Break the bad habit down to a Trigger and a Response.
3. Create a new response
4. Mentally practice your new response
5. Implement your new response in the real world.
You can utilize this practice when it comes to getting and STAYING organized. Utilize the new tools you learned and implement them on a regular basis so that they become a habit. It just might not need to take you 21 to 30 days to do so. If the habit is that easy, you just might find it takes much less time to implement.
*Please note that some of the information contained within this blog was provided by Dr. Anthony Fernando www.anthonyfernando.com.
What new organizing habits have you recently acquired? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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!
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!
Thursday, August 11 2011
Since I am such an advocate of organization and know first hand what a positive effect it can have on you, your home and your life, I hate to admit there might be a downside to being organized.
In an effort to free up my time, which is so precious to me, I made arrangements recently for my new health insurance carrier to automatically withdraw my monthly premium from my checking account. I thought this would be the most efficient way to make sure that my payments were received on time with minimal effort on my part. Great idea, right? Wrong.
Unbeknownst to me, my efficiency backfired. As a result of what I thought was the best option, I was basically giving full rein to my insurance company to tap into my checking account and take what they wanted. And, they did.
Not only did they deduct one month's premium from my account, they removed two! This was done without my knowledge and without my consent.
Of course, when it came time for them to reimburse me for the extra month (as soon as I discovered what they had done and confronted them about it), that was another story. Suddenly, they were unable to deposit a refund back into my checking account electronically. (I did not know it was a one way street.) They advised that they will be sending a check in the mail to me in the next few days. That is not the resolution I was looking for and, needless to say, I was extremely upset that this occurred to begin with. What gives them the right to do what they did?
The end result is that I have now elected cancel the "automatic withdraw" option which would have saved me time and effort and I will now have to send the payments to the insurance company manually on a monthly basis. (All because of their incompetency.) I will now be setting up electronic payments with my bank instead since they are the entity I can trust to do the job right.
Lesson learned - as much as we attempt to be organized and efficient, it does not always turn out that way. Sometimes, without the cooperation of other entities, the best laid plans do not pan out.
This will not stop me, however, in my quest to get and stay organized in not only my life, but those of my family, friends and clients. Why? Because it's the right thing to do!
Have you had any experiences where your attempts to be organized have backfired? I would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, I am taking off for five days to enjoy the Jersey shore and wishing you an organized week.
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!
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!
Wednesday, May 04 2011
Okay, Easter is behind us, but perhaps those plastic Easter eggs are still hanging around. I have found some great ways to re-use those eggs for organization and want to share them with you!
Besides, just putting them away til next year, there are other ideas for their use.
1. Having a party with balloons. Keep them from floating away by filling the egg with small rocks and close the end of the ribbon from the balloon in the egg. Instant balloon weight!
2. Keep your jewelry free from tangles while traveling by coiling your necklace in the egg and snapping it shut. You can use this idea in your drawer to organize your jewelry as well. Why not keep all of your earring backs in one place in an egg?
3. Use the eggs as packing material. When shipping a box, toss a bunch of lightweight, colorful eggs inside.
4. Tote a healthy snack with you. Use a clean egg to stash a handful of your favorite snack, nuts or trail mix.
5. Carry your MP3 ear buds in an egg to keep them from knotting up.
6. (This is my favorite). Why not store your pantyhose or knee highs in the eggs and use an egg carton to keep them in place in your drawer? I remember when my pantyhose used to come in an egg. Do you?
What ideas do you have for making use of your plastic Easter eggs? I would love to hear them and share them with others. Reusing the eggs is a way to be "green".
In the meantime, if you have any issues with clutter, let me hear from you. I would love to help.
Have a great week and a wonderful Mother's Day!
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!
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 30 2011
There are several reasons why people put things off or delay getting started.
Do you have "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Syndrome"?
Give some thought as to why you are avoiding a project or a task and then take the steps to change:
Are you overwhelmed? If the task is too overwhelming, break it down. If it is still too overwhelming, break it down again. Taking smaller steps to get something done is much more productive than not doing it at all!
Are you being realistic? It's possible that if an item keeps showing up on your to-do list and is repeatedly bumped to the next day, it might be because it isn’t that important to you. Ask yourself if it is really your goal. It could be someone else’s goal, or their goal for you. Figure out if you want to do it or let it go by either delegating it to someone else or just not doing it at all!
Are you DISTRACTED? It is important to set aside a specific time to accomplish the task. You might need to go somewhere quiet where the interruptions of children, television, the telephone or your computer will not interfere. Figure out what is causing you to be distracted and make the necessary adjustments to eliminate those interruptions.
Do you just HATE the job? Try swapping the task with someone else who is willing to do the job you hate and then return the favor and do something for them that they don't want to do.
Do you feel UNDER-QUALIFIED? Perhaps you have not tackled a project because you don't know how to do it or don't think you can do it correctly. Don't be afraid to ask for help! If need be, do some research, take a class or hire a professional to show you how to do it or have them actually do the job for you.
With these tips, you will get rid of the "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Syndrome", stop procrastinating and get those tasks done!
If you need some help getting organized, you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, don't hesitate to contact me. I will be more than happy to cure you of the Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Syndrome!
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!
Friday, October 08 2010
Ever since I can remember, I have always advised my clients that an important aspect of paper management and budgeting involves keeping an eye on your provider billing statements, your credit card statements and bank statements.
So many people do not take the time to look at the itemized bill or statement and that is a problem. The tendency is to look at the total and just pay the bill or not even look at a bank statement at all and just file it away. It’s important to understand that mistakes are made and if you do not keep track of your statements, the mistakes go un-noticed. As a result, you could be getting charged for items you should not be getting charged for or you could possibly not get credit for payments made.
A perfect example of this was mentioned in the news this week. It involves Verizon Wireless and how they charged millions of customers for services they were not receiving. Verizon Wireless is now required to reimburse those customers a total of more than $1,000,000.
Verizon Wireless was banking on the fact that so many of their customers do not check their statements and just pay their bills based on the total. It is your responsibility as a consumer to make sure you check your bills, credit card statements and bank statements each and every time you receive them to make sure they are accurate. If you don’t, no one else will.
So, do you check your statements? If not, start now. The next time a bill or statement comes in the mail or is sent to you on line, take the few minutes necessary to make sure your statements are accurate.
Until next time, 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.
Sunday, September 19 2010
Did you know that people spend, on average, 6 minutes looking for their keys in the morning? That's 180 minutes or 3 hours a month and 2190 minutes or 36.5 hours per year!!! That's insane!
Something so simple can be using up so much of your time. This is just one example of how taking small steps to get organized can save you precious time.
The "key" is to select one location that you will always keep your keys, such as a pocketbook, totebag, hook on the wall, a valet. There are even valets that are charging stations as well so you can keep everything together and your electronic devices charged, all at the same time!
Another step you can take to save time and get organized is to plan ahead the night before. Take some time to select what you are going to wear to work the next day, make a lunch (which can save you time and money!) and put everything you need to take with you by the front door for the next morning.
Just by taking one simple step, you can save over 36 hours a year that you can be spending doing other things instead. Imagine how much time you can save by planning ahead and taking some additional simple steps.
What simple step can you take besides the ones I've mentioned to save you time? What is your "key" to sucess?
For more tips just like these, contact A Better Space and learn time management tools that will streamline your processes and save you time throughout your day.
In the meantime, 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 21 2010
Last time I talked about what I was doing to get organized. This time, I would like to challenge you to see what you can accomplish.
I thought it would be fun to challenge you to see who can eliminate the most clutter from their homes.
The challenge is about getting rid of one object a day, for … a month? A year? It’s up to you how long you want your challenge to last. I'm calling it "A THING A DAY" or ATAD.
Whether you give away, trash or donate the object is immaterial, but it must be gone from your life and space. Putting it into storage doesn’t count; though you are allowed to, say, collect the things in a box to donate them at the end of the month.
Oh, and you’re also allowed to cheat and fill your quota ahead of time, like throwing out 7 things on Monday, making that a week’s worth of ATAD.
By telling us on here what you got rid of today will not only help with the accountability issues, you’ll also help others rethink their possessions (He got rid of his xyz? Come to think of it, do I really need mine?)
What do you think? Are you up for the challenge?
Wednesday, July 14 2010
A lot of my current clients are away on vacation this week so I have had some time to focus on me. What a phenomenon!
I decided to take this opportunity to "get organized". I know, it's hard to believe that my life is different from everyone else's. As an organizer, it is pre-conceived that my life runs like a well-oiled machine at all times. Why not, I'm organized, right? Well, the fact of the matter is that I also need to work to maintain organization in my home and in my life, just as I teach others to do.
I decided to focus on one floor of my home at a time. Yesterday, I started with the second floor. I not only decluttered, I thoroughly cleaned as well. I eliminated a lot of excess bedding (sheets and pillow cases) from my linen closet and am donating them to a local SPCA. I got rid of a lot of sample products that I had accumulated, including my dentist, who loves to give me dental floss every time I visit! I went through my closet and eliminated clothing I hadn't worn in a while and no longer wanted. I eliminated paperwork that had accumulated in accordian files in my master bedroom and relocated it to where it should be stored - in my home office.
I dusted and vacuumed and gathered a lot of items from this floor and am making a large donation to a local non-profit thrift store today. I even ordered parts for my washing machine so I can make the minor repairs myself. I feel good about what I have accomplished so far and am looking forward to working on the first floor of my home today and tomorrow.
There is not a lot to do on these floors but I want to block out a specific amount of time each day to work on a portion of it. The sense of accomplishment I am already feeling is motivating me to do more.
My largest project is the basement. It encompasses a family room, home office and storage room. It will take quite some time to go through what has accumulated, especially in the storage room. It's not unorganized, just cluttered. I plan to take the entire month of August, in between working, to focus on this area. I am going to break this down into manageable pieces so I can focus on one section at a time.
By September, I will have decluttered my entire home. Now that's a plan!
So, just so you understand, even professional organizers need to declutter and get organized at times. I make sure the day-to-day stuff is still always maintained. Sometimes, however, the other stuff needs to be gone through and decluttered as well.
I am never too busy to help those in need, so if you need me to help you get motivated to declutter and get organized, contact me. I am here for you.
Enjoy your week! I'm enjoying mine!
Thursday, June 24 2010
As a professional organizer, I occasionally have clients who not only have clutter in their home, but also have additional clutter issues off-site - in their storage unit.
There are many reasons that someone might decide to rent additional storage space to store their items - but is it a good idea?
Some of the reasons I hear are that they ran out of room in their house (a sure sign that they have too much!) or that they inherited items from family members and have no place to put them or they intend the use the items "some day".
If you need to rent additional space in order to store your items, this is a red flag that you just have too much stuff. Downsize all those Christmas decorations, reduce the amount of furniture you have, eliminate the excess clothing to avoid seasonal trips to your storage unit. As a rule, you should be able to fit your possessions in the space in which you live. If not, it needs to go.
Some of you might have inherited furniture, antiques, etc. from a family member that recently passed away. You need to evaluate what you have inherited and make a decision as to whether you can make use of the item in your home or whether it can be either given to someone else or sold. If you have no use for the item and are only keeping it because you think you "have to", that is not a good enough reason. Don't keep items in storage out of guilt. When the item is passed onto you, it becomes your decision as to what you do with it. If using it in your home is not an option, pass it on to someone else who can use it.
If you are storing items at an off-site storage facility because you "might use them some day", that is not a good enough reason to keep them. Chances are, that "some day" will never come. You need to live in the moment and use what you have in the present, not plan for that "some day".
If these reasons have not convinced you, take a moment and consider how much money you are spending each year to store your items off-site at a storage facility. Couldn't that money be put to better use?
Storing items off-site does not eliminate the clutter issues you have. You are just relocating them elsewhere and not dealing with them. If you end up storing them long enough, they will become someone else's burden to bear and that's not fair to them, is it?
I would suggest taking a trip to your storage facility and bring your critical eye with you. Look at the contents in the space and determine whether the items in the space can be used in your home now. If not, sell them, donate them, give them to another family member or a friend and get rid of that storage unit once and for all. Then, take the money you will be saving and go do something nice for yourself - TODAY!
Remember, "out of sight, out of mind" is very common when it comes to off-site storage. Don't let that happen to you!
If you have any questions about how to get organized or are just too overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, don't hesitate to contact A Better Space. I am more than happy to help!
In the meantime, enjoy your week!
Sunday, May 30 2010
Do you know "How Long Is Too Long?" when it comes to keeping something?
This past week, I was working with a client who had bought a new home and was transporting all of his worldly possessions from one home to another.
First, the job was a lot larger of a task because no sorting was done ahead of time. Everything went with him to the new home. He put off the task and decided to just do it when he got to his new home. (There is lots of extra time and effort and expense involved in taking this route.)
Second, a lot of the boxes that were being transported had been stored in the garage for the past 15 years!
When it came time to sort through all the boxes, it was not surprising to me to find that he didn't actually want 90 percent of it. He had moved it to the new home for nothing. A lot of the items were in very poor condition, dated and not useable.
The lesson learned here is two-fold:
One, don't move to the new home without first going through everything that you intend to move to make sure you still want to take it with you and...
Two, procrastination can cost you time, effort and expense. It takes a lot more time to haul the items, it takes longer to unpack the items and sort through them then just not packing them to begin with, and it costs more to move them when you have to pay a moving company to move excess items that you will end up getting rid of anyway.
Do yourself a favor. When it comes to moving, do the work ahead of time by sorting through your items, putting like-items together and labeling the boxes clearly so you know what room they should be placed in your new home.
Finally, holding items in boxes that you don't open for 15 years clearly states that you just don't need them. You didn't miss them all that time, you won't miss them now!
If you are moving to a new location, do it in an organized manner to save yourself that time, energy and money. If you are overwhelmed with that prospect, feel free to contact A Better Space to get some help.
In the meantime, have a great Memorial Day weekend.
Sunday, May 23 2010
Being a professional organizer sometimes comes with high expectations from others. I don't mean the quality of my work - I mean the perception people tend to have that I live in a "perfectly organized world".
It's funny to watch people come to my home and look around with eyes wide open, looking to see how a professional organizer lives.
I always feel that I have to explain that I am human too and that I do not live in a completely organized home at all times. Life gets in my way too! However, I do know the things it takes to keep a home manageable and comfortable. And that is all I expect from my clients as well. I never expect them to be "perfect", just organized in a way that works best for them and comfortable in their home so they can enjoy it.
You can create your own definition of what living organized is about! In general, I think you would agree that it should:
- Allow you to find what you need when you need it & have the ability to store it quickly and easily without frustrating you.
- Work for everyone who needs to use it.
- Ease your stress.
- Free up time for the things & people you love.
- Keep things simple…
And, finally, what it doesn’t have to be is PERFECT!
So, relax. I can help you to declutter and get organized if it is just too overwhelming for you. Bottom line, I want you to enjoy your home, not have a "perfect" home! Contact me if you need me.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, May 14 2010
I have worked with so many people in the past 6 years and am so fortunate to be able to help all kinds - women, men, children, busy moms, entrepreneurs, younger, older, single, married, divorced, widowed.
There are times when I work with someone who believes they have a strong emotional attachment to certain items in their home and feel they cannot let go of them. Sometimes, however, when we delve a little deeper, we discover together that it's not the emotional attachment to the item itself, but the guilt of letting go of an item that formerly belonged to someone who has passed away.
This situation occurred recently with one of my clients. She has been widowed for quite some time now and still has possessions that belonged to her late husband's mother in her home. She has held onto these items for many years. Among other things, she had a large box of linens from her late mother-in-law.
When we were going through the items, I explained that it is not necessary to keep "all" of the items to evoke a positive memory of that person. The important part is not the item, but rather the memory it evokes and holding on to numerous like-items becomes clutter.
Another issue that arose is the fact that she felt guilty for letting go of the items she knew she did not want to keep. I helped her recognize that now that her husband and his mother are deceased, and she possesses the items, it is now her decision as to what is to be done with them.
Letting go of a deceased person's possessions falls on the current owner to decide what to do with them and that's okay. With that realization, my client was able to easily let go of all but a few linens which will be kept in a special box (much smaller than the one she originally held them in). Some were in poor condition and were thrown away, but since there remained others still in good condition, they were donated, so that others could enjoy them.
When you inherit items as a result of someone passing away, look carefully at the items and decide whether you LIKE them or not. Don't hold onto something simply because someone gave it to you. If you don't like it or need, it's perfectly fine to pass it on to someone else. Don't keep anything out of guilt! Your home should reflect what you like and enjoy.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, please feel free to contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be glad to help you weed through your possessions, eliminate the clutter and assist you in making the right choice as to what to keep and what to get rid of.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Thursday, April 29 2010
I was thinking the other day about how much I love what I do for a living. I wake up each morning and am anxious to start my day because I know it means I will be helping others get organized and enjoy their day too. I am so fortunate to have discovered a profession that makes me so happy.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as fortunate. I speak to so many people, through my client base, networking, friends, family and others. So many people are just not happy with what they do for a living. So many feel stuck in a rut with their careers and their life in general.
I can't help thinking the story of Cinderella and how she was forced to scrub floors and take care of her step sisters' home. Even though this obviously was not what she wanted to do, she found a way to make it a more positive experience. She whistled while she worked!
I am a true believer in a positive attitude. It can carry you so much further than you ever thought.
For example, I have a friend who drives a truck and although he is only 50 years old, he will be able to retire in less than 3 years! He tends to think about having to go to work each day and the fact that he has to put up with a boss who he does not get along with and how early he has to get up every day. All negative thoughts.
I reminded him how fortunate he is; that at such an early age he will be able to retire and start a new chapter in his life - to choose what he wants to do with it and get a pension at the same time! How great is that!
My point is, no matter what you do for a living or where you are in life, you can always put a positive spin on a situation. Your circumstances can change if you look for the positive. You don't have to feel so stuck!
If you are stuck in a rut, look at what you can do to make a change. This is true with a job, career, marital situation, etc. This is especially true when it comes to getting organized.
Do you envision eliminating the excess clutter from your home and getting organized once and for all? If so, you might be overwhelmed and don't know where to start. You can simply get help from a professional organizer, even to just get you started. By taking this one step, you will be able to make a positive change in your home and reduce the stress in your life. Then, you can whistle while you work, just like me!
Keep those positive thoughts coming and start whistling!
Have a great week!
Sunday, April 04 2010
Happy Easter everyone! Spring has sprung and my flowers are in bloom. The season is changing and I think it's a good time to make some changes within ourselves, especially if those New Year's resolutions are quite working out for you. Here's some more motivation.
I found this information on a site called Freestyle Mind and thought I would share...
Developing good habits is the basic of personal development and growth. Everything we do is the result of a habit that was previously taught to us. Unfortunately, not all the habits that we have are good, that’s why we are constantly trying to improve.
The following is a list of 30 practical habits that can make a huge difference in your life.
You should treat this list as a reference, and implement just one habit per month. This way you will have the time to fully absorb each of them, while still seeing significant improvements each month.
- Exercise 30 minutes every day. Especially if you don’t do much movement while working, it’s essential that you get some daily exercise. 30 minutes every day are the minimum recommended for optimal health.
- Eat breakfast every day. Breakfast is the more important meal of the day, yet so many people skip it. Personally, I like to eat a couple of toasts in the morning along with a fruit beverage.
- Sleep 8 hours. Sleep deprivation is never a good idea. You may think that you are gaining time by sleeping less, when in reality you are only gaining stress and tiredness. 8 hours are a good number of hours for most people, along with an optional 20 minutes nap after lunch.
- Avoid snacking between meals. Snacking between meals is the best way to gain weight. If you are hungry, eat something concrete. Otherwise don’t. Update: for clarification, I mean don’t eat junk food between meals, but eating real food it’s ok.
- Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables every day. Our body and brain loves getting vegetables and fruit, so I highly recommend eating as much of them as possible. Five portions is the dose that’s usually recommended by many health associations.
- Eat fish. Fish is rich of omega 3 and other healthy elements. At least one meal per week of fish should be enough for getting all these nutrients.
- Drink one glass of water when you wake up. When you wake up, your body is dehydrated and needs liquid. Make the habit of drinking one glass of water after you wake up in the morning. Also, drink more during the day.
- Avoid soda. Soda is often one of the most unhealthy beverage you can find. Limit your consumption of soda as much as possible and you’re body will be grateful for that.
- Keep your body clean. I don’t advise spending your day in front of the mirror, but a minimum of personal care does never hurt.
- If you smoke, stop it. There’s no reason to smoke anymore, and quitting is easy.
- If you drink, stop it. Same as above. Don’t think that alcohol will solve your problems. It never does. The only exception is one glass of wine per day during meals.
- Take the stairs. This is just a hack that forces you to do a minimum of exercise. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs.
- Use an inbox system. Make the habit of keeping track of all the ideas and things that comes to mind. You can use a notebook to do this, and then sync everything on your computer.
- Prioritize. If you have a list of things to do, where do you start? One way is to prioritize your list. If you are in doubt, ask yourself: “If I could only accomplish one thing today, what would it be?”
- Plan, but not too much. Planning is important, and you should decide in advance what you are going to do today or this week. However, planning for more than a few weeks is usually inefficient, so I would not worry too much about that.
- Wake up early. Waking up early in the morning is a great way to gain extra time. I personally like to wake up at 5 am, so that by 9 am I have already accomplished what otherwise would have taken me many days..
- Check your email only twice per day. Email can easily become an addiction, but it’s usually unnecessary to check it every 10 minutes. Make an effort and check your email only once or twice per day, see if the world will still rotate as before after you try this.
- Eliminate unimportant tasks. Being busy all day does not mean you are doing important stuff. Eliminate every activity that’s not important, and focus on what really matters.
- Clean off your desk and room. Having a clear room and desk is important to maintain focus and creativity.
- Automate. There are a lot of tasks that you need to perform every day or every week. Try to automate them as much as possible.
- Set strict deadlines. When you do something, decide in advance when you’re going to stop. There’s a rule that states that you will fulfill all the time you have available for completing a task, so make an habit of setting strict deadlines for maximizing your productivity.
- Take one day off per week. Instead of working every day, take one day off per week (for example sunday) where you are not going to turn on your computer. Use that time for doing recreational activities like going for a walk.
Personal Development habits
- Read 1 book per week. Reading is a good way to keep your brain active. With just 30 minutes per day you should be able to read one book per week, or more than 50 books per year.
- Solve puzzles. Quizzes, word games, etc. are all good ways to exercise your brain.
- Think positively. You are what you think, all the time.
- Make fast decisions. Instead of thinking for one hour wherever you are going to do something, make your decisions as fast as possible (usually less than 1 minute).
- Wait before buying. Waiting 48 hours before buying anything is a tremendous money saver, try it.
- Meditate 30 minutes per day. A great way to gain clearness and peace is through meditation. 30 minutes are not a lot, but enough to get you started with meditation.
- Start a blog. Blogging is one of the best way to put your word out. It doesn’t have to be around a specific topic, even a personal blog will do.
- Build a portfolio. If your job is creating stuff, building a portfolio is a great way to show what you are capable of. You can also contribute stuff for free if that applies to your work.
What do you think? What are the habits that changed your life?
If you want to change your disorganization into organization and change your life, contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Thursday, March 25 2010
You've put it off and put it off and now, you are ready to get organized once and for all. What is it worth to you?
This past week, I have been contacted by several people who thought they were ready to get organized. However, when it came right down to it, they weren't really committed to the task. They wanted a quick, cheap fix. That is not the way to approach it. You can always find cheap; but you need to find "qualified".
Would you hire someone who can add and subtract numbers to do your taxes or would you hire a certified public accountant?
So when it comes to getting organized, can you put a price on the benefits of eliminating the clutter from your home and your head?
What is it worth to you to get your home office and your paperwork organized so you can put your hands on anything in moments?
What is it worth to you to be able to enter a room and not trip over everything laying in the middle of the floor with no place to put it? (Imagine finding a home for everything in your home!)
What is it worth to you to find more time in your day and be more productive? (Imagine no longer running from one activity to another and being able to get everything done you set out to do that day!)
When you are looking to solve your clutter and organizational issues, can you really put a price on organization? Not really.
What's important when deciding to take on this goal is to find a qualified, experienced professional organizer who will listen and create a system just for you.
Whomever you choose, do yourself a favor and make sure that person fits your needs and you can work with them. If not, you will not get what it is you were looking to achieve. You will end up in the same state of disorganization once again.
When choosing a professional organizer, you should feel confident in the fact that they know what they are doing because you are paying them more for their expertise than anything else.
Anyone can spend four or five hours with you and clean up the mess, but will it stay that way or revert back after a short period of time? A qualified professional organizer will provide the tools you need to keep it organized well after they are gone.
So, if you are looking for "cheap", that is what you will get. When you are looking for "expertise", that is what you will find.
Keep this in mind when taking that step forward. It's better to put on two coats of paint than one. It's better to paint all four walls, instead of just one. Get the job done and get it done right.
I guarantee that those people who contacted me this past week and decided to go with "cheap" will not get what they were looking for.
Contact A BETTER SPACE if you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized. I am more than happy to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, February 14 2010
Many of us get jewelry on Valentine’s Day from our sweetheart. Did you?How many pieces do you have now? Are they organized? If not, there are various ways you can sort it all out to make it easier to find what you want, when you want it.
You can sort your jewelry by putting all types together. You can keep all your rings in one place, all your necklaces in another place, bracelets somewhere else. You can use various jewelry boxes or decorative containers for this purpose.
You can sort your jewelry by putting them together in sets. For example, your onyx necklace, ring and bracelet can all be stored together in one box.
You can store your jewelry by color groups. You can keep all silver together (avoids tarnishing), your gold jewelry together, or even reds, blues or greens, depending on your collection.
When you are trying to decide which is the best option for you, you need to determine how you would look for your jewelry: by type, sets or color. Then, empty all your current containers and re-organize it by the category you have selected.
Where do you want to keep your jewelry? There are various options available.
You can use your dresser top. Select either beautiful boxes, necklace trees, earring screens or a jewelry box. Just don’t clutter up the surface with too many options. When selecting a jewelry box, look closely at it’s features. If you have lots of necklaces, you want to make sure it has a hanging system. If you have rings, you want to make sure there is a section for the rings to fit into. If you want to separate out your earrings by silver and gold, etc., you want to make sure it has drawers to hold the amount of pieces you have. Then, select a wooden jewelry box that complements your furniture.
You can use your dresser drawers. If you are using dresser drawers, select fabric or velvet covered dividers to keep it all organized and easily accessible. The stackable velvet trays provide many options, depending on your needs and can take up much less room.
You can use your closet. The other option to consider is your closet. You can use a door mounted clear shoe divider to divide up your larger pieces, such as costume jewelry. You can use a wall mounted jewelry organizer. If you have room, you can put a jewelry armoire either in the closet or in the main bedroom area to store your various pieces.
The options are endless but organization is key to keeping everything in good condition and easily accessible.
If this task is too overwhelming, I can help. If you are overwhelmed with any other aspect of organization, let me know. Simply contact A BETTER SPACE.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Sunday, February 07 2010
This past weekend, the eastern portion of the country experienced a noreastern storm that broke many records. In Philadelphia, they received over 28 inches of snow.
It got me thinking about organizing, of course.
Being organized is more than just keep your household under control and having good time management tools. It's a way of life.
When this large snow fall began, I quickly decided that I would be breaking the project of snow removal down into smaller, more manageable pieces, just like any other larger project, in order to get it done and make it easier for me to handle.
Therefore, I decided that the best way to handle it was to shovel the snow in intervals. When my son and I woke up, we took care of most of it, but with the storm still not over, we knew that we would finish the job when it was. So, instead of waiting until the entire storm ended, we began chipping away, as it were, at the project. This made it easier later in the day when the temperature started to drop and the surfaces became more icy. I am quite aware that many people just stayed in all day and procrastinated and now, Sunday morning, their cars are still buried in the snow and ice. That decision will now make it harder for them to dig out because now they will have to deal with the more difficult conditions.
There is a lesson to be learned here. When taking on any type of project, including snow removal, create a plan of action as to how you will take that project and break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces and you will find that you get the whole project completed much more easily.
We are expecting another large storm by mid-week and you can be assured, it will be managed the same way. One portion at a time.
If you love the snow, enjoy. For me, I can't wait til Spring!
Have a great week and remember, if you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be glad to help.
Wednesday, December 23 2009
I am so excited about my upcoming coaching program for busy moms. This past year I have been focusing my business on helping busy moms and women entrepreneurs learn how to get and stay organized.
Not ony have I been busy writing newsletters, blogs and articles on the subject of getting organized, I have produced a line of products called U Can Do It which were specially created to help busy moms.
Now, I am pleased to announce that I have put together an exciting, new coaching program called "Living A More Organized Life".
With this quarterly group coaching program which meets by phone, busy moms will learn how to follow a proven step-by-step method to tackle and accomplish any project, be prepared for every special event, plan vacations and family time, make back to school a breeze and learn how to relax and enjoy the holiday season by having step-by-step ways to do gift-giving, decorating, large family dinners/parties and having overnight guests feel right at home.
This program begins on January 12, 2010 and then continues in April, July and October.
I am highly suggesting that busy moms not miss out on this opportunity to learn how to live a more organized life. If you or someone you know is a busy mom, don't pass this up. I only have 40 slots available and it will be filling up quickly.
For more information about this program, visit my special information page at www.4abetterspace.com/coaching.
In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas!
Friday, December 18 2009
‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through our house,
There was clutter and chaos…but, thankfully, no mouse!
The mantle was bare, the wreath still in my car,
Not a cookie was baked, not even a bar.
I’d addressed not a card, not a gift had been wrapped,
The jet lag had got me, I just wanted to nap!
One tree was half decorated, the other not bought,
The stockings still packed and the Village was naught.
Ornaments and tissue paper were strewn all about,
I was tempted to say, ‘We’ll just do without!’
But our children and grandchildren will be here next week,
And I know it’s a peaceful, joyful holiday they seek.
So rally I must, this is really a test,
Can I do it? Can I make this Christmas one of the best?
I’ll put on some music, brew some tea, make a list,
I’ll do what I can, the rest won’t be missed.
That we have our health and our loved ones are near,
Is all that we need for our holiday cheer!
SO, LET'S GET ORGANIZED NEXT YEAR!!!!
For now, five strategies for surviving the next seven days:
Lower expectations. There’s not time to do everything but there’s time to do the important things. Even Martha Stewart would have to make choices with this limited amount of time. The trees will be decorated but the lights and the beads do not have to be perfect; perhaps there will not be so many ornaments as in years past. I’ll bake some cookies, but just enough for us to enjoy.
Plan menus to do double duty. The ham and the turkey will do their work for main meals and then appear again as sandwiches, Turkey Curry, and a couple of luscious soups that’ll grow like Topsy when I add some noodles or beans with vegetables. I’ll also make one trip to the store just to stock up on paper goods, dish soap and laundry soap. This is not the time to run out of those staples.
Do things in chunks of time. Instead of racing from one project to the next, I’ll spend one afternoon decorating the dining room, one decorating the living room. I’ll spend one evening baking cookies, another addressing envelopes and yet another doing the layout for the Christmas letter. In those chunks of time, the biggest projects…those that I deem most important…will be done.
Buy some time. There’s just not time to clean the entire house so I’ll hire someone to do the main areas and leave the rest. Clean beds and clean bathrooms top my list. The rest is just fine.
Take care of myself. The best gift I can give my family is to be relaxed and just enjoy this holiday with them. My mood will set the tone for the entire celebration. I’ll get some rest, a bit of exercise, and give myself permission not to be perfect.
No matter how much or how little I do, December 25th will be here next week. I can choose to be stressed or I can relax and enjoy the season. I choose the latter.
It’s truly the best time of the year. May you all have a blessed holiday with your family and friends!
Contact me if you want to make your holiday season a bit easier next year! I can help.
Sunday, December 13 2009
Not that long ago, I had a client whose husband had a multitude of health issues and had to see multiple specialists at various locations. They were constantly being asked to produce his medical history and medications which changed all the time.
We developed a log of each and every doctor visit and the outcome of that visit on in a Word document on her computer so that she could print it out each time they had a doctor's appointment.
Her husband's medications and dosage schedule were printed onto Avery business cards. (Both sides can be used). As these are the same size as credit cards, my clients could easily carry copies in their wallets with their health insurance card. Now, when asked about medications by a health professional, they simply hand over one of these business cards.
As changes are made to the medication list, the template we created can be modified and reprinted. This only takes a minute and my clients are easily up-to-date again.
This system works well for everyone, but especially those that are chronically ill and the elderly whose medical picture can change quite rapidly.
If you need assistance with getting your home and your life organized, don't hesitate to contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Have a great week!
Monday, December 07 2009
The other day I was organizing my cosmetics drawer and realized I use many different brands of cosmetics for the various portions of my face. Clinique, Arbonne, Maybelline, Loreal, etc.
The same is true when it comes to organizing. There is no one way to do it. Good organizing, for me, involves taking various pieces of the puzzle and finding the perfect fit for a solution to the problem.
I have always made it clear to my clients that there is not just one way to get organized. It is very personal and can combine various options to make it work, just like my cosmetics drawer.
When putting the picture together in a space (just like putting the picture together on my face) it can take various types of systems to make it work for you.
When customizing the best way to get yourself organized, remember that by following one way of doing things just might not work for you. That is why sometimes, my clients have a collection of organizing books but they can't implement the suggestions. They don't fit their way of doing things.
A good professional organizer will be able to see the various options you can use to implement your own unique way of doing things.
That's what will create the look (and function) of the space you are working on.
Whether it's a face or a space, the concept is the same; putting the pieces of the puzzle together to create the whole picture.
If you are overwhelmed with the concept of figuring out those pieces of your organizing puzzle, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Wishing you an organized week!
Sunday, November 29 2009
Here are a few suggestions to make your grocery shopping as organized as possible.
1. Get it on paper. As you use up the last of any item, write it down on a designated list under the name of the store where you would purchase the item. This will help you find what you need right away. Have this list handy so your family can add to it as the need presents itself.
2. Avoid making two trips. If at all possible, try and do most of your errands the same day you do your grocery shopping. Make sure you take that list along with you, so you can go on the errand run without forgetting anything.
3. Be prepared. When it is time to shop for your groceries, try and limit it to one day a week. Gather up the lists and any coupons you can use. Have a designated plastic folder or envelope to hold them all, and have it with you at all times. If you should unexpectedly stop at that particular store, you can use the coupon for the items you need.
4. Plan your route. Knowing where you're going, especially when you plan to make several stops, can save you both time and money with the high cost of fuel.
5. Map it out. Make up a list of the aisles in the store, and the grocery items in each. You'll be able to easily pick up the items on your shopping list aisle by aisle, instead of in a random, disorganized fashion. This will help you get in and out of the store in no time.
TRY THE "U CAN DO IT GROCERY SHOPPING CHECKLIST". It enables you to simply check off the items you need, as they have already been listed for you, and categorizes the items together to make shopping simple and saves you time! Go to the ABS Store tab for more info!
6. Get help from the teens. When you are shopping with older children, divide up the list and have them pick up items from the other aisles. If at all possible, leave the little ones at home. They almost always add to impulse shopping. Plus your focus then needs to be divided between the grocery shopping and making sure the kids aren't pulling things off the shelves, or putting items you don't wish to purchase in your cart.
7. Keep 'em cool. Keep a bag or cooler in the trunk that can hold your perishable items. This will ensure no melted and leaky ice cream packages. Generally shop for groceries last when doing the errands--this way the frozen things won't have a chance to melt.
8. Instruct the Baggers. Request that the Bagger pack all perishables together in the bags so you can grab them first when you return home. This also gives you the option of leaving the non-perishables to unpack at your leisure.
9. Think about your calendar. Look over your schedule for the upcoming week to see if there is something unusual you will be using in a recipe, or an event that may be coming up for which you need to purchase a card or gift. Put that on your list also.
10. Carry the recipes with you. Carry your family's favorite recipes with you on little index cards that have the ingredients listed. You can see what is needed on the recipe card and get the items you don't already have. Saves unnecessary stops at the grocery store during the week for that one forgotten item!
11. Do a bit of prep work. When you get home and unpack your groceries, do some preliminary meal preparation. Cook meat and then package it into meal sized dinners. Wash all your fruit and veggies. Cut the veggies so you can just put them into the dishes you plan on making. This can be a real time saver for your meal preparation.
12. Double up. Plan on cooking a double recipe for some meals. Eat one and freeze the other for a busy weeknight dinner.
13. Create a meal plan. By having a meal plan for the week, along with the items needed on a list, you should have a quick and easy shopping trip each and every week.
14. Think outside the box. There is also another solution for grocery shopping. There are various agencies and many supermarkets that can do it for you. If there is just not enough time in your busy schedule, using that service once in awhile, or all the time if you budget permits, might help you get caught up with your To Do list.
By using some or all of these tips, you will find that you are spending much less time preparing for and going to the supermarket. Using the "U Can Do It Grocery Shopping Checklist" will be a big help also.
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Sunday, November 15 2009
I don't know about you, but I can't believe it's already the middle of November! Wasn't it just Halloween! Well, in order to keep pace with the upcoming holidays, there are some things you can do to make it go smoother.
In order to prepare for the large amount of food you might be preparing for Thanksgiving (including the storage of that pre-cooked turkey), I suggest that this is a good time to organize the inside of your refrigerator to accommodate the room you will need to store all that food.
Here are some quick tips for A Better Space in your fridge:
1. TOSS - Go through your refrigerator and freezer, shelf by shelf, and toss out anything that has spoiled, has an expired date on it, anything you are unable to identify or that you know you no longer want.
2. CLEAN - Clear out one shelf at a time either by moving items to another shelf or temporarily removing them from the fridge or freezer. You can lay them out on a towel on your counter or floor. Wipe each shelf out with warm water and baking soda. Scrape off any bits of food and wipe up any spills. Don't forget the refrigerator door and drawers. Then wipe down the items before they are returned to the fridge or freezer to remove whatever might be on the outside of them or stuck to the bottom.
3. CATEGORIZE - Designate different shelves for different categories. By grouping things together, they will be easier to locate. Some suggestions are to keep milk, juice and other drinks together. Keep all left-overs together and towards the front so they are easily seen and used before they go bad. Keep all breads together. Keep all condiments together either on the door on in a low container on a shelf for easy access to the ones in the back. Vegetables and fruits should be kept in their designated drawers with the correct setting to assure longer life.
4. DON'T FORGET THE EXTERIOR - Clear the front of the fridge of all loose papers and toss anything that is outdated. Coupons should be kept in a coupon organizer and recipes you intend to prepare should be placed in a recipe file. Remove excess magnets to keep the front of the fridge free of clutter.
By using these simple suggestions, you will create more space inside and outside your refrigerator and freezer for the holidays and be able to find what you need more easily.
Don't let all that fridge clutter "gobble" up your space!
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, simply contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Saturday, November 07 2009
If you are not sure whether you are disorganized or not, see how many of the following statements apply to you - and then give me a call!
- You have been storing clothes for years hoping you'll fit into them again someday...
- You already spent money on books to help you get organized and now you can't find them...
- You've tried to organize your space and now you have less sace than before you started...
- You've tried to purge and ended up with more reasons to keep your clutter instead of letting it go...
- You know you have that item in your home somewhere but rather go out and buy another one rather than looking for it...
- You think you actually have time to redeem all of your Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons that you've accumulated...
- You took everything apart looking for something and now you an't seem to put it back where you found it...
- Things keep appearing in your home or office but you're not quite sure where they are coming from...
- You can't remember the last time you purged and have no plans to purge in the immediate future...
So, do any of these sound familiar? If so, let's talk - I can help.
If you are unable to utilize my in-home services, I would suggest you check out my U Can Do It product line. Some are available right on this website; others through Online Organizing at www.onlineorganizing.com They include the U Can Do It Budgeting System, The U Can Do It Grocery Shopping Checklist, The U Can Do It Room-By-Room Organizing Checklist and the U Can Do it Weekly "To Do" Checklist. More on the way...
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, November 01 2009
Do you have boxes of stuff and not sure whether it's considered a "collection" or just clutter?
I came across a short video that might help you figure it out.
If after watching this short clip, you determine it's clutter, just get rid of it. If you are still not sure, perhaps you want to consult with a professional to find out, or, like the video mentions, go on E-bay and see how much your stuff is really worth.
Remember, in most cases, it's just "stuff" which translates into "clutter". The memories they evoke are still there (in your head, not in that box). You don't need to keep all that stuff to keep the memories alive.
Before you let go of your precious collection of clutter, simply take a picture and preserve the memory.
Then, just let it go.
If you are feeling ovewhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, simply contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Saturday, October 24 2009
I love to find stories about getting organized!
Now, even CoverGirl make-up has jumped on the organizing bandwagon and has developed a numerical system for matching up their various types of make-up.
They claim to have taken the guesswork out of finding your TRU shade with their TRUblend makeup organized system. This includes liquid foundation, concealer, pressed powder and blush. The system is numbered from 1 through 6 (1 being the lightest shade, 6 being the darkest shade).
For example, if your TRUblend liquid makeup is a 2, then your TRUblend pressed power, concealer and blush are also a 2.
Organizing can be so beneficial, even when it comes to purchasing your make-up. Gotta love that!
Now that that problem is solved, if you have any other organizing issues you would like me to address, please feel free to contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Have a great week!
Sunday, October 18 2009
I am currently working with a client who has discovered that she has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). She is working with me to learn how to create a system for getting and staying organized.
One of the things I suggested she do on a daily basis, when I am not physically there with her to coach her, is to simply take just 5 minutes a day to focus on one area of her home and declutter it by putting things away. Basically, straightening up.
Granted, things need to have a home to begin with so that they can be put away. That is what I am working on with her during our sessions. However, in the meantime, she has taken my advice and has begun practicing this ritual. To her surprise, she has found that just those 5 minutes a day can really make a difference. Sometimes, she is feeling so productive, she takes more than just 5 minutes, but the 5 minutes is the minimum.
Consistency is the key to success and if you just commit that short amount of time each and every day, you will find that you can keep it under control. If there are other family members, get them to do the same thing with a particular area of the home. Just having each of them put things away for about 5 minutes a day can add up to a lot of decluttering in one day!
Give it a try and let me know how you make out.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, simply contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Tuesday, September 22 2009
I love professional organizing because it gives me a great opportunity to use my imagination. This past weekend, I was working with one of my clients. She is making great strides in getting her home organized once and for all.
We were working in the kitchen area to make some sense of her plastic containers and her recycling of cans and paper, among other things.
This particular client purchases the cardboard boxes of soda which you can open up on one side and it acts as a dispenser.
Going through the organizing process with her, we recognized that because her particular apartment complex does not participate in recycling, she is transporting her recycling items in her car to a local drop-off point. Needless to say, transporting a slew of empty soda cans can be annoying and cumbersome.
I love to teach my clients to "think outside the box", (to coin a phrase). We figured out that we could use the empty soda can box/dispenser to fill with empty soda cans to be transported to the local recycling center. It already has a handle to carry the box, so what could be easier!
This is a perfect example of how you can take something you already have and put it to use in a different way. I promised my client I would pass this tidbit of information on to my blog readers.
So, take a moment when looking for a solution to a problem and remember to "think outside the box"!!!
If you have any great suggestions on how to use something old in a new way, send me an email and tell me about it.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Enjoy the start of Fall and have a great week!
Friday, September 18 2009
I have always recommended to my clients that they make use of a "To Do" list. I even supply new clients with a note pad and pencil to get them started! It is a great time management tool and allows you to have that sense of accomplishment, when, at the end of the day, you see what you achieved.
However, sometimes people get too carried away with the concept and write down every little thing they need to do on the list. I do not recommend that. What sometimes happens is that you feel you cannot do something until that other thing gets done so that it never gets done and you schedule yourself so tightly that you are constantly referring to the list to make your next move.
You should look to your "To Do" list as a tool by which you learn to discipline yourself to write down only those things you can physically accomplish in a day. If you list too many things, you tend to produce an overly ambitious litany that you can't possibly complete and which tends to lead to feelings of failure. That can be very stressful. The point of having a "To Do" list is the reduce the stress - by writing it down you get it off your head. Be realistic about what you can accomplish.
Choose to accomplish one major task per week instead of several in one day. If you have a whole list of major tasks, put each one on a separate index card and keep them in an index box, pulling out one at a time. When you have larger "To Do"s, take that index card and break down the steps it will take to accomplish your goal, putting them on the back of the card. Focusing on one large task at a time will help you get more accomplished.
Let your "To Do" list fulfill it's essential role - to serve as encouragement and inspiring reminders to get the things done you'd like to accomplish. Allow time to live your life. Don't let your "To Do" list dictate every move you make. Let life happen.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to me for help. If you need assistance with this or any other organizational issues, simply contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Wishing you an organized and productive week!
Saturday, September 12 2009
Everyone at times feels overwhelmed. Whether it's keeping up with the housework, running the kids to various activities, dealing with a sick family member, or getting organized, we all need some help. All you have to do is ask.
My first wake up call was when my first husband was diagnosed with cancer and was terminally ill. I did my best to do it all myself, but quickly found it was impossible. Reluctantly, I reached out to friends and family to ask for help with caring for my 6 year old son and helping me to care for my husband. I quickly realized those that cared about me were more than willing to lend a hand during this most difficult time in my life.
It's not a bad thing to reach out to others when it's all too much to deal with. We can find lots of excuses not to but don't let these excuses stop you from getting the help that you need:
- What if they say "No"? - Don't take it personally. Give the person credit for being honest with you. They might be feeling overwhelmed in their life too. Just find someone else. Don't let that stop you from asking; it's worth the risk to save your sanity.
- I don't want to owe anyone. - Believe it or not, most people do not expect, or even want, a favor in return when they offer their support. They just want to be able to help out, trusting that when they are in need, the favor would be returned. A simple "Thank You" will do.
- It's faster to do it myself. - You may think this is true, but most times, it's not. If you add up all the little tasks, you will discover that it could take a long list of never-ending to-do's. You could be spending that time doing something that you are more efficient at and, therefore, be more productive.
- I don't want to be a burden. - People generally want to help out. It's a chance for them to show you that they care about you. They will not look at it as you being a burden unless you over do it. If you are reasonable in your requests for help, you will get what you need.
- I can handle it on my own. - Don't be a martyr. No one can do it all. Don't let false pride rob you of the chance to enjoy life. Learning to delegate to others will free up more of your time and let others show off their talents too. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Together we can conquer whatever comes our way!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for help. It's there for the taking. And when the time is right, you can always return the favor.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your clutter, reach out to me for help. Simply contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help. Just ask.
Wishing you an organized week!
Saturday, September 05 2009
Now that summer is ending and the kids are going back to school, it's time to prepare your vehicle for the Fall and Winter months. While you are emptying out the trash from the summer, put together an emergency kit for your vehicle for emergency situations on the road. I found this helpful information in the AAA Magazine, a very reliable source:
In Case of Emergency Card
Hands-free cell phone adapter
Local and state maps
Spare tire (fully inflated)
Tire changing tools and jack
Emergency gas container
Triangular folding reflector
Waterproof bag to store items
I hope you find this information helpful and it helps you have A Better Space in your vehicle!
If you need further assistance with this or any other organizational issue, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Wishing you an organized week!
Sunday, August 30 2009
Life is complicated enough.
I have found that people tend to make their schedules and tasks much more difficult than they have to be. While there are hundreds of things you can do to organize your life, I believe these seven tips alone can help.
1. Simplify your morning routine. Take a shower and select what you are going to wear the night before. Go for a more natural look and use less cosmetics to save time. Get an simple hairstyle that requires very little work and is easy to maintain. Set the breakfast table the night before. Wake up a little bit earlier so you can feed the kids, walk the dog and/or have a cup of coffee without the need to race to work.
2. Simplify your schedule. Stop doing the activities that you are no longer interested in doing. Delegate. Consolidate your errands to save time. Pad each errand, appointment or task by about 15 minutes and you will stop rushing from one thing to the next. Don't fill your calendar to the max. Leave some time open for fun and relaxation in between your work-related or chore-related tasks. Stop saying "yes" to everyone and everything. Learn to say "no" sometimes!
3. Simplify your processes. Is it taking too long to accomplish certain things? If so, take a look at those tasks. For example, if it's taking you an hour to balance your checkbook, you might want to consider using a computer software program to manage your money instead. Are you tired of waiting in line at the post office for postage? Consider ordering it online. If it's taking you forever to file your paperwork, perhaps it's time to revamp your filing system. It just might not be the best system for you.
4. Simplify your possessions. Remember, when it comes to possessions, quality is more important that quantity. It's better to have a few very nice things than tons of not-so-nice things. Do you have more shirts than will fit in your drawer or closet? Do you really need that many? Donate clothes you never wear and you'll be helping someone less fortunate while simplifying your wardrobe. Weed out your kitchen cupboards. Reduce the amount of plastic containers. Get rid of the small appliances or cooking utensils you no longer use. Have a yard sale. Before you go shopping, get rid of something you no longer need. Use the "one in, one out" rule. If your kids are off on their own, you may even want to simplify and downsize to a smaller house. Remember, less is more!
5. Simplify your finances. Consolidate your credit cards. Most people can get by just fine with just one or two major ones. And, don't spend beyond your means! In fact, if your credit card bills run very high each month, consider paying for purchases in cash instead. Pay your bills online whenever you can. Balance your checkbook each month, so you don't fall way behind. Set up a monthly spending budget and stick to it so you don't go overboard with purchases each month.
Do you want an EASY way to budget your money? Are you tired of those complex systems that you can't maintain from month to month? If so, the U Can Do It Budgeting System is for you. You will be able to download this e-book onto your computer within minutes and be ready to create your own personal budget in less than one hour! Simply go to the Budgeting System tab right on this website and download it today!
6. Simplify your cleaning. Clean as you go, and you'll never have to deep clean. Rinse dirty dishes and put them in the dishwasher immediately after each meal so you don't have big pile-ups in the sink. (Remind your family of this rule, as well.) Use only one or two cleaning products to clean your entire house--you don't need ten! Create a cleaning schedule. You may choose to do a chore each day, such as vacuuming on Mondays, dusting on Tuesdays, etc. Or, you may prefer choosing a room a day, such as kitchen on Mondays, bathrooms on Tuesdays, etc. Divide up the cleaning duties among each member of your household. If your budget will allow, get a cleaning person to come in and clean once a week, or once every few weeks.
7. Simplify your meal planning. Choose one day each week (include your family, if you'd like)to decide what you will have for dinner the next seven nights. Write those meals down and make a grocery list of the items you need to purchase to make match those meals.
STAY TUNED - THE U CAN DO IT GROCERY SHOPPING LIST is being launched in September 2009!
This is much easier than worrying about what you're going to make for dinner each day. Choose meals that take less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Make double, so you only have to cook every other night! Learn how to use a slow cooker so dinner is ready to eat when you get home from work.
Please keep in mind that with any plan, maintenance is the key. By utilizing these tips regularly, I guarantee you will have A BETTER SPACE.
If you need further assistance with this or any other organizational issue, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy the last days of August!
Friday, August 14 2009
Some of the people who contact me to help them out with their clutter woes suffer from varying degrees of ADD. ADD is short for Attention Deficit Disorder. For many adults with ADD, life feels overwhelming and chaotic. Their homes are cluttered; laundry and dishes go undone; newspapers and magazines pile up; bills get lost in piles of paper, etc.
In order to assist those of you who suffer with ADD, I recommend taking these 10 steps to building habits that will help you get and stay organized.
Tie a new habit to an old one. Once you become an adult, you tend of have some ingrained habits. It's easiest to develop a new habit if it's tied to an old one. For example, place your vitamins next to your toothbrush in the bathroom to help you remember to take your vitamins each morning.
Make the habit as easy as possible. Select a place that makes sense. Pick a convenient, visible place to put your keys, such as by the front door. Always return them to the same place each and every time. Before selecting "the spot", think about where you would most need that item to be. Usually your first instinct is the right one.
Make the habit hard to ignore. Put the item in a place where you will notice it. If you have to return clothing to the department store, put the bag by the front door so you will not be able to leave the house without remembering to take it with you. I put my mail, bank deposits, cell phone and keys with my pocketbook so I remember to take them all with me when I leave the house.
Put reminders everywhere. When you are first starting to develop your new habit, put sticky notes where you are sure to see them that remind you to act on your new habit. You've decided you want to pack your lunch instead of buying it to save money. At night, put a sticky note on the front door, refrigerator and kitchen counter to remind you to take your packed lunch from the fridge and take it with you when you leave the house.
Visualize yourself doing the new behavior. Visualization is very powerful. It allows you time to actually imagine yourself doing something. If the new behavior is a morning habit, for example, imagine yourself going through your morning routine which would include your new habit at the appropriate point in the routine.
Practice correcting yourself. Everyone forgets. Don't beat yourself up over it. If you forget to practice your new habit, simply go and do the new habit the instant you remember it. By just doing the habit at some point in your day, it will make it easier for you to do it in the correct time frame in the future.
Get back on that horse. Everyone falls off the proverbial horse from time to time. We are not infallible. Remember that habits take time; forgetting is not failure. It's just a part of developing a habit; so don't give up!
Problem solve if it's not working. If something isn't working for you, change it. Perhaps you need a different reminder. Maybe you need to tie it to a different habit. It might work better for you if you change the time of day you are attempting to do it. Take some time to make the changes that will work best for you.
Practice, Practice, Practice. It takes at least 21 days for something to become a habit. To help you develop that habit, put the habit on your calendar for 21 days and check it off as you do it. Soon you will no longer need to write it down; it will just come to you naturally.
FINALLY, Reward Yourself. Congratulate yourself and celebrate the fact that you reached your 21 day goal. Now, go on and create more habits. Work with your ADD to take charge of your life.
You might find that you need the hands-on help of a professional organizer to get you started, especially when the level of clutter feels too overwhelming.
If you are bothered by your clutter and are interested in my services, please send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Wishing you an organized week!
Saturday, August 08 2009
I recently heard about a book called "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan. It was about the romance of Frank Lloyd Wright (the famous architect) and Mamah Borthwick Cheney. I heard it was a riveting story with a tragic ending.
There is an portion of the book that us organizers would find fascinating:
It seems Frank was hyper-sensitive to space and objects. It is said Mamah remembered many evenings when Frank would sit down to dinner and would promptly sweep aside his silverware. It was a habit that struck Mamah as crude and quite rude, since she had just set the table only moments before.
'Why do you do that?' she'd asked him once.
'Push aside your silver that way, as if you're angry.'
'I hate clutter.'
'Silverware is clutter?' she asked.
'Until I'm ready to use it, yes.'
I find it interesting that some can be surrounded by clutter and not even notice it while others, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, would be bothered by a simple item such as a fork that was not being used at that particular moment.
I recognize there is middle ground here. It's somewhere between being bothered by a fork not being used at the moment and considering it clutter, like Mr. Wright, and eating your meals at the kitchen table on the top of a pile of paper or surrounded by clutter without being bothered by it.
If you, however, are bothered by your clutter or have any questions or problems you would like me to address, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Wishing you an organized week!
Tuesday, July 28 2009
Most of my clients own pets. Dogs, cats, pot belly pigs, fish...
I have never had a dog for a pet - or a pot belly pig for that matter! I've had fish (low maintenance) and a few cats (relatively low maintenance). Anyone with a pet knows that they become a member of the family and when they go missing, our hearts are broken.
When indoor cats slip outside, most of them don't make it back home. Less than 2% of all "lost" cats are reunited with their owners. That is a really scary number. Especially considering how easily this could happen. It only takes a split second.
This is why I feel that it is absolutely necessary for every indoor cat to wear an ID Tag. I really believe this is one of the most important things you can do for your cat.
Today, I'd like to provide a few quick tips to help you find a missing pet and what you can do to prevent this from ever happening to you and your precious pet.
(The following information was provided by Dr. Jon of PetPlace.com).
If your pet is lost:
- Search the area. Talk to the neighbors and passersby.
- Walk or drive through the area several times daily. Early morning and evening are the best times to look for a lost pet.
- Hand out a recent photograph of your pet and information on how you can be reached.
- Post signs in the neighborhood with your pet's description, a photo, your phone number and information about ID tags.
- Put signs in grocery stores, community centers, veterinary offices and other high traffic locations.
- Place advertisements in newspapers and with radio stations. Include your pet's sex, age, weight, breed, color and special markings.
- The Internet may be helpful in tracking down a lost pet, although its search is wide and random.
Prevent your cat from ever getting lost!
- If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, don't leave your animal outside when you're gone for long periods of time.
- If you are gone for a long time, leave your pet with a responsible person or get a house sitter.
- Jot down the numbers from your pet's rabies tag, write your phone number on his tag, and take a good photo of your pet.
- Consider having a computer microchip implanted under your pet's skin. Shelters and veterinary hospitals use microchips to identify lost animals and reunite them with their owners.
- Every pet should have an ID tag. Even indoor cats. If your cat were to ever sneak out, an ID tag is your cat's best chance of being reunited with you. It's like an "Amber Alert" for pets. If your pet is lost, they will immediately notify humane societies and shelters within a 50-mile radius, and post a missing pet alert to websites that help find lost pets. It has some very nice features including a toll-free hotline for owners of lost pets and the people who find them ... and the hotline is there for you 24 hours a day, 356 days a year. This is one of the best pet protection programs I've ever seen.
- One of the BEST ways to help bring a lost pet back home to you is to protect him with proper identification ... on his collar, an ID tag, or with a microchip.
I hope these suggestions will help you find your missing pet and more importantly, prevent this from ever happening in the first place. Thanks to Dr. Jon for these wonder tips.
If you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Wednesday, July 15 2009
When is the last time you looked around your house? I mean really looked! Have you become comfortable with your surroundings? It's nice to feel comfortable in your home but sometimes we get so comfortable we forget to take a close look at what can sometimes use some improvement.
Most recently, I had a client hire me to organize a few rooms in her home. When I first spoke with her, she was focusing on the home office and garage. After we spent some more time talking and she began to take a closer look around her home, she realized that it was more disorganized than she originally thought. She realized that not only did her home office and garage need some attention, but also her kitchen and bedrooms.
I mention this because we do tend to get "comfortable" and perhaps get used to seeing things the way they have been for so long and don't see that they might need some change. Sometimes it's function; sometimes it's design. Sometimes it's both.
The next time you walk through your home, do it with a fresh set of eyes and see what others might see that could use some improvement.
If you have difficulty figuring out what needs to be done, you might want to consider using a professional organizer to help you not only see the issues but with a fresh set of eyes, see the solutions. Every room has potential and sometimes you need a professional to show you what that potential can be.
If you have any questions about this topic or have any other organizing issues you would ike me to address, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Wednesday, July 08 2009
Now that the kids are out of school and summer is in full swing, we don't have the time or want to take the time to clean the house. We want to be outside, on vacation, taking day trips and participating in other summer time activities.
But -- we still need to clean the house. How do we do both? We "speed clean"!!
I have compiled some Quick Tips for A Better Space which are great time-saving tips and techniques for cleaning your home in less than an hour. You can do it all at once or select several rooms a day to do a quick cleaning. By using these techniques, you can be sure that your home will be clean and you will be ready for summer fun.
Bedroom - Make your bed first thing in the morning, put your clothes in the hamper, straighten up your night stand and bureau surfaces. Then quickly dust and vaccum.
Bathroom - Wipe down the shower door or tub surround when finished with your shower. Spray the entire shower and curtain liner with shower mist (the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner works well). Take a disinfecting wipe and wipe the sink and faucet, counter top and toilet seat and rim. Vaccum the area rug and wipe the floor with a damp mop. (I like the Wet Jet system for quick clean-ups.)
Living Room - Pick up things off the floor and use a handheld vacuum to pick up crumbs and dust bunnies. Fluff pillows and throws. Straighten up books and magazines, throwing away newspapers and store ads. Put away CDs and DVDs after each use. Dust from top to bottom, saving the vacuuming for last.
Kitchen - Start with the sink and wipe it down after doing the dishes. Wipe down the stove top and counters. Wipe the table. Use a dust mop, Swiffer Sweeper or vacuum to clean up crumbs from the floor.
With these suggestions, you will find that your home will remain clean and organized and you will have more time to spend enjoying the Summer!
If you have any questions about this topic or have any other organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Have a great week!
Monday, June 29 2009
This is the fifth (and final) organizing misconception I feel the need to "debunk".
It is the idea that just by writing things down, they will get done. The truth is, you can write things down all you want, but if you don't act on the items you jot down, they will never get done.
One of my former clients was a stay-at-home mom and loved to make lists. She had To Do lists, lists of movies she'd wanted to see, lists of chores she wanted to complete, a list of friends she wanted to contact and many other lists too numerous to mention.
The lists were good but here's the problem. She never got anything done on her lists. She felt that writing them down was enough. However, it's only the first step.
I think having lists is wonderful and you should definitely keep them. They are a great way of getting ideas from your head onto paper and relieving the stress of having to remember everything. I use them all the time.
However, YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY DO THE THINGS ON YOUR LIST.
I suggest that you schedule time daily, weekly and monthly to accomplish these tasks. Some things take more time to accomplish so they can remain on a list for the month, with the idea that at the end of the month, the task is completed. Put several movies on your list to schedule time to see throughout the month. Don't overload the list so that the task is not achievable. It needs to be reasonable in order to achieve it.
Some items can be done within the week and you can schedule time in your week to knock them off your list. I suggest doing similar tasks together - such as running all errands at the same time, returning phone calls at the same time, paying bills at the same time, etc.
Some things need to be done by the end of the day. If they are urgent, get them done!
Refer to your lists often and knock off as many things on your "To Do" list as possible. You need to make a conscious effort to work on the lists that you create otherwise they just become lists and nothing more. That is not productive and will just become frustrating when the lists grow and grow.
The ultimate goal is to get the tasks done.
With the help of a professional organizer, you can learn how to best utilize those lists and create time to get them done. As an expert in time management, I show my clients the quickest, most effective ways to best utilize that "To Do" list and other types of lists they wish to have.
If you have any questions about this topic or have any other organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Have a great week!
Tuesday, June 16 2009
This is the fourth organizing misconception I need to "debunk".
It has to do with the fact that many people believe that you need to toss everything in order to get organized.
I once had someone say to me that "There is no way I could get organized because I could never bring myself to toss out everything I have". I quickly asked where she ever got the idea that she had to. She advised that "Everyone knows that's what getting organized means."
I am not sure where she heard this but it is a myth. You don't have to throw "everything" away; only the things that you don't like or never use. I don't believe everything that you don't like or never use has to get "thrown away". I encourage my clients to try to donate or, if there is some decent value to the piece, sell it. Most times I find that my clients have a much easier time letting go when they know that something is not just being thrown away, but rather given away, either to a family member, friend or charity.
You want to focus on keeping the things that you love and the things you do use. There are creative ways to display or store such items. Depending on the size of the space where things will be stored, you can utilize shelving units, hooks, overhead storage and so many other organizing options. There is no reason to toss the possessions that truly mean something special to you.
Working with a professional organizer will provide you with the opportunity to learn new ways to create functional and aesthetically pleasing options for organizing your possessions. And don't worry...good professional organizers will never make you throw everything away!
Next time, we will discuss the fifth and final myth...simply writing things down will get them done!
In the meantime, if you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Thursday, June 04 2009
This is the third organizing misconception I would like to "debunk" which I am reminded of quite often. It has to do with being inflexible.
People are creatures of habit. They tend to continue to do things even if it isn't necessarily working for them just because it's the way they've always done it. This doesn't mean it's the best way to do it.
I had a client once that described to me how she had set up several trays in her office so that staff members could add paperwork throughout the day that required her attention.
The problem was that the staff members did not feel confident that a high priority project was getting the attention it needed. They were not sure that it would get handled prior to a lower priority project since everything was added to the tray - no matter what the level of importance.
Even my client's boss was not at all happy with this system. He agreed with the staff members that there were going to be some projects that were more important than others. So, he made a change to the system.
He decided that all high priority projects were going to be placed in red folders in each of the staff members' trays. This way, if they had something of high priority, the staff members would be able to place the papers pertaining to that project in the red folder. Good idea, right?
My client, however, said that initially she didn't want to change her system which she had been using for quite some time. She was upset. She couldn't understand why her system, which, in her mind, had been working just fine, had to be changed. Now, the change was required and she did not have a choice. She had to be flexible and she had to accept it. She admitted to me that now that the new system is being utilized, she actually likes it! She finds she is much more productive.
When it comes to getting organized, you need to be flexible. Continuous improvement should always be the goal. No matter what you are doing, there tends to be a better, faster, more efficient and more productive way to do it.
I find sometimes that certain ideas I introduce to my clients are not taken well at first. I always ask them to live with it for a while and see how it feels. They tend to find that they like the new way of doing things - they just needed time to get used to it.
Working with a professional organizer will provide you with various opportunities for change that you never thought of before. It can open your eyes to new ways of accomplishing the same goal. Give flexibility a try...you might be surprised!
Next time, we will discuss the myth that in order to get organized, you need to throw everything away!
In the meantime, if you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Monday, May 18 2009
When speaking with people about organizing over the course of the last five years I've been in business, I have discovered that many people have certain general misconceptions about what it means to get organized.
For that reason, I have decided it would be a good time to "debunk" those misconceptions in a short series of blogs, starting today.
The first misconception that comes to mind is assuming that containers will organize you. While it is true that containers can be wonderful tools for helping you get organized, containers alone will not help you.
For instance, I once spoke with a photographer, named Jack. He called me because he was frustrated. He had purchased 10 large plastic containers with the idea that they would help him organize all of his photography equipment.
He told me he divided all of his equipment up among the containers, but when he was done, he found he still couldn't find what he was looking for when he needed it and he was frustrated. He had been sure that this was a good solution, but it turned out not to be so. Jack had mistakenly assumed that all he needed to do to get himself organized was a few containers.
What he found out after speaking with me was what he really needed was a bit of know-how about what kind of containers would best suit his needs, proper sorting techniques and appropriate storage. He hired me to do just that.
Instead of repeatedly spending time and money trying to solve his organizing dilema, he utilized my services to show him and teach him the best solutions for his situation. Jack learned a valuable lesson that will last for years to come.
Before you go out and waste time and money purchasing the wrong containers or any other organizing storage product, it's important to first learn about how to get organized. With that bit of knowledge and some planning, you will no longer waste your time and money trying to get organized. With the assistance of a professional organizer, you will learn what the best organizing solutions are to meet your specific needs.
Something to think about...
Next time, I will discuss the art of "multi-tasking".
In the meantime, if you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Friday, February 13 2009
We all know that email has been beneficial to us all in many ways. It's a quick and easy way to deliver a message and stay in contact with family, friends and business connections. With email, we can respond at our convenience -- no telephone tag or waiting on hold. And, it's extremely cost effective. You can basically send emails to anyone worldwide, and pay nothing more than a monthly fee! With the cost of postage these days, it's a bargain.
However, there is a down side. Just like paper clutter, you email can easily turn into "virtual" clutter. Now, in addition to having a mountain of paper, many people have an enormous amount of email to plow through every day. Here are a few Quick Tips for A Better Space to help you keep your email under control.
1. Check and manage your email on a daily basis. Schedule one or two consistent time periods each day to go through your email inbox. Get rid of as much email as you can each day. If possible, don't go to bed at night before clearing out your email inbox.
2. Take action. Just as it's easy to shuffle your paper around, it's also easy to do the "email shuffle". Try to take action on each email you open.
First, look at the subject lines and immediately get rid of any email that you don't need or want. So much of your email can be deleted without you ever having to open it!
Second, open each message one by one. If there are any that you can respond to immediately, do so. Usually, the message can then be deleted. Be brutal here. Again, most messages do not need to be kept after the action has been completed.
If you "really" need to keep a particular message, file it in a computer "folder". A computer folder is simply an area in your email program where you can "file" your messages so you don't have to print them out, but they're easily accessible when you need them.
Categorize these folders, just like you would with paper folders. For instance, if you like referring to some regular newsletters you get, make a computer folder for each of them. The name of each folder should be the name of the newsletter.
If you need to save confirmations for orders placed on line, make a computer folder for them by the name of the entity you are dealing with. Once the product is received, you can then delete the information from the folder.
3. Take advantage of filters. Some email programs come with an option which allows you to filter your messages. Check with your email provider to determine if you have this option and how to take advantage of it.
There are two common reasons that you might want to use your filtering capabilities:
a. Quickly storing emails you want to reference later: Let's say you get an email report every day from a co-worker that lists some numbers that you may need to reference, but you don't have to look at on a daily basis. You can filter email from that particular person directly into a computer folder. Then, when the person sends you the email report, it will automatically be moved into the folder you have set up for future reference.
b. Quickly getting rid of email you don't want: I recently was getting email messages, from a specific email address, that were unsolicited. After determining that it was impossible to get off this list, I decided to filter any email from that particular person right into my 'deleted mail' folder. Now, I never have to deal with it. Very often, you can filter by different variables, such as sender, subject line, messages with attachments, and so on.
4. Stories, jokes and email hoaxes are constantly being forwarded throughout the Internet. Some people really enjoy receiving these types of messages. (But again, they should be read and then deleted. They can become quite voluminous.)
Others don't have the time for them. If you don't have the time to receive such email, tell the senders that you'd prefer not to receive them anymore. It's not being rude. Simply tell the person that you're happy to receive a personal note from them, but you don't have time for the other types of email.
For example, one of my friends does not look at her personal email account at home, only the one at work. Since it was the only way for me to communicate with her, I sent her some funny emails on occasion. However, she became so busy at work she did not have time to read them and politely asked me to stop. Not offended in the least bit, I immediately stopped sending them to her and just sent quick messages to stay in touch.
5. Don't stay on lists that are not helping you. Be particular about the newsletter lists you sign up for and remain on. The lists you should be on are the ones that benefit you in some shape or form. If you start to find that they do not, opt out to avoid the influx of extra emails you do not need.
6. Print with caution. If you like printing a particular newsletter to read from your comfy chair in another room, that's fine. However, be careful about printing every single email you get. You don't want to double the problem by duplicating your email clutter into paper clutter. Remember, you can store email in folders on your computer. Yes, they'll take up some room on your computer, but at least they won't begin to clutter your home and your office too.
I guarantee that if you use these Quick Tips on a daily basis, you will find that you have greatly conquered your email clutter.
Until next time, if you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, please feel free to contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be glad to help.
Saturday, January 03 2009
California family finds $10,000 in box of crackers
Source: Associated Press IRVINE, Calif.
The box of Annie's Sour Cream and Onion Cheddar Bunny crackers that Debra Rogoff bought at the grocery store included something extra--an envelope stuffed with $10,000. Yet the Irvine woman was more curious than ecstatic. After all, who would leave money in such a place? 'We just thought, `This is someone's money,' she said. 'We would never feel good about spending it.' The family called police and was initially told the money could be part of a drug drop. But police later heard from store managers at Whole Foods in Tustin that an elderly woman had come in a few days earlier, hysterical because she had mistakenly returned a box of crackers with her life savings inside. In a mix- up, the store restocked the box. The woman, whose identity wasn't released, had lost faith in her bank and decided the box would be a safer place for the money. Luckily for her, the box of crackers were bought by the Rogoffs, who found the crisp $100 bills in an unmarked white envelope. The Rogoffs never heard from the woman and didn't receive a reward, but Rogoff did return to Whole Foods a couple weeks later. 'I asked them if I could have another box of crackers,' she said with a laugh. The store obliged.
Moral of this story... It's never a good or organized idea to stick your life savings in a box of crackers!
If you need GOOD ideas on how to get organized, contact me and I will be glad to provide you with ideas that are safe and simple. Wishing all of you a happy and healthy New Year.