Archive for Do-It-Yourself

4 Tips to help you start organizing your living room

Living rooms can have many purposes. 

1. Decide what your living room will be used for and create areas for each activity – watching TV, listening to music, reading, entertaining, office/desk work, or relaxing.

Determine what activities you will use the room for and then plan your space.

Determine what activities you will use the room for and then plan your space.

Lighting

2.Use task lighting as needed for each activity.  Floor lamps, table lamps, wall-mounted or ceiling lights help to make the room perfect for any task.

Make sure your lighting suits the task you want to do.

Make sure your lighting suits the task you want to do.

Choose furniture that has more than one purpose

3. Additional hidden storage can be added to the room, such as an ottoman or footstool with storage, a chest, or a coffee table with shelves or drawers.  The space behind a couch is great for storing flat items such as pictures or dining room table leaves.  Bookcases or floor-to-ceiling shelves can be used to decorate a wall and store items.

Foot stool ottoman pouffe over isolated white background

Pictures

4. Too many pictures?  Instead of trying to hang them all, rotate them each season.  It will give your walls a face lift.  Storing you pictures behind your couch is a great way to keep them handy but out of sight.

Pictures hanging on a wall

How do you store your CDs and DVDs?

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. Julie will coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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Learn more about what Professional Organizers do

 

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 

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/

 

 

Virtual Organizing – who, why, where, what

Who would use virtual organizing services?

For clients who:

  • wish to do the “hands on “organizing themselves
  • are uncertain about someone coming into their home,
  • want a cost effective way to get organized
  • need to manage their organizing appointments to fit a complex schedule
  • need a body double to stay focused

Why would you expand your business to included this service?

Virtual organizing allows organizers to:

  • spend less time driving, the organizer is in their office working with the client online or providing support to the client through prearranged online meetings
  • have clients all around the world
  • keep working with clients that move away
  • move to a new location and  keep working with clients from their previous location
  • transition to less physical organizing while still coaching, teaching, supporting and mentoring clients

What would a virtual organizing session look like

There are probably as many ways to do virtual organizing as there are organizers.  Here are 2 formats.

Format 1 for the DIYers = 3 conversations, a plan, follow up support

To keep the process simple, only one room will be discussed at a time.

The process consists of:

  1. After the client contacts you, book an intake conversation over the phone, Skype or e-mail to describe the process to the client.   Have the client send you photos or a video so you understand their situation clearly and to use them as reference
  2. Book a Virtual Appointment using Skype, Face Time, Google Hangouts or Facebook to see the room and discuss the client’s organizing goals.
  3. Develop a step by step plan and send them their customized organizing plan
  4. After they have had time to read the plan, book a virtual  question and answer session to allow the client to clarify the plan and establish a timeline for the project.

Once a timeline has been established for the project one of two follow up options may be selected.

Support Option A – This works well for people who manage their time well and are motivated to get the job done. 

The client will work on the project and e-mails pictures or sets up a Skype call as needed to help:

  • solve problems,
  • clarify the next step,
  • receive storage suggestions.
  • receive donation and recycling information.

 Support Option B – This works well for people who are easily distracted or procrastinate in getting the space organized.

  • The client will e-mail the day and time they will be working on the job.
  • You will e-mail, Skype, text or call each hour to see what assistance they need in order to successfully complete the work scheduled for that day.

In Format 1 most of your time is spent on the process of building the customized plan.  Set limits on how long the Intake Conversation, Virtual Appointment and Virtual Q & A will last. The billing  for the plan will include the time spent on the 3 conversation and the time to write the plan.  You will also be billing for support options.  You may want the client to pay a retainer that covers a specific number of minutes or hours.  If they need a lot of support they can purchase additional retainers.  If they don’t use all the minutes they purchased, reimburse them.

Format 2 for the Body Double Clients = This process is very similar to working with the client in person. 

  1. After the client contacts you, book an intake conversation over the phone, Skype or e-mail to describe the process to the client.   Have the client send you photos or a video so you understand their situation clearly and to use them as reference.
  2. Book a Virtual Appointment using Skype, Face Time, Google Hangouts or Facebook to see the room and discuss the client’s organizing goals and begin organizing. You will be on your computer for the entire length of the appointment.  You will be their body double teaching them skills, keeping them focused and supporting them. Coach them through the process of sorting, reducing, establishing a space to store things, containers to use and evaluating if they met their goals for the session.  The sessions may include: where to donate items, how to sell items, where to recycle items and any services you would like to include in the package.
  3. Book the next appointment and continue working with the client until the job is completed.

Billing for Format 2 is simple.  Determine what your virtual organizing hourly rate is and bill them for the number of hours you worked together.

You don’t need to limit your virtual organizing to rooms.  I have done a virtual time management session with a client.

If you want to discuss these formats, contact me and let’s learn from each other.  

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

 

Keep Clutter on the Run, Get Organized

Three Steps to Organizing

  • Consolidate items into groups
  • Containerize groups in sturdy, proper sized containers that are labelled
  • Condense items so you have the appropriate amount of items in each group
Remember to donate items to charity and not to put them in the garbage.

Remember to donate items to charity and not to put them in the garbage.

Follow Two Routines

  • Do four things in the morning
  • Do four things in the evening

Five Habits to Keep Clutter on the Run

  • If you get it out, put it away
  • Apply the 30 second rule – if it takes 30 seconds or less to do something, do it immediately
  • Follow the camping rule – leave the room the way your found it or better
  • Look, really look at your surroundings to see what is out of place
  • Use “little minute” to clean – those few minutes while you are waiting for someone, on hold on the phone, watching a pot boil

Let me know your tricks to help you stay organized.

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

 

Organizing, why not repurpose an item instead of buying something new

In my travels I have seen some great organizing ideas and products.  Most of them can be created using items you already own. Save money, have fun and create a solution to an organizing problem.

Re-purpose an  item and use it in a new way

On my trip to Vancouver I learned about this idea. Here is a silver chest.

Re-purpose an old silver chest and make it into a make-up organizer

It now holds make up.  My daughter-in-law invented this creative solution.

The brushes nicley fit where cultery used to be stored.

Stack 2 tables to create a great look 

I travelled to Iceland with my 92 year old Father.  A coffee shop had these versitile coffee tables.

Stacking coffee tables

They can be easily separated to give more tables, slide overtop of each other to leave more floor space and provide 2 different height tables at the same seating space. Imagine how you could create this look at your home with 2 tables.

Use stacking bins for laundry

When I was in Yellowknife I saw these great stacking laundry bins

Any stacking bins could be used for your laundry

They use vertical space so take up less floor space and can easily be separated to take to the laundry room.  The thing I liked is that you can put items into the bottom bin without removing the top bin.  If you have some bins around the house try using them them for your laundry.  You may need to set one across the other in an X pattern to be able to stack them.

1 in 4 garbage can

While staying in a hotel in Ontario I noticed this great recycling idea.

Each section of the garbage can holds a different type of trash

It made recycling very easy.  It was all in one place, the corners were labelled so you knew where to put your cans, paper, garbage and glass. You can easily make dividers for the garbage cans for bedrooms. It would make collecting the garbage easy, only one container, and it would be sorted ready to add to the larger containers going out to the curb.

Shoe Organizers are Versatile

When I was in Bermuda I saw one in a bookstore used to organize maps.  The pockets are large and the organizer can be hung over a door, mounted on a hanger and put in a closet or fastened to a wall.

Shoe organizers can be used to organizer lots of things, hats, mitts, first aid supplies,cleaning supplies and maps

Re-purpose a piece of furniture

Using furniture in a new way can be fun. Use old furniture as storage and save money not buying bins.  Back at home, this used to be a buffet.

Use old furniture to store items.

It holds our CD collection perfectly. I knew I would not have room to use it in the eating area but by the entertainment equipment it keeps CDs and gaming equipment neat and organized.

I went to the Canadian National Home Show, check out this blog post for more creative organizing ideas. What’ new at the home show?

Share your creative organizing solutions 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

5 Spring cleaning and organizing tips for your home office

Spring cleaning your home office can lead you in many directions.  Perhaps:

  • your inbox is inundated,
  • your files are filled or
  • your time management is missing.

You need to start somewhere so let’s start with the S.P.A.C.E. that houses your office.

Look around your office and start:

1. Sorting the items that are visible into groups of papers, books, office supplies, client files, product, advertising materials etc.

Start with the visible clutter first.

2. Pair down each pile to the items that are current and recycle or shred the rest.

3. Assign a convenient place to store your resources.  If you use them often keep them near your desk, if they are used infrequently store them further way but still in your office.  If they are never referred to but needed for tax or legal purposes they can be stored in another room.

4. Take each of those piles and select the best Container for keeping the items organized, binders, magazine holder, bins, boxes etc.

 

Organize with binders

Organize with bins

Organizing for the person who likes to see everything, the visual person

 

 

5. Evaluate your new S.P.A.C.E.to make sure it will help you be more efficient, productive and profitable this year.

 

 

Share one of your office organizing tips in the comment box.

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

Downsizing? Read Don’t Toss my Memories in the Trash

This month I am reviewing a book to help you in downsizing yourself but probably someone else in your life.  Don’t Toss my Memories in the Trash by Vickie Dellaquilia.

Guide to help downsize a loved one.

This book has very practical steps and suggestions for downsizing in many different types of situations. The person maybe moving to a smaller house, an apartment, moving in with family members or to a seniors home.  In each situation the person is losing something and must learn to adapt to a new living situation. They may need to get use to meeting new people, having less privacy, being less independent.  This book guides the caregivers to avoid  pitfalls that can occur.

Here are 6 tips from the book

1.Giving up the family home is like losing a loved one.  When the family is gone the memories are all they have left.

2. Remember the goal is to get the parents resettled with the things they love that make them happy and comfortable.  It is not about the finances of selling stuff, emotional battles over a childhood or arguments between family members.

3. Consider how much energy and time you have for the job.  Children sometimes have a small window of opportunity to help and want to do it in a week when parents need to go more slowly. Get help with moving, selling items, removing junk you don’t have to do it all yourself.

4. Have a goodbye ceremony with some family and friends to say farewell to the house.  Take pictures of things or video of experiences in the home.  Then start packing up

5. Take pictures of how a room is set up, how things are on the dresser or in the bathroom.  At the new place you can replicate the situation so they can adjust more quickly.

6. Have sheets of packing paper and use them to simulate the furniture and assess what large items can be moved and where they will fit in the room.  A visual representation can make decisions easier.

This book covers: 

  • Timelines
  • How to start talking about the need to  move
  • How to start
  • What to take
  • Packing suggestions
  • What to ask a mover
  • Unpacking
  • Adjusting to the new home

It is a great, quick, easy to read resource.

Post a comment about the best tip you have for helping someone to downsize

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

 

 

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