Create an end of school year ritual and purge the backpack. No matter what the student’s age you can get him or her involved as well. Have the student take everything out and place it on a cleared surface. Have him/her identify what can be discarded or recycled. Help him/her identify what can be donated to an organization or camp. Help him/her identify what to keep (it’s okay to ask “what will you use it for?”). Art work – have him/her keep the favorites to either frame, put into a scrapbook, or scan and save in a file!
Do you wish that you had more space? What would that look like? If you want more space without moving there are ways that you can achieve that. Remember that space includes all surfaces – under furniture, walls, the back of a door, etc. Having less things visible creates the image of having more space because it is open. Containing items in decorative bins and baskets minimizes visible clutter. Organize using the “1-at-a-time rule” and work in 1 area at a time. Declutter a space and then organize it. Put items back in their designated places.
Once you’ve cleared space you need the patience and discipline to practice your new habits. Otherwise, the space will collect clutter again. This is a common frustration, so here are some surefire organizing tips from the expert at Outside In Organizer and Makeovers! Outside In Tip #1: Allot time. After you are finished working in an area always leave yourself time to put items in their designated place. Outside In Tip #2: Regularly schedule time to purge piles and stacks. At the end or beginning of each month go through magazines, newspapers, clipping, etc. and discard/recycle anything from more than 2 months ago. Outside In Tip #3: Replace rather than add. Establish a realistic supply of items to keep. When you are down to a remaining 2-3 of those items you can replenish. This will minimize excess. Have patience with yourself during this process and know that some days, it will be easier to maintain your optimal organizing habits, more than other days! Think about your garden…it needs patience to flourish.
You have your vision of what you want your organized space to look like, right? You’ve gathered the tools that you need to implement your plan as well. Now it’s time to prepare the soil, so to speak. Set up some “ground rules” for yourself. I think that you will find these ideas helpful; then add your own! Rule #1 – Decide which space you are going to work in and stick to the “1-at-a-time rule”. You will get more done if you work in that 1 area rather than bouncing all over. Rule #2 – Set aside a realistic amount of time to work and use a timer. This is make your task manageable and prevent frustration and overwhelm. Example: If you are working in your garage, create quadrants and work in 1 quadrant for 2 hours. When the timer sounds, stop there and acknowledge your accomplishments. Remember, you don’t want try to do a 3 day job in 1 day, it’s a set up for failure. Rule #3 – Recruit help! You will get more done if you have help. Find a willing family member, a supportive friend, or hire a Professional Organizer. Your time is valuable so I encourage you to use it efficiently and get someone to help you.
Before you start digging in you need 2 things:A VISION and A PLAN. Ask yourself these questions: What do I want the space to look like when I’m finished? What steps will I need to take, and what resources will I need to have to get there? Similar to gardening, you want to have the resources and tools that you will need on hand before you start so that your workflow won’t be interrupted. Here is a list of general organizing items and tools that you might consider having available: 1. Containers and bags for donations, consignments, repairs, recycling, trash 2. Work gloves 3. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes 4. Cleaning supplies, clean rags, paper towels 5. Face mask 6. First aid kit 7. Plastic hanging file bin, hanging file folders, regular file folders, pens, markers, post-its 8. Step stool, ladder 9. Water to keep yourself hydrated 10. Small and medium size clear plastic containers for sorting and storage, labels
Are you one of those people who stockpiles gift wrap? Do you forget to use what you have and buy more? Before you know it your gift wrap takes up so much space, gets wrinkled, and isn’t even useful or attractive anymore! The answer? Hold onto your seats, I’ve got 6 sure-fire ways to conquer gift wrap hoarding: #1: Starting now, discard any gift wrap (including tissue paper) that is no longer usable. That means, if you would be offended by a gift wrapped in it, it goes! #2: Sort holiday and special occasion wrap from general wrap. #3: Raise your right hand and repeat after me: “I will use up all of the gift wrap that I have before I buy something new.” (Say it with meaning, please.) Out of Christmas wrap? Use that solid red, silver, or gold paper and decorate it with an ornament. #4: What do you do with those pieces that are too small for gifts? Use them to create gift tags, place cards at the dinner table, tie them around a candy kiss to decorate the package…be creative. Use it, or lose it! #5: Use only gift bags once your wrap is gone. If you are saving the bags from other shopping trips, use those (why else are you saving them?). #6: When you use a gift bag, don’t write on the bag itself. Write on a removable gift tag that you tie to the handle. That way it can be used again. Note: Sometimes you need to ship items and I know that wrapping is easier than sending them in bags. Consider using a reusable wrap such as a lovely linen towel, a piece of fabric, etc.
You know those ingredients that you bought last year for the holidays, and haven’t used since? In fact, did you come across others from previous years while looking for that one special ingredient? Well, it’s time to organize your pantry and spice racks so that you are only cooking with fresh and healthy items. Try these 9 easy pantry organizing tips for your kitchen now: 1. Remove everything from the pantry. Throw away spoiled, expired items. Remember to put the items that will expire sooner towards the front when you put them back. 2. Clean out the pantry shelves and doors. Funny odor? Place an open box of baking soda near the front (don’t want to accidentally knock it over). 3. Have a plan before you return items to the pantry or racks. 4. Place like items together (ex. breakfast items, baking ingredients, oils, vinegars & condiments, etc.). 5. Place items you use often at eye level whenever possible, especially those in jars so they don’t fall and break. 6. Place lighter items at the bottom (no reason to lift heavy items). 7. Contain smaller items in plastic, washable containers. Clear containers allow you to see what is inside making the items more accessible. That reduces the need to label the containers. 8. Put the specialty spices and items that you don’t use often in the same container. Find easy to make recipes online (I love foodnetwork.com), bookmark them or print them out and keep them with your specialty items. Try those recipes and enjoy the specialty items while they are fresh. There is no point wasting your money, right? 9. Keep a double-sided sticky pad on the inside of the cupboard door. When you are running low on an item be sure to jot it down and start your… read more →
This article captures each of the basics in organizing and running a professional home office. It’s worth the read! http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/jobs/home-office-requires-a-businesslike-attitude.html?_r=0
‘Tis the season for gifts and the need for gift ideas that don’t add to the clutter. I love the idea of toys with storage features. Check out this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/garden/shopping-for-toy-storage-with-michael-aram.html
As a Professional Organizer I am attuned to working with individuals who have special needs. That may include health issues, disabling conditions, aging, and emotional issues. All individuals have special needs to lesser and greater extents, and all of us can benefit from regularly organizing our space or our time. Some considerations… Do you start things and get distracted, finding it difficult to finish tasks? Do you feel scattered and don’t know where to start; feel overwhelmed or discouraged? Are you frequently reaching and bending to access items that you use frequently? Do you have difficulty estimating the time that you need to get places or get things done; often late for appointments? The process of organizing may include ways to label and store items. Using clearly marked, easy to see labels and clear containers is often very helpful. Organizing for safety means placing items within easy reach and limiting the height of piles to prevent things from falling. It may also require removing items that pose a danger such as areea rugs. Lowering hooks and racks make it easier to hang clothing and backpacks up, too. Do you have a question about a situation you are contending with? Write or call me for assistance!