Wednesday, November 27 2019
I am happy to introduce you to my guest blogger today. Please welcome Scott Sanders of Cancerwell.org. Because, like most people, unfortunately, I personally know of someone who is fighting cancer, I find this blog helopful and want to share it with you. I hope you find it helpful, as well.
How to Make Space for a Loved One Who Is Fighting Cancer
There’s a lot to consider when a family member moves in with you. When it’s a loved one who has cancer, your worries are understandably amplified. From cleaning and sanitizing to organizing and making space, you have a laundry list of steps to take before they come home. Here are ways you can create the ultimate recovery space in your home.
Organize Storage Space for Everyone
Whether you need to clear out a room or make space in the garage for your loved one’s belongings, staying organized is vital.
Of course, if you don’t have a garage, you’ll need another long-term storage option. Adding an outbuilding to your property can help protect your or your family member’s belongings and keep them nearby. Choosing the cheapest option isn’t always the best value, though. Think about what materials to choose — whether steel or wood — and how climate can affect them.
For example, steel has the benefit of being resilient against the elements. However, it can be far more expensive than wood. It also heats up in warmer weather, which could affect your items stored inside. Wood may be less durable, but it’s also more affordable than steel. However, wood doesn’t stand up to weathering as well as other materials. Some wood, like cedar, can resist outdoor conditions better than others, however.
You should establish a budget, then research your area and what materials are most suitable for storing your loved one’s and your own belongings.
Consider Home Care Services
Although you may have the best intentions when choosing to move your family member home for recovery, it can be stressful. Many family members of patients wind up feeling anxious, depressed, helpless, and more when they face caring for their loved one full-time. For everyone’s health and well-being, it can help to seek support.
Cancer.net explains that many types of home care services can help you and your loved ones live fuller lives. Assistance ranges from home health aides who provide nursing care to volunteers who merely sit with the patient so the family can have a break.
Living at home rather than in a facility is often preferable for patients with cancer. Considering in-home help can make the transition easier and less intimidating for everyone involved.
Make Safety and Accessibility Modifications
Depending on your loved one’s health status and mobility level, you may want to add safety features to your home. Side effects from common chemotherapy drugs can include a weak heart, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, poor coordination, and other health issues. In short, the effects of treatment may cause safety challenges at home.
Steps like incorporating grab bars in the restroom or non-slip flooring in the halls can help your family member feel safer and more independent. A shower seat can enhance stability while bathing independently, and a first-floor room means less exertion than climbing stairs.
Think about modifications you can make without renovating your home, but don’t discount the possibility either. Fortunately, many renovations can be low-cost and even DIY.
Give Your Loved One Their Independence (and Privacy)
Undergoing cancer treatment can be stressful, painful, and scary. But it can also be frustrating for a loved one who was formerly independent. For family members with strong personalities, focusing on independence and privacy can help you all live together harmoniously.
Ensuring that your loved one has a say in their moving decision is a good first step. Providing choices for where to store their belongings, how to decorate their room, and what type of home support they have can do wonders for their self-confidence. After all, they’re a person first and a patient second. something many people with cancer want you to recognize.
Studies also suggest that patients who self-manage feel more empowered and confident in their recoveries. Therefore, having a say in medical and other decisions is crucial. Programs like prehabilitation, where patients undergo physical and social training before surgery and treatment, can also help your loved one maintain their strength and independence.
Moving your family member home for cancer recovery is a significant commitment. By working together, you can see them back to good health, and beyond.
Photo via Unsplash
Wishing you all the best!
Friday, April 13 2018
Do you remember the movie "Mommy Dearest"! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUkE9qaVgmo. It was such a frightening scene when Joan Crawford was screaming "NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!". I will never forget it!
These days, in a much calmer tone, I gently explain to my clients why I am not a fan of wire hangers. And this is why:
Wire hangers can cause damage to your clothing when clothes are left on them after returning from the dry cleaners or simply used to store clothing. They can affect the shape of the shoulders and can actually create rust. (I had a client once who used wire hangers and had a cream colored suit that she had kept on the wire hanger from the dry cleaner. When we were reviewing her wardrobe to organize her closet, we discovered, unfortunately, that the wire hanger on her suit had rusted, leaving a permanent stain. The beautiful suit was ruined.)
Also, when it comes to dry cleaning your clothes, be sure to remove the plastic bag they are returned in. There are chemicals used when the dry cleaning process is used. If you keep the bag on the clothes when they arrive home, these harmful chemicals stay trapped in the clothing.
I highly recommend that "no more wire hangers" are kept on your clothing in your closet. Switch them to plastic or velvet slim hangers instead. The next time you head to your dry cleaner, take all of your unused wire hangers with you. Most dry cleaners recycle hangers and actually appreciate you returning them because it saves them money. You get rid of clutter in your closet and help keep landfills free of hangers.
Also, unless you have a need for the plastic bags they wrap around your clothing, you can ask for the dry cleaner to keep the bags off of your clothes. It keeps you from having to toss the bag when you get home, and again saves the dry cleaner money. Also, men’s dress shirts can be folded instead of put on a hanger so that you don’t have to take a hanger home with you at all!
When you go to pick up your clothes at the dry cleaners, take your plastic hangers or thin velvet hangers and garment bags with you. It's just like taking reusable shopping bags with you when you go grocery shopping. That way you don’t even need to take their wire hangers and their plastic bags home at all.
Now you will no longer have wire hangers and with these tips, you will have an organized, clean and safe wardrobe in your clothes closet to enjoy.
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting your wardrobe decluttered and organized, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, l am here to help.
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, 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, September 17 2015
So, now that the kids are back at school and the Fall season is just days away, many of us are looking to shed a few of those pounds we gained over the Summer. Blame it on the Summer treats such as ice cream, those barbecues and parties with friends and family and perhaps lack of exercise due to the hot temperatures outside. However it happened, you are considering going on a weight loss program.
Well, I have a weight loss program we can all be successful at. Are you ready?
I would like to see you shed the "pounds" of clothing in your closets and dressers! Yes, you heard me. You can loss pounds.
So many of my clients have an abundance of clothing in their wardrobe. It is easy to put on the pounds (of clothing) but, just like other weight loss programs, not always as easy to shed them.
We go to the store or go online and start shopping. We come home with those new items we just can't live without and, boom, over time, our wardrobes grow to the point where we no longer know what we have or no longer wear all the clothing we have.
Do you know that statistics show that we wear twenty (20%) percent of our clothes eighty (80%) percent of the time? That means that eighty (80%) percent of our clothing we purchase and never wear or keep and no longer wear but keep it anyway. I find that astonishing!
I guarantee that if you went through your wardrobe, you could identify "pounds" of clothing that you've bought and have never worn or purchased a long time ago and no longer wear.
I challenge you to see how many pounds you can shed just by going through your wardrobe and eliminating those items.
This is a guaranteed weight loss program you can be successful at, and reach your goal very quickly.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, I am here to help. I can help you to go through your wardrobe in a systematic way to help you make choices about what to keep and what to donate or toss (or in some instances, consign) so that you can have a wardrobe you make use of and enjoy. I will help to create a wardrobe that fits your current lifestyle. It will feel like a brand new wardrobe!
Let's eliminate about eighty (80%) percent of your weight when it comes to your clothing. Just imagine how good that will feel!
Contact me if you want to discuss your particular situation. I want nothing more than for you to be successful!
Take the first step to shedding some pounds today!
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.
Monday, February 23 2015
Last night I was watching the Academy Awards Ceremony a/k/a The Oscars and it got me thinking of the stage. The stage can be set for homeowners who are looking to sell their homes, as well.
I am well aware that we are in the midst of the winter season, but, before you know it, Spring will be here and that tends to be the time of year when people are looking to put their home up for sale. It is a little more complicated than just putting a sign on your lawn. You need to prepare - and what better time to begin the process than during these cold winter months.
Over the years, I have helped realtors and home owners alike, "set the stage" to get their home ready to sell. Although there are many aspects to staging your home for sale, I would like to provide you with a quick overview of some areas to focus on.
1. Closets - If packed tightly, closets will make a home appear to lack closet space. It is vital that you eliminate the unnecessary clutter in a closet and organize it to maximize the amount of open space you want to show to the potential buyer. Using matching hangers for clothing will create a nice visual impact, as well.
2. Bedrooms - The bed should face towards the doorway and be the focal point of the bedroom. Eliminating the excess furniture will provide plenty of space in the room for navigation and clear surfaces on end tables and dressers will be pleasing to the eye.
3. Bathrooms - Be sure the surfaces are clean and clear. Remove soap scum and redo any grout that has discolored over time. A clean bathroom is a great way to stage your bathroom. Create a functional but relaxing environment, especially in a master bathroom. The display of white or cream colored towels will open up the space in the bathroom and provide a spa-like feel.
4. Kitchen - A simple and inexpensive way to update your kitchen is to use a new coat of wood stain or a good sanding and a coat of paint. Replace the hardware for a fresh new look and, as always, clear your surfaces of clutter. Lastly, remove area rugs from in front of the sink to open up the visual appearance of the kitchen.
*On average, most sellers will spend an average of $1950 on their bathroom and kitchen renovations with an ultimate return of approximately $3250, which is about a 65% on their return. Bathrooms and kitchens are essential spaces in the home and where most buyers are either won over or lost.
5. Living Room - Providing plenty of light in this room is a major source of approval by a potential buyer. Be sure that the shades are open and use lighter colors where possible to give the room a more spaceous look. Create clear paths to navigate and avoid having the back of a sofa face the main pathway. You want to open up the room to visitors and not block them off with misplaced furniture.
A few simple steps can increase your home's potential for a higher selling price. Removing clutter is one of the most important ways to do this.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of staging your home for sale or considering downsizing, don't hesitate to contact me. I can help you to "set the stage" for sale.
In the meantime, have a great week!
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!
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!
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!
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, April 14 2014
Do you multi-task? Is it really possible? This subject is constantly debated. Some say yes, it is possible. Some say no.
The truth is, when we think we are multi-tasking, in most instances, we are not. Yes, we might be doing several things at one time, that is true. However, we are not saving any time doing so. We are working on pieces, we are not completely focused on a task and, most importantly, there is no time being saved by doing two, or even three things at a time. It's all about focus. If we take the time to focus on one task at at a time, we will get it done more quickly and more efficiently. That is a fact!
Now, can we use items in our home for various purposes? Sure we can! That's what I call multi-tasking! Here are some examples:
1. ICE CUBE TRAY -
* Gather desk supplies such as thumb tacks and paper clips.
* Organize sewing items such as buttons, beads and hooks.
* Use one in your dresser drawer to organize small earrings or pins.
2. SHOE ORGANIZER WITH POCKETS -
* Store art supplies. A plastic hanging shoe organizer can hold, paints, pens, brushes, glue sticks and stickers.
* Use one on the back of the bathroom closet door to store small soaps, razors, sample bottles of lotions or nail polish.
* Place one in your clothes closet to separate pantyhose or pairs of knee high socks.
3. LAUNDRY BASKET -
* Protect delicate plants during a rain storm or hail storm by turning the basket upside down on top of them and burying the edges in the dirt.
* Gather garden supplies, including a garden hose. Coil the hose and stash your sprinkers, nozzles and other attachments in the middle of the coil.
* Take one to the beach filled with beach toys for the kids. Flip it over to use as a table at lunch time.
Can you think of other ways to multi-task, besides running around doing two or three things at a time? Use your imagination and take another look at what you already have in your home that you can use for other purposes. Be creative!
Share your ideas! I would love to hear from you!
If you are simply overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help. I can show you creative ways to use what you already have and repurpose them to help you get and stay organized once and for all!
I am just a phone call (or email) away! I would love to hear from you!
Thursday, September 05 2013
As the Summer ends and Fall begin, this is a time of transition and renewal. It's also time to evaluate where we are in our lives and what we have.
We can all agree that having multiples of certain items in your home (for example, toilet paper) or in your office (pens) are helpful and make sense to have. Since we use these items often, we need to be sure that we can store them in a way that makes it easy to access them.
However, sometimes, multiple items can accumulate and begin to take up valuable space. We want to be sure not to let those items cause us "double vision". They should not get out of control.
Here are five items that you probably have duplicates of:
1. Paper shopping bags. How many have you accumulated from the grocery store? Although they can be useful for various purposes, if you find that they are accumulating, consider donating them to charities that could benefit from them. Some charities bag up meals, clothes, supplies or purchases and are always looking for bag donations. Check with your local charity to see if they are in need of this item.
2. Hotel toiletries. I have talked about this in a previous blog, but I think it is worth repeating. If you are a frequent traveler, chances are you have come home with travel-size toiletry bottles and packets. If you find that you are just collecting them and not using them, you can offer them to overnight guests in a basket in the bathroom, use shower caps as food container covers or donate them to a local shelter. You can even leave them at the hotel and not bring them home at all. Let others make use of them instead.
3. Pens, pencils and markers. I don't know about you but the pens, pencils and sometimes markers seem to multiply in my house. How often do you come home with a pen that you borrowed and forgot to return? I must admit it happens to me from time to time. When my son was in public school, he "acquired" lots of pens and pencils throughout the school term. Don't ask! If you end up with an abundance of pens, pencils or markers, consider donating them instead of holding onto them. It's impossible to use all of them! Donate them to your local school or community center or the Pencil Project.
4. Bedding. When was the last time you went through your linen closet and eliminated the older sets of sheets or blankets that you no longer use? We tend to hold onto more sets than we need. If you change your sheets once a week, you don't need more than two, maybe three sets per bed. The third set might be a set of flannel sheets. Are they stained, torn, or don't fit the beds you currently own? Consider donating them to a local charity if they are in good shape or a local animal shelter. They are always in dire need of bedding.
5. Mugs. Do you bring home mugs from places that you've traveled or received them as a promotional item at an event? They can accumulate in your kitchen cabinet over time. We tend to have our favorites and don't tend to reach for the others. If you find that you have too many, consider donating them to a local charity in your area or to that college student living in a dorm or apartment.
So, are you seeing double in your home? Take a look around and start putting things together that you can donate. You will gain more space for your important items and help others in the process.
If you need assistance in downsizing your possession, feel free to contact me at A Better Space. I am here to help.
Until next time, HAPPY ORGANIZING!
Monday, August 12 2013
Recently I helped a client prepare her home for sale. She was downsizing from a three-bedroom rancher with a full basement to a two bedroom condo. I not only helped her de-clutter, I helped organize, downsize and stage her home in preparation for putting it on the market.
This prompted me to think about some low cost ways you can spruce up your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers (or even for you to continue to live in):
1. Landscape - Your home's curb appeal is the first thing that people notice when they drive up to your home. Keep your lawn mowed and weed-free. Trim the shrubs low enough to be able to see the front windows. Put out some colorful hanging baskets of flowers near the front door to create an inviting entrance.
2. Paint the interior - A fresh coat of paint or a new color on the walls can change the look of a room very quickly. If you are painting in order to sell your home, avoid dramatic colors and stick with neutrals. Save the color for accent pillows, area rugs or other items that are mobile and easily changed out.
3. Give the kitchen cabinets and drawers a makeover. You can refinish the cabinets and drawers with a coat of paint or stain to give them a fresh look. Updating the hardware on will provide a whole new look.
4. Update light fixtures. If you are currently dining under a chandelier or light fixture that is 20 years old or if you are getting ready each morning under drab lighting in your bathroom, it's time to add some new lighting. Select tasteful yet simple fixtures and add a dimmer in the dining room for extra appeal. Use bright, natural lighting in the bathroom. By cleaning your fixtures, you will be able to provide additional brightness to a room very quickly.
5. Maximize storage. As a professional organizer, I believe that this is very important. Cramped closets are unattractive to buyers and frustrating to your family members. Clear out everything from the closet and only put back what you currently need to keep. Use a closet system that provides plenty of shelving and rods for efficient organization.
Whether you are putting your house on the market or want to simply spruce up your home for you and your family, utilizing these tips will start you on your way.
After helping my client to stage her home, she was able put it on the market and received an offer within six days. She is making settlement at the end of the month.
If you need assistance with preparing your home for sale, contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
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!
Saturday, February 09 2013
Wow! January was crazy busy for A Better Space. So many people contacted me to help them get organized. That is why I did not blog in almost a month! I believe we can all find a little time in our day to get organized, right?
If you need to get organized but can't seem to find the time, I have some suggestions for things you can do to at least get started. They only require about 15 minutes a day! I am sure you can carve out 15 minutes out of your day to get some organizing done.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Organize a 15 minute family pick-up. Get everyone involved to go around the house and gather up items that do not belong in that particular room and put them away. (This can be done on a daily basis to keep the clutter under control.)
2. Gather your remote controls for the television and gaming devices in your family room and put them into one basket. If there are similar devices in other rooms, do the same thing.
3. Go through your sock drawer. Gather those single socks, ones that are worn out or no longer worn. Old socks sometimes make great handheld dusters. Only keep a few for this purpose, though. The rest have to go! Pair up the rest and put them away.
4. Match your plastic containers with their lids. Go into your kitchen and gather all of your plastic containers and plastic lids. Put the lids on the containers and get rid of the ones that don't have a matching lid. Reduce the amount that you have if you have too many. With the lids in place, you will never have to find a matching lid again.
5. Do a clothing toss. Go through your closet and quickly eliminate those items you no longer like, you never wear or no longer fit. Donate the items that are still in good condition.
6. Do a medicine cabinet review. Eliminate old or expired medications. Only keep the items you still use. Old medications can be returned to your pharmacist to recycle.
7. Organize your bathroom towels. Go through the linen closet and get rid of the old and worn out towels you no longer use. Only keep enough on hand for one week's use. Too many towels means too much clutter.
8. Check the back of the fridge. You probably have items that have gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator and are no longer useable. Get rid of them and then organize like items together in the fridge so you can easily find what you need when you need it. Keep leftovers at the front so they get used up first.
There are many other ways to get organized in just 15 minutes. What will you do to get your home organized with just 15 minutes a day? I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with others.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, January 14 2013
Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a fan of the winter months. The snow can be pretty but I do not like cold weather.
However, there is a reason for me to love the month of January. It's National Get Organized Month! What better month is there for a professional organizer like myself.
I don't know about you but I do like to start off the New Year with a new start. I have been diligently working in my own home to rid it of clutter. Understand that it is not out of hand but there are still things that need to be gone through and eliminated.
I started the month by working in my clothes closet in my master bedroom. I have a nice size walk-in closet and it is easy to fill it with clothes, shoes and accessories. As busy as I can get with my business, I tend to not review my wardrobe as often as I should. I do go through and eliminate items as I put them on and find that I don't want them anymore, but this time was different. I took the time to actually try on pants, jackets, dresses, skirts and tops. I was amazed at what I found; namely, two and a half trash bags of clothes that no longer fit or that I liked. Wow, I could not believe that I have held onto that many articles of clothing that no longer serve me.
Granted, I put on some weight over the Summer and it is likely I will not return back to the weight that will allow me to get back in these clothes again. What can I say, I am getting older and my body type has changed. Moving on... I am realistic enough to know that holding onto these clothes is not in my best interest. I do not live with "Someday Syndrome".
As I continue to work through my home to eliminate the excess, I am feeling the difference. My home actually feels lighter and more spaceous. It brings a sense of calm.
So let me ask you. What are you doing to lighten the load in your house during this year's National Get Organized Month?
If you need any assistance in doing so, let me know. I can help. In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, January 08 2013
One of my goals for the New Year was to go through my wardrobe and weed out what no longer fits or I no longer like. Happens to all of us!
I am fortunate to have lots of closet space in my home, but the down side of that can be that I fill it. My wardrobe has become quite extensive as a result. I had room for everything but I decided it was just too much.
Little did I know, that when I went through my walk-in closet and guest room closet, that I would be eliminating as much as I did. (I didn't even get to the shoes or my dressers yet!)
I decided to view my wardrobe as if I was shopping. I would try on clothes and look in the mirror. I asked myself several questions:
"Do I still like this item?"
"Do I like the way it looks on me?" And most importantly,
"If I were to try this on in a store, would I buy it?"
If the answer to any of these questions was "No", it was removed from the wardrobe.
I had suits, pants, tops, dresses, skirts and jackets that I swore still fit me. However, when I went to try them on, I found out differently. Some classic suits had been in my wardrobe for years. I discovered I had tops, pants and skirts that were no longer comfortable. Admittedly, I have put on some weight so those clothes no longer fit. It was now time to get rid of them. Realisticall, I will never be a Size 0 or Size 2 again.
Using the last question I think is the most important and easiest to detemine whether to keep something in your wardrobe. This can apply to everything you wear - jewelry, purses, belts, scarves, etc. I believe it eliminates the "Someday Syndrome" or the "Maybe" syndrome. It helps you to be more definitive about your decisions.
So the next time you are going through your closets and your drawers, pretend you are shopping and ask yourself "If I were to try this on in a store, would I buy it?" If not, either throw it away or, better yet, donate the clothing to your local non-profit such as Goodwill. Others will appreciate your contribution and it can be a tax deduction.
If you have difficulty weeding through your wardrobe, contact me. I can help. Remember, less is more!
In the meantime, have a great day!
Tuesday, November 27 2012
The holiday season is officially upon us as of Thanksgiving. The holidays tend to center around the kitchen and one important aspect of the kitchen is the pantry.
This past weekend, I worked with a client to organize her pantry. She loves to cook and a key aspect of that is being able to go to her pantry and quickly retrieve what she needs. She was, however, having difficulty doing so because she was not sure what was in the pantry and where things were stored. She did not have a system.
We emptied out the entire pantry and looked at everything. We eliminated the excess and then grouped like items together according to her own personal preference.
Containers had been purchased ahead of time when we first evaluated the space to help containerize certain items. Then, it was just a matter of figuring out what items belonged where. She already had a hanging rack on the inside of the pantry door. We repurposed it so that items being stored on the door were the items she most frequently accessed. We utilized her various shelves to store like items together.
After the process was complete and the layout met my client's needs, we noticed that certain items were missing. She now knew she needed to go shopping for pasta, tomato sauce, cereal and crackers. We had left space for those items to be incorporated.
To make sure you have the staples needed in your pantry, I am providing a list of items that I recommend: (Your items might differ slightly)
Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Spices, Red Cooking Wine, White Cooking Wine, Chicken Broth;
Canned Tuna, Tomato Paste, Jarred Marinara and/or Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Rice, Pasta, Beans, Cereal, Crackers,
All-purpose Flour, Sugar, Oats, Bread Crumbs, Condiments, Salad Dressings.
Again, your items might differ but you can use this as a basis to get started.
So, now that you have an idea as to how I helped my client organize her pantry, you don't need to ponder your pantry anymore. If, however, you need further assistance, don't hesitate to contact me.
In the meantime, have a great week!
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!
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, February 27 2012
There are so many options available to us these days to help us get and stay organized. I love options because everyone does not function the same way. Some people are auditory, some are visual and some are experiential learners (hands on).
There are several ways to organize your paperwork if you like clear your surfaces (who doesn't) but still be able to see what you have. (Visual). One way is to make use of binder clips!
Here are some examples of how you can use Binder Clips to get and stay organized:
Use them on the back of a door, a cabinet, a bulletin board or a wall. Adding a magnetic hook or push pins to the mix are a good complement.
I like to take a label maker and put labels on the actual clips themselves to give them a specific purpose. You can even color code the binder clips as they come in so many different colors these days. You don't need to stick with black.
A use for color-coded Binder Clips is to use them for various tasks or for each family member. Assign a specific color to each.
You can clip recipes together for the week and hang them on the inside of a cabinet door.
Use a magnetic hook on the side of your fridge to hang the Binder Clip on for a shopping list with coupons.
Use push pins on the front of a shelf to hand the clips.
Hang a Binder Clip inside the door, under the sink in your kitchen or bathroom, to hold your rubber gloves.
Hang magnetic hooks on the side of a filing cabinet near your desk and create binder clips for "hot" action items.
You can also use a bulletin board with a labeled binder clip called "HOT".
If you can't locate your label maker, you can use a binder clip to clip a labeled index card onto the front of a small bin on a shelf.
If letter trays do not work for you to sort your mail, use a Binder Clips that are labeled "Pay", "Action" and "File".
For paper management purposes, Binder Clips create a boundary. They limit the amount of paper work that builds up. It forces you to create a limit as to how long you put off the inevitable. You will need to keep it under control!
As you can see, there are multiple uses for just a simple Binder Clip. Use your imagination! I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with everyone!
So, get out those binder clips and put them to good use in organizing your home and your life.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, February 20 2012
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the winter has been somewhat mild this year and we might not have had the opportunity to wear those very heavy wool sweaters, our fur lined boots and heavy winter coats.
If you are anything like me, that's quite all right. However, it does not mean that it's not time for that mid-winter check to see what we have used or what we wanted to use but because of the warm temps this year did not get to use.
This is a good time for you to go through those winter-related items and donate the excess to charity. You will free up space in your home and provide others in need with items they can use to make it through the rest of the winter comfortably, by donating them to a local charity.
Take some time to check out the following:
Blankets - Are there blankets in closets or in a cedar chest that you have not used in the past several years?
Sweaters - If you haven't worn certain sweaters by now, will you wear them by the end of the season?
Hats, gloves and scarves - If you have children, do their hats and gloves still fit them? Do you just have too many that have accumulated?
Coats - Just like your sweaters, if you haven't worn that coat this year, are you going to wear them by the end of the season?
Boots - If they are still in good condition, someone in need could use the ones you no longer wear. Are they not comfortable, out of style, not your favorites?
Outdoor recreation items: Have you checked your collection of snow shovels lately? Did you purchase a new one and not get rid of the older one? How about your sleds, toboggans or ski equipment? Don't have them take up additional space in your garage or attic if you are not using them anymore.
Decorations: Is there any holiday or winter decoration you didn't put out this year? You can sell them on Ebay, Craigs List or give them away thru Freecycle. See if any local day care centers can use some of them.
Eliminate the excess by either selling the items, donating them to a charity or giving them away thru Freecycle or to a local entity. Someone else will be glad to have them.
Let's make space for Spring! It will be here before we know it.
Tuesday, August 23 2011
I have no idea where the Summer has gone. As it seems to do every year, it flew by and we are now looking at getting the kids back to school, resume our normal routine and put the lazy days of Summer behind us.
The change of seasons is a great time to evaluate and perhaps re-evaluate what we need to do in order to get organized. Sometimes things tend to fall by the wayside (especially during the Summer months).
Perhaps you had a project that you meant to get to this Summer but you never got around to it. It could have been something such as decluttering and organizing the storage room, trimming the hedges, painting a bedroom, evaluating your wardrobe and eliminating items that no longer fit or that you don't like, getting rid of toys your child no longer plays with, organizing the pantry or organizing your desk area where you pay bills.
Before you get too inundated with the responsibilities that the new season will bring, I suggest that you take some time to walk around your home and make a list of things you want to declutter and organize and then get started on that list.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, let me know and I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your Summer!
Friday, 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!