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!
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, May 19 2014
I don't think there is anyone these days who does not have a cell phone. We eat, sleep and do everything with our cell phone by our side. It has become our life line.
I bet, however, that you never realized some of the things your cell phone can do for you. It can be a mini-survival kit, life saver or emergency tool kit.
These are some things your cell phone can do for you:
1. EMERGENCY - Did you know that there is a worldwide Emergency Number for cell phones? The number is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, simply dial 112 and your phone will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you. Interestingly enough, this number can be dialed even if the keypad is locked!
2. HIDDEN BATTERY POWER - You discover that your cell phone battery is very low. You can access a reserve by pressing the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged the next time you charge your cell phone. This could definitely be a life saver!
3. DISABLE A STOLEN CELL PHONE - First, check your Mobile phone's serial number, and key in the following digits on your phone. *#06# A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your phone so even if a thief changes your SIM card, your phone will be completely useless. You might never get your phone back but at least you know that whoever stole it won't be able to use it or sell it. Just imagine if everyone did this, there would no longer be a reason for people to steal mobile phones!
4. DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE FOR FREE - Cell phone companies these days are charging between $1.00 and $2.00 (or more) for 411 information calls. Most of us don't carry a telephone directory in our vehicle. I don't even keep one in my home anymore! Instead, when you need to use the 411 option, simply dial: (800)FREE411 or (800)373-3411 and you will not incur any charges. Program this number into your phone for safe-keeping.
I found these tips very helpful and simply wanted to share them with you. These are great to implement now before the Summer vacation season begins.
Feel free to share this blog with your family and friends so that they can utilize these tips as well.
If you want more tips on getting and staying organized or find that you are overwhelmed by your clutter, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I hope you are having an organized day!
Sunday, July 07 2013
We are currently in the midst of the Summer season which prompts a lot of people to take vacations. Vacations can come in many forms but one thing tends to be true. When you travel, you stay at a hotel.
Those travel-size shampoos, lotions and soaps found in many hotel rooms can easily accumulate when traveling and even easier to become clutter in your home when you return home.
I am not saying that you should not take them with you when you go home but over time, an overflowing stash of these freebies can outgrow your space or take up room that other important items should be occupying.
So, in order to avoid this conundrum, I recommend that you repurpose them.
Here are six suggestions:
1. Keep them in your purse or handbag. Whether you walk, bike, drive or take public transportation, you tend to have a bag with you. This is a perfect solution for storing your mini-sized toiletries and having them easily accessible.
2. Keep them in your desk at work. For easy access while on the job, keep a stash in your drawer of your desk and simply grab what you need when heading to the rest room to freshen up.
3. Keep them in your car. Do you spend a lot of time traveling in your car? Put some lotions, mouthwash or even a sewing kit in your car's glove compartment.
4. Use them at the gym. If you regularly shower at the gym after a workout, travel-size toiletries can be very useful and don't take up a lot of room in your gym bag.
5. Use them on your next trip. Are you staying at a vacation spot that does not involve a hotel? Keep a bag in your suitcase or backpack for camping with the other items you use most. Use a few of those shower caps to pack your shoes next time to keep them away from your clean clothes.
6. Donate them. If you find that you do not have a need for the amount you have collected, donate them to a shelter. Clean The World accepts unopened or unused bars of soap and shampoo for distribution domestically and internationally. The Global Soap Project also collects and reprocesses soaps into new bars.
Of course, you can avoid having to make a decision about what to do with them by leaving them behind during your next hotel stay. However, just in case you need to know what to do with all of those hotel toiletries, I hope this helps.
Tuesday, June 11 2013
As you might know, I am very active on Facebook. In fact, if you are not already a fan of my Facebook Page, I invite you to join me where I post daily organizing tips. www.facebook.com/abetterspace
Today, I want to share with you "30 Uses for WD-40". I recently found these on Facebook and thought "How Cool Is This!"
This amazing product was created in 1953. Three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company wanted to find a water displacement compound and with their 40th attempt, WD-40 was created.
So here we go:
1. Protects silver from tarnishing.
2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
4. Gives floors that "just waxed" sheet without making them slippery.
5. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
6. Removes lipstick stains.
7. Loosens stubborn zippers.
8. Untangles jewelry chains.
9. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
10. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
11. Keeps ceramic/terracotta garden pots from oxidizing.
12. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
13. Keeps glass show doors free of water spots.
14. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
15. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
16. Lubricates noisy door hinges on both home and vehicle doors.
17. Removes nasty tar and scuff marks from the kitchen floor without harming the finish. (Be sure to ventilate the area well if using it on a lot of marks.)
18. Removes those nasty Bug guts that eat away the finish on your car.
19. Lubricates gear shifts and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
20. Eliminates rocking chair and kid swings of squeaky noises.
21. Lubricates tracks in sticking windows to make them easier to open.
22. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicle as well as vinyl bumpers.
23. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
24. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
25. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy handling.
26. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
27. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades and other tools.
28. Removes grease splatters from stovetops.
29. Removes all traces of duct tape.
30. Removes crayon from walls. Just spray it on the marks and wipe with a clean rag.
There were some others but these were my favorites. There are ideas here for women and men to use. Try these out and let me know which are your favorites. Any other ideas? Please share.
Until next time, wishing you an organized day.
Thursday, January 19 2012
I don't know about you but I spend a lot of time in my car. I am traveling to and from client consultations, client sessions, networking events, shopping trips for organizing product for my clients, donation drop offs and Clever Container parties for my hostesses. That's just the time I spend in the car for business. I also run errands, attend social events, visit with friends, etc.
I know how important it is to manage your time when you are planning trips and one tip I quickly learned was how to plan out the amount of time I need to get to a new location for the first time. If we have never been there before, how do we know how long it is going to take? I have the solution!
My key to success to insure that I will be on time is to go onto Map Quest. (You can also use Google Maps.) Get directions from your home (or wherever your starting point is) to the location you need to be and determine how many miles the trip is in length. THEN, double that number and it will give you a good idea as to how long it will take you.
For example, if I am visiting a client for the first time and I know that her home is 14 miles away from mine, I double that number and I know it will take approximately 28 minutes (give or take a few minutes) to get there.
Trust me, this works. I have been using this method for more than seven years; from the time I first started my professional organizing business in 2004 to figure out how much time I should allow to get to my appointments. Now I use this method for all trips to places I have not been to before. Keep in mind you might get there just a few minutes early some times depending on traffic but you will not have to worry about being late. You can always cushion it with an extra five minutes if you will be involved in rush hour traffic, but again, this system works well for me. I love it because I have found that my GPS is very inaccurate with judging arrival times because it does not take into account traffic delays. My system does!
We can all use tips to help us with time management and I particularly love this one. Give it a try and let me know how you make out.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, July 22 2011
It's that time of year when we tend to spend a lot of time in the car. We take the kids back and forth to summer activities, camp, go on vacation, visit friends and family, take day trips. You name it, it involves the car. So let me ask you...
If you had to produce your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance in a hurry, could you? Many of us don't give a lot of thought to controlling clutter in our cars. We spend so much time in our cars and yet we often don't think of it as a place for organizing.
The best place to start is removing the clutter. Depending on the time of year will determine how you tackle it. If the temperature is warm (right now it's broiling hot where I live and you can't even stand to be outside for more than 5 minutes!), it’s not a problem working outdoors. If the temperature is cold, you may want to put everything into boxes and take it indoors.
Once the car is empty, vacuum it out thoroughly, clean all the windows, wipe down the dash and console and clean leather seats. Stores sell cleaner made for upholstered seats as well.
When you begin to sort through the boxed items, sort out the trash and of course, trash it. Then sort through the remaining items. There will be items that won't need to go back into the car and you can put them into a ‘goes somewhere else’ container. These can be put away as part of your cleanup.
Some of your 'return to the car' items can go into the trunk. You will probably need a way to contain them. Standard items generally consist of a small tool kit, jumper cables, a flashlight, and if you live in cold area of the country, emergency supplies like water, high-energy snacks and blankets. These can be contained either in a collapsible open top container or in a container with a lid. This will keep all of your supplies in one neatly contained area in your trunk.
Inside the car, you can contain items to keep them safely stowed, yet accessible. Things like your car’s care manual can go into the glove box or console. A small tissue box can go into the console, along with antibacterial wipes and such. Keep some reusable canvas bags to cart things in and out of the car.
Don't forget to put a little sack or plastic bag in both the front and back seats for trash. You could also store a couple of extra collapsible crates to allow you to carry your groceries into the house in fewer trips.
Don't neglect this important area of your life. It is just as important to organize your car as it is to organize your home.
If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact me.
In the meantime, keep cool and have a great week!
Saturday, June 25 2011
It seems impossible, but it can be done. Some time ago, on the final installment of The Early Show "Get Organized" series, professional organizer Peter Walsh shows how to pack for a week's vacation in just one carry-on bag. His secret? Streamline and focus.
It really all comes down to being practical but frugal, and thinking in miniatures, Walsh says. It's nice to have lots of options of things to wear each day, but you're sacrificing a light carry-on bag for a heavy suitcase in order to indulge yourself. Truthfully, a lot of people over pack and then end up only wearing the bare essentials, anyway, so you could have saved yourself from lugging a big bag in the long run.
Technically, in order to have enough clothes for a week, all you need is either 2 pairs of pants or 2 skirts (or one of each), and three tops. That's it. As long as all the tops can go with both of the bottoms, you have given yourself 6 combinations to wear. Then throw in a week's worth of underwear and socks. You can decide if your tops should be short or long-sleeved, depending on your destination. Then, pick two pairs of shoes that go with everything, and you can wear one pair plus your jacket while your travel. It's as easy as that!
As for your toiletries and cosmetics, the key is to have the small plastic bottles instead of regular sizes. Buy travel-size tubes of toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. You can buy small plastic jars and bottles for your favorite lotions and potions and then label them so you don't use body lotion as hair conditioner. Filling bottles with your own products can make you feel more comfortable while you're away, and you're able to save so much room by not bringing all of your full-size bottles.
A few things that are important to remember, too, are bags. You should bring along a light weight bag for your laundry, so you're not throwing any of your dirty clothes back in with your clean clothes. Also bring an assortment of Ziploc bags, because you never know when you may need them. They're great if you have a wet swimsuit or in case anything leaks. You can also use one for your jewelry or accessories to keep them together.
As for luggage, Walsh's tip is to have a very bright, neon luggage tag. Today, so many people have bags that look the same that an easy-to-identify luggage tag is a must.
I think these tips are great and can really help you save you money, especially when it comes to travelling via an airline that wants to charge you per bag!
Try them out and let me know what you think!
In the meantime, have a great week!
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!
Thursday, October 28 2010
Who doesn't have pets? Most of us have or have had a dog, a cat or other types of pets at one time or another. If so, you know how expensive it can be when they get ill and need medical attention.
Commercial pet insurance can be expensive. Like traditional health insurance for people, it doesn’t cover all medical procedures and treatments. Also, keep in mind that if you never need the insurance (we certainly hope so), you wouldn’t be able to get the money back that you paid the pet insurance company, accrue interest or be able to apply the premiums to another pet.
A better option is to consider setting up a savings fund. Consider setting up a medical saving account for your current or future pets you might adopt.
How to create a specialized saving account:
Start by putting a large amount (such as $500) into a special savings designated just for this purpose and then continue to deposit $20 per month into the account. By simply creating a specialized saving account for your pet, you avoid being in the position where money has to be strongly considered along with treatment options.
Use this method whenever you acquire a new responsibility. Simply deposit an eighth or a quarter of your saving goal into a dedicated saving account as the account’s start-up fund (or a multi-use account that you keep records for what money in the account is for what purpose). Once the saving account is open and initially funded, you set up an automatic transfer through your bank to put $10 or $20 (or whatever amount you choose) into the new saving account from your checking account every month. This automatic deposit removes the temptation to spend the money on something else.
You could create a specialized saving account for your automobile — $20 a month can be put aside in an account to cover service needs for your aging car. You can create a fund to save for larger home improvement projects or home organization project.
These specialized saving accounts reduce your stress, allow you to cover large expenses when they arise, and help you to live with an uncluttered budget (a budget where you spend less than you earn).
Do you have specialized saving accounts? Would setting one up help you to prepare for an emergency expense? What reasons do you have to create a specialized saving account?
I would love to hear your ideas!
In the meantime, if you need some help creating a budget, why not consider my U Can Do It Budgeting System that I developed based upon the budget I have used for myself for over 20 years? You can find it at my ABS Store (look for the tab) right on this website.
Enjoy your 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!