Archive for the ‘Home Organizing’ Category

I’ve helped a number of my long-term clients move into their first homes, their dream homes, and their down-sized homes, some taking a number of months to get organized, some a matter of weeks.  Some of us move many times and some of us only a few, but the process is always full of anxiety. (more…)


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Aaah, books, let me count the ways I love books.  I love to read books, I love to touch books, I love to look at books and I really love to organize books.  There is nothing more satisfying than spending a few hours pulling all the books of a bookshelf with a client, sorting them, giving away the ones no longer useful or beautiful, (more…)

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I am fascinated by how the concept of ‘good enough’ relates to being organized and our many attempts to be what we perceive as ‘well organized’.  What does being organized mean to you?  Most likely not the same as it does to your spouse, your best friend or your children.  What if, instead of constantly striving to be more organized, better organized or even, heaven forbid, perfectly organized we strove for (more…)

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Here are some wise words from my good friend Georgina Forrest from Smartworks Organizing in Calgary, Alberta from one of her recent newsletters. (more…)

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Hard to believe that I’m starting to be asked to write about back to school tips already but I guess all you parents out there will begin to make plans for this very thing in a few weeks – yikes!  I can so remember the excitement and dread in mid August. 

The dread that summer would soon be over and the excitement of going back to school.  One of my favourite parts, like you didn’t know already, was going shopping for all the supplies.  Yes, I admit it, I was so into all the notebooks matching, having brand new pencils all sharpened and ready to go, and organizing my pencil case.  Like many of my fellow organizers, I still have an addiction to shopping at office supply stores!

Now is the time to get yourself and your house organized for the coming months and the onslaught of school papers, homework projects and sports schedules. Here are a few areas in your home that you may want to take a look at:

The Entrance/Mudroom – it is a great idea to use lockers, one for each child, and to have a designated hook or basket for each item including a hook for backpacks and jackets plus a shelf for shoes and a basket for hats, mittens, etc.

Set up a Family Message Center near the main entrance – hang a couple of baskets on the wall for “Bills” and “Mail”. Hang two corkboards – one for a large family calendar and one for to-do lists, school reminders, and phone messages. Put out one homework in-basket for each child on the counter under the corkboards with a label that says “Sam’s Homework”, “Jane’s Homework”. This is also a great place to hang the keys.

Homework – for younger children the homework area is usually in the kitchen/family room so you can keep an eye on them. It is important to designate a homework “zone” and to set up storage for all the tools they will need – plastic drawer organizers on wheels under the counter are great – make sure to label the drawers with pictures or words.  For older children they will usually have a homework “zone” in their bedroom. Again proper storage and all the tools at hand are crucial – baskets and bins work well as long as they are labeled.

Clothes and Toys – give away the clothes that don’t fit and the toys they no longer play with – purge, purge, purge.  Design and install a child-friendly closet system that can be adjusted as your child grows. If you have a big enough closet space it can sometimes hold clothes, toys and books. You can often eliminate dressers by installing drawers in the closet perhaps giving you room for a desk in the bedroom.

General Tips:

  • Create a schedule to do the same thing at the same time every week, i.e. laundry, grocery shopping, etc.
  • Plan Ahead  –  i.e. establish morning routines for the children, prepack lunches, plan meals for the week
  • Set up a hanging organizer in the closet with Mon.-Fri. and a spot for shoes and lay out the clothes for the week for your child

Be sure to involve your child in the organizing process.  Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes and ask them how they would like to organize their things.  Be careful not to arrange your child’s things the way you want to or think it should be done.  You’ll be surprised at the ideas school age children will come up with for keeping themselves and their belongings organized.

For more great information on your children for school pick up a copy of Donna Goldberg’s book “The Organized Student”.

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Three weeks ago we began a small renovation project in our house on our downstairs laundry and bathroom.  What does that have to do with control you might ask?

Well, I have had a very interesting revelation in the last week or so.  Let me start at the beginning.  As you can imagine, my house is pretty darn neat and tidy pretty much all the time.  It has always been that way and I feel that because I am a Professional Organizer now I am obligated to practice what I preach so it’s just something I work on every day.

As you can imagine, with a renovation going on, chaos has ensued.  The only rooms that are untouched by clutter and things being where they don’t belong are the master bedroom and bath, the kitchen. and my office.  That means that the sitting room, living room, and the entire downstairs are a disaster.  Dirt gets tracked through the entire house every day and we attempt to clean it up.  The downstairs bathroom is completely torn apart down to the stud walls and concrete floor and there is a huge pile of garbage building up outside the house.

So, here’s my discovery.  I am a bit of a control freak – no surprise to many of you I’m sure!  However, because I have no control over my house and won’t for another 2 or 3 weeks I am having trouble concentrating on work and relaxing when I’m not working.  Now I know how many of my clients must feel every single day. Somehow having an organized home and office allows many of us to feel that we have some control over our lives.  And the reverse is also true. When we feel our lives are out of control it tends to manifest itself in the external chaos in our homes and offices.

Therefore, my conclusion is that I feel in control of my entire life because I am able to keep my home and office tidy, have a place for everything, feel more focused and relax when I need to.  If your life is out of control on all fronts, perhaps getting even one room in your home organized or tackling your office, will help you regain control of your life and have a positive impact in many other ways.

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I’ll let the reporter from Metro take this one.  Here’s a link to today’s article ‘Procrastination has its place in cleaning post-Christmas clutter’

Rosalie Maggio, author of The Art of Organizing Anything, says, “So don’t deal with it. Take Santa and the lights down, stuff things under the bed and make your house livable. Then forget about it until February.”

This approach could lead to overwhelm I would think. Imagine if you just kept procrastinating and shoving things where you couldn’t see them?  What would happen?  Would it work for you?  Or would you get to the point where every nook and cranny is full and then the clutter is so voluminous that you have no idea where to start? Or maybe you simply wouldn’t be able to find anything anymore – yikes!

Then again, on the positive side perhaps it will lead to more business for Professional Organizers?

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