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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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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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