Monday, December 16, 2013

Living Better by Organizing

This is so true.
Everyone's idea about organizing is their own.
Understand what you want and how you wish things to be,
and DO IT!

If you need help,
no worries,
I have your back.

You can do it!
I believe in you.

How are you living better?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Let go of your excess pens

Little Known Fact:
You only write with one pen/pencil/marker at a time.

The other 40+ writing instruments on top of your desk are taking up valuable space.  Likely, half of them you hate to use or are dried up.

You can toss them.
It's OK.

Note: this Little Known Fact may not apply if you are some sort of Crayon Picasso. Coloring with a fistful of crayons is quite fun.

How many pens/pencils/markers did you toss?
(it's OK if you say 1-3 coffee cups)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Kitchen Organizing Tips for the Holidays

With the holiday frenzy quickly approaching, now is an excellent time to organize and declutter your kitchen. Just like sorting through the clothing in your closet, your kitchen needs a good once over.

Your kitchen is THE most used room in your home and it is used by everyone. Even if you are not an Iron Chef (perhaps more like Dan Aykroyd's Julia Child), your kitchen will get overstuffed like a turkey with pots, pans and dishes if you do not take the time to purge.

Like all organizing projects, you want to break your kitchen organizing extravaganza down into small tasks. Work on completing one set of cabinets or drawers before moving on to the next set. If you are feeling tired, then stop and take a break. You do not want to get worn out and frustrated.

Remove everything out of the drawer or cabinet you are organizing. After removing all the little crumbs and such that seems to have moved into this space, begin placing those items that you are using, and love, back into their place. You will have some stuff that seems to have drifted into the wrong place, just place those items in the area they are suppose to be.

Left over on your counter top or table will be a collection of items that have worn out their welcome in your home. If they are damage or missing pieces, their fate is not good and do not belong in your home. Those items that are perfectly good, just have lost their purpose in your home, need to be boxed up and readied for donation.

Take your time.

If you feel organizing the whole kitchen in one day may be too much, break it into small sections that you can manage to accomplish. You will be so thankful in the end that you took the time to get your kitchen organized. It is remarkable how much better a space can feel by parting with a few items that are no longer needed.

With a brand spanking shiny clean cabinets, your kitchen will feel amazing. Perhaps now you will feel like becoming an Iron Chef with those holiday festivites approaching.

What did you find in your kitchen?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Surviving the Back to School Chaos with these organizing tips

Hooray!   Hooray! 
The kids are back in school.

 ... oh, man! Now we have to get up early, be on a schedule and eat dinner in shifts due to after school activities.  That's a end of summer bummer.

 Here are a few great tips the Rebecca Regnier and I chatted about on her weekly show Rebecca Regnier's Full Plate: Breaking News, Weather and Sports

So, take a moment and think about your home and family.
What is working?
What can be working better?
Talk about these things and come up with a game plan that everyone can help maintain some sanity in your home during the school year.  Everyone in your home can help in some way.

Yes, my boys are living, breathing proof that your kids can do their own laundry.

What are your tricks to back to school?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back to School Organizing Tips

Back to school can be a stressful time of year. Families must change from the laid-back summer schedule to the non-stop school and activity calendars that keep you jumping from one activity to the next without a moment's rest.

Here are some tips:

Plan Ahead - The only way you can command your time is to consciously map it. When you monitor your family schedule, you can then plan how and when to accomplish important back-to-school tasks, such as replacing clothes, purchasing school supplies, and attending back-to-school night. Stock your kids' homework stations with pencil and paper basics while purchasing classroom items.

Plan for Paper - Before you start stacking all those important school papers in a long forgotten corner of your kitchen, or on top of last month's bills, put your paper trail in place beginning with in/out boxes for each family member. Show everyone where to place their papers and then sort them daily with your planner at hand to note important deadlines and tasks.

Plan to Purge - We all do better with a clean, organized environment. If you haven't yet gone through everyone's closets, dressers, and bedrooms while evaluating wardrobes for school, do it as soon as you have your routine in motion. Make room for the year ahead by rounding up all outgrown items, discarding everything that can't be repaired, both in the toy and clothing departments. For items in good condition, arrange for a charitable donation or enlist your kids' help and plan a yard sale in late September.

School starts September 3rd for my boys here in Michigan.
I'm working on our family schedule for the Fall.
I've got the paper plan down.
I need to dump out my boys dressers and see what fits.

Guess I better get to work......Ah, but it is a beautiful sunny day.
Back to school stuff can wait one more day, right?

Are you ready for the school year?

Friday, June 28, 2013

What's lost in your space?

Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger!

Lost In Space such a classic cheesy TV show that began in 1969 (WOW! yet another reason that is perhaps the greatest year ever.)
As I worked with "Dave" he kept making space references as we organized his basement.

"This is like a black hole of stuff"
"These books seem to just orbit around this house."
"I just want to launch this stuff out of here."

These space references got me thinking ...
what has been lost in space?

Unfortunately, the past 45 years of space exploration have generated a lot of junk!

Space junk can be anything from hatches blown off space modules, paint fragments from the space shuttle, or satellites that no longer work. Man-made debris orbits at a speed of roughly 17,500 mi/hr (28,000 km/h)! Think of the damage even a small speck of paint could do if it hit a spacecraft at such a high speed!

This is an image of the junk in space around our beautiful earth. There's even an Orbital Debris Program Office in NASA. This is the space garbage department for our world.

Good to know that Russia, Japan, France, and the European Space Agency have all issued orbital debris guidelines.

Here's a close up shot.
Look at all the stuff circling up there!

The top 10 items circling our lovely planet:
1. A spare space glove
2. Spatula - making eggs in space?
3. Bags o'trash - darn Soviet Mir cosmonauts
4. Camera
5. Toothbrush - definitely time for a new one
6. Pliers
7. Nuclear Fuel - leaking Soviet satellites are driping fuel
8. A rocket - seems NASA forgot about a rocket from 1969
9. A pen
10. Bolts - bet there are some loose screws floating around too

What's been lost in your space?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Water Wars with your Plants & Baskets

Summer is around the corner.  Time for a fun little organizing project that everyone can help with. Plus there is the potential for a little water fight (you have been warned).

"Mary" need some organizing help with some items from a recent move. Well, she moved about a year ago and is still working at unpacking and finding homes for all her stuff.

She has a large collections of baskets that have collected dust for sometime. I shared with her a Basket Tip:

Rinse them off with a little soapy water.

You can see how dull the baskets. Then after their little bath, the baskets are bright and shiny.

If it is a good wood basket, you should let the basket soak in water at least once a year so it doesn't dry out.

You can rinse off your houseplants by hosing them down outside then letting them dry in the sunshine. No more dusty leaves.

I even take the chairs my boys sit on at our kitchen counter and hose them off a couple times a year. (gets all the crumbs out of the cracks)

Next time you're trying to dust a houseplant, clean a chair or dust a basket, think about just getting them a little wet.

What are you going to hose down?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Yes YOU Can Get Your Garage Organized

Getting your cars parked in your garage may be a dream to you, though now is the time to get your garage organized. Seems everyone is out there, cleaning out from the change of seasons. Getting ready storing away the nasty snowthrower and dusting off the lawnmowers. Beginning the project, for many people, is the toughest part.

You see the piles of stuff and the shelves overflowing with items randomly tossed about for storage. Here's how you can go about organizing a garage:

step #1: Notes - Look at every wall or area and right down notes on items seen, comments made by my client or in your case little thoughts that drift into your head. It's OK to write, "absolute disaster" or "hopeless mess." Just get it down on paper. Doesn't have to be a novel, random notes are perfect.

step #2: Ideas - Envison what your garage would look like. Use your walls for storing as much as possible. Think shelves, racks, hooks, bins, bags, etc. All of these ideas can be attached to the wall, getting your stuff off the floor.

step #3: Plan - Maybe take a bit of a break and let your thoughts simmer. Come back into your garage and plan what you are going to do. Take some measurements for shelving. Remember to use the studs as much as possible, this will keep your stuff on the walls. Studs are typically every 16 inches along the wall length.

step#4: Action - Get your garbage bags ready, boxes for donations and rev up those power tools ... the organizing party is about to begin. Hang up your shelves first, if possible. This gives you space to store the items you use. Items you do NOT use do NOT go on a shelf, trash or donate. Work around your garage and find homes for the things you use. You will be left with stuff that is has no use in your home.

step #5: Clean Up - You will be left with stuff that has no use in your home. Donate or trash it. Get it out of your life. It's OK to part with stuff. Sweep up the floor and pull your car into the garage. Reward yourself for a job well done!

What random thought do you have about your garage?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Farting and Organizing ... it's all good

So, my youngest son walks up to me and says:
"Mom, I think getting organized is like farting."
"Um ... why is that?", as I snicker (oh, you laughed too)
"Because both make you feel good after you do it."
~wise words from a 12.5 year old boy.

With two boys, we live daily on hourly fart jokes.

Getting organized truly does make you feel better.  
You can breathe easier.  
You're less stressed. 
And, you're out enjoying life.  

Find some time, even 5 minutes, each day to focus and become more organized.  Need some guidance on where to start?
Try these past Challenges.

“Don’t take life too seriously.
You’ll never get out alive.”

Bugs Bunny
(note: Since 1940 (73 years),  Bugs never dropped a fart joke)

What made you laugh today?

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Being Lazy is Good

You know.
The more organized you are.
The more you can ENJOY being lazy.

Be lazy can be very, very good.
Another fabulous reason to get organized.

Perhaps in addition to being a professional organizer, I am also a productivity specialist in the art of enabling laziness. (just a thought)

How do you enjoy being lazy?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Home Lifestyle Show - Organizing Tips presentation

The Monroe County Home Builders and Remodelers Association (HBRA) asked me to be their "Celebrity guest & Master Organizer" for their Home Lifestyle Show.  I was quite honored to share with their audience tips and tricks to getting organized.

This is an article that appeared in the Bedford Now and the Monroe Evening News prior to the event:

It was a great event and the response was overwhelmingly positive.  Glad I could help and encourage the attendees to think about the "other" benefits about being organized and ways to be more productive throughout the day.

What is your favorite organizing trick?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It is OK to let that funky plastic container go ... Trust Me.

If you have plastic containers that are as old as your kid entering high school or college, you are worth new containers.

The crusty, microwaved spaghetti stains will not come out of the old ones.

Trust me.

What is the oldest plastic container in your home?
(bonus points for identifying the stain)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Get Organized: How many Junk Drawers do you have?

We all have junk drawers.
(OK, maybe a couple ... alright several)

An organized junk drawer, we'll that's just crazy talk.

Things get tossed into the junk drawer because they were needed at one time, not really sure an easy place was available when you were done with it. Now your junk is a mishmash of items from nail clippers, hair brushes, foreign coins, pencils, paintbrushes, ball inflator valves, guitar picks, ... uh, you get the point.

Today's organizing project: Your Junk Drawer
Bring the garbage can nearby and start tossing thing out.
Reward: Call up a friend you have not spoken to in far too long.

Seriously, are you REALLY going to need that "L" shaped assembly tool for the cabinet you put together 5 years ago? What about those little bags of extras screws?
Get rid of them!

As you pull items out, place them into similar groups. Once everything is out of your junk drawer, wipe the funk out of it and think about what you REALLY need. There are all sorts of fancy plastic containers to use to keep items organized. Use them if you wish, but you may have some small boxes or old plastic bowls that could be used, as well.

Make your junk drawer a functioning member of your happy organized home.
... and guess what.  You are going to feel sooooo much better, too!

How many screws did you have in your junk drawer?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Time to get Organized: Your Medicine Stash

Sticky cough syrup bottles.
Deep blue, sparkly eye shadow from 1985.
Orange pills in a faded prescription bottle.
Let's start out the New Year with a freshly cleaned and organized bathroom cabinet. Remove all those bottles, jars and boxes out of your cabinet or drawer. Use your favorite cleaning method to wipe the area clean.

Now, seriously look at all the stuff you pulled out. Begin placing the items you use everyday back. Check expiration dates on the bottles and jars. If you are REALLY using it, then place it back. If not, then it's gotta go.

This is a new year baby and you want only THE BEST stuff in your life.
Today's project: Your Medicine Cabinet.
Get rid of old makeup, expired medicine and toiletries
that you haven't used in months (umm … years?).

Reward: Extra couple minutes in the shower to do nothing
but let the hot water soothe your body

Previous Challenge #1: Your Inbox

Check back for the next organizing challenge.

Remember all this organizing work is an investment in yourself.

What's the oldest bottle you found?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Time to Get Organized: Your Bouquet of Kitchen Utensils

You know that drawer with all those kitchen tools and devices for cooking, baking, spreading, flipping, piercing, poking, whisking and stirring  filled with items you never really use much but have them, so you keep them ...

Yeah, THAT drawer or dust covered counter top holder thingy.

Today's organizing project:
Your Kitchen Utensils 

Dump them out.  Keep only what you USE.
Reward: Pancakes for dinner!

Now don't cut yourself on the cheese slicer given to you as a wedding gift 15 years ago, though ... uh,  you should be OK since it is still in the packaging ... Uh, maybe you can let that one go?

Organizing your kitchen is vital to having a peaceful home.
Think about it.

Your kitchen provides nourishment to your body. If your kitchen is not happy, you're likely not going to want to spend much time in it. Everyone enjoys going out eat. But, if you're going out to eat because your kitchen is a mess, perhaps it is time to make a change.

Focus on making your kitchen happy.
You can do it!

What did you have for dinner?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

It's National Get Organized Month ... ooh, shiny ...

It's National Get Organized month!!  Hooray!!
But before we get into the push for more organization in 2013, let's procrastinate.

Huge fan of SQUIRREL ... of losing focus from time t-SQUIRREL! ... to time.

Ellen DeGeneres did a little bit on her struggles in getting organized and how procrastination leads you down the distracted path of whatever you are attempting to accomplish.

Now that I've spent the last hour or so watching the rest of Ellen's standup, I can get back to business ... uh, what was I doing?

One favorite quotes from Ellen (on hands-free devices):

"If you need both of your hands to do something,
I'm thinking your brain should be in on it too"

What are you procrastinating from doing?