Thursday, August 18, 2016

An Organizer Gets Spicy !

The other day I had a little bit of time between clients - and I just happened to be near a Bed, Bath & Beyond - with a 20 % OFF coupon - so I decided to see what was new in the kitchen aisle.

I love looking at all of the various organizing bins and gadgets. They are expensive and you can probably get them elsewhere for less money - but with a sale and a coupon - sometimes you get lucky.

I happened to spot a "Spicy Shelf". I had read about this shelving system from other Organizers and they seemed to like it - but I thought it looked like it wasted a lot of room - so I never gave it another thought. And then I saw it in the store - and I had that 20 % OFF coupon - and I was feeling adventurous - so I bought it!  For clarification - I am not a shopper and not impulsive - but I was having a wild and crazy moment!

I went home and proceeded to take everything out of my spice cupboard and then put together the "Spicy Shelf". It was extremely easy to put together.

The cabinets in my kitchen are small and not very tall (it's a rental - we can't all have the perfect kitchen).  I was originally using a small, single turntable on each shelf. The Spicy Shelf definitely made it look a lot more open and gave me a lot more room. Since my cupboards are not very tall I just used one of the stacking shelves on each level.

It's still a work in progress. I will get some small containers for some of the loose bags that I have.

My only wish is that the shelves were just a bit wider. They are fine for normal spice jars - but since I am a huge gardener and have my own herbs - I tend to use a variety of jars to contain them.

It was a fun afternoon. Reorganizing and fine tuning is an ongoing process.

So - get creative - and GET ORGANIZED !


Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Getting Your Kids Ready For School...and For Life

School is about to start. Have you thought about your school year routine yet?  Don't wait until the morning of the first day of school to come up with a plan. Start thinking about your first day now and get ready.

The question now is "Do you have a calm and stress free routine ?".  If not, why not? The answer is probably because things are not as organized as they could be.

Come up with a routine and get your kids involved. Let them know ahead of time what time they will have to get up in order to have plenty of time to get dressed, make their bed, eat a healthy breakfast and get all of their school things in their back packs and on their way.

By starting your kids on a routine and giving them responsibility for getting ready on time you have started them off on the right track to a successful life.

Kids are never too young to start learning how to be organized. Kids as young as three can be taught how to put their toys away.

School age children should have a daily routine. Everything from getting up in the morning, getting dressed themselves, making their beds and getting their backpacks all ready for school. This includes making sure they have their lunches!

By making kids responsible for themselves they can start learning organizational skills. It also helps takes the pressure off of the parents.

Even though as a parent you might want to do everything for your would be doing them a disservice if you did. Don't you want your child to marry someone that can take care of themselves? Someone that helps around the house?

By teaching your kids some basic skills when they are young you are setting them up for success!

Kids love to learn new things. They love to think that they are in charge. Let them be in charge of themselves!

As a parent your job is to give the kids tools they can use in everyday life. Being organized is a crucial tool.

Parents, especially single parents, need all of the help they can get. Teach your child to be self sufficient and you too will reap the rewards.

And don't use the excuse "I am not an organized person myself".  I have a lot of clients that aren't organized themselves....but they know the right people to teach their kids various skills.

If you can give your child piano or gymnastics lessons.... you can give them "organizing lessons".  It's something they will use forever. Not that being able to do a cartwheel isn't important!

By starting young and having expectations from your children you are helping them be a better person. Their teachers, bosses and future spouses will  "Thank You" !

Start Today..... Raise an Organized Child

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 25, 2016

Grab A Basket - Clear Your Clutter

It's summer and you should be outside enjoying the beautiful weather - instead of deep cleaning your house. Don't misunderstand me - you really do want a clean house - but sometimes some things are more important - such as spending time with your family.

So - grab your laundry basket (or whatever large basket or container you have handy) - and walk into your living room - and pick up things that don't belong there. Put them into your basket.

The clothes that are laying round. The magazines or books that are on the floor. The newspaper. Games, toys....  dishes, cups.... 

Put everything into the basket.  Only things that belong in the living room should be there.

Fluff the pillows and straighten the rug.

Now take your basket and walk into the kitchen and take the dishes & cups out of your basket and put them into the kitchen.

Take the books & magazines and put them back on the bookshelf or magazine rack.

Take your clothes and put them back in your closet or into the laundry hamper.

When the basket is empty - you've accomplished your task!  You've cleared a room of the clutter that did not belong there.

You can use this process on each room that is cluttered with things that don't belong.

It's a quick way to have an uncluttered room.

Another way is to always take anything that you brought into the room - out of the room when you leave the room.

Unlearning bad habits is hard. Remember - "everything should have a place of it's own to live".

Now that you've decluttered a room - go out and enjoy the great weather!

Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Organizing Your Pantry

Organizing is not a one time and you are done deal. It's an on going process. Every once in a while you should go through and reorganize each part of your home. Each drawer, each closet, each room.

With daily use these areas will naturally start to get unorganized - if you aren't diligent in putting things back where they belong or if you have acquired more items and not gotten rid of anything.

Start by taking everything out of each drawer or shelf (only work on one shelf at a time - otherwise it will be overwhelming).

In your pantry it's really important that you look at labels on your food items and check for expiration dates.

Make sure that the cans/bottles/jars are sealed (look for cracks or leaks).  Put all of the like items together. All of the vegetables, soups....  

Gather all of your pasta in one spot.

Have a spot for your cereals.

Put all of your snack foods in one spot.

Put all of your baking goods (flour, sugar....) in one spot.

I like to use baskets to keep all of your lose foods contained (especially snacks). It's easy to just graab the basket - pick out what you want - and put the basket back. Nice and organized.

Once you open an item (such as cereal) - put it into a large ziploc bag. This will ensure that the item stays fresh and does not spill out all over the place.

By having like items stored with like items - it helps you know - at a glance - what you have an what you need to buy.

Now - go and organize that pantry!
Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, July 14, 2016

It's MY STUFF! You Can't Make Me Throw It Away!

As a Professional Organizer I am very aware that when I go into a person's home or business to help them with their organizing issues I am being entrusted with their things and their confidence. I give my clients possessions the respect they deserve and I maintain a strict confidentiality on what happens in their home.

When people use their friends or family to help them organize - or in most instances - just clean their home (not the same thing at all)  - there is not the same understanding of confidentiality or non-judgement. In fact - there is so much judgement that it usually - in most cases - causes issues within the family or friendship.

The number one complaint from most clients who have - at one point or another - used a friend or family member - is that they tried to make them throw out their "stuff", they threw it out themselves without asking, or they were very judgemental, condescending or just plain mean.

I know that they were just trying to help - or they thought they were helping - but they weren't.  They were putting their ideas of organization, cleanliness and decorating on their friend.

I have heard many clients say to me  "It's MY STUFF!  They tried to make me throw it away!".  And a friendship was lost. A family was torn apart from anger.

Everyone has their own idea on what it means to have an organized, clean, picked up or decorated home.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

As a Professional Organizer I try to give my clients the best advice that I can - without judgement - and being aware of how they live, what their needs are and how they function.

A Professional Organizer never MAKES a client throw anything out. It's THEIR STUFF!

How would you feel if someone came into your home and just started taking things and throwing them out?  I am sure that you would not like it - and you would be very angry.

It doesn't matter what you think - it's what your friend or family member thinks.  It's their stuff - not yours.

It's not always easy when you have a client that is so chronically disorganized (and possibly a hoarder) - to not want to get rid of things and "make it all better" - but that's overstepping the boundary. Part of a Professional Organizers job is to try and teach the person how to make better decisions, how to organize their space better so that they can fit things in where they are supposed to be. A Professional Organizer can guide a client - but they can't and should never throw things out without a client's permission.

As an "outsider" - a "professional" - it's much easier not to become attached to a clients things and to be objective.

So if you don't want someone coming into your home and taking your things - don't go throwing away your families things. It won't end well.  

It's their STUFF!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 11, 2016

Too Many Things To Do ....Not Enough Time To Do Them All

Summer is a busy time. There are so many activities but only so much time. How do you do them all? How do you know about them all? How do you not miss anything?

Next weekend for example - there are three different fun things to do in one day. Two of them we love doing and the other one is a new festival that we have never been to - but that is supposed to be awesome!  How do we pick?  I know - a horrible problem to have!  

In order not to miss anything over the summer you have to be organized.  Yes - even fun needs organization!

In the spring I usually try to update my "summer list of fun things to do".  I have a spreadsheet where I list every festival or fun activity and the date it happens.  As new things come in I add them to the list. These are reoccuring things - like festivals and shows and activities that happen every year. All I need to do is update the exact dates - and I have a list of fun things to do all summer!

Having fun and being busy actually requires some work and planning. I have found that a lot of people in the city really have no idea of all of the fun things there are to do and when they happen. When I first moved to the city I had to really make an effort to find out what was happening - and therefore I was able to do a lot of things that most people here have never even done.

After I have my list done - I take my calendar and put all of the activities on the calendar. That way I am sure not to miss anything.  I have choices.

It still doesn't solve the problem of too many choices - but what a great problem to have. You can alternate the activities that happen on the same day by switching which ones you do this year and then do the other one next year.

A lot of things also need to be planned ahead of time - especially if children or other family members are involved. Camping or mini-vacations require that you plan ahead of time and leave enough time to get everything ready so that your trip is as stress free and relaxing as possible.  Being organized - and having your vacation packing list is essential.

By taking an hour to plan your summer fun ahead of time - you will be able to enjoy yourself without having to worry about forgetting anything or having nothing to do.

But remember - don't forget your sunscreen!

Have fun!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, March 14, 2016

Stuff - Why Do We Have It?

People keep asking me - "how much stuff can I have?".  "What is too much?".

The answer is - "you can have as much stuff as you want - if you have the room - if you can afford it and it does not negatively impact your life or your families life - and if it's organized or contained so that it does not negatively impact your life or safety".

That's the quick and easy answer.

Then it gets more complicated.

Why do you have all of the stuff?  Why do you need all of the stuff?

Are you compensating for something?

Can you just not let go?  Why not?

Does the stuff make you happy?  Or does it make you sad?  Does it remind you of things you would rather not be reminded of - but can't let it go?

Or do you just not have the time or energy to get rid of the stuff?

It's your stuff - it's your choice.  No one can or should make you get rid of it.


It's causing a health and safety risk.

Stuff - causes complications.

Think about why you have it and why you can't let go.

It's a very complex issue.

Organizational Consulting Services