The rain has hit my neighborhood hard. The drain under our hot water heater backed up and there’s a squishy mess in my basement–YUK! The one thing I’m thankful for is that I store (and organize) most of the stuff in the basement with plastic boxes. Today’s Friday Favorite has to be storage containers from Sterilite. They are a terrific size for so many storage needs and you can find them in big box stores like Target or Home Depot. Anything from off season clothing to kids toys, keepsakes, and holiday storage are all perfect in these nice clear plastic containers with white tops and of course adding labels to the front of each box is the finishing touch. They are a staple for so many organizing jobs including my own. When the water creeped in, I was happy that it couldn’t get to anything stored in those terrific containers!
chaos to order
If time seems to constantly get away from you, keeping track of it is a good idea. I love this handy little digital timer, but there are many other timers that you probably have on hand. Most cell/smart phones have alarms and timers built into them. There are timers in your kitchen, on your microwave, oven or stove. Here are some ways I like to use timers:
- Deadline timing: If I’m on a tight deadline for something, I’ll set the timer and designate a certain amount of time to each item or part of a project. Sometimes working under pressure helps to push me along and the timer keeps me from allowing distractions.
- Time the kids: The best use of a timer in my household is with the kids. We can agree on an amount of time that they can be gaming, computing or watching TV and set the timer. If I don’t set a timer, I often forget and they can be entranced for hours!
- Beat the clock: You can also use the timer to play beat the clock. If you want to get something done, but you have limited time, keep that timer out with a digital countdown.
- 30 Minute Fix: If you have a big project looming that’s wasting more energy in thought than action, set the timer for 30 minutes and take the first chunk out of it. Getting started can often get you moving in the right direction and it certainly helps to eliminate the overwhelm.
- 10 Minute Tidy: Carve out ten minutes, set the timer and do a ten minute tidy. I’m sure there are many times that you should be giving it a lot more than the ten minutes, but if it’s a busy day, ten minutes is better than no minutes!
It’s great to have a digital timer thats out and available for all to see. There are so many other ways to use a timer to make best use of your time, whether it’s pending projects, organizing a space or managing the kids, always be aware of the time, after all it is our most valuable and limited resource. What are some ways you use timers to get things done?
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.
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.
Here’s a video from our appearance on The Steve Harvey Show with tips and ideas on how to push through and get organized even when you’ve hit some bumps along the way.
Is your wallet overstuffed with plastic cards? The ever growing amount of stores using loyalty cards has added plenty of clutter to our wallets. Since they do save money on purchases, they are good to keep on hand, but the hassle of carrying them around can make it not seem worthwhile. KeyRing is a great solution to lighten the card clutter load. It’s an app that works with iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows Phones. Simply install the app and scan the barcodes of your loyalty cards. You can even sign up for more loyalty cards within the app easily without having to fill out any in-store paperwork. This is a great way to eliminate having to carry around all the cards, not to mention never having or finding the right card when you need it! Check out www.KeyRingApp.com and organize your wallet today!
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- Structure your Day. When time is unstructured, it can leave you feeling scattered and unaccomplished. Start each day with a clear plan. List what you need and prioritize.
- Create Habits Small habits can have huge benefits in maintaining order. Here are some creative ways to get a new habit to stick.
- Do Less. Creating a tight schedule without time to re-group will set you up for failure. Plan ahead for distractions.
- Be Charitable Donate.Your clutter can be useful to someone else. Regularly asses what you have and weed out the excess. (The tax deduction is a bonus).
- Create A Place If you have 15 minutes to straighten up, but don’t know where to put things, that’s 15 minutes wasted. Have a place for everything, invest in furniture and containers to maintain order.
Organization doesn’t just happen, it’s a constant process. Commit to making 2013 your most organized year yet!
The best gift for the person who has everything is not more stuff, it’s less stuff!From the archives, choose some Clutter Free Gifts.
In honor of Cyber Monday, we are offering a one day special. Purchase a 12 hour “Control the Chaos” package and receive one hour of our organizing services for free–that’s a $75.00 value! This deal is good only today, Monday November 26. You can call our office at (847) 825-8400 or click here to purchase your package. Remember, organizing services make great gifts. If you have someone on your list who would rather get organized than add to an unending collection, a Chaos To Order gift certificate would be the perfect gift. Happy online shopping!
America Recycles Day is a national holiday that helps remind us to do our part to reuse and repurpose what we can. Earth911.com is a great website filled with resources to help you dispose of/recycle to reduce your carbon footprint. You can find recycling solutions for everything from electronics to automotive and just about any item you have. Also consider donating what you no longer use to help streamline and organize your space. Check out our list of organizations accepting donations in Chicago. Do you have items at home that have been waiting to be recycled? Today is the day to take a moment and find out where to bring them so they’ll no longer clutter up your space!
It’s funny how we know the holidays are coming, but once Thanksgiving arrives, we are stunned that the Christmas rush is in full swing. Plan now, before Thanksgiving to do what you can to lighten the load and make your December organized and enjoyable. Here are some tips to help you prepare:
Weed out before the deluge. We acquire excessive amounts during the holidays. Take the time to weed out now to make room for all of the “incoming” so clutter doesn’t creep in and take over.
Streamline holiday decorations. Do you pull out droves of holiday decorations that have been sitting in storage for decades? This year do some editing. If you haven’t displayed an item for a few years, maybe it’s time to pass it on. Holiday decorations are always a great tax-deductible donation.
Make a list and check it twice. Making lists can help keep all of your thoughts relating to that item, event or gift list in one place. Use them as much as you can—especially throughout the holidays.
Host a gathering. Make a plan to entertain at your place during the holidays, it’s a great motivator to finish up projects around the house and get things in order. Carve out the time to do it right so you’re not shoving things in closets just before your guests arrive.
Give gifts that don’t cause clutter. How many knick knacks and ties does one really need? Rather than giving a trinket, give an experience. There are so many unique options online, so think outside the box this year and get creative in your clutter-free gift giving. Maybe even a Chaos To Order gift certificate is in order
Admire, don’t acquire. Do you set out shopping for gifts and come home with more for yourself? There’s plenty out there in the stores to catch your eye, so set a budget for your personal spending in addition to those on your gift list.
Laundry is an unavoidable drudgery, so getting it done quickly and efficiently is a must. Here are some tips to process laundry promptly.
- Sort it out.
Rather than putting all of the laundry into one hamper, sort it as you go with these terrific laundry sorters from Sterilite. They’re a great time saver–when one fills up, you can throw a load in right away. Eliminate the hassle of sorting like colors into piles on the floor (which sometime stay there longer than they should). Sort and wash as you go.
- Do it often.
Laundry may be your least favorite task, but the more often you do it, the easier it gets. Make it a small part of your daily routine rather than that monkey-on-your-back that will eventually consume a full day.
- Connect the socks.
Sorting socks can be a big time zapper. Ask family members to tie socks together or put them in a mesh hosiery wash bag so they stay together. Toss any loose socks into a container and have each person reclaim their own. If they don’t like doing it this way, maybe they’ll choose to start using a wash bag or putting them into the laundry connected.
- Make the best of the space you’re in.
If possible, add shelving, counters, cabinets and bright lighting in your laundry area. If doing laundry means going into a dark dungeon, you are going to put it off. Consider moving the machines upstairs or even into a walk-in closet.
- Hang it up.
Putting clothes back onto hangers is time consuming. Save time by waiting to hang up clothes until you’re in the closet. Just fold them over the side of the laundry basket and do the hanging up when you’re in the closet.
- Organize your closet.
It’s hard to put laundry away into an overly stuffed closet. Go through every item of clothing (good to do at least twice per year) and determine what can be eliminated. The more room you have to put things back, the easier it will be to get the laundry done.
- Hand it off.
Enlist the whole family when it comes to laundry. If kids are not of the age to do their own, they may be able to at least put it away. Sort each persons laundry into baskets and hand them off. The more you can delegate, the less you’ll have on your own plate!
Tomorrow is the end of daylight savings time. As you turn back the clocks, it’s also suggested that you replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. In my house, we’ve recently had some issues with our smoke detectors and I’ve learned that they should be replaced every 7-10 years. Not only do the batteries need to be changed, but the entire unit must be replaced. We’ve been in our house 7 years and lately the alarms have been acting funny. They have even gone off in full beeping mode when the batteries are fully charged–ugh. I did some searching and found that battery-powered smoke detectors in general don’t last long, it’s time for us to invest in new ones. I found the Kiddie KN-COSM-B to be a well crafted, good value dual smoke (Ionization and Photoelectric) and carbon monoxide detector. I also like that it is a “Talking Alarm” so it tells you what it’s detecting. Hopefully my kids will wake up to the voice alert as we’ve learned that they don’t even wake up to the loud beeping sound–that’s alarming! So, as you are turning back the clock this weekend, replace the batteries and consider the life span of those smoke detectors as well.