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Archive for storage

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

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

 

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

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

Need a Great Collapsible Storage Container?

Samsill Medium Pop’n Store Box

I have used a lot of pop up and unfolding type boxes in my organizing business.  They usually like to refold themselves flat, have weak bottoms that collapse and may or may not have lids.  The Samsill Medium Pop’n Store Box is great.  It has none of those problems.flat

It is easy to assemble and it stays together.  Although it can be unfolded it may be hard to get the bottom back up which I like. Having a strong, tight fitting bottom means the sides are well supported, the box will stay square and the lid will fit on firmly.

It is made of very thick strong cardboard with a lovely low gloss pebbly looking finish.  It gives it a look of being made of fabric not cardboard.  The corners of the lid are reinforced with metal to prevent them from ripping or tearing. The bottom is made of fabric so it won`t scratch your furniture.

Samsill Pop,n Store Container

Samsill Pop,n Store Container

It is light and easy to handle but strong and ridged and lovely to the eye.  It combines functionality with beauty to store and organize your items.  It comes in 5 sizes and multiple  colours.colour

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices. 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  www.mindoverclutter.ca

Medicine Cabinet 101

Medicine Cabinet 101

How to Store Pharmaceuticals

My guest blogger is Laura Schwecherl who is writing for  Health Perch a digital magazine from the USA.  Many of the tips in this article apply no matter where you live. BY

Cholesterol-lowering pills and allergy eye drops may reside on the bed stand. The medicine cabinet probably holds a cluster of medications (antacids, asthma inhalers, antibiotics) and a few stray ibuprofen may even float around the bottom of your handbag. More than one third of American adults regularly use over-the-counter medications and 65 percent of all adults in the U.S. (roughly 131 million people) use prescription drugs. But not all of us know how to store and dispose of medication safely.

We’ve got your medicine cabinet covered with a comprehensive guide on storing and disposing prescription and OTC drugs. Read on to learn how to stay out of harm’s way.

The Best Way to Store Your Meds

Store it right: How and where to keep your medications

Up to 50 percent of chronic disease patients (for instance people with arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes) fail to follow directions and take their medicine as prescribed. A simple misstep can lead to higher health risks and medical bills.

One way to avoid this problem is to stay organized. While some households store meds in a number of locations, it’s easier to keep track when they’re all in one place. Try to make medicine taking a part of your daily routine (whether it’s right after breakfast, before dinner, or before bed—whatever your doctor suggests based on the requirements of each medication) and stick to a schedule. Pill organizers are another great way to prevent confusion if you or a family member takes multiple pills a day. It’s also a great idea to take an inventory of your prescriptions at least once every six months.

When choosing a place to keep prescriptions, seek a spot that stays cool and dry, such as a kitchen drawer away from appliances (heat and moisturecan damage pills). For this reason, a medicine cabinet in the bathroom may not live up to its name, unless the bathroom is well ventilated with fans or windows.

Travel poses its own obstacles. If you’re traveling in the car, don’t keep medicine in the glove compartment, which can get very hot. If you’re jet setting, pack prescriptions in a carry-on bag in case your luggage is lost or temporarily delayed. Pack medicine in the original bottle and take a copy of your prescription to avoid any trouble with security.

The Best Way to Dispose of Meds

How to properly dispose of medications

This isn’t a simple toss in the trash situation. Discarding pills is a matter of safety: Many medicines are unsafe if taken by the wrong person. Medications that have passed the expiration date can also be dangerous.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) provides specific guidelines to dispose prescriptions safely.

Take old, unused, or expired prescriptions out of the bottle and throw them away. It’s best to mix them with icky garbage such as coffee grounds, cat litter, or compost. This helps prevent others from getting into those pills. (Every year, more than 60,000 kids go to the emergency room because they took medicine that wasn’t theirs.)

Experts have mixed feelings about flushing prescriptions down the toilet. Some question it due to trace amounts of drug residues found in surface water. Groups including the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have closely monitored this issue and so far have not reported any apparent safety or environmental issues.

The simple rule of thumb? Only flush medications if the label or your doctor says it’s safe. (Here’s a list of meds that can take a trip down the toilet.)

To ensure safety on all fronts, head to a designated drop off site. There are also many community take-back programs for old medicines. Head to theDEA website to see what’s available near you.

Safety First!

Rx safety tips for effective prescription use

Popping pills isn’t a one-and-done endeavor. There are some easy guidelines to make sure you take prescriptions the intended way. Additionally, you can pledge to store medications safely and learn more about pharmaceutical safety at Up and Away.

So without further adieu, here are 14 tips to make sure you store and take medications safely.

Always ask. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They’re the experts when it comes to the proper way to take, store, and get rid of them.

Check the expiration date. Always check the expiration date on the bottle. Expired medicines may not only be ineffective, they could be harmful too.

Look for warning signs. Check for pills that look discolored or dried out. If anything looks funky, take a picture and call your doctor to make sure it’s still safe to consume.

Never reuse and recycle. Still have that prescription cough medicine that expired in 2012? Always discard leftover medicine even if you think you may use it again. It’s always best to have a doctor prescribe new medicine despite any similar symptoms.

Keep it in the same container. The bottle’s tint helps protect pills from light and lists important information including the name of the prescription, when to take it, and your pharmacy’s number for when it’s time for a refill.

Don’t mix meds. Many pills look similar, and it’s easier than one might think to accidentally pop the wrong one.

Remove the cotton. Some pill bottles come with cotton inside to help protect pills that are shipped from online pharmacies. Remove the cotton as soon as you open the bottle. The cotton attracts moisture, which could decrease the medication’s strength.

Separate from your spouse. Keep your medicines separate from your spouse or other family members to lower the chances of mixing.

Open in a safety zone. Open meds on a countertop so you can rest the bottle on a flat surface. There’s always a chance of a pill slipping out of the bottle, and you don’t want to lose it on the floor or down a drain.

Keep the lights on. Don’t take pills in the dark or in bad lighting. Good light helps ensure you take the right pill and correct dose.

Lock ‘em out. It’s crucial to lock your prescriptions in a drawer if you have small kids.

Close it tight. Use that arm strength to close the lid tight. This also helps childproof the bottles.

Be prepared in case of an emergency. Call your poison control center immediately if you think a child may have taken one of your prescriptions. Save the number in your phone so you can dial right away.

Conclusion

By now, you should be an expert on pill safety—from storage and use to proper disposal. Stick to these guidelines (and some common sense) and you’ll be on the fast track to health.

Share how you organize your medications.  My 91 year old dad made an excel spreadsheet to track the timing of his eye drops after he had cataract surgery.

Re-Purpose Your Storage Space

Harold Taylor’s, Taylor Time Newsletter June 2015 gave this great advise on storage space.  I hope you enjoy it.

If you have more drawer space in your dressers and cabinets then you need, the number of items stored there will increase to fill the space available (Parkinson’s Law).

When you sort through your belongings and donate or scrap the sweaters, blouses, scarves and other clothing items you never use, re-purpose the drawer for those non-clothing items that are causing your closets and other storage areas to overflow. You are re-purposing when you use closet hangar space to hang a shoe holder to free up floor space, or when you remove bottom shelves of a linen closet to store your golf clubs, or use a kitchen drawer to house your toolkit. Don’t feel that you have to use all storage areas for the purpose they were originally intended.

Creative ways to use a dresser drawer

Road Trip

This great advise appeared in the P.O.S.T Professional Organizing Strategies and Tips newsletter.You can subscribe to this newsletter by going to Professional Organizers in Canada http://www.organizersincanada.com/.  POC POST Newsletter subscribe is on the right side column.

There’s something about summer, the lure of the open road and the promise of a change of scenery that makes us want to load up the car and just go some place. If there’s one time you really want to be organized, it’s when you’re travelling. Travelling requires more organization than we may possess in our daily lives, so cut the stress by following an organizing checklist for inside the car.

Planning & Prepping

  • Make sure your car is good condition –  oil checked, tires inspected and filled – test the air conditioning and wiper blades.
  • Driver’s licence, passports, insurance card, ownership and registration, and contact numbers for roadside assistance should be readily accessible. Make spare copies and leave with a travel companion.
  • Spare tire and jack – are in good shape and are easy to access. An emergency car tool kit should include an orange flag or pylon that you can use to signal for help if needed. Learn how to change a flat tire.
  • Spare set of keys – in case they get locked inside the car or drop out of your pocket. (Even if you have to call a locksmith to open the car, you’ll be able to drive when it’s unlocked.)
  • Plastic grocery bags for garbage – always!

    Back seat organizer

    Keep your backseat organized with a portable blue bin

  • These blue bins fit between two seats and can hold a lot of gear. Each young member of the family can have their own bin for a blanket, sweatshirt, hat, sunglasses, spare shoes. They can access anything that they need on their own and have a place to wrangle their souvenirs.
  • A file box with a labelled folder for each section of the road trip.

Maps

  • A traditional map or print custom maps for your journey at GoogleMaps or MapQuest Route Planner. CAA or AAA will also provide route maps.
  • (GPS) A Global Positioning System – some travellers say they wouldn’t leave home without one!
  • APPS are available on smartphones to find everything from restaurants, hotels, parks, other points of interest as well as weather reports and plenty of games, quizzes and puzzles for young ones.
  • Book the hotel ahead so you don’t have to find a place at the end of the day. Find hotels with generous cancellation policies.

In-Car Diversions

  • Music –  An iPod playlist or CD collection if you’re travelling through an area where radio signals might be sketchy.
  • Audio Books, DVDs and a laptop.
  • Spare batteries, charging cables and electricity power converter for electronics.
  • Healthy Snacks: fruit (apples can keep well for a long time), pretzels, granola bars, crackers and nuts, along with a few fun treats. A trip to the grocery store along the way can help you save money too, because the costs of dining out can add up.
  • Beverages: A soft-sided cooler packed with water bottles and low-sugar soft drinks.

Toiletries within easy reach

  • Tissues, paper towels, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer and a roll of toilet paper, in case the rest stop isn’t well-stocked.
  • Prescription medicines as well as basics like pain relievers, antacids and remedies for motion sickness.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • A first aid kit with antiseptic and band-aids for minor cuts, cortisone cream for insect bites, and bandages.

Clothing & Comfort

  • Wear comfortable clothing – no items which restrict or bind.
  • Wear shoes that are easy to take on and off.
  • A sweater or jacket over a T-shirt for instant respectability in public areas.
  • A small blanket if you disagree on the temperature setting within the car.
  • A pillow from home for an unfamiliar hotel bed.

Finally

  • Think twice before posting about your trip on social media if your house is currently empty!!

Need a Little More Space in Your Bedroom?

Start by determining any special uses of the bedroom (e.g., home office, baby’s crib and supplies, etc.)  Only have items in the bedroom that serve the purpose of the room.  Remove all other items.

1. Store your clothes in the closet.  Double your hanging space by installing a lower hanging bar.  Add an extra shelf up high in the closet to store off-season items.

2. Under-bed storage containers are very helpful for oversized items or off-season clothing.  You can raise your bed to create more storage by using bed risers to lift the bed up.

Bed Raisers are palce under each bed post to raise the bed

Raising the bed can make more storage space under the bed

 

3. A night side table with a drawer and shelf or cupboard will provide more storage than a table.

4. Use vertical space to add more storage.  An armoire or high-boy may suit your room better than a long, low dresser.

5.  Use the inside of the bedroom and closet doors to hang items.  Over-the-door rack and hook products accommodate shoes, jewellery, scarves, ties, etc.

Over the door hooks

There are many organizing options for storing items on doors

6. Reduce the amount of bedding to a minimum.  Have 2 sets of sheets one on the bed and one extra set.  Have a light weight blanket for warm weather and a heavy blanket for cooler seasons.

Let me know which tip you liked best and add your own tip 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

What Could You Use This Tree For?

wooden tree artwork

This piece of artwork provides storage opportunities.

I recently attended the National Home Show in Toronto Canada.  I saw this great piece of artwork.  If you have a small home this artwork is dual purpose.  It can be used to hold CDs, video games and equipment, books.  Plants would look lovely on this tree especially ivy or other hanging plants that would give it “leaves”.  It would be fun to decorate it for any season or special event.

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