Resetting Our Spaces for Back to School… How to Stay Organized All Year

It’s that time of year where our lives get hectic again, the weather starts to cool off and our spaces become somewhere that is almost impossible to keep neat… ALMOST. 

 

With summer coming to an end, it’s extremely important to live in a clean organized space as we try to get back to our regular, scheduled lives. For the past year many of us spent all of our time in our homes, working, studying and just relaxing. Now, with the vaccine rolling out we’re finding that our lives are returning to somewhat of our old normal. There’s school, work, doctor’s appointments, sports, clubs, birthday parties and all the things that if you did not have a calendar you may miss. 

 

The most important back to school step is finding, creating, and managing a system that works for you and your family.  Children need structure and now is the time to set systems and routines in place to restore some order to your home. 

 

Around this time of year you can find us doing just that in many homes across the area. Once we leave, it is up to you and your family to be dedicated to keep the system in tact. We find that this is not too difficult because many get excited when they have a neat system that works perfectly for them! 

 

The number one area we like to start off creating systems in the exit area (the front door, or garage door). This area is incredibly important to keep a system. If you are running late this area needs to be able to help you, not make you later. 

 

Do you know that a certain part of your home is holding you back from successfully getting out the door?

 

I would love to take on this important time with you! Just give me a call today.

 

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Preparing for the Worst, But Hoping For the Best!

As much as I love talking about the exciting and positive ways organizing can change your life, I have to bring up the more serious topics like protecting your precious memories safely.

Have you ever thought about where your most valuable papers, items and photos should be kept?

Unfortunately we’ve been dealing with basement flooding and even some devastating fires across the country. We cannot be in control of Mother Nature’s plan, but what we can be in control of is creating places for our memories to be safe in those moments of the unthinkable.  I know I learned this first hand years ago when so many basements in Huntington Woods were flooded with over 4 feet of water.  My friends lost all of their memories from childhood as well as their precious photos.

Let me start by saying, when it comes to organization of your memories… you need to have the correct systems in place.

Because of this, when I go into people’s spaces to create a more organized place, I like to keep everything off the ground, labeled and in clear boxes, well sealed bins. This makes it easy to grab in case of emergency, but also sealed and away from any potential water damage.

The clear, labeled bins make it so that everyone in the family can know the importance of these boxes in case of a disaster. After we come in and organize things like your keepsake items, family photos, the first family portrait and so much more it is important to keep these bins stored together and not scattered around.  They are not often touched and should be put in an area that you know where they are and can add items and bins to as the years go on.

To keep all items protected from water damage we create a system in clear, labeled boxes off of the ground.

I would love to take on this important time with you! Just give me a call today.

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Time for a Little Summer Cleanup!

Happy July! As summer is in full pursuit, we are now faced with the ever daunting task of entertaining our kids and somehow managing to keep the house clean. If you’re a parent, you know how stressful and time-consuming this can be. 

Luckily, however, in this month’s blog, we’re addressing just how you can manage to keep the house organized, save yourself some time, and have a little fun while doing it!

And let me start by saying, when it comes to organization and your kids, clear bins are your new best friend. Not only is it easy to store and easy to access (even for little hands), but it is easy to locate items too. Meaning, no strewn about supplies and materials around the house…THAT’S  a gift in itself. 

Here’s Our Top 4 Ways to Keep Your Home In Order & Your Kids Happy: 

Arts & Activities 

As summertime activities, camps, and playdates begin it is time to gather all the needed art, craft, and school supplies together. Creating a space within your home (or garage) where you can single out the “supplies” from the rest of your professional or personal materials is vital to keeping the home organized. Label your box like “Kid-Friendly Supplies,” and place any paints, stickers, notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, etc that are available to your kids.

Not only does putting all the supplies in one place make it easier for you and your child, but it also teaches them a sense of responsibility to take care of their items and return them to their proper place. 

Summer Goodies

The rising temperatures mean…pool and beach time! Place all sunscreens, towels, goggles, and aquatic toys in one clear bin (labeled of course).

That way, not only is it easy to access, but your kids can grab the things they need for pool time or even for some front-yard hose action without having to ask you where they are, or which they can use. Dreams come true, right? By grouping items together, you’re automatically ready for any pool party, birthday party, summer trip, and/or camp that comes your way. 

Pantry & Food 

Our kids get hungry ALL the time, and it makes sense, their kids! They are constantly growing and constantly burning calories by running around, swimming, playing, etc. 

If most kids had a choice, they would rummage around in their pantry looking for any possible unhealthy snack they can find. Cut to a few hours later when you go to grab something you need, and find everything in chaos. No, thank you.

What’s the saying – too many hands in the pantry? 

Avoid the mess and provide your kids with healthier alternatives by clearing a space for them within the pantry. By doing so, you have a better oversight over what they are consuming throughout the day and get to spend less time being the “bad cop.” They are supplied with a choice in snack, but one that is better for them, and it is easy to know when to restock. Plus no mess! Stock your pantry box with dried fruits, nuts, yogurt bites, healthier versions of fruit rollups, or any and all of your child’s favorite snacks. 

Closets

Kids play and get dirty. What’s the best way to prevent your kid’s nice clothes from being thrown into the summer mess? Keep it organized. Providing delegated spaces for bathing suits, “play clothes,” and nice outfits keeps your child’s closet tidy and makes them feel like they have more choice over their daily outfits. 

Because let’s be real, kids are notorious for grabbing the first thing they see. Anyone else? By providing bins, sections of the closet, or drawers for their “free grab” clothes, they can dress themselves how they want, get as dirty as they please, and you get a little peace of mind. 

However, before you begin on your organizational journey, it is important to get rid of allllll the items you no longer need. Start by creating four boxes – keep, donate, trash, and recycle. Go through items such as closets, pantries, garages, even school supplies and get rid of anything you no longer use. A good rule of thumb is – if it hasn’t been used in the past year or two, it’s time to go! 

This can be overwhelming to do alone, so invite your kids! Play some music, dance around, teach them the value of cleaning out your space. And as always, I love a dance party (and organization) so I am here to help! Whether it be clearing your space, helping you reorganize, or a mixture of both- I would love to take on this important time with you! Just give me a call today.

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Let’s Get That Garage Packed!

Are you moving or looking to move?

If so, then this article is perfect for you!

Through all my years of working within the home, in organizing and packing, I’ve come to realize one thing: 

Packing up your garage is by far the most difficult room “in the house.”

Many people believe it’s the kitchen- with all the glasses, dishes, and awkward pans and pots.

However, that is a piece of cake compared to the garage simply because our garage, for so many of us, seems to collect all the large, unruly items we own- landscaping and gardening supplies, tools, excess furniture, extra paint, keepsakes, coolers, grills, etc. 

That’s why in this month’s blog, I’m giving you access to all my favorite tips and tricks. 

Create Four Piles 

Before you do ANY packing, it is essential you first go through the items. For example, do you REALLY need that extra can of paint?

The four piles I suggest making are: Donate, Trash, Recycle, and Keep. 

Place Alike Items Together 

After you’ve cleaned out your garage and figured out which items you are keeping, it is time to group similar items together. For example, brooms or flower pots. 

Once you have similar items together, you can get a visual for any packaging supplies you may need. Remember: So many garage items can be oddly shaped which means speciality packing. 

P.S. Consider any safety measures, for example blades. Bubble wrap is a great way to protect them, or using old towels and linens. 

Do NOT pack these items

Some items are better placed in a cooled car instead of the air tight, hot truck. These items are: paint and paint thinners, pesticides, propane tanks, aerosol cans, car batteries, pool chemicals, and cleaning chemicals. 

Clean Off Items

Before packing your items, I suggest taking a damp cloth or towel to gently clean any outdoor, dirty, dusty, or spider webbed items. 

Label Boxes 

The biggest tip I can give for ANY packing is to label, label, label. 

Don’t just write ‘pots’ because this could be confusing, instead write ‘small-medium flower pots, garage.” The more clues the better! Even if it is a clear container, still label! 

Separate Essential Items

Since the order of significance in terms of unpacking typically favors inside the home, I suggest packing a box of essential garage items. That way if it takes you weeks to unpack the garage items, you don’t end up sifting through 10 boxes looking for a few things. 

As always, packing is best done with a team. I would love to be on yours! Give me a call today.

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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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