3 Tasks to Involve the Family in Organizing

Laundry

Get the laundry under control. Designate a day (or two) each week rather than running small loads each day. Color code laundry baskets for each household member. Deposit clean, folded garments into each and have each person put away his/her own clothing. If you hate running to the dry cleaners, then it’s time to stop buying dry clean-only clothes!

Bathroom

Avoid confusion and foster accountability in the bathroom. Assign each family member a color for toothbrushes and towels. Give each person a drawer or storage bin for personal items. Toss expired medicines and cosmetics, tattered towels, and duplicate hair styling appliances. And finally, maintain order by scheduling time to organize on a regular basis.

Car

Give your car a good spring cleaning. Grab a garbage bag and round up all the papers, food wrappers, and random trash under the seats. Spray down surfaces with cleaner, and polish till they shine. Vacuum out all the winter “yuck.” Your car will look and smell (almost) like new!

Ready, set, declutter!

Set a timer for 15 minutes. Grab a garbage bag, walk through your home, and quickly remove 15 things you no longer use or love. Also, recycle newspapers older than one week and magazines older than 12 months, plus expired coupons and junk mail. Dispose of the bags immediately.

When shopping for end tables, coffee tables, or benches, be sure to look for those that have storage inside. That way, you utilize not only the space on top, but also the space inside or underneath.

Containerizing your stuff is great, but buying all those bins and boxes can get expensive! Wicker laundry baskets can be an affordable option.

Quick Tip: Place one on each level of your home to toss items that should to be delivered to a different level. Once daily, grab the basket and move items to the correct room.

Reuse: Find New Uses for Old Things

Being organized has great personal benefits. You can easily find things, save time and money, and become incredibly productive. Getting organized can have great environmental benefits as well. By following the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), you’ll use fewer natural resources, discover new uses for old things, and find fresh homes for your castoffs. Tackle the second “R” -- reuse -- by finding creative new uses for your things. It’s not only environmentally friendly, it’s fun and allows you to stay organized! 

Make old furniture new again. A can of colorful spray paint can liven up an old picture frame. A coat of glossy paint can transform an old dresser into something new and fabulous. 

Hold a clothing swap with friends. Invite some pals to a clothing exchange party. Have each person bring 5-10 items she no longer wears, and swap them over music and hors d’oeuvres. Everyone leaves with a free new wardrobe! Send the leftovers to a local charity.

Shop smart. When you need something, consider buying it used at a secondhand store. You can find everything from upscale clothing to furniture, books, building supplies, and more.

Rotate toys. If you have kids, send Barbie on a vacation for a while, let the stuffed animals hibernate, and let some games take a time-out. Bring those toys out a few months later and they’ll seem like new.

Find new uses for disposable items. Make fun projects with reused materials, such as old film canisters, CD jewel cases, and baby food jars.

Create your own organizing containers. Rather than spend tons of money on plastic organizing bins, drawer dividers, and wicker baskets, reinvent common household items: The small boxes that your checks come in make great drawer dividers. Oatmeal boxes nicely hold art supplies like crayons and pencils. An ice cube tray neatly divides earrings or holds desk supplies like paper clips and tacks. Look around your home and see what inspires you!

© 2018 Articles on Demand™



Identifying Clutter With Three Easy Questions

What exactly is clutter? Clutter is anything unnecessary and extraneous. It can be more than the physical clutter most of us think of. Getting organized means clearing out the clutter in your mind, heart, and life. As for the physical clutter, ask yourself the following three questions about each item in your home. If you can’t answer yes to at least one, it’s probably clutter!

Is it beautiful?

A stunning piece of artwork enriches your life because it brings joy each time you see it. A gorgeous vase full of fresh flowers reduces stress and energizes your spirit.

Is it useful?

You use your 12-cup coffee maker every day. You couldn’t make it through the week without it. (Don’t confuse this question with, “Will it be useful someday?”)

Is it loved?

The antique pocket watch from your grandfather is a precious reminder of him. Your favorite cashmere sweater makes you feel fabulous.

You’ll find that as you inventory your possessions, you may be able to answer “yes” to two or even three of the questions above. Those are the things that are most valuable to you. Remember, the goal of decluttering is not to get rid of everything. It’s simply to keep only things that you truly appreciate and use.

To stop clutter, prevent it from accumulating in the first place. Don't give clutter a chance to form. As you've probably experienced, once clutter occupies a space, it has a way of multiplying. Always remember to place your emphasis on quality over quantity. In other words, it's not important to have a lot of things, many of which you never use. It's more beneficial to have fewer things, all of which you use and/or enjoy.

Think before you buy. Try to look beyond the initial “thrill of the purchase” and see what provides deeper moments of meaning. Before you buy, think about the time you’ll spend in cleaning, storing, and maintaining that item after you bring it home. If you must buy, establish a “new item in, old item out” system where some purging takes place before shopping.

Once you rid yourself of clutter and make space only for what's special, you'll find it's easier to get — and stay — organized! You’ll soon reap the benefits of a clutter-free life: more energy, happier relationships, a well-organized home or office, new opportunities, and a better outlook on life.

© 2018 Articles on Demand™

The “Whys” of Clutter

So, you know your life is full of clutter — things you don’t need, things you don’t necessarily want, and way more than you’ll actually use. But where the heck did all this stuff come from? 

 

It might be hard to pinpoint the exact moment when clutter invaded and took over your life. Maybe you grew up in a cluttered household, so living with an overabundance of “things” has always felt natural. Or perhaps clutter is just beginning to form. (In which case, it's time to nip it in the bud!)

Why are some people more prone to clutter than others? Following are a few reasons. If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, take heart. By recognizing what leads you to accumulate clutter you can make the transition to a clutter-free life.

You inherited it from your parents: If your parents were packrats, you can thank them for your love of abundance. And as you continue your life full of clutter, consider the fate you are dealing your loved ones if you don’t attempt to change. Your children might continue the cycle of clutter, or you may drive your mate and friends crazy.

You might need it “someday”: Back in the days of the Great Depression and the World Wars, people justifiably saved just about everything because of scarcity and rationing. However, in this day and age, there is no reason to continue this thought pattern. Thinking something will come in handy “one day” is NOT reason enough to keep it. By letting go, you’ll find that most of the time you’ll never need those things again. And if you do, you’ll likely find similar (or better) things to replace them.

Clutter is part of your identity: Is your identity somehow related to your possessions? Or, are you overly sentimental about your things? Remember that even if you get rid of the clutter, you still have the great memories associated with specific items. Allow yourself to release unloved or unuseful gifts from well-meaning friends and family. You are not throwing away your friends’ kindness or love; you are simply releasing the unneeded items to make room for the things that matter most to you.

You’re bombarded by “more is better” reasoning by marketers: Do catalogs invade your mailbox? Are companies constantly trying to sell you the newest do-hickey, clothing, or home decor? Look around your kitchen and count your small appliances and gadgets. Most likely, they simply add clutter to your life, taking up space. Next time the urge to buy grabs you, ask yourself if it will REALLY make your life better.

Clutter fills a void in your life: Clutter can help to hide loneliness, anger, fear, and other important emotions. It fills time and space and keeps you focused on things other than your problems. When you free the clutter, you’ll free yourself to deal with the real issues around you. It may be tough at first, but the rewards are endless. Similarly, some people want to hide in their clutter. They use an abundance of “stuff” to hide or shelter themselves from the outside world. A good way to start getting back into the swing of life is to declutter just one room. You’ll still be able to retreat to your safe place, but the lack of clutter will begin to feel freeing rather than terrifying

Of course, you may not see yourself in any of the above scenarios. Perhaps you’ve simply accumulated a little clutter in your life due to a shortage of time, too many work or family demands, or a lack of organizing skills. This is perfectly normal. Not everyone who defines her life as “cluttered” will fit into the above scenarios. But for those who know that clutter is seriously affecting their lives, the above reasons may help define the source and allow them to start the decluttering process.

Whatever the reasons you’ve accumulated clutter, once you recognize them, you can move forward and begin your new life. 

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

It's a Wonderful Life

We're sharing memorable stories from a few of our wonderful clients like you! 

When reflecting back on this year, I continue to be so honored to be a part of your life. I am reminded over and over again that it is not just about the “stuff”.  It’s about so much more. I've asked the team to recall some of their most special memories this year! I hope they uplift you as much as they did us!

Julie


We make organizing FUN, because we LOVE what we do!

We make organizing FUN, because we LOVE what we do!

I absolutely love my job and have many wonderful memories over the years working with clients. However, this memory made me so happy to be a part of.

I was working with a woman who was relocating. She had bags and bags of mail she never opened. In speaking to her further about going through the mail she became very anxious.

She explained that she had gotten into some financial trouble and had a lot of creditors contacting her, hence, not wanting to open it. She also mentioned she had just inherited her childhood home because her mom recently passed away. Now she was struggling to figure out how to pay for that mortgage, too.

After much encouragement, we decided to go through the mail piece by piece so when her move was done, she would be clutter free. This took two days to complete. By the end of the second day she said, “can’t we just throw the rest away?” I encouraged her that we should still go piece by piece so we did...with only a few pieces of mail left to go, we found an unopened check that was from her mortgage company, as she had overpaid the previous year. It was a check for $1200!!! Of course, it was out of date, but we called that minute and they said they would reinstate it.

It was absolutely life-changing for her at that moment. She was able to “breathe” and was able to make those mortgage payments after all. She cried, we hugged, and it was a wonderful feeling for everyone!
— Beth Ickes

I love to see the transformations of not only the living spaces we organize, but also the demeanor of our clients from the time we report to work to the time we complete the job.

An orderly home creates a peaceful environment that makes people happy and less stressed. We consistently see this reflected in our clients’ faces and that makes me happy as well!

A recent client sent Julie a video of her husband’s reaction when he first discovered his garage that we organized while they were on vacation. He was smiling ear to ear, jumping around— an exhibition of pure joy! The “new” garage was a birthday gift to him.

I see our job as organizers as a way to serve others and to help improve their quality of life.
— Laura Kiffmeyer

We worked with a young professional that moved to Charlotte and helped him get unpacked after many months of living out of boxes. When he decided to move to a new apartment we handled the entire move for him. However, we never laid eyes on him during the entire process! This is the text I got from him when he walked into his new apartment for the first time.

’I just walked into my apartment and am so grateful and impressed for all the work and incredible atmosphere that you brought to my apartment over the last few weeks. Thank you for everything that you have done to help me have a home and a great place to live. I’m truly speechless this apartment layout is great and feels so different. You put everything together so well. This is the best moment I have had since moving to Charlotte.’
— Leigh Ann Loeblein

Archive Your Files With Ease

What shape is your filing system in? Are your filing drawers stuffed so full that it’s nearly impossible to get another piece of paper into — or out of — them? Once a year, you should take time to review your files and purge as much as possible, leaving room for next year’s papers.

1. Determine what to keep. As you sort through papers, ask yourself, “When will I really need this again?” “Can it be easily recreated or retrieved elsewhere?” Don’t hang onto things unless you have a really good reason! Be ruthless — remember, 80% of the things you file will never get referred to again!

2. Keep records retention guidelines in mind. Your accountant, attorney, or professional organizer can tell you which documents you should keep for legal purposes.

3. Keep only day-to-day paperwork at your fingertips. For rarely-used files that must be kept, archive them in an out-of-the-way area, such as a closet, basement, or off-site storage facility.

4. Some things can be immediately tossed. Instruction manuals for products you no longer own, old research materials, previous drafts of letters, out-of-date magazines and articles, and receipts for items past their return date can be discarded.

5. Stash important documents in a safety deposit box. It is imperative that you stock your safety deposit box or home safe with the following papers: adoption and citizenship papers; passports; birth, death, and marriage certificates; deeds; divorce decrees; insurance policy papers; lease agreements and loan documents; mortgage papers; personal property appraisals (jewelry, collectibles); Social Security cards; stock and bond certificates; vehicle titles; copies of wills; and powers of attorney papers. And don’t forget to LOCK your home safe. It is NOT fireproof unless the lock is engaged.

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Easy as 1-2-3: Clutter Control for Kids

Managing the mess that kids make can be overwhelming sometimes. But by adding some simple routines and expectations, your household will function like clockwork!

Make organizing a part of each day. Let kids know that they need to be responsible for their own possessions. Teach children how to pick up after themselves. It’s important to show kids that every item they own has a “home” where it needs to return when they’re done using it. Be consistent.

Establish simple routines that are age-specific. Younger children will need more direction and simpler expectations than pre-teens and teenagers. For example, saying “Clean up your room” is overwhelming to a kindergartner. Instead, try “Please put the Legos in the shoebox and your books on the bookshelf.” Some tasks that children under five can do:

• put dirty laundry in the hamper
• clean up toys (with assistance) at the end of the day

Kids over five should also be able to:

• make their beds every day
• clean up toys throughout the day
• select their clothing for the next day
• take schoolwork out of their book bags each day

As they grow, add more responsibilities. You are giving them skills and confidence to tackle more challenging projects in the coming years. And, most important, praise your children frequently for their efforts.

Don't forget that children of all ages need routines and schedules, as well as downtime.

• Set out the breakfast dishes each evening so you have a few extra minutes to languish over breakfast treats and conversation with your family in the morning. Also, gather bookbags and double check that permission slips, sports equipment, and lunch money are ready to go. Lay out tomorrow’s clothing to avoid hassles.

• Throughout the year, maintain routines for bedtime, mealtime, chores, etc. Allow some flexibility to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

• Slow down and unplug to enjoy and appreciate life. Turn off the TV and computer and head outside to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Set aside some special time — a weekend morning is great — to cuddle on the couch and talk about the week’s events.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Clearing Closet Clutter without Going Crazy

Organizing a closet is one of the most satisfying clean-up projects you can tackle. But without a little planning, its sheer enormity can leave you with more chaos than before you started. Try these tips to clear the clutter, leaving you with only the things you really use.

Pick one closet to start. Make sure you have space in that room to spread everything out. (A bed works great for this.) You’ll be taking out every (yes, EVERY) item in that closet. For each item, ask whether you’ve used it/worn it in the past year. If not, seriously consider getting rid of it. Knowing that we wear only about 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time will help you let go. Try to touch things only once while going through this process — make a decision then and there, rather than putting items aside to “decide later.”

Items that you are removing can go in one of four boxes: a trash box (for stuff headed straight to the dump), a repairs box (for items that need repairing), a recycling box (for things that can be recycled, sold or given away), and a transit box (for things that belong in another area of the home). If you have trouble parting with some items, put them in a box, label the box with a date six months from now, and store it out of sight. If you haven't gone into the box by the time the date rolls around, toss or donate it without opening it.

• The hard part is now complete! Now comes the fun of rearranging, organizing, and storing the remaining items.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™