Getting An Organizing Project Started

Here are my top tips for starting and completing an organizing project. 

Create an Action Plan.  Determine the areas you want to organize.  Define your end goals. Identify times in your schedule to organize.

When organizing Here are my top tips for starting and completing an organizing project. 

Set aside time each day to organize.  Just 20 minutes a day will make the task seem manageable and help you reach your end goal without feeling overwhelmed.

When organizing/de-cluttering, ask yourself 3 important questions.  This exercise will allow you to see what you really need and what is truly important.

1.    How often do I use this item?

2.    How expensive is this item?

3.    How easy is it to replace?

Good enough is enough.  It is most important that your newly organized space works well for your needs.  Your space does not need to be perfect.

Finish each task completely.  Once you have determined what you will toss, keep or pass on – take it there.  This is the last step in the organizing process. 

Ask for help. There will be items that you are emotionally attached to and may find the "keep or pass on" decision more challenging.  Including a professional organizer, friend or family member in the process can help make the decisions easier. 

 

 

Organizing When Buying in Bulk

The principal goal, for most people, when buying items in bulk, is to save money.  This article will help you ensure this happens.

Before the bulk buying event, make a list and avoid deviating.  Impulse and duplicate purchases at the store (or online) creates more risk of costing you money.

If purchasing medicine, food or perishable items, check expiration dates and be sure that you will use the medicine or eat the food before the expiration date. 

Check the per-unit pricing — just because something comes in a huge container doesn’t mean it’s cheaper.

Another potentially helpful space and money-saving approach is to find one or more friends with whom to split purchases.  This strategy allows each of you to take advantage of bulk/discount prices without worrying about using or finishing all of the items or finding room for everything.

Be sure you have a place to store the items before bringing them home.  If storage space is an issue, break down bulk buys into individual units and tuck beneath sinks or in an empty area of a cabinet.

Transfer bulk dry goods to clear plastic containers that fit the dimensions of your storage space.  For liquids like dish soap or shampoo, transfer what you need to a smaller bottle and store the rest for future use.

Kitchen Organizing

The first step in a kitchen organizing project is to empty out one cabinet or area at a time.  Determine which items you no longer use.  These items can be passed on, donated or thrown out. This will allow you to benefit from the lack of clutter. 

The second step is to create zones of activity.  I commonly divide kitchens into 5 zones.  I recommend tackling just one at a time to keep the job from seeming overwhelming.

Cooking Zone – Organize pots, pans, cooking utensils and bake-ware.

Food Preparation Zone – Clean out the refrigerator as well as organize cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, spices, mixers, blenders, measuring cups and spoons.  Get rid of duplicates.  Throw out foods that are past their expiration dates.

Dish Zone – Organize your dishware, mugs, glasses and flatware.

Food Serving Zone – Sort through placemats, napkins, trivets, large serving pieces, and any groups of items you have not already organized. 

Food Storage Zone – When you go through your pantry and refrigerator, pull out any food that you know you will not be use or has expired.  Group foods by type – all soups together, all pasta, all fruits, etc.

The third step is to clear counters.  Pay particular attention to reducing the number of objects stored permanently on a counter.  Counters needs frequent cleaning and are usually primary workspaces.

The fourth step is to determine the best locations for the remaining items.  Frequently used objects, should be housed in easy-to-reach locations. Infrequently used items, like the roasting pan that you only haul out during the holidays, can go on high shelves, in the back of cabinets or even outside the kitchen.

Laundry Room Organizing Tips

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Arrange detergents and other products in the order in which you use them, from stain removers to spray-on starch. Keep bleach and ammonia away from each other; mixed, they can produce toxic fumes.

A three-bin sorter helps family members separate their clothes by colors, whites, and delicates.

Load high-demand cleaning products on an over-the-door caddy you can tote from room to room.

Simple milk crates break a long wire shelf into cubbies for organized laundry-room gear.

Your folding surface should be high enough that you don't have to stoop and strain your back.

 

 

Back to School

back to school

It’s hard to believe, but the school year is just around the corner.  I encourage you to take the time now to get organized in order to make this school year more productive.  You can work together with your family to create systems to stay organized throughout the year.

With all the Back-to-School sales, now is a fantastic time to take inventory of the school and art supplies you have in your home.  Note what you need and what you might run out of by mid-year. Store the extra supplies in a box, or closet, so they are easily accessible for your child. 

Your child should get into the habit of doing their homework at the same time, and in the same place, each day.  Keep a box of supplies close to this area.  Getting into a routine keeps one organized.

Because routines are so important to staying organized, I encourage my clients to get into the habit of preparing the night before for the next day.  Here are some examples of things you can do the night before to make the mornings run smoother:

  • Fix and pack lunches and leave in refrigerator
  • Pick out the next day’s clothes
  • Pack backpacks with all books and papers that need to go back to school
  • Determine what you will be serving for breakfast and have as much ready as is possible.

Once your child is at school, another area that is important for them to keep organized is their lockers.  There are several locker organizers available to purchase that will create extra space in their lockers.  Encourage your child to have a designated space for papers and books that need to come home with them each day.

Remind your child that, being organized will provide them with extra free time.  It will also offer you piece of mind. 

Happy Organizing!

Refrigerator Tips

Here are some tips to keep your refrigerator neat and organized:

Once a month, take the time to read the expiration dates for food in your refrigerator and throw out the expired food. The best time to do this is the night before the garbage is picked up in your area.

Have a designated shelf for left- overs and clear it off every week. Again, the best time to do this is the night before the garbage pick up.

Try to avoid storing eggs, butter or milk in the refrigerator door. The door is the warmest place in the refrigerator. Dairy products will stay cooler and fresher on the refrigerator shelves. Items that aren’t as easily spoiled in warmer temperatures (such as jams, non-dairy salad dressings and condiments, soda and beer) can be stored in the shelves on the door.

Refrigerator drawers are the perfect place to store fruits and vegetables. If your refrigerator does not have drawers, create your own drawers. You can purchase long narrow plastic bins that run the depth of your shelf. These will mimic the benefits drawers provide.

Use square or rectangular plastic storage containers to store left- overs in the refrigerator. Round containers create wasted space and do not stack or fit well side-by-side. It is best to use clear containers so that you can see what you have inside.

Household Organizing

PAULA’S FAVORITE HOURSEHOLD ORGANIZING TIPS

Store small seasonal items on the top shelf of your closet – such as hats, gloves,
beach gear – in the cubbyholes of a standing shoe organizer

Create extra space under the kitchen sink by hanging spray bottles from a tension
rod mounted inside.

Allocate a basket at the front door for stockpiling things you don’t want to forget
the next time you go out.

Mount decorative u shaped shower curtains tiebacks, which are sturdier and
deeper then most hooks, inside the closet or on a wall in the mudroom.

Almost empty paint cans take up a lot of space.

Pour remaining paint in almost empty paint can into mason jars.

Label them with paint number and where it was used.

Always have a bag or bin for no longer wanted clothes and household items.

When they are full, donate.