Image

Archive for Organizing Tips

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

 Twitter – Facebook – Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

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 

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?

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/

4 organizing tips to improve your entrance way

Controlling the clutter at the entrance to your home can be a huge challenge.

Colorful clothing on coat hooks

Vary the height of hook and shelves

1. Place hooks low enough that everyone can hang up his or her own coats, sweaters, and jackets.

2. Establish a space that can be reached without help for each person’s backpack or gym bag.  This could be a shelf, cupboard or hook.

Mount shelves at different heights for each person in the household.

Mount shelves at different heights for each person in the household.

Designate a place for footwear

3. Have enough space near the entrance for shoes that are used regularly.  Buy stackable shoe racks and use vertical space efficiently.  Footwear worn occasionally should be stored elsewhere and brought out as needed.

Use vertical space to prevent footwear form sprawling all over the entry way

Use vertical space to prevent footwear from sprawling all over the entry way

Use a shoe organizer to store your hats,gloves,sunscreen 

4. Have a place for seasonal hats, gloves and scarves.  A hanging shoe organizer is ideal for this purpose.  Put regularly-worn hats, scarves and pairs of gloves into the pockets, where you can easily see each item and quickly select what you need.   Storing hats, mitts and scarves directly with a jacket also helps to keep everything together.

 

Use a shoe organzer to hold hats in the closet

Use a shoe organizer to hold hats in the closet

What is the biggest problem in your front entrance way? Let me know, I might have a solution for you.

Join my Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

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

 

How do you store your batteries?

Here is a great video on how to store batteries safely to prevent a fire in your home.

Batteries can be recycled in many locations.  Share in the comments where you recycle your batteries. 

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 your cosmetics, how long should I keep them?

When you start organizing your bathroom or bedroom you may find cosmetics.  Here is an infographic with information on how long to keep your cosmetics before throwing them out. Thanks to Natalie Brown a staff writer at BuzzFeed News for posting this information.  For more ideas on bathroom organizing read her post 7 Easy Bathroom Organizing Ideas You’ll Actually Want to Try 

By Natalie Brown BuzzFeed News July 2017

Have you found any alternative uses for expired cosmetics? Share them in the comment section

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

Storage Solutions

Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Storage Solutions

On the  People in Connection Internet TV show, I discussed Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Storage Solutions. When you are short of storage space in a specific area, there are many products on the market that can give you more.

Over the Door Hanging Products

There are a number of over the door hanging products found in stores such as Walmart and Canadian Tire.  There are over the door hooks to use for hanging coats, clothes, towels, purses, belts as well as over the door rings for hanging tea towels, hand towels and paper towels.  There also is a great product that has 5 pockets /shelves that are about 6” deep, which could hold shoes, office supplies or laundry supplies.   Using over the door hanging products makes installation easy and quick and you don’t need to put holes in your walls.

Magnetic Products

There are magnetic products that can be used to make storage space on metal appliances such as your refrigerator, filing cabinet or washing machine.  One is a rack with 3 slots to hold papers, magazines etc and a filing pocket to hold file folders.  They are available at office supply stores like Staples.

Unused / Hidden Spaces

There are unlikely places in the home that can be turned into great storage areas.  Under the staircase can be lined with cedar to become a storage area for clothes or bedding.  It can be fitted with a bar to hang clothes or shelves for storing containers.

Furniture with Storage

Using pieces of furniture is a great way to make additional storage spaces.  A simple chest of drawers can be used in an entrance way to store hats, mitts, pets’ leashes, keys etc.  An antique dining room buffet with drawers can be used to store CDs and DVDs.  Two drawer filing cabinets can be used as a night table in a child’s bedroom holding books and toys and later used for school work as the child matures.

When you need to make space to store items think outside the box, many spaces can be used to creatively and attractively store the things you need and love.

Join my Facebook Group Organizing Mind and Spaces

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

11 Mindsets to fight to obtain organizing success

 

As a Professional Organizer I hear comments from clients that suggest they will not succeed at getting organized.  When I hear these words and phrases I try to coach my clients  through the feelings that are represented in their words and help  them to overcome their internal conflicts.

I asked my colleagues from Professional Organizers in Canada to share words that set off alarm bells in their brains, make them  take a step back and have a discussion with their clients to help them become successful.

Janet Barclay, Organized Assistant from Hamilton, ON phrase is:

Someone else will deal with it. –  Success in an organizing project occurs when the person is willing to take ownership for the task and decisions that need to be made.

April Miller, April Miller Professional Organizing, from St John, NL word is:

Purge – This word has negative connotations related to eating disorders so sometimes this word is replaced with edit, let go, reduce and part with. How a person thinks and feels about their  stuff effects their ability to make good decisions.

Natasha Solvason, Home Free Organizing Solutions, Saskatoon, SK phrase is:

For now, “I’ll put this here for now” –  In an organizing task many decisions need to be made and putting off decisions delays getting the job completed. The more decisions a person makes the better they get at making decisions.

Michelle Wright,  Wide Open Spaces Farm Cleanups,  Smokey Lake, AB phrase is:

“It doesn’t bother me but my (kids, spouse, mother) thinks I should get organized” –  It needs to be the goal of the person to get organized, not someone else’s, because the person will not be motivated to get the job done. Helping people to set SMART goals helps them to be successful.

Set goals that you can attain

Karen McIntosh Murdock,  Your Organized Friend, Saint Albert, AB word is:

“But,” – Anytime a reply starts with this word you know that a problem is going to be suggested for the solution that is recommended. This sometimes highlights that the person is not interested in getting organized and is preventing themselves from being successful  by discounting ideas.

Ida Tetlock, Smart Organizing , Orangeville, ON word is :

“Ready” –  Many conversations I have with people  result in comments such as…. “Oh, I really need to get your help when I’m READY to organize” or “I could really use your help, but I’m just not READY to tackle this yet”.  It can be an excuse to delay starting instead of dealing with an underlining fear.

Carolyn Caldwell, Caldwell Evolutions Inc., Toronto, ON word is:

“Should” -Translate: someone sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear that what I’m not doing  they think I ought to be doing. Replace with “Could”: the language of potential

Erika Bookbinder, In the clear Organizing, Toronto, ON word is:

“Just” – as in “I’ll just leave it here for now”. Whenever the word “just” is inserted into a sentence, it usually means  that the person is doing something they shouldn’t (I tell this to my kids all the time!)

Shawn Ferguson, Everything Organized,  Kamloops BC words are:

Can’t, overwhelming – These words identify a situation where a client is lacking self-confidence in their skills or knowledge about getting organized.  Fortunately with some reassurance clients can begin to gain knowledge and success.

Alison Lush, Alison Lush Certified Professional Organizer, Montreal QC word is:

Should – When clients think they should be doing something, they may not want to do it, they may not want to do it that way, or they may lack the motivation to do it.

Melody Oshiro, Organize to Optimize Nanaimo, BC phrase is:

“I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings” – Fear is a big deterrent in getting organized. People can be worried that their decisions may cause problems.  Gaining confidence in decision making makes a person successful at organizing.

In the comment section tell me what words or phases  you have heard people use that stop them from getting organized.

Join my Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

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

Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area