Organizing a cluttered garage Organizing a cluttered garage doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. I observe that in fact, sometimes people would rather avoid this project and resign themselves to parking in the driveway or on the street. That may not be an option for some of you because of neighborhood rules. Organizing a cluttered garage has many benefits. Let me begin by asking you what your vision or need for the garage is. This is a key step for organizing any space in your home because having a vision enables you to create a well thought out plan. Begin organized requires planning and creating systems that can be maintained. Organizing a cluttered garage | Storage, function Let’s consider what the a garage is generally used for. The first function is usually storage. Storage may include any or all of the following items: Vehicle(s) Seasonal items Recreational and sports equipment Surplus household supplies Large and bulky items Paperwork and records Garages may also be used for multiple functions such as: Laundry room Tool and repair center Gardening center Workout area Your garage is no different than any other space in your home. You will decide how you want to use the space based upon your individual needs. As your San Diego Professional Organizer I don’t go in and tell you how to use it until we thoroughly assess the needs of you and your family. Organizing a cluttered garage |What is clutter? Clutter is an accumulation of unnecessary and useless things that are put into the space and never looked at or used again. It includes items that are useful but may be stored improperly and even pose a safety or access risk. Too many and improperly stored objects and boxes that take up valuable space, collect dust, mold, insects and… read more →
Organizing follow through Organizing follow through is often challenging for people. What keeps you from organizing your to do’s and then following through? You want to get things done and yet the list of to do’s seems never ending! As a Professional Organizer I don’t ise a one size fits all approach because each client is different. You are probably familiar with the basic principles for successfully organizing. They are purging, sorting like items, and containing and creating a place for everything. Organizing follow through begins with clarifying each client’s unique goals and priorities. It is very helpful to be a former teacher and have the knowledge and experience that every student learns through different modalities. Some learners are stronger auditory learners (hear information and instructions) and others acquire and remember information better when they receive it visually. This relates well to my organizing and time management clients and so it is my job to identify the best ways to help each individual set up systems for organizing. It is equally important to acknowledge that everyone learns at a different pace. Learning the new habits for organizing is just the first step. The critical step is to remember to use the steps and maintain these new habits over time until they become more natural and routine. Some people learn more quickly than others and others get stuck in old habits without the benefit of having an accountability partner who is there to help them maintain the systems. Follow through is often the most challenging aspect of organizing and time management. Having a to do’s written down can be a good visual but unless each action item is scheduled to be done on a specific day and time they are unlikely to get done. Even with these kinds of systems some… read more →
Organizing, why you will never finish: Organizing is a ongoing process that requires maintenance. Don’t be disillusioned please. Getting and staying organized is like eating healthy, daily flossing and working out. Would you ever stop flossing your teeth every day? Look at what organizing and eating healthy or working out have in common: All 3 of these are good for you. You always feel better when you do it. Conversely, you often feel worse when you don’t! Doing each of these will provide you with a sense of well being and accomplishment. The most important common factor among these 3 life skills is that having systems makes it much easier to know what to do and to get back on track if you falter. You need systems: Organizing systems: have a place for everything so that everything can be returned to its place. Eliminate clutter. Eating healthy systems: have a shopping list with healthy foods on it to remind you what to buy. Eliminate impulse shopping. Exercise systems: have a regular day and time in your schedule for working out. Recruit an exercise partner or hire a coach. Eliminate excuses not to work out. More organizing tips: Use your calendar as a journal, accountability log, or “done” list. Write down what you accomplished in your calendar to see it every day and for the week. Cross through it each day or check it off. Acknowledge your successes big and small. Create your “Optimal Habits” ©. You know that it takes 21 days to change or create new habits. “Optimal Habits” © are the ones that are not only good for you, they are the ones that you will stick with because the reward for doing them is greater than the consequences or results of not doing them. Organize 1 thing… read more →
Organizing Gift Supplies Organizing gift supplies doesn’t need to wait until just before the holidays. Get all, and I mean all, of your supplies together from every space in the house. Here’s a list of common items: Wrapping paper – rolls and sheets Gift bags, boxes Gift tags, labels Ribbon, bows, other decorative embellishments Tissue paper, other types of stuffing Shipping supplies – bubble wrap, mailers Tape, all types This month my goal is to inspire you to get a head start on organizing projects and avoid thinking in terms of a summer organizing projects to-do list. Of course you can always hire a Professional Organizer like myself, but why not try my DIY Organizing Tips like this one? Purge When organizing gift supplies make a commitment to purge all of the wrinkled, torn, and damaged supplies. How would you feel if you received a gift wrapped in something stained? If you have unopened packages and rolls of supplies that you no longer plan to think about donating these items. Group “like” items Store like items together. One of the benefits of this step in the organizing process is that you know how much of specific items that you already have. This can save you a lot of money. Make a commitment to use as many of the gift supplies that you have before purchasing more. When supplies are on sale (off-season) you can stock up on what you need. Location, location, location Organize gift supplies in an area where you are likely to wrap items, if at all possible. Here are some creative ideas for organizing and storing these types of items. If you don’t have a permanent flat surface that is clear most of the time you can consider purchasing a seamstress’ cutting board which folds up and… read more →
DIY Organizing Projects DIY organizing projects are a great way to: Take stock of what you already have, what you need and will use, what you want, and what you are ready to let go of. DIY organizing projects allow you to feel productive and creative. You realize the immediate benefits of organizing: clear space, energy flows. Here is a Jumpstart Organizing Project that you can do any time of year: Organize a Gift Storage Space A gift space or hideaway allows you to store the gifts that you purchase throughout the year. People do this as they see something that they think a person would like to have; they’re inspired. It’s also a great way to spread out your expenses, save money, and save time. A gift hideaway keeps purchases safe, clean and hidden from potential recipients. Christy of Thrifty Thriving says: “Make sure you have the room to store the gifts. I now have a closet in my garage, but I have previously kept the gifts in a Rubbermaid storage tote.” Read more Steps for Organizing Gift Storage Identify the space – Select a barely used closet or cupboard that is well ventilated, dry and has shelves. Purchase supplies – Removable labels (helps you to remember who the item will go to), storage containers, etc. Group “like” items – Remember to store the gifts in a way that makes sense to you. Examples are by person, holidays, special occasion. If you need a little help to make a plan and get started, check out this service: “Personal 3-Step DIY Action Plan” for organizing your home or office. Create more space Prioritize steps for de-cluttering Organize, contain, label Schedule 1 session with your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer to today!
Summer Organizing Tips: Don’t Do It! My best summer organizing tip: don’t wait until summer to get it done. Do you or someone you know have a long list of summer organizing projects that you plan or hope to get done? The key is to have a plan because just hoping, never works. Summer organizing is an artificial goal. Most organizing projects, in most parts of the country, can be accomplished throughout the year. See my special offer below. So, I am declaring the unthinkable and telling you that, “Summer organizing doesn’t really work!” Here’s why: Organizing Tips: Imaginary “free” time doesn’t exist We all have 7 days a week, 24 hours in a day. There is no such thing as “free” time. Yes, occasionally an appointment is cancelled and you end up with unscheduled time. When that happens, how do you choose to use it? Do you squander the time or go to your organizing project to-do list and chip away at something on your list? Waiting until summer is just another way of procrastinating. As your San Diego Professional Organizer I am here to share my favorite organizing tip: Don’t put things off. I can tell you that some of the challenges in waiting for summer to organize things are: Less structure and accountability – we tend to get less done when we lack structure, deadlines and accountability. Have you noticed that you get more done when you are busy? Tendency not to schedule time to organize – when you are on vacation or your children are home from school there is a tendency to get out of your daily routine. That requires you to schedule dedicated days and times for your organizing projects. Weather obstacles, outdoor projects – sometimes it is too hot or too rainy to… read more →
Organizing Projects | Summer Organizing projects can be done all year long. Do you have a list of the ones that you save for summer? Here are some of the projects that your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer hears most often: Garage – clear the clutter, organize items into containers, add shelving and cupboards, and resurface the floor. Closets – clear the clutter, sort and reorganize items, add organizing products and tools such as hooks, cubbies, and bins Home office – purge files, reorganize and update filing system, and shred documents. Photos – thin out the number of photos, sort and label them, organize and scan photos. Convert VHS cassettes to DVDs. Organizing Project: Garage Here are organizing tips from the Outside In Organizer and Makeovers guest blogger, Bri Lords, of Garage Medics: Summertime is just around the corner and that means it’s finally nice enough outside to work on some organizing projects. You know the ones such as taming your landscaping, updating the front door, and cleaning out the garage. Those organizing projects sound daunting, but they don’t have to be. With a little time and organization any project can be completed this summer! We’ve broken down the best way to organize your garage to mark that project off your to-do list. Assess Your Stuff: What do you actually need in the garage? Start by separating garage items into three groups, keep, trash, and donate. Be sure to donate items right away to avoid clutter buildup. Remove items that shouldn’t be stored in the garage like fabrics, propane tanks, or paper products. Fabrics and paper products can attract pests, while propane tanks could leak and result in harmful fumes. Once you have sorted the items, the next steps go far more smoothly. Maximize Your Space: Many people simply… read more →
5 Amazing Ways to Label Your Items When you label your items you make life so much easier. One of the benefits of organizing is that you don’t have to label everything. Check out my previous blog: “Tips For Storing Items.” One of the points that I make is that if you store items in clear containers it may greatly reduce the need to label. Consider the W’s of labeling: Who What Why When Where Labels are intended to be functional and serve a purpose, not just look pretty. As your San Diego Professional and Personal Organizer allow me to share these organizing tips and my 5 Amazing Ways to Label Your Items: Who needs to know what is in there? Do you live or work alone? If it is just for your information then you have an easy way to get organized and label things. What if you are organizing for other family members, roommates, or coworkers? Consider shich makes more sense to use… words or pictures? You can assist others with independence and easily finding and storing things when you are labeling appropriately for children, second language learners, or elders’ needs. What is in there? Use simple one word labels whenever possible. Don’t make your labels complicated. Why are you labeling the storage container or folder? It is an efficient way to store and retrieve what you need, when you need it. Do you really need to put a date on the label? Include dates only when necessary such as distinguishing one tax year from another. When do you label? Only label when the contents are not obvious. Easy solutions include clear containers, colored storage containers for seasons and holidays, etc. Also, don’t get hung up on whether you use a label maker or print the labels by… read more →
3 Reasons for Persistent Clutter – Which one is yours? As a Personal and Professional Organizer I’ve observed that persistent clutter can be caused by 3 reasons: behaviors and habits that do not support decluttering and organizing, limiting beliefs and negative emotions that keep you from making positive changes, and technical obstacles such as not having systems in place or using systems that are not meeting your needs. In what ways do your behaviors get in the way of being organized? Pretend that you are an outside observer and notice which behaviors and habits prevent you from being organized. What about your beliefs? Do you believe that you are capable of change and creating new habits that make getting organized and staying decluttered possible? If not, that is probably a good place to start to take steps to debunk those limiting beliefs. It will also help alleviate negative emotions such shame, fear, and self doubt if you can observe small successes. Finally, are there technical obstacles that don’t allow you to be more organized such as having an effective scheduling or filing system? In future posts I’m going to share organizing tips for solutions and strategies. You can always call or email me with your personal organizing challenges!