Life Happens…That’s Why You Need to be Organized

Life has been a little hectic lately which explains my social media absence and confirms my belief in organization. This week our very sweet dog Edie (I’m sure you’ve seen her picture on Instagram and Facebook. She’s quite the model!) has been very sick. The kind of sick that makes you ask the hard questions you never want to think about when it comes to your pets. As I write this, she’s better but not free and clear.

So what, if anything does this have to do with being organized? Everything actually.

This has been a week of doing all the things that downgrade your home to disaster mode:

  • No laundry done
  • Dishes not put in dishwasher
  • No grocery shopping
  • Clothes not folded or put away
  • Mail piled up on the counter
  • Glasses left on table tops
  • Suitcases not emptied
  • Beds not made

All of this adds up to a recipe for chaos and clutter and it can’t go on. I draw the line because I have a low tolerance for cFortunately, we have a system for dealing with all of the above and it will be easier to get on track because of it.

  • Mail has a basket that it needs to live in (i.e. not on the counter)
  • Dishes are normally put away after the running the dishwasher
  • Laundry is typically folded and put away

All of these are examples of systems that we have in place here. Systems are what keep us sane and not living in that disaster mode. T-shirts have a specific home in a drawer in the closet. We process mail by immediately throwing away (recycling) the junk and the bills go on the desk. We “pick up” the house before bedtime so that no dishes or glasses are left out. And yes, I normally empty my suitcase right when I get home.

If you don’t have systems in place nothing in the above paragraph happens. Clutter accumulates faster than your teen can text a message with juicy “t” and it’s too easy to claim “crisis mode” for not dealing with it quickly.

Eventually the crisis will be over and you’ll be stuck with a depressing, cluttered home that’s too overwhelming to tackle.

These are life situations that we all deal with: sick family, school starting, home repairs, major renovations, car accidents, etc. that force an interruption in our schedule. Tend to those issues and then get back to your regularly organized life.

Set up systems so that it’s easier to rebound. You know where everything goes and it just takes a little time to get back to normal.

If you don’t have a system you don’t even know where to start. And that makes life that much harder. Life is hard enough; being organized give you control over the chaos.

Happy organizing!

50 Things You Can do in 5 Minutes to Get Organized

So many organization tasks are large and scary and too intimidating to think about but they don’t have to be. If you take 5 minutes, and I mean literally 5 minutes, to get started you can get organized and not even feel out of breath. A 5 minute task here and there is capable of moving organization mountains!

I love the idea of only spending 5 minutes on an organization task. It’s like 8 minute abs. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’ve got a 6 pack abdominal section with minimal effort?

Here is a link to my list of 50 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes to Get Organized. I’d love to hear what you think about this list and if you have other suggestions.

Thanks for reading and Happy Organizing!

5 Things You Can Declutter Today

I’ve been helping people declutter and create organization systems for more than 6 years professionally. In that time, I’ve noticed see some patterns in clients’ homes. First, everyone is embarrassed and thinks they are the only one who has ever struggled with organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. We all struggle with some kind of disorganization. Second, just about everyone has too much of the following items in their home. The problem is that if left unchecked they will continue to accumulate and they multiply when you’re not watching 😉 Here are the 5 things that I know you need to toss today to declutter your home:

Cardboard Boxes

Whether you order regularly from online stores or not, there is never a dearth of cardboard boxes in our homes. Whether they are leftover from buying a new printer, phone, or pair of shoes, they seem like they could be used for something really important in the future but they never do. They get tossed in a cabinet or a closet and never heard from again. Go through your house and recycle all of the excess cardboard you have. You’ll be amazed at how much you have when you put your mind to finding it all. *I only keep cardboard boxes from purchases until I know I am going to keep the item. If there is a question that I might return it, I hang on to it. Once the decision is made the item is either shipped back or the box is recycled.

Condiment Packets

Like cardboard boxes, these multiply when you turn your back. Has anyone ever gone back and used the extra duck sauce/ ketchup/ mayonnaise/ salad dressing that came with a take away order? It is much healthier to keep your own bottles of dressing or condiments in your home than to use mass produced/ chemically enhanced products.

Hangers & Plastic Garment Bags

Not to go all Joan Crawford on you but, “no more wire hangers!” The hangers and plastic bags that are used at the dry cleaners are intended for you to get your clothes home safely, protected from the elements. Your clothes need to breathe so throw away the plastic bags once you put them in your closet. If you want to recycle the bags, you can tie a knot in the bottom and use it as a trashcan liner. The only time I suggest you hang on to a couple is when you travel to prevent wrinkling.

Wire hangers leave creases on the shoulders of shirts and sweaters so use velvet or wooden hangers whenever possible. Recycle your wire hangers by returning them to the dry cleaners. Keep a paper shopping bag in your closet to put them in until you return to the cleaners.

Plastic Cups

These also fall in the category of “things that reproduce behind my back” and they are always spilling out of cabinets. They come from parties, networking events, fast food restaurants, sporting events and always seem so important to hang on to. But they don’t last forever—they lose their tops, they melt in the dishwasher, and they get used as a dirty paint brush holder for an art project. Once they’ve past their prime, toss or store them where they are being used: garage, craft room, play room, or under the sink. You’re not going to immortalize a special event by keeping a plastic cup forever.

Shopping Bags

It could be plastic or cloth or paper, but I guarantee you have more than enough! These fall in the category of “I know they are useful for something so I should hang on to them.” True, plastic grocery bags are useful for lots of purposes (doggie poopy bags, trash can liners, wet swimsuit holder, etc.) but limit the number you have to a specific container or number. These can be recycled at the grocery store if you’re not using them faster than they are being replaced.

Cloth grocery bags accumulate as promotional or business swag or party memorabilia. Keep a few,  just don’t keep all of them. Pick your favorites or the ones in the best condition and use the rest for taking donations to be dropped off.

Paper bags from boutiques feel like a badge of honor, especially if it was a treat purchase. Just like the cloth bags, keep your favorites or ones that you really like. You just don’t have to keep ALL of them. The small ones make brown bagging your lunch much chic-er. If they are plain and in good condition, you can use them as gift bags. Set a limit of space and don’t let them exceed their allowance.

These items will continue to accumulate, like a lot of other things in your home, because they are a part of how we function. Today is the perfect day to tackle one of these areas and clear out what is no longer serving you. Clearing the excess makes room for new plus you get to enjoy what you currently have.

Edit, enjoy, repeat!

Amazing Containers!

organized cabinet desk office

The power of a container can not be underestimated. I realize this sounds like a lot of praise to give to a box or bin but you have no idea how amazing a container can be. Not everything you own needs to be put in a container but keep reading to learn why they are important if you want to keep your home organized.

organized home

Containers are multitasking heroes in our home! 

A container defines a home:: What that means is when you have a box for your picture hanging supplies or cup to hold pens, you know where those items go. No longer are they to be stored on top of a dining table or scattered in a cabinet but they go in that specific box or cup. Bonus points for labeling boxes that store loose parts.

Sets a limit::  When you have a drawer or bin for containing workout tops, you can see how many you have and hopefully avoid over shopping for them. Seeing is believing and knowledge is power. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “I had no idea I had so many X.” When you contain it, you set the limit for how many you need.

Communicates inventory:: This is similar to the limit but this is applicable for items that you are using up regularly, say baking ingredients or toilet paper. When you can see how much flour is in the container, you know how much you have. Ditto for a basket of toilet paper. A quick peruse of the pantry or cabinet prior to grocery shopping lets you know instantly whether you need to add those items to the list. This is so much less stressful that having to check multiple places or wonder while you’re shopping if you need to get these items. By the way, this is the #1 reason why people overbuy certain items: they don’t really know what they have and don’t want to risk running out.

Visual reminder of its home:: Try telling someone where to find something when you don’t know where it is yourself. The empty cup or labeled box do that for you. This is also super helpful in bathroom or office drawers where you have a lot of little things to keep track of. Seeing the empty space where the tape or floss were helps remind what goes there.

Makes it pretty:: Last and certainly not least is the visual aspect of organization, my personal favorite. What better way to make toilet paper look pretty than to put it in a pretty basket! Or you can place cotton swabs in an antique cream pitcher to add elegance in your bathroom. Clear bins with lids bring beauty to items stored away in closets. Express a little bit of your personality with brightly colored bins or monochromatic office supplies.

organized kitchen cabinets

We could all use a little more beauty in our lives so take this opportunity to find some in your home or office with the containers you choose!

If you’re looking for some ideas on creative, useful containers, please check out my boards on Pinterest. I’ve got whole boards devoted to baskets, kitchensclosets and even more so click on through to see what I recommend and use for containing things stylishly in your home!