Thursday, April 29, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
As a professional organizer, clients often ask me – “So what’s your home really like?” They want to know if it’s a case of…
a. I can do this for others but neglect my own space
b. My house looks like a Martha Stewart photo shoot or a Container Store catalog
c. Or some happy medium of a reasonably organized, real home
I hope you’re happy to know the answers is closest to C, which is not to say that I wouldn’t like B. The reality is busy schedules, multiple household members, and the challenges of modern life mean that to-do lists, unfinished projects, and room for improvement are always present. I don’t come home, kick off my organizing shoes and sit on my perfectly fluffed couch with my Real Simple magazine and a glass of wine (though that sounds pretty good and sometime happens). I do, however, have systems in place that usually keep our house in good shape. Over that past couple years, (we’ve been in our condo for 3), there have been a number of home improvement/organizing projects and lots of trips to the local Goodwill donation drop-off. We are pretty much down to having only what we need and love in our space, which is good considering the limited storage space we have.
Over the next couple months (or until you get bored or I run out of material), I will pick reasonably organized spots in my home to highlight in the hopes of not only giving you a ‘reality TV’ glimpse into a professional organizer’s home, but more importantly some ideas you can implement in your space. Who knows, I may even get brave and show you some of the ‘works in progress’ which might inspire me to get them done so I can show you the results! So stay tuned and feel free to make requests, ask questions, and share ideas and scenes from your own space.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Ok, so that might be a bit dramatic, but my husband asked me that question the day I got my new ‘friend’ (just 2 days ago, but who’s counting) and I was a bit surprised to realize that I already had an answer. This is not meant to be a product endorsement, though after just 2 days, I can say that I would wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who has been thinking about switching should ‘just do it.’
To get to the point, my iPhone has already helped me better implement 2 organizing strategies…not bad for one little device in just 2 days. First, it has helped me downsize the amount of stuff that I need to take with me. Just like that, my paper calendar became obsolete. I know this is a personal choice, but it’s what I needed – a mobile, easy to use, easy to update calendar. I also used it today to store my grocery list – eliminating paper lists that are admittedly sometimes left on the kitchen counter (where they clearly do no good). It is so easy to access information in my email and online that there will be less of a need to jot down or take with me little bits of info like addresses, ideas, etc. I still carry a notebook that I use to jot down things when I’m with a client, but overall, I’m less weighed down heading out the door. Now if I can just figure out how to juggle the scan-as-you-go grocery scanner (another great and fun time-saving invention) and my iPhone, I’ll be in great shape!
Even more importantly, my iPhone is also helping implement the idea that every little bit counts. As an organizer, I am out and about, not sitting at my desk for any stretch of time. Keeping up with email and to-do lists has been challenging with this on-the-go lifestyle. I would find myself spending way too much time on my computer in the evening because that’s the only time I felt I could tackle the accumulated email and follow up items. Even though I was already using a smart phone and getting email on the go, I never really felt inspired (or able) to do much with it other than preview it to deal with later. I am now happily using little blocks of free time on the go (not while driving of course) to whip through my email – deleting, responding, checking out links, you name it. You can get lots done in 10 minutes with such a user-friendly device.
This strategy can carry over to lots of things…the clean laundry spilling out of the basket, the stuffed full ‘to file’ folder, the piles of mail you’re afraid to look at. You may not have 2 hours to deal with an unfinished task, but you can make a dent if you commit to just 10 minutes on a regular basis. Just take the first item you see and deal with it – fold it, file it, shred it – whatever the case may be. Using these short bursts will also help you decide to decide – don’t put it aside any longer – if it takes the whole 10 minutes to deal with that one piece of paper, that’s fine, at least you’ve taken care of it (or begun the process). Little bits of progress still feel great and may just inspire you to keep going!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
As a professional organizer, I often work with families who are over-run with toys...they just seem to keep coming in (while rarely leaving) and quickly fill up every basket, bin, closet, and floor space in the house (and basement, and garage). Let's face it, kids come with a lot of stuff and if you're like most parents, it's not like you had plenty of extra space before the kid(s) arrived. Thus, parents are often faced not only with figuring out how to grow a happy, healthy child, but also the organizational challenges presented by all the cute, fun, and necessary accessories. This week's posts will be dedicated to providing tips to help parents - new and experienced - set their families on the road to organization. So check out today's tips and stay tuned for more throughout the week.
- Set Up Zones – Have a zone for each of your child’s activities (such as arts & crafts, toys, reading, etc.) and keep all of the items for that activity in its zone just like a kindergarten classroom.
- Encourage kids to do one activity at a time. If they want to switch, teach them to put away the supplies for the first activity before taking out the items for the new one. This minimizes the amount of stuff out at any given time, keeps kids focused, and prevents overwhelming end of the day clean up, which everyone will dread.
- Make it user-friendly! Use open, kid-friendly containers on low shelving so your child can take out and put things back with minimal or no assistance. This also applies to things like coats, accessories and back packs – use kid-height pegs and an open top basket.
- Label storage containers or drawers with pictures so kids know where things go. Creating the labels could even be an art or photography project that your kids can help with!
As with all things organized, keep in mind that it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to work for you and your family.