When we create new filing systems for our clients, we always recommend using 1/3 cut reinforced file folders inserted into a hanging file system. The reinforced file folders stand up to wear and tear so much longer than standard file folders, especially if you have an over-stuffed file cabinet where the files pop up and rub against the top when you open it :-/ The flimsy top of standard manilla files get tattered and torn quickly. The simple reinforcement allows the file folder to last much longer. If you’re going to go through the effort of updating your filing system, it’s worth spending a few extra dollars and purchasingreinforced file folders especially for files that you plan to keep for a long period of time.
Here are a couple of quick tips for your jewelry when traveling. I like to use pill containers to keep my earrings organized and safe during travel. It’s nice to have the separate compartments and choose a different pair for each day and or outfit. The above photo is using the small pill containers, but if you like big chunky earrings, you can get the bigger containers.
For necklaces, especially ones with small fragile chains that get easily tangled, put one end through a drinking straw and you won’t have to bother untangling them at your destination. Even the littlest of tips will help to keep you organized along the way.
I’ve always been a fan of on-the-door storage. Think about it, doors offer a large area of vertical space, perfect to store and organize small objects. This new Concealable Door Storage Cabinet is a new and exciting product that revolutionizes on-the-door storage. In the past, the only on-door storage available was made with wire. Although it was great at making items more accessible, it was not very attractive and had to be installed putting holes into the door. This new system is a nice looking, fully adjustable cabinet that safely hangs on the hinges of the door–no holes required! You can purchase the full length door at Grandin Road. There’s also a half door option (which would be great for an extra bathroom medicine cabinet) available at Hammacher Schlemmer.
It’s been a long winter and with the recent cold weather, we’re still wearing winter clothes–ugh. Problem is, we’re tired of the winter wear at this point, but if you shop in the stores, all you see is spring. Why not shop in your own closet? Doing a mid season closet clean out is a great alternative to an expensive shopping spree. It’s great to discover clothes and outfits in your own closet when you organize and look at things in a new way. Here are some closet clean-out tips:
Thoroughly evaluate. Don’t just gaze over the sections of hanging clothes. Actually go item by item making a decision about each and every piece you touch. This kind of thorough evaluation will help give you a new perspective.
Keep an Outgoing Bin. Make sure there’s a place in your closet for clothes you can eliminate/donate. This is especially helpful in kids closets where they are constantly outgrowing
Re-Hang. The right hangers can make all the difference. Here’s a quick video about some of our favorite hanger choices.
Look Up. Use every inch of vertical space in your closet. Keep a step stool handy to make access to those higher items easy.
Put Away. It’s late enough in the season to put away things you would only wear during the holidays and in the fall. Start thinking spring and pull out some transitional items.
Everything old is new again. You’ll be amazed what a fresh outlook the newly organized space will give! You’ll even be able to put together some new outfits once you re-arrange.
Do important tax related receipts clutter your desk? Are you loosing out on deductions because you don’t have an easy, organized system for keeping track of receipts? SafelyFiled.com is a terrific website that can solve that problem and many more.
The cloud is becoming the go-to place for storage of documents, but cloud storage can be another cluttered mess without good systems in place. That’s where Safely Filed excels. The site offers an easy, organized platform to store important documents. You can access it from anywhere, allow others access to some or all documents, and you’re even able to see when they have been active in the account. Because the site was built with security as the primary function, it’s a great place to store important documents like living wills, birth certificates, tax returns etc…
Getting your documents uploaded to Safely Filed is also easy. You can scan documents and upload them from your computer, or you can use their iPhone app and quickly snap photos into the account. That cluttered box of papers in the basement can be uploaded and organized in no time!
Finding important documents quickly when you need them can be a challenge. With Safely Filed, they will not only be organized and safe, they’ll also be accessible at your fingertips on the nearest computer or smartphone. You can search for the document quickly within the site. Keeping track of receipts for tax purposes is a breeze.
If you’re interested in some help organizing your receipts and important documents onto Safely Filed, the Chaos To Order organizers can show you the way.
Six years ago Thomas Schultz and Lawrence Joseph purchased a modest home on Long Island for $300,000.00. The garage was a mess, filled with hundreds of paintings, drawings and journals. Fortunately, they decided to do some organizing and see what was in there rather than taking the previous owners up on their offer to pay for a dumpster. What they uncovered was an amazing art collection mixed in with the trash. Over 70,000 paintings and drawings by Arthur Pinajian, the late Armenian-American abstract-expressionist. According to The Wall Street Journal, the collection has been appraised at $30 million! Maybe we need to help you need to clean out your garage, who knows what treasure may be hiding amongst the clutter!
Did you know that 32 percent of people who have two car garages only have room to park one car inside? 25 percent of people don’t park any cars in the garage at all because it’s so filled with clutter! With the major snow storm today, it would be a real convenience to be able to park your car in the garage. So what has been standing in the way–grandmother’s old furniture that you really don’t want to put in your living room? Boxes that haven’t been unpacked since your last move 5 years ago? If you carve out some time to go through that stuff, eliminate what you know you don’t use and efficiently store and contain what you have, you may magically find the space to bring you car back into the garage where it belongs. Here are some tips to prepare for a snow storm. If you need a helping hand, you can always schedule an appointment. Organization is all about planning for future convenience. The next time there’s a big snow storm, your car will not have to suffer the consequences outside!
Keeping up with all the papers children bring home from school can be a full time job. Having a good system to manage homework, artwork and school correspondence is crucial to keeping your child (and yourself) organized during the busy school year. I keep a file for each of my children with a label for the grade that they are in. Important papers that come home from school go into this folder. At the end of the year, my child and I go through the folder together to determine what papers should be kept and what can go. It’s a fun project to do together in the summer reflecting on the past school year. I keep a box that the folder goes into every year. This way, the keepsakes are organized chronologically.
Artwork is the trickiest of all papers to organize because it doesn’t usually fit into a file folder or box. Sometimes artwork can be forced to fit by trimming the picture and saving only the best section as you see in the photo above. Another way is to take a photo of the artwork and keep it in the current year’s file. The artwork can also be stored digitally. One company that makes a beautiful artwork keepsake book is The Little Author or even a digital photo book from Shutterfly can be used. Keeping artwork on display (within reason) helps your child to know their work is appreciated, but keeping too much can cause clutter and chaos. Reevaluate from time to time which artwork to keep displayed, and remember, if you keep too much you can’t find what’s really important!
If you use a flat iron, it’s great to have around for a quick wrinkle fix. Pulling out an iron/ironing board can be a hassle, but a flat iron might be a much easier substitution for a quick fix. You’ll have to know the level of heat your fabric can tolerate. If your flat iron has a dial for multiple settings, it will be easier to gage how much heat is needed. With a flat iron there is heat on both sides so it does a nice job quickly. It’s not the solution if you have 5 shirts to iron, but for a quick fix, it does the trick!
A snowstorm can wreak havoc on your entry, especially if you have kids that love to play in the snow. When they come in, snowy wet gloves, hats, coats and pants leak all over making a mess. In my house, the mess is ok because when the kids throw their snowy wet clothes on the floor, there’s heat below the tile that dries it all up quickly. When we first built our home, I didn’t understand why we put heated floors in the mudroom. I know it’s nice to have in the bathrooms and basement with bare feet on cold tile, but in the mudroom–why? I told my husband we didn’t really need a heated floor in our mudroom. He’s an electrician and likes that stuff, so I went along with it. Now it’s one of my favorite features in the house. On snowy days the kids fling their wet clothes onto the floor and before long they are not only dry, but toasty warm too. Friends that come to visit love it too. They leave their cold, wet shoes on the warm floor and when they leave, they are pleasantly surprised to put on warm dry shoes.
If you’re building or remodeling, consider putting a heated floor near your entryway and enjoy the benefits on cold and snowy days.
Do you have a designated spot to charge your electronics at night? Many of us use our phones as an alarm clock, so chances are it’s on or close to your bed. I created a night time charging station in my nightstand because my kids turn in their phones and iPods before they go to sleep. I recently purchased new bedroom furniture and was happy to see that the night stands have an electrical cord attached to the back. I plugged a power strip into the back and brought it through into the drawer, you can also to this with an extension cord from a nearby outlet. This way we were able to put all the phones in one place without messy cords lying around. I also purchased a piece of foam board and some soft velvet fabric. I cut the foam board to the size of the drawer and stapled the fabric to it. This not only makes the drawer look nice, it’s not so noisy when you’re plugging in against the wood drawer.
Organization is about having a place for everything. Our phones and electronics are with us all day long, but when we sleep, they should have a tidy place to retire to as well. How do you store your electronics?
We all have formed some type of bill payment routines (I hope), but “Pay Your Bills Week” is a excuse to take a look at how you pay your bills. Do you use the most efficient system possible? If not, can changes be made to lighten the load? With technology ever-changing, it’s worth investing the time to consider your options.
You can always write a check and mail it, however, that has turned into the most expensive, time-consuming and risky way to pay a bill. Most of us have moved into the realm of online bill payment. At Chaos To Order, we are big believers in setting up online banking for all of the bills you pay. Many of our organizers do this for their clients. Another option is automatic bill payment. This is a good way to pay a bill that’s small and you want it automatically deducted as a type of forced accountability. I use automatic bill payment to contribute to my kid’s college funds. If the money wasn’t deducted automatically, I would be much more likely to forego the payment from time to time. I do not use automatic bill payment for most other bills. It’s important to see the bill, know the amount, and make sure the account has funds available. Some bills tend to creep up when we take our eyes off of them. For the majority of bills, I believe it is better to log onto your bank’s site and pay bills twice per month. If a certain bill comes at an awkward time of the month, you can call the vendor and see if they are willing to change the time of the billing cycle. Often companies are willing to be a little flexible.
Having a good system in place, like any other organizing project, will save valuable time and help to make the process more efficient. Spend a little time this week thinking about the way you pay your bills and make adjustments as necessary.
The great thing about Command Hooks is that you can hang them anywhere with the option to remove later. Our organizers love to use these hooks because they can help make so many things more accessible and more organized at the same time. Rather than just writing about all the great uses for Command Hooks, here are photos of some very creative uses. Hopefully they will inspire you to hang a few and organize something of your own.
This first image uses Command Hooks for jewelry. It’s a great way to maximize otherwise unused space in a closet and even if you don’t have any vertical space to use, you can even adhere hooks to the wall behind your clothes! Great for jewelry, belts, even accessories that go with the items hanging nearby. Think about how you might be able to use every crevice of that closet. [click to continue…]
If you’re tight on space at home, or don’t want your computer, printer and papers all over the kitchen or dining room table, here is a great solution. This Hideaway Storage Desk from Officemax looks like a nice end table when it’s closed, when you open the door, voila–you have a workspace! There’s knee room under the desktop so it’s comfortable to work at, space for a printer and two adjustable shelves inside. Make sure to have a place to hold your files, incoming mail, etc…either inside on the bottom shelf or next to the desk. We wouldn’t want papers to pile up on top!