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Monthly Archives: August 2014

“Finish the Cycle”

“Finish the Cycle”

While we know that we have some very good ideas, we also know that there are others out there who do too.  One of our go-to organizational guru’s is Peter Walsh. If you aren’t familiar with him, we recommend that at a minimum you Google him.  If you read The Oprah Magazine, then we know you have heard of him

The key to good organizational concepts is that they are easy to understand and easy to follow.  Most importantly, they are easy to maintain.  Maybe “easy” isn’t the right word because these concepts tend to involve some serious habit changing but if you stick with it you can have some real success.

So today we share a wonderful Peter Walsh gem:  “Finish the Cycle”

‘Consider your washing machine:  You’d never fill it with dirty clothes, let it run for 20 minutes, then turn it off and let the clothes sit for two days.  That would create a stinky mess! So it is with our daily routines:  Doing things halfway wreaks havoc.  That’s why it’s important to finish each cycle.  For example, if you bring a dirty plate into the kitchen, don’t leave it on the counter-put it in the dishwasher! When you pull on sweatpants after work, don’t toss your skirt onto the bed-hang it in your closet.  If you bring in the mail, don’t drop it on the table-sort it (recycle any junk/leave bills in a flat try).  Each of these tasks requires about a minute, which is minimal compared with the time you’d waste later looking for that skirt or bill.’

This concept fits hand-in-hand with our 2-minute rule.  They are both really good organizational habits to develop.  These blogs could focus on all of our bad habits that lead to the dis-organization in our lives; however, that would just result in everyone feeling bad and wouldn’t provide encouragement about developing good organizational habits. We prefer to focus on the positive! Makes us all happier…So Finish the Cycle!

Finish the Cycle

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An Organized Home Starts with a Less Cluttered Home

One way to have an organized home is to reduce the clutter.  This is likely to be a running theme with our blogs, but that’s only because it is absolutely true.  Best part is there is a solution and it is very clear…reduce your clutter.

Most of us seem to have too many of the same type of items.  Below is a list that is pretty comprehensive and will help you rethink the quantity you really need of each item. Clearly this won’t cover everyone but you may read this and think “Yep-this applies to me.”

  • Glasses:  Wine glasses, juice glasses and martini glass fill many of our cabinets.  Do you really need a different glass for every beverage that you drink? Wine aficionados may disagree, but the trend towards stemless wine glasses can streamline your cabinets.
  • “Tupperware”: Go through your stash and put any containers without tops in the recycling bin.  Permanently stained containers need to go, same with any that are cracked.  Another option is to eliminate plastic altogether and switch to dishes that can go from oven to table to fridge.  Or eliminate the need for special leftover containers with stretch-to-fit covers.  

June 16 - Storage Containers

  • Cleaning/Grooming Products: Whether it’s hair, nail or cleaning products, we’ve all got a weakness.  Don’t worry, we’ve all been suckered in by the product that promised to transform our hair or or remove hard to clean soap scum.  Time to eliminate.  Streamline your routine, whether it’s hair care or cleaning, weed out the products you don’t use.  For cleaning, an all-purpose cleanser, scrub and window cleaning product can probably get you through most chores. 
  • Makeup: Many of us have enough colors for the next decade of Halloweens.  Makeup, especially lipsticks, mascaras, liquid liners and foundations can go bad.  Toss anything you haven’t worn in the past 6 months.  Not only is it probably bacteria-laden, chances are you’ll never use it. 
  • Hangers:  A mix of wood, plastic and wire hangers are often jumbled together in closets, ruining your clothes and making things look messy.  Uniform hangers make your closet look neat and keep your clothes looking better longer.  Many cleaners will accept wire hangers.

 Hangers

  • Books: Your favorite books, your favorite children’s books and first editions should be kept.  However, the summer beach read, caked with sand, or the book for your book club that you only read because you had to, can be donated.  Many of us have a mental block against getting rid of books, but if you’re not using them, they are just collecting dust.  Cull your collection and donate books to your local library, a hospital or nursing home.  If you haven’t already done so, consider making the switch to reading books electronically.  
  • Office supplies: What is it about a new notebook or a new pen that holds so much promise? Is it a holdover from when new supplies meant a new grade at school with its promise of a shiny bright future? Do you really need and use all those notepads? Next time you are at hotel, remember that you don’t need to grab the notepad and pen off the desk.  Speaking of hotels…
  • Hotel sized items: Yes, they are cute, but when you take them home, they just become clutter.  Use them up:  store small sizes with your weekender or gym bag and use them when you’re heading to places where you might need pint-sized bath products.  Or better yet, donate to your local homeless shelter.
  • Frilly soaps, bath stuff and scented candles: If you have them, use them-don’t just collect them, thinking you’re saving them for a special occasion.  In the meantime, tuck scented soaps into your sock drawer to scent your toes.  Same with candles, use them or give them to someone that will get pleasure form them.
  • Vases:  If you’ve ever received flowers, chances are they’ve come in a glass vase.  If you don’t use them, recycle them.  Keep the ones you might actually use and recycle the rest.  Keep the ones you have filled with flowers.

Organized Home, Less Cluttered

Back to School Boot Camp

Organization is the key for avoiding stressful school mornings.  To help you get “in shape” for the start of school we’re going to share our favorite tips to get Back to School Organized

Tip #1-Pick out school outfits for the week…Sunday is the perfect day to do this.  Have children stack shirts & shorts together so they can dress themselves.  This photo has two great ways to display the clothes (hanging shelves or labeled hangers), pick the one that fits your space the best.  Busy moms and dads may also find this tip helpful!!

clothes for week

Tip #2-Create a home file with a slot for each subject; color code the tabs to match with any folders used for each class.  Not only does this system give kids a place to unload weekly papers, it also helps them organize reference materials as the year changes.  You can even make one file labeled “papers for mom and dad”. These inexpensive creates come in lots of colors so let your kids pick their favorite one.

Home File - Tip 2

Tip #3-Create a snack bin in your pantry for the kids.  Place bins on a low shelf that they can reach and be sure to bag up snacks in healthy portion sizes.  You can even have the kids help, so they know what is available when they are hungry.  This is a great habit to get into as it makes packing lunches so much easier.

Snacks

Tip #4-Hang a calendar in a centrally located place in your home.  The kitchen refrigerator often works well or anywhere that is frequently accessed and visible to all family members.  Select a colored pen or marker for each family member.  Attach a magnetic strip to the pen/marker, so they don’t get lost.  record each family members important events on the calendar: practices, games, recitals, appointments, birthday parties, tests/projects due dates, etc.  This way you can keep your busy family activities scheduled.

calendar

Tip #5-Getting ready the night before will help make for calm mornings, less stress and fewer forgotten items.  Some things to do the night before:

  • Pack lunches
  • Pick out school clothes (if you didn’t follow Tip #1)
  • Gather sports/dance/other activity items needed for the next day
  • When homework is completed, put it directly into backpacks
  • Put backpacks in the car or at the front door

Starting things off RIGHT!

We thought that we would start our blog with our absolute favorite and most Purposeful organizational strategy! How is that for a ringing endorsement? It is important to know that not only do we ALWAYS recommend this strategy to our clients but we practice it ourselves.  We say “practice” because it doesn’t come naturally-nope, not even to Professional Organizers.  Lastly, this is not rocket science but it definitely changes your life and way of doing things.  If you are a procrastinator buckle up!

Two-Minute Rule:

You should NOT put off anything that takes you less than 2-minutes to do

Remember, we told you it wasn’t rocket science.  Here is why we recommend it: If you put something down after you’ve picked it up and determined what you need to do with it, you’ll just have to re-remember it later.  This means that when you come across the item in the future, you will have to repeat that process again.  That is a waste of your time, maybe just a couple minutes but these minutes add up.  So once you pick it up and determine that it will take you less than two minutes to deal with it, DO IT THEN.

Here are a couple ways to think about this rule:

  • Sorting mail:  “batch your tasks.  This means when you sort your mail, place anything that will take more than 2 minutes to deal with in an “action” bin.  Put junk mail in your recycle bin. Resolve any action that takes less than 2 minutes to deal with, then file accordingly after completion.  Set aside time during the week to resolve any items in your “action” bin.
  • Laundry-Take piles directly to designated rooms upon folding.  Put away-it really doesn’t take that long to put laundry away, might be a bit longer than 2 minutes, but then it is done.
  • Donations/Returns-If you have items to donate or return to the store, put them directly in your car.  No sense in taking them from one room in the house, to another, then eventually to your car.  Why touch it and think about it multiple times? Why increase the chances of forgetting about it? We recommend that you keep a crate or bin in the car for these items.