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, 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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