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Summer is a great opportunity to organize the Garage – Professional Organizers Canada

garage

 

You can be outdoors but remain shaded at the same time!

The garage and storage areas are typically dumping grounds for the whole family. While it might seem like this no man’s land usually gets to a point of no return, there is hope for returning it to its original state of glory.

Here are some tips on how to transform your garage into an organized and – most importantly – functional space. Perhaps a space in which you could even fit your car? Imagine that…

Join Forces. Blast the music and ask your partner, kids or consider a work exchange with a neighbour or friend.

Collect Supplies. Gather trash bags, gloves, tape, containers, cleaners, paper towels, rags, labeller, vacuum, broom and dustpan. Lay them out and have them at the ready before you start, so that you don’t lose momentum.

Collate Items. Tackle one section at a time and organize like with like.

Purge. Decide and divide items into further categories: what needs to be kept, donated, sold, trashed, returned, repaired or recycled. If you need a dumpster, get one or share one with a neighbour.

Create Zones
. Form general areas: sports, garden, tools, seasonal, travel, home, electronics, etc. Create a flow in your garage, keeping the most commonly used items easily accessible.

Make a Path
. Always ensure there is a safe and clear path to get what you need. This rule applies to any organizing project. Consider marking out ‘clear’ zones with painter’s tape on the floor.

Get Vertical
. Your walls are a great way to store your items so that they’re easy to see and take up less space. Use pegboards, good quality shelving and aim to keep things off the floor to make sweeping a breeze.

Look up. Use the ceiling to store ladders, skis or bikes.

Label Like Crazy. The secret to staying organized is to label—especially if you expect others to put things back.

Make It Easy. For those who seem to ignore labels, clear containers are your friend. They help folks find what they need quickly and put it away easily. Spend a little extra on quality, stackable containers. Add adequate lighting or sensor lighting.

Move It out. Complete the job and get rid of everything that needs to be removed.

Make a Profit. If you’ve got a lot of useable items left over, set up a yard sale so you can make some cash fromyour old goods! Consider Craigslist, Kijiji, eBay or Etsy to reap a little reward for your efforts from saleable items. Set a deadline for selling, after which you’ll donate any unsold items.

Avoid Hijacking
. Set up an area for donations, so you can practice the one in, one out rule to prevent a garage hijack from occurring again. Post and communicate house rules to keep it organized.

Deconstructing Holiday Decorations

It’s A Holiday Wrap Up

It’s that time again. The holiday festivities are over and we have to put away all of our seasonal stuff. The excitement of our new gifts often is in vast contrast to the daunting challenge of putting away our seasonal décor. You know you have to do it sooner or later, but sometimes in the end you’re just frantically rushing just to get it done.

To take away holiday stress for next year we want to find the right marriage of saving time, keeping our precious ornaments safe, creating easy access and not taking up extra space. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Audit. What did you like this year and what didn’t you like? Takes photos so you can easily replicate vignettes you create like a fireplace mantle or your Christmas tablescaping. Get rid of anything that was damaged and give away items that don’t fit your tastes. No sense packing and unpacking things you haven’t used in years!

2. First things first.
Decide the order of how you will store your decor. Think about the timing of what you use. Know what comes out first and make sure you pack it in last. Some décor also works from Thanksgiving right through to the New Year. Make sure that’s the type of items that are in a place to be easily brought out first.

3. Timing.
  Often our holiday decor is in deep storage like cubbies and crawl spaces. It’s better to put up our outside lights when it’s a little warmer and maybe less snow.  And maybe you can get those cards out to the post office early next year if they are the first thing you see. Advent calendars, Elf on a Shelf and other activities and treats for the kids should be stored within easy reach as well so you’re able to quickly pull them out when the holidays arrive.

4. Know how.
Think about how you pack it up. Consider making a list. Maybe packing room by room/area/vignette will work best for you? For example:IMG_0193
– Foyer: garland, greenery
– Den: blankets, pillows
– Dining room: linens, candles
– Bathrooms: special towels, soaps
– Fireplace: stockings, ornaments
No matter how you pack your decorations, label boxes clearly so you can easily find items on the fly. No one wants to spend more time in the basement/crawl space/attic than they have to!

5. Know what it is. Label containers, create lists, use see through storage bins, photos.

6.  Needs assessment. As you pack, make a list of what you will need for next year. Or, if you are a bargain hunter like me, you may want to run out and buy a few items while the sales are at their peak!

7. Separate. Keep your holiday gift wrap with your holiday items and separate from your other wrapping paper and cards.  I always keep a pair of scissors and tape with holiday wrap so I’m good to go in an instant.

IMG_01928. Pack carefully. Take extra time with fragile keepsakes. You don’t want large bins crushing delicate things. Use soft things to keep ornaments safe – a Christmas table cloth, napkins, pillows, Santa hats, and stockings are all good choices. Using these items to buffer ornaments will also save space. This is extremely important in our age of downsizing and condo living when every inch can count in a storage locker or closet.

9. Safety first. Not only do your ornaments need to be safe, you need to be safe too. Don’t pack bins too heavy – especially if you’re maneuvering them from tight places, like the attic. Don’t rush. Enlisting a friend or family member as a spotter to steady you and to hand things over to is never a bad idea. If you used a ladder to put it up, make sure you are just as careful bringing things down.

10. Let it go. Be careful of the kiddies’ homemade ornaments. They may look sweet with all that food and glitter, but food can attract critters of all sorts. Not to mention, most holidays are sparkling enough without transferring all that gold dust getting through all of your décor into yet another year.

This year, just like the jolly man in red, take the time to make your list and pack it twice. The extra care and attention when putting decorations away will remove so much stress when you prepare your home for the holidays next year.

Too Many Photos? Guest Post from Professional Organizers of Canada

 

POC pictures

Too Many Photos?

Most people have their photography in either one of 2 formats; the paper kind randomly stored in shoeboxes and plastic bins and/or the digital ones that we take with reckless abandon. As a result, too many photos are scattered across hard drives, duplicated, mismatched, poorly named and utterly disorganized. It may be time to put some of those memories in order.

Some purposeful planning and a few hours of getting your current photos into the right files will be a rewarding activity on a rainy day.

Digital Photo Organization:

  • Frequency Download at least once a month from your camera and/or phone to your computer into a photo management program or into the cloud. (in case of loss or theft)
  • Delete Discard the duplicates and poor-quality shots. Be scrupulous and diligent. Not every photo is precious. Good photos amongst bad ones won’t stand out.
  • Quick Fixes – Try your photo program’s one-click editing tool, such as Picasa’s “I Feel Lucky” button or iPhoto’s “Enhance” feature.
  • Make Folders – According to chronological order or a theme or a combination of the two. Create themed subfolders such as vacation, parties, friends; key words that work for you.
  • Back it up – Immediately save shots to an external drive, an online or storage service.
  • Storage – If you go with an online service, look for one that focuses on storage. Those that offer printing often charge for downloading a photo and reduce its resolution.
  • Albums One of the best backup methods is a photo album or book that can be ordered on line.
  • Get Organized – Delete the photos on the camera or phone once they are organized and secure. You’ll avoid downloading duplicates the next time.

Printed Photo Organization 

  • Supplies – Invest in a large set of matching photo albums and photo boxes. This will make it easy to organize your photos over the years.
  • Write it down – Record an identifying description, such as the date or who’s in the photo, on the back of each photo. Use an acid-free, photo-safe pencil or pen.
  • Toss Them – Don’t keep bad exposures, blurry shots, or bloopers. Throw away any photos you’d rather not remember.
  • Identify – Label each envelope with dates and any other identifying description. Transfer prints less to less bulky acid-free envelopes.
  • Create categories – Use broad categories that are easy to remember;  i.e. Family events, Travel holidays, Birthday/Parties. Use keywords to jog your memory and a ratings system to highlight your best shots.
  • Boxes – Use photo boxes to create a filing system, and don’t forget to LABEL them with an identifying word or date.
  • Temperature Control – Avoid storing photos in basements or attics, where temperatures and humidity fluctuate.
  • Damage Control – Avoid paper clips, rubber bands and glue unless specifically designed as safe for photos. Use acid-free plastic pages, bags and boxes to avoid long-term damage.

Think Inside the Box

Moving is a stressful job, but when you’ve been living in the same home for many years it can seem almost overwhelming. With so much to pack, even getting started can be daunting.

Organize Anything has compiled some simple tips to help you make packing an easier task.

  1. Sort it. When moving to a smaller place it is impossible to take all your things.  The first step is to make decisions on what you will need and want in your new home and let the other things go to charity, to relatives, or in the garbage.  It is a lot of work, so you may need a hand sorting through everything.  Once you have decided what you will be taking with you, you are ready to pack.
  2. Pack it. Keep the boxes light.  Don’t try to cram everything in as few boxes as possible.  This will make everything harder to move.  Even if you are getting movers, you may need to move boxes around when you are unpacking.  Try to keep the boxes less than 50 pounds.  Stuff socks, towels, pillowcases, etc into free holes in boxes. You will require less packing paper and fewer boxes! Don’t over-pack boxes. This risks damaging your items.  Mark which end goes up to avoid any damaged goods.  If you plan on putting items in garbage bags, make sure they are heavy duty so they don’t rip.  Avoid confusion with actual garbage by using clear bags.  Use your luggage to carry other household items.  Keep as much as possible in the proper place (i.e.: clothes in dresser drawers, silverware in tray) so you have less to unpack.
  3. Track it. Write down what’s in every box.  Label the box by number and in a notebook write down everything that you put in the box.  Be specific.  Say coffee mugs instead of kitchen stuff.  Label all boxes; small or large.  If you have to take down and reassemble furniture, put all the nuts and bolts into a bag and tape the bag to the piece of furniture.
  4. Color-code it. Color-coordinate your boxes.  Use colored stickers, tape or sheets of construction paper and be sure to write down in a notebook what each color means.  You can have a different color for each room, or have one color for your new home and another for things that are going into storage or elsewhere.  You can color code boxes containing breakable items with a bright color so movers know to take extra care with these.
  5. Move it. Moving day can be long and tiresome.  Make sure you stick to your routine as best you can, including proper sleep, meals, and medications.  Plan ahead to make sure you are able to eat and take your medications at the proper times. Keep important items and records with you, this includes your list with what’s in each box.  If you can’t afford to lose it, keep them separate from your moving boxes.
  6. Unpack it. Look at all the boxes!  To make this task manageable take it one box at a time.  Look at your list of boxes and pick the ones you’d like to open starting with the ones that contain the most important things to get you into a daily routine- frequently used kitchen and bathroom items are a good place to start.  This is a great time to have a friend or family member come visit.  They can help you set up things to your liking and keep you company as you unpack things.  Don’t worry, you can have them over again once you are all settled in.  As you are finding a new place for your belongings you may realize some things you need to buy.  Start making a list and take a break from unpacking to go to the store.  Take it a few boxes at a time and make sure you take time to eat, take medication and sleep at your regular times.

A move is a lot of work, especially for one person, so be sure to get help with each step along the way.  Friends, family members, cleaners, movers, and professional organizers can help make your move effortless and stress-free!

What’s your best or worst experience moving? What did you learn from it? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you’re going to be moving this spring and you’re overwhelmed with where to start, let us help! Organize Anything provides step-by-step support with your move of any size. Check out our website for more information.

If you found the information in this article useful and you’d like to share it, please feel free; just remember to credit Organize Anything.

For more great tips and information on our services visit us at www.organizeanything.com and be sure to follow us on Twitter @organizenow. You can also find Organize Anything on Facebook at facebook.com/organizeanything.

Develop Perfect Pitch – Organize Anything’s Tips for Purging Unwanted Items

It happens to the best of us, you open your closet and it’s bursting at the seams or you run out of storage space in your garage. Spring is here and now is the perfect time to purge the extra items you’ve acquired over years that no longer add meaning to your life. .

Organize Anything has seven fantastic ideas and tips to help you develop your perfect pitching skills.

1. Donate the duplicates. Have several sets of flatware or the same shirt in six colours? Pick the set you like the best and donate the rest to a charity or give to someone who’s starting out on their own for the first time. Multiples of the same article of clothing? Donate the ones you never wear.

2. Check the hangers. When you switch your closet over at the beginning of a new season, put all your clothes hangers facing the same way. After you wear something once, turn the hanger so it’s facing the other direction. When the season is over, purge any clothes on hangers that haven’t been turned because you haven’t worn them once.

3. Keep a donation bag handy. If you always have a donation bag on the go, it will be top of mind. Instead of throwing out clothing or household items that are in good repair, donate them instead. Remember, don’t donate anything you wouldn’t want to receive yourself.

4. End of season, end of use. Free up storage space in your shed or garage by purging the tools and toys you don’t use at the end of the season. Be it shovels, rakes, crazy carpets or beach toys, they take up valuable space in your home. Donate or put them curb side to reclaim your space.

5. Make it a party. Have friends with similar clutter problems? Band together and tackle your garage/basement/attic purges together. You help them with theirs, they help you with yours. Many hands make quick work, and turning a chore into a social activity is a great way to bond with friends and get work done quickly.

6. Be realistic. Purging your possessions can be an emotionally difficult process, especially if you have an connection to an item. It’s important to think critically about what you own and if you really need to hold on to it. Do you still have it because it’s something you use frequently or is it taking up space because of an emotional connection?

7. Sort it out. Set up four boxes labelled “Put Away,” “Give Away,” “Store,” and “Throw Away.” Take them room-to-room and go through everything in the room, sorting as you go. Items that end up in “Put Away” and “Store” can be put back in their proper places or remain in the clearly labelled box and be put in storage. The “Give Away” box goes to charity and the “Throw Away” box goes to the curb on the next trash collection day.

Purging your possessions to create more space in your home and more clarity in your life doesn’t have to happen in a weekend. Tackle one room at a time, working efficiently and critically. You’ll be surprised at how much stuff you’re holding onto that you don’t need.

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