Author Archive for Julie Stobbe – Page 2

Organizing a small kitchen

Thanks to Brooke Faulkner for returning to guest blog this month.

Making the most of a small kitchen

Whether you have chosen to move into a tiny home, you pay an exorbitant amount to have a closet-sized apartment in New York City, or it just so happens that your dream home has a small kitchen, you are going to have to get creative with how you use it. The kitchen has always been a place where clutter seems to gather and where storage is always an issue, no matter how big or small the space. Making some custom changes to your kitchen to adapt to your personal wants and needs will help you see your kitchen as more of a place of zen than a messy clutter den.

Hideaways

As you start to really investigate your kitchen, you may start to recognize negative space that could be used for additional storage and further organization. Start with looking at your sink area. What is that small drawer in front of the sink that doesn’t open? What a cruel design! By removing the front of the drawer, installing a narrow pocket behind it and hinges on either side, you can make a sponge and nail brush holder that tucks right into that before unused spot. This allows you to hide the unsightly sponges and remove clutter from around the water tap and gain more organizational space!

Another typically overlooked area is the space between the oven and the cabinet next to it. Usually, there is just enough space to install a spice cabinet that slides into the depth of the cabinet and when pulled out can visually display every spice you could ever want to cook with. Spices and condiments take up a silly amount of space. Another option for storage to free up counter or wall space is to install a spice rack, an absolute kitchen essential, on the inside of a cabinet or pantry door. A pantry door, if your small kitchen is lucky enough to have one, is ideal because the depth of the spice rack fits perfectly inside the door frame, not taking up any additional space once the door is closed.

Cut the Clutter

Utilizing the space available to you and recognizing when there just isn’t any left will be your best approach to removing the clutter from your kitchen. Small bits and pieces tend to collect on the surfaces of counters above anything else, making your kitchen feel even smaller. For the smaller recurring items, like notes to the family, mail, or hairpins, take advantage of the inside of the cabinet doors. With a simple strong adhesive, you can create small catch-all containers that are out of view and not taking up any additional space. You can label the small containers so that other household members know how to best use them.

Organizing what lies within the cabinet drawers will also help to cut back on the number of items in your kitchen. Take for example the storage container drawer. In the typical household it contains various sizes of mismatched plastics that are haphazardly shoved into a general area. Consider upgrading to a stackable glass container set that simply has four sizes with color coded lids. Having one stackable entity that can easily slide in and out of the cabinet could save you time and hassle for meals on-the-go and storing leftovers.

For that clumsy pots and pans drawer, take a second to look up. If your ceiling allows for it, consider installing a hanging pots and pan rack to allow for easy access and to free up one of your cabinets for additional valuable storage space. Once they are on display, you might also recognize that it is time to update the pots and pans collection of parental hand-me-downs that you have been hanging on to since college with the best and brightest new cookware.

Mess Free

The kitchen seems to be the mecca for where dirt, food scraps and oily messes tend to build up. To alleviate less mess on the floor, opt to put your cutting board over one half of your sink. It cuts down on the amount of food scraps that end up on the floor and makes clean up that much faster. It reduces the wear and tear on your countertops and prevents against potential staining from items such as beets and turmeric root. An added bonus is that you can use it to cover up any dishes that you didn’t happen to get done if an unexpected guest stops by for a visit.

Cooking in a small kitchen, there are areas that seem to get dirty again within a day of cleaning them. Try using natural cleaning agents to get your appliances looking like new without drowning yourself in chemicals. Using flour to scrub down those new stainless steel appliances will have them shining like new after a quick rinse. Additionally, you can use lemon juice to get rid of rust spots that may be on knives that you have on display and a bit of salt and lemon juice on your wooden cutting boards will both cleanse them and rid them of any residual food odors.

No matter how small, there is a kitchen hack for it all. Before you start to complain about your limited space, take a look around and notice what small changes you could make so your kitchen world work better for you and your needs.

What is your best kitchen hack? Share it in the comments

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter FacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Learn more about what Professional Organizers do  

How to organize hockey gear.

My guest blogger this week is from ProStock Hockey.  It can be difficult to keep hockey equipment organized, dry and clean.  Do you want your child putting on equipment that was stored in a moldy hockey bag?  Imagine having 15 hockey bags in a small room containing equipment that is not taken care of properly.

Click arrows in the bottom right corner to expand full screen

Infographic created by Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey shop offering pro stock hockey equipment

Post your best tip for organizing your sports equipment in the comments. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter    Facebook   

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Learn more about What Professional Organizers do 

Moving students home – Make home life simple

Each party in this living situation has different expectations so make a contract with each other so it is clear what the expectation are. Click To Tweet

Expectations

It is a big change in lifestyle when students move home for the summer, for the students and the parents.  Sometimes students think

Share your ideas

What are your expectations?

  • It will be just like before I left
  • I will have the same responsibilities as I did living away from home
  • I am on vacation for 4 months
  • and so on…

Sometimes parents think

  • they have lived on their own so they should have no problem contributing around the home without being asked
  • now I have someone to help with all the work
  •  things have changed and we do things differently now
  • and so on…

Each party in this living situation has different expectations so make a contract with each other so it is clear what the expectation are.  My daughter presented me with some rules when she moved back home for a few months.  She asked me to look at them and see if they were suitable and to add any rules.  It made things very easy and simple because there were less misunderstanding.

Your contract/ agreement might cover the following ideas.

Sharing the car

May I have the car?

Car                                                                                                                                                

  1. Who pays for gas?
  2. When can they use it?
  3. Do they have to ask to use the car or can they just take it?

Food/ Groceries

  1. Who buys the groceries?
  2. Who pays for the groceries?
  3. Do you buy everything on the list?
  4. Do you buy only the things you need from the list when you go shopping?

Cooking

  1. Who cooks?
  2. Who plans the meals?
  3. Do you cook for everyone or only yourself?

    Where do I start cleaning?

    What needs to be cleaned?

Kitchen

  1. Who cleans up the kitchen?
  2. What needs to  be cleaned,  floors counters, stove, sink?
  3. Who does the dishes?
  4. Who empties the dishwasher?

Schedule

  1. Do you record your activities  in a specific place, electronic or paper?
  2. Do you need to tell where you are going and when you will be back?
  3. Are there any activities you are expected to attend?

Laundry

  1. Who is responsible for laundry ?

Cleaning

  1. Who does the cleaning, is it a shared task?

This checklist of ideas makes it seem like working out an agreement will be a lot of work.  The agreement only needs to cover areas that cause conflict, tension or have changed since the student last lived with you.

Our agreement looked like this:

Food                                                                                                                                                                                 

Family agreements about house rules

Make a contract / agreement with everyone in the family to reduce stress and misunderstandings

  • Buy groceries: give Mom the bill,  buy everything on the list
  • Weekday meals:  First one home cooks, Mom will try to plan the meals for the week

Car

  •  Mom will pay for gas

Kitchen:

  • Clean and wipe counter and island and stove
  • No dishes in sink or on the counter, put them in the dishwasher before going to bed

Schedule:

  • Record your evening activities and times when you won’t be home for supper on the calendar
  • Politely and conversational let us know where you are going and when you plan on returning. This for safety reason, if you don’t return we need to know where and when to start looking for you

Last week I wrote about Moving a Student Back Home 

Tell me what items you put on your contract in the comments below.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

3 Tips to organize moving students back home easier?

Moving back for the summer?

Moving back for the summer?

It is that time of year when college and university students are moving back home for 4 months.  If you pack up their items in an organized way it will take some of the work out of moving them back to school in September.

1. Buy bins that stack inside each other when they are not in  use.

It will make them easy to store.   Most of us like to cut costs and use boxes to move students.  Since moving is a ongoing process for the next number of years buy some bins.  They will stack nicely in a truck/van and in a closet or storage area at home.  You will only have to get them once where as with boxes they are usually recycled and you need to find more every time. Bins  are  waterproof.

2.  Before the student begins packing, make a list of items they need at home.  

Make sure those items are packed together.  Label those bins, bedroom.  Other items that they only needed for school can be left in the bins  to be moved back to school in September.  Label them basement, closet where ever they will be kept.  You may need a bins or two labelled laundry.  Some items may need to be washed before they are stored away for the summer, bedding, blankets, winter coats etc. This makes unloading quick and easy.

3.  At home, designate an area where the bins will be stored over the summer.

Clean the area out before you go to pick up your students.  If everything is kept close together or in a limited number of areas when September arrives, you know where everything is.

A little planning can make the move quick and easy.  Next I will talk about how to making the living arrangement at home easy and enjoyable.

Moving to university

Don’t forget anything

What have you done to make moving your child back home easier?  Share a comment below.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

 Twitter FacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Learn more about what a professional organizer can do for you

 

3 Tips for organizing your spring clearing

I attended the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organizers annual conference in London England this year.  It was enlightening to learn and share ideas with Professional Organizers from England, Scotland, Wales, Netherlands, Japan, Dubai and the United States.  This is where I picked up the phrase “Spring Clearing”.

If spring clearing happens first then spring cleaning is much faster. Click To Tweet

Start with clearing out the items that are:

Broken 

They are the easiest to let go of but may be hard to get transported to the waste depot.  If you can’t take them yourself can call a junk removal company or make a trade with a friend or neighbour.  They can take your things to the dump and you can ….. bake a pie, mow their lawn, help with their gardening, have them over for supper…..

Donations

There are things that you might not have used in a while, your children have outgrown playing with certain toys, you have a new one and you can let go of an older model of the same item, or interests and hobbies have changed……. Take these items to thrift stores or call and see if they will pick up your donations.

Want them but don’t need them

This group of items are hard to let go of.  Try to let go of 2 or 3 items that have some sentimental value but you don’t need them and you don’t have space for them.  It takes time and practice to be able to let go of these things.  With time it will get easier and you will enjoy having less things are taking up space that you can use in a new way opening up new and exciting adventures in your life.

Here is a video of my adventure doing spring clearing.

A flood started the clearing process and then I just continued deciding what things were around my home that I didn’t need.

If you need information on where to donate and recycle items send me your email address and I will send you a 9 page resource document.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter Facebook 

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Need more information to help you understand the many ways you can work with a Professional Organizer read this blog post.

http://mindoverclutter.ca/what-does-a-professional-organizer-do/

 

 

Top tips for a less stressful move

My guest blogger this week is Brooke Faulkner.  She is a mom and writer in the Pacific Northwest . When she’s not wrangling her own kids, she’s writing tips to help other families do the same. You can see more of her writing on twitter, @faulknercreek.  Brooke thanks for sharing your expertise.

As you probably have already experienced, packing and moving to a new location — whether across town or across the country — rank right up there as the the least desirable tasks to tackle in life.

Research has even shown that moving is MORE stressful than a divorce or starting a new job. In a poll of 2,000 adults who have moved in the past three years, almost two in three (61 percent) placed moving at the top of their stress list.Research has even shown that moving is MORE stressful than a divorce or starting a new job. In a poll of 2,000 adults who have moved in the past three years, almost two in three (61 percent) placed moving at the top of their stress list. Click To Tweet

Meanwhile, a crumbling relationship, divorce and a new job were ranked second, with less than half (42 percent) voting those life events as the most stressful.

Fortunately, there are many ways to lessen the burden of packing up your life and starting a new chapter. It can even be an opportunity to take charge and move like a boss.

And once you’re done with the big move, you can slowly unpack your belongings, breathe a sigh of relief, and enjoy your new space.

Here are a few things you can do to make the process easier along the way:

To-Do Lists Are Your Friend

There are so many things to keep track of as you work your way through the transition from the old place to the new house. Create a plan of attack by making a to-do list. It can be organized on a week-by-week basis to make it more manageable and less intimidating as the moving date approaches.

Prioritize all of the important tasks first along with the associated deadlines for each.

You don’t have to make a list of tasks out of thin air. There are many handy moving checklists available to use as a guideline. A good moving checklist includes around-the-house and preparatory tasks like scheduling connections of utilities at the new house, disconnecting utilities at the old place, filing a change of address form with the post office, arranging for cleaning services, reserving a moving truck, and collecting moving and storage boxes, to name a few.

An Opportunity to Downsize

Before you even start packing, you’ll want to get rid of any clutter or unwanted items. This will help you feel more organized from the outset because you’ll only be packing up the things you need or want to take with you.

In a previous Mind Over Clutter blog post, we recommended a book called “Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash” designed to help loved ones move, complete with practical steps and suggestions for downsizing without sacrificing treasured memories. For many people, giving up the family home is comparable to losing a loved one.

At the same time, it’s a pretty freeing feeling to downsize, donate items, and clear out the old to make way for the new. Otherwise it can be frustrating to pack stuff you’re going to get rid of anyway after the move. Give yourself plenty of time to do what needs to be done in order to have a successful move.

Prepare Your Mind

Get ready for the possibility of anxiety that comes with living among boxes and in chaos for a while. But don’t let the stress cause you to procrastinate the items on your moving checklist.

People in general have the tendency to procrastinate. Think of it like packing for a vacation. What happens when you delay packing until the very last minute before you leave? You inevitably forget something you might need or want on your trip.

It’s natural to avoid things you don’t want to do, but uprooting your life is a big deal and deserves your full attention. Even after you’ve done the work, there’s always still more to be done. But it will get done. You got this.

It may take a while to make the space your own. That’s to be expected. You don’t have to do it all in one week. Give yourself and family time to settle into the new environment.

Organize Your Belongings

You’ve likely moved before and found yourself frantically looking for something specific only to find you didn’t pack the item in a box with similar items. When you start shoving things within reach into boxes, you set yourself up for chaos.

It seems like a no-brainer, but mixing and matching kitchen supplies with bedroom supplies, for example, isn’t the most effective way to pack. Socks and spoons don’t go together. Organizing your belongings into categories is a relatively simple step.

Labeling each box with its contents with a sharpie is a good way to go. You’ll have more than one box of kitchen supplies, so when writing on top of the box, make sure to write what’s in the box. Simply writing “kitchen” on each box isn’t very helpful. Writing the specific contents under the kitchen category will not only make it easier for you, but the movers as well.

There are many ways to downgrade the stress levels you may experience during the moving process. You may even look back and think, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad.” Pat yourself on the back, enjoy the moment and, of course, your new home!

Share with us where you donate the items you don’t need any more. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter   Facebook   Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space
http://mindoverclutter.ca/what-does-a-professional-organizer-do/

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Facts about St Patrick’s Day 

Shamrock

Shamrock

1.Irish immigrants coming to North America started St Patrick’s day parades to honour their nationality.

2. The first parade took place in Boston in 1737 followed by New York in 1762.

3.Ireland held their first parade in 1931

4.St Patrick’s Day always fell during Lent, when all the pubs where closed

5.The original colour associated with St Patrick is blue but because shamrocks and leprechauns are green, St Patrick’s Day adopted the colour green.

 

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Need help organizing your holiday decorations contact Julie 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 

7 Habits of very organized people

So you want to get organized?

Achieving order in your life doesn’t mean being perfect. That’s not realistic. Getting organized is not an event; it’s a process that happens over time. Like changing your eating or exercising habits, it sometimes involves behavioral changes and routines.

Perfectionism

Is being unrealistic by spending so much time on a task that it deprives other important tasks of sufficient time.

Excellence

Is doing the best job you can with the time and resources at your disposal.

What is organization? 

Being organized has less to do with the way an environment looks rather than how effectively it functions. If a person can find what they need when they need it, feels unencumbered in achieving his or her goals, and is happy in his or her space, then that person is well organized.

Myth #1 Organization is a born talent.

  • Organization is a skill. If the right resources or support are available it is easy to learn.

Myth #2: It’s impossible to stay organized.

  • Organizing is sustainable, if systems are built around the way the person thinks and designed to grow and adapt to new information.

The 7 Habits of Very Organized People

1. They have a place for everything

  • 25% of business documents are misplaced and will never be located so those documents must be recreated.They put things back

2. They put things back

  • Executives waste six weeks per year searching items

3. They write things down

  • From a master list of things to do determine the priorities for the next day.  This may include planning the most effect routine to use  to accomplish the tasksthe route driven to  see a client or considering  high and low energy cycles in the day and planning tasks accordingly

4. They don’t allow papers/ e-mail to pile up.

  • The average worker sends and receives over 190 messages each day.  Approximately 60 e-mails can be processed each hour.  Learn how to use e-mail effectively in order to limit the number of e-mails received and sent each day.

5. They don’t procrastinate

  • Procrastinating causes people to spend more time and energy on avoiding the task than completing it.  Once it is accomplished it is out of sight and out of mind.

6. They set goals and assign deadlines

  • Schedule a time for each task in the project to be complete, so deadlines can be met easily.

7. They only keep what they use and enjoy.

  • Clutter is usually the “extra” that is kept on hand just in case it is needed.  About 20% of items are used 80% of the time,  so 80% of items are hardly used at all.  Find the important 20% and let go of the unimportant 80%.

 

  1. They have a place for everything                                                   
  2. They put things back
  3. They write things down
  4. They don’t allow papers/e-mails to pile up.
  5. They don’t procrastinate
  6. They set goals and assign deadlines
  7. They only keep what they use and enjoy.

If you need help getting organized contact me for a virtual consultation 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/Julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

 http://mindoverclutter.ca/what-does-a-professional-organizer-do/

 

Organizing to better manage your time and stress

Is your plate too full?

Do have more on your plate than you can handle?

April Miller of April Miller Professional Organizing once described life like having a plate of food.  Even when it is full we keep putting more food on top.

Let’s think about stress, do you

  • feel overwhelmed by not being able to shut your mind down
  • feel anxious that there is too much to handle
  • feel frustrated because you don’t have control

Think about how you feel in different situations and why you feel that way.  Once you can determine what problems cause your feelings of stress you can start to solve them.

Balance Wheel

Clare Kumar of Streamline your Life has developed a Lifetime Management Wheel.  She has divided time it into 6 areas:

  • Play
  • Purpose – work and volunteering
  • Health – mental physical and spiritual
  • Lifestyle
  • Relationships
  • Development – personal growth and learning

She says to “note your level of satisfaction with each area of your life by giving it a rating of 1 to 10 with 10 being your ideal.”

Now you can see which areas of your life need some attention.  You can tie some of your feelings of stress to certain areas of your life.

Productivity – another way of managing your time

1. Take care of yourself

If you are healthy and happy you will be more motivated and productive. I walk each morning for an hour.  It allows me to start the day with no questions or demands on my time.  I get physical activity and time to reflect.  I can start my day ready for action, whatever that maybe.  What do you do the take care of yourself?

If you are healthy and happy you will be more motivated and productive Click To Tweet

2. Establish repeatable routines and systems.

This helps you to automate things that need to be completed so they become a habit.  I have a “networking bag”.  It has everything I need for going to business meetings, business cards, brochures, marketing material, note pad, pen, cash. I can leave the office quickly for meetings  not forgetting anything and not spending a lot of time looking for items I need to take.  I have a two month meal plan.  I know what groceries I need for the week and what is being cooked for supper.  Then I repeat the plan 6 times, that is a year.  You only have to eat any one item 6 times in 365 days.    Routines and systems will help you to feel in control and have less on your mind reducing your stress.

3. Slow down to become more productive.

About 5% of the population can multitask successfully. Multitasking slows down your productivity because moving from unfinished task to unfinished task means  you need to look back to see where you left off on the previous task and where to start on the new task and all those seconds add up to minutes making you less productive. Finish one task completely and then move onto the next.  There is relief and satisfaction in completing a task reducing anxiety and stress. You also need time to think and reflect on the work you are doing so you can be more intentional and less reactive. You’re in control and less overwhelmed.

4. Work with your personality not against it.

Discover where you are most productive.  It might be in different spaces for different tasks.  When I write I like to be in the kitchen. What time of day do you work best? Do you like it quiet or prefer to have some background noise? There are articles that suggest that if you are trying to brainstorm ideas you have to leave your office and that physical activity helps in brainstorming activities. I have found that 90-15-90-30-90 works for me.  I concentrate on one task for 90 minutes and then do something completely different for 15 minutes.  Then 90 minutes for working on the same task or a new one and 30 minutes doing something completely different and then a 90 minute work session.  Don’t cheat on the breaks.  The breaks help you to remain energized and focused throughout the day.

Fill your plate with only as much as you can bite off and chew.  Enjoy each morsel and spend time ruminating over the experience.  Reflect on what you are doing and what you could be doing more productively.

Send me your tip for increasing your productivity

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/Julieorganizer

Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

Organize Your Valentine’s Gift

What do you have planned for Valentine’s Day?

Looking for that perfect clutter free Valentine’s Day Gift?  One that says:

  • I understand you,
  • I want you to be happy,
  • I want to make your life easier

 

Great Valentine's Ideas

Let’s get organized

Contact Julie if you need help making this happen or buy a gift certificate.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

On-line Lifestyle Organizing Coaching leading professionals From Clutter to Freedom
Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area