Now What? How Many Books are To Many?

July 1, 2015

I’ve been talking with you about the concept of enough. A few weeks ago I wrote about how many clothes are enough. Moving on to books… I’ve often heard said ‘you can never have too many books’. I disagree. Even though I think books are wonderful and I am, in fact, a self-professed book-worm. My nose is often buried in a book whether it be an e-book, a paperback, or a hardcover. However, I pass novels on to family, friends, or to my local public library once I’ve read them. I do keep reference books and books that have spoken deeply to me that I may want to re-read. I do not let my collection of books grow to the point where there are so many books that I don’t have places to adequately keep them.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s go back to the concept of the container. We’ll imagine that the bookcase is the container. How many books can your bookcase hold without double stacking and without one row of books in front of the other? Some tall bookshelves with long shelves may hold many, many books while other bookcases being shorter with short shelves may only hold a few. Perhaps you have more than one bookcase in your home. Maybe you have a few shelves in the bedroom and a larger bookcase in your office or family room. You could also have a few large coffee table or picture books in the living room.

When you’ve run out of places to put books try not to run out and buy another bookcase. If your containers (bookcases and shelves) are full starting looking carefully at what you’re keeping and edit out books you’ve read and will not be re-reading. Maybe your children have out grown some of the books. Consider donating those in good condition to a pre-school or nursery. Maybe you’ve read some great novels, your friends or family members may want them or perhaps donate them to your local library. What about all those cookbooks? Are there some that you honestly never ever open? Put them aside to donate too.

I’m interested to know about the books in your home. Do you have too many books or is your collection just right?

 

Now What? Closet Organizing Tips

June 25, 2015

Last week I started a conversation with you about your closet. I compared the closet to a container. When a container is full, you can’t put anything more in it. Likewise in a closet, when it is full, it becomes difficult to put clothes away neatly.

I promised to give you tips on how to organize your closet after spending some time culling your collection of clothes. So, here they are!

  1. Group like with like. Put all your slacks/pants together. Put all your blouses/shirts, skirts, dresses and jackets together too.
  2. Once you have them grouped together separate the colors within each group.
  3. Take the time to separate the dressy clothes from the everyday clothes

You will be amazed by how easy it is to spot the clothes you are looking for when your clothes are group by type and by color.

Are you wondering what to do with your shoes?

Depending on the space in your closet you can get a shoe rack and put the shoes you wear most often in the shoe rack.

For the shoes you wear only occasionally, consider storing them in an under the bed shoe storage drawer or in clear plastic boxes on a high shelf in your closet.

Another option is to get an over the door shoe rack.

Here are a few more tips courtesy of my friend and colleague, Geralin Thomas from Metropolitan Organizing. I love these tips because they are so easy to remember!

Geralin says look for anything that needs Mending. Ask yourself a few questions: Are you going to take the time to fix this yourself or get it fixed? If so, schedule it in your calendar. If not, remove it from your closet.

Next, look for anything that needs to be Ironed. Will you actually iron it? Will you get someone to iron it for you? If you answered ‘yes’ then schedule the ironing. If the answer was ‘no’ remove the item from your closet and try to buy wrinkle free clothes!

Finally, is there anything hanging in your closet that needs an Alteration? Is it too long, too short? Does the waist need to be let out or taken in? Is it worth fixing? If the answer is ‘yes’ then schedule a trip to the tailor. If the answer is ‘no’ remove the clothes from your closet.

I hope these tips help you keep your closet in good order. Remember, your closet can only hold so many clothes. When you plan to go shopping also plan what you will be removing from your closet to make room for the new clothes!

Now What? How Much Is Enough?

June 18, 2015

I’d like to start a conversation about what enough means to you. How do you know when there is enough of something?

Well, sometimes the container defines enough. Take a glass, for instance. When you go to fill it with water you know you have poured enough water as the level of the water reaches the rim of the glass. If you get all the way to the very tippy top of the glass you know you won’t be able to lift the glass to drink out of it. It’s too full, there’s too much water.

A bowl, a plate, a pot are all similar in that the size of the container defines how much you can put inside.
These are easy concepts, right? But what about our closets and clothes?

I’d like you to think of your closet as a container – a defined space. Only so much will fit inside. Intellectually we all know this to be true. Yet we cram as much as we possibly can inside. So much that the hangers don’t always fit in well and the clothes become bunched up. Sometimes there are so many clothes to put away and no room for them that they find homes on the floor, on the back of chairs, doors, and in doorways. How do we figure out how many clothes are enough?

I have a few strategies for you to use to keep your clothes collection manageable.

First, let’s talk about your clothes. Are you keeping some because they hold marvelous memories of a great time you had while wearing them? Would you ever consider wearing them again? If so, great – keep them. If not, then take a picture of the clothes, remove them from your closet, and put them aside to donate. Someone else can benefit from them.

Next, are there any clothes hiding in the back of your closet. Perhaps you aren’t wearing them because they are either too big or too small. Maybe you’re thinking that one day you’ll be that size again. Well, maybe you’re right. You may be that size again one day but when that day comes these clothes will probably not be in style. Please remove those clothes from your closet and put them aside for donation.

Now, take a hard look at your clothes. How many pairs of black slacks do you need? I suspect you want to have different kinds of black slacks – dressy, work, and knock around. How many of each kind do you need? How many can you wear at one time?

Sometimes it’s necessary to have a pair to wear, a pair in the wash, and a pair ready for the next day. So, that makes three. This holds true for many articles of clothing that you need on a regular basis.

Think about this and decide how much is enough for you.

Now that you’ve removed the extra items from your closet you have room to get your hanging clothes organized!

I’ll give you some great closet organizing strategies next week. In the meantime, take an inventory of the clothes you’ve removed from your closet, take a picture of the pile and attach it to the inventory, then take your donation to your favorite charity. Be sure to attach the donation receipt to your inventory!

Reward yourself for a job well done!

Now What? Let’s Get Outside

June 3, 2015

How are you spending your days? Do you spend much time outside? I know I do. I love going on walks with my dogs, going biking with a friend, and even canoeing on the Chatahoochie. I always take water with me – do you?  I use a water bottle made by Life Factory. I love these bottles because they’re made of glass, they’re easy to clean and they are even dishwasher safe!

Using these water bottles means that I’m not spending money on buying bottles of water. A money saving strategy! Also, since they are made of glass they are free of chemicals! Wonderful!!

Life Factory recently added to their line of water bottles (they come in a variety of sizes, colors and caps – straw, flip, and regular) with tumblers, and wine glasses! I love this! Imagine a picnic without plastic cups.

I can imagine having a picnic and bringing along these glasses. I admit bringing these glasses will add to the weight of the picnic basket but it will reduce the amount of waste. Check them out – they are sold in packages of 2. Let me know what you think. Will you make the switch from plastic to glass?

Now What? A Great Planner for Students

May 27, 2015

I love a good planner and am always on the hunt for those which will help my clients feel more in control of their ‘to-do’ list. Here is a planner that I saw at the NAPO 2015 Conference last month.

I am  so excited about Order Out Of Chaos’ Academic Planner—A Tool For Time Management. This planner gives students a natural way to visualize time that helps them time manage and control their schedule. What makes this planner so special is the space at the bottom of the page for listing after-school activities and weekend plans. Students can identify if social commitments will interfere with school plans. Hence, at a glance, students can easily identify blocks of free time. With larger formatted pages, there is plenty of space to write assignment details as well as long-range events, like family vacations or camps.

 

For more information on the Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management, visit: http://orderoochaos.com/shop-products#!/~/product/category=5059090&id=34250373

Now What? Furniture Origami

May 20, 2015

Do you know what origami is? It’s the traditional Japanese folk art of paper folding. When I think of origami I think of intricately folded paper that resembles a swan, swallow, deer or some other graceful creature.

Never in my wildest imaginings did I think that a furniture company would name itself Origami. Well, this furniture company displayed some of their wares at the NAPO 2015 Conference in Los Angeles. The featured sturdy shelves that fold flat! These shelves can be installed in minutes because there is nothing to assemble. The shelves simply unfold and you lock them into place.

The company has a wide variety of shelves which serve multiple purposes. For instance, they have a Washer and Dryer Rack, a Mudroom Rack, a TV Rack, a Computer Desk and even a Laptop Trolley. I was amazed when I looked through their catalogue by the wide variety of shelving racks they offer.

StoreBack-Room-Display-Rack

Here’s a link to their site. http://www.origamirack.com There’s a video on the homepage which shows how easy it is to unfold the racks and pop them into place.

So, if you have a space that needs some shelving – particularly to use the vertical space. Investigate this option.

Let me know what you think!

Now What? Another NAPO 2015 update

May 13, 2015

Last week I told you about HomeZada – a wonderful computer program to help you with everything to do with your house and home. This week I’m reviewing the Purse Perfector. This is not a new invention but the company has been tweaking their design and this year I decided to really investigate it. This is the perfect tool to help organize your bottomless tote bag. You know the one you carry to the beach. The tote bag holds everything: your book, hat, sunscreen, water bottle and all the other various and sundry items we women carry in our bags. I don’t know about you but I always end up holding things in my bag for other members of my family too! Usually I am asked to please hang onto hats, sunglasses, other family member’s books or magazines so my tote bag is necessarily very big.

How do I find MY things amidst all these other belongings? Well, that’s where the Purse Perfector comes in very handy. It has pockets, sections, and slots to hold all my necessary items. It comes in two sizes: medium and large. It’s on sale right now in honor of Mother’s Day. Here is a picture from the website:

Large-Silver-Sage

I put my driver’s license, health insurance card and a credit card in the slots in the very front. My lip gloss goes in the little holder and right next to that I put gum or breath mints. I have room for a kindle or e-reader or small notebook in the center section. Behind that I put my reading glasses and sunglasses. Then I stash my keys in the section next to my glasses. This is how I keep my things all together and organized – even when they are at the bottom of a large tote bag!

The Purse Perfector comes in a variety of colors and you can use it in all sorts of different ways. It even zips apart if you want to use it in a small handbag. Check out their website for more information! http://www.purseperfector.com

Now What? Musings from the NAPO 2015 Conference

May 5, 2015

I’ve been home now a couple of weeks from the NAPO 2015 conference in Los Angeles. Can you imagine staying in a hotel with (I’m not sure exactly how many) about 600 or so professional organizers? It was a very large hotel and conference center. I get lost easily and so was thankful that the conference organizers had lots of signs directing us to various and sundry classrooms.

For us organizers (those new to the profession and those of us who are more experienced) it was a magnificent few days. It offered us time to connect with friends we really only talk to face to face once or twice a year as well as time to take classes. I made lots of new connections, took terrific classes, and visited with vendors in our expo hall to learn about the latest and greatest organizing products.

My head is still spinning from all the new information I acquired. I plan to take my time deciding how to incorporate this information. A few classes I took were focused on running a business. Even though I’ve been in business now for ten years (WOW!) the elements I took away from those classes will help me to run my business better and to better serve my clients. I’m excited about that.

My plan is to review with you some of the things I learned at NAPO 2015 that I plan to share with my clients. Maybe these are things you would like to implement also.

The first is a program you can download. I plan to use it myself. It’s called HomeZada. As I said this is a program you download but it is cloud based. So, it’s accessible from anywhere, anytime. This is important because the HomeZada program provides you with tools to create a fantastic home inventory. If anything should happen to your home because this is cloud based and you can access it from anywhere anytime you would still be able to provide the insurance company with an accurate record of the contents of your home. How fantastic is that! Also, a home inventory comes in very handy if you’re planning to move.

HomeZada also has a way to keep track of routine household maintenance schedules and renovations. You know that it’s important to have great records of any and all home improvements. With HomeZada you have a tool to record what you did, how much it cost, and when the renovation or repair happened. All very important details. The program does other things too but these are the functions that impressed me most.

I can’t wait to start creating my own home inventory. How about you? Are you interested? Does the thought of having a home inventory, maintenance records, home improvements, user manuals all in one place – thus easy to find and access – thrill you? Check out HomeZada at: http://www.homezada.com and let me know what you think!

Do Your Best

March 17, 2015

There are a few organizer sayings that I often hear and even more often repeat to my clients. One of them goes like this… It doesn’t have to be perfect, just make it good enough! The message behind this statement is fairly clear but in the interest of complete transparency let me explain it further.

When you begin a project you have a vision in your mind’s eye – a picture of how you want the project to look once completed. This vision is probably close to perfection, if not perfection. However, it’s not always possible to achieve that level of perfection. So, if you finish the project and you’ve done your best, be happy with good enough.

How do you know if it’s good enough? Well, you can ask some questions – and answer them.

Does the completed project solve the problem?

Will you be able to maintain the organization?

Does it make you happy?

Does it look the way you’d like it to (even if it doesn’t match the picture in your mind’s eye)?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions then it’s definitely good enough!

I always work towards doing my best. I firmly believe that is all anyone can ask of another. So, if you consistently put out lots of effort and do your best, be happy with good enough!

Do You Have Time?

February 25, 2015

Do you wonder how some people seem to have more time in their day? You know, these are the people who accomplish many of their tasks during the day. They plow through their ‘to-do’ lists and still have time to exercise or relax over lunch with a friend.

Other people struggle to get even two items crossed off their ‘to-do’ list. Why is this? We all have the same number of hours in each day to use so why is it that some people accomplish more in the same amount of time?

I think we’re all so busy – our days are jam packed full – that we forget to stop and ask ourselves is this the best use of my time right now. When you ask yourself that question you might be surprised at the answer you give yourself.

Perhaps, instead of spending your time running a quick errand now you can combine that errand later in the day with picking the children up from school. Then, you’ll have time now to work on the project at home that you’d like to complete by the end of the month.

Maybe, you’re hosting the book club at your house later this week. What do you need to do to get ready for this event? Take a few minutes to write down all the small steps to take to make your home ready to welcome your friends. Then, schedule in your calendar to take care of these small steps. You’ll be much more relaxed and ready to talk about the book if you take the time to prepare yourself in advance.

Doing small tasks because you think you should be doing something is not always the best use of time. Take time to think about the things that matter most to you. What is really important to accomplish? Write it down. What are the small tasks that you can do – a little here and there? Write them down. Now get out your calendar and plan your time accordingly.

Before you know it you’ll be one of those people who get all the ‘to-dos’ on their ‘to-do’ list done!

For more tips on managing your time check out my book: Now What? A Simple Organizing Guide


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