I love sharing guest posts from the Professional Organizers of Canada! Great content from my colleagues across the country. Here’s an article full of timely tips on organizing your garage.
‘Trouble finding the gardening tools?
The snow is gone, the air is mild, the buds are starting to appear – all signs of spring being here! Aren’t you excited? Or maybe you will have a tough time getting into your garage to find your gardening tools and patio furniture?
During the cold Canadian winters, who wants to work in an unheated garage? As a result, the garage becomes a dumping zone which has to be dealt with in the warmer months.
Think twice about what’s being stored there
A garage may not be an ideal location for certain types of storage. They often have solid concrete floors and despite the age of the garage, concrete can absorb and hold moisture and create a damp environment. Moisture eventually finds its way into your possessions and can create mould and rust.
When storing, items should be containerized so there’s no chance of anything falling on to you, your possessions or your car. (if a car is indeed occupying the garage). It is also important to protect your belongings from pests and moisture as these can be severely damaging. Be mindful of important keepsakes or antiques and wrap them securely.
Store them within easy reach and systematically according to seasons for easy and safe retrieval. Get as much as possible off the floor. Utilize the wall hanging panels and hooks. (pictured below)
Be realistic about the time involved to get it organized
Depending on the volume of clutter, you may need more than one day to get organized. Many garages require a minimum of 6 hours and can sometimes exceed 24 hours depending on the size of the garage and the sheer volume of items. Remember, it’s not just tidying up; it’s creating a system of organization so that you will never have to do it again.
Don’t forget to label the bins and locations.
Once everything is up and out of your way, leave your garage in a clean, tidy and labelled manner. Consider labelling the locations of things as well, so that all family members know where to put things back.
Once you’ve invested in a system of organization for your garage, it’ll be easy to maintain for the seasons that follow.
It’s the holiday season. A time for buying gifts, throwing parties and decorating your home. All that work can leave little time for enjoying what should be the most wonderful time of the year. So here are some quick tips to help make your holiday season merry and bright.
- Make a list of all the people you plan to shop for with gift ideas that match their tastes. Consider gift certificates, which are easy to wrap and create less clutter. Be sure to set a gift budget for everyone on your list.
- Check weekly flyers for sales to plan your trip to the mall. The best times to shop are weekday mornings when there are fewer people shopping. Some stores have personal shoppers who can assist you in finding the right gift. And many stores have websites that allow you to save time by shopping from home online.
- Set yourself a deadline to complete your gift buying so you have more time to enjoy the holiday season.
- Planning a successful holiday party is much like planning any party. Start by selecting a date, preferably one that doesn’t conflict with other holiday gatherings. Once done, determine where you want to host your party – at home, the office or at a favourite spot – and make reservations if necessary. Now you’re ready to draw up your guest list!
- Make a plan. Before you drag out boxes of lights and tinsel, visualize how you want your home to look. A good plan covers everything from your theme – such as An Old-fashioned Christmas – and colour scheme to the decorations you want to use and where you’ll place them.
- Toss it. Sift through your holiday decorations and donate or purge any outdated or unwanted items. Be sure to test your lights to make sure they work properly. Replace all burnt-out bulbs and frayed cords. If you need to buy new outdoor lights, consider strings with built-in timers. They’ll save you time and energy costs.
- Make a party of it! Invite family and friends to help you decorate, with the promise of eggnog and other holiday treats. You could even purchase some craft supplies and have your friends over to create some memorable tree decorations. (And a few holiday season memories!)
Follow these simple ideas and enjoy the holidays the ways you were meant to – relaxing with friends and family.
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
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!
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
Space Saving Holiday Gift Ideas
Gift giving, even when done with the very best intentions, is often done out of obligation and can cause problems for the recipient unintentionally. It is something to keep in mind – give something that adds value to the recipient’s life but is also respectful of their time and their space.
Consumable gifts, such as food and beverage items sidestep the dilemma of what to give the person who has everything;
- Cook a meal with a guest’s favorite food
- Take a friend to a restaurant or give them a restaurant gift card
- Give trays of baked goodies and/or fruit
- Gift cards to a quaint coffee or tea shop that they love
- A grocery gift card
- Drop-off a meal to friends who are always on the go
- Have a meal catered for a special event
This kind of gift can be customized to the recipient’s interests;
- Concert tickets, movie tickets, live theatre, comedy clubs.
- Swimming passes
- A round of golf
- A personalized tour
- A sporting event
- Massage or spa gift certificates
The Gift of Time
There are endless ways we can give our time that would be most appreciated even later in the year.
- Help with yard work, painting a room, or a household project that is on their agenda
- Provide childcare so the recipient can enjoy some free time
- Bring coffee and cake for a leisurely visit
- Go for a long walk in a beautiful location
Flowers and Memories
- A long lasting plant like an Orchid or Azalea can brighten up the long winter months
- A gift certificate to a florist could be used later in the year
- Arrange for a seasonal bouquet to be sent 4 times a year
- Make a photo or digital album of the two of you together over the years
Creative Gift Wrapping
Often the presentation of the gift card, certificate or vouchers can be just as memorable as the item itself. There are many ways to “wrap” the gift to make the experience tangible. Create a booklet, a card, or wrap the item in something else to double the pleasure.
Knick-knacks, magazines, electronics, pictures, keepsakes, rugs, and tables. These common household items seem harmless enough, but the more we have in our homes, the more difficult it can be to move! Sometimes we have so much stuff it can block doorways or paths to exit the house—dangerous in the case of a fire! Think about all the dust that collects on the surfaces of figurines, picture frames, and other ornamental pieces. It can make dusting a real chore but more importantly it can make breathing more difficult as well.
As you can see, there are lots of health and safety reasons to motivate you to get organized. But where to start? Here are a few things to do, to make the rooms in your home easy to navigate.
Take a look through the magazine rack and let go of any out of date magazines. If you have a bathmat, make sure it is rubber backed and out of the way for you to get to the toilet. Keep a towel out to wipe up any water to prevent slips. Try to limit the amount of items around your sink so dust doesn’t gather there. Take a minute to get rid of expired medications and other toiletries.
Keep a first aid kit easily accessible and don’t forget a nightlight!
Living room and bedroom
Make sure there is a phone on every level of your home. Make sure the furniture is arranged to give you plenty of room to move about. Eliminate floor mats as they are a tripping hazard and keep items off the floor.
Consider getting rid of extra tables if you do not have adequate space. Tidy up tangled cords and use power bars where multiple items are plugged in. Run cords around the perimeter of the room instead of across the floor. Keep craft supplies tucked away in a basket to be pulled out when needed. Take a minute to let go of any supplies you have not used for a long time. Pick a few favorite pictures to display and put the others in a photo album or photo box. Make sure the table is kept clear for you to set items such as a cup of tea or a notepad on. Lots of paper is hard on the respiratory system and a fire hazard. Recycle old newspapers, magazines, and go through your files to eliminate no longer useful items.
For many of us the days of cooking large meals and entertaining are not as often as they used to be. There was a time when you cooked and used many more utensils, pots and pans and dishes than you do now. It’s time to simplify your life and let go of the items that no longer suit your lifestyle. Take a look in your cupboards and see what you no longer use. Store heavy items in low cupboards and drawers; keep items you use frequently at eye level and within reach. If you need to reach something high, use a sturdy step stool or ask for assistance. Store your oven mitts close to the stove and keep all cleaners in labeled bottles.
Don’t leave items on the stairs. Instead use a table or basket next to the stairs. Make sure your stair rail is sturdy and your stairwell is well lit. Be careful going up and down stairs in long clothing like night gowns, robes, slippers or sandals which may slip off or trip you.
Have a bench for sitting to put on and remove shoes. This is especially helpful in the winter. Some benches have storage under the seat (great for hats and shopping bags). Have a place for wet boots to dry–wet floors are a slipping hazard. Hooks are a good option for easily tiding up coats and scarves. Hang them within reach.
Keep sand or salt for steps close at hand in bin near the door – and don’t forget a scoop.
Be sure to put away garden tools after use. Reposition your mailbox if it is difficult for you to reach or see inside. Turn on the outside light if you know you will be returning after dark and make sure your house number is visible from the road and at night.
Taking time everyday to go through one drawer, one cupboard, or one closet can make your home a safer space. Plus, you’ll be able to help local families in need of household items by donating items you no longer use. Organizing is good for the health and good for the heart! Be organized and be safe.
Organizing a dorm room can be a daunting task, but with experts to help, starting the school year right can be a breeze.
Whether a student is a dorm room pro or tackling dorm life for the first time, making the most of the space they have to live, sleep and study in can be a challenge.
Colette Robicheau, professional organizer at Organize Anything, specializes in downsizing and developing systems to work in any sized space. She has the following tips to share about maximizing your small living space and easing the transition from home.
1. Plan ahead. Get floor plans and lists of do’s and don’ts. Create a list or use a Pinterest board like this one to collect your ideas
2. Double up. Try to avoid appliances and furniture that only have one purpose. Instead of an alarm clock, pick up a radio/iPod docking station/alarm clock/charging station for the bedside table. Or invest in a printer that’s also a scanner and copier. Multi-purpose means less space wasted. An ottoman is great for storage and extra seating.
3. Make your bed. Often in a dorm room your bed is your couch, study chair, extra storage space, clothes shelf as well as a place to sleep. Invest in bedding that’s durable and hides stains and don’t forget to ask about if you’ll need extra long sheets. A mattress topper can add comfort and encasements can protect for allergies and pests. Store items you may not use often under your bed for extra space.
4. Have a light bulb moment. Invest in full spectrum light bulbs for your desk lamp – after all the fluorescent lights in the classrooms your eyes will appreciate the break. Small clamp lamps can be used to highlight specific areas in the room, which is considerate if you share your space.
5. Contemplate your closet. A well-organized closet can save so much space and frustration in a dorm room. Adding a double hang rack or baskets will increase storage space. Use a back of the door shoe holder for shoes and more. Also handy are 3M Hooks with Command™ Adhesive .
6. Tote-able toiletries. Keeping all shower and hygiene products in one easy-to-carry tote not only makes it easier to keep track of your shampoo, but keeps it all organized in one place. Make sure you get one with holes to let the excess water drain.
7. Laundry bag blues. Tuck your laundry basket into the bottom of your closet or under the sink in the bathroom. Keep your detergent right in the basket. If your washing machines take quarters, tie a small change purse right to the basket itself.
8. Create the illusion of space. By pushing your bed and desk to the walls you increase your floor space. Put your desk under your window for the best natural light and your bed against a wall so you can use it like a daybed when not sleeping in it.
9. Keep your desk organized.You’ll be spending a lot of time at your desk so making sure it’s neat and tidy with some great organizing products will make your studying that much easier. A whiteboard calendar will help you keep track of your upcoming assignments.
10. Think small – Most rooms are not much more than 225 square feet. Don’t overbuy in big box sizes and quantities when there is such limited storage space.
Organizing a dorm room can be a daunting task, but with experts to help, starting the school year right can be a breeze.
If you would like helping getting your Dorm Room set up to optimize your success this school year contact Organize Anything today. Colette works with individuals to assess their unique spaces and needs, designing and implementing a plan that is both efficient and economical.