Vertical Space Organizing Tips Vertical space can be a life saver when it comes to getting organized. Hopefully you have items that you enjoy in your home and office. Not all of them need to be stored in drawers, storage containers, closets or on shelves. Years ago a client wanted to be able to see her purses and jewelry. She asked me to help her organize them and arrange them in her guest bedroom. I wasn’t sure that this was going to work out initially. Working as a Professional Organizer in San Diego and other areas of the country allows me to learn from clients, so I agreed to help her with her idea. The most important factor in professional organizing is to focus on the client’s goals. Utilizing vertical spaces such as walls, doors, has several organizing benefits: Optimizes available space Saves space inside (closets, cupboards, drawers) and on surfaces Improves aesthetics Provides accessibility and easy reach Helps increase use of items that are visually available Decreases the need for storage containers Prevents unnecessary purchases There are other creative storage solutions for using vertical space such as book cases, shelving, and various racks. Problem: Too much paper on the desk surface. Solution: Save space on the closest bookcase for an organized file bin. Problem: Too many items on the kitchen counters. Solutions: Of course, purge items on surfaces and in drawers and cupboards first to create space for items directly above or below their counter spot. If the item is too large for either consider an appliance garage to hide items in 1 section. Another possibility is to purchase a sturdy cart on wheels that can be stored in the closest pantry or closet. Wheel it out for use and return when done. Install racks… read more →
An organized closet space includes storing the items that may be needed without taking up extra space. Living in a place like San Diego attracts visitors and with the holidays approaching I want plenty of space for my guests. You don’t necessarily have to be a Professional Organizer to know that clearing the clutter and containing items will make any space look and function in a more organized way. You can do your own closet makeover simply by using the right organizing products. This standing hanger holder, for instance, is a great storage solution. The holder keeps loose hangers from getting tangled up or damaged. Here are some more professional organizing tips that you will find useful: Maximize your use of vertical space Add shelves for storing items that you don’t use often Keep a folding step stool in every closet to makes items accessible and easy to reach
Now that you’ve sorted and organized everything on the surfaces of your office you are ready to go deeper! Wondering how to do this? During this step in the organizing process you are going to work in the individual drawers and files one at a time. This is generally a longer process so I recommend that you schedule a specific day and block of uninterrupted time to do this work. Establish your goals before you begin so that you will be able to plan ahead. Overall, the goal of this process is to thin out the amount of inventory in your office drawers and files so that you are organizing only what you need and use. However, you may want to focus on some or all of the following office organizing goals: 1. Create more digital and scanned records to reduce the amount of paper documentation. 2. Change the location of items and files in order to maximize easy retrieval and access. 3. Utilize systems and strategies that are aligned with your work and learning style. Are you more visual, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic? Work from your strengths. 4. Maximize storage space including vertical and wall spaces. OIOM TIP: Save horizontal space for the work and when you are done have storage elsewhere. 5. Decrease clutter with more efficient containers, a tickler file system, or remote storage. Supplies to have before you start organizing: • Single tab file folders • Hanging files • Empty file box(-es) to hold hanging files • Pencils, eraser • A clear horizontal space to work on How to Organize: Identify the drawer that you want to begin with and work only in that drawer. • Office supplies: Take everything out of the drawer and place all of the items on to your clear work surface.… read more →
It is important to remember that how you organize your office will determine the ease of work flow as well as retrieval of important items when you need them. Remember that organizing your office or any space is a process. That means that it takes dedicated time and a clear vision of how you want it to look and function. It also means that you will need to maintain and use that system regularly. Let’s fast forward to the part where you’ve already purged everything that you think you don’t need to keep. Now it’s time to sort all of the contents in the office. Sorting is the first step to getting an organizing system in place. Step 1 – Supplies you will need before you begin sorting items: • Sticky note pads – these can be used to label piles • Markers • Writing pad – create a list of categories as you go along; revise as needed; refer to this if you want to print labels later on • Pencil and eraser • A clear surface to work on, preferably a table or counter top (Note: the floor is okay if you have a healthy knees and back) • Bags or containers for trash, recycling and shredding. OIOM TIP: shred later, not during the process; your goal is to get organized not shred! Step 2 – Decide on your categories for sorting; Make quick decisions. • Organize each items according to general or broad categories such as: Supplies, Financial, Education, Personal, Clients, and References. • You can identify sub-categories later on. • Decide where to start and stick to that area before you move on. OIOM TIP: If you find things that belong in another room, create a pile, label it, and bring it to that room when… read more →
Several years ago a woman called me because her friend threatened her! The friend was concerned and frustrated because she tried to help the woman get rid of the excessive amount of stuff in her home without any success. She reached the last straw when the woman tripped over a pile of newspapers and as a result of the fall, broke her foot. Now in a cast and forced to go up and down the stairs on her bottom, the friend threatened to call protective services if a professional organizer was not hired. This was an extreme situation, of course, and yet it raised numerous issues related to organizing and how it can improve both personal safety and health. In less extreme situations clutter, or excessive quantities of items, objects, and paperwork, can cause a variety of other concerns in addition to obstacles that cause falls: Fire hazard Compromised emergency preparedness, inability to access important items in an emergency or exit a building safely Injuries from stacked items falling Dust and mold that may cause or aggravate allergies, asthma Social isolation that may be caused by shame surrounding a cluttered environment, including estrangement from family members, and a negative impact on interpersonal relationships. If this sounds like someone you know or a situation that troubles you, it’s time to talk with a Professional Organizer. As a Professional Organizer I am part of an industry that trains us to work with these situations in a systematic, confidential and non-judgmental manner. It is stressful for a family member or friend to help no matter how much they care and mean well. They can support the work that the individual does with the professional. Write down your questions, concerns, and most importantly, your goals. All it takes is a phone call to start your forward movement.
It’s not compact, digital, or pocket-size but it is smart. Whatever your preference is is always up to you and determined by your needs. The real question is, “what information do I need to have with me when I am on the go?” See if these ideas help you answer what to organize next: Health, medical information and contacts – to take to physicians, labs, therapies, hospital, urgent care Child or adult care information, emergency contacts – for when you are at work or traveling Banking and insurance information – in preparation for an emergency Confidential information such as passwords and pins – same Job, salary history – when applying for loans Education history – same Housing history – when applying for new housing, a mortgage Warranty and repair information including expiration dates – when scheduling repairs Automobile maintenance records – when you go for your service appointments
Organizing for your health and safety will provide you with greater peace of mind. First, consider having all of your information in one easily accessible place whether it is digital and/or paper. Second, be sure that your emergency contact and/or health care proxy has access to, and a copy of this information. Remember to always send them an updated version. Third, and very important in the process of organizing your records, update the information on a regular basis. When you change supplements, prescriptions, dosages, doctors, insurance plans, or receive a different diagnosis it’s time to update the information. TIP: bring your copy of your wellness records with you to every appointment and exam including your general physician, dentist, and specialist. This will help you answer the questions that they ask you, remind you to note any changes they recommend, and to track the dates of your last appointments or exams. Here are additional ideas for what to include in your organized records: Current diet, food restrictions Current exercise regimen including type, frequency, duration Allergies or sensitivities Sleep routine including the times that you go to sleep and awaken List of questions for your wellness provider The format is less important than the gathering and updating of the information. A 3-ring binder works as well as the right app as long as you establish and use your system! P.S.-this system will serve you will in the event of a disaster, when you move, and if you are traveling.
As your San Diego Organizer I love to look at all of the places that we can utilize for storage after we declutter. For instance, think vertical and add movable shelves on legs. These are great for under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Think about stick-on hooks for the back of a closet or bedroom door. Of course, there may be space under your bed for off season items in storage bins. Recently I worked with a client and we created more drawer space by hanging the belts that she stored in the drawer on a belt hanger, instead. Here are some more ways to maximize your storage space: 1. Utilize vacuum seal bags for off season clothing as well as excess linens. 2. Stop stockpiling plastic grocery bags and recycle them in drop offs bins at the grocer store. Commit to using the reusable grocery bags instead and store them in your car where they are handy. 3. Clear out your junk drawer; discard expired coupons and gift cards, limit the number and type of items you store there, use drawer organizers to keep things sorted and accessible. 4. Make space in your file cabinet. Shred or recycle items that are no longer useful or current in content. 5. Store less used items such as camping gear and off season clothing in empty suitcases.
Ask your San Diego Organizer, “how do I get my office organized?” Here is what I would tell you: don’t just declutter! That won’t work because without putting your system in place the clutter will return. After you gather and sort (what to purge, what to keep) you want to make decisions about use and work flow (action versus reference, frequency and accessibility). Remember: there needs to be a place for everything, with everything in it’s place! Important TIPS: (1) Label items the way that you will remember them for easy, fast retrieval. (2) Ask yourself why you are keeping it, and for how long? (3) Take 10-15 minutes at the end of every work day to declutter, file, plan!
Simply put, having containers to store items in does not make you more organized. Before you go out and purchase more containers, set some “ground rules” for: What goes in and what does not What gets purged, and how often What type of container is needed Where the container is stored What goes in and what does not? Thinking about the container as a place for specific types of items will guide you in making the decision. If it is not related, it doesn’t belong in the container. You will also want to consider why you are keeping the item. That includes whether or not you will use it and if it is in good condition. If it’s paperwork, ask yourself why do you need to keep it, can you find the information elsewhere if you need it? What gets purged, and how often? Before you transfer a pile of “stuff” into a container go through the items and let go of what you no longer need. Discard, donate, sell, or keep. Only store what you know you will need and use. That will help you determine the type and size of container you will need. What type of container do I need? There are more choices than ever…clear, colored, patterned, plastic, fabric, basket, metal, lidded or open, yikes! If the container is going to be in an area where you and visitors will see it, you may want to consider the aesthetics. If the container is stored in an area where it isn’t often seen aesthetics is less important. Do you want to spend time labeling containers? Clear containers allow you to see what is inside without the need to label. My advice is to use or re-purpose containers that you already have before you go out to purchase… read more →