Organized Home

Organize. Stage. Design. Downsize

5 Steps to organizing and designing a room June 10, 2010

Filed under: Home organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 2:22 pm
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Summer is just beginning to be in full swing for some of us; graduations every weekend and schools are starting to close their doors to the students for the summer. What are you going to do with all this free time?  I say this laughing because I know as well as you do we seem to have less free time in the summer.  Maybe I should say what are you going to do with this slower time?  We might still have a packed schedule most of the time but the pace seems to slow down from the busy school year schedule.  What are you going to do when your kids are at their Grand parents for the weekend? Do you need some project ideas? I have plenty.

Lets call the summer the summer of simplify and beautify.  Open your windows, pour a tall glass of lemonade and take a deep breath.  Lets give a room in your home some love.  Here are a couple things to think about before you start any simplify and beautify project.

  1. Sit in the room of your choosing and think about its purpose.  What would you like to use this room for, such as reading, family time, entertaining or any purpose that would fit your life style?
  2. How would you like to feel when you are in this room? Do you want to feel energized, peaceful, insightful or happy?
  3. List 10 things that you feel are not working in this room.
  4. List 10 changes that you can make to correct this issue.  This can be furniture additions or subtractions, paint color, decluttering, rearranging, If you are having a difficult time seeing beyond what you already have look through magazines, go online, hire a decorator with organizational expertise and ask a friend.  Cut out or print pictures of things that inspire you.
  5. Create your budget

Do all these things before you even move a piece of furniture.  Having the right plan will save you time, money and allow you communicate with whom ever is helping you in an organized manor.  A good plan will help you select the right tools you will need to unclutter and create the room you want.  The best part is that it can be done on any type of budget.  No more of “I can’t” or “I don’t even know where to begin” answer the 5 questions and your vision will come to life.  Next time I will talk about the process we can take to unclutter and clear out our room. This is a big step in the beginning of our simplify and beautify project.  Have fun with it!

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Cleaning out my own clutter February 17, 2010

Filed under: Home organizing,Personal organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 6:01 pm
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It has been a while since my last blog post and I’ve been thinking why is that so…is it motivation? Or writers block or even to many thoughts running through my head I can’t even place them into organized thoughts. I think it is mostly too many thoughts running through my head and I have been in the process or organizing my own home and life! This is what I have been working on and it’s so freeing that I can hardly contain myself from screaming it on my overly taxed modest ranch home. I just got divorced and one of the temporary agreements was to “nest” That means when he is here with the kids I am not and vice versa. At first I thought it was doable, now not so much. To keep myself from going absolutely insane I have been doing some cleaning out of items. Objects and furniture I thought I could never part with, I now can. The need for independence and more personal space, a must. Here are a couple ways I have found in organizing my clients and myself a few very useful resources to get rid of it all!

  1. EBay – I have a friend who is selling so many things for me on eBay. I have sold some clothing on eBay myself, but she knows the ins and outs. There are many eBay stores that you can bring things to, but they charge a percentage. Try swapping with a friend who knows her stuff and you will both end up happy.
  2. Good Will – Salvation Army, You know them, they help those who need help and pick up at your home. Wow!
  3. Friends – When you’re on a roll, a good friend to encourage is a must. Some things I have been talked out of or at least put on hold to sell. (I might regret it later) Other items, I’ve got the cheerleading squad “Hell yea! Donate! Throw it away! EBay! Love my friends.
  4. My own brain – I’m not some raging lunatic, but I am ready for change. I have to remember to be very sensitive to my kids needs. I haven’t even touched any of their things and probably won’t
  5. Craig list – What can I say about Craig’s? What a great thing. Remember to have whatever you’re selling in a garage or spot outside of your home. Since it does attract so many “unknowns” keep cautious and only accept cash and money orders.
  6. Consignment shops – I have seen so many consignment shops pop up in my area. Especially since the economy tanked last year. Consignment shops are great; just know what percentage they are going to take off the top. Your items have to be in good condition and clean. Not a bad deal when you really don’t want to deal with any of it.

Not bad huh? You see I’m not crazy, just ready to move on. When it comes down to it, I really just care about the health and happiness of my kids. The belongings can be replaced and new memories made. I’m not sad, I’m elated and that is the feeling I get from all my clients. That freeing feeling when we push out the extra stuff that weights us down. What weights you down? If you could get rid of 3 things in your home and not feel guilty, what would it be? Think about it. Until next time may your path be clear of clutter and your shoulders feel light. Cheers

 

Simple Speedy Steps to organize your kitchen cabinets December 2, 2009

Filed under: Home organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 7:09 pm
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I have a saying (actually I just made it up) “the back of our kitchen cabinets reminds me of the back seat of our cars.” Always full of mystery items that get thrown back there or pushed and placed so we “don’t forget.” The thing is, we do forget what is back there because it’s not up front and center everyday. Just like the back seat of your car – when was the last time you sat back there? I don’t know if I ever have.

It is time to clean out those serving plates that belong to a friend and get rid of that Foreman Grill you haven’t used since your college days. How on earth do I get the energy to tackle this trash, you ask? Well my dear, a venti macchiato with an extra shot aught to do the trick for this job.

To get started you will need:

  1. Paper and pen to write down the organizing materials you will need to put it all back together
  2. Strong trash bags
  3. 3 large boxes marked (1) Donate (2) Belongs To (3) Sell

Step one – make sure counters, table, and floor are clear of any items (you will use these as a staging area)

Step two – start with one cabinet and pull everything out and place on counter according to type, i.e. – water glasses, wine glasses, dinner plates, spices etc.

As you are pulling things out remember:

  1. If any piece is broken, you haven’t used it in a long time, or you just don’t like it toss or donate
  2. If any of the pieces belong to someone else because it was left there at your last bbq, place it in the box marked “belongs to”
  3. Continue to do this with every cabinet in your kitchen

When I work with my clients, it never fails when we get to “that cabinet” – you know, the one where everything gets thrown in it because you don’t know where else to put it?  My clients always say, “I have no idea what is even in there.”  Do you have one (or more) of those cabinets? If you do, don’t worry – so do many others!

“That cabinet” might be filled with odds and ends such as candles, tape, batteries, phone books, lint rollers and dried up play dough. You get the picture. Half of those things probably go somewhere else. For now, categorize them on the kitchen table. Lets take a look at what we have to do next.

Are all the cabinets empty? Time to reload!  Grab an apple for yourself and fill up your sink with some nontoxic cleaner. Wipe down all the cabinets inside and out. While they are drying take a look at what you have and think over these points.

  1. Do you have an over abundance of any type of item? Such as measuring cups, baking sheets, Pyrex bake ware, bowls, sets of dishes and plastic ware.
  2. Do you use all of them? Think about it this way, if you are a baker then you might need more that the average number of baking sheets than the occasional cookie maker. If you are big into chili or soup a large stockpot is a must.
  3. Make sure all your plastic storage ware has a mate. If it doesn’t get rid of it. Perhaps search for a brand that has containers that fit into each other and the lids attach such as Rubbermaid easy find lids.
  4. If you don’t use it, don’t remember the last time you’ve used it, and the coat of dust on it tells the whole story, donate.

What about the items that we only use once or twice a year but love them? I have a couple of crystal candy dishes that were my Grandmothers, which I love. I use them during the holidays and treasure the memory that they hold. Store these pieces in a space you don’t need to get to very often. In a kitchen with limited storage (like mine) holiday serving pieces can be stored on the top shelf in the pantry, in a hall closet, or in an area in your basement.

Now it is time to choose the right organizing tools. Here are a couple of things you need to think about before you start. What are the right organizing tools that you could implement that would give a better use of space? A couple favorites of mine.

  1. Drawer organizing trays. These handy little numbers come in all shapes an sizes. They usually hook together. I like to buy several of each size to piece together to suit the various sized cooking accessories used.
  2. Shelf dividers. Shelf dividers do just that; they add an extra shelf with in a shelf. You can double the space; imagine bowls on top and plates on the bottom. Limited only to your imagination. Great for soup cans, coffee cups, tea, etc.
  3. Pull out shelves. Bottom cabinet shelves are a pain.  You have to bend down to see what is in there and the back recesses seem to swallow things whole. There are so many great pull out shelves available now. They just need to be mounted, next best thing to custom cabinetry and a whole lot cheaper.
  4. Added extras. Don’t forget things like spice racks and Lazy Susan’s. They all add ease and efficiency to any kitchen.

Once you have chosen some tools to implement, it is time to put everything back, but where? Some things to remember:

  1. Silverware and dishes should be near the kitchen table and dishwasher.
  2. Drinking glasses are best placed by the sink and dishwasher.
  3. Spices, cooking utensil and pots and pans locate by the stove.
  4. Bowls by the food prep area. (Do you notice the pattern here?)
  5. Items you don’t use very often such as pitchers, vases and such can be stored on the top shelf of the pantry or the cabinet above the fridge.  (Pantry organization is a project all its own, see Organizing your Pantry on my blog.)
  6. Food items that are stored in the cabinets are arranged by usage. Place items used often on 1st and 2nd shelf. The top shelf is reserved for extras, things not used very much. In my home it’s baking ingredients. Things I keep easily within reach are the oil and vinegar because I love to cook.

Does everything have a home? If you get stuck on one section move on and come back to it later. It is just like putting a puzzle together. What a huge project and you did it! Time to celebrate or maybe just sit and look around to enjoy your hard work and organized kitchen. Congratulations, time to open the wine. Cheers.

 

Thanksgiving Resolutions November 23, 2009

Filed under: Home organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 4:35 pm
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Resolutions?  Now? On Thanks Giving?  I know I know I’m a month and a half ahead of myself on the epiphany and release of having a New Year to start all over again.  Why do I have to wait until the holidays are over to start anew?  Creating peace in your mind before you’re thrown into the family and financial strain of what seems like eternal togetherness of the season.  An organized brain leads to inner peace in your mind and home.  Resolving early on can help you and your family enjoy the entire holiday season for all its worth.

 

Since Thanks giving is in a couple days let’s start with just 3 things you can reasonably execute now.  I don’t believe that a huge list of 10 things all at once is a fair and easily attained goal to ask the average person.  For example one goal may be to not go overboard on the holiday gift giving so you can start your New Year on the right foot.  Three resolutions is a great goal and if you find that they have been achieved and resolved then go on to the next 3 on your list.  Having a goal to get you through the holiday season can guide you and help keep your eyes on the horizon, the next phase the finish line or whatever you want to call it.

 

Our holiday season is for enjoying what we have and the blessing is to give us the chance to renew and regenerate.  We can gain new courage to change the things that have been hanging over us.  We can create a new plan that changes things that are not working at the moment.  We reconnect with our family and recognize new potential.  My mantra and you will find that I repeat this over and over again.  If you have the right plan and find the right tools and have a few of our favorite people on your side you can achieve the goals that fill your mind and your heart.  Happy Thanks Giving everyone.  Cheers!

 

Organize the junk in your junk drawer November 8, 2009

Filed under: Home organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 2:00 am
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How junkie is your junk drawer? I really don’t like the term “junk drawer” It should be called “odds and ends” drawer or “things I need “ drawer.

 

What do we keep in the drawers? They are usually things we find around the house that really don’t have a home or we don’t have time to subcategorize them. All those little pieces we find throughout our home.  What does a professional organizer keep in her junk drawer?

Hmmmm lets see. I have a couple buttons. Some chalk.  I have a couple marbles (you never know when you need more) rubber bands, paperclips, barrettes (for my daughter who is growing out her bangs). Really all kinds of crap.

Sometimes I encounter a client who has several “odds and ends” drawers.  Everything just ends up being thrown in them because we are to busy or…say it with me…they don’t have a true home!

Here are a couple things that you need to have available…but not in the odds and ends drawer.  A handy little toolbox.  This is perfect for changing those pesky batteries that toys seem to burn through; hanging a picture; or putting together some great find from Ikea.  What ever it is have a tool kit and keep in on the shelf in your coat closet or back hall.  It will be easy to access and put away.

Another thing you need is a separate container for batteries, especially if you have children.  Lord knows we go through the batteries with all the flashing and noisy toys.  A plastic shoebox size container will contain all kinds of batteries and protect your things incase one decides to leak. Plus I don’t know if you have ever noticed, they smell. Those are 2 things that should not end up in your odds and ends drawer.

Okay so what is left?  Some rubber bands; paperclips; a flashlight? (That could go in an emergency kit) loose change; all those little things you pickup through out the house and know they belong to something but are not quite sure.

The key is you need to go through that drawer once in a while.  Set a doable schedule like every six months and if you have time or the energy possible every 3 or 4 months.   If you have a junk drawer rethink what it could be called.  An odds and ends drawer sounds much better.  We have to have a place where we keep those items.  If one particular category keeps ending up in the drawer create a new category for it and store it somewhere else. A closet, a shelf in the garage, somewhere easy to access. Remember to label the containers

If you create the plan and give your family the right tools they will follow your lead.

 

10 things that don’t stress me out. October 14, 2009

Filed under: Personal organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 10:15 am
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It is around 5:00 in the morning I cannot sleep. Hmm, I think, “I should get some work done”. Well, its not actually work, writing is simply typing organized thoughts. This a.m. with my body full of tension (which explains the sleeplessness) and coffee in hand I will share with you the things that don’t stress me out and maybe my body will listen.

  1. My desk – It holds my favorite things for me. The book I’m reading, the super cool silver nail polish I want to try, a notebook I write all my creative ideas, headphones and coffee cup full of coffee. There are more things but you get the idea.
  2. My car- it takes me to fun places, where I get to meet new and wonderful people, visit my parents, see amazing places outside of where I live.
  3. My kid’s laugh- when the whole-heartedly laugh the sound is priceless.
  4. Walking- I live by a small lake surrounded by paths and neighborhoods. It’s beautiful in the fall.
  5. True friends-They are always my advocate and just fun to be with. (Anyone who makes us laugh is a gift)
  6. Cooking- The process of chopping and creating a delicious meal while sipping a glass of wine on a Saturday afternoon makes me happy. Not to mention the lovely friends and family I get to share it with.
  7. My Dog Daphne- She is always by my side and happy to be around me.
  8. Sunshine coming through the window- Even though I’m a couple hours away from that actually happening right now. It gives me warm fuzzies on the coldest days.
  9. Comfy pants- Do I need to explain?
  10. Wine- A great glass of wine with some French bread and cheese, my fav.

Do you see? It is nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary, just simple everyday things that keep me going. What are some things in your life that don’t stress you out? It can be as simple as brushing your teeth to running a marathon. We all have our own lists. What is on yours?

 

Keeping Track of Brainstorms October 12, 2009

Filed under: Home office organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 2:03 pm
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What do you do when a super great idea pops into your head? Do you keep it there only to forget most of it moments later? Do you write it down on a scrape piece of paper and miss place it under paper piles, as your workday gets moving? How many post-it notes do you have plastered around your office with ideas and thoughts? The truth is that I have been guilty of all these ways to remember a great idea in the mist of life. I definitely do not count on my brain to remember anymore because I suffer from an acute case of “Mommy brain”. Lets explore a couple tools you can use to store and revisit your great ideas.

  1. Record ideas on your phone. Many phones these days have a recording feature. This is great when you are driving to soccer practice or at the grocery store. My recordings download on to itunes and I can listen to them later when a quite moment has some how happened.
  2. Keep a small notebook with you at all times. The epiphany has shown it lovely head and you need to jot down those ideas before they leave with the next interruption.  Choose a notebook that you can easily fit in your handbag, pocket or car. If you are more of a visual person, writing down your thoughts will help you remember them.
  3. The priceless white board. The other day I tweeted about buying a white board for my office to help me brainstorm.  I purchased the largest one I could find, filled it up with ideas and guests for my Blog Talk Radio show and realized I need another one! I love it and the act of writing in different colors and just writing allows me to be even more creative.

Choose what works best for you or maybe a combination will work for you. To tell you the truth I use all three. When I’m in my office I like using my white board. I write in my notebook when I’m waiting for my daughter’s gymnastics to wind up or school to get out. (If I talk into my phone, people might wonder about my state of mind) My phone is great for car trips. When I drive longer distances to client’s homes or meetings, writing in a notebook is not recommended. Look around, look at your habits and schedule to choose the best system to archive your epiphanies. Who knows one could change your life!