Organized Home

Organize. Stage. Design. Downsize

A basement of toys, a 7 year old and a balloon March 30, 2009

Filed under: Home organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 8:58 pm

It started at party city when I purchased the balloons for my 7 year olds birthday party. “Mommy can I have the pink one and the green one, if there are balloons left over?” The 10 balloon ribbons were tied and held tightly by her Vulcan grip. All the way to the party my first grader talked, disciplined and named her new friends, balloony, balloony and balloony. You get the idea. The party was great fun and fortunately we had a couple of balloon friends left over. For the next several days my little girl did not pay one iota of attention to any doll, Barbie, pollypocket or stuffed animal. Her balloons were taken for walks, drawn faces, and helped around when the helium started to fade.


The pure simplicity kept her busy while my thoughts turned to why for Pete’s sake do I have all those toys in the basement? Needless to say I did some purging and while I was knee deep in toys, I thought of a few questions for you to ask yourself when its time for you to do the same.


  1. If it has lost or broken pieces – toss. Yes, toss, no matter how much they loved it our used to play with it.
  2. If your last child has graduated from any larger toy, such as a plastic rocking horse or a-learn to walk gizmo, do not keep it for your grand children! There will be newer and more exciting things your kids will want to use, not an old plastic toy that has been sitting in the attic for 20 years.  Donate it!
  3. If it is a toy your child once loved, but no longer cares about. You can keep one for your own memories, but remember they no longer care. Don’t keep the toy to give when they get older. Then your kids won’t throw it out due to guilt that you kept it all these years. Or your kids will throw it out and you have to go through that emotional separation again, like when they decided they didn’t want it in the first place.
  4. If you do the purging when no one is home and is not sure if your kids are ready to give up on some things. Place them in a dark colored trash bag and store away out of their reach. If not a peep about those toys is mentioned, quietly slip it to Good Will.


I hope these steps don’t sound to harsh. It is hard to give up things that hold some fond memories. We also do not need to purchase every Barbie dream house that comes on the market for our little girls and every racecar ever manufactured in China. The simple things keep the imagination going and spark creativity. If you think you need all those toys, think again buy some bubbles and a balloon.


Organize your kitchen drawers in an afternoon! March 19, 2009

Filed under: Home organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 9:27 pm
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Do you have difficulty opening or shutting your kitchen drawers?  How about finding what you need in those drawers?  Are there batteries and paperclips next to the measuring cups and skewers?  This simple project tackles one area in our kitchen that tend to be a dumping zone.  So, turn on some music, grab a cup of Joe and lace up those running shoes. Its time to get to work.

To get started you will need;
1.    Three boxes or bins, marked KEEP, DONATE, TOSS. If you have a lot of kitchen drawers, I suggest using something sturdy and large, such as Rubbermaid bins or large laundry baskets.
2.    A slew of plastic interlocking drawer organizers. They are available at stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and The Container Store.  There are many different kinds available, choose the ones you like the most and that fit into your budget. I always suggest buying way more than what you will think you need. This way you will not have to stop in the middle of your organizing frenzy to buy more product and lose you momentum.
I know organizing kitchens can be overwhelming and tend to hold storage more that we realize.  That is why we are starting with the drawers only.

Begin at one end of your kitchen, open the first drawer and begin placing the contents in one of the 3 bins.  An exception is your silverware and sharp knives. You will be keeping those and for safety sake place them on you kitchen counter or table.

Questions to ask yourself – If you have several of one item or items you never use.
*     How often do I use this?
*    Can I live with just one?

Once you have gone through all your kitchen drawers;
•    Wipe them out
•    Categorize the items in the bins, by placing them in piles on you countertop or table.  For example, baking tools with baking tools, cooking utensils with like utensils, odd items together such as skewers, shellfish crackers and corn on the cob holders.
•    Locate the best drawer for each category, use this guide
The Junk drawer is located by the phone.
Silverware is stored by plates and the dishwasher.
Baking utensil by counter uses mostly for food preparation.
Cooking utensils by cook top.
•    Select the correct size of interlocking drawer organizer to fit in each drawer and it chosen purpose.  Don’t feel you need to fill the tire drawer with the organizing trays.  The extra space can be used for odd items such as cheese graters and rolling pins.
•    Place the categories in the assigned drawers and you might want to label so your family gets used to where everything goes.

A note on those tricky junk drawers, keep the items in them to a minimum, such as,
Extra change
Paper clips
Scrape paper/pens
I you find you have an excess of one item; think about finding another spot for it.  Batteries tend to accumulate, store in a larger container and place on a shelf in an entry way closet.

Congratulations!  You are done with the task that wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be!!! Right?  Place the items to donate in your car right now and drive to the nearest donation center.  The items to toss, throw what you can in your recycle bin.  Small appliances are accepted for recycling in many areas. Call your local waste management company and ask.  Now its time to switch from coffee to a large glass of water. (We need to keep hydrated!) Sit down and call a friend to tell her about your grand accomplishment.  You deserve it!


Make your home the place to be in 2009 March 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — organizedhomeinc @ 3:46 pm

Is your local news too depressing to watch?  I live in Michigan and can barley stand to watch and local newscasts.  It is doom, gloom and bale out. You would think as I’m writing this, I am hiding under my bed with earplugs on until 2009 is over.  Fortunately being of sound mind and no so flexible body (the space under my bed is very small) I have to take a deep breath and make a plan for survival. The plan is to make my home the place to be in 2009. It doesn’t matter if you live in a house, condo, apartment, or your parent’s basement.  The idea is to make the space you are occupying a place of comfort and refuge. A place to be quiet and celebrate. A place to cry and laugh.


Add some light to your space. A change in paint color, can brighten even the darkest of days during a Michigan winter, imagine what it can do where you are. Painting is easy to do and inexpensive. Forget the overhead lighting, use table lamps and soft lighting. It warms the soul just like a cup of tea and great conversation with your favorite girlfriend.


Give away or sell your extra chatchke. You will hear me say this a thousand times, I will say it until I am blue in the face, but actually I am already. If you don’t absolutely love it, if you don’t remember where you got it or who gave it to you. If you have 2 more of the same, if you never even notice it perched there on your shelf, gathering dust, Get rid of it! Some one else will love it for you and you can move on.


Optimize your entertainment area. Your television can be 52” or 13” but organizing the area around it well help with all the times that its more cost effective to stay at home than go out. Organize and containerize your DVDs.  I keep mine in decorative suitcases. They look great stacked on each other and make it easy to access movies.  Select one area to keep your remotes, a drawer in an end table or I have a fav wooden bowl my friend Jami gave me for a wedding gift.  Keep games close by and arranged for easy access. If you feel like me at times and not an iota of interesting TV is on. Be sure to have comfortable ample lighting to curl up with a good book, from the library of course.


These 3 steps are a great start. Look around your home to see how your space can be optimized. If you are having a hard time “visualizing” ask a friend to come over and do it together. Remember is not supposed to be a chore the idea is to give you a new release or freedom a place to breath, have fun and regroup while our country slowly comes back to life. 


Press Release for WAHMs March 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — organizedhomeinc @ 4:12 pm
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Women entrepreneurs are building businesses on line from home. That was a subject on the Today show on March 10th. I own such a business right here in Grand Rapids Michigan. I am a WAHM (work at home mom). Due to my connections throughout the country from Internet networking communities I am able to launch a new service directed to other work from home women.


My company is Organized Home inc. I help busy women organize their homes, offices and lives. We are all juggling family, schedules; our home based businesses and what ever else comes our way. Julie Sprouse Verleger founder of Organized Home Inc helps women from West Michigan to Chicago. The economic down turn affected Julie’s business, especially here in Michigan.  This down time was a great avenue to travel down and brainstorm new ideas.


By getting more involved in Internet communities such as facebook, linkedin, twitter, activerain and soon, youtube, Organized Home Inc is now known by a good size group of people throughout the United States. Julie was floored by the positive reaction she got from these communities and it stirs the creative juices in her home office. Why not offer Virtual and email coaching for organizing? Clients simply have to email or via web video pictures of their space and describe their issues.  Through detailed phone, email or video conferencing, Julie can create a custom plan for her client that they can do themselves on their time. Perfect! Julie is also going to offer several free teleconferencing calls to provide more organizing information for the home based entrepreneurial woman.


WAHMs supporting other WAHMs through Internet communities are a powerful tool for any business, even Organized Home Inc, right here in West Michigan.



Information about Julie Sprouse Verleger and Organized Home inc


Website –

Blog –

Twitter –

Activerain –

Linkedin –

Phone – (616) 450-2777


3 things to clear clutter in 15 minutes

Filed under: Uncategorized — organizedhomeinc @ 2:38 pm

Do you have a couple problem spots or to many to mention? Right now drop what you are doing a dedicate 15 minutes to doing these 3 things. Get started clearing the disorganization that is hanging in the cloud over your head. 

1. Magazines-Gotta pile? Without thinking about it, quickly sort-one to recycle-one to keep. (Hint, the recycle pile needs to be bigger) If you have 10 Pottery Barn magazines, get rid of them. You can find it online. 

2. Medicine cabinet-throw away anything expired, empty, or not enough is left for one more dose. If you have kids, separate adult medicine from kids and place in different containers and mark. 

3. Bedside table– Recycle the stack of magazines laying on the floor, Keep only the books you are reading there. Clear away old water glasses, socks and hairbands. The only thing that should be on your bedside table is a lamp, book, paper and pen (Since we are always brain storming)Cup of coffee

Time for a coffee break! Stayed tuned for more 15 minute fun tasks.


Cleaning out your closet (Really!) March 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — organizedhomeinc @ 10:41 pm

Cleaning out your closet doesn’t have to be an ominous task. Think of it as a cleansing for your spirit, while discovering a way to make some extra cash and helping someone in need.  You can’t beat that! So turn off the boob tube, grab a diet coke and crank up the music. 


You will need a couple items before you begin, 3 boxes of some kind, laundry baskets, Rubbermaid bins, and anything you have on hand. If you have an onslaught of wire hangers consider replacing them with plastic or sturdier hanger.  Last but not least, a clock with a 2nd hand.  (Yes, you will be required to make quick decisions)  Mark your 3 bins,

  1. Consignment – Clothing that is in good condition and classic style.
  2. Not wearable – clothing that is ripped or torn.
  3. Donate – Clothing that no longer fits you, or you have not worn in a year.


You are ready! Start at one end of your closet and work you way thru. Use the second had on your clock, and don’t take any longer that 5 seconds to make the decision whether to keep, consign or donate. 


Pull out any clothing or shoes with these 3 things in mind

  1. Is the item ripped, torn or damaged in any way?
  2. Is it out of style?
  3. It has not been worn in 1 year. (I know you’ve heard that before, but it still holds true)

Remember you are a clearing and organizing machine. Don’t answer your phone or turn on the TV or you will become distracted. Keep working throughout your entire closet.  If you are on fire at this point keep going through your dresser drawers, under the bed, night side tables and the chair in the corner with the pile of clothes on it.


Could it be that easy?  Yes! It is. Now that you have piles of clothing you no long need or use, your saying “Okay, Julie, now what?” I have the solution for you with these 3 steps.

  1. Locate a consignment shop in your area. They will accept clothing in season, with a return of %50 to %60 for a 90-day consignment length. You also can consider donating your wearable business wear to you local Women’s Resource Center. They assist Women, who need a second chance for a fresh start on life.
  2. The clothing that is in your donate pile bring to Good will, Salvation Army or your local place of worship.  Smile, knowing you are helping others who are in need.  The clothing that is not wearable is accepted at places such as Good will. They send it to fabric recycling places.  Check with your local Good Will, 
  3. Your closet, when arranging the clothes left in your closet arrange by color and season. If you have a simple hanging bar with a shelf above, and no sign of a closet organizing system.  Consider a less expensive fix by purchasing canvas-organizing units.  They come in great patterns and colors to spice up any closet. They hang from your hanging bar. The units have designated uses, for example there is one for shoes, sweaters and shirts.  The system will allow you to always know where and what type of clothing you are reaching for.

Congratulations!  You are done.  Nice job, you should be very proud of yourself. Its time to treat yourself to a skinny latte and relish in all your hard work.  You’ve accomplished organization, made money, helped someone in need and recycled.  Today the closet, tomorrow the kitchen!





Is your basement a Costco hell?

Filed under: Uncategorized — organizedhomeinc @ 5:30 pm
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Do you shop at all those big box stores?  What on earth do you do with a gallon of syrup or 100 rolls of toilet paper?  Do you have a family of 10 living with you?  If you do skip this blog and check out one for scheduling or birth control.  Now before you get completely offended by my banter, hear me out.  I am all about having things on hand to feed your family in an easy and quick manor.  Plus having A FEW let me repeat A FEW of those items you go through quickly in storage.  Especially if one purchase will not make it to your next weeks shopping trip.  With all of that said, now we are left with only the items we really need right?  How do we store these items and keep them in a place where they are handy to retrieve. 


One option is a storage room in the basement. It is very handy to have a shelving unit or a couple shelves dedicated to holding only those extra items.  Reserving one portion for nonfood items and the other for…I’m sure you can guess, food items.  This is a good way to store those things if you can keep up with only keeping a few of these things up stairs where needed.  This is a good thing if you feel you can keep up with it.  If you have a large family and lots of cabinet space a gallon jug of syrup is fine in the kitchen cabinet.  For the rest of you consider a smaller bottle of syrup you can refill or just opt out on the gallon purchase in the first place.  A garage is also a good place for storage.  I prefer a closed cabinet to keep those unwanted critters out.  I do shop at one of the big box stores but not very often and I only purchase a few select things. My husband on the other hand goes hog wild and comes home with all sorts of crap.  One of the issues is if we have a large quaintly of something and no one likes it…what do you do with it?  One thing it’s a waste of money but it can always be donated.  You know your needs and space limitations so make a list and really ponder, “Do I need 24 cans of cream of mushroom soup?”