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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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