We use the bathroom vanity every day but when was the last time you organized it? I would recommend organizing/reorganizing the bathroom vanity if it’s been more than a year.
Here are some clues that it’s time to organize the bathroom vanity:
every morning you have to dig thru the drawers in your bathroom vanity, pawing thru the contents like a raccoon in a garbage can
you purchase more of “x” because you forgot you already have that product
the doors below the sink don’t shut because the contents are beginning to spill out
the top of your vanity is getting cluttered because there is no more room in the vanity drawers
the last time you looked inside the cabinet under your sink was … last year? Maybe longer?
There are 4 steps to organizing the bathroom vanity (or organizing anything for that matter).
SORT & PURGE
Take your bathroom items out of the cabinets and drawers
Toss expired products, especially medications
Toss things you never use anymore
Group things together that you use every single day
Wipe down the inside of your drawers and cabinets
Take a moment to assess how much space you need to use for the things that you use every day
These daily items need to be in the most convenient locations of your bathroom vanity (like the top drawer or on top of the vanity)
For the rest of the items you have, make sure the bathroom vanity IS the best location to store these items
For the items you decide to keep on top of the vanity, use a basket or tray to hold them; this keeps them organized and easy to pick up when cleaning
If you have the space, add a shelf or sliding drawer in the cabinet under the sink
Use drawer organizers, or dividers, in your vanity
I made these drawer dividers out of foam core board (stay tuned for a FREE tutorial on this)
Check your bathroom vanity every six months and tidy up a bit
Use these 4 steps and re-acquaint yourself with the products you have stored in the bathroom vanity
Following these steps will save you money!
This month I wanted to kick off May with Combating Clutter. For fun, I looked up a web definition of the word “clutter”. Here’s what I found:
A collection of things lying about in an untidy mess.
Crowd (something) untidily; fill with clutter.
confusion – muddle – mess – disorder – muss – jumble
Do those synonyms ring true when describing your home? Do you have a muddled mess filled with untidiness and disorder? Do you need to organize your home? You are not alone. Clutter is a problem many are combating on a daily basis. Many do not know where to start in getting the clutter under control and moving toward a more organized home/life. That’s what I am here for! As a Professional Organizer I help my clients create the new habit of being organized and living a clutter-free life.
This month I want to offer tips, tricks and solutions to help you get organized and on the right path to combating the clutter that has invaded your home. Stay tuned…..and be sure to share your own victories in combating clutter in the comment section below.
Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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It seems everything in life takes on a whole new dimension when we are parents, doesn’t it? Does that mean we have to run late? Does it mean life always has to be chaotic? Does it mean our homes are destined to be a disorganized mess? No! My children are all grown, however, when kids are little it is very important to include them in your time management plan. Not just for your own sanity but also for the good of your children. Here are 5 tips to include your kids in your time management plan:
1. Children thrive on a scheduled routine. A routine not a strict schedule, after all flexibility is a necessity with young children (and adults!).
2. Children are usually fast learners. Do not underestimate their ability to learn to manage their own time, they learn fast! Set a timer that will allow them to know when the time is up for tasks that need to be completed in a certain amount of time. This helps everyone at home stay on task.
3. Post a schedule for children who can read to follow. Incorporate your children into your time management plan with a “loose” schedule. Once they learn what to expect, children are generally eager to embrace what needs to be done.
4. Allow them to check off tasks as they are completed or earn stickers. Children are no different than adults in that they love to check off what they complete. Earning a sticker is just icing on the cake, so to speak.
5. Give your children small organizational tasks to accomplish according to their age and ability. A two year old can be instructed to take his clothing and put them in his dresser drawer, while being supervised. He can also be taught to pick up what he takes out of drawers or toy bins. 5 years and above are capable of helping fold clothes and put them away. Find what works with your kids and set up a plan to spend just a few minutes of the day guiding them in simple tasks.
These 5 tips to include your kids in your time management plan will help get you gain ground in your time management, as well as enable you to see some positive strides towards your home becoming more organized.
Feel free to share your own tips of how you include your kids in your time management plan and keep your home organized.
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One Saturday morning I looked around my house and it felt cluttered. After a few busy weeks of business, travel, and other commitments things were looking a little shabby. I felt like it was out of control and I also felt a little guilt for letting it get this way. Then I thought, “This is probably some of what my clients are feeling.” The clutter came from different places in my home but things hadn’t been dealt with, much less put away. This is where the fourth principle of organization comes in – The unfinished business of maintenance.
Our lives run the gambit - busy then slowed down, crazy then peaceful, planned out then unexpected, happy then sad. This is why we must make time to maintain our organization. Our lives are not static and neither are our organizing systems. By taking a few minutes each week (or month) to do some maintenance we can make sure our homes stay organized. Since I believe in walking the talk here’s what I did that Saturday to maintain my home:
Put away sweaters that were laid out to dry after laundering
Put away new book I received & want to read later
Hung up the sheer curtain in the bedroom
Cut out and filed my grandmother’s obituary
Put away nail file and clippers
Returned my scrapbook to the bookshelf
Recycled a few magazines
Filed away a recipe given to me by a friend
Now I didn’t time myself but this honestly did not take a huge chunk of my time. After this was done, even before doing my house cleaning, my home felt better… It was visually more organized and that made me feel better. Our external clutter can cause internal angst and that’s something we don’t need to add to our already full lives. Take a few moments and do some maintenance today; it will make you feel better! By the way, if you need to learn the four principles of organization then you may want to get my ebook, Organize to Downsize; it’s all explained in there.
Leave a comment and let me know what you did with the unfinished business of maintenance in your home.
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Yes, being disorganized can actually cost you money! Before I give you the 8 reasons why disorganization may be costing you money, I want to share examples of some of the “treasures” I have found while working with my clients.
A wedding album (from a previous marriage)
$50 and $20 bills; I’m still on the look out for $100 bills!
A ring that was long ago thought lost
A sister’s birthday present that was supposedly mailed (oops!)
An uncashed $1700 tax refund check!
It is very satisfying to help my clients find those long lost items. They are always so grateful and sometimes even tearful! Besides finding what was “lost”, getting organized does save you money. Here’s 8 reasons why being disorganized can cost you money:
$ Misplaced checks that are never deposited is money you don’t have. Often, when these checks are found the checks are now stale dated and you have to go through the trouble of getting the payer to cut another check. In most cases, it’s not worth the trouble running down the payer so that money is gone forever.
$ When you can’t find or forget to pay a bill, you incur late charges.
$ If your paperwork is not in order at tax time and this causes you to miss the filing date, you are in for some hefty penalties from the IRS.
$ Not knowing where items are or not being able to see them causes you to go out and buy something you already have.
$ Money is wasted in gasoline when you are constantly running a bunch of extra errands for those things you keep forgetting.
$ It’s money not well spent if you can’t find a passport and you have to cancel a vacation abroad. This really happened.
$ Not being able to function in your kitchen or not having the right grocery items causes you to eat out more. Eating out can quickly drain your budget.
$ When bills or other things that require mailing are on the verge of being late, using expedited shipping can become quite expensive.
Some of these reasons don’t just cost money, they also increase stress and feelings of overwhelm. When money is lost due to disorganization, money issues can effect relationships. So while being somewhat disorganized may seem like a small issue now, picture it as a snowball about to roll downhill. The disorganization will get bigger and bigger and can wreak havoc along the way! Take steps now to get more organized. If you don’t know where to begin, read my blog post entitled Ready, Set , Organize!
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Do you save greeting cards? This post is for greeting card savers. Some save all the cards they have every received and other throw them all away. I save the cards from my husband and a few other lovely cards, that really touched me. This is where I store my saved greeting cards-
It’s a train case from a vintage luggage set I own. Not your usual storage container, but it works for me. If you want to see what inside the other pieces of luggage, check out this blog post.
The train case is my “container”; it serves to hold my greeting cards. Another aspect to this is the train case sets a limit or boundary on what I can save. My train case is getting rather full so that means it’s time to do some maintenance. What does maintenance look like? I will periodically go through the cards in the case and make a few new decisions about what stays and what goes. The trip down memory lane while doing so is a nice bonus!
Keeping a few cards can make us feel connected to our past and our loved ones. It’s not necessary to save them all. When we save them all, there is no boundary, and we probably will never take the time to look at them again. The cards saved simply grow in volume each year and when we catch a glance of them out of the corner of our eye, we may sigh and then feel guilty about one more thing not being organized!
Is that really what we want?
Here are a few other card storage ideas to keep the card collection in check and have them organized.
Is it time to maintain your saved cards? Do you have the right container to store your cards? I’d love to hear what you do – leave me a comment!
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I am always happy to hear from clients who have a particular organizing question. Today’s post is about one such question – how best to organize the baby’s room.
We are living in a small house and want to move baby into her own room. Because we lack storage closets, half of the closet in the baby’s room is used for dad’s clothes. While we have the baby’s toys in another area of the house, the room needs to hold all of the baby’s clothes, shoes, jackets, diapering needs and stuffed animals. Working with what we have, what do you recommend?
The Solution for Organizing Baby’s Room:
1. Sort and Purge
Start by sorting through everything on the floor. Have 3 baskets or bins at the ready- one for garbage, one for donations, and one for things that need to leave the room. As you sort, put the baby’s clothes into categories- wears now, too small, and too big.
Next, take everything off the dresser and sort and purge again. This is a great place to keep any baby mementos that you don’t want played with (or broken).
This is where the planning comes into play. Based on your photo of the room, I recommend adding an additional shelf to the top of the closet and use it to store the file box and things you rarely access. On the original closet shelf I would put the bulk purchase of diapers and wipes for easy access. Since it appears you have already removed one closet door, remove the left closet door as well.
Purchase an additional hanging bar to increase your hanging space and put baby’s hanging outfits there. I would use the left side of the closet for baby’s clothes so that dad can still have his clothes on the right side.
In the dresser you have four drawers. Starting at the top drawer, here is how to organize the dresser:
* Socks, tights, leg warmers and bibs
* Onesies, play clothes
* Outfits (folded together)
* Hats, sweaters, mittens
Use a hanging organizer on the back of the door to hold all baby shoes. Put the baby shoes that are still too big in the top pockets.
For the clothes that are too large for baby to wear right now, purchase a plastic tote with a lid. Place clothes in there with the largest sizes at the bottom. Label the outside of the tote. You can also use ribbon to bundle the like sizes together and label each bundle.
Purchase a toy hammock for the stuffed animals. Rotate them out two at a time for the baby to play with.
As your baby grows, remove clothes that are too small as you notice them. Have a donation bag somewhere in your home at all times. Before shopping for more clothes, check your plastic tote for clothes that can be brought out and worn. Purge the toy hammock regularly or those stuffed animals will quickly outgrow the space!
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Many people struggle with paper. Are you one of them? Creating a new mail habit is the first step to getting your paper better organized.
Here are 3 simple steps to a new mail habit:
1. Create a mail station location.
This should be in the place where you currently are in the habit of opening your mail. For example, this can be in the office, the kitchen, or next to the couch where you watch TV. Once you determine the mail station location, it is important that the mail be put there every single time it is carried into your home.
Have a basket, an in-box or some sort of container for incoming mail. Label it as such. This container is only for the mail that has not yet been opened! Also have a trash can and shredder (or a “To Shred” bin)
3. Train yourself and your family.
ALL incoming mail is to go into the incoming mail basket.
Determine how often you will review the mail – twice a week, four times a week, or every day? The choice is yours, but you need to be consistent! When you are reviewing the mail you must be ready (and willing) to do one of three things:
or throw it away
Do not place mail back in the basket with the idea that you will deal with it later. That will just repeat the vicious cycle of having too much paper to manage and not taking care of it (which is the reason you are probably reading this post, right?)!
If you want more ideas on how to take action on the mail you receive, check out these videos:
Household Paper Management
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Today we are focusing on your clothes closet. Let’s get going by looking at 10 reasons to organize your closet.
1.) You find yourself wearing the same outfits week after week
2.) You can’t shut your closet door(s)
3.) You can’t move your clothes hangers because it’s packed so tight in there
4.) You can’t find your favorite shirt but you are sure that it’s “in there somewhere”
5.) Your closet rods are sagging
6.) You can’t see the floor of your closet
7.) There’s a layer of dust on the shoulders of some outfits
8.) You can’t find the other shoe
9.) You have clothes now hanging on hooks behind every door
10.) You have clothes piled around your bedroom with nowhere to put them
If you can relate to any of these reasons, read the following articles on my blog and follow me through my closet organization (you’ll get to see the before and after)!
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I have found product manuals in the weirdest places when helping my clients. Places like the cabinet under the bathroom sink, mixed in with a stack of recipes, and crumpled in the back of a kitchen drawer. It just goes to show you how frequently we even access this information, right? What if you needed to find a manual right now? Today’s post is about organizing manuals, instruction booklets, and warranties. I know it’s not a top priority on your organizing to-do list, but when you are ready to tackle this project, just come on back to my blog. (There’s always the handy dandy search bar to help you find these posts.)
1. Gather and purge
As you gather your manuals and such, you will likely find many for items you don’t own any longer. Throw those away now. Don’t even waste your time trying to remember who you gave the toaster to so you can give them the booklet…most hand-me-downs don’t come with instructions anyway!
As I mentioned before, we typically do not need to refer to these manuals and warranties after the first time we look at them. They are reference materials. As such, they do not need to take up precious space in your home. Mine are located in an old file drawer we have in the garage. The point is not to have them taking up the space you have for more important things.
3. Containerize and Label
Get hanging file folders and label one for each room in your home. You will need 3 more files – Tools, Lawn/Garden, and Laundry. Having a file for each room in the house helps separate multiples you may own. Take TV’s for example, you may have several TV’s and if you put the right manual in the correct room file, you won’t have to know the make and model when you go searching for it. For example, if you need to look up something about the TV in the family room, you only have to look in the Family Room file.
The easiest way to remember to maintain your manuals is to purge every time you go in the file, whether you are looking something up or adding a new manual to it.
This is an easy project, once you have collected all those manuals, instruction books and warranties. It should take you about an hour to label and file. Now that we’ve talked about how to organize the manuals, instruction booklets, and warranties this brings me to another “soap box” moment.
Are you keeping all those empty boxes that once held the iHome, computer, printer, TV?? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think I would have to say about that!
Posted in Clutter, Get Organized, Organizing Your Home, Paperwork and Documents | 1 Comment »