Wednesday, January 16 2019
Another year is underway. Have you made any resolutions? (Honestly, I hate that question.) I don't make resolutions anymore because I have a tendency to fail. I stop exercising after about a month, I start eating more desserts than I should after a few months of eating healthy. It's just too much pressure!
Instead, I set a goal or an intention. I find I am much more successful that way and it makes me feel much less pressured.
Last year, my goal was to declutter and upgrade my entire home, from top to bottom. Yes, one whole year to do so. I focused on one room a month, for twelve months. I planned it out in great detail at the beginning of the year. I decluttered what needed to be, did some cosmetic upgrades and tweaked some organization in my home. By year's end, I was thrilled with the results.
Although I did not get to the basement like I had planned, (mainly because some things took longer than expected), I am setting a goal for the next two months to finish decluttering and organizing the entire basement. With being as busy as I am, this goal is reasonable and achievable.
This year, I decided to have a theme. I decided to name my theme for 2019 "Use What You Have". I am fortunate to live in a nice home and have what I need. Last year's project re-aquainted me with all that I have. I realized, I have enough. As the saying goes "Enough is enough". I am going on a buying diet. I am going to focus on using what I already have, instead of purchasing more. This is especially true for me when it comes to clothing and shoes. I am resisting the urge to purchase more and simply use what I have.
I plan on making more use of my serving dishes and trays, which have been stored away since my wedding in 2002 and infrequently used.
I plan on burning the candles I have been storing. I love candles and love to use them but I have aquired a lot and have not made it a habit of burning them. Now I will!
I plan on reading the books I have aquired without getting more. This is particularly true for my fiction books. I love books! People give me books! I can't resist accepting their offers to take their books they no longer want. I have enough!
Honestly, now that I am in my late 50's, I recognize that I have to be honest with myself and need to make sure I will have enough time to get to make use all of my possessions. Trust me, storage is not an issue. I have plenty of room, but, I don't want to run out of time before I have used what I have.
Hopefully, this is food for thought. Is it possible for you to go on a purchasing diet, like me, this year, and "Use What You Have"?
I am curious as to what you believe you have enough of and what you can avoid purchasing more of this year. Post a response to this blog below and share your thoughts. Let's all inspire each other to Use What You Have.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with too much stuff in your home and want to simplify, don't hesitate to contact me.
I am here for you!
Monday, April 17 2017
With the Summer season just around the corner, many of us get on the "decluttering bandwagon" to freshen up our wardrobe and various areas in our home. Did you know that you can actually make money from your clutter? It's true!
Do you have CD's, DVD's, blue rays and video games you are no longer using or want? Why do they need to take up precious real estate in your home, then? Decluttr.com is an online site where you can sell these items. Simply scan the bar code on your item to learn the value, ship them and the money will be direct deposited into your account or even sent to you via check the next day. How easy is that?!?! And...better yet, the site even pays your shipping! You have no excuses!
Nextworth.com is a site where you can sell get a quote, ship for free and get paid for your smartphones, tablets, video games, laptops, ipods, video cameras, portable audio and wearables such as FitBit.
Do you have designer clothing you would prefer to sell instead of donate or throw away? Then, Tradesy.com is for you! All you need to do is list the items in your closet or dresser that you want to sell. (Good photos will help you sell your items faster.) Once they sell, the site sends you a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping kit so you can send your merchandise. They take 9% commission on each sale. Certainly, making 91% is better than having the item take up space in your closet!
If you take a closer look around your home, I am sure you will locate items that you are ready to part with and have just become clutter. Why not sell them and make some money?
Hint, hint - You can then use the money you've made to hire a professional organize like myself to declutter and organize the various areas of your home that are just too overwhelming for you to deal with. It's a win-win situation!
If you are in need of A Better Space, don't hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to help!
Monday, July 27 2015
It's Monday afternoon and I just returned from a four day trip on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle from Bucks County, PA to Canaan Valley, West Virginia last night. The weather was amazing and the sites spectacular.
I am relatively new to the life of a "Biker Babe" and, although the rides and trips are amazing, I am having to adjust my way of thinking. I am learning some lessons in living a minimalistic life - I have no choice.
I have a small SUV which I purchased several years ago to enable me to transport almost anything and everything - for my clients and for myself. When I head out on vacation, I am able to fill the SUV with whatever I need and want. Not so on a Harley!
In order for me to plan for a four day excursion with my boyfriend, I had to pack whatever I needed or wanted in one-half of a suitcase that could be strapped to the back of the bike. Not an easy task.
I openly admit that I like my creature comforts and, because I have the brain of an organizer, I am detail oriented and like to be prepared for anything and everything. You do not have that option when packing for a trip with only the use of 1/2 of a suitcase.
I am aware that some people do not find this a challenge, but I do. Mike was great and very patient with me when I was packing and talked me through the process. For four days, I could pack one pair of jeans, a pair of shorts, a bathing suit and coverup, two night shirts, under garments, six shirts, a denim jacket, one fleese and rain gear along with my toiletries. Layering is a must on a Harley. Although it was in the 80's everyday, [perfect riding weather], the mornings were chilly and required four layers of clothing.
These are the lessons I learned:
One pair of jeans for daytime and one pair for night time;
The shirt you wear in the evening is the shirt you wear the next day;
Only one pair of sneaks and one pair of sandals get packed. [This was particularly difficult for me!]
Layering is critical no matter what time of year.
Toiletries need to be downsized considerably and travel size products are your best friend.
Although Mike teased me throughout the trip about us having the largest suitcase in the group, we managed to pack what I needed and still leave room for his stuff and, most importantly, get the suitcase zippered shut!
This biker babe is still learning the tricks to living a minimalistic life when it comes to traveling on the bike. I have found that it is giving me a different perspective as to what is really important. Only pack what you need, not what you want. It is possible!
I believe the same holds true in our homes. I am not saying get rid of everything you own; but, try to look at your possessions and think about whether you actually need them. This is a good way to reduce the clutter in your home and in your life!
I promise that the next trip I take on the motorcycle will involve even less!
Monday, April 13 2015
It's time to think outside of the box! There are so many items that can be re-purposed in a new way. Now, I am not suggesting that you hold on to everything you own for this reason. That would be hoarding!
However, below I have created a short list of seven items you can use in a new and different way. Let's be creative!
1. Coffee Filter - The original use is to keep coffee grounds out of your coffee cup. A new use is to put a filter at the bottom of a flower pot to prevent soil from draining out of the pot.
2. Paper Shredder - The original use is to protect against identity theft by shredding confidential documentation before disposing of it. A new use is to create decorative tissue paper filler in a gift box or gift bag without having to purchase bags of already shredded filler at the store.
3. Tissue Box - The original use is to hold tissues for running noses and watery eyes. A new use is to store plastic grocery bags under the kitchen sink or bathroom vanity to save space.
4. Toothbrush Holder - The original use is obvious - to store the household's various toothbrushes in an upright position and separate them from each other. The new use is to hold individual flowers. Fill the holder with water, cut the stems so they are only a few inches above the top of the holder and slide one flower into each slot. This is idea for a small arrangement of flowers.
5. Dried Spaghetti - The original use is a staple in most households to accompany the meatballs. The new use is to light multiple candles when extra-long matches are not available.
6. Ice Cube Tray - The original use is to make ice cubes. The new use is to organize earrings. Use the separate compartments to sort out pairs of earrings for easy storage and retrieval. (And they stack nicely in a drawer.)
7. Dental Floss - The original use is to clean in between your teeth for good dental health. The new use is to unstick photographs that are stuck to an album page by working the floss in between the two surfaces without damaging the picture.
Now that I have provided you with some ideas, do you have any of your own? If so, please comment below and share with others. Let's all be more green this Spring!
If you are overwhelmed with the contents in your home and need help deciding what to keep, toss or donate, don't hesitate to give me a call at A Better Space. I am an expert in interior redesign and can help you utilize items already in your home in a new way.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, February 09 2015
Have you heard of the concept of having a Memory Box? I personally feel that everyone should have one (or a few). Everyone goes through life and gathers fond memories of people they have met, places they have gone or things they have done. You should have a designated place to store those memories, hence...A Memory Box.
The first time I created a Memory Box was back in 1998 following the passing of my husband the previous year. To this day, it contains fond memories of photos, letters and other items I collected during our 15 year relationship. I also created one for my son who was 7 at the time to contain his fond memories of his relationship with his father. Both of us open up our boxes from time to time and go down Memory Lane together, reflecting on our special times with my late husband and his father.
Memory Boxes are great, however, there are guidelines you should follow:
1. Store your own memories in your own box. This box is not intended to be shared with others. It is personal. Moms often want to store their kids' memories along with their own in one box. Keep in mind that you have your own memories of your kids and your kids have their own memories and they should be kept in separate Memory Boxes. Do not co-mingle!
2. Be selective. Just like anything else that you keep, "everything cannot be your favorite". Using an appropriate-sized memory box is great for setting boundaries as to how much you keep. When a box gets too full, it is a sign that you are saving too much and you need to go through the box and eliminate what is not longer relevant. Pick your favorites!
3. Do an annual review. Contrary to popular belief, what was important at one point in your life might not be as important now. Your memories and emotional attachment to things change. I have found that over the course of the years, what was once so important and relevant is not so much any more, and that's okay. This is especially true with children. That macaroni art from Kindergarten was so amazing when it came through the door ten times that year, but now, your child is in 6th grade, and that macaroni art is not so incredible anymore - at least not all ten! I highly suggest that you go through your Memory Box once a year and do a review. (For kids in grade school, I recommend the end of the school term.) Make room for the new memories that you will gather in the coming year.
4. Don't confuse a Memory Box with a random storage container. Your Memory Box is not intended to be a place to put things that you don't know where else they should be stored. It is not to be used as a catch all. If you have different categories for memories such as I do (I have one strictly relating to my relationship with my late husband and another more current box of memories), that is fine. Don't keep memories that evoke sad or bitter times in your life. You want to be sure they are "positive memories" that evoke happy times in your life.
I encourage you to create a Memory Box for you and every member of your family. Store them in a place that is accessible for those times when you want to go down Memory Lane and relive those happy times in your life.
Remember, it's a Memory Box, not a random storage container. Fill your box with happy memories that you will enjoy for years to come!
Wishing you an organized week filled with fond memories!
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!
Tuesday, September 02 2014
It's that time of year when we are settling back down into our routines, either with work, school or the household. Vacations are behind us, the kids are returning to school and the normal routine of running a household returns. It's all a balancing act.
There are some ways that you can (again) create balance in your life when it comes to getting organized.
1. The "One in, one out" rule. Whenever you bring something new into the house, get rid of something. Are you purchasing new clothes for the upcoming Fall season? Go through your closet and get rid of the items you did not wear this past Summer.
2. Do not transfer your clutter. You will not do yourself any favors by clearing off the dining room table of clutter and moving it to the home office floor. Deal with it now to avoid a project later.
3. To do or not to do, that is the question. Consolidate all of your "to do's" onto one list and decide whether you are going to do it yourself (and schedule a time to get it done), delegate it to someone else or not do it at all. Keep your "to do's" moving.
4. Finish what you start. Do not move from one area to another when organizing. Finish what you start and then move on to the next area.
5. Store it where it's used. When deciding where something should go, ask yourself where it is used. Keep like things together so you can easily find them when you need them.
6. Don't be afraid of open spaces. It's okay to keep a drawer empty or a shelf in a cabinet empty. You don't have to fill every nook and cranny with "stuff". It's a great back-up spot for those times when you need a little more space.
7. Location, location, location. Mark shelves, bins and boxes with labels so everyone will know where things belong and can help put things away in their correct location.
8. Double trouble. Don't keep multiples of things that are not being used. You do not need two can openers or four pair of tweezers. Get rid of the duplicates either by passing them onto someone else, donating them or throwing them away if they are not in good condition.
9. Get back on that horse. Everyone falls off the organizing horse from time to time. Maintaining organization is a continual process. Allow yourself to fall behind from time to time, but don't delay in getting right back up, dusting yourself off, and starting over again. (The good news is that if you are organized to begin with, it will not be so hard to do!)
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, I am here to help. As a professional organizer, I can help you find your balance. Now, with a new season approaching, it's a great time to create A Better Space. Don't hesitate to contact me.
Monday, August 11 2014
How many times have you said to yourself "I want to get organized, but..."? We have lots of reasons as to why we put off what we know we should (and hopefully, want to) get done. Do you tend to procrastinate? Do you dislike doing certain things? (We all do!). Whether it is at home or at work, there are tasks we dislike and, therefore, procrastinate doing. The result can be clutter and disorganization.
It is possible that changing just one thing associated with those tasks could improve how you think about completing the task. Here are some suggestions:
1. It's Time For A Change - Sometimes changing when you do an activity can make all the difference in the world. It can improve how you think about the task. For example, if you normally attempt to tackle an unpleasant task right before you leave work for the day, try moving it to either first thing in the morning, or perhaps right after lunch instead. If you don't like to go food shopping on weekends, make a change and try food shopping one evening during the week instead.
2. Looks Mean Everything - This might sound superficial, but if you don't like the appearance of something, you might not enjoy using it. If your home office is cluttered, not well lit and does not have some things in it that bring you joy, you might avoid spending time in that room. You are not utilizing the space for which it was intended. Get some brightly colored file folders, a nice pen to write with and create a system for staying up to date with your paper management. Paint the walls, hang some pictures and make the room more pleasant to spend time in. (A Better Space can help you create a room you enjoy spending time in.)
3. Game Time - Challenge yourself. If you have some menial tasks you need to get done but keep putting off, set a timer or put on some music and challenge yourself to get them done within a certain period of time. Clean up your desk surface, take out the trash or wash some dishes. It just might help you to get those tasks completed.
4. Connect The Dots - As in all types of organization, it is best to put like things together. The same is true with your tasks. Find a task that needs to be done and see if you can link it to another activity that is more enjoyable. Plan a business meeting near a favorite restaurant that you can go to afterwards. Carpool to a distant location with a friend or colleague to make the long drive more tolerable. Play some of your favorite music while cleaning the house. Some tasks are just not enjoyable but if you link them to an activity that you enjoy, you will improve the overall experience.
5. Break It Down Into Manageable Pieces - Some tasks, like getting organized, can be so overwhelming that we do nothing to get the job done. By doing a task or project in small, manageable pieces, you will find that you are more productive. If you don't like to file, set a timer once a day for 15 minutes. You don't have to do it all at one time. Small, consistent chunks of time can sometimes be much more productive. (A Better Space can show you how to eliminate the clutter, get organized and put systems into place that are not time consuming, but productive.)
Try one or all of these suggestions and see if you feel a difference when it comes to getting organized and your tasks completed. Feel free to comment below and share your experience with others.
In the meantime, if you want to get organized, but...you are overwhelmed with your clutter and don't know where to begin, let A Better Space help.
Wednesday, July 30 2014
Even though it's Summertime and we intend to be lazy, it can sometimes be the crazy days of Summer instead. The kids are out of school, we are running from one activity to another to keep them busy, we are planning and going on day trips or vacations and we just can't find the time to get organized.
Not to worry. You don't have to wait until the kids return to school. You can still do some simple things to get on the road to organization now.
I have some suggestions that will take five minutes and help you out:
1. Hang Some Hooks - They take very little time to install and are a quick solution for getting things up off the floor - towels in the bathroom, camp bags in the mudroom, clothes in the bedroom, etc.
2. Do A Hanger Purge - Hangers that are laying around are not being put to good use. Gather the extra wire hangers and give them back to the dry cleaner. Refuse hangers when making a clothing purchase at the store. Keep hangers on the rod for clothes that will be returned from the wash to mark the space where they belong. One hanger per item is all that is needed. The rest can go!
3. Eliminate Junk Mail - While bringing in the mail each day, identify the junk mail before it even enters your home. Keep a recycling bin and paper shredder near the entrance to your home for easy disposal.
4. Take It With You - Whether you are leaving a room in your home to go to another, going upstairs from the first floor or downstairs from the second floor, take something with you that doesn't belong there and put it away. This applies to your car as well. Before you get out of the car, take your trash or other items that do not belong there.
5. Create A Donation Destination - Pick a room where you can have a container for donations. A great place to keep a donation box is in a closet or the laundry room for clothing that no longer fits or that you no longer like. Other suggestions are for toys that hte kids outgrow or no longer play with. Add to the box as you go and when it is full, take it to your local Goodwill or other non-profit charitable organization.
So, no matter how busy you are, you can still find ways to get and stay organized with just five minutes of your time.
Which tip did you like the best? What other ideas do you have for five minutes of organization?
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help. I have lots of great ideas for you to create A Better Space anywhere in your home. Contact me! I am here to help.
In the meantime, enjoy your Summer!
Tuesday, May 06 2014
Have you taken a look around lately? All of us have things scattered around the house that can be re-purposed. There is something in almost every room of the home, in fact.
Today, I want to share with you 10 ideas for items you already have in your home that you can "re-purpose on purpose":
1. A CD tower in the bathroom can be used to hold toilet paper, toiletries or small towels. You can even turn it on its side with the openings upright and hang it on the wall for additional storage.
2. A tennis ball canister or Pringles canister that has been cut on the bottom can be used to hold paper baking liners for cupcakes and muffins or to hold paper cups. Hang it on the wall to save space. It can be used for so many other things too!
3. A hard glass case is useful to store your ear buds or other small items in your luggage or handbag.
4. A muffin pan is a great way to store small items in your drawer in the bathroom or bedroom such as children's hair clips or jewelry.
5. An upright magazine holder can be used for gift bag storage or sheets of wrapping paper.
6. A long towel holder with knobs can be mounted on the back of a door or on a wall to organize your jewelry.
7. Use a business card case to transport your favorite sweetener packets.
8. Re-use a tissue box to store plastic grocery bags.
9. A small shower caddy can be hung on a doorknob in your laundry room to hold detergent, dryer sheets, clothes pins, etc.
10. Use an acrylic napkin holder to organize your bills to be paid, putting them in chronological order to avoid late payment.
Which of these items will you repurpose? What other ideas do you have for re-purposing your items? Take a look around and get creative!
If you are simply overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, contact me at A Better Space. I will be more than happy to help. Let's "re-purpose on purpose" together!
Monday, April 14 2014
Do you multi-task? Is it really possible? This subject is constantly debated. Some say yes, it is possible. Some say no.
The truth is, when we think we are multi-tasking, in most instances, we are not. Yes, we might be doing several things at one time, that is true. However, we are not saving any time doing so. We are working on pieces, we are not completely focused on a task and, most importantly, there is no time being saved by doing two, or even three things at a time. It's all about focus. If we take the time to focus on one task at at a time, we will get it done more quickly and more efficiently. That is a fact!
Now, can we use items in our home for various purposes? Sure we can! That's what I call multi-tasking! Here are some examples:
1. ICE CUBE TRAY -
* Gather desk supplies such as thumb tacks and paper clips.
* Organize sewing items such as buttons, beads and hooks.
* Use one in your dresser drawer to organize small earrings or pins.
2. SHOE ORGANIZER WITH POCKETS -
* Store art supplies. A plastic hanging shoe organizer can hold, paints, pens, brushes, glue sticks and stickers.
* Use one on the back of the bathroom closet door to store small soaps, razors, sample bottles of lotions or nail polish.
* Place one in your clothes closet to separate pantyhose or pairs of knee high socks.
3. LAUNDRY BASKET -
* Protect delicate plants during a rain storm or hail storm by turning the basket upside down on top of them and burying the edges in the dirt.
* Gather garden supplies, including a garden hose. Coil the hose and stash your sprinkers, nozzles and other attachments in the middle of the coil.
* Take one to the beach filled with beach toys for the kids. Flip it over to use as a table at lunch time.
Can you think of other ways to multi-task, besides running around doing two or three things at a time? Use your imagination and take another look at what you already have in your home that you can use for other purposes. Be creative!
Share your ideas! I would love to hear from you!
If you are simply overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help. I can show you creative ways to use what you already have and repurpose them to help you get and stay organized once and for all!
I am just a phone call (or email) away! I would love to hear from you!
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.
Sunday, April 28 2013
I found this information on the internet and had to share...
Coffee filters .... Who knew there were so many uses for them! You can even buy them at the Dollar Store.
1. Cover bowls or dishes when c...ooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.
2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome... Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.
3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.
4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.
5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.
6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.
7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.
8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.
9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.
10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.
11.. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.
12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters..
13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. It soaks out all the grease.
14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."
15. As a sewing backing. Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics.
16. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.
17. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.
18. Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.
19. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.
20. Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies.. Saves on having extra bowls to wash.
21. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.
22. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.
23. Use them to sprout seeds.. Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.
24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in a phone book.
25. Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.
Coffee filters are not just for coffee anymore!
Can you think of any other uses? Share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!
In the meantime, have a great day!
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!
Friday, November 16 2012
Next week is Thanksgiving and the official start of the holiday shopping season.
Do you want your younger children to understand more about uncluttering and organizing?
I have gathered some suggestions for gifts you can give them that they might enjoy with an underlying theme on uncluttering and organizing:
- Room Enough for Daisy by Debbie Waldman. Little Daisy has so many toys, she wishes for a larger bedroom to accommodate them all. Eventually, her mom convinces her to donate some items to a rummage sale. Cindy Revell’s illustrations are really cute.
- Too Many Toys by David Shannon. David’s books are fantastic, starting with the hilariously relatable “No, David!” Too Many Toys has a similar theme to Room Enough for Daisy, in that David is required to thin his massive collection of toys. It’s a fun story that kids think is funny and adults find useful.
- Mr. Messy, part of the Mr./Mrs. series by Roger Hargreaves, is an untidy fellow until he meets Mr. Neat and Mr. Tidy.
- More by I. C. Springman is about a hoarding magpie whose friends teach him the value of “enough.” Again, the illustrations are great and the minimal text is great for new readers.
Do you have any suggestions that you would like to share that go with this theme of child organization tools? Please share by commenting.
If you need assistance in getting the toys and clothing organized for the holidays, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, 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, January 31 2012
There seems to be a phenomenon that is growing by the day.
It's common for our socks to have lost their mates after we have done the laundry. They have been known to hide inside a fitted sheet, stuck inside a shirt sleeve or attached to the inside of a pants leg.
The common solution for this phenomenon is to have a laundry basket filled with odd socks. I have worked with so many people who have this laundry basket in their laundry room, bedroom or elsewhere in the house where the odd socks live.
Sometimes we never find that odd sock. I have a theory that there is a large hole in the earth somewhere where all of the odd socks get sucked out of our washing machine in the spin cycle and end up. This leaves the other sock without its mate forever more. How sad.
However, don't be distraught. I have begun a support group for all of the odd socks that get left behind to survive on their own. I have called it "Socks Without Partners".
The support group is not intended for long term, however. It's is intended for a 30 day period of time. The group meets after every laundry day in a laundry basket and they remain there for only 30 days. After that, they move on to become dust rags.
The by-laws of this support group state that after 30 days, the chances of finding their mates has become so minimal, it is not worth staying on. They have already hung out with other single socks and are now ready to take on the world of dust. I am thinking that a Veteran's hospital might be a choice as well since they care for some amputees who need socks. Whatever you choose, do not get caught up in the "What If" syndrome that plagues so many of us. "What if I find that other sock 3 months from now?" It's not a great loss; it's okay. Move on.
Bottom line, you can create your own support group in your laundry basket called "Socks Without Partners" but remember, after 30 days, they are to move on. There will be more single socks in your future, I promise.
I would love to hear if you have started your own support group for your single socks and how many members you have!
In the meantime, have a great day!
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, December 23 2011
It's hard to believe that Christmas is in two days. Are you stressed out trying to get everything done? I want to help you to keep your stress at bay these next few days so you can enjoy the holiday. Try these three strategies:
- Keep perspective. If the present doesn’t arrive until after the holidays, the ornaments aren’t hung on the tree, or the gravy never makes it on the table — you will be okay. In fact, you’ll probably have a funny story to tell for years to come about the year you didn’t serve ham because it was frozen solid and Uncle Joe broke his knife trying to cut it! (That never happened to me personally but I can tell you that one of my presents this year will not arrive on time so I simply put a picture of it in a box with an explanation. I know I will be forgiven. No problem!)
- Adopt a mantra. I am a fan of mantras. I think they help us stay the course, thereby reducing our stress. One of my favorite that I keep finding myself saying more and more is "It's good enough". Using this mantra takes a lot of stress off of my Type A personality and tendency to want to be "perfect". Knowing that I did my best, although perhaps not perfect, is "good enough" for me. Whatever positive saying works for you, use it and use it often.
- Let it go. In keeping with the above, you are not a superhero. Perfection is unattainable, so stop trying to be "perfect". Buy a smoked turkey if you’re nervous about cooking the bird. Throw all your clutter into a closet (did I really say that!?!?!?) and deal with it after the holidays when you’re more level-headed. Purchase a gift card instead of hunting for the exact gift you think you might discover at the last minute.
Do yourself a favor and be a happy holiday celebrant. It is much more enjoyable for everyone around you when you are enjoying the festivities along with everyone else rather being irritable and stressed out. Takes all the fun out of it for you too, doesn't it?
Wishing each and every one of you a happy holiday. Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year! May you have a stress-free and joyful holiday season. See you again in 2012!!!!
Monday, September 19 2011
When working with my clients, I find there is always a need for a way to store "memories". We always come across items that are not currently being used but need to be stored away for another day.
Memories can come in many forms and various categories. They can be memories of your child's school years, your childhood, your parents, a close friend or family member who has passed, etc.
For your children's memories, I suggest creating a School Memory Box (one for each child). This can be as simple as a plastic container or a cardboard banker's box. You can divide it up into 12 sections, one for each year from 1st to 12th grade, using accordion hanging folders with tabs in a file folder container. That is even better!
During the school year, file away any artwork, projects, special memories, creative writing and awards in a separate box for that year. Then, at the end of the school year, go through your file box of completed work with your child and pull out the best and most meaningful. File them away in their School Memory Box in the appropriate year. By the end of high school, you'll have a wonderful, handpicked history of your child's development and accomplishments with very little effort.
For other types of memories, a simple plastic container to hold them in is a great way to keep them together and dust free. Put a label on the box for the particular member of the family and store it in the top of their bedroom closet on the shelf. Then, pull it down from time to time and enjoy going down Memory Lane.
Using these methods, you will contain your memories in one container. The container will help you to set boundaries on the amount of memories you keep, as well.
If you need any more assistance with this or any other form of organization, contact me and I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Wednesday, September 07 2011
Many of you are women entrepreneurs. This week I want to address a topic that I think would be a great interest to you in particular. It relates to your business card.
I am posting an article written by Kathryn Weber of K Weber Communications on this topic that I found facinating so I thought I would share it with you.
The 3-Inch Killer Sabotaging Your Business --
How to Use Feng Shui to Design a Successful, Income-boosting Business Card
Purists will say you can't feng shui your car, your clothes or your looks, but that's not exactly true. While feng shui is the study of the environment and its effects on the occupants of a building, it can also be used as a method for designing, too.
One of the areas where feng shui can be the most effective is the business card.
A well designed business card is a mini-billboard. It can advertise for you, be carried and referred to, and it also makes an impression.
If someone likes your card, they'll hold onto it longer. If it's unpleasant or cheap-looking, it will often head to the trash.
Today more than ever, businesses and business people need every edge to get ahead.
One of the first steps is to give your business cards a good look.
They could look dated, tired, or maybe they don't have the correct information or there's a typo. There could also be images or colors that are in conflict. If so, this might be a good time to give your cards a redesign.
Use these 7 tips for designing business cards that work for you and provide a good representation of your company -- and help boost your income!
1. Promote your growth. Trees are representative of growth and movement. Most business cards are "felled trees." That is, they're a rectangle (tree) shape, yet they are printed on the horizontal. Try placing your card design on the vertical. This is called the "chai" shape and it's considered to bring money luck and much good fortune and riches. It also represents upward growth.
2. Use complimentary colors. As a rule certain colors and images don't go together, such as black and yellow, yellow and green, red and blue or metallic colors, green and metal colors. Complimentary colors include blue and white, blue and black with metallic colors, red and yellow, green and brown with red, yellow and beige with metal colors.
3. Logos should move forward. Any logo that looks like it's moving right to left will be going backwards. All movement in the logo should appear moving from left to right. This indicates forward growth and not heading backward. Even swirls and spirals should look and spiral to the right.
4. Stick with traditional shapes. Yes, an odd shaped or unusual business card will stand out...but not in a good way. Make sure you stick with traditional sizes because these will be saved and can be referred to again. Odd shaped cards and unique cards are often discarded.
5. Use plenty of white space. Having white space on your card brings yang energy to the card and enlivens it. It also enables you to write in any additional information that you want such as a private email address or phone number.
6. Double check the logo. It's important that if your logo has points that none of the points are aimed at your name as this is harmful poison arrows. A business person had a starburst effect for a logo and had a difficult time attracting business and on top of it was a needling kind of person, much like her logo. Make sure your name isn't directly below your logo or you will be under the weight of your company.
7. Incorporate colors and shapes relevant to your business.
Black, blue, purple - the shape is wave-like and businesses include, musicians, shipping, counseling, driving, marketing, therapist, coach, restaurant, healing.
Green, brown - the shape is rectangular and is good for hotels, health, florists, nurseries, footwear, athletes, dancers
Yellow, beige, orange - the shape is square and relates to mining, real estate, psychics, nursing, education, charities.
Red, burgundy, deep purple - the shape is triangular and relates to feng shui, PR, journalism, photography, eye specialties, heart doctors, restaurants, entertainment, bars and clubs.
White, gray, gold - the shape is circular or arching and relates to jewelry, sales, computers, technology, surgery, medical, dental, insurance, and airlines.
Multicolored - excellent for getting recognition and being noticed!
© K Weber Communications LLC 2002-2011
Kathryn Weber is the publisher of the Red Lotus Letter Feng Shui E-zine and certified feng shui consultant in classical Chinese feng shui. Kathryn helps her readers improve their lives and generate more wealth with feng shui. For more information and to receive her FREE Ebook "The Cash Register at Your Front Door" visit www.redlotusletter.com and learn the fast and fun way how feng shui can make your life more prosperous and abundant!
Gives you some food for thought, doesn't it? Let me know what you think. Let me know if this article inspires you to make changes to your business card.
In the meantime, if you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting your home-based business organized, let me know. I am more than glad to help you eliminate the clutter and get organized.
*This article has been posted with permission.
Thursday, June 09 2011
School is letting out soon, if it hasn't already, the kids are home and the toys are everywhere! What is a mother to do? Get organized, of course!
All those summertime toys can get out of hand if we do not have simple tools in place to keep them under control. A few rules for the kids to follow is helpful as well.
First, I want to go over some simple tips that you can begin to utilize immediately to keep all those toys under control.
1. Limit the number of toys your child owns. This might seem like a no-brainer, but those toys have a way of multiplying before our very eyes. I suggest that you start off by evaluating what your child already has before making any additional purchases. When you have a good handle on what they already have, you will avoid duplicates and lots of toys that are similar. Look to see if any toys are broken or if your child has outgrown them. If you are not sure what they want or don’t want, hide them away for a while and see if they ask for them. If they don’t, consider donating them, if they are still in good condition, to a local charity or selling them at a garage sale. (If you need tips on how to have a successful garage sale, I can help you with that.) This will be helpful when you are trying to decide what type of storage you need for the toys you want to keep, as well.
2. Be selective. When we are in the store, with or without our kids, we see those "bright shiny objects" that we just know our son or daughter has to have. Try to avoid temptation and be more practical. Consider purchasing toys that are most beneficial to your child; that promote imagination and creativity. Make sure your purchase is age appropriate.
3. Don’t buy toys that take up a lot of space and are difficult to store. I know that this can sometimes be a challenge, especially with outdoor toys. They tend to be big, plastic and oddly shaped. I would suggest limiting the amount of items that fall into this category and consider purchasing toys that can be more easily stored. If your child insists on big toys such as a play tunnel or a play house, make sure to purchase the one which can be disassembled easily and stored compactly, if at all possible.
4. Stop giving toys as gifts. It’s their birthday. What is the first thing most people think to get the kid - toys! However, when you get to the point where you have enough, stop! Don’t buy any more! Give your child a gift card for a restaurant or an activity they can enjoy, instead. Also, ask those relatives and friends who want to always supply your kids with toys, to purchase something else instead. I truly believe your child will get more out of spending a day doing a fun activity with you at an amusement park, gym or at the movies. It’s a better alternative than filling your backyard and garage with more toys!
5. Create a system for organizing toys. One of the first things you need to do is review some simple rules with your children when it comes to cleaning up their toys. Although having a good system for storing toys does not guarantee that the toys will not invade various places in your home, regular clean up is necessary to avoid having toys scattered all around the house, inside and out. Train your children to put their toys away.
So now that we know what toys we have, we are now ready to find solutions for putting them away. There are many options available, especially when it comes to outdoor toy storage. Here is a list of options to consider:
1. Bike racks to keep the bikes from laying all over the garage floor;
2. Sports racks to hold basketballs, soccer balls, baseballs, hockey sticks and bats. A good wall mounted sports ball holder can be found at ww.ballclaw.com
3. Deck boxes for larger items. (These can also be used to store outdoor chair cushions and umbrellas as well as pool equipment.)
4. Big plastic toy boxes such as those sold by Little Tykes.
5. Rubbermaid containers with lids.
6. Milk crates or laundry baskets to carry toys as they are being picked up.
7. Pop up net laundry bags to hold small balls and other items.
8. Large trash cans on wheels for larger sports equipment.
9. Back packs to store a swimsuit, towel, sun screen, flip-flops, etc.
10. Labeled bins for the younger children to easily sort their things.
We all know that it can be difficult at times to keep that toy collection under control. Without a good toy storage system in place, the toys will undoubtedly take over. Having a good system in place for storing your toys is one way to ensure that your home and yard are kept organized and you can enjoy spending more time there.
Lastly, enjoy your summer. It goes by quickly!
Friday, May 27 2011
I am about to go away and take a "well deserved" mini vacation this Memorial Day weekend. I have been working almost every day this month and decided to take advantage of the three day weekend and head to the Pocono Mountains of PA.
Even though it is only a "mini vacation", I began several weeks ago compiling a list of things I needed to purchase, things I needed to pack and things I needed to do around the house to prepare.
I cannot imagine getting ready for a trip, large or small, without the use of a list. I have always done this and assumed that everyone else does so too. Not the case.
I am surprised to learn that many people, especially men, do not pack for a trip with a list in hand of what to take. I can only imagine how many times they get to their destination and say to themselves "Oh, I forgot to pack the...."!
When I go away, I like to make sure I have everything I need when I need it. I try my best not to overpack and end up removing about a 1/3 of the items on my list (especially clothing) when it comes to getting it into a suitcase.
By creating a list, you can take some time to think about the items that you need, even down to a pair of scissors and be ready to go when the day arrives.
Do yourself a favor. The next time you take that trip, whether it be a day trip with the family or an extended vacation, make a list and check it twice and you can rest assured that you have what it is you need, when you need it.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Sunday, May 22 2011
For most people, their clutter issues are on the floor, on a desk, a table or any other flat surface in their home. However, it is also possible to have clutter on the walls.
When was the last time you looked up? Take a moment to get a good look at what you have on the walls. When was the last time you hung a picture, a piece of metal art, a clock or put collectibles on a shelf? Have you really taken a good look at them lately?
After a while, we become so used to what we have on the walls, we don't see it anymore. Has the framed art been on your walls for years? Is the fridge filled with pictures your kids drew months and months ago? Is the sculptured art on your walls screaming 1980? Have the nick knacks or collectibles been on your shelf, collecting dust, since your trip in 2005?
Is the artwork in your home and office now just clutter, or is it something you truly value? Does it still inspire you? Does it make you smile or challenge you or create within you a sense of awe? Or, are you indifferent about it and it is simply there so you have something to hang in that space? Are these images ones you still love?
It is easy to become numb to the images we see every day, especially when those images are ones we don’t love, cherish, or appreciate. It’s also very simple for these items to become part of the invisible clutter in our homes because they usually don’t take up floor space — we don’t trip over the things hanging on our walls.
Take some time today and walk around your home. Look up and see what is on your walls. Perhaps, now, these items no longer bring you that joy, make you smile or evoke a fond memory. If that's the case, it's time to make a change.
Let me know what you see on your walls and what changes you intend to make.
In the meantime, if you are feeling overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized, contact me. I'll be glad to help.
Have a great week!
Wednesday, May 04 2011
Okay, Easter is behind us, but perhaps those plastic Easter eggs are still hanging around. I have found some great ways to re-use those eggs for organization and want to share them with you!
Besides, just putting them away til next year, there are other ideas for their use.
1. Having a party with balloons. Keep them from floating away by filling the egg with small rocks and close the end of the ribbon from the balloon in the egg. Instant balloon weight!
2. Keep your jewelry free from tangles while traveling by coiling your necklace in the egg and snapping it shut. You can use this idea in your drawer to organize your jewelry as well. Why not keep all of your earring backs in one place in an egg?
3. Use the eggs as packing material. When shipping a box, toss a bunch of lightweight, colorful eggs inside.
4. Tote a healthy snack with you. Use a clean egg to stash a handful of your favorite snack, nuts or trail mix.
5. Carry your MP3 ear buds in an egg to keep them from knotting up.
6. (This is my favorite). Why not store your pantyhose or knee highs in the eggs and use an egg carton to keep them in place in your drawer? I remember when my pantyhose used to come in an egg. Do you?
What ideas do you have for making use of your plastic Easter eggs? I would love to hear them and share them with others. Reusing the eggs is a way to be "green".
In the meantime, if you have any issues with clutter, let me hear from you. I would love to help.
Have a great week and a wonderful Mother's Day!
Friday, April 22 2011
If you have been following my blogs for the past several years when I began posting in January 2008, you will know that I don't tend to "vent"; I simply provide information that I feel will be useful to you.
However, lately I have been noticiing how several advertisements for organizational products have been "selling their wares" so to speak in print and on television.
One company in particular has a great line of products, but let's get real here. Have you seen the ads for Real Simple? Their products are available at Bed, Bath & Beyond. They sell over the door shoe organizers, storage bins, purse organizers, sweater organizers and slim line hangers, to name a few.
The products are great - I use them quite often for my clients - but their ads, that's another story.
There is one ad in particular that was in the Real Simple magazine not that long ago. It shows a picture of a closet. I don't know about you, but in all my years, I have never seen such a minimalistic closet as this one. Granted, their products help categorize items together and that's a great thing. However, do you know any woman whose entire wardrobe consists of 6 pair of shoes, 8 handbags, 18 tops and two pair of pants? And to top it off, the floor is completely clear! Who lives like this? Not anyone I know.
Most people I work with have closets so full of clothing, they don't even know what they have until we go through it. There is stuff on the shelf above the rod, the rod is jammed with all types of clothing on all types of hangers and the floor is filled with shoes, boxes of miscellaneous items and some things that are not even identifiable. That's to be expected when you are dealing with clutter, but trust me, when I get done doing what I do best, it will never end up looking like the closet in the picture above.
I truly think the advertisers should put more effort into how they display their products in a more realistic way. Don't make people feel bad that they have so much more to store away. Show them how a full closet full of clothing, shoes and accessories can realistically look with the use of their products. I know their line of products is called "Real Simple" but...
That's all I'm saying.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the clutter in your closet and need some help, don't hesitate to contact me. I will be glad to help - but please, don't expect me to get rid of so much of your stuff that it looks like the ad above. That will not be happening!
Friday, April 15 2011
One of the main reasons I became a professional organizer 7 years ago was so that I could help others overcome the feeling of overwhelm when it comes to getting organized. I have the ability to see past the clutter and overwhelm and break things down into manageable pieces so that we can move forward to achieve the goals my clients have in mind.
I have found when I first meet with so many of my clients that they feel a sense of dread. They cannot imagine how we can clear the clutter, get organized and put in systems to simplify their lives. By the time I leave their home after the initial consultation, they are already feeling better about their situation and the potential of the space we are going to work on, whether it be one particular room or the entire home. At that point, the process has already begun. There is hope, there is potential.
The reason I bring this issue up is that sometimes we need to get past our fears in order to move forward, whether it relates directly to getting organized or taking on challenges that are new and different.
As my business continues to grow, I am given many new opportunities to get my message out to others. I have been doing more public speaking this year and I now have been asked to appear on a radio show to share my knowledge and skills with others about the vast topic of organizing.
I must admit I am a little nervous about this new opportunity. I always want to be prepared so I can provide the best content possible and this type of situation is more informal and "off the cuff", so to speak. I have certainly worked hard in the past several years to challenge myself and get past any fears I may have about taking on something new, and so far, it's all been good. I plan to take this same philosophy to the radio show I will be recording at the end of May/beginning of June. I will simply do the best I can and be confident that it will be just fine.
Take my advice. When it comes to overcoming the fear and overwhelm in your life, whether it is getting organized or simply doing something you have never done before, jump in. As Nike says "Just Do It"! I believe you will find that it will all work out.
So, get out there and do that something new and enjoy the journey!
If you need any assistance in getting over your sense of overwhelm when it comes to getting organized, contact me. I would be happy to help.
Until next time, wishing you an organized day.
Thursday, December 16 2010
Have you ever heard of the ripple effect? I'm sure you have. Did you ever think about how it might relate to organization? Well, it does!
I picture myself as a small drop in a large body of water. I believe that my purpose is to drop my knowledge, information and value into that large body of water so that it can ripple and touch others' lives. Then, the lives that I touch will pass their knowledge, information and value onto others. That is the ripple effect. I simply do it through organization.
I was speaking on the phone the other night to a new client and she asked if what I would be teaching her in the process of us working together would help her children. Without a doubt, it would.
We start by my teaching not only how to get organized, but, more importantly, how to stay organized. With this newly learned knowledge, understanding and skills, it is easy to pass that information onto the others in your household. You end up teaching them.
Many times, my clients were just simply never taught these skills - it's never too late. I believe that my purpose is to stop the process of disorganization that might have been passed down from generation to generation simply because it was never taught.
With your new found knowledge, you become the teacher and are able to show your children, not only through conversation, but by example, how to control and manage the clutter in their lives.
These skills are so valuable and will carry them through the rest of their lives. That is how the ripple effect works. Are you ready to be that drop in the large body of water? Simply by learning and passing your knowledge on, you will be doing just that!
If you are overwhelmed by the process of getting organized and don't know where to begin, contact me. I will be more than happy to help you create your own ripple effect.
Have a great week!
Sunday, October 24 2010
We all know the holidays are right around the corner and it is a time when we tend to focus on helping those in need (or at least I hope so!).
One of the ways in which we can reach out to families with life-threatening illnesses during this holiday season is to order a PIE IN THE SKY thru the Manna organization.
Manna provides Thanksgiving dinners (for 4) to those with life-threatening illnesses. Their website can be found at https://www.manapies.org
Their mission is focused on people with acute nutritional risk due to life-threatening illnesses. Manna prepares and delivers delicious nourishing meals and counsel, empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life.
So, share the holiday spirit and provide Thanksgiving dinner for a family of four. For a donation of only $25 you can order a delicious pie and help a family in need at the same time!
Simply order your Pie In The Sky pie by noon on Friday, November 19, 2010 and pick it up before Thanksgiving. They have locations where you can pick up your pie throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Let's make this a Happy Thanksgiving not only for us but for others as well.
You can place your order by calling 1-866-SKY-PIES (1-866-754-7437)
All other questions, call 215-49-MANNA (215-496-2662)
These pies are not only delicious, but tax deductible!
For those of you who prefer cake, purchase a Classic Cake instead and still help those in need.
Let's make our world A BETTER SPACE this holiday season and support a great cause.
Thank you for helping out!
AND, if I can help you this holiday season by getting organized, contact me. I am glad to help!
Have a great week!
Wednesday, September 08 2010
I found two great "Take Back Initiatives" that can help you in the process of decluttering your home.
One can be used when decluttering your medicine cabinet and the other when decluttering your clothes closet.
These are great incentives for getting those areas organized:
- The US Drug Enforcement Administration is sponsoring a national take-back initiative to accept unused or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal on Saturday, September 25, 2010. “Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.” Check the DEA site for locations in your community.
- Along similar lines, but with clothing instead of medications, the Men’s Wearhouse is accepting lightly used men’s suits, sports coats, slacks, dress shirts and shoes, business casual clothing, coats, ties, cuff links, and other accessories during the month of September. The Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive gives the suits to local non-profit organizations. Donations can be made at any Men’s Wearhouse.
I would love to hear from you about how you made use of these initiatives and how they encouraged you to eliminate your clutter.
Until next time, have a great week!
Sunday, August 01 2010
I heard a story this week that I wanted to share with you, just to give you some perspective.
There was a woman who needed to videotape some rooms in her house for insurance purposes. Having just cleaned her home from top to bottom, knowing that she was going to video tape it, she shot the tape and then watched it quickly before delivering it to her safety deposit box.
When she watched the tape, something happened...
She was astonished to see the amount of clutter and junk left on the various surfaces throughout the house. She realized that the camera’s eye was picking up clutter her eyes were simply moving past. She had lived with those items hanging around for so long, she was no longer seeing them!
So, she went back and scrutinized the tape, marched back to those rooms that she had filmed and really went through the stuff, making firm decisions and tossing several items.
She found out how helpful it was to see these rooms through the video.
So, why not get out your video camera and give it a shot. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve never really seen….
Leave me some feedback and let me know how you make out. If you need some new ideas from a fresh perspective, as to what you can eliminate and organize, contact me. I am more than happy to help you see your home through a fresh set of eyes.
Wednesday, July 28 2010
If you find that you are having trouble making a decision about whether you should keep or get rid of something, here is some good advice to consider:
There was a thread on Ravelry about minimizing stuff. One person had a twist on the velvet rope test: If your hated ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, or a friend-turned-enemy had the item, would you be willing to contact them and talk to them to get it back?
I think this is a great evaluation technique, especially for clothes, tools, and knickknacks. If you wouldn’t contact an ex to get it back, then you know you’ll be okay getting rid of it.
On the other hand, if you would go through the pain and frustration of talking to an ex to get an item back, it’s definitely something you’ll want to strongly consider keeping. It’s simple and straightforward — a good litmus test, don't you think!
Do you have similar questions you ask about your things? Share your techniques in the comments.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Wednesday, July 21 2010
Last time I talked about what I was doing to get organized. This time, I would like to challenge you to see what you can accomplish.
I thought it would be fun to challenge you to see who can eliminate the most clutter from their homes.
The challenge is about getting rid of one object a day, for … a month? A year? It’s up to you how long you want your challenge to last. I'm calling it "A THING A DAY" or ATAD.
Whether you give away, trash or donate the object is immaterial, but it must be gone from your life and space. Putting it into storage doesn’t count; though you are allowed to, say, collect the things in a box to donate them at the end of the month.
Oh, and you’re also allowed to cheat and fill your quota ahead of time, like throwing out 7 things on Monday, making that a week’s worth of ATAD.
By telling us on here what you got rid of today will not only help with the accountability issues, you’ll also help others rethink their possessions (He got rid of his xyz? Come to think of it, do I really need mine?)
What do you think? Are you up for the challenge?
Saturday, June 12 2010
My fondest memories of summer when I was a kid was going to summer camp. I loved it! Making new friends and doing lots of activities during the day in a structured environment suited me perfectly. I got emotionally attached to my camp counselors every year and cried on the last day of camp every single time!
I went to day camp, Girl Scout camp and overnight camp until I got too old to go.
This is the time of year when school is drawing to a close and you might be sending your kids off the camp. Whether it's day camp or overnight camp, it takes some preparation.
Are you ready for Summer Camp?
I found some tips from the American Camp Association that might help you out.
Plan Ahead - Your happy camper will be living out of a duffel bag, trunk or suitcase for the duration of their camping experience. If you pack light, it will be easier for your camper to keep track of their items and helps them handle their own luggage at camp.
Review Camp Packing Lists - Each camp should provide a recommended camp packing list, complete with any equipment they require, including recommended footwear, etc. Carefully review that is needed and pay special attention to the items that are not permitted. Before packing your child's favor hand held gaming system, make sure the camp permits electronic items. Many do not. If you're not sure, speak with the camp director to get clarity.
Label Everything - You can use laundry pens, iron-ons and press-and-stick labels to distinquish your child's items from other campers. Most camps ask that you label each and every item, including clothing, personal items and toiletries. Make sure your child knows where the label is located on these items.
Break In Shoes and Boots Before Camp Begins - If you are purchasing new sneakers, boots or any other type of shoes for camp, make sure they wear them at least once before they pack them to be sure they will be comfortable. The last thing your child wants to do is have to sit out on an activity because they new hiking boots make their feet sore.
Prepare Together - Make sure your camper knows what is being packed and where so they can find what they need when they need it.
If you have a specific question, don't hesitate to contact your camp director. They are there to help you and your camper prepare for an exciting and fun experience.
If you have any questions about how to get organized or are too overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, don't hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to help!
Have a great week!
Tuesday, June 08 2010
About two weeks ago, my very dearest friend announced that she was going to plan a surprise 21st birthday party for her daughter. How exciting! But what an undertaking in such a short amount of time.
You might think that because she is my best friend she would have a similar personality and the likelihood is there that she is organized. Not in the least bit!
She called me in a panic the past week because she had taken the first step of inviting people - 73 that is! She basically told everyone she knows and probably some she doesn't know too well to "come on over" this coming Saturday. So, before she knew it, she has 73 people showing up. Yikes! Where will she put them all!
Now she is only days away from the party and there is no plan as to what she is serving or how she is serving 73 people.
Of course, I volunteered to help her out and create an action plan to get everything organized so that the party could run smoothly.
The first mistake that was made was that she did not make a set guest list and really see how many people she was inviting. She just randomly asked everyone without taking into the consideration the ramifications of her actions.
The next issue is determining what the menu should be and how much food to provide. (My friend is notorious for purchasing way too much food because she cannot judge how much everyone is going to eat.) The end result of not planning is that you can end up with so many leftovers, you end up giving it all away because you just don't have room to store it afterwards.
The next issue is how the food will be prepared and served. Will it be brought in by a caterer or will it need to be prepared at home? If made at home, when will it be prepared? Can it be prepared in advance so everything does not have to be done on the day of the party? How will it be stored? Is there enough room to store the food until its time to heat it up or serve it? Do you need to create a schedule for placing items in the oven so they all are done at the same time?
The next issue is whether you have enough supplies - plates, cups, plasticware, napkins, bowls, serving trays, sternos, crock pots, aluminum foil, plastic containers for storage, etc. When planning the food, you need to determine how it will be served to make sure you are not left stuck in the end with nothing to serve your food on.
The next issue is decorations. Since this is a surprise party for her daughter that lives at home, no decorating can be done until that morning when she leaves the house to go to work. It does not mean, however, that you don't plan what to decorate with and where to place it when the time comes.
Lastly, where will you put everyone - in the living room, dining room, kitchen, basement, outdoors? With a large crowd such as this, the hope is that the weather will cooperate so many will be out in the backyard. But, if the weather does not cooperate, what is the backup plan? Will you put up a tent in the backyard? Do you have enough seating? Will you be doing a buffet style service and where will it be set up?
No matter what the special event might be - birthday party, anniversary party, christening, bar mitzvah, wedding, it all takes planning.
Be sure to leave yourself enough time in advance to figure out all the various aspects of planning the special event so that it goes off smoothly. Reduce stress by planning ahead and then you can have a great time along with your guests.
If you are planning a wedding, why not check out my "U Can Do It Wedding Preparation Checklist" at my ABS Store right on this website. It provides you with a comprehensive list of what to do starting a year before the wedding.
Now, that's how you plan a special event!
Thursday, April 29 2010
I was thinking the other day about how much I love what I do for a living. I wake up each morning and am anxious to start my day because I know it means I will be helping others get organized and enjoy their day too. I am so fortunate to have discovered a profession that makes me so happy.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as fortunate. I speak to so many people, through my client base, networking, friends, family and others. So many people are just not happy with what they do for a living. So many feel stuck in a rut with their careers and their life in general.
I can't help thinking the story of Cinderella and how she was forced to scrub floors and take care of her step sisters' home. Even though this obviously was not what she wanted to do, she found a way to make it a more positive experience. She whistled while she worked!
I am a true believer in a positive attitude. It can carry you so much further than you ever thought.
For example, I have a friend who drives a truck and although he is only 50 years old, he will be able to retire in less than 3 years! He tends to think about having to go to work each day and the fact that he has to put up with a boss who he does not get along with and how early he has to get up every day. All negative thoughts.
I reminded him how fortunate he is; that at such an early age he will be able to retire and start a new chapter in his life - to choose what he wants to do with it and get a pension at the same time! How great is that!
My point is, no matter what you do for a living or where you are in life, you can always put a positive spin on a situation. Your circumstances can change if you look for the positive. You don't have to feel so stuck!
If you are stuck in a rut, look at what you can do to make a change. This is true with a job, career, marital situation, etc. This is especially true when it comes to getting organized.
Do you envision eliminating the excess clutter from your home and getting organized once and for all? If so, you might be overwhelmed and don't know where to start. You can simply get help from a professional organizer, even to just get you started. By taking this one step, you will be able to make a positive change in your home and reduce the stress in your life. Then, you can whistle while you work, just like me!
Keep those positive thoughts coming and start whistling!
Have a great week!
Sunday, January 10 2010
Now that we have put away the holiday decorations, it's time to focus on some of those New Years resolutions.
A common resolution is to organize your crafts. You enjoy all your crafts but they are stored haphazardly throughout your home. They are in the family room, they are on the dining room table, they are all over the floor in the basement, they are in a pile on the kitchen counter.
It's time to get it together and get them organized!
Here are some suggestions to make your craft place A Better Space:
If you find that you are taking too much time to find the necessary materials and it's affecting your craft-making abilities, it's time to focus your creative energy towards a designated craft room. Keeping your craft supplies organized will save you lots of time - more time to create, less time to locate what you need.
Whether you're into card making, scrap booking or any other type of craft, you'll have more time for the things you love when they are organized.
First rule is to keep all of your supplies and materials in one area of your home, and stick to it! Look around your home.
Select a space that will provide you with sufficient storage space, space to work and, if need be, the ability to watch of your child as you work. Why not designate a space in the playroom? This will keep both of you busy!
If you prefer to have good lighting instead of convenience, set up an area in a well-lighted room.
Are you dealing with a small space? Why not turn a standard closet into a craft closet, to keep things tucked away when you're not working. Depending on the situation, you might be able to put a desk space in the closet with storage overhead to create a craft room. If not, consider using a folding table that you can store away when not in use.
Be sure to organize by hobby. When you have multiple hobbies (and a lot of creative people do), keep things separated. You can use a different shelf, drawer and/or color-coded container for each craft. Try to keep these different items confined to their assigned areas so they are easy to locate when needed. Make sure to put things back in their designated space when finished working on them at the end of the day to keep them organized and distinquished from other craft projects.
Designate a general space in your craft area for items you tend to use in every project - like scissors, glue guns and tape. Store these items in an easy to access area, such as in a drawer or in a box on a shelf over your work space.
Think vertically. Look up! Look down! Utilize all of the available space, without overrunning the home with craft supplies. Think about using wall space for vertical shelving, over door space with clear shoe organizers to hold various supplies and even storage under a bed or table. (If it's visible, use a decorative container.) You will be amazed at how much room you can create for your crafts. Be creative!
If you want to be mobile, think about using on-the-go storage. A rolling cart will give you the flexibility to take your creative works with you. Be sure to select a portable container that can organize your projects and supplies by compartmentalizing them.
Use your imagination to create a place where you can maximize your potential without the distraction of clutter and most importantly, ENJOY!
If you need any assistance with this or any other type of organization, please feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy help.
Have a great week!
Friday, December 18 2009
‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through our house,
There was clutter and chaos…but, thankfully, no mouse!
The mantle was bare, the wreath still in my car,
Not a cookie was baked, not even a bar.
I’d addressed not a card, not a gift had been wrapped,
The jet lag had got me, I just wanted to nap!
One tree was half decorated, the other not bought,
The stockings still packed and the Village was naught.
Ornaments and tissue paper were strewn all about,
I was tempted to say, ‘We’ll just do without!’
But our children and grandchildren will be here next week,
And I know it’s a peaceful, joyful holiday they seek.
So rally I must, this is really a test,
Can I do it? Can I make this Christmas one of the best?
I’ll put on some music, brew some tea, make a list,
I’ll do what I can, the rest won’t be missed.
That we have our health and our loved ones are near,
Is all that we need for our holiday cheer!
SO, LET'S GET ORGANIZED NEXT YEAR!!!!
For now, five strategies for surviving the next seven days:
Lower expectations. There’s not time to do everything but there’s time to do the important things. Even Martha Stewart would have to make choices with this limited amount of time. The trees will be decorated but the lights and the beads do not have to be perfect; perhaps there will not be so many ornaments as in years past. I’ll bake some cookies, but just enough for us to enjoy.
Plan menus to do double duty. The ham and the turkey will do their work for main meals and then appear again as sandwiches, Turkey Curry, and a couple of luscious soups that’ll grow like Topsy when I add some noodles or beans with vegetables. I’ll also make one trip to the store just to stock up on paper goods, dish soap and laundry soap. This is not the time to run out of those staples.
Do things in chunks of time. Instead of racing from one project to the next, I’ll spend one afternoon decorating the dining room, one decorating the living room. I’ll spend one evening baking cookies, another addressing envelopes and yet another doing the layout for the Christmas letter. In those chunks of time, the biggest projects…those that I deem most important…will be done.
Buy some time. There’s just not time to clean the entire house so I’ll hire someone to do the main areas and leave the rest. Clean beds and clean bathrooms top my list. The rest is just fine.
Take care of myself. The best gift I can give my family is to be relaxed and just enjoy this holiday with them. My mood will set the tone for the entire celebration. I’ll get some rest, a bit of exercise, and give myself permission not to be perfect.
No matter how much or how little I do, December 25th will be here next week. I can choose to be stressed or I can relax and enjoy the season. I choose the latter.
It’s truly the best time of the year. May you all have a blessed holiday with your family and friends!
Contact me if you want to make your holiday season a bit easier next year! I can help.
Monday, December 07 2009
The other day I was organizing my cosmetics drawer and realized I use many different brands of cosmetics for the various portions of my face. Clinique, Arbonne, Maybelline, Loreal, etc.
The same is true when it comes to organizing. There is no one way to do it. Good organizing, for me, involves taking various pieces of the puzzle and finding the perfect fit for a solution to the problem.
I have always made it clear to my clients that there is not just one way to get organized. It is very personal and can combine various options to make it work, just like my cosmetics drawer.
When putting the picture together in a space (just like putting the picture together on my face) it can take various types of systems to make it work for you.
When customizing the best way to get yourself organized, remember that by following one way of doing things just might not work for you. That is why sometimes, my clients have a collection of organizing books but they can't implement the suggestions. They don't fit their way of doing things.
A good professional organizer will be able to see the various options you can use to implement your own unique way of doing things.
That's what will create the look (and function) of the space you are working on.
Whether it's a face or a space, the concept is the same; putting the pieces of the puzzle together to create the whole picture.
If you are overwhelmed with the concept of figuring out those pieces of your organizing puzzle, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Wishing you an organized week!
Saturday, November 07 2009
If you are not sure whether you are disorganized or not, see how many of the following statements apply to you - and then give me a call!
- You have been storing clothes for years hoping you'll fit into them again someday...
- You already spent money on books to help you get organized and now you can't find them...
- You've tried to organize your space and now you have less sace than before you started...
- You've tried to purge and ended up with more reasons to keep your clutter instead of letting it go...
- You know you have that item in your home somewhere but rather go out and buy another one rather than looking for it...
- You think you actually have time to redeem all of your Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons that you've accumulated...
- You took everything apart looking for something and now you an't seem to put it back where you found it...
- Things keep appearing in your home or office but you're not quite sure where they are coming from...
- You can't remember the last time you purged and have no plans to purge in the immediate future...
So, do any of these sound familiar? If so, let's talk - I can help.
If you are unable to utilize my in-home services, I would suggest you check out my U Can Do It product line. Some are available right on this website; others through Online Organizing at www.onlineorganizing.com They include the U Can Do It Budgeting System, The U Can Do It Grocery Shopping Checklist, The U Can Do It Room-By-Room Organizing Checklist and the U Can Do it Weekly "To Do" Checklist. More on the way...
In the meantime, have a great week!
Saturday, October 24 2009
I love to find stories about getting organized!
Now, even CoverGirl make-up has jumped on the organizing bandwagon and has developed a numerical system for matching up their various types of make-up.
They claim to have taken the guesswork out of finding your TRU shade with their TRUblend makeup organized system. This includes liquid foundation, concealer, pressed powder and blush. The system is numbered from 1 through 6 (1 being the lightest shade, 6 being the darkest shade).
For example, if your TRUblend liquid makeup is a 2, then your TRUblend pressed power, concealer and blush are also a 2.
Organizing can be so beneficial, even when it comes to purchasing your make-up. Gotta love that!
Now that that problem is solved, if you have any other organizing issues you would like me to address, please feel free to contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Have a great week!
Tuesday, September 22 2009
I love professional organizing because it gives me a great opportunity to use my imagination. This past weekend, I was working with one of my clients. She is making great strides in getting her home organized once and for all.
We were working in the kitchen area to make some sense of her plastic containers and her recycling of cans and paper, among other things.
This particular client purchases the cardboard boxes of soda which you can open up on one side and it acts as a dispenser.
Going through the organizing process with her, we recognized that because her particular apartment complex does not participate in recycling, she is transporting her recycling items in her car to a local drop-off point. Needless to say, transporting a slew of empty soda cans can be annoying and cumbersome.
I love to teach my clients to "think outside the box", (to coin a phrase). We figured out that we could use the empty soda can box/dispenser to fill with empty soda cans to be transported to the local recycling center. It already has a handle to carry the box, so what could be easier!
This is a perfect example of how you can take something you already have and put it to use in a different way. I promised my client I would pass this tidbit of information on to my blog readers.
So, take a moment when looking for a solution to a problem and remember to "think outside the box"!!!
If you have any great suggestions on how to use something old in a new way, send me an email and tell me about it.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Enjoy the start of Fall and have a great week!
Saturday, August 08 2009
I recently heard about a book called "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan. It was about the romance of Frank Lloyd Wright (the famous architect) and Mamah Borthwick Cheney. I heard it was a riveting story with a tragic ending.
There is an portion of the book that us organizers would find fascinating:
It seems Frank was hyper-sensitive to space and objects. It is said Mamah remembered many evenings when Frank would sit down to dinner and would promptly sweep aside his silverware. It was a habit that struck Mamah as crude and quite rude, since she had just set the table only moments before.
'Why do you do that?' she'd asked him once.
'Push aside your silver that way, as if you're angry.'
'I hate clutter.'
'Silverware is clutter?' she asked.
'Until I'm ready to use it, yes.'
I find it interesting that some can be surrounded by clutter and not even notice it while others, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, would be bothered by a simple item such as a fork that was not being used at that particular moment.
I recognize there is middle ground here. It's somewhere between being bothered by a fork not being used at the moment and considering it clutter, like Mr. Wright, and eating your meals at the kitchen table on the top of a pile of paper or surrounded by clutter without being bothered by it.
If you, however, are bothered by your clutter or have any questions or problems you would like me to address, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Wishing you an organized week!
Sunday, August 02 2009
It seems like yesterday we were getting ready for the Summer season. The time is flying by but you still have time to organize the time that remains.
Summer is my favorite season of the year. I love the warm summer days, outdoor activities, the fact that the sun doesn't set until about 8:30 and the natural beauty of my backyard on a quiet summer evening. It is a wonderfully lazy time of year.
However, it doesn't mean we can't be productive at the same time. Here are a few examples to help you organize so you can chill out this summer:
1. Plan your dinner first thing in the morning. Make it a crock pot or grill meal. Defrost your meat in the refrigerator overnight. Get your veggies washed and ready early in the morning. Plan your dessert --something cool and fresh. For example, fruit, pudding, Jell-O, or a simple scoop of ice cream or sherbert.
2. Pre-cook or pick up a rotisserie chicken. Use the chicken for a dinner or lunch during the week. It's quick and delicious!
3. Do the laundry in the morning. Before the heat of the day sets in, you will be done. If you can, hang clothes outside to air dry. There's nothing like the smell of freshly aired sheets on a bed.
4. Use bath towels a couple of times before washing them. Have each person hold on to their towel for a couple of uses if possible. Designate a different color for each family member. Put hooks on the back of bathroom doors to hang them to dry. If the kids are in the pool, have them put their towels over the railings or a portable drying rack to dry, and use them again. Less laundry in the summer is great.
5. If you are planning a trip to the beach, have everything packed up and in the car the night before--including non-perishable foods. If possible have all the perishable foods prepped and ready to grab from the refrigerator and placed in your cooler before you leave. This will save the last minute hassle of loading up the car in the morning so you can get to the beach earlier!
6. Plan some short distance or local places to visit. Visit an amusement park, a museum, or public park. Pretend you are visiting a new city and look at it with "new eyes", even if you have been there before. Exhibits change often, or perhaps they are a favorite exhibit that you enjoy seeing over and over again.
7. Have a picnic dinner one evening each week. Sit outside and have sandwiches--perhaps the kids can help prepare them. Serve quick-to-prepare items like fruit salad or pre-made potato salad from your grocer. Be creative! If the weather doesn't cooperate, throw a big blanket on the floor and have a picnic in the family room or living room! It is the "being together" that is important.
8. Store some home decorations away for the summer. The house will feel more roomy for the summer. There will be less to dust and clean; more time to play!
9. Plan on doing yard work either early in the morning or in the evening to avoid working in the heat of the day. Also, it's best to water your plants at these times of the day. If it is hot, remember to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated. Don't forget your sunscreen before going out in the sun!
10. Enjoy not having plans a few of days a week. Sleep later and just enjoy the day, read, or work on crafts. When you make your schedule for the week, leave a day or two open to just relax and enjoy without making concrete plans.
11. Have the kids' clothes laid out the night before going somewhere. Avoid running late in the morning, and get on the road to your destination on time so you can take advantage of the full day.
12. Have a movie marathon. Make a simple meal that includes finger foods, make some popcorn and sit in the family room and watch movies together. Have each person suggest a movie and then you can all decide on the ones to rent.
13. Each week, exchange a meal. Cook a double-size meal for your family and give half of that meal to a neighbor. Then your neighbor does the same for you. Do a pot luck in the backyard with some friends and neighbors and enjoy those great summer evenings together.
By using some or all of these suggestions, you will be able to relax and enjoy the lazy days of summer - before the kids go back to school and the crazy routines start up again!
In the meantime, if you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Enjoy the rest of your Summer!
Friday, May 09 2008
I received this via email from a current client of mine. In honor of mothers everywhere, I dedicate this blog to you. Enjoy!
THE NEXT SURVIVOR SERIES
Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.
Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.
There is no fast food.
Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money.
In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.
Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time -no emailing.
Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.
He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the pediatrician for urgent care.
He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.
Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.
The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.
The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.
During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.
They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once that week to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.
They will need to read a book to the kids each night, and feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am. each morning.
A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.
The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.
If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right to be called Mother!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! YOU DESERVE IT!!!!!