Category Archives: Home

Blog posts having to do with the upkeep and organization of the home and those who live in it.

Where’s your launch pad?

Do you have a launch pad? You may not be Cape Canaveral but your home and office should not be without one.

Office

How many items are lying around your office that belong elsewhere and often take weeks and months to get back where they belong? There is a coffee cup that needs to go to the staff kitchen. A stack of photos from your vacation you brought in to show your colleagues. A gift you were given that you plan to take home. All these items create clutter in your office.

Find a shelf in your office or an area near the door that you can use for your launch pad. Move all those items that need to be returned to others or those items you want to remember to take home. It will lessen the clutter in your office and keep you from forgetting things you planned to bring home or return. Remember to take a peak at the launch pad when leaving the office to see what can be taken with you.

Home

In your home you can create several launch pads. Perhaps you already have your own launch pad and don’t realize it. Often the bottom steps of your staircase are already serving this purpose. Place items that need to go upstairs in the corner of the step so you take them up every time you go. Make sure it is not a hazard for those coming down the stairs.

You can also create a launch pad for yourself and your family near the main entrance. Place a small table or shelving unit near the entrance to collect items that need to be returned like library books or videos or errands that need to be run. Don’t forget to include things that are going to be picked up.

Your launch pad will help trigger your memory to things that need to go out of your home and office. It will cut down the clutter and help you to save some steps and manage tasks more efficiently. Unlike NASA’s, your launch pad won’t take you to space, but it will help you make better use of your space.

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Organize Your Kitchen (Video)

Professional Organizer Colette Robicheau shares the best tips to organize your kitchen for better health and savings.

She shares tips to declutter an out-of-control kitchen. Whether it’s breaking down your kitchen into manageable zones, keeping your food wastage to a minimum or ways to keep the germs away.

If you have any questions, or would like to book Colette to come and organize YOUR kitchen, you can visit us online at www.organizeanything.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/organizeanything, on Twitter at twitter.com/organizenow or at our blog: www.organizeanything.wordpress.com

STAGING – When Selling Your Home, Prepare like You Are Having Guests

Most of us do at least a few things to make our home more presentable when guests come to visit. Showing your home for sale is very similar. Think of preparing your home as if you were having not one but hopefully several special guests that will be seeing every aspect of your home. The following are some tips to help you properly prepare for your house buying guests.bathroom%20empty

Clean.  Nothing smells better than clean, unadulterated clean.  Open a window to let fresh air in before potential house buyers arrive.  Be careful with scented candles and fresheners that may cause allergic reactions in a larger and larger percentage of our population and therefore some of your guests. No one will want to buy a home that they are allergic to.

Create easy access at entrances and make sure there is lots of room for coats and footwear. Make it is easy for a group of people to enter your home at once and that there is lots of space for them to store their outerwear while they visit. Feeling crammed and uncomfortable to start is not a good first impression.

Tidy and reduce clutter. Put away personal belongings. Remember that these special guests will be looking at every inch of your house.  There is no just hiding things in a closet or room and closing the door here! Make your house look great and moving day easier by donating, selling, or trashing unused and useless items in your home.

Let guests know where things are. Potential buyers need to know.  Imagine these were overnight guests.  Show them where light switches, thermostats, and amenities are and how to operate household features. It needs to be obvious what a room is used for and where they can find or put things.

Have the laundry done and put out fresh linens.  Make sure the linen closet contents are stacked neatly and there are fresh linens on beds and in bathrooms.  Crumpled up towels and dirty socks on the floor will make guests feel unwelcome.

stagingMake an impact on guests with a fresh bouquet, plant or greenery.  This would be sure to please the eyes of any dinner guest, and your house buying guests will be equally impressed.

Limit your pets’ presence. You love your pets, but not everyone feels the same way.  Put your pet out in the yard, in their kennel or with friends while visitors are seeing your home. Make sure they don’t leave behind any “presents”.  No guest is pleased with souvenir dog or cat fur on their clothes.

Treat your potential buyers like special guests and they will want to stay in your home longer, not just as a guest, but as the new owner.

Professional Organizers Canada Guest Post – Tips to Tame Tax Time Terror

Tax Prep is Nothing to Fear!

One of the chief reasons we delay filing our taxes relates to being disorganized. We don’t know where the papers are located; and we don’t know what we need.  We dread the search and process, and putting it off is a common reaction.

Collecting and organizing documents for taxes is really not that difficult, it just requires a designated system be in place every year. Otherwise the volume of this paper clutter gets out of control, we become overwhelmed.

Sorting Systems

Separate your documents into three major categories:

  • Income, Expenses and Taxes
  • Only keep the documents of the current year and the previous year close to where you work. Reduce clutter by putting archival and aging documentation elsewhere in your home, labeled appropriately.
  • Have a clear understanding of what needs to be saved and for how long. If in doubt, ask your accountant, lawyer or other advisor for a retention policy to follow.
  • Schedule a block of quiet time to undertake this work – arrange for child care if necessary and keep your concentration instead of doing it piecemeal over a period of time.
  • Teenagers can help you with the work. It’s a great experience as they enter the working world.  Have them match receipts to statements or enter gas bills into a spreadsheet. They’ll be managing their own finances in a few years.

Small Business Owner?

  • You must keep receipts for 7 years (scan or photograph them with your smart phone). Jot notes on them if you’re going to deduct them as business expenses.
  • Use debit and credit cards – no cash – to better track your expenses and then combine statements with receipts.
  • Keep zippered plastic bags and a pen in your car, briefcase or handbag. Each month, label a fresh bag with the date, then collect and transfer any appropriate receipts. It will be easier to sort through 30 or 40 receipts at a time than 500 at the end of the year.

Getting Help

  • Use software programs like QuickBooks or Quicken (non-business); that way you can look up payments by name, date, amount, or number; balance your cheque book without doing any math; never forget to enter a purchase in your manual bookkeeping system, and have automatic tax reports generated at the end of the year.
  • There is plenty of help out there, and it’s definitely worth the investment. A reliable bookkeeper or accountant can help you find ways to save money.

Professional Organizers of Canada Guest Post – Downsizing. Now What?

Are you ready to downsize? Know someone who is? A well organized move can make the difference between chaos or a peaceful transition.

There are ways to plan for a stress-free move. Follow our Downsizing Checklist to start on the right path:

1. Start the discussion early: For some, the decision to move may not be a welcome idea. Plant the seed early to start discussing the benefits of downsizing.

2. Determine what isn’t moving:Next is the time to do some space planning and decide what you don’t want to move. Decisions can be made to sort into the following categories: 

  • Pass to family/friends
  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Recycle
  • Waste

3. Contact a Realtor: Ask for referrals, find someone you enjoy working with!

4. Declutter and stage: Time to get the house ready for sale. Consider decluttering and staging if your home needs an update.

5. Book moving company:Make plans for truck rental, moving assistance, or hire a moving company.

6. Packing:Purchase packing supplies, enlist the help of family and friends, or hire a Professional Organizer to get the job done quickly.

7. Update address:Be sure to notify utility companies, services and personal contacts.

8. Moving day:Assign one person to be in charge of all questions of what is going where.

9. Unpacking: Make the transition as smooth as possible by unpacking right away.

If you are stuck or require assistance anywhere along the way, call a Professional Organizer – we are here to help!

Happy Organizing!

They Can Do That? A Guest Post from the National Association of Professional Organizers

NAPO members discuss what consumers should ask when hiring a professional organizer in the Smead podcast series, “Keeping You Organized.” Click the image to watch.

When people think of the services professional organizers provide, de-cluttering closets, setting up filing systems, creating time management strategies, or designing custom garage storage systems typically come to mind. But professional organizers specialize in many different areas, and can help overcome a variety of organizing challenges faced at home or at work. Here is a list of some lesser-known services they offer:

  1. Specialty Moving & Relocation: Need help packing the kids up for summer camp or moving your college student into his or her dorm?  There’s an organizer for that! Hiring a pro lets parents stress less and spend more quality time with their kids before they go away, and helps college students get off to an organized start when living away from home for the first time.
  2. Organizing and Cataloging Collections: From photographs to memorabilia to wine, if you need to manage the items in your collection for insurance purposes, display, or simply for easy access, a professional organizer who specializes in collections can help you keep track of the items you have so carefully curated.
  3. Blending Households: A professional organizer can help preserve household harmony when new spouses, stepfamilies, roommates, or parents find themselves sharing living space, and need to find places for everyone’s stuff.
  4. EcoConscious Organizing: Everyone is more aware of humans’ effect on our environment, and for those consumers who actively try to reduce their overall impact, there are organizing professionals who specialize in sustainable ways to reduce clutter, organize and recycle unwanted items.
  5. Technology Organizing: Need someone to help set up your new smartphone?  Need help keeping track of documents and files on your home and work mobile devices? Need help figuring which apps to use to help you stay organized?  Tech-savvy professional organizers can help you get the most out of your electronic devices.
  6. Personal Assistant/Concierge Services: If staying organized means you need a helping hand running errands, scheduling appointments, or fulfilling other commitments, professional organizers who also provide assistant or concierge services will keep you in control of all the aspects of your busy life.
  7. Medical/Legal Office Organizing: Establishing effective filing systems, chain-of-custody protocols, and document retention policies is vital to successful case management and protecting sensitive and confidential information. A professional organizer experienced in medical or legal organizing can help improve office efficiency and maintain client privacy.
  8. Estate Sales: When a person passes away leaving behind a home full of possessions, sorting through a lifetime of memories may be too much for grieving loved ones to handle.  Professional organizers who offer estate sale services coordinate the sale or donation of unwanted items, taking the burden off family or friends at a difficult time.
  9. Working with People with ADHD or ADD: For people who struggle with attention-deficit disorders, routines and systems can dramatically help them maintain focus so they can be more productive at home, school, and work. Organizing experts who specialize in working with those living with ADHD or ADD understand their everyday challenges, and help them develop habits to minimize frustration and become more successful in all aspects of their lives.
  10. Emergency Preparedness: Disasters can strike home or work at any time, and a good emergency plan can keep you, your family, or your colleagues safe, and get you back on your feet sooner. Professional organizers can help you create a plan to keep your vital documents safe, create an emergency kit, put together disaster evacuation and communications plans, and develop recovery  procedures, so your life is disrupted as little as possible in the face of disaster.

These are just some of the specialized services that professional organizers can provide, so if you feel overwhelmed by an organizing dilemma, you don’t have to tackle it alone.

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO’s Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Messy Bedroom? No Problem!

We spend roughly one-third of our day in our bedrooms, most of it sleeping.  Little wonder it can be difficult to keep a bedroom tidy and clutter-free.  Following these easy-to-remember steps will help you keep things in order—maybe even get a good night’s sleep.

Make your bed first thing in the morning. It makes the room look tidier and will motivate you to keep it that way. cluttered-room

Keep a laundry basket handy for dirty laundry to avoid creating piles of clothes on the floor.

Add hooks to your closets for belts, scarves, and accessories to keep them organized and prevent them from being misplaced.  You should also consider attaching a tie or shoe rack inside your closet doors.

Arrange your dresser so you have one drawer for underwear and one for socks or stockings. Consider sorting through your dresser drawers every two months to discard items that have holes or mismatched socks.

Place your purses on a shelf, or hang them on a coat rack.  This will free up space and allow you to easily access and change purses for any event or season.

Sort your clothing seasonally.  Place all clothing items that are not in season in plastic containers, and place them in a storage closet or in the bottom of your clothes closet.

At the beginning of each season, hang all of your clothing hangers backwards.  After you wear and wash an item, return it to your closet and set the hanger straight.  At the end of the season, anything that is still hung backwards should be donated since you didn’t wear it for six months.

bedroomFeb09Can’t accommodate a large jewelry box?  There are attractive, multi-compartment containers available that allow you to arrange your necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets.

Get your shoes off the floor and onto a shoe rack, on shelves, or even in a shoe bag.

Don’t have a separate linen closet?  Fold and place linen on top of a closet or dresser, if easily accessible.

Be More Selfish This Year

Make one of your goals for the New Year to be more selfish. Seriously. Say “no” more often and take time for yourself. Why you ask? Because it’s good for business.

People who take time out of their busy work lives to spend some quality with themselves are more likely to enjoy their work and be more productive. Here are some simple ways to treat yourself right – even when you’re at your busiest.

1) Schedule an hour in your day planner every day that is just for you. Fill it with a hobby,  a class, a nap – whatever you like, as long as it’s just for you. If you look at it like it’s an appointment that you have to keep you are more likely to honour that time.

2) Take an electronic break – see what happens when you turn off your phone, blackberry, iPod, TV, computer and radio. A study of 3000 students by the Kaiser Family Foundation ending in May 2009 revealed that on average they were spending seven and a half hours per day working with electronic devices!

3) If it’s in your budget, schedule yourself a massage once a month. If a massage is a little too pricey, enjoy an
at-home spa day once a month. Taking a break under the warm hands of a masseuse or in tub full of bubbles can help with mental vacation from your stress.

4) Go to your to-do list and see what you can eliminate – maybe you don’t really have to do it anyway. If you have been procrastinating doing something for a long time, ask if it is really important. If it, is make a plan. If it isn’t, get rid of it. No sense in it haunting you from the list. Better yet – see who else could do it.

5) Shut your door – Research suggests the average manager spends three hours a day dealing with interruptions.

6) Take a real lunch break.  Give yourself time to eat in a relaxing atmosphere and read, listen to music, or do nothing.

7) Say no. We are inundated with requests every day to give up our time – and our sanity! Learn to politely refuse when asked to volunteer or donate your time to a cause that you aren’t fully behind. Save your time and energy for causes you truly believe in. Direct your energies in fewer areas where you can be more and fully engaged.

8) Under promise – over deliver.

9) Break out of “The Zone.” It can be really hard to walk away from a project at the end of the day if you’re feeling in the groove, but you need to respect the boundary between work and home. You’ll find your groove again tomorrow, right now you need to walk away and go do something else.

10) Hit the gym, go for a run, practice yoga, take a walk around the block. Beyond the obvious health benefits, the endorphins that are released when you exercise give you a much needed emotional boost to fight through stress and fatigue.

11) Embrace the power of sleep. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for your emotional well being. Set your DVR to record, so you don’t miss your favourite show, and head to bed an hour earlier – your brain will thank you in the morning!

Make yourself a priority this year. If you take care of yourself physically and emotionally, everything else in your life will fall into place. Now is the time to make yourself a priority – and you will find that your business ventures  will be more successful as a result.

7 Things NOT To Do When Making a New Year’s Resolution

One in four people will not make it a week with their New Year’s resolution. Here are seven things not to do when creating a New Year’s resolution that will help you go the distance:

1. Don’t keep it to yourself. “I don’t want my friends to know I am trying to quit my bad habit.” Let others know! This gives you leverage and allows others to encourage you along your journey.

2. Don’t leave it in your head. “I don’t need to write it down, I know what I want to do.” Research has shown that those who write down their goals and track them have an increased chance of success.

3. Don’t be vague. “I’m going to lose weight”.  How much? At what rate? By when? Make your goals SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely and time bound.

4. Don’t be inflexible. “I’m not going to ever do that again” Not all goals happen with the flip of a switch. Sometimes you need to wean yourself off of a bad habit. Sometimes you will backslide or slip up. It’s part of life. Get used to it and get used to being more successful for the long haul by recognizing that people try and try again at their goals before they reach them. Some reports suggest an average of 14 times. Persistence not perfectionism pays.

5. Don’t be unrealistic or harsh. “I’m not going to eat any sweets.”  “I will exercise 2 hours everyday.” It is not always realistic to deny yourself. Life is meant to be celebrated. Think moderation and think about small incremental steps that will advance you toward your goal. It is better to be doing a smaller action for the long term than a larger goal that doesn’t have a chance of lasting a week.

6. Don’t take on too much at once. “I’m going to quit smoking, join a gym, meditate 10 minutes every day, lose 20 lbs, and spend more time with my kids.” This is just setting yourself up for disappointment. Focus on a couple of things and the activities that will take you towards your goals.

7. Don’t take the first step TODAY. “I’ll start next week…”  There always seems to be a better time than right now. You may think you need to wait until after a special date or occasion, or once the holidays are over or start on a Monday…the list goes on. The truth is now is always a good time. Start by visualizing where you want to be and eliminating negative self-talk that will keep you from reaching your goals.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

– Anonymous

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Start the New Year Right

It’s a new year, and a time when people like to start fresh and sample some new approaches to areas in your life you would like to improve. You have seen the development of the organizing and redesign shows take over our television stations. It’s been called the latest trend, the new dieting, but finding improved ways to organize your life is here to stay. Why? There’s just so much return on investment.

One thing we often forget when making changes and it’s especially true this time of year is the importance of starting slow and making small goals:

1. Your desk is a workplace- remove other non- work related items and place them clean deskelsewhere. Hang photos on the wall and place awards, personal objects and knickknacks on a shelf or credenza.

2. Keep the things you use the most close by and within reach, and items that you require only occasionally further away. This includes files, supplies and personal items.

3. Get rid of the extras- how many of one item do you really need-157 pens, 4 coffee mugs- give away, throw away or return to the stationary/supply area.

Speaking of extras, we usually have between 5-10 extra pounds that we have put on over the holidays. Looking for healthy time saving ways to get back on track? Here’s a few tips:

1. Plan your meals and grocery list ahead of time. You can save time and money. Eating healthier during your day will keep your energy up and your waistline down.

produce isle2. Stick to the outside aisles at the grocery stores. This is where we find our core foods, like fruits and vegetables. It’s a great time to eat more fruits and vegetables. Think of these as a healthy snacking alternative. Try a fruit you’ve never had before.

3. Cut back on your portion sizes- especially when eating out. Order half portions or ask for a to-go container for the remainder of your meal. This also gives you another meal you don’t have to prepare.

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