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Pack with Ease : Here’s How

When you think of spring, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s bright yellow tulips, longer hours in the day, rainy weather, spring sports, new action-packed movie releases….and of course, ‘spring cleaning.’ 

Spring time and spring cleaning have long gone hand in hand. Whether it be cleaning out spaces within your home, ‘fixing up’ all the things we neglected over the winter, or possibly even making the big jump to moving. 

In a way, you can think of moving as the “big sister” to spring cleaning. Moving is naturally the larger project – containing bigger thoughts, fears, dreams, and preparation. When it comes to moving, there are really two sides: the excitement of moving and a new start in a home that better fits your location or needs; and the stress of getting your house on the market, sold, and begin packing! 

Packing can seem super overwhelming, especially after years of living within a single space – and all the acquired items that come with it. For so many of us, the fear of preparing for the move (and all that comes with it) is so strong that it will hold us back from achieving our dreams and actually starting on the needs in your new home – painting, unpacking, storage, etc. Especially if physical limitations come to play. Say, your move isn’t driven by a new job or better location, but rather, less steps or smaller square footage to clean. The fear of “getting started” heightens when physical limitations are present, and if you are not careful, that fear may actually be enough to squash homeowners needs and dreams of moving. 

In fact, most of our clients are actually referred to us by the client’s children. Oftentimes, they know what is in the best interest for their parents or loved ones and know that a new home will not happen without the helping hands of others. The years of accumulated “stuff” needs to be gone through and donated, trashed or passed on to other family members. Professionals like myself help our clients realize that a new home is possible for them. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation as an adult, looking to open up this conversation of a new home with your parents or loved ones, or even want to make the transition yourself, there are a few key components to consider: 

Starting with assessing what works for them in their house just as much as what doesn’t work.

What spaces in the current home have the most “stuff” to go through? Typically those are the scary spots 🙂 but also, the perfect place to start!

Who are the family members or friends that can help or will be involved with the purging/donating process?

Will a professional be needed and helpful?

Last but not least, provide a good rough idea of when the actual move is wanted or needed.

By answering these questions, you are actively transitioning an idea into an action plan. THAT is the real first step of moving. 

Now that this dialogue has occurred, it is time to get to the nitty gritty. Before packing, you want to declutter and purge your space (or home). Setting up a keep, trash, donate, and ‘not sure’ pile helps you narrow down your belongings and allows you to rid yourself of items not really needed. Once this stage is complete, it is time to get to the packing. Do not worry though, your friends/family or professional will handle getting out all of the donated items to their desired destinations, and therefore providing you one less thing to worry about.

Ready to get started on packing? 

Here’s how:

Always start the packing process with packing materials on hand. Such as: 

  • Small and medium boxes
  • A minimum of 4 rolls of tape
  • At least 4 boxes of packing paper
  • A large roll of bubble wrap
  • Large garbage bags

The small and medium boxes are so important. Of course, you can always acquire boxes for odd shaped items, or larger boxes if really needed, but on average small and medium boxes tend to be the most useful. I’ve found that having large boxes full of three different rooms prolongs the unpacking process. I always say how you pack on the front end dictates how you unpack on the backend. Keeping alike items, from the same room, together will ensure that you unpack a box in its entirety and can shift from room to room at your new location. Keeping your boxes full of items from the same area will speed up your unpacking process as well as make it a lot less stressful. Plus, let’s be real, large boxes take up a LOT of space, especially in the unpacking phase. 

I hope you find these tips and thoughts helpful. Springtime is full of excitement. Don’t let your space at home hold you back from moving forward with your dreams and needs. 

Happy packing!!

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It’s Time for Spring Cleaning (& Renovating!)

Well… aren’t we all feeling a little bit more “normal”? 

The sun has been shining, the temperatures have been rising, and slowly but surely places are beginning to reopen. Saying it feels incredible is an understatement. I actually feel as if I can see a bright future waiting for us right around the corner.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on where we were a year ago today. For a lot of my clients, they were getting ready to move or had construction set to begin last spring. Obviously, it all got interrupted- pushed back by months and months. This spring, however, things are set to look and feel  a bit differently. 

Whether it is an annual spring cleaning, moving or starting a home renovation, we can all start to plan with a little bit more confidence. Over the past week, I had two clients getting ready to start a major home renovation. One was adding an addition to the home and one was reconfiguring their current layout of their place. In both cases, my team and I had to pack up their belongings.  

One client was remaining in the home while the other had to move out during renovations. However, there was a constant in our conversations about the experience, and that is, “dust seems to find its way everywhere.” Whether the direct area is being affected or not, dust travels throughout the home during renovations. That’s why it is important to pack up all areas within the home. Your aim: leave surfaces empty. 

For my team, when we started packing up the obvious areas within the home, we quickly realized there were even more areas that needed our assistance. Dust. Was. Everywhere. 

That’s why if you are planning any type of renovation, always think about the end result. How you tackle it on the front end will determine how much you get to enjoy it on the back end. Not to mention how much easier and stress-free your life will be. Trust me. 

And yes, chances are you will have a cleaning crew come in and clean surfaces… but, if you have a bunch of stuff that was left out, odds are they will become rusty and the cleaning crew will skip over these items. Their job is to primarily clean EMPTY surfaces. 

My suggestion is by packing up your clean items, you will inherently keep them clean during construction, and your newly renovated home will feel that much better. Here are some suggestions you may not have thought about…

  • If any closet is not being touched, you can keep your items hanging, BUT slip large garbage bags over your hanging clothes. Think of the cleaners as an inspiration. This way it keeps the dust clear and your items can stay in their home without having to  pack them up.
  • In terms of the kitchen, with any exposed shelves, or glass front cabinets, take the time to pack up those items. The glass will surely get dusty and you will need to empty the items anyway. This will ensure you have a clean space to enjoy when the construction is complete. 
  • If you are storing your boxes on site, ask your builder to drape the boxes with a plastic tarp. Undoing dusty boxes is not fun.  It should feel exciting to unpack your long lost friends and put them in your newly renovated space. Don’t make it more difficult (or dirty) than it needs to be. 
  • A super important tip is handling your countertops! No matter where the construction is, clear your countertops and either pack your items or store them in cabinets. 

By taking the time to complete these steps upfront, you are allowing yourself to really prepare for this renovation, and ultimately allow the entire experience to go beautifully (with as little stress as possible!) Because of this, you will enjoy the newness of your remodel that much more. One thing I can promise you is that you will be extremely happy that you planned ahead and didn’t just throw stuff in boxes, or not pack entirely. 

And finally, as you may have guessed, my last piece of advice when packing up, moving, or remodelling is….LABEL LABEL LABEL!  The more specific you are when you label your boxes, the more you can ensure that you are unpacking the right boxes in the right rooms, at the right time. And when you’ve got boxes EVERYWHERE this is an immediate time saver. Don’t just label “master bedroom”, “kitchen,” and “living room.” Instead, list some of the main items in the box. For example, “Kitchen: dishes, silverware, cups.” 

Unpacking can be very overwhelming. With proper labeling you will be able to empty boxes quickly and efficiently. One box in, one box out. Simple as that. So, let’s all get excited for the little things this spring! Cleaning, renovations, moving, the fresh air and warm temperatures… and hopefully a return to normalcy with social gatherings! 

Happy Spring and love to you all. 

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A Note on Organization…

Welcome, Spring! 

For many of us, spring is a time for self-reflection, cleaning, and healing. I find that it also happens to be the time in which we turn that attitude externally to our homes. So as we prepare to clean out and organize our garages, attics, and homes…I want to share a little note with you.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out last month’s blog, then let’s take a minute to catch you up to speed… 

For starters, I am constantly asked the question, is your house super organized? 

I often think about organizing and what aspects of my life are organized and what parts are not. I obviously love to organize drawers, storage rooms, closets, kitchens and more…but I am super hard on myself when I forget an appointment, show up at the wrong time somewhere or wait until the last minute to do something. 

That would never happen to my husband. Because there are different types of people, different styles of doing things…and you might have guessed it different types of being (and staying) organized!

You can be organized in one way and unorganized in another area. Being organized does not mean you need to be organized in all areas of your life. The older I get the more I recognize my strengths and weaknesses and learn to ask for help when help is needed. This past week I had two clients tell me that their spouses didn’t understand why they needed me when this was something they could clearly do on their own. I’ve heard that a lot over the years. What seems so basic to some, is really tough for others. And when I mean tough, it’s tough! 

We all know how clutter can impact us. It can make us anxious, lower our self esteem, cause frustration and all over uneasy feelings. I do play part therapist, confidante and organizer to my clients. As well as them to me. Our commonality is that we all feel better when we’re organized. When we feel better, we do the stuff we are good at better. We can help others because we have helped ourselves. 

I often tell my client, ”I have been doing this for 15 years, clearly you are not alone,” when they tell me their spouse or friends can’t believe they hired an organizer to help purge an area.

If someone can help you tackle something you are not good at and give you the freedom to move on, worry or stress less, isn’t that in itself a gift? We all need to be kinder to ourselves and others. Less judgement and more patience. Not all of us can do what sometimes looks like a simple project without the help from others. Let’s all simplify our lives. Let’s look for the areas we can get help in and be proud of the areas of our lives we can tackle on our own.  

Here’s the simple truth: we can’t do it all.  

Rather than sit and stir, be proactive and ask for help. You will be so happy you did.

With that being said, I encourage you to check out last month’s blog on Organizing 101, and give us a call (if you need the help!)  

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Organizing 101

What does it really mean to be organized? 

I am asked by all my clients if my house is super organized and if everything is perfect. I laugh…every single time. In fact, I’ve had the same response for 15 years.To me, being organized isn’t about having bins in every cabinet with labels, or having a spotless house with my books color coordinated and only 3 items on each shelf in my pantry. 

To me being organized is a few different things:

  1.  Having a spot for most things in your home. This doesn’t mean that everything is always in the right spot, but more importantly when your home or area needs to be cleaned up you are more likely to do it because you have a “home” for things that are laying around. We are all more likely to put things away if they have a designated area that works. 
  2.  Purging, or not holding on to “stuff.” This “stuff” whether it is junk mail or clothing is what takes up SO much space in our homes and in turn over time it is what causes our areas to be difficult to keep organized and neat. If we did not organize whatsoever and only purged and threw out our junk and donated items in our homes and personal spaces, we would be so much better off. Our “stuff” doesn’t hold memories…our minds do. We need to remember that. I try and get my clients to start new habits. Being able to make decisions and to get rid of items before they start piling up is a HUGE part of getting our spaces organized. Whether it’s old clothing , picture frames or old papers from years ago. These items can be difficult to part with, but yet too many items that we hold on to are the exact items that when we have too much of becomes the problem. 
  3. It’s ok to have empty spaces. I’m always asked after we empty out an area “what should we put here?” If it’s not something that is clear right away I always say, let’s wait and see. It will reveal itself and if it doesn’t we leave it empty. Having an empty space brings me to the last part of what it means to be organized. Empty spaces are freedom. Freedom to know an area is not full of junk, freedom to have a home for a future item, freedom to move something from an overstuffed area and thin it out. 

We live in days that are filled with Instagram and other social media pics that can make us feel like we are doing something wrong, or we are inferior to what we see posted. I feel that being organized is two parts purging, one part using space wisely that works and one part having the right organizing accessories. 

So to answer the question ‘Is my home super organized…?”

Ask yourself these three questions: 

Do I have “homes” to put things back when my home gets messy (and it does!!!)

Am I good, really good at purging?’

 Am I being organized by forming new habits…..not by having labels and everything done by color? 

If your answer is yes, then YES you are organized!

Now go throw out some junk mail!😘

 

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New Year, New Home.

It’s cold. It’s grey. You feel like doing nothing.

I always did my best, and enjoyed large projects most, when I did them with someone. Not because I wasn’t capable of doing a project alone, I just always liked collaborations more and tended to stay on task longer if I had the motivation of someone else by my side. I do my best work around the home when I’m on the phone. Laundry doesn’t seem so difficult to put away, the dishwasher is emptied before I know it and I actually cleaned out and organized a cupboard before I even hung up the phone. So much can get done In a matter of an afternoon.

I have heard time and time again from my clients about how they wished they tackled a project earlier if they only knew how easy it was going to be with the help of us (Organize Detroit).  We also hear “Tell me what to do and I can do it, but being the project manager of this is way too overwhelming.”  Having someone “think” for you sometimes can be a nice break and it can allow you to look at something or a space differently.

This is a great time of year (considering we aren’t doing much other than watching TV) to work on and think about everything we could be doing…basically, it’s a great time to tackle a project. It doesn’t have to be big…but it sure could be the BIG PROJECT YOU HAVE BEEN MEANING TO GET DONE, too.

For me I know I have a lot of pictures that once hung on my walls that will never be hung again. I’d like to donate the frames and put my pictures all together in one area. For me, I like editing spaces. Edited spaces give you freedom to make choices. More places to store “stuff” or just the freedom to know that not every space in your house is filled. I personally like owning less. Maybe not fewer shoes :), but fewer other things. After the  New Year, make time to clean up. It doesn’t have to be a formal “resolution,” just a day to clean up an area or two. Empty spaces, tidy spaces, organized spaces are all freeing to our heads. If you are like me and work better together, or just want someone to lead the way every now and then, give us a call. We can show you that a group effort of organizing and repurposing an area doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Welcome to the New Year. Love to all of you!

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5 Secrets to Help Eliminate Holiday Clutter

The holiday season is upon us. It’s time to get down the decorations, clean the house, and prep the space. But why is it that this always bring on SO much stress? The holidays are supposed to be the most joyous time of the year, and as I sit here saying that out loud, I too chuckle. But, I promise you, if you take the time to read this article, you will learn all the key secrets needed to eradicate that pre-holiday stress! 

Secret 1: Identify Piles and Stacks 

One of the main reasons we find decorating so stressful is because we have nowhere to really put the decorations. We have so much STUFF in our homes- in corners, along every flat surface, streaming the walls, etc. This makes our decorations feel confined or as if they just don’t fit…in which case, they don’t!

So, before you even bring the boxes inside the home from the attic or garage, try first to identify piles and stacks that already exist within the home. Clutter is not our friend here. However, it almost always hides in plain sight. Walk around the house, identifying target areas to eliminate first. Ask yourself, why is this here? 

Secret Two: Get Rid of Old Items 

How many times do you keep something “just in case?” For example, buying a new TV. Why is it that so many of us buy a new item, but hold on to the old? Did you need to keep the old TV “just in case” the new one broke – no. If so, then what’s the point of the new expensive one? 

When you buy something new, always get rid of the old. It is a great way to keep your home from becoming cluttered. Try this with clothes, technology, kitchen appliances, books, etc.

Secret Three: Don’t have too many. 

Much like getting rid of old items when replacing them with new, it’s also important to make sure you only keep what you need. Holding on to only what you need helps eliminate clutter.  Sure, having 6-7 throw blankets are nice, or 10 different pink shirts. But, how many actually get used? Odds are probably 3. The rest just take up space. 

When we do this with multiple aspects of our home, we end up in a chaotic mess. Don’t let this get the best of you. Instead, keep items you love or use often, and donate everything else.

Step Four: Have A Place for Everything 

Once you have eliminated piles and excess items, it is time to make an organized space for everything. I can’t stress this enough, because to me this is the most important step. Everything in your home should have their own home! 

The mail that gathers on the counters or table? Create a space for them and get in the habit of placing them there. Clothes that get thrown on the couch as soon as you enter the door? Provide a coat rack or space to designate clothes. You can go room to room doing this, and I would love to help you along the way! 

Step Five: Decorate

Once everything is situated, sifted through, and organized, it is time to decorate! I promise your decoration process, and decorations themselves, will be less stressful and just seem to fit in a whole lot more with your remaining areas. 

Though this feels like a lot, doing this once a year is a wonderful way to prevent giant cleanouts. Everything revolves around habit: so get in the habit of eliminating clutter and upholding an organized space. 

With COVID and the creeping cold seasons, what else is there to do? Make this a priority, now! Don’t wait. Make sure to give us a call, we would be more than happy to be there for you every step of the way. 

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HOW TO BE A THOUGHTFUL PACKER

I am a firm believer that how you pack on the front end dictates how you unpack on the back end. By this I mean, if you take the time and pack orderly, and consciously your unpacking will be faster, less stressful and most importantly more organized. I have seen it firsthand over the last 14 years.  Packing is dreadful…the thought of packing is even more dreadful My NUMBER #1 piece of advice is to ALWAYS start as early as you can.  The tasks will be smaller, more manageable and more thorough.  I even say start with the most dreaded area.  When time is on your side you don’t have to finish it all in a day or two. One of the things I remind my clients when we start a packing job is “ Do you want to un pack this item and see this item again in your new home?” Weeding out items that are not your style any longer, not used often enough that is worth taking up space or just junk… DONATE DONATE DONATE… or trash :o)  My goal when we unpack clients is to be able to easily identify boxes and what is in them and be able to empty a box in its entirety and BREAK THAT BABY DOWN!  Boxes take up a lot of space. A box that is packed with like items that belong in an identifiable area can be emptied completely.  The last thing I want for me or my clients is to have a bunch of half put away boxes filled with the “I don’t know what to do with” items. Pack with the intention of unpacking.

It doesn’t matter if you are moving across the country, state, or town, thoughtful packing is essential to settling in stress free when you arrive at your new destination. NO ONE enjoys unpacking when they reach a new place, even on vacation. A good amount of us live in boxes for days, weeks, and months simply because we hate locating, separating, and putting away our stuff. Looking at brown packing boxes can be daunting.  When you are packing items that will not be unpacked, but will go directly into storage, my suggestion is to pack in clear bins and label.  You can put them right away and know exactly what is in there.  You save a whole step.

Don’t let this be you.

This ideology of organization is also applicable to small packing as well. It is now November which means most of us are switching out our summer closets for our winter ones. As we pack away our bathing suits for coats, store the summer sports to bring out the sleds, and exchange our flip flops for boots in the mudroom, it is time to start thinking of how we pack and how that will have a direct effect on us months from now.

Tips for Thoughtful Packing:

  • Put like Items Together
  • Wrap, Tape, and Label Fragile Items
  • Try to Use Clear Plastic Bins for Easy Identifying
  • Label EVERYTHING!
  • Pack Over Days, Don’t Rush It

Finally, to thoughtfully pack, and though I might sound like a broken record, I encourage you to DONATE anything you no longer use or wear and to start early.  The purging process is still part of packing. Be thoughtful in your packing now- your future self will thank you.

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Introducing Your New COVID Gathering Space

Anyone else worried about what their social lives once the cool months start rolling in? I know we are. We’ve been giving this a lot of thought, trying our hardest to come up with potential COVID friendly solutions, and we are happy to announce that we have the perfect suggestion. 

It’s time to turn the garage into an Adult and/or Kid friendly gathering space!

Since fresh air and proper distancing is needed in order to gather, why not utilize your garage? You can open the door, day or night, and spread out chairs, bean bags, even a carpet with some pillows for others to gather around. For your kids, this might look like a movie night, a play date, or a tie dye fest. For adults, a wine night, a quick little gossip, or a meal. 

Whatever your space entails, it’s entirely up to you and that provides so much beauty and opportunity, we just simply can’t contain our excitement. 

However, this means the inevitable…it’s’ time to really, truly, clean out our garages. In order to best help you with this process, we provided a list of suggestions: (but we are also here to help along the way if you need us!) 

Sorting Time! 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with a garage that contains years of keepsakes, old items, donations, and trash. However, it doesn’t have to be. The key? Take it step by step, sort it out. We suggest making piles of things you want to get rid of, want to keep, and potential items that can be used to spruce up your garage gathering space. 

I mean, who isn’t guilty of keeping an extra chair, side table, rug, or even bed stored somewhere in our homes? We love to hold on to things that we “might need” one day. Luckily, today might be that day. But, if we don’t really need it, it’s time to get rid of it. 

Donate these items by taking them to local drop-off areas that are still running during COVID. With Google, these are pretty easy to find. In terms of the trash, chuck it. And for our beloved keepsakes, it’s time to think of better ways to store them. 

Organizing Our Keepables

Now that we have decided what to throw away, what to donate, and what to use in our space, it is time to consider how we are going to store our additional keepsakes, items, etc. We highly suggest investing in a full length wall shelving unit, or get crafty and build your own. Once you have this set up, grab a few clear plastic bins that you can put your items in and place them on the shelves. Of course everything won’t fit, but it helps organize your items all the while maximizing your floor space. 

If you want a little bit more privacy, or a pop of color, grab colorful plastic bins that can be labelled for easy sorting, but still keep some of our items more personal. 

Decorate

Once everything is properly stored and additional items have been removed, it’s time to decorate. Use items you already own, or sanitize some from the house we don’t really need and relocate them here. But, don’t forget the heaters! We recommend ordering heaters, blankets, or really any cold friendly items now before they sell out. We can only imagine the need for them this winter.

As always, stay warm, stay safe, and most importantly, stay organized. 

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Working From Home: How to Keep an Organized Workspace

Now that we are settling into a back-to-school/work-from-home balance, we are a bit more able to see what works (and what doesn’t) in our home. It can be stressful having to run a school and a business all from the comfort of your couch. However, it doesn’t have to be!

Believe it or not, organizing could very well be the solution to many (if not most) of your problems. It is always important to have structure, especially for the little ones. In order to combat COVID-19 from the working home, it is essential to maintain a healthy learning or working environment for every member of the house.

That’s why, this month, we are choosing to focus on organizing our workspace – whether it be professional or educational.

Kids Space

Right now, you’re playing many roles in your child’s life: parent, entertainer, and now, teacher. Going to school from home is HARD! Especially when you are battling challenges like lack of focus and creating a school within the home. Trust me, I get it! That’s why instead of trying to make them learn on the couch or the dining table, bring the classroom to them! Revamp a space in your home that isn’t getting a lot of attention and make it their desk. Have them be part of the decision process for where their learning area will be.  This is important for the younger kids. Once the area has been decided, the next step is clearing out the area.  Just like we do with any area , starting with a clear space is always best.  You don’t need to clear a whole area, just an area for their work space and putting away their stuff at the end of the school day.

With a little revamp, comes organization and that’s why we’re here for you! I am a big fan of clear plastic bins, and think they are by far the easiest way to store items in groups. I often use magazine holders for my clients in their home offices and catch all areas.  Your child’s learning space is now their home office.  A magazine holder stacks vertically, which is always more pleasing and easier to manage that a horizontal stack.  Weather it is a plastic bin or a magazine holder, finding your system is a great way to teach organizational skills. Depending on the age of your kids, don’t over do the organization bins.  Too many can also be difficult and make it tough to maintain.  Start with less and add in as the kids determine what is needed for each class and their daily online learning.  Just as important as the area to do the studying is, is the area to clean up at the end of the day.  You and your kids should make an area that can used to put away the supplies at the end of the day.  You and your kids don’t want to be staring at their classroom all day.

I am also a huge fan of envelope and mail organizers. By keeping these nearby or placed on your child’s desk, you can keep a command center for your child’s weekly progress. Have them turn in assignments or keep key paperwork like online school passwords located here. It will be easy to find, and easy to return. Don’t forget to make this space fun! Decorate it like a mail center and teach your children how to send and receive mail – from home!

Creativity and organization will keep us sane through this upcoming school year. Be sure to go through these areas often to keep it clear and organized. But, it’s also important to take care of yourself and your professional space as well, which is why we wanted to highlight key ways to keep your professional life chaos-free!

Work Space

Once you have the kids settled, it’s time to focus on your work. At least, that’s how I imagine morning routines to go, at least in my house. Maybe you have a desk already, or you are having to create a makeshift one. Whichever it may be, organization is a must!

Again, clear bins and magazine organizers are your best friend. I keep all my folders in my magazine organizers – on a bookshelf or sitting on my desk. Here, I place all important paperwork or client/project information. Clear bins are great organizers for past paperwork or excess supplies.

Another idea is, take cloth baskets and bins and place them on bookshelves or desk compartments. A lot of our desk clutter can be discarded, donated, or reused in a new way. I highly recommend going through all your things before organizing. Pull everything out, so you can really see what you have. Sometimes we need things at close proximity, but it is unflattering to the eye. That is why cloth bins are a necessity! You can get creative with designs, colors, or sizes. Luckily, you can find them, along with clear bins and mail organizers almost anywhere! Some of my favorite places being Target and Bed Bath & Beyond.

For more of a visual, I’ve included the products below:

Bed Bath & Beyond Cloth Baskets 

Target Magazine Holder/Organizer

Target Clear Pantry/Organizing Bins

We’re here for you! We love to hear feedback, suggestions, ideas, or services you may need. So give us a call today.

 

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How to Declutter for Back To School

Normally in August, I start talking about the kids going back to school, cleaning up spaces that were filled with camp gear, towels, bathing suits and more.  For obvious reasons, this “Back to School” year is looking and feeling very different than in past years.

For most of us there were no camps, no swim clubs, many organized sports never happened and our home and spaces have taken a beating.  With all of that being said searching for normalcy and control is what we are all looking for.  Organizing spaces has always given us a sense of control and in turn also calms us and makes us feel really good.

 SO… even though times are different and who knows if the kids are even going back to school in the traditional sense, we should all prepare for the transition of schedules to change and think about how our spaces are being used a bit differently.

Get Rid of It!

We have been staring at our “stuff” since March

Do you really need to keep that dress you wore once, or the sheets for an old bed you no longer use? No! Do we need the extra bags we think are going to get used because they are in good shape? We often hold things for future use, knowing that they haven’t been used in years but struggle with it being “too good” to donate. Don’t hold on to too many items for future use, treat your home as a breathable space to relax, to live.

Practice the One-In, One-Out Ideology

As soon as you buy something, get rid of another…or at least every other time you buy something :o))  This keeps your piles from piling up. Use your closet spaces and drawers as a guide.  If it doesn’t fit in the area you have then it’s time to get rid of something.  When you start putting things in other areas because you have run out of space, it is the beginning of being unorganized.  We have guides all over our house.  Cabinets, shelves, drawers…use them to help not over stuff. 

Always look for “Low Hanging Fruit”.  The “Easy Peazy” ones.  The shirts that are yellowed, a shirt with a hole in it, a stain on anything, a hole in a bag, shoes that are trashed….don’t try and eliminate the difficult stuff first.  Start with the easy stuff.

Organize!

Once you’ve decided what to rid your home of- it’s time to organize! The best way to do this, if you feel overwhelmed as to where to start, is to go area by area. Here are some friendly suggestions for areas of the home:

 Bathroom

Organize alike items together (ex- Hair, First Aid, or Toiletries) Hint: You can even separate items to make a kids section, so the little ones can make more of a controlled mess- keeping your life easier, less stressful.

I use these specifically in bathrooms…under the sink.  Use the shelf to take advantage of the height so you don’t waste space:

Bed Bath & Beyond Bath Organizer

Kitchen

Try organizing an easily-accessible area for the kids. Keep healthy snacks or pre-packed lunches here. I always recommend grab and go snacks out of the box.  It looks better in a clear bin and you will always know what you are running low on.  It will keep you sane, trust me! Then, for tips on organizing your pantry, read our recent blog post, here.

I have been using these for 14 years! They are great in any area of your home.  The laundry room, pantry, bathrooms, shelving.  I move them all around the house as my needs change:

Bed Bath & Beyond Pantry Bins

Bedroom

Closets feel cluttered? Is it a fight to get your kids dressed each day? Make your week easier by laying out clothes for the entire week, each Sunday. You can get clothes dividers to hang, or what I prefer is stackable, clear bins that can easily be labelled for the days of the week, practices, or sleepovers.

 I use these in bedrooms, mudrooms and linen closets all the time! : 

Bed Bath & Beyond Canvas Storage Bin

Finally…Plan and Schedule!

Keep a command center. Declutter little post-it notes and scraps of paper. Get an erasable calendar that you can amend for weekly activities. Get rid of stacks of mail, permission slips, and school paperwork by using an organizer.

These are my go to! Take your piles and turn the right side up.  It is easier to find, save, and much better to look at.  I use these for rotating information I know I need to get to:


Target Magazine File

I also use these for belts, dog leashes, broom, jackets….absolutely LOVE them:

Bed Bath & Beyond Command Hook 

We hope these tips help keep your home a little more live-able for the upcoming school year. If there are any questions, thoughts, or suggestions that you may have, we would love to hear!

 

 

 

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