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Archive for Organizing Tips

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

Can you recycle VHS tapes?

I first published this blog in May 2015.  I have been notified that Project Get Reel has received their e-waste license and is up and running.

VHS tapes are 80% recyclable but most end up in landfills.  It is a labour intensive job to dismantle the tapes into their component parts.  “Project Get Reel is giving people an environmentally safe way to dispose of tapes while providing employment to people who may face barriers to securing a job.”  They launched this business on April 9 ,2015.  View the video on this site to learn more about recycling VHS tapes. Watch for more news about this business trying to help the environment and provide sustainable employment for residents in Ontario Canada

pile of VHS tapes

Photo by Rob Pearce

Let me know some of the great places you take your donations and recycling to.

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

Get organized and donate to textile recycling

Textile recycling is a newer idea.  The idea of  donating clothes, shoes, purses, belts blankets toys etc to thrift stores is well established in most communities.  What if those items have holes, are discoloured, very old and out of fashion you can still keep them out of the landfill though textile recycling. Canadians only divert 25% waste from landfills.

Textile Waste Diversion and the Clothesline program are 2 companies that will gladly accept clean, dry ,odorless, clothing, shoes, boots, leather belts, purses, outwear, linens, drapery, soft toys. sleeping bags, yarn, pillows, hats, etc any thing made of textiles.

reduce-infographic

graphic from www.textilewastediversion.com

These 2 programs have bins for easy drop off.   Not only do they divert waste from landfills but they also put money back into the economy through their fundraising programs.

This problem is not limited to Canada.  In the USA it’s estimated each person wastes 32kg of clothing annually, with only 15% of this ending up in a recycling center. The rest is landfilled or incinerated, causing lasting damage to the environment.

With an increasing growth rate in Britain they also have low rates of waste diversion.  The article The Introduction to all things Recycling  by Monk and company explains the environmental benefits of recycling, the importance of recycling and the environmental impact of textile waste.

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

Recycling and Donating

Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Recycling and Donating

OES Ontario Electronic Stewardship

If you are looking for locations to recycle your computers, TV, printers, fax machines, etc., this website will help you find a location near you.

Highlight Consumer/Retailers then click on Recycle your electronic

Go to the bottom of the page and type in the name of your city in Ontario and it will give you a list of locations

Books

If you have books you would like to donate, libraries and used bookstores may take them.  There is a new organization that is able to put books into prisons.  It is call Books to Bars.  It is dedicated to promoting literacy, creativity and functionality in correctional facilities.

Clothing

Clothing can be donated to women’s shelter as well as Salvation Army, Value Village, New Horizons Store on James St, Hamilton ON. There is a children’s store that is called Once Apon a Child and a teen and young adult store called Plato located at Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, Burlington ON.  They are not consignment stores.  You bring in your clothes and they buy it (what they want) on the spot and give you the money right away.

Building Supplies

Habitat for Humanity Restores will take building supplies.  Call ahead to see if they need the items that you wish to donate.

Antique Stores

Some antique stores will take window frames, furniture etc.  I have an artist that is looking for  antique items to use in her craft business.  Contact Julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Decore on a Dime

This store is located in Hamilton, ON and will take some stylish home furnishings on consignment.

Orange Drop

Check out this website to learn locations to drop off your corrosive, flammable, explosive and toxic items.

Single Use Batteries

Rechargeable batteries can be dropped off with your electronics but they will not take single use batteries.  Try contacting your local stores to see if they are a collection depot for single use batteries.

Rona 

 

Please go to www.mindoverclutter.ca  and click on the links page for more ideas about recycling and donating good used items.  If you have and questions or other great recycling and donating ideas click on the contact page, I’d love to hear from you.

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

How organized do you want to be? (video)

The level of organization a person needs to be productive or less stressed or happy varies from person to person.  Once you  have discovered what works for you, you will be able to maintain your system.  Problems arise with being organized when the system doesn’t work with how you think, your schedule, your routines or your motivation.  Working with a Professional Organizer can help you establish a system that meet your needs.

Here is a video about one way to organize a home.  Some of the ideas may work for you.  Let me know if you tried any of the techniques in this video.

How to organize your home on a tight budget

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

A Cluttered Life – Middle Class Abundance

Make your home perfect for you.

Make your home perfect for you.

This 6 minute video is a great look at our society and our relationship with “stuff”.  It is easy to collect “stuff” but it is hard to know how to get rid of things.

http://www.uctv.tv/shows/Stuff-A-Cluttered-Life-Middle-Class-Abundance-Ep-1-24699

Need help simplifying your life and home contact Mind over Clutter to work with you in person or virtually to help you meet your goals.

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

Tips for Storage Rooms

There are a number of questions to ask yourself before you purchase shelving for your storage room.

enclosed storage unit

stow your items behind doors

1. Do you like things displayed on open shelves or stowed behind closed doors?  This will help you determine if you want a cupboard or shelving.

2. Next measure the space.  You need to get storage that uses all the area and not buy storage that leaves some of the area unusable because one storage unit is too large and another storage unit can’t fit into the remaining space.

3. Next ask yourself, will you open a lid to put things into a container, will you reclose the top of a box?  If the answer is no then cut the flaps off the box or purchase containers without lids.  You want to make it as easy as possible to get the items into the correct box.

open crate

Crates are great if you won’t put a lid on a container

4. Lastly ask yourself, if your bins are stacked will you unstack them to put something in the bottom container?  Will you restack the containers on the storage unit?  If your answer is no then buy large containers that fill the vertical space between the shelves so you can maximize your storage.  It is usually good to have two or three containers on each shelf. Now you have your storage units and bins.

  • Store items you use frequently at eye level.
  • Store heavy items on the bottom shelf
  • Store items close to where you use them
  • Store infrequently used items up high or in less accessible areas.

Trying to store hockey bags?  Try placing two shelving units that are 4 or 5 shelves high, with 24” or 36” deep shelves, one in front of the other and securely attach them together.   This will hold one bag per shelf with room to leave it open to air out and place some items on the shelf beside the bag to dry.

With the right shelves and bins it is easy to sort your items into categories, place them in a labeled container and locate them in your storage room.  Remember to keep only what you need and love.

Need a one hour free assessment to help you pick the best storage solutions for you contact Mind over Clutter and ask for 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

Clearing an Estate? Read “They Left Us Everything”

Today I am reviewing a booked written by Plum Johnson, They Left Us Everything  a memoir. She is a Canadian author from Oakville, Ontario. It is an easy to read , novel style story about her experience emptying her parent’s home.  Once you start reading it you become engaged in the story and can’t put the book down. It takes you on a roller coaster of emotions:  sad, humorous, happy and thoughtful.

Paperback book, They Left Us Everything

by Plum Johnson

Many people have had the experience of going through years of possessions and trying to figure out

  • how to divide things between family members,
  • where to donate things,
  • the division of labour between family members on how the work will get completed and
  • when to sell the home.

This book takes the reader through the many pitfalls and solutions that Plum and her siblings discover to solve these difficult situations.

One of my favourite parts of the book is the chapter on how they divide up their parents’ possessions between the 4 siblings .  Plum has made an annotated inventory list complete with photographs, 422 items, 8 pages long.  There are two categories; one for all the furnishings that have been appraised and priced and one for historical items that were considered priceless. They take turns picking things off the list until everything is gone.  It is very interesting to read the how the process goes, who selects which items and why, and how competitive they can be during this process.

The book has practical suggestions but mostly it gives the reader emotional and psychological insights into the relationships that they have with their parents and that their parents have with each other.  It also shows how these relationships affect how they experience dealing with their parents’ possessions. Learning from their experiences can help each of us to understand the many layers of feelings that affect each of us and our relationships with people and “stuff”

A few memorable thoughts from the book are;

  1. “The most valuable things come from within yourself”
  2. “Are you untangling the stuff in the house or untangling yourself from your parents?”
  3. “Gradually things in the house relinquished their hold on us.”

Post a comment about the part of the book you liked best or a tip to make clearing an estate easier.

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

Start Organizing your Garden Now – Tips from a Professional

My guest blogger is Ron Thiessen of Thiessen Farms .  logo1large2He has been farming  all his life.  As a child he worked with his dad and then took over the farm.  He sells his produce at markets and has developed a Community Supported Agricultural Program (CSA) of over 200 families who buy a share of his crops and pick up their produce every week at his farm from May to October. He is located in Jordan Station, Ontario , Canada.  He has written on organizing your seeds, choosing your crops and charting their progress.

Crop Planning and  Choosing Seeds

Brad’s Atomic Grape Tomato

Brads-Atomic-Grape

“Elongated cherries in clusters. The colour (and flavor!) is a full-blown assault on the senses – lavender and purple stripes when immature, turning to technicolor olive-green, red, and brown/blue stripes when fully ripe. Really wild! … this amazing variety a good candidate for market growers …” (from www.rareseeds.com)

When we saw this new tomato in a seed catalogue it immediately became a must grow variety for Thiessen Farms in 2017. It looks and sounds amazing!

And when we found seed for the hottest-of-hot peppers – Ghost, Carolina Reaper & Trinidad Scorpion – there was no doubt that they would be on the list too, along with Glass Gem corn, Superschmelz kohlrabi and Golden Wa Wa cabbage.

Coloured kernels of corn on a cob

Glass Gem Corn

Superschmelz kohlrabi

I’ll admit it. We’re suckers for a cool sounding name and a fancy description. That’s why our seed list has grown to more than 450 varieties of  over 60 different vegetables and herbs. But it’s really a cheap thrill. For a few bucks we get to try something new. Sometimes it will turn out great and become a favourite. Other times it’s a disappointment and we never grow it again. But it’s always fun experimenting!

The first week in January is always seed ordering time. We pour over the seed catalogues devouring the particulars of all the vegetables, herbs & flowers, choosing the varieties we will grow in the upcoming season. The selection of seeds is overwhelming making it a delightful yet daunting task.

Here’s how we make our choices …

1. We know what we grew in previous years.

We keep a master list – a spreadsheet that names each crop and  variety we grew last season, the amount of seed we have on hand, the year purchased, the company it came from, and the number of days from seeding until harvest. This gives us someplace to start. When the seeds are ordered, all this data is updated & any new varieties are added and those we will not be growing are eliminated.

2. We keep good records – an awful lot of records.

We have a chart where we record every seed we sow in the greenhouse – the date we seeded, the amount, the date the first seeds poked up through the soil, the date we transplanted them and how many, and a spot for random comments. We have more charts where we record everything that gets planted out in the fields – whether it is direct seeded or transplanted from the greenhouse, the variety, the amount, the date. Throughout the growing season we make written notes – both quick observations that we jotted down on the run and more formal evaluations of the different vegetables and how they grew, and produced, their yields, taste, plant health … Photographs are also very helpful for this and  so easy to take with cellphones. We find these records invaluable and refer back to them often.

3. As commercial growers we look to our customers for information 

What crops sold well and which ones did not, what caught the customers attention, what vegetables are they asking for … We have more charts. For each day at the farmers’ market we record what we brought, how much we sold, the prices and the weather for the day. There are similar charts for each Community Support Agricultural Program (CSA )pick-up. These give us a clear picture of what to grow and how much based on actual sales.

4. What would be fun and interesting to grow!

We always try to grow something new that we have not done before. Recent examples include kalettes , cauliflower  artichokes and fava beans.

The seeds are arriving almost daily now

Close to 500 packets of seeds – different sized envelopes, some paper, some foil, even a cloth bag or two, and at least one larger 25 pound sack (snow peas). Add in any leftover seeds from other years, various jars of seed that I saved myself, and we end up with well over 600 different containers of seeds.That’s a lot of seed to deal with and to keep organized!

Proper storage is necessary to keep the seeds viable 

Cool and dry storage being the most important conditions. We keep the seeds in our workshop in small, plastic shoe boxes. A label on the lid notes what seeds are inside. These plastic boxes are then stored in larger plastic bins all with secure lids. This keeps them dry, clean & safe from curious animals (ie cats, or even mice – in case the cats are not doing their job!).And there the seeds wait until it’s time to plant them.

IMG_8905 (2)

What have you learned from Ron Thiessen a commercial grower that will help you to organize your garden this year?

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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