Avoid the Cluttered Closet Trap

Organization tips to implement into your own closet to save space and keep things from becoming cluttered.

The Great Toy Challenge

Practical solutions and ideas that will hopefully leave you with some peace of mind when it comes to your little ones.

Closet Quick Tips

A few quick closet tips in no specific order to keep your closet refreshed and fun.

A Closet Transformed

This closet project was a great opportunity for the client to get rid of things she hasn't worn including shoes, clothing and bags!

Bathroom Closet Organization Tips

Just as any closet in your home can become cluttered up quickly your bathroom closets can certainly do the same.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What's Really in the Room During the Holidays~Stop Opening the Gifts and Listen

The day after Thanksgiving my mom and I headed out for our annual Black Friday shopping extravaganza, which marks the official start to the holidays. While we don't participate in the wee hours of the a.m. we certainly still find ourselves deals amongst the crowded aisles throughout the stores. I suppose everyone's motives that day are essentially the same. The bottom line is saving money on some great items for the holidays, but my question is at what cost? Two instances that day prompted this blog post.

While we were checking out at the register in Macy's the salesgirl made a small mistake and apologized. She mentioned having to get up at 3 a.m. to come into work and was a bit over tired. While I agree it is her choice to commit to a retail position that requires you to show up the day after Thanksgiving at 4 a.m., it dawned on me she has to because the public expects it. Every holiday season retailers without fail open their doors for the public at unreasonable hours. They advertise their deals and people rush out of their homes to go and catch them. I feel as though the gift giving season the day after Thanksgiving should not begin by pulling people away from their families, only to satisfy the masses and their appetite for deals. Economists will argue that the surge in sales that day can help push our pathetic economy along, but if stores opened at regular hours wouldn't people still show up?

On our last stop before heading home I saw a gift giving tree for the needy in one of the stores. There were hanging ornaments in the shape of Christmas trees that detailed the age of the children and what they wanted from Santa. One of them read- age 4. Size 4T. Socks, underwear and pajamas. I stared at it for a bit and then all I felt was heartbroken for that little girl. Ten minutes earlier I was strolling through the aisles in Toys R Us passing people with shopping carts filled to the brim, and this little girl just needs some socks.

I'm not looking for validation from this blog post, and I don't want to be a holiday Debbi downer. I just ask of these few things-

  • Say thank you to anyone you encounter who is working this holiday season whether it is a retail store, policeman, doctor, nurse or military. They are giving a gift greater than anything you can unwrap.
  • Remind your loved ones to be thankful for the amazing blessings the universe sends them, today and everyday. 
  • Remember the holidays are not about deals, gifts and spoiling your loves ones. It's about spending time together and being appreciative.
  • Keep it simple and be grateful. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Control that Clutter!

We've all had those weeks. By Friday our mail is stacked up to the high heavens on our kitchen counters, the kids toys have become unintentional decor in every room and our closets have now become the floor. If you can't seem to catch it before it begins over time the weeks turn into months and the result is a cluttered homestead. One of the first things people will say is "I just can't find the time to keep up with it". That should be your Aha! moment. Can't find the time, so now time has decided to interfere with your day by making you spend most of it cleaning! Not a healthy relationship. Another downside is the toll clutter can take on our mental well being. Not being able to locate items in your home can be exhausting and frustrating, a not so healthy feeling. Where to begin?  Read on for some thoughts on how to best manage your everyday items that can cause clutter- paper clutter, clothing clutter and your child's toys.

~ A Place for Everything, Everything in its Place ~

Mail, Magazines and Documents

Your mail needs a home, and the counter isn't one of them. The minute you retrieve your mail toss it if you don't need it and designate a place for the remaining. Strongly suggested is a mail file. A slot for bills, a slot for invites, etc. Purge this file on a regular basis. Magazines can be placed in a basket. When one goes in send last months issue to the recycle bin. Any important documents should be filed away in a filing cabinet, accordion file or in folders. Immediately. Label each compartment for quick filing. Take a moment once every couple of months to shred anything that you may not need.Taking a systematic approach to mail is probably one of the most important tools you can utilize because it will allow you to stay on top of what's coming in and what's going out. Important documents will not be lost and counter tops and coffee tables will be free of paper pile-ups. To reduce your mail simply opt for paperless statements if possible. Receiving billing statements or even magazines electronically reduces clutter and helps the environment.

Closet and Clothing Clutter

Closets and bureau drawers are the most common place for items to be stored away and hidden. Before you know it your closet needs its own hiding place. Utilize every closet and bedroom drawer space in your home for a specific purpose and decide where to place each item. Removing all items and categorizing them is your first step. Create piles as you begin to sort. Donate anything that is causing the space to be cluttered. Utilizing bins within your closet to store specific items such as bags, belts and scarves will keep them from becoming disorganized. If space is an issue store seasonal items separately to relieve space. As with your mail having a system in place for your clothing can help to avoid the pile-ups. Clue in everyone in your household as to where the designated areas are. Check out this link for more information on how to best utilize closet space http://laurenorganizedforlife.blogspot.com/2010/11/closet-transformed.html


If you are racing to remove your children's toys from the floor anytime guests are arriving minimize that mess by having a designated area for your child's toys. If it happens to be in your living room no worries. Investing in shelving with bins is a great way to design the area to look inviting. Implementing a plan however to put away the toys is the most efficient way to keep the clutter under control. Once the children are off to bed your living room should have regained its identity as a place where you can relax. Clutter free. A link to more ways to keep your child's play area organized  http://laurenorganizedforlife.blogspot.com/2011/04/great-toy-challenge.html 

Allowing yourself and others within your home to consistently make an effort to avoid the clutter trails will help to keep your home clutter free. Think simple, think inviting. Every time you walk into your home it will prove to be your favorite refuge. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thoughts on a Society Fueled by Consumerism. Deciding When Enough is Enough

~ In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy ~ Ivan Illich

In 1998 I went out and bought my first cell phone. There was nothing fancy about it and I recall not being overly thrilled about the idea. I just concluded that it would be a good idea in case of an emergency. Imagine that, a cell for emergency purposes only. Fast forward 13 years later as thousands across the country are racing to stores to purchase the new iPhone, and more than half of the recipients are more than likely under the age of 18. I can't say entirely that I blame society for their endless need for bigger and better, and I also can't say the blame falls completely on the companies that produce the bigger and better. I believe they go hand in hand, and 13 years later society....well society just expects more. The question is where does it end?

Over the last few years we have all witnessed the United State's falling dollar and the international debt that seems to be insurmountable. Suddenly Americans are faced with foreclosure, lay offs and thoughts of financial insecurity. They are beginning to rethink their financial plans when it comes to home ownership and retirement plans. They have begun on some level to learn to live more simply and doing what they can to adopt a new way of thinking in terms of finances. Naturally the spending habits of an individual will always vary based on income and upbringing but whether you have the means to purchase the bigger and better is it really necessary?

As a consumer we have so many choices when it comes to where you shop, where to eat, what car to buy. With so many choices its no wonder we sometimes feel overwhelmed in our decision making. One of the steps we can take as consumers is to really identify with what we need as opposed to what we want. To ask ourselves the question of whether or not it is necessary. We also have to dig a little deeper. Eventually our clothes will begin to wear, our vehicles will become older and will need to be replaced. However by realizing you are not defined by what you own you will tend to be a bit more selective with your purchases. What you do with what you have determines your worth. There is always a rush with a new purchase that you thought you just had to have. Within a week you are satisfied and within a one month you are over it. Alas you move on to the next thing and the process repeats itself. The lesson learned is that things will never create a true happiness. They in essence create a false sense of what real happiness is.

Life is short. The idea isn't to keep running in a race against society or yourself to have the best, there will be no finish line. The idea is to spend it on the moments. Take in the world around you everyday and be consumed by the little things in life that are filled with true happiness. The intangible good are the things that fill up your insides with enough satisfaction to feel that you have enough.  Right now look around at everything you have and ask yourself is it enough? I can't preach to you that over consumption can manifest itself into a monster that will eventually leave you unfilled. I can only ask that next time you are looking to purchase the bigger and better take a moment to look around and ask yourself is it necessary? Contentment is natural wealth; luxury, artificial poverty ~ Socrates

Feel free to comment on my post, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter! 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Making a List and Checking it Twice...Or Not? My "To Do List" Experiment

 We wake up every morning and begin with thousands of thoughts running around in our heads of what needs to get accomplished that day, that week, or even that month. On a personal note my life has become so consumed by to do's that I felt as though I was just living off lists with my sanity linked to the pen that crossed off the tasks.  I have blogged in the past about life balance and  the importance of creating lists but recently the idea that lists were beginning to consume me seemed a little pathetic. I decided to do a small experiment. For one week I did not write a single list. I didn't take a moment at my desk each day to whip out an over sized post it and start listing away. I just went day by day. At first I felt like something was wrong. It didn't feel right to me that I didn't have something to reference whatever it was I needed to accomplish. Surprisingly not the end of the world! I just did what I thought needed to get done. By day three I actually enjoyed not having to list everything on a daily basis that my week will consist of and went with the flow of things. Going with the flow. I hear it all the time but never really understood it, and now I do. In the end life balance, focus and enjoying the moment leaves you feeling less stressed and overwhelmed. Treat your to do list as a small way to keep yourself in check, rather than living by them.
My 5 revelations about lists are below-
  1. Your memory is sharper than you think
  2. Create lists as you need them but don't live by them.
  3. Going with the flow is tied to living in the moment, and is so much more important than living off of to dos.
  4. Creating a list once at the beginning of your week which highlights what needs to get accomplished gives you the room to go with the flow and not be thrown off course.
  5. Your everyday to do lists will never cease to exist, not for now anyway, so taking things day by day is the best way to stay on track. 
Staying organized in your home will allow you to feel more at ease about what needs to get done. For example have your monthly bills in one spot, your doctor's appointments or children's appointments in a designated area. Just seeing them everyday is a reminder. What works for me may not work for you, however if you try your best to stay focused your to do list may only be needed twice a week, once a month...or not at all.

Feel free to comment with thoughts and ideas! Don't forget to like this page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Getting Back to School Ready! There's Something About Autumn...

I've always wondered if seasons can sense our excitement, anticipation or reluctance as they begin to creep up on us. For New Englanders we welcome summer with open arms. After bitter cold winters and a spring that only seems to last about a month summer is that breath of fresh air that makes its way into our homes with welcoming smiles. There is however something about Autumn. Maybe its the slight chill in the air at night, or the warm and vibrant colors that begin to line our streets as the trees respond to the changing season. Warm apple pie and carved pumpkins on door steps, all the signals of Autumn's arrival. Another sure sign is our childrens return to school. Time for backpacks, lunch boxes and new shoes. As we begin a new season we should be sure we are ready for our new routines. Mother Nature eases into Fall effortlessly so taking her cue here are a few tips to make your household embrace the new season and be Fall ready and organized!

Organizing Your Schedule Change

  • Have a morning routine before your kids head back to school to help them out with the new wake up call. The better prepared they are in advance to start the school day the more smooth the morning routine will go.  Less tears and more smiles!
  • Pack lunches at night if you can and leave backpacks by the door. Always a time saver in the a.m.
Back to School To Do's
  • Kids are growing faster than the season change! Toss the items they won't be wearing, donate or re-sell, and make your list of the clothing items they will need before hitting the stores. Don't forget to research sales and print out coupons before heading out. Teachers sometimes have additional school supplies that they will require your kids to have, but always grab the basics. Pack them right away in your child's backpack so that they don't leave home without them!
Calendar Central
  • New school year means new after school activities, play dates and sports. Create a designated area in your home to display a calendar that lists daily activities for the month. The kitchen seems to get the most foot traffic so a dry erase board on your fridge is a great spot. Get your kids involved by having them go over the calendar with you, maybe adding different stickers for certain activities.

 Check out this link to some fabulous back to school organizing supplies for ages k-8 via organize.com  http://www.organize.com/back-to-school-k-8.html.

Comments? Questions? Feel free to post! Don't forget to follow me on twitter for more organizing essentials, or like this on facebook! As always thanks for visiting!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jewelry Revamp!

This jewelry armoire was beginning to look like a bunch of junk drawers, and was clearly defeating the purpose! Our hanging jewelry organizer was an easy fix. I was able to organize the armoire to just hold bangles, the many many bangles I might add! Earrings, hard to find earring backs, rings and smaller bangles are conveniently stored and hanging in the closet. Had to spread the love I have for this jewelry revamp!

Before this armoire housed everything from bangles to necklaces, and was unorganized

Our easy fix!

No more digging through the mess!

With space freed up bracelets are easy to find!

Follow me on twitter or like this page on facebook! Happy organizing :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why I'm Choosing the Road Less Traveled and My Top 5 for De-Cluttering Lives

There is a long road ahead with two paths to follow. The first road is named "Practical Purposes" and the second, "Embrace Your Talents".  Imagine, just for a moment, a world where everyone can give themselves the chance to embrace their passion, talents, true self and decided to take that path. A world where individual circumstances do not always dictate the path that is chosen. A road that is followed because individuals do not make career choices based on financials or the choice being a "practical" decision. While most of us require practical attributes in a job lets put all practical reasons aside and ask the question of whether it is more rewarding to tap into where your passion lies and then see where it takes you.

 At a certain point I took the road to "Practical Purposes". I can pay the bills and add proficient in Microsoft Excel to my resume, but for me this has also resulted in a serious call for some self reflection. Being in an environment that has no direct correlation to my inner self is at times mentally exhausting and leaves no room for self gratification. I am thankful for the career opportunities I've had however I need to feel as though I am making a difference in a positive way and guide others to do the same. A sense of purpose is important in all of our lives and people certainly interpret it differently. For years my outlet has been to organize, de-clutter and move furniture around until it "feels" like it's in the right spot. It dawned on me that I'm tapping into an outlet that comes naturally and provides enough mental clarity to feel as though I can take on the world. As if I'm in the right spot. Ignoring my true self is simply not an option, so I'm taking a detour.

Life balance and clarity is ideal in today's world. The objective for my blog Organized for Life goes beyond my tips and ideas for cleaning out a closet or a basement. I'm attempting to de-clutter the lives of others to bring balance into their lives and create a peaceful environment. I'm sure most people would love to see where that takes them. Sometimes amid the chaos that surrounds us in life there is always an opportunity for a moment of clarity if you're listening to your true self. The way I see it? To find out what you are meant to do and to secure every opportunity to do it is the key to happiness. Where there is inspiration and passion success is inevitable, if you like that sort of thing. My top 5 for wanting to de-clutter lives~

~Simplicity loves calm. Bringing simplicity into the home will create a calming environment
~Less is more, on every level
~Being organized creates better concentration, which leads to more sound decisions
~Organization creates better time management, time is something we are all short of
~De-cluttering and donating to those in need is a valuable process
~Tomorrow is never promised, so I make every effort to embrace my talents

Whatever your inner self is telling you take moment to listen. If a situation doesn't feel right chances are you will feel your body reacting to it. There is always time for change and growth so be good to yourself and follow the detour if you so choose.

Feel free to post a comment or provide some feedback. Follow me on Twitter or like this page on Facebook!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Retail Queen's Quest for Living Simply

Recently my parents were cleaning their basement and came across a journal I kept when I was about 9 years old. There was one entry that I came across that described in great detail the type of closet I wanted when I was all grown up. "It will be big enough to hold my thousands of pairs of shoes and purses" and house a Jacuzzi as well.  As a 9 year old little girl the mere thought of having so much "stuff" meant I would be happiest girl in the world. Even as a child one thing was clear, I loved to shop. This love of shopping manifested itself into my many years of countless retail jobs. I spent almost an entire decade helping thousands of women make countless wardrobe decisions from the dress to the shoes to the jewelry. The irony of it all? Years later I'm helping them make decisions on which clothing, shoes and accessories to throw away. Why the sudden change of heart?

One of the most interesting things that has happened on my journey to becoming a professional organizer is that I've had time to reflect on certain characteristics about myself as I de-clutter the lives of others. One of my main goals is to help others rid themselves of the things in their surroundings that are not useful or necessary. This in turn creates a more calming and peaceful environment that holds true value. I decided to begin to embrace that concept on my own terms and make steps toward living more simple. The concept means something different to everyone. Living simple has to be applied to your life in ways it will benefit your individual needs. I came up with some steps I'm taking to begin my own de-cluttering process. As it turns out it is much easier said than done. Women love options in there closet! I've always held fast to the notion that if I purchased one pair of shoes I loved, then I certainly need them in at least five more colors! It is truly a hard habit to break, but becoming more aware of what's important and taking the steps to surround yourself with that which holds value is a journey worth taking. My attempt to living simply begins here with 7 simple steps ~

  • Realize what enough means. It's unfortunate today's society creates the falsehood that you can never have enough, but deciding for yourself when to turn that button off is up to you.
  • Buy quality not quantity. Quality is important, and yes you pay more, but I've realized having a bag or a pair of shoes that lasts years is far better than having to replace it every few months.
  • Choose the items that are most important to you and rid yourself of the things that aren't. Rule of thumb for clothing is if you haven't worn it last season, toss it! It's taking up space. 
  • When you are shopping ask yourself before you make your way to the counter if you really need it. I've had many conversations with myself in stores and end up walking away with a lighter closet and with a heavier wallet. 
  • Shopping can become a habit, but all habits can be broken. If you are looking for some "me" time instead of retail therapy try going for a walk, reading a book or just grabbing dinner with a friend.
  • Go through any rooms in your home that feel cluttered or drain your energy and start purging items you have no use for. Instead of running out to replace them, enjoy the freed up space! 
  • Put advertising to a halt. I love my Life and Style and In Style mags just as much as the next girl, the problem? I want to buy everything in them! If you don't read about it you won't want it.
I'll always love to shop, and probably will never not get excited when I receive my Nordstrom half yearly sale post cards in the mail. The lessons I have learned however, since my childhood dreams of becoming the woman with the most shoes, is that "things" do not buy us happiness and the best thing in life are free.

Comments? Questions? Feel free to post! Don't forget to follow me on twitter for more organizing essentials, or like this on facebook!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Man Cave Matters vs The Organized Woman

Although I dont have any scientific evidence to back myself up here I'd like to believe that women are far more organized than men when it comes to keeping the house from looking as though a bulldozer ran through the front door. Toilet seat up? Check. Dirty clothes on the floor? Check. Just as I was sitting down to write this on my couch my fiancee's PS3 controller was conveniently wedged between the cushions. My purpose of this blog post is not to create a heated debate over who does more at home when it comes to cleaning, but rather come to the realization that most men just don't make a point to pick up after themselves as well as women. There is typically an area in your home where the men of the household like to store all of their crap, for lack of a better word. Whether the male in your household has a man cave, or stores everything in the garage or basement I'm sure on more than one occasion it has crossed your mind to throw it all out. I equate that to my shoe and bag collection suddenly missing from the closet so since that is not an option lets instead take a realistic approach to possible getting the man caves in order.

  • Know and decide which area you're tackling and needs the clean up- the garage, basement or the man cave. 
  • Make a decision as to whether this is a surprise clean up (might be great but risky!), a family affair where everyone chips in or a task to be worked on slowly but surely.
  • As much as it drives you nuts, let him know you understand how much his collection of empty pizza boxes means to him but its time for them to go. Suggest taking the time to rummage through things and sort them out. If it's broken I'd suggest tossing it!
  • Concentrate on organizing the things he wants to keep and try not to toss things that are important to him. 
  • Group like things together such as video games, tools or strictly auto repair.
  • Always look into storage options such as shelving units, totes and drawers. 
  • Make it his own. Maybe he has a collection of sports jerseys, trophies or other memorabilia that he'd love to showcase. Pick a spot and create an area where these can be displayed.
Check out the man cave gallery on the website below, if you decided to create a space in your home like these I think a clean up compromise would be easy! http://www.mancavesite.org/

Comments? Questions? Feel free to post! Don't forget to follow me on twitter for more organizing essentials, or like this on facebook!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Organizing Our Photos From Years Passed

I love old photographs. They capture a moment in time before all the events that shape our lives could be digitally captured from start to finish. Before they were shared through social media and email. They serve as a gateway into the lives of our ancestors and loves ones who have passed on, or who may be still with us today. Their history almost creates a sense of mystery that is absent in today's photographs.  I also love the photos and memorabilia I hold onto from my childhood. Their value is just as important as the memories they hold so taking the time to organize them is a great step to preserving that value. Maybe you have boxes of old photos to sort through or picture albums taking up space in your home. There are so many important reasons for sorting through your memories, and equally important to create a system in doing so. Here are some quick organizing tips to making your walk down memory lane a simple process!

Storage for Photos

  • Older photos need special care so using photo boxes, such as the one pictured here, or photo albums are always the best way to keep them from becoming worn or tearing.
The Task- Getting Photos Organized
  • Make time for yourself to gather all your photos together throughout your home. Whether they are stored in boxes or albums bring them together and find a comfortable spot where you can sit down and begin to sort through them. Remember to take your time, tackling organizing projects don't have to happen in one day!
  • Begin to create piles based on chronological order. If you aren't sure what dates the photos were taken always best to guess and move on. Start with the year they were taken and once they are stored by year create piles based on the month.
  • Now is the fun part! You can create categories for your photo storage boxes dedicated to family vacations, children's birthdays, holidays or just random shots. Use envelopes to separate by date for each box. This holds true for photo albums as well. Label for quick reference! 
Storing Older Photos Onto Discs
  • Scanning your photos and storing onto discs, or saving in your computer, is another great way to getting them organized. If you have multiple photo albums and boxes of photos this will prove to be a great space saver as well. 
  • Archive discs based on events and store in CD holders, or if saved on your computer create folders based on month or event title. 
Photo discs and keepsake photo boxes are also a great gift idea for our loved ones on birthdays, anniversaries or simply just because. 

Feel free to post your own ideas on organizing memorabilia!

Don't forget to follow me on twitter or "like" this page on facebook, and happy organizing! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Basement Got You Down in The Dumps?

I'm all about an inviting home. A place that your friends and family can walk into feeling comfortable and relaxed, as if they could stay the week. This goes beyond being tidy and organized. It also incorporates creating a space that's bright, peaceful and characteristic of your life and the things that make you happy. The one place in the home that seems to be the most challenging to keep warm and inviting is the basement. For those of us who have an unfinished basement, aka "the dungeon", it can turn into what I like to call the three D's...dark, dreary and a dump! The dump part is clearly because it becomes the best dumping ground for storage. Holiday decorations, memorabilia, camping equipment, toys and maybe even some unidentified items. Regardless of the mess it's still a part of your home, so taking the time to get it organized and cleaned up is the best way to feeling better about walking into your basement. A few tips and before afters of a basement that just needed some special attention to get it organized and clutter free! Remember at some point what you hide away in your basement you will need to find again!

Taking Inventory
  • My favorite part of organizing is ridding others of the things that they don't need! When tackling the basement create a throw away pile, donate pile or even a yard sale pile. Once the items are gone you would be amazed how much space you have opened up.  
Create Categories
  •  As you begin to sort through everything create categories for them. Sporting goods, holiday decorations, etc. By placing like items together it's easier to keep your basement from becoming unorganized in the future. 
Storage Ideas
  • Bins, crates, shelving and labels! Metal shelving is ideal in a basement in order to keep items elevated. It is a great inexpensive solution to keeping your things off the floor and they are a space saver. If you don't have metal shelving sturdy tables are another alternative. Labeling bins and crates is a must! By indicating what's inside each bin you are instantly saving time to look for things. 
Clean it Up!
  • Don't forget to dust, vacumn and sweep your basement on a regular basis, especially if your washer and dryer is located there. Not only do basements become very damp and dusty but they can have hidden dangers of mildew and mold. Take the time to wash concrete floors, vacumn carpeting and dust behind any appliances. 
~Before and Afters~

    This shelving unit held everything from board games to plant food!

    Disaster area!
    Summer items, holiday and not sure what else!

    After! Shelving unit now houses games and toys only, with top bins labeled.
    Beach gear together, ready to grab and go! 

    Floor space opened up, no caution tape needed!
    Holiday table
    Labeled bins for decorations
    If bins are located on the floor be sure they are items that can withstand damp areas
    Table now used for Fall decorations. Garbage bags are great to cover decorations to keep them from collecting dust.
    Paint supplies together 

    Let me know if you have any basement organizing challenges of your own, I'd love to hear your feedback!  Follow me on Twitter, or like this page on Facebook. If you are interested in a free consultation with help organizing a specific space in your home, contact me I'd love to help get you Organized For Life!


    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Finding Your Balance and Why Rainy Days Never Get Me Down

    Busy- “engaged in some business; hard at work either habitually or only for the time being”.  Let’s go with the habitually busy, because it seems that’s the most realistic way to look at our lives. The common phrase I seem to hear every day is, “there just aren’t enough hours in the day.”  It seems the outdoor/indoor activities and commitments are endless, on top of balancing all of our other daily to dos. If you are looking at your calendar and asking yourself when you’re going to have time to fit in sleeping I’d say you need a moment to breathe. Being busy is great but you want to actually enjoy those busy moments, not feel rushed and stressed. If you have a second read these little tips on taking the steps to manage your time, and enjoy the moment. 

    • Don’t spread yourself too thin. There are only so many hours in the day, be realistic when it comes to your commitments. If you can’t fit it in then it’s okay to say no or re-schedule. Remember you are only one person.
    • Routine is important, especially when you have little ones. Stick to your routine but don’t be afraid to steer away from it. A couple of nights during the week plan a game or movie night after dinner. This will break the week up and get your mind off all the to dos!
    • "Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted". John Lennon was on to something with this one. If you decide to spend an entire day planting flowers, reading a book, cleaning the basement or watching a Seinfeld marathon you deserve it. The mental stress we put on ourselves daily can be eliminated by taking the time to enjoy the moment. More importantly the time was put aside for ourselves can clear our heads and give us the energy we need to get through the week.
    • “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once".  If you feel like everything is happening at once however... slow down! Take a moment to relax and realize you will get everything done, just not all in the same hour.
    • Your free time is probably so important to you because it can be rare. Be honest about the things in your life that you spend your extra time doing. Other than the everyday important commitments, like making a living, dive into your free time and see if it’s well spent doing the things you enjoy. If you really dread going to the gym everyday after work look into other ways to get exercise. Taking a minute to re-assess how we spend our time is so important to time management and our well being.
    Rain in the forecast to me is a good thing. Just like snow storms in the winter can be mother nature's way of saying stay in and relax, rainy days to me are an invitation to do the same. After all nature never hurries, but always seems to achieve her work. 

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    On the Move? Get Started on the Right Foot!

    When the Boxes are gone
    And you’ve cleaned up the mess
    You’ll make a home of the house
    That was just an address ~

    You’re getting your first place, or moving into your brand new home. Maybe you’re relocating for your job and traveling across country. Whatever the reason for you to call a new place your home, look at it as a new beginning or a fresh start! With so many things to pack up, put away and get settled it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Here are a few tips and ideas to get your move started on the right foot.

    Rid yourself of the unnecessary
    You are anticipating your move, and it is right around the corner. You’re looking around saying to yourself how in the world did I accumulate so many…things? Time to take stock and evaluate what can stay and what can go. Give yourself a goal to tackle one room at a time. At least 6 weeks prior to the move will give you plenty of time to be ready. Create a throw away pile and a donation pile. Relieving your home of items that you can leave behind will prove to be a time saver while packing! Have a yard sale, as they say someone's trash is always another's treasure.

    Grab the Measuring Tape!
    Don’t assume that all your furniture will fit right through the door or up the stair well.  Take the opportunity to measure doorways, stairwells and the square footage of each room in your new home. Professional movers may be able to maneuver furniture well, there are times however when things are geometrically impossible to fit.

    Your moving checklist, things to cover prior to the move-
    To avoid scatter brain mode take a moment to collect your thoughts and create a list of things you will need to take care of prior to the move, along with your moving must haves.

    If using movers be sure everyone is on the same page as far as the start time, or any specific instructions you may need to know before they pull up.

    Contact the utility companies such as electric, gas and water at your old residence, being sure to notify them of your move date.

    Schedule utility turn on dates at your new residence at least one day prior to your official move in date.

    Don’t forget your address change! Typically it’s as simple as filling out a form at your local post office, and your state's Department of Motor Vehicles, which can also be done online.

    Get to know your new neighborhood. Find out specifics for trash and recycling pick-ups.

    A week before your move limit the amount of food items you purchase that can go sour.  Dry goods and canned items will hold up during a move but save the milk and diary items for when you arrive at your new home.

    If there are any cleaning items you may need prior to moving in make a list and be sure to take the time to run and get them.

    Your moving must haves -
    • Boxes/Bins- make sure they are strong and sturdy
    • Magic markers
    • Bubble wrap for fragile items
    • Newspaper and tissue
    • Containers with lids for toiletries
    • Packing tape

    Time-saving tips for the transition
    When you arrive in your new home you want the transition to be as smooth as possible. Most of the items in your home can be packed up prior to your move, like seasonal clothing, decorations, frames and china. Best practice is to pack up room by room. Label each box clearly and be sure to put like items together.

    As you begin to move in to your new home place the boxes in each room they are labeled for. Have your kitchen and bathroom unpacked first, the two rooms that you use the most! Unless you plan on having a dinner party and breaking out your china your everyday plates, utensils and cups should be unpacked and placed in their new homes.  Be sure to have your bed made as well. At the end of the day you will need some rest! Leave the finishing touches such as hanging art, putting up family pictures and other decor as a day at a time task.

    Remember for every minute spent in preparation and organization, an hour is earned! 

    Ideas? Questions? Follow me on twitter or drop me a line! I love to hear feedback and am always looking for ways to help others get organized for life! 


    Saturday, April 30, 2011

    The Great Toy Challenge

    Wouldn't it be great if all the toys in your child's playroom came alive like in Toy Story and magically walked themselves back into their "designated" spots? Sadly your child's Woody doll is not going to organize the troops and have them jump back into the toy chest, I know you were picturing it. I was able to reach out to some moms recently on their biggest toy storage challenges and also saw first hand how quickly things can get messy in the playroom! Read on for some practical solutions and ideas that will hopefully leave you with some peace of mind when it comes to your little ones. Playtime is meant to be fun not stressful!

    1.First step- Re-evaluate and Take Stock

    Not always the best idea to include the kids in this one, they will plead with you not to throw away that doll or truck they haven't touched since last Christmas. Filter out the toys that you know have seen better days or your child has outgrown and make the decision to donate it, give it to a friend or throw it away. Remember- birthdays and holidays are always creeping up so chances are that it will be replaced with something new and more exciting... your child will never know it was missing!

    2. Why is Barbie always wearing one shoe? How to store the "little" pieces

    It seems every toy and board game comes with tiny pieces that are bound to get lost, shoved under the bed or found hidden somewhere in the house. Use zip-lock bags to keep the pieces together and place them in a  bin with a label. For instance dolls clothes, shoes and accessories can all go in one bag. Have a bin organized just for dolls and keep the bags with it, if they stay in the bag they won't fall to the bottom of the bin and get lost in the shuffle. Try to keep the pieces that come with board games in the box, that way you don't have missing pieces. Another solution? Pencil cases! They are small and stay closed, and look more fun than the zip-locks! This does take sorting through the toys but who says it needs to be done in one day? Take your time and before you know Barbie will have two shoes.

    3. Kids toys almost the same size as the couch

    One if the biggest challenges with toy storage is the difficulty hiding the giant ones. There are two scenarios, the first is that the toys have taken up residence in every room of your home, the second is that you have a playroom for you child but they take up too much space. Rewind for a moment to step one, if it's something your child no longer plays with and it's become a permanent fixture in your dining room time to let it go. However for the toys that they love, if you have a playroom, store it against the wall with the rest of the larger toys.  If you have a couch in the playroom to create more floor space remove the couch and replace it with bean bags. They are comfy and fun for kids and will create space. If you are space challenged allow one large toy in your child's bedroom at a time. Store the rest in the basement or garage. One comes up, one goes down!

    4. Creating more space and fun with labels

    Shelving, a storage cubby with multiple bins, stackable storage and even children's play tables with shelving underneath are the most important factor in your child's play area. A sturdy shelving unit where you can house board games, stuffed animals or even your child's dvds works wonders in removing the toys off the floor and opening up the play space. Don't forget to label! There are so many fun and creative ways to organize using labels. If your child is learning to read and write have them write out the labels using crayons and place on the bins, that will give them a sense of accomplishment and teach them to put the toys back in the bin they created! Did you know they make chalkboard storage bins? Another fun way to get the kids involved! Try to also keep like toys together, this will help in finding things and creates a play zone for each type of toy. If you are still space challenged utilize an ottoman that you can keep in your living room to house additional toys, games or dvds. They come in all shapes and sizes and create extra seating, dual functioning!

    Does this look familiar?

    Peace Restored

    Questions? If I missed something, or if you have any ideas of your own, dont be shy and share! Follow me on twitter or join my facebook group organized for life! If you are a parent chances are your time is limited so feel free to contact me for a consultation on how I can help reduce the clutter and get you organized! 

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    It's All About the Kitchen!

    What is that one room of your home, other than the living room, where lots of activity is going on? The kitchen! Other than cooking of course, it can serve as the designated spot for the kids to do their homework, arts and crafts and the area of the house where people tend to socialize. There is certainly nothing worse than being in a room that you spend most of your time in that is disorganized and not functioning well to support its major roles.  Here are a few tips to tackle organizing specific areas of your kitchen to be sure you can zip around quickly, whether you're cooking, eating or doing activities with the kids!

    Junk Drawers
    Every kitchen has them and they are usually all the same. Filled with random coupons, writing utensils, invitations to events that have come and gone...you get the drift. Best way to tackle the junk draw is to organize the junk that's in it, this way it still serves its purpose as the junk draw but there are no mysteries as to what’s inside! Best place to have the junk draw is opposite from the stove. If the little ones need to grab a crayon you certainly don't want them hovering over the stove. An idea of things to keep in your junk draw-
    • keep an envelope or small folder for coupons
    • a small stash of writing utensils
    • a note pad
    • scissors/glue stick 
    • take-out menus
    • batteries
    • your address or phone book
    • Flashlight (with batteries!)
    • A small container for loose change

    By the Stove
    When you're cooking you want to be within reach of your common cooking needs. Organize the below items closet to the stove-

    ·        cooking utensils
    ·        oven mitts
    ·        spices
    ·        pots and pans

    Under the Sink

    Try not to let under the sink become a replica of your junk draw! Always use bins or an under the sink kitchen organizer. Also the less cleaning supplies you have the better, so take inventory of what you use and what can be tossed. Items best stored under the sink are paper towels, which frees up counter space, cleaning supplies and sponges.

     Quick tips to keep your kitchen and yourself from being cluttered

    • Clean as you go when you are cooking, this will leave you with less of a mess when you're done with dinner.
    • Try not to let mail and other misc papers collect in the kitchen. The two minutes it takes to designate a spot for your mail will save you quite a bit of time after it has piled up! 
    • A dry erase board or magnetic calendar to put up on the fridge is an excellent way to keep track of appointments, your children's activities and other daily tasks on your to do list. Another tip- as you run out of items in the fridge jot in down on the board and by the end of the week it's an instant grocery list!
    • Arts and crafts at the table? Store place mats and newspapers in a designated drawer for your children so when it's time paint you will have what you need in reach!

      Space Challenges

      If space is limited get creative! Purchase canisters to store tea, cereal and pasta. This will free up space in your cupboards. If you have a pantry or closet near your kitchen keep dry goods stored in there as well as aluminum foil, saran wrap and garbage bags. Always best practice to keep it simple, if you don’t use it wish it well and toss it!

      Kitchen organizing project pics

      Before disorganized spice cupboard

      After, organized- with most used items on the bottom

      How do you find anything in here? Messy lazy susan!


      After! Baking needs and Tupperware in cupboard space and pots and pans stored in lazy susan (above).

      Under the sink disaster!

      After, only the necessities!

                     Cooking needs by the stove    


      Like what you see but are saying to yourself who has time for that? That's where I come in! Feel free to contact me below to make an appointment to get de-cluttered and organized!  I will work with you to create that perfect space in your home, whatever your challenges may be. You can also follow me on twitter for everyday organizing tips and ideas, or email me via my Facebook group Organized For Life! @ organizedforlife@groups.facebook.com

      Saturday, April 9, 2011

      Spring In the Air!

      Spring has sprung, well sort of, which means life returns to the outdoors! Flowers start to bud, birds start singing and the fresh air fills your home. We can all agree it's been a long winter, and as we dive into what hopefully will be months of sunshine, what better way to celebrate the fresh air than to make a fresh start in cleaning and organizing your home! A little hint... it doesn't cost much, but the mental benefits are great! So read on, hopefully learn some tips and feel free to add comments!

      Winter Clothing Storage

      • If you are short of closet and drawer space in your home take the time to store your heavier winter items in bins. I wouldn't recommend cardboard boxes. This is also a great time to get rid of what you didn't wear this winter. Don't be afraid to donate or re-sell items you haven't worn. 
      • Items being tucked away until next winter should also be clean. It's always best to not store away pieces that have any stains, they will only be harder to come out by the next winter season.  
      • As you move your spring items into your closet also take the time to decide what will work and what just isn't happening! Most re-sale shops take spring clothing items between February and April.
      •  Best place to store bins is in a closet, if you are storing them in a basement just be sure the bins are closed up tight, and that the space is a cool temp and dry.
      • Winter coats typically stay in the closet.  You can move them to the back to make room for spring jackets and rain coats so you're not searching through a sea of coats! 
      • For children's items like snow suits, hats and gloves if they are going to be kept for next winter the same rules apply. You can also designate a drawer specifically for winter items in your child's room.
      Shoe Storage

      • Winter shoes take much more abuse than our flip flops and open toed heels, which means they are packed with dirt! Before storing them away clean them up and place them in bins. The same rule applies to shoes, if you didn't wear them this season chances are you won't in the next.
      • Snow boots can be stored in the basement or garage if they dont fit in bins.  
      Always best to use clear bins or label them before storing away. This will make going through them next winter much easier! As you clean out your closets vacumn and remove any trapped dust that built up over the winter, one spring cleaning chore out of the way!

      Spring/Summer Ready Basement or Garage  

      • Time to put the sled away and make room for the beach pales! Designate an area in your garage or basement to place your shovel, ice melt and other winter necessities.  You will want your springtime things such as gardening tools, lawn care items and car wash cleaners within reach. If you have shelfing its best to place these items together, or use crates and bins.
      • The same rule applies for children's outdoor toys, such as baseballs, soccer balls and even bubbles! 
      • Once you have designated spots for these items that can be their home, this avoids things getting lost and no tears!
      Hope you enjoyed my tips and that I was able to help in getting your homes spring/summer ready! 


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