Off to a Great Start

Happy February to everyone out there! Hope your month is off to a great start, and hope those new year’s resolutions are still in tact and going strong. You may have found that the new schedules and routines are a bit difficult to keep up with, and we’re here to tell you… IT’S OKAY! None of us are perfect and we’re all trying to make our little space in the world better in some way.

Get off to a great start by cleaning up your to-do list

One easy thing to mark off your to-do list this month is housework. Leave it to someone who enjoys the work and will be much more diligent than you are about the nitty gritty. And that’s not even just shameless self promotion (you can book your appointment by clicking here). Okay, so it’s a little bit of self promotion, but stick with us here. It’s okay to need help to get it all done!

And we’re not just talking about housework. Maybe you have that in the bag, no problem at all. Maybe it’s meal prep, or yard work in the summer, or a number of other things that keep us busy. It is OKAY (and beneficial) to outsource some of those things. Whatever you do NOT like to do, there’s someone out there that finds that task enjoyable. Whether that’s scrubbing the bathtub, pulling weeds, organizing files, or replying to emails, there are people out there that excel at what you need help with.

Time management for success

So keep that in mind, that sometimes, it’s more helpful to offset a task and hire it done. It gives you the time to create or work in a way that best fills YOUR time. Money tight? Consider a trade. You know someone who cuts hair, or sews clothes, or makes cute Etsy crafts. Trade your services for theirs. When you can find a way to do MORE of what you love and help others to do more of what they love, your circle of influence is going to be that much happier.

So, whether you’re off to a great start, or still writing 2016 on your checks, we want to encourage you to sit down and look at your options. What do you absolutely HATE to do around the house? What do you LOVE to do? And what are some fun, clever ways you’ve come up with to do less of the former and more of the latter?

Sound off!! Let us know on Facebook how you offset tasks for better time management!

 

New Year Organization Goals

New year organization goals

We’re two weeks into 2017 already. Yes, already, January is HALF OVER! The parties have died down, the decorations are most likely put away, and you may be ready for a fresh start to the new year.

And this is a perfect time for a new resolution. We know… no one wants to add MORE to their to-do list. But, taking a few moments to get organized at the beginning of the year will help you all year long.

Here are a few great things to focus on at the beginning of a new year.

Downsize to Optimize New Year Organization

There are a few different methods to downsize. One thing that works for many people is the two-for-one method. For every one thing you add, try to get rid of two things. If you buy new socks for the kids, get rid of all the old ones. Or, if you buy new workout clothes (because, hello, resolutions!), get rid of two pairs of sweats you never wear anymore.

Trash the worn out, and donate the good stuff!

Label, label, label

Hopefully, you did step one, and downsized. Now, to make this effective, LABEL where things belong, or what is in the boxes. This is especially helpful with holiday items, but is also extremely helpful for seasonal items, and hand-me-down clothes for younger kids.

Next, once everything is labeled, put it away in an organized fashion! Then, you’re set for next year, next season, or the next kiddo!

Put Things Away

Furthermore, cleaning becomes a breeze when there is less clutter. Have you ever had to clean before your cleaning person arrived? That’s because 80% of cleaning is putting stuff away so that you can actually GET TO the surface that needs to be cleaned.

Less clutter = less prep time.

Clean Better

Whether you break chores into small bits to do daily, or do an all-day clean on your day off, make it most efficient by staying focused and going room by room. Do not dart from room to room and never get back to the start!

One room at a time will make you feel more accomplished.

 

In conclusion, we hope you start 2017 with a bang and with a simpler, saner lifestyle. In the beginning, if you downsize, organize, and stay on top of things, your New Year Organization resolution will be an all year organization success!

 

 

 

Guide to Holiday Organization

Your one stop guide to holiday organization. The holiday season is in full swing. Thanksgiving is over, and the Christmas and Holiday parties have begun. You many be looking at office parties, family parties, and friends events in the next few weeks. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s definitely can feel like a whole season instead of just three or four holidays. If you haven’t taken some time to get organized, do it now! A few hours of planning and holiday organization will actually save you so much time and energy this month.

Our Tips for Holiday Organization

Start with a To-Do List

Obviously, a list is the first thing you need. Whether you use an app, a notebook, or a white board, get the big things on the list and on the calendar. Write down the major parties, gatherings, and other important tasks and dates so you can begin scheduling around those.

Set Deadlines

Once you have the major things on the calendar, it’s easier to backwards engineer your schedule. Pick a day to mail holiday cards, and from there, you’ll know when you need to have family portraits made and when to place the printing order.

Don’t Start Big Projects

Unless you have a lot of down time because of vacation hours, this is not the time to start any major projects. Any home renovations or extra work projects should be postponed if not necessary. Unless you are extremely scheduled, adding to the routine will only make things unnecessarily stressful.

Take Stock Before You Shop

Remember the 7 rolls of wrapping paper you bought on clearance last year after Christmas? Before you go shopping, take stock of what you have and what you need. Check the lights and the decor to see if everything works. If you’ve been buying presents throughout the year, take inventory before you shop for more.

Purge the Kids’ Rooms

If you have children, this is a MUST before you go anywhere where they’ll get more gifts. Go through toys and clothes. If they’ve outgrown it, never play with/ wear it, or don’t want it any more, then donate the usable stuff and trash the rest. Make room now, or the new gifts will get lost in the mess.

This Goes for You Too

After you purge the kids’ rooms, do some general de-cluttering yourself. If you’re buying replacement decor, planning on getting new clothes, or getting new kitchen gadgets, don’t leave the old stuff in a box collecting dust. Donate the things you don’t need and trash the stuff that’s broken.

Hire a Housekeeper

 We’re still booking! But, seriously, with all the running around, sometimes the basics get overlooked. Have someone come in to do a basic clean so you can run your errands. Or do a one time deep clean, and make sure those baseboards are dust free!

Schedule an “Un-decorating” Day

There are two types of people: the “get it all put away as soon as Christmas is over” people, and then “I’ll do it tomorrow and suddenly it’s February and my tree is still up” kind of people. If you’re in the second group, we won’t tell. But, it is a good idea to set aside a day, put it on the calendar, and have the whole family pitch in to get things put away neatly so you’re prepared for next year.

 

Pantry Organization Tips

There is nothing more frustrating than going to make a grocery list and not being able to easily assess what you have in your pantry and what you need more of. There are two major problems that seem to occur most often. First, you think you have plenty of an item, only to find out someone  has left an empty box on the shelf. (Usually the husband or kids.) Or two, you think you’re out of something, only to realize you have four open containers. Being organized means less waste and more efficient grocery trips, so it’s a good idea to get organized and stay organized.

Check out these tips for pantry organization and then let us know what else you would add to the list!

Get Clear Containers and a Label Maker

Having clear containers not only lets you easily assess the quantity remaining of bulk items, but it also ensures things stay fresher, longer. When you have open containers (like boxes of cereal, nuts, or flour), you risk spoilage and bugs. Solve that easily with clear containers with properly fitting lids. Use the label maker in order to label each of the products. Use a dry erase marker to add the date you opened it.

Check Your Pantry Each Week

Take a few minutes each week to assess your stock and to see what you need to buy. A weekly check will also help you to stay organized. Put things back in their place during this inventory.

Use Pans or Bins for Similar Items

Certain products (like rice) spill easily. So, stock all of those items together in your pantry in a deep pan or in organization buckets. This can also be helpful for liquid items, in case they leak.

Spend the Extra 10 Minutes to Clean Up

At the end of the day, it’s always a hassle to add any extra chores to the list. But, it’s more of a hassle to reach into the pantry and realize you’ve inadvertently knocked over the maple syrup and it’s been leaking all over the shelf. Check for spills, open containers, and expired items regularly.

Lighting

Some pantries have lights, which is very helpful. If you don’t have a light in your pantry, you can get stick on LED lights that will stick on the bottom side of you shelves, so you can see everything better. This is especially helpful on the underside of the bottom shelf, because you don’t want the floor of your pantry to be the catch-all you forget about!

Find the Best Space Savers

Sometimes, you can multi-purpose other household items, like magazine racks, small shelves, and pencil holders for use in your kitchen. But you can also purchase items like behind the door shelving and canned food dispensers to make use of otherwise wasted space in your pantry.

There are several different ways to tackle the pantry, depending on the amount of space you have. But, whether you have a tiny space or a giant walk in pantry, it’s important to keep it well organized. That way, you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it.

Garage Organization Tips

Tips for Organizing the Garage

“Most people will gladly store their useless junk in the garage and park their $20,000 car outisde.” This quote found on Reddit sums up the amount of STUFF we having hiding out in our garage. In fact, in many places, more people use their garage as storage than people who park their cars in their garage.

There’s nothing wrong with using the space for extra storage, or for a workshop, or gym, or for any other purpose. But, the problem comes when our “extra space” becomes so cluttered, that it’s not longer useful space. It becomes a junk room.
So, get ready to organize! Whether it’s to get the car back in there or just keep the clutter down, it’s good to make a plan and follow through so it actually gets done.

Here are a few tips for organizing the garage

Set Aside Time

Organizing a big room like a garage is quite the undertaking. It’s going to require time and space to unpack, organize, and repack. These kinds of tasks can’t easily be done in small blocks of time spread out. It’s much better to choose a few days (like a weekend) and really block out the time to get things organized at once.

Get Help

You can hire an expert in organizing and clutter, or you can round up a team of helpers. Helpers may be useful so you don’t become overwhelmed and quit mid project. Depending on your work style and personality, it may be better to stick to a professional or go at it alone. Sometimes, well meaning help can just bog down the purging process. If you do bring in a team of helpers though, have a plan of action so they stay busy and useful during the task.

Categorize

It’s easier to get things stored properly if they have been sorted properly. Also, double check all of your categories. Do some of those items belong in the house? If so, make appropriate spaces in the house for the items that belong inside. Keep your garage the place for tools, camping gear, sports equipment, seasonal items, and other related things.

Group the Categories

Use cardboard boxes for getting an idea of what goes with what. Label the boxes. It’s a good idea not to buy plastic tubs and containers yet, because you need to see how much stuff you have before buying storage containers for it.

Purge

If you have ever watched an organization show, they begin their purging process by sorting things into Keep, Donate, and Trash piles. Once you start adding to the piles, you get a visualization of how much you have and what you can get rid of. If you have several sets of the same types of things, choose your favorites, and donate the rest!

Pick a New Garage Layout and Storage System

This is where you can really get creative if you want. There are modular storage systems, and shelving, and many other products you can purchase and customize for your needs. You can go as simple or elaborate as you want.
Keeping costs low? Plastic tubs, found at any store like Wal-Mart or Home Depot, can be found in a variety of colors, they have lids, and they are stack-able. They’re definitely worth the $5 or so per container to ensure your stored items are safe from water, dirt-daubers and anything else that can get into your garage.

Put Things Away

You’re packed, you’re organized, and you’re labeled. It’s finally time to relocate your items back into your garage in an orderly fashion.

Make a Schedule

Keep on top of things now that you’re organized. Plan on a seasonal check of your garage, especially after major holidays. Make sure you put things back in their place so that next year, you can find them again!

Kitchen Upkeep Essentials

The kitchen is the “heart of the home”. It’s where all the delicious, nourishing food is prepared with love. It’s a vision of a hot apple pie in the window sill. It’s family conversations around the dinner table. OR… it probably could be those things. Most likely, it’s the room you rush through on your way out the door in the morning, where you drop the take out dinners, and where the kids leave their backpacks when they get home each day.

We could all use a few tips to make our homes feel a little more like the first scenario while keeping up with the busy lifestyle of the second. Your kitchen CAN be the heart of the home, stay somewhat clean and organized, and be a place of fresh dinners, even with a busy lifestyle.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Organize the Junk Drawer- Use small containers with lids inside your “junk drawer” so that you spend less time searching for all those random things that seem to get stashed in the kitchen. Pens, rubber bands, chip clips, and batteries can all be sorted.

Store Measuring Spoons in a Jar- Instead of the spoons getting lost with all your larger utensils, put them in a jar for easy access.

Use a Magazine Holder for Cutting Boards- Stash your boards out of the way by attaching a magazine rack to the inside of your cabinets. Easy access, but out of the way!

Run the Dishwasher Every Night (and empty it every morning)- Some people want to have the dishwasher completely full before running it, but generally, that means you’re stuck the next day, missing your favorite pan, and a stack of dishes that won’t fit. If it’s over half full, save yourself the trouble, and run it.

Meal Prep and Organizing

Hang a White Board in the Kitchen- Keep notes on everything; grocery items, to-do lists, etc. Write them down so you’ll remember later. Being prepared with lists will make shopping much easier.

Have Paper Plates on Hand- We’re not advocating wastefulness here, but honestly, sometimes, it’s nice to not have to do a big clean up after dinner.

Portion Out Leftovers- Bento boxes and other portion containers, like these allow you to divide up your leftovers into easy to access portions, meaning you’re more likely to remember them the next day.

Love Your Slow Cooker- Slow cookers can be a game changer for meal preps. Throw in the ingredients in the morning and come home to a hot fresh meal. Additionally, “one pan meals” and casseroles will also save the clean up time and ensure you cover all those important food groups.