Here’ are some tips about products to use to help organize your paperwork. This video was taken by Closet Works at the Container Store.
If you have children–you have artwork, and one piece at a time it can snowball and become overwhelming. Kids come home from school every day with papers, drawings, paintings, etc… You need to be selective about what is kept and what is tossed. If you keep too much, you will be lost in a sea of paper and artwork where nothing will seem appealing any more.
You must also have a good system in place for keeping kid’s artwork. Dynamic Frames is a good solution for displaying children’s art. It has a well designed frame that can hold up to 50 sheets. You simply open the front part of the frame and add your artwork. With DynamicFrames.com you can organize and display the masterpieces your children bring home.
Yesterday I spoke to a smart man who purchased what his wife would REALLY appreciate for Valentines Day. It’s one thing to buy her another lovely piece of clothing, but is last year’s gift lost in a corner of the closet? Maybe the perfect gift would be to really know what’s in that closet and get a full appreciation for all of the lovely things that already exist there. Getting the space fully functional with items that are currently worn and loved and removing anything that’s no longer considered lovely or fashionable–wouldn’t THAT be a fabulous gift? The gentleman I spoke with didn’t want to just add another item to an already overflowing closet, he wanted his wife to end her frustration with the chaos in the closet and feel the calm of a nice, organized space. The process of clearing through the closet with a professional organizer is really quite simple: the organizer quickly shows the client each item and they make a decision about whether it stays or goes. Once we know everything that’s left in the closet stays, we categorize and organize the rest, sorting fastidiously, changing hangers, folding meticulously, adding hooks and contriving creative ways to maximize the space. Would your Valentine love to have the space in their closet perfectly placed? You can purchase a Gift Certificate or just schedule the appointment today.
Do your kids (or even grownups) throw their coats and/or backpacks on the floor or a chair when in a rush as opposed to taking the time to put them on a hanger? Here’s a solution—get some S hooks. Make sure they are the right size to fit on the closet rod and hang them up. They also need to be good, sturdy S hooks so they don’t slip and fall off the rod. It’s easier to put a coat on a hook than it is a hanger and definitely quicker. As you see in the photo, backpacks work great on S hooks too. Remember, of course you can fit more in your closet when jackets and coats are properly stored on hangers, so don’t use this as a storage solution, but it’s a simple and easy quick fix for organization on the run.
- Set goals and write them down. You are 10 times more likely to make a change by physically writing down your goals.
- Structure your day. When you spend time scattered about, you end up feeling unaccomplished. Manage your time with a plan.
- Take baby steps. We can only change about 10% at a time, so start small and take it slow. Don’t set your expectations too high.
- Edit where you can. Delegate and determine what you can eliminate from your tasks, putting your priorities in place.
- Create a routine. Set up a schedule with regular times to work on specific projects.
- Finish what you start. Clutter is often related to unfinished tasks. Make it a point to finish projects and put away related items each and every time.
- Establish good habits. Read our blog post: Organization: It All Boils Down to Creating Good Habits.
- Schedule an appointment. Start off 2012 organized with a personal visit from our professional organizers. Call us at (847) 825-8400.
- Carve out the time: We are always busy trying to get things done, but how much of your time is dedicated to clearing out and organizing systems? Plan to take time this week to clear out a closet or venture into a forgotten storage area and organize.
- Weed out regularly: Keep a container in your closet, or any heavily used area with an “outgoing” box for items you plan to donate or sell. Arrange for a regular charitable donation pickup to keep the flow outgoing.
- Enlist the whole family: Delegate tasks to all family members. It may not get done exactly as you’d like, but getting something done is better than getting nothing done. It’s also a good way to teach little ones.
- Chart out a plan: Set goals and hang a chart in a visible area. List all the steps it will take to get you to that goal. Work in chunks of time to avoid getting overwhelmed.
- Plan a summer yard sale: Have you been saying you’re going to have a yard sale for the past three years? Set a date and use that as your deadline to tackle projects that will support your sale.
- Create good systems: In order to be organized, every item you own needs a home. When you have time to tidy up, you want to make good use of that time. You can’t get much done if you don’t have proper systems in place.
- Form Good Habits: Start right now, putting away each thing you take out rather than just setting it down. It’s amazing how living and organizing in the moment will help that overwhelming feeling of needing to “some day” get organized.
In order to have an organized space, you need to have a place to put all of the items you have. I have an 8 year old daughter who loves art, reading and playing with a multitude of “little” things. We moved into our house when she was two and the space was perfect for her then, but as she has grown, so has the accumulation of stuff!
Since I’m always talking to other people about how to put their own stuff in order, it was time for me to practice what I preach with my daughter. Her room seemed to be a sufficient in size, but the problem now was where to put things. Remember, if you want easy access and organization, everything needs a place to belong. Clean up time is a whole lot easier when you know exactly where to put things. So we decided to remove a dresser on one wall and replace it with a desk, but not just a desk because, after all, how much stuff is going to fit into three drawers of a little desk? I consulted with my friend and awesome designer at Closet Works—Sue Tinker. We decided to create a desk surrounded by bookshelves, not just for her books, but also for her many knick knacks and collectables. In addition to the desk, bookshelves and drawers, we also added space for a bulletin board to hang the most recent drawings and creations. The result was the desk in this photo, she and I both love it. My daughter now has the perfect place to sit and color, read, create etc… and I have the perfect storage solution to finally organize all of her “little” things!
Spring is here and it’s time to let the sun shine in after a long winter. Open blinds, windows and doors to freshen up your home with spring air–it will energize you to start spring cleaning. Here are five quick tips to movtivate you:
- Clean one room at a time. Doing odds and ends in every room will leave you frustrated and feeling unaccomplished. Start in one room and finish it–even if you have the urge to move around.
- Clean out your refrigerator. Have a “Mustgo Night” where everything in the fridge must go. Wipe down the shelves, and don’t forget to vacuum the vents to keep your refrigerator running efficiently.
- Weed out your closets making decisions about each and every item. This should be done every spring and fall. Read more about our closet clean-out here.
- Lighten the load and divvy out chores to the entire family. Make the project fun by setting goals and giving rewards.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. When you’re motivated, don’t pull everything out of the closet or cabinets and then lose your steam. Instead, work one section or shelf at a time weeding out, containerizing, and wiping down.
- Find that pile that’s been bugging you, dig in to the hardest area when you’re motivated.
- Set the timer and work without distraction for the entire time you’ve allowed.
- Have a plan for what you donate. Having someone or some cause to donate your unwanted items to will make you more likely to pass them along.
- Don’t waste time moving things from one pile to the next. Put each item you plan to save in it’s proper place as you go.
- Earn some cash. Sell your stuff on eBay Classifieds. It’s an easy, local and safe way to turn your clutter into cash.
- Feel great at the end when you see how much progress you’ve made!
Last night I went to see the movie “Up In The Air” where George Clooney plays traveling ax man Ryan Bingham. He is also a motivational speaker encouraging people to live stuff-free, relationship-free lives. It made me think about proposing the question he raises in his speech to you–what’s in your backpack? Of course we learn through the film how empty his life really is without any attachments to anything or anyone, but what if we listen to his speech and think about our clutter. If we could visualize our backpacks with all the stuff that has accumulated and how heavy that backpack would be, maybe it would have an impact on how much we keep and enable us to eliminate some of the chaos!
There has always been a curse associated with re-gifting. At Chaos To Order, we see clients who have shelves of lovely unused gifts causing clutter in their closets. Now is the time to really think about the use of these items. Is there someone on your list who would enjoy that candle you’re allergic to? Take a good look at the unused gifts you have lying around causing clutter in your house. Next, look at your list and see if you can match anything up. Use the holiday season to gift away what you can, but don’t cross the line and gift something that you don’t consider worthwhile for the recipient. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you do decide to regift an item:
- Don’t regift used or worn items.
- Do make sure it’s something that you believe the receiver would enjoy and appreciate.
- Be honest. Consider letting the receiver know that it was a gift given to you and you are not going to use it.
Why not give the idea of proper re-gifting another chance. It can certainly help to clear the clutter!
My family recently had the privilege of having two boys from Lydia Home’s Safe Families program stay with us. We became a part of the Safe Families network to help out children who’s parents are not able to care for their kids for a period of time, it’s a positive alternative to the state child welfare system. Sometimes parents find themselves in a temporary crisis and a Safe Family can step in so the parents don’t have to worry about losing custody of the child. Two weeks ago, the CBS Evening News did a story on Safe Families, to view it, click here. As I learned more about the Safe Families program, I came across Lydia Home’s Goods4Good program and have been very excited telling our Chaos To Order clients about it. After we finish clearing out your closet (which we are doing a lot of this time of the year) we take the clothes and donate them to Goods4Good. You get a tax deductible receipt, and they, in turn, sell the clothing online and the proceeds go to Lydia Home to help support programs like Safe Families. Everyone wins, you clear out your closet, someone finds a bargain online, and you impact the life of a child!
With the economy in a downward spiral, and at the urging of our new President, it’s time for all of us to take responsibility and work towards being more efficient. At Chaos to Order we have spelled out 5 steps that can lead us to a more efficient and organized life.
1. Spend Wisely – Chaos to Order has developed a Home Efficiency Program (for more information call (847) 825-8400). It’s guaranteed to help you cut costs on household expenses. There are so many ways to economize and now is the time to do it. Trim down on everything from storage locker space to cable bills, Chaos to Order has a step by step guide to help you get the best deal.
3. Create a Time Management System – Two items that are necessary in every household: calendar & filing system. Whatever type of calendar you use, make sure it’s big enough for all tasks and appointments. A working filing system is the other absolute necessity. Have a place for everything, even if it’s only temporary, and stop wasting time sifting through papers and mail.
4. Don’t Overschedule – to avoid overscheduling, I suggest you actually schedule downtime. Our lives are moving at such a busy pace that unless we work to create time to balance out, we will continue to feel hurried and tired. Taking time out will actually make you more productive because you will be relaxed and focused.
5. Create Good Habits – I talk to clients who say that when our organizer arrives, they will finally start to get organized. I tell them not to wait, start right now creating good habits of putting away as you go. Chaos to Order is happy to help you get things organized, but to keep it organized is a constant process!