Upgrade your kitchen with these simple five tips

Half our time is spent in the kitchen every day so why not boost it up a little aesthetically? You can make your kitchen comfortable, cozy along with keeping them stylish. We’ve got five incredibly trouble free and reliable tips to upgrade your kitchen.

  • Show Off Collectibles

Remove the cabinets and get some above-window shelving installed, and then add some collectibles or any vintage décor you would like to show off. The high window shelving will make the collectibles more attractive and aesthetically pleasing. It will be an incredibly bright spot. You can even use it as storage for beautiful things related to the kitchen that you don’t need in everyday use.

  • Install a Hands-Free Faucet

This will be the best swap in your kitchen and the best inclusion to the house. This just justifies the modern technology and has loads of advantages. You wouldn’t have to make the faucet dirty while touching it with dirty hands; it will sensor your hands below and ta da! You obtain clean and spotless hands without any effort. This also wastes less water, along with preserves water. It is incredibly easy to install and utilize. This will also go way easy on the wallet and will help save energy bills as well. Hygienic panacea.

  • Add Lights under the Cabinet

Adding lights to the cabinet will give a very decorative touch. They will also provide more attention to the decoration items or any flowers on the table below by shining on them. This will make the kitchen look full of energy and vigor rather than dull or depressed. Lights under the cabinets will also make working in the kitchen a whole lot fun. This will also lower your energy bill and is easy to induct. There will also be fewer shadows because no one will be standing in between the lights and the shelf. This is an incredibly good idea to make the kitchen more unique and to enhance interior value.

  • Show Off Dishes

Give dishes room to breathe and instate more shelves for dishes. Get your beautiful plates out and start setting them up in your dish rack. Dish racks are essential for every kitchen. They are also durable and easy to install but would come a little pricey. They are also incredibly safe for fragile dishes; by this dish rack they will be protected, and no harm will be able to come to them, unless you decide not to tighten the nails of the rack enough, oops.

  • Bench Seating

If you’ve got extra space in your kitchen for a bench, we would recommend you to get a bench on the corner. They are not very traditional in every kitchen. Thus they would make you unique or different from other kitchens. You can place one next to a table for your daily morning meal or to just read your morning newspaper on, since they are incredibly cozy and comfortable. You can get benches in different designs with extremely comfortable sizes, colors, and patterns.

  • Add Color

Add a splash of your favorite color to kitchen cabinets to really pack a punch and add flare. This apple green is a bold choice in a black and white kitchen but it definitely makes the space more cheery. Try out an accent color, even if it’s not on all your cabinets and see how it makes the room feel.

Author Bio:  Julie Austin is a blogger who loves to write about home improvement. She is sociable and kind and loves to decorate almost everything! In her free time, she enjoys sunset with her friends at the seashore. Read her posts at http//nurserygliderz.com/.

12 Surprising Ways Clutter Is Ruining Your Life

The leaning tower of pot lids that spills every time you open the cabinet door, that stash of unworn shirts taking up precious real estate in the back of your closet, the intimidating mountain of papers obstructing the view of your desk:  clutter: It happens to the best of us.

But if you think clutter is just a physical nuisance, it’s not. Studies show that sheer accumulation of stuff also takes a toll on our everyday lives.

All that mess can prevent us from relaxing and wreak havoc on our day-to-day mood. Too much clutter can also threaten our safety, seep into our professional lives, derail our careers, and drag us into debt.

And it’s not just us – that chaos can affect our loved ones, too. Those with hoarding disorder have significantly high divorce rates. And children especially are sensitive to severe clutter, which can continue to distress them even outside the home.

Curious to learn more about clutter’s negative impact on your life?

Take a look at the below infographic from full-service storage startup MakeSpace. They analyzed various international studies, and also interviewed psychotherapists and physicians.

The result: A comprehensive look at the very real, very tangible effects that clutter can have on all aspects of your life.

Clutter infographic by MakeSpace

via MakeSpace



What you really need for back to school with teenagers

So if you follow me, you know that I’ve been in the organizing business for thirteen years now. I started when my kids were young and I was for the most part a “stay at home” mom. Things have changed as my family has grown up. What I used to like about back to school and back to routines is now a double edged sword. While the kids will be out of the house for the most part of the day, some things are harder. Like trying to wake them up, or remember to do homework, or remembering everything they need for after school sports, and helping them with homework (my kids passed my math levels a few years ago.) So while the stress is different, I still strive to teach my children organizational skills that I think will carry them on to their first job in the “real world” and hopefully make them better students. I do still believe that an organized person can do anything and be productive. While I watch the TV segments and read the articles in magazines about “back to school” I sometimes think, I’ve heard it all but sometimes the bright backpack or cute locker accessories are not really what it’s all about. So I’ve compiled here five of my favorite things which just might help you and your teenagers get organized this school year:

timetimerTime Timer – Because in a digital age, kids really don’t see time as concrete. This device makes it visual. Whenever I say to my kids “quarter of” or “quarter after” an hour, they give me a quizzical look. This only has meaning if you are looking at a round clock with hands. So consequently they may not understand how much they can get done in 15 minutes or half an hour. Try this test: ask your child how long will homework take? If they need to break it down by subject, do that. Then set the Time Timer and see how close they were to the estimate. Going forward they should have a better feel for how long it takes to do 2 pages of math, read a chapter in Science, etc. and that leads to better planning. If you have 4 hours of homework one night, you may have to skip a practice or give up TV

2015-16-oooc-academic-plannerPlanner – This is a great tool for writing down all your daily TO Do’s in each subject as well as keeping track of all your after school activities. With everything on one week or month at a glance, you can plan ahead for big projects. And having every s ubject written on the left hand column forces you to remember each one and consider it by the end of the day. I’ve us ed a planner since my first job out of college and I can’t imagine keeping track of things any other way!

IMG_1707Coat Tree – or a series of hooks in a mudroom setting is a great place to keep “activity bags” hanging and ready to go. Whether it’s a sport or dance class or karate, a small sinch ask or tote bag is a great place to keep all you need for an after school activity. Just grab it and go! The coat tree is also a great way for girls to keep all their scarves, purses and hats off the floor and easily accessible using vertical space.




charging station

Family charging station for iPhones – I can’t say enough about this subject. It serves multiple functions to have the whole family’s iPhones out of the bedrooms for the night. One, you’ll remember to charge them, Two, you won’t be awakened by beeps and buzzes to disturb your sleep. And three, the kids will not be texting late into the evening when they should be doing homework or sleeping. Decide on a time that works for your family and put the phones to bed. I strongly encourage parents to have the password for your kids’ devices so you can randomly check them. I tell my kids, if you don’t want me to see it, you shouldn’t be texting it or tweeting it, or sending that picture.

notebookThe 5 subject notebook – it’s been around awhile but it makes so much sense. Keep all your major subjects in one place. Often the divider is a pocket folder so you can keep loose papers here too. Less for your kids to remember to bring to class and bring home. When one gets filled, buy another for the next semester. This is great for middle school up through college.

Magical Move Ins

How to Organize your Kitchen


There is a trend in moving now that was even discussed by one celebrity in a Howard Stern interview. This trend is a dream come true for both the person or family who is moving and professional organizers across the country. I like to call this service, “The Magical Move-In.” It’s like when you go to a Disney resort and your bags magically get to your hotel room from the airport and you don’t have to lift a finger!

Basically what happens is that a professional organizer or team of organizers moves you into your new home. You and your family can walk through the door on Day 1 and everything is put away in an organized manner and you can begin your new life. Who wouldn’t love that? Especially after all the stress of selling a home, buying a home, packing up and relocating.

Benefits for the family

I want to share some experiences my team has had while working on a “Magical Move-In.” My first experience with this service was with a family. The mother and father had very high-level jobs and were in the process of relocating  for work. They also had two small children who were being uprooted from the only home they knew. The parents’ goal was for their children to walk in, feel comfortable and have their bedroom and play room set up. Clothes were put in the closets, beds were made, towels were hung in the bathrooms, food was placed in the pantry…you get the picture. For the children, this meant their new space would look a little like their old space because all the furniture and toys and linens were the same. For the parents, who had to move and get right back to work, this meant they didn’t have to take a week off to get settled. It also meant that no matter what the old house looked like, this new place would be organized from the start. How many people can say that?

Another client we worked with was a single dad. He traveled for work and really didn’t have the time to set up his townhouse. So my team and I unpacked, hung artwork, built shelves, got rid of duplicate kitchen utensils and household items and he continued with his life while we did this. He was happy to come home after a trip and find his new home all set up. Except the TV and stereo – that was his area of expertise.

Why Organizers Love It

From the organizers’ perspective – this is a dream job! We have a clean slate to start with and depending on the amount of direction or free range we receive from the client, we can really have a ball setting up an entire house. It’s a chance for us to suggest uniform bins for closets and shelves, set up a kitchen efficiently, organize the toys and do a little decorating too. We can also help the homeowner get rid of anything they really don’t need, want or use. Ideally this step is done before the move but we realize, that is not always possible.

What it takes

For an average size home with an average amount of stuff, a magical move in can take anywhere from a couple days to a full week with 2-3 organizers. If you are working and can pay the organizers less than what you make in a week, I think it’s worth the investment for your comfort and peace of mind. Something to consider the next time you make a move.

How Organizers Help Their Children

abs-coverHaving been in this business for thirteen years now, I have met many professional organizers like me who have children. I have been in their homes, heard their stories and it’s very clear that the organizational skills we possess are used not only in our businesses, but in our parenting skills as well. I was at one friend’s home last night and I had to laugh when I saw the “visual reminder” posted for her two young children in her kitchen. I recently put one on my own refrigerator to remind my boys of all the good/healthy things they should be doing every day; things that I find myself nagging them about constantly. To save myself some breath, I typed it up in a colorful professional memo. This list includes tasks like, floss, exercise, read a chapter in a book or an article, do something nice for someone else, etc. They are teenagers and I’m trying to get them to think outside of their own little world as well as to remember all the things I use to do for them when they were little.

So I thought about what our kids are exposed to in an organized household. There’s a lot of good there, but there is also a fine line. Too much structure, and the kids will rebel. So I’ve boiled it down to a few skills or lessons that you can learn from the professional organizer parent and apply in your own home if you are eager to calm the chaos and teach your children some life skills before they pack up and move away.

  1. Visual Reminders – Like the notes on the frig, anything that reminds a child to do something without mom or dad having to say it a million times is helpful. (I recommend the daily chore chart which can be downloaded from my Products page.) One of my absolutes is “put it where you use it.” So if your child needs to brush their retainer every night, put it on the bathroom sink. Need a bag for sports? Put it by your front door. But too many visuals can be overwhelming so limit the number.
  2. Routines – My daughter in college still likes to do her nightly routine. Her friends tease her as she brushes her teeth, washes her face, puts on PJ’s and starts to unwind. Many of them just crash in their bed whenever they get exhausted. But routines bring comfort. So help your children develop their own, like reading before bed, packing their lunch and schoolbag in the evening or cleaning out their locker every Friday. These routines will help their day and their weeks run smoothly.
  3. Time Management – As children get into middle school, help them find a planner that makes sense. Write down all their activities, part -time work and homework assignments. For long-term projects, help them work backwards from the deadline to meet certain milestones. Using a planner where they can see a month at a glance, a week at a glance and still have room for daily tasks will help them with meeting their goals. (Check out the Student planner on my Products page.)
  4. Goal Setting/Prioritizing –On more than one occasion I have sat down with my children and talked about their priorities. When so much is going on from exams to college applications to tryouts it’s easy to lose focus and get stressed out. It helps to talk it out and write it down. Ask questions like, what do you need to do first? How important is this? Limit the priority list to 3-4 items, so when daily stresses and decisions come up, they can ask themselves, “Is this supporting one of my priorities?” It also helps when they are bored and don’t know what to do. You can always do something to work towards your next goal.
  5. Decision Making – Any organizer will tell you that the crux of disorganization is the lack of decision-making. You can teach your children at an early age to make simple decisions. I encourage parents to do this with school art projects: go through the pile and let your child decide Yes or No to keep something. Then move on. They can do this with clothing, toys, etc. When they get older, it may be about activities to join, or colleges to apply to. Make sure they have some criteria for making the bigger decisions and that they think it through on the front end. Some people go through life avoiding decisions and second-guessing themselves, these people are usually unhappy.
  6. Money management – One thing organized parents do is give their children chores and pay them an allowance. This may be in the form of money or a point system. With a point system, the child can redeem points for extra screen time or a special treat. It all teaches them the value of work and money. When they start earning money through their part time job, it’s a great idea to have them put half in the bank and keep the other half for discretionary spending. Before they go away to college, make a budget plan with them. I suggested my daughter take the same amount of cash out of the ATM every week, this is her spending money. I discourage the use of debit cards because it’s easy to deplete your savings and not even know where the money went. It’s more “real” to spend cash. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Credit cards are even worse for college kids because they tend to live beyond their means, which is a bad habit to get into as an adult. As soon as they have a part time job, your kids could be paying for some of their living expenses like car insurance, and phone bills. If kids never know the cost of their own luxuries they will be in for a rude awakening when they start to live on their own.

So these are a few areas where I see many organized parents really instill good habits in their children. I hope you can take some or all of these tips and try them in your own family. If you think your kids won’t listen to you or if you want your kids to be more organized than you are, we are happy to work with your child directly. It’s my observation that children of really disorganized parents tend to be neater. And some children of perfectionists tend to rebel against the order imposed on them. So as with all things, moderation is key. If they have a good homework routine, and can make practical decisions, then dirty clothes on the floor may not be a big deal.

What organization skills have you taught (or would like to teach) your children?

Organize Before You Move

boxesMoving out of your home and into a new space is one of the most disconcerting events in someone’s life. Even the most organized person can be stressed out at the concept of boxing up your life and moving it. There is an emotional side to the transition and there is also a very physical and practical side to a move. Regardless of the reason for moving, look at it as an opportunity to “right size” your belongings and create a fresh start to your life.

I have helped clients organize their current homes as they are boxing up and preparing to move. On the flip side, I have also helped clients set up their new homes in an organized, functional way so they can feel settled in their new space as soon as possible. Here are some tips on how you can organize before your move to make your transition a little easier:

  1. Do the math:

  • If you have your moving date, plan backwards from there. Count the number of rooms in your home and figure that each room is going to take 1-2 days to pack up. Of course bigger rooms and those with more “stuff” in them will take more time. A room with more furniture and fewer small items may only take one day. If you work full time and are only packing at night, figure on 2 days per room just to be safe.
  • Have the measurements of each room in your new home so you can determine what furniture will fit. Identify what is moving with you and what furniture will be sold or given away. You can do this with a list or by putting colored stickers on the furniture, one color for keep and one for give away.
  • Have the measurements of closet space for every room in the new house. If your bedroom closet is half the size, you may have to part with half of your wardrobe, or consider where out-of-season clothing will be stored. Don’t rely on eyeballing it. Size really does matter in this case!
  1. Start with storage areas:

  • Your basement, garage and attic are the places in your home where you can downsize the most. Obviously, much of what is stored there is not used on a regular basis so start by categorizing and purging here. Box up what you definitely want to keep (I suggest uniform plastic bins for storage areas) and label the box with where these items will be stored in the new home.
  • If you have items in your storage areas that belong to other people (your grown children for instance) label the boxes with their names and give them a deadline for coming by and going through their belongings. Or make a phone call and ask what they want you to do with it. Respect their decision and let it go!
  • Designate a spot in one of these storage areas for donations. As you pack up your home, move donations to that place so they can all be hauled out at once.
  1. Work your way around the house room by room:

  • Once storage areas are organized and all boxed up, go through one room at a time and categorize what you have, purge what you don’t need, want or love and then box up what you will take with you.
  • Label boxes with the category and the room to which it will go in your new home. Leave the boxes in the room where they are.
  • If your move is 2-3 weeks away, only keep out what you will use in that time frame. You may need to be a minimalist for a while, but that’s ok. It may feel good.
  • Determine how many boxes you will need to finish up the room and leave empty boxes there for the last minute pack up.
  1. Last minute items:

  • A day or two before the movers come go around to each room again and pack whatever is left. Label boxes with, “daily essentials” so they are easily identified when you get to your new place.
  • Linens and towels can be easily packed in extra large SpaceBags. Just make sure you have your vacuum handy to vacuum seal them!
  • Put remaining clean clothes and personal items in a suitcase, as if you were packing for a trip.
  • Bathroom sundries should be packed in plastic bins and labeled by category (i.e. medicine, makeup, first aid)
  • Schedule a pick up for donations if you have a large amount. Otherwise, drive to your local Green Drop, Goodwill or food pantry.
  • Clean out the refrigerator, and put out any trash or recycling.
  1. When you arrive at your new home:

  • Set up your bathroom with a trash can, hand soap, toilet paper and towels.
  • Set up your bedroom with linens and the clothes & personal items from your suitcase.
  • Set up your kitchen with any food that you’ve transported, everyday dishes and utensils and some paper products like cups, plates and napkins.
  • Make sure each room has a light in it and window coverings.

Take a deep breath, sit down and don’t try to set it all up in one day. If you’ve done a good job of paring down, and labeling the moving boxes, all you have to do is make sure each box and piece of furniture gets to the correct room. You’ll have your necessities out for the first few days so you can eat, sleep and use the bathroom. Use the room-by-room approach once again as you unpack your boxes and start living in your new home.

Organize Your Home-Based Business

cover shotMany moms I know are trying to create that life balance with a home-based business. It’s a great idea, and I should know because I’ve tried a few! When my first child was young, I sold Mary Kay. That was a great way to go out in the evening, meet with other women and make a little extra money. I also got my own products at a discount, which saved money too. But I soon decided I did not want to be out at night when my kids were in school all day. And keeping inventory was becoming a problem. So I created my organizing business, which had no inventory, and the hours I work evolved every year as my children grew along with my client base. So here are some tips I’ve learned along the way to help keep my business running smoothly. Keep in mind, that you’re never finished with this process, it’s more a “rinse & repeat.” You find what works well with your life as it is now and stick to the basics.

  1. Decide your hours – when the kids are small, working at night and on weekends might be a good idea if your spouse can take care of them while you’re out. When they are in full time school though, I found I wanted to work 9-4 so I could be there when they left and when they got home. Whatever works for your family – set the hours and stick to them. Take off your business hat when it’s time to be mom and vice versa.
  2. Create an office – Believe it or not I see people who work from home and drag their laptop all around the house, have paperwork everywhere and wonder why their business is not organized. Even if you have a small desk and 2-drawer file cabinet in the corner of a room, you can make it an office. I find it’s easier to concentrate on work when I sit there with everything I need at my fingertips.
  3. Keep a list of clients – From your first one to the person who calls you on the phone just to ask about your pricing. This will give you a list to go back to when business is slow. You can use a simple Excel spreadsheet or go to a Contact management system so you can send them information via email.
  4. Communicate regularly – Speaking of list of clients, what can you say to them? Well, a blog that goes out the same time each week, a monthly newsletter with some tips or news or an Evite for a special event. These are all ways to get in front of your customers over and over again. You never know what will spark their interest!
  5. Be easy to deal with – I see so many people caught up in logistics of running their business that they fail to just listen to what the customer needs and fulfill that need. Too much formality may scare some people off. Whether it has to do with payment, or scheduling or what type of work you are doing, try to be flexible and meet the customer’s needs.
  6. Use the phone! Given all the ways to communicate with people now, we often forget the phone. It is personal so that is key in a service-based business. Pick up the phone and check in with a no-pressure question that is specific to your client’s situation. When my appointment calendar is empty, I call it dialing for dollars. Just by making phone calls I will start booking with people who had been “meaning to call me.”
  7. Always look professional – in my business we get dirty but professional, and I always error on the side of being a little dressed up especially on my first meeting. As I get to know a client, I mirror their image and then step it up one notch. So if the client wears sweats, I might wear jeans and a casual top. If I’m working in an office of course I wear dress pants and a blouse.
  8. Share some personal info – but not too much! In a service business we get to know our customers pretty intimately. It’s good to share your own stories so they feel comfortable with you. But hesitate from giving too much information to where it becomes a discussion all about you. You are the professional; they are the clients so it’s really all about them.
  9. Say Thank You and ask for referrals – No surprise here but referrals are a big part of a small business. Many of us forget to ask for them! Make a point of this a few times a year and maybe offer an incentive to your clients for sending you their friends.
  10. Assess your financials monthly, quarterly and annually – When you love what you do and the checks are coming in, don’t forget to record them! Keeping track of your income & expenses may surprise you. You may be making less than you think or you might have peaks and valleys throughout the year. Use Excel or QuickBooks to track your money so you know what is worth doing over and where you may plan ahead for slow times of the year. Quarterly reports can help you predict the rest of the year and annual assessments can help you adjust your overall business plan.

What do you find hard about running your small business?

How Clutter Affects Your Mental and Physical Health

How Clutter Affects Your Mental and Physical HealthOverflowing closets and shelves, disorganized desks and tables and excessive amount of stuff can be overwhelming. Clutter affects most of us and can get to the point when it’s dragging you down .Many people fail to address the aggravating problem until they start feeling mentally exhausted. The negative effects of clutter go beyond the messy home and impact your physical and mental health.

More items mean more cleaning. The excess of stuff can cause allergies by attracting dust, dander and mold or it can impose a risk of household injuries. Clutter can also increase your stress levels by influencing your routine.

The Origins of Clutter

You collect clutter for a various reasons. Maybe it has sentimental value or you spent a good amount of money on it and you feel reluctant to simply throw it away even if you haven’t used for some time. In other cases, the items may serve to fulfill needs like security, self-worth, comfort or excitement. Your belongings may turn into a connection with the past or a symbol of being loved. Whatever the case, it can be literally painful to give up of your possessions.

According to a study at the Yale University the two areas of the brain associated with pain –the anterior cingulated cortex and insula, are invigorated when a person is faced with the situation to let go of items. This means that your brain perceives the loss of a valued possession the same way as if something caused you physical pain. The more financially or emotionally commited you are to an item, the more you want to keep it around. Don’t feel ashamed about being a hoarder or “clutter bug.” It’s your mind that plays tricks on you.

Effects on Physical Health

Clutter can have negative influence on your day-to-day activities. You will have difficulties finding what you need in the huge pile of mess and often be late for work or an appointment. It may sound surprising, but clutter also decreases the odds for exercising. Not only that, it can make you fat. Researchers have found a link between overconsumption of things and overconsumption of food. In general, the clutter drains your energy.

Effects on Mental Health

The excess of things in your surroundings can affect your ability to focus and process information. Physical clutter can overload your sense and weaken your decision-making skills, making you more stressed and less creative. The disorganization constantly bombards your brain with stimuli, informing it that something is not finished. As a result you get anxious or experience more severe mental issues. Clutter may strengthen existing bad habits like procrastination. It may also prevent you from living in the moment or block out new things from coming into your life.

The Solution

Try cleaning up the clutter one room or category at a time. It often helps to have another person do this with you, whether it’s a trusted friend or professional. When you’ve cleared an area, enjoy the feel of that room. Treat yourself appropriately. Recognize that disorganization is not beneficial for you and let go of the unnecessary. Ask yourself, do I feel better now that I’ve de-cluttered? If yes, move on to the next area. After cleaning the mess, it is essential to set up an ongoing organizational system to prevent the things from piling up again. A good habit is to put things back to their assigned places at the end of each day or at least at the end of the week. Most importantly, you should break the habit of accumulating things you don’t need. Only shop for what you absolutely need and what brings you joy.

This is a guest post by Ella Andrews. More on cleaning and organizing read at: dagenhamcarpetcleaners.org.uk

Shake Up Your Email Inbox

compter personOk, so it’s the end of the week and I like to wrap things up so when Monday morning comes, I know exactly what I have to do. Also, if there are any responses I can get in before the week is up, I like to do those too. But like many of you I have a full inbox in my email. By the end of the week I’m tired of looking at certain messages. They are in there because I don’t want to deal with them or I’m waiting on something. Let me explain that I use my email “inbox” as sort of a TO DO bin. If it’s in there, I have to do something with it. And if it’s been there for a while, it means it’s not urgent. So I think I need to shake up my in bin – just like I would do with a stack of papers that has been sitting too long on my desk. Re-arrange it and take a fresh look and maybe something magical will happen! Here are a few ideas to help you as I help myself get that mailbox as close to 0 as I possibly can:

  1. Tri-age your inbox every day – delete what you don’t want right now or don’t have time to read right now. If you find yourself deleting the same messages daily, consider “unsubscribing” to certain email lists.
  2. If you can answer it now – DO IT! The ball is in receiver’s court once you answer.
  3. Leave messages in your inbox if you will answer them at a later time. Hence creating your virtual “TO DO” bin.
  4. Try sorting your inbox by “sender.” That way you can see all messages from one person and possibly handle all the issues with one phone call. Then delete those messages.
  5. Try sorting your inbox by date received. You can start with the oldest dates and then decide if something is more than a week old, for example, it’s over. Let it go. Delete and move on. Ok maybe a month old is more reasonable.
  6. If you sort with the latest dates on top, handle what you can first then as you go down in the list you may be able to delete some items that are no longer urgent.
  7. You can also sort your inbox by the subject. That way you can pull together all comments on a certain subject and possibly eliminate a few or keep the latest.
  8. If you’ve got some important information in your inbox that you need to save for future reference, make a file folder -just like you would do with paper. Don’t forget to peruse your file folders occasionally to see if anything is irrelevant and can be deleted. Remember the bigger the file, the less likely you are to use it. So keep files specific.
  9. If the virtual TO DO bin is not working for you, consider transcribing all these TO Do’s into your daily planner. Assign each to a reasonable day of the next week when you can handle them. Everybody remembers differently but writing and seeing these items on a daily calendar will make them more tangible than a list on a computer.
  10. Shut down your email and enjoy your weekend!

How do you clean out your email? I would love to see your comments:

Don’t Fear the Bills!

debreceipts-150x150I have found an interesting trend with my clients. They are afraid of the bills. Unopened bills. Seriously. They don’t’ want to deal with them so they stay in the envelope, in a pile of other mail and usually that pile moves around a few times, and eventually ends up in a bag (cleared the table for company). When the client reaches the point where their office is filled with bags of mail, I get the call, “Debbie help!”

Now let me mention that these clients are not broke, they have the money to pay the bills so it’s not like when you graduated college and feared the bills that kept coming and suddenly realized your parents were paying for a lot of intangible things. No, they can pay them. And these are intelligent people; they do complicated things in their day to day lives. So it’s not the money, it’s not the degree of difficulty. Frankly I don’t know what it is that creates this mental block about bills. But I do have a solution.

  • First of all, gather them all together no matter how intimidating the pile.
  • Then open them! Half the stuff in that envelope is irrelevant. Recycle or shred the parts you don’t need.
  • Next, categorize them. You can do medical – taxes – utilities – credit cards – other. Or you can categorize them by company.
  • Pare them down. If you have several months worth of bills, you’re going to have duplicates. Keep the latest bill from each company. With medical bills check the patient and date of service to make sure you’re really looking at a duplicate bill. Make sure it has gone through insurance first.
  • If you get paper from a company and you pay them automatically on line, consider eliminating the paper bills.
  • Call the company if you have a question about the bill. So you might need a “Call” and a “Pay” pile when you’re finished.
  • Consider paying some bills on-line. I recommend regular payments that are the same amount or utility bills. Credit card bills and medical bills are ones that you want to look at the statement to make sure there are no errors.
  • File the statements and only keep out the stub and the envelope.
  • Put the bills in due date order
  • Pay all the older bills that you possibly can to avoid any more late fees
  • With medical bills you can often make a payment plan
  • If you are mailing a check, do it one week before the due date

That clears the backlog. Now decide if you are going to deal with the mail daily or weekly. Then decide if you are going to pay bills weekly or bi-weekly. That’s the only way to stay on top of it.


Any questions about dealing with bills? Leave a comment.

Clothes Organizing Made Easy

Clothes Organizing Made Easy

If you are sick of looking at the chaos in your wardrobe or wardrobes, and you are tired of going through all the piles just to find that one shirt, you should probably think about organizing your clothes. Here is a quick guide on how to do that with the least effort.

Empty your wardrobes. Yes, start with that. If you are going to look for a place for everything, you need to know what you actually have. The amounts of clothes you can take out of your wardrobe may surprise you. This way you will also see what kind of space you have – it is very possible that the only reason the wardrobe held everything is because you shoved and pushed everything in.

Start making piles. This is where the organization begins. Separate your clothes in two piles – used and never used. Take the latter pile and find it a different storage altogether – a closet, or cellar, or why not even give them away? Surely, there are some clothes that don’t fit you, or have gone out of fashion, or had been just a gift which you never liked and don’t plan on using anyway. Fix your attention to the former pile. This needs some more effort. You should probably make four more piles, dividing the clothes into seasonal uses. If it’s summer now, you probably don’t need the winter clothes in the front. Fold the clothing for the farthest away season and place them at the back of the wardrobe. Separate the clothes in the other piles into upper-body wear, lower-body wear and underwear. It’s time to make use of your wardrobe’s sections. Find a section for every clothes type and place them there. If your wardrobe is section-rich, you can even further sort your piles by color.

Deal with coats and shirts. These types of clothes go on hangers in the more spacious parts of your wardrobe. Coats and jackets for the season shouldn’t take up space there, though. Take them to your coat stand or closet for more convenient access when going out.

Small spaces for small items. Ideally, socks, underwear and accessories should have no place in your wardrobe. Get them their own cabinet or dresser drawers. With proper folding you should have no trouble going through them and finding exactly what you need in no time at all.

A well-organized closet and dresser will make you feel like you have a new wardrobe and will save you (and your family members) lots of time getting dressed each morning. As a reward for a job well done, go shopping for wardrobe staples if you don’t have them, like black dress pants, a nice pair of jeans or a crisp white blouse. Or go for a fancy dress and some great shoes.

To maintain the order in your closet, put everything back in its place on a weekly basis. And clean out the closet seasonally.


Article granted by Ella Andrews-n freelance writer and home décor specialist – on behalf of: http://bromptoncleaners.co.uk/sw10-carpet-cleaning-brompton-sw3/

How to make your bathroom kid-friendly

Pic 1 - Kids Bathroom


Once we have children, our whole life gets turned upside down. We sleep less, worry more, work harder, etc. Among things parents should do for their children is home redecoration and adaptation of certain rooms. This includes baby proofing and making your existing bathroom more kid-friendly. This does not mean you have to renovate the bathroom just for your children, but changing a few things around the existing one to make it safer will suffice. Here are some of ideas:


Going Up on a Step Stool

Reaching the sink, the toothbrush or an item on the washing machine might be hard for some youngsters, which is why step stools are a good introduction to your bathroom. They are inexpensive and easily placed on the most convenient locations and more than helpful.

Playhouse in the Bathroom

Playing with toys in the bathroom does not seem like something every parent would allow, but they could not be more wrong. Moreover, it is fun to see your child enjoy taking a bath for a change, just because there are some toys around. They can be stored all over the place, do not take too much room, but provide lots of entertainment.

Keep the Important Stuff to Yourself

Do not forget how dangerous razors, shaving machines or medicine can be for a child. Thus, keep them out of their reach and make their visits to the bathroom safer. With high wall cabinets equipped with a lock, you are doing a sensible thing for everyone involved.


We all know that children love colors! That is why you decorate their rooms in a colorful way and introduce themes that make them feel special. However, do not stop at that – playful bathrooms are much more child-appropriate so install a few accessories like radiant wall posters, intriguing tile prints, decorated mirrors, and so on. With more details like these, your child will fall in love with the bathroom instantly.


Not all homes have good heating and it is essential for your bathroom to be warm when you have a child in your life. There are several bathroom heating options and you can choose between floor heating, heated towel raids and heat lamps. All of these do the trick and are sufficient to create appropriate temperature, but floor heating might be the most sensible solution as most children often walk barefoot all the time anyways.

To Each His Own

All those who have more than one child know the everyday struggle over toothbrush/towel/soap/everything else. That is why it is vital to separate your children’s things and teach them to use their own. Individual towel hooks and plastic glasses with toothbrushes will help you more than you could imagine.

Final Ideas

When decorating a bathroom that your child uses, you can never go wrong if you make it colorful, shiny and playful. Figure out their favorite toys and activities and try to incorporate them into the bathroom as well. Ultimately, be absolutely sure to stay away from sharp edges and slippery surfaces at any cost!

About the author

Marie Nieves is student of economics who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. She is an avid lover of photography and she loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.

How to Organize your Kitchen

How to Organize your KitchenThe kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. Whether you have just moved in a new home or you want to make some renovations, a lot of effort and planning should be put in the kitchen. What you want to achieve is have a kitchen arrangement that flows smoothly and allows you to work in there without too much trouble.

It is not always easy to achieve this, however, because you have to take into account the space in your kitchen as well as overall shape of the room. In order to create your dream kitchen, you can consider some clearance as well as creativity tips to help you.

  • Start with some home clearance – if there is one thing you cannot have in your kitchen it is things you do not use. The idea of the kitchen is to be practical, functional, a place where you can work fast and effectively and where you can have lovely family meetings at dinner and breakfast. For this to be true, you cannot afford to have a cluttered kitchen with outdated appliances and equipment you have used in the past but never recently. You can either give the excess to friends or relatives, or you can organize a garage sale. Also you can always consider donating to charity organization. Regardless of what you decide, you will be thankful for this clearance and see a lot of room for improvement in your kitchen.
  • Replace appliances and broken equipment – a great kitchen is one that does not have any flaws. If you think that there is faulty equipment in yours, or perhaps some tools that have outlived their usefulness, maybe it is time to let go of them and replace them. For this reason some clearance will be necessary. Give yourself a day to go through your entire kitchen inventory and see what needs replacing.
  • Consider what you use most often – normally you want to keep your most frequently used items within easy reach. That way you can have everything you need fast and have your kitchen organized in such a way to allow easy access to this equipment. As for things you rarely use, you can consider moving those to your garage, attic, basement, or elsewhere you consider fitting.
  • Consider the centers of activity in your kitchen – think of the most common activities you find yourself engaged in while in the kitchen, and organize it accordingly. For example, if you bake often, you should store the flour, sugar, all of your measuring cups and mixing bowls in one place so that you can easily take all of them out. Keep the napkins, trivets, tableware and dishes all nearby so that when time for serving comes you can easily take it out and prepare the table.
  • Keep your counter clutter-free – you don’t want to have objects constantly sitting on your counter, because this is your main workspace. It needs regular cleaning and for this reason you should try to find alternative place for objects that normally lie around there. Consider domestic clearance if space is a problem.

It is by following these tips that you can have a kitchen that is well organized and convenient. Definitely implement these suggestions and you will have a truly great kitchen.

Article granted by Ella Andrews-n freelance writer and home décor specialist – on behalf of: professional home clearance in Chelsea.

What’s your biggest challenge with keeping your kitchen organized? Leave a comment or question:

10 Tips for Using Visual Reminders

chartimageThe more I work with busy parents, the more I see the need for visual reminders. If you’re not familiar with this term, these are items that remind us to do something. It may be a box or bag with returns in it, or a simple post-it strategically place around the house so you don’t forget. I see that my clients have a need for this in their hectic lives but I also see that there is a point of diminishing return. If your house is packed with visual reminders that clutter up every flat surface, you’re not going to see them for what they are.



I consider myself a visual person too. I like to have a big family calendar in my kitchen, I use a Franklin planner so I can see an entire month at a glance – to me it’s like looking at a jigsaw puzzle as I try to see what I can fit in where. Sorry, but a dot on a phone calendar does nothing for me. So I use visual reminders in my day-to-day life but there are a few tips to using them effectively.

  1. The majority of your house needs to be straightened up and items put away in their assigned places in order for your visual reminders to STAND OUT. Don’t put a reminder on top of a pile of clutter.
  2. You need to put visual reminders in consistent places. For instance, if there are things you want to remember before you leave your bedroom, put a post-it on the mirror. If there are items you need to take out of your house, put them in your car or on a table near the door. I call this the GOING OUT TABLE.
  3. If you are going to be out and about running errands on a Saturday for instance, put items in the passenger seat of the car so you see them and take care of them. This could be returns to stores, or deliveries. Anything you are bringing home can go in the back seat or trunk to keep it straight.
  4. If the pile of TO DO’s on your desk is falling over, break it down further. You might categorize items into: calls, computer research, shopping or projects.
  5. Gift cards are a common item that I see people tuck away and forget about. So think about putting them in your wallet – they are like money! Or have one card-holder just for them. Or simply put the ones you will use on-line in the top drawer of your desk and put the others in an envelope in your car. The key is easy access when you want to use them.
  6. Dry cleaning and clothing repairs are another category that I find all over people’s homes. Put them in the same bag each week and place the bag in your bedroom until it’s full.
  7. If you are a major visual person who cuts out magazine articles for ideas on decorating, recipes, and home improvement projects, consider making binders for each and placing the articles in plastic sleeves.
  8. Realize that everything can’t be out. You have to prioritize and only keep out what you are going to work on in the next week or so. Use a planner (electronic or paper) for any projects that need to happen in the future. Label files clearly and you’ll be able to find what you need when you are ready. Leaving just a few projects out is less overwhelming.
  9. Have a “Pending” or “Waiting On” folder on your desk. This is a visual reminder of who needs to get back to you or what you are waiting for to come in the mail. I use this for on-line orders, invoices and anything related to a call back.
  10. If you use visual reminders for your kids, keep it simple. Use pictures for little ones and stick to three items. Check out the chore chart on my Products page for a way to keep everyone’s chores and activities straight in your family!

Saving Your Memories

Memories come in all shapes and sizes. I see them in every room of the houses I organize. But the main thing to remember is that memories are in your head, not in your stuff. No one can take those memories away from you. But I realize that sometimes saving a few things will help jog those memories and make you smile for a loved one lost or a time gone by.

At this time of year as school careers end, reunions are planned and many people are anticipating making wonderful family memories in the summer, let me offer some advice when it comes to saving your memories.

  1. Your old Photos – If you have loads of old photos, go through them. Get rid of the duplicates, the blurry shots, the pictures of people or places you don’t recognize. Keep the best, toss the rest. Put them in some semblance of order: by year or at least by decade if you can. Use whatever categories make sense to you. Then digitize them. There are many options nowadays for scanning and saving photos. There are even ways to repair and enhance special photos.


  1. Digital Photos – If you have tons of digital photos you’re a step ahead! Now you may just need to organize them and protect them. Create standard files in your “Photos” or “Pictures” folder on your computer. It’s best to then make folders with the year and subfolders for each month or with names of special events. That way you can locate all your digital photos from one year pretty easily. I recommend Forever software for storing and organizing. Click here to check it out:


  1. Home Movies – This is another category that many people have & cherish. It’s one of those things that many say they would want to save in a fire. So get them transferred to DVD. Many photo service stores offer this transfer so investigate those near year based on quality and cost. You may want to try one transfer to see how you like it, then continue with the rest of your collection. Your local CVS, BJ’s or Costco may have this service.


  1. Everyday collectibles – For all those things our kids bring home from school: art projects, awards, trophies, ribbons I love a nice trunk. You can get a utilitarian one like a Rubbermaid container or a decorative one from Home Goods or Pier One. Bed Bath & Beyond will usually have steamer trunks in July/August with all their “back to school” gear.


  1. Clothing, t-shirts, sweatshirts – Are you a t-shirt collector? Or do you have clothing left from a loved one who has passed? There are many services which do “memory quilts” now. And some will make things other than quilts. For instance, Once Upon A Time Creations in the Philadelphia suburbs actually makes stuffed animals from clothing, Christening dresses, pillows and purses made from wedding gowns. You can even make a pillow cover from grandpa’s old sweater! Check out some of their ideas and you will give these old clothes a new life.

What memories do you have trouble organizing? Leave a comment or question.

The most effective basement organizing

The most effective basement organizingWhen it comes basement junk clearance, the words alone may make you want to shudder with dread. The prospect of having to go through what is probably years’ worth of items collected and put away for safekeeping, only to be forgotten about, is very likely the last thing you want to do. But needs must and there really is little else as rewarding as completing a basement clearance! Just think of all the space you’ll have. You could turn your basement into another room for guests who come to stay or even create that home office you’ve always dreamed. Either way, the job of domestic clearance will give you a sense of satisfaction rarely felt, but never forgotten! So if you’re ready to get down to thorough rubbish removal, this guide might prove accommodating!

It’s true that as you stare into the abyss of clutter in your basement you’ll not only be questioning where to begin, but might find yourself deliberating on what to include in your junk removal pile. Questions like – What if I need it again? Will my daughter be angry if I throw this out? How much is this worth? – will all be rearing their heads, but here is a general rule of thumb. If you haven’t used something for over a year, then it’s highly unlikely that you ever will! So dump it, or give it to someone who would make use of it. Just don’t keep it in your basement for a minute longer. So begin by separating your items, into various piles to keep and others labelled as rubbish, recycling, donations and to sell.

Being stuck down in a basement with no light or fresh air can get a bit stuffy. Be sure to wear a dust mask to protect yourself from inhaling too much dust. Also if you’ve got sensitive eyes, wear a pair of goggles. Wear protective hand gloves when lugging boxes up the basement stairs as you ready them for trash removal.

Other than being one of the most taxing of all clearance tasks, a basement clear out will also require time from your busy schedule.  Just set aside a couple of hours each day or a half or full day on a weekend to get the job done.  Set yourself a realistic target to first sort everything in one or two days. Then complete all junk disposal and then you can set the next goal to set up the basement for it’s new use.

There are a number of ways to discard of your waste. First, make sure you recycle as much as you can by taking it to your local recycling plant. By taking care of the house clearance yourself means you may need to hire a van or find a friend with a truck. You may consider calling your local town municipal authority to see what they will pick up. Another option is to hire a junk haul out company in your local area.

A good house clearance may leave you with less clutter, but it could mean a build up expenses. So why not try selling some of what you consider junk online. The Internet auction realm is booming at present and some people make a living out of selling unwanted items on eBay. Once your basement is clear and you are storing only the things you really use, you can look at the possibilities for new uses for this space. Or you can simply upgrade the area and keep using it as you are!

Ella Andrews is a dedicated writer and keen home improvement specialist. She gets inspiration by exploring new sources of information regarding household maintenance. Presently she writes mostly about house and office cleaning and clearance themes. Read more house clearance tips at: Junk Removal Waste Ltd.


Organizing Your Office

Office Organizing Tips2





Guest Post by: Ella Andrews

Office environments today need to be organized and ordered so operations can run smoothly and effectively, regardless of whether this is on an individual or company-wide scale. Without organization, things will descend into chaos, allowing the items you really need around the office to be lost and worse, so a system is required to ensure this never happens around any office. The following tips will give you more information you can use to make this work:

  • Sorting the paperwork

The last thing you want to deal with is literal piles of paperwork on your desk, like something out of a 50s detective story. You need to have a good, strong filing cabinet to handle the physical mediums of information such as documents, folders and more for storage purposes.

  • Keeping your desk clean

This will apply to all items you don’t happen to use on a regular basis, such as pencils and pens. These items will need to be organized to ensure they will be out of the way. You can use separate containers for smaller stationary items such as staples, paperclips, pushpins and more that would otherwise clutter up your desk.

  • Keeping things within an arm’s length

If you’re using certain electronics or items often, you should make sure they are close by and easy to reach. Your computer will need to be the center of your setup, so look for ways you can improve upon what you already have going so everything will function properly and without the need for far too much movement that would slow you down.

  • Organizing drawers

Separate your items by form and function, as it will allow you to have dividers placed inside your drawers, keeping things easy to find. You would do well to avoid mixing things up, as this will only make your life much harder than it needs to be.

  • Organizing your wiring

Any cables, wiring and cords will need to be properly organized as well, keeping the chaotic mess to a minimum. Zip ties and Velcro straps will get the job done, allowing you to keep them out of the way while you work. You will have more breathing room to move your legs around without tripping over cables.

  • Office layout specifics

This is a vital step toward organizing a good and efficient office environment that works to promote a productive approach to the work process. If you need to move around the office, you need to be able to approach things in such a way as to make movement a breeze, using the right office chair and angles to allow it.

  • Keeping personal items organized

These can pretty much go in different locations, whether it’s a drawer or more shelving, but you need to ensure you don’t go too far with their number. Doing so will ensure you have a far easier time dealing with office cleaning in general, as well as allowing a cleaning company to get cleaning done right.


Ella Andrews is a dedicated writer and keen home improvement specialist. She gets inspiration by exploring new sources of information regarding household maintenance. Presently she writes mostly about house and office cleaning and clearance themes. Read more tips on: Roehampton reliable cleaning

Absolute #9 – Organize from BIG to small

Big – like a whole storage room garage



make up




Small – like your makeup bag

This absolute or rule of mine is another way of saying, “start by looking at the big picture.” I think many people are overwhelmed with the concept of organizing their home. They don’t know where to start so they start small. They fold clothes on shelves, clean out a junk drawer, put little pieces of toys in a bin. All of those exercises are worthwhile and can help you straighten up your home, but they don’t take into account the big picture. Here are some quick tips on how you can organize from big to small.

  1. If you want to organize your whole house, take a walk through it with a notebook. Write down the function of each room and then what needs to get out and what needs to stay in that room. Then move things to the right room.
  2. If you are tackling one room or area, categorize everything in there first. Start with what you see – items on shelves, table tops, floor, your bed, etc. Then dig deep into drawers, closets and pull everything out. You may be surprised at the biggest pile!
  3. Address each pile separately and purge what needs to go out: donate, trash, recycle and move to another room might be your sorts here.
  4. Now we get into the small stuff. What you have left in the room needs to find a home. That could mean a shelf, a drawer, a closet or new bins.
  5. If you are left with some itty bitty categories like jewelry, foreign money, craft notions, or baseball cards you can put those in a temporary bin, take them out of the room and do a mini categorize, purge & re-arrange. That can be done while watching TV.

By following these tips you will have done a thorough clean out. I’ve seen it work in all kinds of homes for the last 11 years. And if you want to re-arrange your sock drawer so be it. But starting small will take you a long time to get the whole house in order.

The Lazy Person’s Guide To an Organized Home

The Lazy Person's Guide To an Organized Home2





Guest Post by Ella Andrews

There is nothing shameful in admitting that you are not into organizing. Believe it or not, most people have the same attitude towards daily organizing chores. How do they succeed at keeping their home neat? It’s all about the proper storage solutions. You can maintain the pleasing appearance of your living space even if you are lazy and not exactly motivated. The secret is to trick yourself into doing it.

Many people get discouraged by the idea of spending their whole weekend sorting through piles of clutter. Indeed it’s not a pleasant activity, but it is manageable if you follow this process:

Set a Deadline

When you know that you can prolong something for infinite amount of time, you will have less incentive to deal with it as soon as possible. Having a clear schedule will give you an idea of what you actually need to do. Completing each task within a deadline will boost your confidence that you can manage the issue and will provide you with certain satisfaction.

Start With the Not-So-Obvious

There are a number of hidden spots around your home that are flooded with clutter. When in a hurry, you probably fill different drawers with miscellaneous items. You have no clue what is going on in there until you open the “Pandora’s box.” Even exposed areas like coffee tables and countertops fill with various things that are often neglected. You can pass them, without even noticing the chaos. Instead of overflowing multiple drawers with random stuff, have one specific place. Just imagine how much mental energy you waste trying to figure out where you put those keys. You can save efforts and time by designating one “junk” drawer or basket – a lazy storage solution for a lazy person.

Deal With It Right Away

You can avoid getting overwhelmed by simply dealing with the mess on time. A big part of the problem comes from the natural tendency to procrastinate. Get rid of this nasty little habit. You will find immediate improvements.

Try to de – clutter on the go. For instance, when new mail arrives, keep only the important and throw away the rest. Have a recycle bin close to your doorway. In this way you will stop unnecessary paper from accumulating. Try to put everything on its place after you used it. This applies particularly to your clothes. Don’t simply put them on the chair or let them lie on the floor. Spare five minutes to return them back in the closet or put dirty clothes in a hamper.

Make It Fun

Most people associate organizing with their teenage years when they were constantly told to clean their room. Transform your attitude towards de – cluttering. One way is to combine the annoying tasks with something pleasant. If you love music, turn it on and start dealing with the clutter. Think of a compatible activity that will make organizing a little less painful. In time you will start feeling less stressed and antagonistic towards the household tasks.

Maintain your positive attitude and persistence and you will soon find out that organizing is not all that bad.


Ella Andrews is a dedicated writer and keen home improvement specialist. She gets inspiration by exploring new sources of information regarding household maintenance. Presently she writes mostly about house and office removal matters. Read more tips on: http://www.manandavanlondon.org/storage/

How to Make Your home Look More Organized

I’m always asked for quick tips and tricks on organizing. I usually answer that there’s no trick. There is a method, there are routines and it’s an on going process to keep your home organized. However I will tell you that if you are a visual person, one key to looking and feeling more organized is uniformity.

Let me explain. You can have a closet or shelf that is functionally organized, but it still looks off to you. It doesn’t feel neat and tidy even though you can find what you need.  Like this:

after closet







Once you put like things together and in uniform bins, it will look much better, like this:

shelf bins
shelf bins







Try this with your clothes closet. Put everything on the same type of hanger.  My favorite is the new micro-suede hangers because they are thin and they grip silky materials. Put like items together: blouses, pants, jackets, dresses and see what a difference it makes. You will feel like you’re shopping at a store every time you get dressed! Better yet if you can have a little space between clothes.







You can also try this with your storage shelves in the basement or attic. Put everything in the same type of bin and label it uniformly. This will make finding what you need so much easier.






On a smaller scale, try this with your file drawer.  Just by putting files in the same manila or hanging files and labeling them with color codes and in the same type, you will have a neat drawer that is so much easier to use.






(This is an example of Freedom Filer labels which can be ordered from my Resources page)

What area can you improve with uniformity?

10 Things This Pro Organizer Wants You to Know

cover shotAbout a year ago, Reader’s Digest published a list in their “Who Knew” section entitled, 13 Things A Personal Organizer Won’t Tell You. I like to think that I do tell my clients these things when we meet in person and when we are in the process of getting organized. For those of you who haven’t worked with me, here are my tell-all nuggets that I have picked up over the last 12 years:

  1. Yes, many of my clients “know” how to organize. I don’t think you’re stupid. In fact most of my clients are smarter than me. But there’s a reason why you called me and just by making that appointment and having me work with you, we will get to the project that has been escaping you, for whatever reason.
  2. Most clutter is just post-poned decisions. I’m going to press you and play devil’s advocate just to get you to decide. If you say, “keep it for now” you’re postponing again!
  3. I know your stuff may have been worth a lot of money when you bought it, but the reality is that it’s probably not worth much now. (With a few exceptions.)It’s easier,and I believe better, to donate what you don’t want or need. If you’ve got classic antiques, we’ll check those out but clothes and household trinkets are just not worth selling.
  4. I don’t recommend yard sales. Like consignment and trying to re-sell items, it takes a lot more time and energy than it’s worth. That being said, if your neighborhood is having a sale day and someone does the advertising and marketing to get people on your street AND it’s going to be a fun day outside for you and your family – go for it. If it’s only you, think twice.
  5. Your closet is full of “someday” items and “wear only with ___” items that are really just taking up space that could be filled with “I love this” items. Keep clothes that make you feel great and look great. Everything else can be donated.
  6. Don’t be afraid to have your kids help with purging. When you start them young, they learn that sometimes you should let go of things. If they are the type that is emotionally attached to everything, you hold up the item and ask for a YES or NO decision. It keeps things moving.
  7. Don’t make your systems too complicated! Some of my perfectionist clients do this, and then they can’t keep up with their own system. So use bins, files – things that are easy to dump things into. If you are designating a single category to each, it’s easy to keep up with. For example, in a linen closet have a bin of household refills, another for medicine. Keep files names general until they get too big, then sub divide.
  8. There’s no magic to keeping up with organization. It’s a matter of having routines. You can do them daily, weekly or monthly. I suggest paperwork & mail – deal with it daily. Straighten bedrooms & family rooms daily, clean weekly (or bi-weekly) and clean out monthly or seasonally those areas that you don’t use all the time. (garage, basement, attic)
  9. Hiring an organizer is a luxury, we know. But if you need someone to keep you focused, give you different ideas, help you haul stuff out, and teach you systems and strategies, that may free up valuable time for other things in your life. Don’t feel guilty that you need help.
  10. If I’m taking donations out the back door, don’t keep bringing new stuff in the front door. Learning to live with less stuff can be very calming. The less you have, the less you have to categorize, purge and re-arrange. One simple tip is always shop with a list of what you need.

What’s your experience in working with an organizer?

Out With the Old – In with the new!

messy office



This is the week for New Year’s Resolutions. And I know many of you will be planning to get more organized this year! And even if that’s not your goal for the year, many of you organized people will be cleaning out files, bins and desktops this week. So here are some quick tips to help you with that process. I’ve got a list of “no-brainers” that you can toss in order to make room for all the new stuff that will come in the new year.

1. Reading materials – Any magazine or periodical with the year 2014 or earlier can be tossed. If there is something in there worth saving (like a great article or a recipe) tear it out, file it or scan it. Then have a nice basket or bin cleared out for your 2015 reading.

2. Banking receipts – all those ATM receipts that are filling up your purse, a drawer in your desk or a bin can be shredded IF YOU HAVE BALANCED YOUR BANK ACCOUNT THIS MONTH. Once the deposit or withdrawal has shown up on your statement, the little piece of paper is redundant. So keep your statements (most of which are on line now).

3. Food – If it’s been a week or longer for those leftovers – use ’em or lose ’em. Expired jars and cans can also be tossed.

4. Calendars – toss last year’s and buy a nice pretty one to keep with your or hang in a central location in your home.

5. Holiday decorations that you didn’t use – donate to a senior center, school or theater.

6. Wrapping paper, cards, boxes and bows – when you put your gifts away, keep the best, toss the rest and fold the paper and boxes down for easy storage.

7. All those holiday photo cards. – Keep the photos that are important to you and cut them to fit in an album. Toss the rest, know one will know!

8. Invitations to events that already happened. – You wouldn’t believe how long I’ve seen these things hanging around on bulletin boards, calendars and in planners.

9. Post its and scraps of papers of things you “meant to do.” Take a clean sheet of loose leaf or a page in your new daily planner and make a master TO DO list. Only include those things that are still a priority. Then assign each task or project to a month of the year and write it on that month’s page. I wouldn’t plan out any further than 6 months.

10. Envelopes that you’re saving because of the return address – Take the information, write it in your address book or make an excel spreadsheet and toss the envelopes.

Good luck with your post holiday, pre-new year clean out!

What other areas do you like to tackle before the year’s end?

Organizing Your Child’s Room with Creativity

Organizing Kids' Room. Painting it.2 Painting the kids’ room is one of the most fun projects one can undertake in their home. Not only because the effort is all done in the name of the most precious and loved members of the family, but because the work itself is so much fun. It allows the parents to do a new sort of project, which, under other circumstances, is not applicable for the rest of the house. The kids’ room follows rules much different from the rest of the house, and thus is considered a highly creative outlet.

As far as painting the walls of your kid’s room goes, there are little to no limits. Not only that, but you must adopt a new set of rules as your children might want to have a final say in the matter and it is imperative to listen to them. They will be living among those four walls after all.

A good starting point would be to clear, de-clutter and decide what your child likes most. Surely you have a good idea of that already, but you should even more actively look for their opinion and include them in the decision process.

As much as it is likely that your kids will have a ton of interests, it is important to make a throughout clearance, choose a single theme and stick with it. Different themes will only make the project harder to finish and the end result will not be as satisfying. Choosing on the theme and working from there is the first step to making a great room.

When it comes to what you can actually do, there are limitless possibilities. Some modern designs feature interesting ideas such as the glow and magneto themes. Glow themes include an element which looks ordinary until there is no light in the room anymore. Then it hides parts of the picture and reveals others, making it not just wallpaper, but a whole story. Magneto themes include a picture on the wall, which can then be complemented with different magnets and attachments, adding more elements to it, essentially serving a purpose of canvass for creativity.

If executed properly, after the waste clearance and the de-cluttering process, a wall painting can greatly complement the rest of the room. For example, if your child’s bed is one that features a racecar design, why not reinforce the young pilot’s imagination by adding a race flag wall or a traffic light element? If your little one likes travelling, let him choose the next destination by placing a great map of the world on one of the walls. If you have a nature lover, draw trees next to the window and then use green curtain as their leaves.

Literally there are numerous options to choose from when it comes to painting the kids’ room. Only one’s imagination can set the limits.

More helpful tips for your home find at: builders clearance Battersea.

What creative things have you done to decorate your child’s room? 

It’s Never Too Late to Get Organized!





We’re in the midst of a frenzy of Christmas activity and so many of you are not thinking about organizing. That’s something most people think about in January. But I want you to know there are some things you can do right now to get a fresh start to the New Year and make next Christmas season a little easier.

What to do with all those Christmas Cards:

  • Sort the cards as they come in using a three pocket mail sorter that hangs on your wall. Photo cards, cards & envelopes, and Christmas letters can be the categories.
  • Cut out the pictures that you want to save, like those from family and close friends, and put them in a photo album. This can be your regular chronological photo album or a special one just for Christmas pictures. Looking back over the years is fun to do especially at holiday time.
  • If you like to scrapbook, save beautiful holiday cards to decorate your pages.
  • Save return addresses for new people who are sending you cards and for those who have moved, put them in your computer.

Get your decorations under control:

  • Take time to wrap up your lights when putting them away. A cable wrap can be found for about $2 at a hardware store. It’s certainly worth it not to have to detangle next December!
  • Lots of home stores carry red & green plastic bins now. Put your decorations away in categories such as: outside, inside, and tree ornaments. These make it easy to identify in your attic or basement especially if you have decorations for several seasons. For ornament dividers, you can use the cardboard ones found inside of a case of beer or wine.
  • Take a look at all those decorations that DIDN’T get put up this year. Discard the broken or really old ones and donate any that are in good shape. Places to donate include: schools, community theatres, nursing homes, libraries, or any charitable organization.

Use your time between Christmas and New Year’s wisely:

  • With all those leftovers it’s a great time to clean out the fridge. Have a “use it or lose it” night and have your family pick a dinner from the leftovers. Take stock of your plastic containers and make sure they all have matching lids or else toss them! Clear and square are the best because your refrigerator and drawers are squares!
  • Something fun to keep away the post-Christmas blues is to plan vacations for the upcoming year. Our family likes to brainstorm on a white board. Parents have the final say about where and when but it’s fun for the kids to come up with unique ideas each year. A couple weekend trips can really break up the year instead of waiting for one week off in the summer! Have someone look up info and pictures on the computer while you discuss different options.
  • End of the year also marks a good time to clear out catalogs and magazines. Designate a magazine rack or basket for each and every time the container is full – purge the oldest copies. Also, put it where you will use it. That could be the living room, bedroom or even bathroom!

What will you tackle in the way of organizing this December?

Get Ready for the Holidays!


Happy November! If you’re a planner, like me, you can’t help but think about what’s around the corner…Thanksgiving, and Christmas, family meals, gifts, decorations, cards, oh my!  But a little planning and a few deep breaths can go a long way in helping you get prepared and then enjoy the holidays as you should.

Here are a few things you can start doing now in order to get a jump start on the winter holiday season:

1. Asked your loved ones for gift suggestions. Or just be very observant if you don’t want to ask them outright. Start forming a list of ideas, especially if you have kids and a spouse that you buy for every year. Then you can start looking for those things on sale or grab coupons for the stores they love and buy a little early.

2. Clean out your pantry to get ready for cooking. Spices has expiration dates so toss the old stuff. Check your recipes for your traditional holiday meals or maybe a few new dishes you want to try and make sure you have all the ingredients. Again, make a list of what you need and then go shopping! Make sure your carving knife is sharpened for the turkey.

3. Talk to relatives about the holidays to know who’s coming when and if you need to spruce up the spare bedroom, now is the time! Clear the clutter that may have been tossed in there all year and make sure you have some nice sheets and towels for the guests.

4. If you send holiday cards, decide now if you are going to use a photo that you have or take a new one. Then place your order on-line with Shutterfly or Snapfish or anywhere else you can purchase photo greeting cards. If you are sending traditional ones, purchase them now.  In either case, make sure your address list or book is up to date and create mailing labels in a word document to make it easier to address the envelopes.

5. Take a look at your calendar or day planner and map out all the major things you want to get done before the holidays. For example, your checklist might look like this:

  • Shopping for gifts
  • Decorations Up
  • Cards Addressed
  • Presents wrapped
  • Tree Decorated
  • Cookies baked
  • Food shopping for the holiday meal

Then assign a week for each task (probably more than 1 week for shopping) and put that goal on your calendar. That will give you something to shoot for and help you focus on one task at a time. Try to finish everything a day before the actual holiday so you have time for last minute details or unexpected events. Then do something festive that you enjoy after all the hustle and bustle is done.

Organizing Your College Student

Most of what parents talk about when moving a child to college is all the “stuff” they need. I have never been an organizer who focuses on the products – I focus on the process first. And so it was with moving my daughter to college. All summer her friends where buying bins, containers and bookshelves and we waited until a couple weeks before her move to do that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved going to the Container Store with her and buying some pretty stacking bins and then some new bedding at Bed, Bath  & Beyond. But I first talked with her about her chosen major, career development and money management. We also talked about social issues and what she might see in college that she hadn’t seen in her sheltered life here at home.

So life skills that I believe college students need to know:

  1. Budgeting their money – There are basics like writing a check, keeping a ledger and balancing your account. With debit cards its very easy to loose track of what you’ve spent.  If you give your student a lump sum to take with her and put into a new account, also give her a weekly budget. For example:  If you have $1000 for a semester (16 weeks) you can spend $50 a week and still have $200 left over at winter break. Other points with money:
    • if you have a meal plan, don’t waste money on other food
    • If you have to spend more than your weekly allowance, call home and we will discuss
    • Don’t get a credit card while in college
    • Do take a part time job on campus if it doesn’t interfere with studies
    • Make sure you know your cell phone plan so you don’t run up the bill
    • It’s good to have a job at home you can come back to on winter break and next summer
  1. Keeping themselves safe – There are certain things that we do for our children to keep them safe at home, so remind them:
    • Lock their dorm room doors at all times
    • Travel in groups
    • Keep the locator on their cell phone
    • Report suspicious people to campus police
    • Know the fire escape route in the dorm
  2. Staying healthy – College students notoriously beat their bodies up so go over good every day habits like:
    • Stay hydrated
    • Wash your hands
    • Take vitamins
    • Eat fruits & vegetables
    • Boost your immune system with vitamin C, exercise, sleep!
  3. Making major decisions – Bill Rancic and I do the same thing, we make pros and cons lists when making a big decision. I also tell my kids to talk it out:
    • If I do A, what will that look like? Feel like? Will that effect other people? If I do B what will that look like? Etc.
    • Do I need more information to make this decision?
    • When does this have to be decided? Can I sleep on it?
    • What is my gut telling me?
  4. Finding a career – Probably the biggest decision your child will make in the college years is what to major in. For my daughter who has a talent and passion for theatre I said, “Do what you love and figure out how to make money at it.” Some parents might not agree with me and that’s okay. But her passion earned her a scholarship so that got her in the door. Now she needs to learn in four years how to make a living at it. That might mean taking on a minor or a dual major. Or it might mean switching her major before she graduates. All of this is common today and I told her not to worry about in the first year. What I did tell her was:
    • Just do the best at what you’re doing right now.
    • Take advantage of every opportunity or career connection your school has
    • Ask people in the business for advice
    • Have a plan B

Many kids have no idea what job they want to do. For them I say, look at big categories of careers and decide what you don’t want to do to narrow it down. Think about:

  • Health care
  • Law
  • Business
  • Entertainment
  • Education
  • Computers

Once you have a short list of possible career industries, look at schools that offer all of those and start with general courses. The fact is, there are jobs out there that you’ve never heard of. Once you get into different subjects in college the light bulb might go on!

Organizing Your High School Student

organizing memoriesHigh school flies by fast. You look at your student in the first few weeks of freshman year and they look so small and lost. In a few years you’re looking at colleges and sometimes thinking we should have started this sooner! When I breathed a sigh of relief last March as my daughter received acceptances and scholarships and made her big college decision, I immediately turned to my son and said, “Now we start working on you!” He’s three years younger.

I believe the organizing challenge with high school students is getting them to see the big picture. They are concerned with fitting in socially, and maybe even doing well in each of their classes but they often don’t look to the future. It’s too scary. They don’t want to think about leaving home, moving away from their childhood friends and, god-forbid, deciding on a career! And can you blame them?

So you’ve got to ease them into it by setting goals and managing their time. Goal setting is a great place to start with organizing your time. I worked with each of my kids in high school to set three goals. One was academic, one physical and one was to help them grow as an individual. Then we broke down each of those goals into daily practices or tasks. For example:

Goal: Get a 94 general average this semester.

How: complete all homework assignments

Study in advance for tests

Ask for help in subjects where I need it

In addition, that academic goal might qualify your student for Renaissance or National Honor Society, which does look good on the college application!

For some kids who are naturally driven a goal might come out as an inspiration like, “When I’m a senior I want to be Student Council President or Captain of the Baseball team.” That’s great, and then they have to do little things along the way to get there like become active in school, or practice their sport. It’s still a good idea to write it down and post those goals where they can see them every day. It’s just a subliminal reminder of where they are headed.

After you set the goals – check in with your student frequently to make sure they are following through, but be careful not to nag. It’s a fine line.  When a goal has been accomplished, celebrate and then set new ones!

Every child is different and if you have a child that is over-involved, your goals might really work as a priority list. So when they have to make decision about how to spend their time, have them refer to the list. If you have a student who seems to waste time playing video games and on social media, you’re going to have to push them to set goals and find interests that matter.

Consider this: What do you need to get your high school student into college?

  • money
  • good grades
  • a consistent activity
  • communication skills

If you can help your student work towards these goals during their four years in high school you are setting them up for success!

What solutions have you found to work well for your high school student?

Organizing Your Middle School Student

arc notebookThose of you who have read my books might have guessed that the tips in there for busy moms, come from my own experience. When I wrote my first book, my children where 4,7, and 10 years old. I was in the early years of being a stay-at-home mom, adjusting to all the nuances of keeping up with the house, having time for myself and spending quality time with my children. When I  wrote my second book, it was two years later. My children were at the stage where they could do more for themselves and I wanted to teach them what I feel is a life skill – to be organized with your thoughts, your actions and your surroundings so that every day flows.


Now here I am with a middle-schooler, a high-schooler and a college student and the challenges are changing. So I thought I would share my experiences in a blog. The first one is about middle school.

In our school district, middle school starts in sixth grade. It is the first time students have a locker and are responsible to get themselves to the right class and remember which papers and books to bring to class and then home. They are getting into  paper management, at a time when they are anxious about being in a new place and probably going through some hormonal changes as well. It’s the perfect storm. And often their lockers, school bags and bedrooms reflect that.

Here are a few tips for setting your middle school child straight in the first few weeks of school:

  1. Go to back-to-school night! You can see whom you know in your child’s classes. Parents can then use each other for resource when instructions are unclear and homework is forgotten. You also get to meet your child’s teachers and get a feel for their personalities. Most will give you their email so use it whenever there is a question about a certain class.
  1. If your child has to use binders: use one for all the classes they have before lunch and another for the classes they have after lunch. They can usually go to their lockers then and switch. Make sure to use dividers to mark each subject. The teacher may also require sub sections.
  1. If your child can use folders and spiral notebooks: color code each subject so a blue folder and notebook for math, red ones for science, etc. Have them keep the notebook and the folder together for each class.
  1. Make one TAKE HOME folder. This should always be with your child. So when they get forms in homeroom, they go in one pocket marked “Forms.” And as they receive papers for homework each day, then go in the other side marked, “Homework.” I tell my kids to empty the folder every morning in homeroom – get papers back to the teacher or put them in the right binder. Then the folder gets filled each day and comes home. This prevents them from dragging two big binders home every night along with their textbooks.
  1. Have a routine at home for the morning, after school and before bedtime. Post a chore chart or just a little reminder card in a place they look every day until the routine becomes second nature.

Middle school is a growing season. Let your child have more freedom and see how they do with it. They will start to develop their own systems and routines and that’s fine – as long as they work. If something is not working (like they keep forgetting homework) talk it out and come up with a solution.

What are some challenges you find with your middle school student?