weekly organizing Tips

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Category: Weekly Organizing Tips and Tricks

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Organizer

10 questions to ask before hiring an organizer

Are you considering hiring an organizer for your next project or move? Here are 10 questions to ask before you hire an organizer. Over the next few weeks I will explore each one a little more with additional thoughts, tips and tricks to hiring an organizer that works for your style and your needs.What kind of projects do you typically work on?

  1. What kind of projects do you typically work on?

This will help you gain understanding of their expertise

  1. What services do you specialize in?

Closets? Tech? Office? Find someone that understands your specific needs

  1. How long have you been organizing?

Are they just starting out or do they have years of professional expertise?

  1. Do you have past or current clients I can contact as a reference?

There is no better information than from someone who has worked with them.

  1. Can you describe your organizing process?

The process will help you understand what to expect in a session.

  1. What is your fee structure?

Different project are priced differently. Make sure their structure works for you.

  1. What is your cancellation policy?

Do they charge? How far in advance do you need to plan?

  1. Describe your typical client like?

Helping you gain an even better understanding of expertise and interests.

  1. Are you insured?

Just incase, you never know what might happen.

10. What professional associations or certifications do you hold?

Being active in the profession and on top of trends is important.

 

Happy Organizing!

 

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Leak-Proof Travel Bottles

Plastic wrap between the lid and the bottle because is there anything worse than finding a shampoo spill on your first day of vacation?

A simple liner of plastic wrap will help prevent bottles from leaking on your clothes when you travel.

Fool Proof Kids’ Camping Activities

Camping Kids activities

It’s that time of year for me again, the annual camping trips! I am so looking forward to heading out with good friends for a weekend filled with questionable hygiene practices, amazing food and lots of lake time. W have decided to bring our six year old along for one of the weekends, we’re going two weekends back to back – should be interesting! So, this year I thought I would share some ideas I have found to make the camping trip as fun for him as it is for us. I will follow-up in August on what worked and what didn’t or things we made up along the way!

One thing for me to think about is activities. There are two sides to my thinking. I want this camping trip to give him an opportunity to unplug and enjoy nature. So, if he’s a little bored here and there that’s ok some of my most brilliant moments as a kid came when I was bored. However, I have to be realistic, so I will prepare a few things for him to do over the weekend.

Creating a scavenger hunt is high on the list. We go for scavenger hunts at our cottage all the time. We call them adventure walks, but they aren’t really all that organized more a haphazard collection of treasures. Creating a list and a fun little sack for collecting will increase the independence of the game and get him exploring.

Camping scavenger hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the nature scavenger hunt below for a printable hunt for your next camping trip

Nature Scavenger Hunt pinterest

This activity is two fold – painting and then endless hours of hide and seek. Paint a rock and then hide it around the campsite or a set area of the campground. I like the idea of painting multiple rocks and hiding them. Like a summer egg hunt with rocks… Might sound a little feeble in such a high tech world, but I predict a winner on camping weekend.

Camping hide and seek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this idea for night-time. Being outside around a campfire at night is so exotic to a kid that hasn’t camped before so I want to give him fun things to do at night too. Cue glow stick water bottle toss. We can reuse water bottles to create a fun nighttime game. Glow stick water bottle toss tourney anyone? Also, side note, you could use a ball and turn this game into glow stick water bottle bowling, the possibilities are endless!

Camping glow stick toss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our family we love card games. My husband and I are Phase 10 masters. We’ve played since basically the day we met. Our son as a result is a bit of a card shark himself. He loves: Uno, Dutch Blitz, Skip-bo and ofcourse Phase 10 as well as the classics go fish, old maid, rummy, snap, spot it etc. We all love the game catch phrase and even my six year old is getting good!

Camping games

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will also bring a bag of books as he is starting to enjoy quiet moments with a book, which sounds pretty great to me.

Camping books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will also suggest that he pack a bag of items he would like to bring, which will most likely include a sticker book or two and a collection of small action figures or Trashies. Ever heard of a Trashie battle? Me either, he made it up when he was bored one day, bringing me full circle that sometimes your most brilliant ideas come when you are bored!

I will report back on what was a hit and what flopped and any fun things we created along the way.

 

Next week I think I’ll share a few snack ideas I’m cooking up for the weekends – adult and kids will love them!

 

Happy Organizing!

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Nature Scavenger Hunt pinterest

 

 

So, in preparation for my blog next week, I put together little nature scavenger hunt. I love a good scavenger hunt! I put a lot of thought into this one so I hope you like it. Grab a bag and get hunting. Oh, don’t forget to print off your list HERE

7 Easy Organizing Tips

7 easy organizing tipsFor those of you who follow this blog you might have noticed I’m Pinterest obsessed. I like to go on for everything from organizing tips to recipes, decorating ideas to vacation ideas. You can follow me by clicking here

My favorite blogs are when I get to share some of my findings with you. These are just a collection of quick organizing ideas with items you probably have laying around you house right now. No need to spend a dime and you declutter by giving a lifeless piece of stuff a function, bonus!

1. You know the plastic pant hangers you get time to time – well simply break off the clips for instant function. Chip clips, brilliant!

2. Shoe box charging station – need I say more? All you need is a power strip and possibly some metal grommets to preserve the holes and give it a fancier look, but really a show box and power strip do the job.

3. Metal hangers – I hate metal hangers. Not quite a Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest way, but, metal hangers are not my favorite. However, this is a fabulous idea to repurpose them in a functional way for your closet.

4. Here’s another great storage idea of flip flops using a plate holder.

5. How about this idea for old garment bags? You can repurpose the old garment bag for wrapping paper rolls and hang it all in the closet. Comparable wrapping paper organizers at the store would cost $19.99 and up. Create pockets on the outside for tape, ribbon and gift tags by using a plastic page protector taped on three sides with clear packing tape. You can use this for other large and small crafting items or large, flat school projects you or your child are not ready to part with yet.

6. Muffin liners in a mason jar! I personally have more mason jars than I can currently use – I had a bit of a craze for them around my wedding. So, why not repurpose for storage. They also work great for the pantry – storing nuts, baking goods etc.

7. I love opening a Tic-Tac container. Something about the pop it makes when it opens and closes. Keep the lovely sensation going by storing bobby pins in them. Seriously, I just did this to my bobby pins! You can also decorate the outside anyway you like.

I would love to hear about your upcycling projects. Post about them below in the comment section or share on Pinterest.

Happy organizing!

The Laundry Cycle


Laundry

Do you struggle with laundry in your home? Do you find it piling up faster than you know what to do with it?

I have a couple tips and tricks to make life easier for you.

First, create a schedule. I created a cleaning checklist for a past blog. You can check it out in here . By tackling the domestic chores a little bit everyday, you keep them from building up into overwhelming tasks.

The schedule in my home looks like this: All clothing on Sunday and Wednesday. All towels on Tuesday and Saturday and Sheets on Saturday. I know what you’re thinking, that’s four days of laundry a week. However, doing one or two loads a day is a lot more manageable than six loads one day a week.

Next, create standard loads. I have four loads that I typically run on clothing days – darks, lights, a non-delicate hang dry load and a hand wash load. This makes it very easy for me to separate what goes into the dryer before everything is soaked, stuck together and hard to distinguish. If you don’t have enough items to justify a separate load for hang dry items grab a dry erase marker! What?! Write with the marker directly on the washer what needs to come out before transferring the rest over. This will save your favorite items from shrinking to oblivion.

Dry Ease washer

Last, stock your laundry room with the supplies you need to successfully clean your clothing. Obviously you need detergent and fabric softener, if you use it. But think beyond that. What about a drying rack and hangers to address clothing that need to air dry. Next time you upgrade your toothbrush use the old one to scrub out stains. Spray a little stain remover, scrub with the toothbrush and then let it sit. Keep a small container nearby to collect loose change and other odds and ends. Keep a central location for single socks. At the end of the load see if you can match any up. After a month you can clean out the singles and start again.

Clothes Pins

Don’t forget laundry is a fun way to get kids involved in housework. They love to help and this is a very valuable life skill for them to have. Share the love and go start a load of laundry!

Happy Organizing!

 

**photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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!

Preparing for Vacation Reentry

flip flops

We all know the feeling – you’ve just had an amazing vacation in a warm tropical locale in the dead of winter and now you are home – cold, in a messy house with no food on your first day home and depression is quickly setting in. There is noting I can do about the cold, I’m sorry. But I can help you reenter the normal non-vacation world a little easier by preparing before you leave.

I am leaving for a trip next week and this is my checklist to ensure vacation reentry is as smooth as possible:

1. Let’s be honest, coming home to anything dead is a bummer. Arrange for your pets and plants to be taken care of.

2. If someone is coming to take care of your plants or pets see if they would mind putting your mail, newspapers and any packages in the house so you don’t become a robbery magnet. Extra key required.

3. Put lights on timers. A few lights that turn on and off at different points during the day and night can also deter burglars.

4. Tidy your home before you go – or if you have a cleaning person have them come while you are gone. You are leaving a hotel where you’ve been pampered for the past week, the last thing you want is to come home to a crumpled bed with a dirty toilet. Just saying, it makes a big difference.

5. Take out all garbage and green bins. Unless maggots and really really bad smells are your thing, add this to the top of your list now.

6. On this same note clean out the fridge. Remove anything that will look like a science experiment when you come home.

7. Turn down your thermostat. Saving money on vacation – nice!

8. Unplug everything you can. This is also help save money and any weird acts out of your control like power surges. Replacing everything upon your return and dealing with insurance – not relaxing!

9. Think about dinner for the day you return. Stash a frozen pizza or something simple to make when you return. Don’t over think this, ordering in is also acceptable!

10. Do all laundry before you leave so pre-vacation laundry isn’t mingling with vacation laundry. This is just extra work for no reason.

11. Leave a copy of all travel documents with the person picking you up at the airport. This way if anything changes they can check flight status, updates etc. without having to get you involved, you’ll have enough on your plate.

Have a fabulous vacation! A little bit of planning and preparation will ensure a smooth reentry once the sunshine, sand and water have all disappeared.

Happy Organizing!

** photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Streamline Your Morning Routine

Image

Think about your typical weekday morning – how did that make you feel? Are you relaxed, excited about the possibility of a new day, a blank slate to fill up with new ideas and successes? Or is it a total meltdown of rushing around, yelling at the kid’s to get things done, getting distracted by email or texts, laying in bed too long, hitting the snooze button too many times? If you’re feeling more of the latter read on…

The first step to figuring out WHY your morning digresses into a state of chaos is to figure out what you are doing in the morning. Get out a pad of paper and a pencil or your smart phone. Write down everything you do in your morning routine for the next two weeks. Everything-  if you hit the snooze 4 times, write it down, took 15 minutes to pick out an outfit write it down.

After two weeks look at your list. Sort the items into two categories: 1. essential items (brushing teeth, breakfast, travel time etc.) 2. Non-essential items (picking out clothes, packing lunches etc.)

With this list you can analyze your routine and take out the parts that are holding you back and causing you to be late. I talk about specific examples and ideas for families to get organized in this blog about Back to School Routines. But what you really want to think about is preparing as much as possible the night before.

I still lay my clothes out like I did in school. I have my day planned the night before and I go to bed on time, meaning built in time to read and relax before turning out the lights.

If you have a problem preparing for the night before set a timer for yourself. Give yourself time to plan for the next day. Pick out your outfit, make your lunch, pack your purse or brief case, make sure your keys are where they need to be etc. When the timer goes off you know it’s time to prepare.

One little trick I read recently that was interesting is, if sleep is an issue for you, eat foods that promote sleep at night. Food like turkey, almonds, bananas, honey or potatoes. Click Here for a few more ideas.  Another thought is to switch your largest meal to the middle of the day with a lighter option at night. Food for thought 🙂

Don’t forget to breath in the morning. It sets the tone for the rest of the day so make it happy and positive.

Happy organizing!

**photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Get it Done with Actionable To Do’s

To Do folder

I thought this might be an appropriate follow-up to Monday’s blog about Setting Goals for the Soul.  Goal setting is fabulous, but once that goal is set we have to break it down into actionable steps to accomplish that goal, little by little over a set amount of time.

Your first step in this is to create concrete goals. Concrete goals include milestones and measurables so you stay on track and know when the goal has been accomplished. I found that creating goals attached to emotions help me form concrete and meaningful goals. However, you might find mind mapping helpful or simply dumping ideas onto paper and creating goals from there. Whatever your method, make sure the goals are concrete with a system of measuring included.

Once the milestones are set you can write them into your calendar. Once the large milestones are set into your calendar and you’ve picked dates for their completion you can create actionable to do’s around the milestone.

Let’s discuss what constitutes an actionable to do for a moment. You want to take all thinking out of your to do list. Write it as if you were going to hand it some one else to complete. If you need to contact some one write out: “phone so and so and include their number”. Same with email, write: “email so and so and include their email address” Don’t put things on your to do list that you are not ready to complete. Only the next logical steps to any project/milestone should be included on your list. Be bold though, don’t leave things off simply for the sake of avoidance, but be careful not to put so many “hard” task on that you avoid it and feel guilty.

A quick note here. Projects are not to do’s. Projects are a collection of to do’s and should be broken down accordingly. A to do should include one item only. So for example, “clean the basement” should never be on your to do list. What does that even mean? Here is a better way to approach that project with simple tasks: 1. Go into basement 2. create three distinct piles for donation, keep, give to kid’s 3. Clear five basement storage shelves sorting items into the tree categories 4. repeat step 3 as necessary 5. Take boxes to donation 6. pack up kid’s boxes 7. deliver boxes to kid’s house… Get it? There are a lot of steps in “clean the basement” and if you don’t properly think through those steps you are setting yourself up for failure. The success is in the planning, seriously!

Another thing to consider is a concept I read about called “micro movements” these are tasks that take 5 minutes or less to complete and they create micro movement in accomplishing your goals. Think phone calls, emails, ordering a gift for your mom’s birthday, setting up your credit card on auto pay so you stop paying late fees etc. There are endless micro movements we could take advantage of in our daily life that would bring a huge sense of accomplishment – in five minutes or less. Think of three you could do today!

Ok, so now it’s time to put your list together. Gather your goals with clear milestones and lay out your next week of to do’s. Try to keep your list under 20 items with a goal of 3-5 to do’s a day. When you scratch off those 3-5 add another 3-5 and now you have a running to do list with current and meaningful actionable items to complete to help you accomplish your goals.

Remember this is a living, ever changing list, you can’t just write it and forget it. Set aside 20 minutes every Friday or Monday to review your to do’s. Further break down any items or take some time to purge items no longer relevant or maybe put onto the list too early and have been hanging out for a long time.

This is a process and it might take time to adapt. Be kind to yourself as you begin to see your to do list in a new more effective way.

Happy Organizing!

 

**photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net