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!
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!
Friday, June 21 2013
Today is the first day of Summer! So exciting! However, with Summer sometimes comes emergency room visits - heat stroke, broken bones, severe cuts, head trauma, etc.
Are you prepared for that trip to the Emergency Room of your local hospital? Here are five things you should have ready to go:
1. Your medications - "It is extremely important to know all of the medications you take, how often you take them, the dosage and when you took them last." according to Barb Taubenberger, RN, director of Emergency Services at Doylestown Hospital. Keep this information in your wallet or purse for easy reference. Usually a small index card will suffice.
2. Your insurance information - In an emergency situation, a hospital will treat you whether you have your insurance card or not but carrying it with you will save you from having to make numerous phone calls afterwards to work out the billing. If you are not currently insured, let the hospital know before you leave so they can connect you with a financial counselor who will help you in making payment arrangements for your bill.
3. Your medical history - Knowing your medical history helps to create a complete overview. If your primary physician is on staff at the hospital or if you have been treated at that particular hospital before, they will be able to pull up your records on the computer. If not, you will be asked about your medical history at triage. Include previous surgeries, allergies or other chronic conditions you have.
4. Your emergency contacts - Have a list of your emergency contacts easily accessible. If you do not have contact information with you, it is a challenge for the staff. Elderly patients, for example, might be transported by ambulance and need a ride home. They might not remember their contact information details of the person who would be driving them home. Creating an emergency contact list and placing it in your wallet or putting it in your cell phone under "ICE" (in case of emergency) is a helpful tool to use.
5. Your discharge instructions - Sometimes, upon discharge, you are not feeling well and might have forgotten the details of your discharge instructions or the fact that you need to transfer your medical records. Some hospitals are equipped with a central phone number to call. Be sure to ask for this information upon discharge.
I certainly hope that you have a safe and healthy Summer, but just in case, this information will help to make the emergency room experience more organized and less stressful.
Have a great week!
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.
Tuesday, March 20 2012
Last time, l spoke about tips to get organized for Daylight Savings Time. Now that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with some tips for getting organized for the Spring season. After all, Spring is the time when we look forward to a fresh clean slate - in our homes and in our ourselves. Here are some ways to start off the season with some fresh ideas:
1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as sitting outside and reading a special book or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many at-home' spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. Whatever you choose to do, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for Spring.
2. Switch Out: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn't put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn't use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don't put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away.
3. Lighten Up: Clutter can't be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When your spaces are filled with things, your perception is that rooms are closing in on you. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten it up. The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale!
4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize your work-out routines. It's likely that through the winter you had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it's possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and change your schedule with some new scenery and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.
5. Cooking Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven't used and don't plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have eliminated those you don't want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week! Also, if you try a recipe and no one likes it--toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own cookbooks at all!
6. Trash Tattered Towels: Have your bath towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of Spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter like the SPCA. They will appreciate your donation. Take inventory what remains. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel.
7. Outdoor Organizing: With warmer weather, many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks. It's also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Did the cement or driveway crack over the winter? Does your house need a new coat of paint? Organize your gardening tasks and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar every weekend. Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant since all danger of frost is now past.
8. Organize Your Refrigerator: I always advise to do this before Thanksgiving but this is also a good time of year to organize the fridge. Organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small baskets or bins to group like items together. [CLEVER CONTAINER has a great line of bin organizers for your fridge and pantry. Check them out right on this website! Just look for the CLEVER CONTAINER tab on the home page. They are on Page 6 of the catalog.] Use them to put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator can be a welcome change!
Get Spring off to a good start but using the tips above and enjoy the season of new beginnings!
If you have any additional tips, we would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, February 20 2012
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the winter has been somewhat mild this year and we might not have had the opportunity to wear those very heavy wool sweaters, our fur lined boots and heavy winter coats.
If you are anything like me, that's quite all right. However, it does not mean that it's not time for that mid-winter check to see what we have used or what we wanted to use but because of the warm temps this year did not get to use.
This is a good time for you to go through those winter-related items and donate the excess to charity. You will free up space in your home and provide others in need with items they can use to make it through the rest of the winter comfortably, by donating them to a local charity.
Take some time to check out the following:
Blankets - Are there blankets in closets or in a cedar chest that you have not used in the past several years?
Sweaters - If you haven't worn certain sweaters by now, will you wear them by the end of the season?
Hats, gloves and scarves - If you have children, do their hats and gloves still fit them? Do you just have too many that have accumulated?
Coats - Just like your sweaters, if you haven't worn that coat this year, are you going to wear them by the end of the season?
Boots - If they are still in good condition, someone in need could use the ones you no longer wear. Are they not comfortable, out of style, not your favorites?
Outdoor recreation items: Have you checked your collection of snow shovels lately? Did you purchase a new one and not get rid of the older one? How about your sleds, toboggans or ski equipment? Don't have them take up additional space in your garage or attic if you are not using them anymore.
Decorations: Is there any holiday or winter decoration you didn't put out this year? You can sell them on Ebay, Craigs List or give them away thru Freecycle. See if any local day care centers can use some of them.
Eliminate the excess by either selling the items, donating them to a charity or giving them away thru Freecycle or to a local entity. Someone else will be glad to have them.
Let's make space for Spring! It will be here before we know it.
Tuesday, February 07 2012
I am always talking about getting organized in your home but have never talked about how to be organized as a pet owner. I think now is a good time.
Ninety-nine percent of my clients own pets - dogs, cats, birds, fish and once, a pot belly pig!
The items in your home relating to your pet need to be organized. You can use baskets, hooks, drawers or any other centralized location to hold the items that need easy accessibility.
You might already know that I am an independent consultant for Clever Container and they have three solutions designed to help organize you and your pup. You can check them out on Page 23 of their 2012 catalog at www.clevercontainer.com.
Another area of organization you should consider is pet information in case of emergency. Have you ever lost your cat or dog? It can be heart wrenching but if you are organized, it can make it a lot easier. Here are some tips:
- Have your pet microchipped and have on file the name of the company, the microchip number and contact information for the company involved. It's like GPS for your pet.
- Know the number of your pet's rabies tag.
- Have updated documentation of your pet's vaccinations and surgeries. (I always incorporate a folder in the filing systems I create for my clients for the pets.) Shelters and vets that take in lost pets will a conduct blood test to identify strays from non-strays. Knowing which vaccines are in your pet's blood and locations of scars can help in identifying your pet.
- Take pictures of your pet at many different angles and of all unique pattern markings. Have these images in digital format. Many states and shelters will post pictures of lost pets online and you will want the pictures to print out fliers.
- Most agencies will only allow you to report a lost pet that has been missing for more than 24 hours. Find out which agencies will take these notices (usually shelters and animal control centers) and have their contact information available.
- You still need to have a collar on your pet with identification, even if your pet lives primarily indoors. Break away collars are best so that your pet doesn't accidentially choke himself/herself.
I hope you never lose one of your pets, but if you do, you will be prepared by having the above information at your finger tips.
Give your pets a big hug (except if they are a fish, I guess) and have a great week!
Friday, July 22 2011
It's that time of year when we tend to spend a lot of time in the car. We take the kids back and forth to summer activities, camp, go on vacation, visit friends and family, take day trips. You name it, it involves the car. So let me ask you...
If you had to produce your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance in a hurry, could you? Many of us don't give a lot of thought to controlling clutter in our cars. We spend so much time in our cars and yet we often don't think of it as a place for organizing.
The best place to start is removing the clutter. Depending on the time of year will determine how you tackle it. If the temperature is warm (right now it's broiling hot where I live and you can't even stand to be outside for more than 5 minutes!), it’s not a problem working outdoors. If the temperature is cold, you may want to put everything into boxes and take it indoors.
Once the car is empty, vacuum it out thoroughly, clean all the windows, wipe down the dash and console and clean leather seats. Stores sell cleaner made for upholstered seats as well.
When you begin to sort through the boxed items, sort out the trash and of course, trash it. Then sort through the remaining items. There will be items that won't need to go back into the car and you can put them into a ‘goes somewhere else’ container. These can be put away as part of your cleanup.
Some of your 'return to the car' items can go into the trunk. You will probably need a way to contain them. Standard items generally consist of a small tool kit, jumper cables, a flashlight, and if you live in cold area of the country, emergency supplies like water, high-energy snacks and blankets. These can be contained either in a collapsible open top container or in a container with a lid. This will keep all of your supplies in one neatly contained area in your trunk.
Inside the car, you can contain items to keep them safely stowed, yet accessible. Things like your car’s care manual can go into the glove box or console. A small tissue box can go into the console, along with antibacterial wipes and such. Keep some reusable canvas bags to cart things in and out of the car.
Don't forget to put a little sack or plastic bag in both the front and back seats for trash. You could also store a couple of extra collapsible crates to allow you to carry your groceries into the house in fewer trips.
Don't neglect this important area of your life. It is just as important to organize your car as it is to organize your home.
If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact me.
In the meantime, keep cool and have a great week!
Thursday, June 09 2011
School is letting out soon, if it hasn't already, the kids are home and the toys are everywhere! What is a mother to do? Get organized, of course!
All those summertime toys can get out of hand if we do not have simple tools in place to keep them under control. A few rules for the kids to follow is helpful as well.
First, I want to go over some simple tips that you can begin to utilize immediately to keep all those toys under control.
1. Limit the number of toys your child owns. This might seem like a no-brainer, but those toys have a way of multiplying before our very eyes. I suggest that you start off by evaluating what your child already has before making any additional purchases. When you have a good handle on what they already have, you will avoid duplicates and lots of toys that are similar. Look to see if any toys are broken or if your child has outgrown them. If you are not sure what they want or don’t want, hide them away for a while and see if they ask for them. If they don’t, consider donating them, if they are still in good condition, to a local charity or selling them at a garage sale. (If you need tips on how to have a successful garage sale, I can help you with that.) This will be helpful when you are trying to decide what type of storage you need for the toys you want to keep, as well.
2. Be selective. When we are in the store, with or without our kids, we see those "bright shiny objects" that we just know our son or daughter has to have. Try to avoid temptation and be more practical. Consider purchasing toys that are most beneficial to your child; that promote imagination and creativity. Make sure your purchase is age appropriate.
3. Don’t buy toys that take up a lot of space and are difficult to store. I know that this can sometimes be a challenge, especially with outdoor toys. They tend to be big, plastic and oddly shaped. I would suggest limiting the amount of items that fall into this category and consider purchasing toys that can be more easily stored. If your child insists on big toys such as a play tunnel or a play house, make sure to purchase the one which can be disassembled easily and stored compactly, if at all possible.
4. Stop giving toys as gifts. It’s their birthday. What is the first thing most people think to get the kid - toys! However, when you get to the point where you have enough, stop! Don’t buy any more! Give your child a gift card for a restaurant or an activity they can enjoy, instead. Also, ask those relatives and friends who want to always supply your kids with toys, to purchase something else instead. I truly believe your child will get more out of spending a day doing a fun activity with you at an amusement park, gym or at the movies. It’s a better alternative than filling your backyard and garage with more toys!
5. Create a system for organizing toys. One of the first things you need to do is review some simple rules with your children when it comes to cleaning up their toys. Although having a good system for storing toys does not guarantee that the toys will not invade various places in your home, regular clean up is necessary to avoid having toys scattered all around the house, inside and out. Train your children to put their toys away.
So now that we know what toys we have, we are now ready to find solutions for putting them away. There are many options available, especially when it comes to outdoor toy storage. Here is a list of options to consider:
1. Bike racks to keep the bikes from laying all over the garage floor;
2. Sports racks to hold basketballs, soccer balls, baseballs, hockey sticks and bats. A good wall mounted sports ball holder can be found at ww.ballclaw.com
3. Deck boxes for larger items. (These can also be used to store outdoor chair cushions and umbrellas as well as pool equipment.)
4. Big plastic toy boxes such as those sold by Little Tykes.
5. Rubbermaid containers with lids.
6. Milk crates or laundry baskets to carry toys as they are being picked up.
7. Pop up net laundry bags to hold small balls and other items.
8. Large trash cans on wheels for larger sports equipment.
9. Back packs to store a swimsuit, towel, sun screen, flip-flops, etc.
10. Labeled bins for the younger children to easily sort their things.
We all know that it can be difficult at times to keep that toy collection under control. Without a good toy storage system in place, the toys will undoubtedly take over. Having a good system in place for storing your toys is one way to ensure that your home and yard are kept organized and you can enjoy spending more time there.
Lastly, enjoy your summer. It goes by quickly!
Sunday, April 03 2011
Spring has finally sprung! My gorgeous crocus have bloomed and the hyacinth are following shortly.
With the weather slowly getting warmer, it's time to get out of the house - and into the garage. Everything has been stashed in there all winter and it's time to make some sense of it all.
Making use of your driveway as a staging zone is best. Empty everything out of the garage, section by section and consider the following tips for getting it organized:
- Hang your tools from hooks on a pegboard over a work table, using labeled screw top jars or a drawer system for separating out small pieces of hardware.
- Set up shelving around the perimeter of your garage for storing small items - such as car care, gardening supplies, paint, etc.
- Store small gardening items such as gloves, hats, trowels and clippers in a basket with a handle to make it easy to carry them back and forth to the yard.
- Use heavy duty hooks on the ceiling or wall to hang bicycles, sporting equipment and ladders to get them off the floor.
- Keep a mat or low shelf by the door leading into the house for holding muddy shoes to keep dirt from getting tracked inside.
- For the kids (and even adults!), create a zone where all the sports equipment, balls, lawn toys and beach paraphernalia can be stored together. Out of season, they can be stored on racks hanging from the ceiling to create more space for the car.
- Make vehicle maintenance easier by storing your car care products in a large plastic bucket, along with rags, sponges and paper towels.
- Remember to leave enough room on either side of the garage so you can open your car door without bumping into shelving, tools or bicycles. (The garage IS intended to store the car - after all!)
If you need further assistance in getting this or any other area of your home organized, don't hesitate to contact me.
And enjoy your Spring!
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!
Sunday, February 07 2010
This past weekend, the eastern portion of the country experienced a noreastern storm that broke many records. In Philadelphia, they received over 28 inches of snow.
It got me thinking about organizing, of course.
Being organized is more than just keep your household under control and having good time management tools. It's a way of life.
When this large snow fall began, I quickly decided that I would be breaking the project of snow removal down into smaller, more manageable pieces, just like any other larger project, in order to get it done and make it easier for me to handle.
Therefore, I decided that the best way to handle it was to shovel the snow in intervals. When my son and I woke up, we took care of most of it, but with the storm still not over, we knew that we would finish the job when it was. So, instead of waiting until the entire storm ended, we began chipping away, as it were, at the project. This made it easier later in the day when the temperature started to drop and the surfaces became more icy. I am quite aware that many people just stayed in all day and procrastinated and now, Sunday morning, their cars are still buried in the snow and ice. That decision will now make it harder for them to dig out because now they will have to deal with the more difficult conditions.
There is a lesson to be learned here. When taking on any type of project, including snow removal, create a plan of action as to how you will take that project and break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces and you will find that you get the whole project completed much more easily.
We are expecting another large storm by mid-week and you can be assured, it will be managed the same way. One portion at a time.
If you love the snow, enjoy. For me, I can't wait til Spring!
Have a great week and remember, if you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be glad to help.
Sunday, May 10 2009
We are well into Spring and now is the time you will begin to see garage sales popping up in your neighborhood.
With the economy in its current condition, more and more people are finding ways to make a few extra dollars and one way is to have a garage sale.
However, do you know about Garage Sale Etiquette. It does exist. As a seller, you should follow these rules for good "garage sale etiquette".
1. If your advertisement for your sale states it will begin at 8:00 a.m., be ready for people to arrive around 7:30 a.m. unless you include "no early birds" in your ad. They tend to follow the adage "the early bird gets the worm". If you do include the statement in your ad, don't sell to them until the time the sale is to begin. Tell them in a polite way that you will sell the item to them when the sales begins, no earlier.
2. Make sure your pricing of your items is clear and consistent. If you leave items unmarked or use a confusing pricing system, people will get frustrated and you will find that many leave without purchasing anything.
3. Be honest about what you are selling. If something is missing from a set or has been changed, tell your customers or post a sign with the item to explain it. Don't knowingly sell useless junk.
4. A garage sale is not the right venue for selling collectibles, antiques or other large ticket items. People who shop garage or yard sales are looking for low prices on gently used items. If you want to sell certain items for more money, sell them on E-bay, Craigs List or at a consignment shop or antique store. Know the value of what you are selling and determine what venue it best fits.
5. Make sure to tell your neighbors you will be having a garage sale in advance. They may want to either join your sale and know to expect increased traffic on the street that day. Be respectful of your neighbors' properties. If someone arrives and parks in front of your neighbor's driveway, kindly ask them to move their vehicle to another location.
6. Stage your yard. Clean it up and don't leave out items that are not for sale, such as patio furniture, lawn equipment, etc. I suggest moving them out of view, covering them wtih a tarp or blanket or posting a sign on them stating "Not For Sale".
7. If you are posting signs in the neighborhood, make sure the lettering is large enough and bold enough for drivers to read. (I cannot tell you how many times I am riding past a sign advertising a garage sale and I can't read the date, the time or the location. As a result, I don't give it another thought. That's a lost potential customer!) Once you post your signs, drive around and see how they appear to others. Make sure they are legible to someone who is driving by at a decent rate of speed in their vehicle. Make a note to yourself where the signs were posted. (I will explain below.)
8. After the garage sale ends, go back to the places you posted the signs and remove them. (This is why you needed to note where you posted them!)
9. Make sure you have a cash box or apron with pockets so you can collect money and make change. Stock up on $1 bills, $5 bills, quarters, dimes and nickels. If buyers don't have exact change, you need to be prepared to make change for them.
10. Lastly, be kind. Smile, ask people if they need any help, engage in light conversation. Not only will it help you financially to be warm and courteous but it will increase the likelihood of shoppers returning for any sales you may have in the future.
Wishing you a successful garage sale!!
Until next time, if you have any organizing 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.
Wednesday, June 11 2008
With Father's Day coming this weekend and Independence Day (a/k/a The Fourth of July) just around the corner, I thought a few tips to organize your grill area might be just the ticket!
This time of year, like you, your food doesn't even want to be inside either! Set up for barbecue season with a smart outdoor cook station.
Place your grill on a flat surface that is well ventilated, away from the house, yet protected from winds that might cause flare-ups. Then, set up the area like a mini kitchen:
Create an insta-island for food prep with a folding table. Place a grill mat underneath the grill to protect your deck and have a trash basket close by. Use hooks and magnetic clips to keep the cooking utensils handy.
Opt for long handled metal cooking utensils which give you some distance from the open flame and long-armed mitts to better protect you from splatters and burns. Avoid using plastic utensils and standard oven mitts - just leave them in your kitchen drawer!
Keep an extra spatula and pair of tongs on hand to prevent cross-contamination of raw food and cooked food. You can designate which you use for uncooked meats by using red tape for "raw meat" around the handle.
Toss your grill-cleaning brush (or replace the head) once the pad or bristles get too worn out to work.
Keep the grill on high after cooking to let residue from the food burn off and clean the grate more easily. (Remember to shut it off when you are done!)
Invest in storage on your deck. Deck boxes, such as a watertight plastic models can stow your supplies outdoors where you need them. Certain versions can also double as additional seating. Stash paper towels, aluminum foil, platters, cutting boards, skewers, grilling utensils, a meat thermometer, a timer, mitts, etc.
Also, save yourself a few trips to and from the kitchen by using a carry-all caddy that has compartments for condiments, napkins, plates and eating utensils. Imagine actually being able to eat along with your guests instead of spending that time running back and forth to the kitchen!
Create an outdoor living space where you will want to spend time relaxing and entertaining outdoors this summer. Most importantly, be safe!
With these tips, I know you will create "A Better Space" for your grill area. Enjoy!
For more information and assistance on any organizing issue you may have, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help you reach your organizing goals.
Happy Father's Day! Have a great week!
Thursday, April 24 2008
It is so beautiful and warm out today it reminds me that Summer is just around the corner and we will all begin spending more time outside, whether we're swimming, having picnics, barbecuing.
Coincidentally, I received this helpful tip which I would like to pass onto you to make those times outside more enjoyable.
It's from someone who was at a deck party awhile back, and the bugs were having a ball biting everyone. A man at the party sprayed the lawn and deck floor with Listerine, and the little demons disappeared.
The next year this person filled a 4-ounce spray bottle and used it around his seat whenever he saw mosquitoes. And voila! That worked as well.
It worked at a picnic where they sprayed the area around the food table, the children's swing area, and the standing water nearby.
During the summer, he doesn't leave home without it.....Pass it on.
Someone else tried this on their deck and around all of their doors. It worked - in fact, it killed the mosquitos instantly. They bought a bottle. It doesn't cost a lot. It also doesn't take much, and it is a big bottle, too; so it is not as expensive to use as the can of spray you buy that doesn't last 30 minutes.
The Listerine spray will last a couple of days. Don't spray directly on a wood door (like your front door), but spray around the frame. Spray around the window frames, and even inside the dog house.
WHAT A GREAT TIP! If you have any you'd like to share, send me an email and I will post it on this blog for all to see!
I think we can all agree that Listerine can make your place A BETTER SPACE.
For more information and assistance on any organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help you reach your goals for organization and create A Better Space for you.
Have a great week!