Wednesday, April 01 2015
Happy April Fool's Day!
I am so excited that April is here and, hopefully, the Winter weather is finally behind us. We are all getting ready for the upcoming holidays, Easter and Passover, which both are being celebrated this coming weekend. Before we know it, the flowers will be blooming and the warmer temperatures will be here to stay.
In preparation for the warmer temperatures and more time spent outdoors, this is a great time to seriously think about what clutter issues you may be contending with in your home.
Sometimes the Winter months can make us feel a bit sluggish and less productive. We go into hibernation mode and tend to be less motivated to get things done. Since this past Winter was particularly challenging, with severely cold temperatures and, for some of us, tons of snow, this is even more true.
Well, no more excuses! It's time to get moving and get organized!
Do yourself a favor and look around your home and be honest about the areas that need some organizing attention. Is your bedroom floor filled with clothing, is your linen closet stuffed with sheets and towels, are your kitchen counters crowded with papers or other items, does your home office contain piles of paperwork that does not have a home, is your family room no longer welcoming to the family, is your garage so filled that your car doesn't fit in it?
Do you walk through your front door and the first thing you see is clutter? How does that make you feel? Just imagine coming home at the end of the day and having your home bring you a sense of calm instead of dread. I have always believed that your home is your haven and should be a safe and happy place, leaving the chaos of the world behind.
Eliminating your clutter and getting organized can help to bring that to fruition. It has a very powerful impact on all aspects of your life. Here is a comment I received from one of my clients:
"Audrey, I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying my home now. It is much more relaxing. You helped me create a peaceful place. There is a place for everything and it is easy to keep things organized. I was a little nervous when we first started working together. I wasn't sure about someone having opinions on items that were important to me but I knew I needed to organize and downsize. You really listened to me and helped me donate things I really didn't need. Now I have a much more manageable home. I enjoy entertaining more. You were such a help and I enjoyed the time we spent working together. I thank you for helping me in such a caring and professional way. It was such a pleasure to meet you. Many thanks, Karen A., Newtown, PA"
My intent here is not so much to toot my own horn, but rather to show you what an impact getting organized can have on your home and your life.
Don't be "April foolish"! Take some time to evaluate what is truly going on in your home that is keeping it from being what you envision it to be. If you need a fresh set of eyes to help you evaluate your situation and get you on the road to organization, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, I am here to help. I am only a phone call or email away.
Have a great week and a wonderful holiday!
Tuesday, March 24 2015
Spring is finally here. The cold temps seem to want to hang around, however. The time is now to start Spring cleaning your wardrobe and start putting your Winter wardrobe away. The warmer temps are just around the corner, I promise.
Do you have bulky items hanging in your closet that are taking up the space you could use for lighter weight clothing?
Do you have items that you bought and intended to wear this past Winter season but never did?
Are your drawers stuffed with articles of clothing that are now too warn out to be used again next year?
Do you have pieces in your wardrobe that no longer fit?
Now is the time to clear them out.
Here are some steps you can take to Spring clean your wardrobe:
1. Start in your closet. Eliminate the articles of clothing that should be thrown away because they are now worn out.
2. Eliminate articles of clothing in your closet that you did not wear this past Winter season that can be donated. Bag them up and make an appointment with yourself to either have them picked up or dropped off at a Thrift Store or non-profit organization that takes clothing.
3. Pull out and store bulky items from your closet elsewhere which you think will take up too much space in your closet. Clothes need to breathe so make sure they have enough room in your closet to do so. You can use an under-the-bed plastic container, a cedar chest, a garment bag or plastic 18 gallon container for storage in your attic or basement.
4. Take out the items that no longer fit you. If your weight tends to go up and down, store that size in a container. Keep only the clothes in your closet that fit you now. You can always retrieve them later if need be. Do not keep more than one size larger and one size smaller. You are not a department store!
5. Go through your drawers in your dresser and do the same thing.
6. Pull out clothing that you might have stored away during the Winter months for use in warmer weather.
These steps will get you ready for Spring so that when those warmer temps hit, you will be ready with a wardrobe that suits your needs.
If you are overwhelmed and need help, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Thursday, April 18 2013
Finally, Spring has arrived and with it Spring Fever. It's a time for fresh starts. For me, I am moving up. I am taking my office space from the basement which has no natural light and moving upstairs to a spare bedroom. This room has soft neutral tones on the walls and a big window that provides a nice view and, best of all, that natural light I desire.
I ordered new furniture that will provide me with more room in which to work. It is expected to arrive in about four or five weeks. In the meantime, I have contacted my handyman who is going to install a new ceiling fan/light fixture and I am in the midst of arranging the room so it is condusive to my productivity.
One of my passions is books and I love to surround myself with them. They make me feel warm and cozy. I love to hold a book in my hands and feel the paper's texture and get lost in the pages. I am not a fan of Kindle for this reason - just a personal choice.
When I was doing space planning for my new office space, I decided to incorporate two bookcases in the room just for my leisure reading. I love to see my collection of novels yet to be read - it is quite extensive.
However, I am aware, as you should be, that there is such a thing as book clutter. Piles of books laying around on a coffee table in your living room, on an end table in your bedroom, on your desk in your home office or anywhere on the floor is clutter.
The author of the blog Epic Write summed up the complex relationship she has with books in her post "Show Me Your Book Clutter":
"The problem is I have so many books I want to read. Or, that I need to read...Aside from my cluttered side table, I have digital and paper clutter where I have recorded books I want to read. From my "wants" list on Goodreads.com to titles scribbed on scraps of paper, I am overwhelmed with the amount of books I will get to someday. even with feeling almost buried by it all, I have no desire to change. I love books. I want to see books everywhere."
For me, I do not want to feel buried by my books. Although I have a lot of books, I do not have clutter. My books are lined up neatly in my bookcases with hardbacks in the back and paperbacks in the front, in alphabetical order by author. I can put my hand on any book I want within moments. If my books do not fit within these boundaries, I weed them out, which I recently did.
I want my new office to feel spaceous and calm because I know that it will provide me with the space I need in my head to be productive.
If you have a large collection of books, take the time to organize them in a way in which you can enjoy seeing them. Not on the floor in a pile, but rather, on a shelf or bookcase that can accommodate them. Do not hold onto books that you have already read (especially fiction). There are way too many books out there to still be read.
If you find that you have too many, donate them to a local library or pass them onto a friend who will enjoy them. Books are meant to be shared with others.
Clearly people love books and everything about them. But, it is possible to keep a reasonable number so that they don't contribute to clutter in your living spaces.
Honor your books by being selective about the ones you purchase and by keeping your collection in order.
If you are overwhelmed with your book clutter or any other clutter in your home, contact me. I am happy to help.
In the meantime, get outside and read a book!
Tuesday, March 20 2012
Last time, l spoke about tips to get organized for Daylight Savings Time. Now that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with some tips for getting organized for the Spring season. After all, Spring is the time when we look forward to a fresh clean slate - in our homes and in our ourselves. Here are some ways to start off the season with some fresh ideas:
1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as sitting outside and reading a special book or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many at-home' spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. Whatever you choose to do, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for Spring.
2. Switch Out: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn't put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn't use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don't put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away.
3. Lighten Up: Clutter can't be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When your spaces are filled with things, your perception is that rooms are closing in on you. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten it up. The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale!
4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize your work-out routines. It's likely that through the winter you had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it's possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and change your schedule with some new scenery and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.
5. Cooking Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven't used and don't plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have eliminated those you don't want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week! Also, if you try a recipe and no one likes it--toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own cookbooks at all!
6. Trash Tattered Towels: Have your bath towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of Spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter like the SPCA. They will appreciate your donation. Take inventory what remains. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel.
7. Outdoor Organizing: With warmer weather, many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks. It's also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Did the cement or driveway crack over the winter? Does your house need a new coat of paint? Organize your gardening tasks and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar every weekend. Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant since all danger of frost is now past.
8. Organize Your Refrigerator: I always advise to do this before Thanksgiving but this is also a good time of year to organize the fridge. Organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small baskets or bins to group like items together. [CLEVER CONTAINER has a great line of bin organizers for your fridge and pantry. Check them out right on this website! Just look for the CLEVER CONTAINER tab on the home page. They are on Page 6 of the catalog.] Use them to put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator can be a welcome change!
Get Spring off to a good start but using the tips above and enjoy the season of new beginnings!
If you have any additional tips, we would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
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!
Sunday, April 03 2011
Spring has finally sprung! My gorgeous crocus have bloomed and the hyacinth are following shortly.
With the weather slowly getting warmer, it's time to get out of the house - and into the garage. Everything has been stashed in there all winter and it's time to make some sense of it all.
Making use of your driveway as a staging zone is best. Empty everything out of the garage, section by section and consider the following tips for getting it organized:
- Hang your tools from hooks on a pegboard over a work table, using labeled screw top jars or a drawer system for separating out small pieces of hardware.
- Set up shelving around the perimeter of your garage for storing small items - such as car care, gardening supplies, paint, etc.
- Store small gardening items such as gloves, hats, trowels and clippers in a basket with a handle to make it easy to carry them back and forth to the yard.
- Use heavy duty hooks on the ceiling or wall to hang bicycles, sporting equipment and ladders to get them off the floor.
- Keep a mat or low shelf by the door leading into the house for holding muddy shoes to keep dirt from getting tracked inside.
- For the kids (and even adults!), create a zone where all the sports equipment, balls, lawn toys and beach paraphernalia can be stored together. Out of season, they can be stored on racks hanging from the ceiling to create more space for the car.
- Make vehicle maintenance easier by storing your car care products in a large plastic bucket, along with rags, sponges and paper towels.
- Remember to leave enough room on either side of the garage so you can open your car door without bumping into shelving, tools or bicycles. (The garage IS intended to store the car - after all!)
If you need further assistance in getting this or any other area of your home organized, don't hesitate to contact me.
And enjoy your Spring!
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!
Tuesday, April 01 2008
Starting today, April 1st, for 7 days straight, I plan to do a spring organizing and/or spring cleaning project each day. Here's what's on my agenda...
DAY 1 Begin outside clean up, including getting rid of any leftover winter brush, snipping dead branches from plants to get them ready for the warmer weather ahead and sweeping the walkway and driveway.
DAY 2 Put away any winter clothing for the season that is still in our closets, and bring out our spring and summer wardrobes. Iron anything that requires it.
DAY 3 Begin sorting through the outdoor toys (including sports equipment, skate boards, bicycle, etc.) from last year and determine what my son has outgrown and will no longer be using. I will create a list of a few items to supplement to provide him with items that are more age appropriate for this year.
DAY 4 Clean areas in our house that get neglected most of the year, such as the tops of our high cabinets, under the fridge and the bookcase shelves (empty, dust, and return all books again).
DAY 5 Begin to plan our family’s summer vacation for the end of August. By reviewing our budget and discussing ideas with the family, we will formulate a vacation plan so we will be ready when the end of summer comes around. (It arrives before you know it!)
DAY 6 Empty the fridge and freezer and clean them out before returning our perishables back inside. Also, defrost the freezer we keep in our garage.
DAY 7 Although I belong to a homeowners association, I suggest making arrangements for your summer help, including the lawn mowing service, and grass, tree and plant service. Check the outdoor furniture that was left out over the winter to see if it needs any repair (mine is made of wrought iron and might need to be repainted). It’s also a good time of year to make an appointment to have the car detailed.
By the end of these 7 days, I know we'll feel great and a lot will be complete and we can enjoy the Spring!
For more information and assistance on this topic or any organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help you reach your goals for organization and make your place A Better Space.
Have a great week!