weekly organizing Tips

Brought to you by Beautifully Organized

Category: Closets

Don’t Worry it looks worse before it looks better.

Here is a truth about organizing. When you are sorting an overcrowded disorganized space it will always look worse before it looks better.

I think one of the reasons people stop organizing projects, or never start them, is because we become overwhelmed by the middle stages; when everything is everywhere and we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. The trenches of organizing! It’s not where we want to be, we want to be on the other end with amazing systems in place and like items together.

So, how can you get there? Go through the process. Sort -> Edit -> Reorganize. Stick with this system and you will come out the other side successful, I promise.

I recently worked on a walk-in utility closet with a little bit of everything in it. It’s a fabulous example of the organizing trenches. I was so excited to dig in I didn’t get a shot of the closet in it’s natural state but I did get a picture of the contents of the closet all over the living room:

Living room before

This is how we started. We slowly brought everything out of the closet sorting them into like piles: gardening, hardware and tools, wrapping and ribbon, cleaning supplies, tape, etc. We did this until the closet was empty and the piles were complete.

The empty closet looked like this

Empty Closet

We took everything off the top shelf as well. It also went to the living room. And just as a reminder the living room looked like this

Living Room again

So here we are in the thick of it. By creating piles and slowly replacing items into the closet we were able to transform an overstuffed utility closet functioning at a low level with a box of Spick and Span spilling on the floor every time you reach for a sponge into a storage dream. Everything is visible – inside of clear bins or boxes cut down… labeled!

This took about three hours of focused work. Diligently working our way through the contents and replacing them with thought and purpose. The results are worth it

Closet After

Floor to ceiling storage. I can’t imagine a more beautiful site!

Now, back to the living room. It also returned to it’s natural, liveable state

Living Room After

Slowly chipping away at closets and cabinets make a huge difference in our homes. By maximizing storage space you open up space within your home. Things find homes, you become inspired to keep these spaces in their beautifully organized state. Organization breeds organization!

Stick with the system: Sort -> Edit -> Reorganize. It works and gives consistently solid results. Don’t be afraid to feel a little over your head. The results are worth the overwhelming moments you experience in the middle, guaranteed!

Happy Organizing!

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Shorten your to do list and get more done

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It been a while since I gave an organizing tip, what can I say? It’s been a busy few months. Between client work, an event I’m planning for the Spring and household duties, my to do list is overflowing. Some days I feel like burying my head in my pillow and forgetting the ever growing list. However, like most things in our lives, if we don’t take care of them they don’t go away they grow and create even more stress and anxiety.

My problem can be that sometimes I overbook myself and I become so overwhelmed that I don’t get half of my list done and then I feel bad. Stop feeling bad and cut your list back. Don’t overbook yourself – that’s a recipe for failure before you even start your day.

I was discussing this with my husband a few weeks ago and he had a brilliant solution. He takes his top three priorities every day, writes them down where he could see them and focused on completing those tasks everyday. Brilliant!

This is a solution everyone can try. If you focus on the top three things that need to happen everyday then you will always move projects and to dos along. It might feel like a slow process somedays, but try it for a week and see what you accomplish.

I would love to know if you try this system and if it works for you.

Happy organizing!

Quick and Easy Closet Organizing Tips

Do you need to organize your closet? Have you been thinking about updating your existing closet system? Check out these quick tips and tricks from Sage.

http://www.beautifullyorganized.ca

Exploding Closets

I’m sure there are a few people out there that can relate to this!

Reasons Mommy Drinks

nothingtowear

Every inch of storage in Mommy’s house is bursting at the seams. Mommy has stopped inviting people over because she fears an innocent play date will turn into a hoarding intervention before your impressionable young eyes. Back when they were searching for real estate, Mommy and Daddy failed to account for the 500 square feet in additional storage they’d one day require for the baby gear, clothing and toys you’d outgrow before your second birthday. And Mommy’s convinced that the day she trucks it all to Goodwill will be the same day she discovers she’s pregnant with baby #2. And who knew Mommy’s wardrobe would one day include pre-baby wear, maternity wear, maternity-leave wear, back-to-work wear, and replacement wear for all her baby-stained wear?  To be fair, you’re not totally to blame for Mommy’s storage woes. At some point, Mommy may want to consider parting ways with her teenage diaries…

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A Functional Front Hall Closet

The front hall closet is the main storage area for yourself and guests. It can be a daunting to tackle and embarrassing to open when guests arrive. Ideally it is a space that can store items you need to grab quickly as you leave the house, but it often becomes a storage hole for items you rarely use and would never go looking for.

So what can you do to help minimize the clutter in this highly valued storage space.

Sort and edit down to the items you really need. In Toronto in the winter we use our coats every day. You probably rotate through a couple of coats depending on the weather or occasion. Keep only the coats you wear regularly in the front hall closet, move the others elsewhere.

Hang hooks by the front door. In my house we have hung hooks by the front door to accommodate quickly grabbing and hanging up our coats everyday. When we have company we move our coats into the closet to make room on the hooks for our guests. This prevents us from having to open the closet and your guests don’t have to guess where to put their coat or even worse draping them all over your furniture.

What kind of things are you storing in the front closet. Do you need extra hanging space or would extra shelving be a better option? I often suggest splitting the space with half hanging and half shelving. Coats are only half the problem, we also store winter accessories, workout gear, bags, umbrellas and other outdoor gear in the closet. If you think adding shelving is not in the budget consider the hanging shelves from Ikea that quickly add cubbies to store items. Or go one step up and get an Expedite bookcase from Ikea, stand it up and screw the other end of the hanging rod into the shelving unit. Voila you have shelving, hanging and you spent less than $100.

Get creative. A bright cheery color can go a long way. Paint the inside of the closet an accent color that will make you smile when you open the door. As a bonus do an accent color that matches your décor and it will seem like a part of the design scheme when the door is open.

Use the back of the door. The back of the door is another great place to add hooks. I can’t say enough about hooks. If you read my blog you know I am a huge fan of hooks. They work for coats, bags, scarves, umbrellas and any other items that need a home and need to be accessed quickly. If you are opposed to putting hooks outside of the closet this is another great place to put guest coats.

Now that you have sorted the closet and increased the overall function of it how can you maintain it? When you get home from work as you are walking in the door take stock of what you have in your hands and where it needs to go. Do it immediately when you walk in the door. If you have mail, recycle the junk and place the important items in a place when you will deal with it, immediately. Hang your keys on a hook by the door, hang up your coat and other accessories, put your purse on a hook etc. This will not only keep your front entryway tidy, but when you go to leave the house everything will be in it’s place ready to go, saving you valuable time in the morning.

If you have any suggestions or ideas to increase the function and beauty of the front hall closet write in the comment section below. We always love hearing your thoughts and ideas.

Happy Organizing!

Love Your Closet Now

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The biggest request I receive is to organize closets. Closets and storage are one of the most under used spaces in a home. One of the biggest problems is wasted space due to poor closet design. The one hanging bar and one shelf above the hanging bar is useless and leaves a lot of wasted, empty space in the closet.

So what can you do to improve the overall function and design of your closet? Here area few ideas.

Let me start with the basics: sort and edit! This is the most important part of organizing, always! If you don’t start there, than the whole process is a waste of time. Click Here to read more about that process.

Ok – after the initial sort is complete it’s time to start thinking about function. One of the first things I recommend in a bedroom closet is to replace the single hanging bar with a double hanging bar. Place one bar 40” from the floor and one bar 40” above that, you can adjust those heights as needed. This will allow you to store twice the amount of clothing with minimal changes in the same amount of space. You can take out the existing system and add something new or you can add a bar that will hook onto the existing hang bar, these are available at Solutions, your organizing store.ImageSomething else to consider is how many of your clothes need to be hung. What could move to drawers or shelves instead so they take up less room. Add shelves or drawers to your closet to accommodate these needs as well. You can add cloth bags, shelf dividers and baskets to keep loose and folded items organized and available.

Keep unnecessary items out of your bedroom closet. Here are five things to remove from your closet right now: Halloween costumes, broken sports equipment, luggage. Combine sets and donate the rest, any item that only fits an unrealistic thinner you, uncomfortable shoes that you will never wear.

Change the hangers in your closet to thinner color coded options. If you share a closet with your spouse than consider choosing one color for yourself and one color for them. The thinner hanger will take up less space and the color of the hanger will make putting laundry away a breeze.

The system I recommend to anyone that asks for help is the Schulte system from Solutions. The system is easy to use, design and install. It also happens to be on sale now. Click Here for more information

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To create a functional closet you don’t have to spend a lot of money or overhaul the whole space. There are minimal changes that can happen to increase the overall function and design.

I love to hear feedback so write any questions or comments below. This whole month I will focus on closets. Next week we’ll examine the front hall closet.

Good luck and Happy Organizing!

Organizing Doesn’t Have to be Spooky!

Happy Halloween!

Keeping with the theme of the day I decided to touch on an unspoken barrier to organizing. Most people don’t like organizing. I can’t understand it, but it’s true! You would rather do almost anything, OTHER than organize.

I’ve tried to figure this out as I talk with people and observe their actions. I think one of the largest barriers is the perception that it takes SO MUCH TIME! I don’t have the time is the excuse I hear most often.

I would love to take it on as my personal mission to convince you and everyone else that it takes more time being disorganized than organizing will ever take.

I want to challenge you for the next seven days. For the next seven days set aside 15 minutes to organize small spaces. I have compiled seven examples for you to get started.

1. If you do not have a place to put your keys by the door, hang a hook, get a small table or hang a shelf. This will save on average 10 minutes a day… A DAY!

2. Open a drawer in your kitchen and sort the contents in it. Be ruthless, you do not need six spatulas, ever for anything, pick your favorite three and move on.

3. Open the front hall closet and sort the items in there. Are there summer items in the winter or coats and shoes your children have outgrown? Sort, Edit and Organize the space back to functional and beautiful!

4. Clean out the medicine cabinet. Expired medicine, old toothbrushes, old make-up and toothpaste tubes within an inch of their life. Sort it wipe it down and restock as necessary.

5. Clean the silver. It’s time to start thinking about entertaining this winter. Dinner parties and family get together. The serving pieces and candlesticks will make their way out of the cabinets. Save time and your sanity the day of by shining all the silver ahead of time so it glows at your party!

6. Update the monthly calendar. Take 15 minutes to update the family calendar and post it somewhere everyone can see it and update it as things change. Doing this monthly will save time, energy and headaches. Time spent in planning was never wasted.

 

7. Open the mail. I know this sounds funny, but take 15 minutes to open the mail and deal with it RIGHT NOW. Don’t set it in a pile. If you need to pay a bill get online and pay it – or schedule a payment for due date so you don’t forget. RSVP for parties, recycle junk mail and if you order magazines, take the time during the month to read them and spend a few minutes on yourself.

 

Don’t forget the reward at the end of 15 minutes. Here are seven rewards I would recommend J

 

1. A cup of coffee or tea

2. Watch your favorite tv show

3. A bath

4. Go out for a yummy dinner

5. Go for a walk

6. Get a manicure

7. Call a friend and catch up

 

The reward is important to motivate you to the next session. Challenge yourself – take the next seven days and see the immediate difference in your life. Let me know how it goes. I believe in your success!

 

Happy Organizing!

 

Transition the Closet

It’s that time AGAIN. I feel like I just did this, but here we are switching the closet for cooler weather. It’s also a season of parties and travel so be smart and be organized and you are sure to enjoy everything that is coming up!

Taking the time to swap your clothing for the seasonal change will open up space and save you from digging through summer dresses to reach a sweater.

Tips and Tricks!

Give yourself time – set aside an hour or two to complete this project.

Tools on hand – have bags for donation, a bag for alterations and dry cleaning, a suitcase for item to go to consignment – they won’t go until the spring/summer season so keep them packed safe so they will be in top condition for consignment, garbage bag, storage bins to pack away warmer weather clothes.

Start with the sort – give everything a very careful once over. Make sure there are no holes or signs of wear. Did you wear it all season? Don’t hang onto things you don’t wear.

Edit out the items – divvy up the items where they belong, storage, consignment, donate, garbage.

Tip – Keep bounce sheets in your storage bins to keep everything smelling nice and it keeps the months away.

When you pack items back in the closet turn the hanger the wrong way – as you wear them turn them back and it will show you what you have worn and what you haven’t.

Tip – if you travel to warm destinations in the winter pack your suitcase as you pack your closet. This way the items you want are close at hand AND you don’t have to pack when the vacation comes up!

If you have items that are sentimental – take a picture of them and you can always have a memory – you can then pack it away if you’re not ready to part with it or donate it.

If you are inspired create a few outfits: a go to dinner outfit, a go to date night outfit and a few work looks. Take pictures and hang them close to the closet for reference. When you feel like you have nothing go to these.

Tip – Winter clothing take up more space than summer clothing so consider this when adding items to your wardrobe. Winter also tends to have more accessories and layering pieces – baskets and plastic bins can be great additions to keep things separated and organized.


If you want to explore the possibility of updating your closet so it meets your needs, let’s chat. I am transforming closets every day and would love to help with yours!

Click Here to look at my site for a list of places to donate and consign items you no longer wear or want.

Happy Organizing!