Ask a Professional Organizer – How many junk drawers may I have?

Reading time – 5 minutes

A drawer with messy junk in it.

When I am working with clients one of the first things they tell me is how many junk drawers they have.  I can tell they usually think they should have none.    Depending on how you define junk drawers they may be right.  Why are they keeping junk?  Most likely they are referring to the drawers that contain many items, from a number of categories, that they don’t know where to store so they put them all in one drawer.  Does that sound familiar?   Let me relieve your discomfort and say a junk drawer is ok.

What is a junk drawer? 

When I am working with clients I know that they need a drawer to place things that they need to access quickly.  It may be a screwdriver, takeout menus, a lighter for candles, string, tape for labelling leftovers or light timers etc.  What is in your junk drawer?  The problems arise when the junk drawer has junk in it.  Spilled expired pills, pieces of ribbon, miscellaneous hardware, unwrapped candy, unneeded receipts etc. These items need to go to the garbage or appropriate recycling.  Clean out your junk drawer and make it a quick access drawer. Rename your junk drawer so it is easier to determine what should be stored in it to make your life easier. What is the new name for your junk drawer? 

How many junk drawers may I have?

Now that we have established you don’t keep junk.  You want things accessible. With my clients, I think that junk drawers in the kitchen and home office are common. It is easy to have a drawer on the main floor, usually the kitchen, for items that you commonly use and don’t want to go to other areas of the house to get.  In the office, there is a drawer that holds things that are used frequently and you don’t want to go searching for them, tape, glue, paper, envelopes, and electronics.  Make sure that your office doesn’t become a junk room,  storing everything that has not been assigned a storage space somewhere else in the home.  I would suggest one junk drawer per floor in your home.   How many junk drawers do you have?

Are junk drawers a bad thing? Only if they contain junk. Click To Tweet

How to organize a junk drawer

A junk drawer should not be disorganized.  You won’t be able to find what you need in the drawer.  I have seen junk drawers so stuffed full that they can’t be opened.  Use containers to organize items so that when you open the drawer you can access what you are looking for.  There are lots of products available to keep the drawer organized:

  • containers
  • expansion drawer dividers
  • expandable trays
  • jars
  • ziplock bags

Whatever your preference is, sort, remove unneeded items and then purchase your organizing product or repurpose items you already own.

I have containers for:

  • pens, paper, pencils  and makers,
  • twist ties, elastics and bread tags,
  • light timer and electrical outlet power bar
  • string and tape
  • first aid items.

That is what I need in my junk drawer.  What do you need in your easy access drawer?

A well organized office drawer with markers, tape elastics, stamps

Why are junk drawers bad?

Junk drawers are not bad.  Everyone needs a place to put items they don’t know where to store.  Junk drawers are only bad when they store items you don’t need and are afraid to let go of.  Look through your junk drawer on a regular schedule and clean it out.  Remove items you don’t need, take items to their proper storage place and put the real junk in the garbage. Junk drawers are bad when they give you an excuse to procrastinate and not take the time to put things away properly or make decisions about what to keep and what to let go.   Does your junk drawer let you procrastinate?

Let me help you with your junk drawers. Book a complimentary virtual organizing chat with me. 

 

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

 

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What does a professional organizer do?

 

 

2 blocks building block followed by a gold maple leaf The second line is 3 red building blocks sitting on top of Gold Leaf Member

Perhaps you are familiar with the Professional Organizer industry.  It is an unregulated industry.  Anyone can call themselves a Professional Organizer.  Professional Organizers in Canada  (POC) was established about 23 years ago and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) the American organization is about 40 years old. Look for organizers listed on these directories.  Most Professional Organizers have their own business and specialize in areas of organizing. As you read their websites you will be able to see their years of experience,  type of training and continuing education.

What happens when I call an organizer?

Usually there is some type of conversation over the phone, Zoom or email to discover what type of organizing dilemma you want solved.  It might be to have a space organized, help with moving, develop systems to make things function more smoothly, downsizing, coaching or virtual organizing etc. Then there is a description of how the job will be completed. This is about the only common business practice.  Since we all own our own businesses we have varying ways of continuing.

When you contact Mind over  Clutter:

Can I get an estimate on the cost for the work to be completed?

Most times it is hard to estimate how long a job will take during the conversation.  I offer a free one-hour assessment to my in-person clients to see what the job entails and give you an idea of how long I think it might take and what we will do.  I also offer a 30-minute assessment to my virtual clients.  One of the biggest factors on how long a job will take is how easily and quickly you can make decisions if items stay or go.  The second factor is, sometimes the job expands to include unforeseen work: filing papers, assembling shelving or bookcases, corners and areas not discussed during the assessment. I work on an hourly rate and offer a package of 10 hours at a reduced rate.

How does it work?

My virtual clients have 4 ways of working with me.

  1. A series of mini sessions
  2. Be there with you online as you work on your project to support, coach and mentor you
  3. Complete plan is developed for you to do on your own timeframe
  4. Develop routines and systems to help manage your time

80% of my in-person clients work with me to go through items and decide what will stay and what will be donated or recycled.  Then we discuss the best place and way to store the items so they can be easily found and used. Most clients like to learn  the skill of organizing and so working together helps them to learn where start, how to sort, how to decide what stays and what goes, how to store things in containers and where is the best location to store different types of items.

What if I don’t want to help or can’t help?

If you don’t want to help, I can work alone sorting items based on our conversation on what you want to keep and what you want to donate.  Then I create a donate pile  and a garbage pile and recycle pile.  Nothing leaves the house until you have looked through each pile.  If you can’t help, you can sit with me and I can bring you things to do and you can answer my questions.

What if I need some guidance but can do all the work myself?

We can work together virtually.  You show me the space to organize over Zoom and I send you a plan and you complete the work.  Here is more information about virtual organizing.  Or I can coach you through the process in a conversation in-person or virtually by discussing what you want to accomplish and how you can accomplish it.

Maybe you don’t want me to see your home.  You can purchase my online course, Create an Organized Home and use the step-by-step videos, worksheets and checklists to complete your project.  You will have access to me through a Facebook group.

What happens with donations and recycling?

At the end of each work session I take the donations.  I will drop them at centers that will take your things.  I can take them to the donation center of your choice too.  I take non-curbside recycling at the end of each session. Usually that includes, batteries, paint cans, small electronics, small appliances, textile recycling, medications, and plastic bags.

Why wouldn’t I just do it myself after the one hour free assessment?

Some people do.  They have enough information and can continue with the job.  Most people feel overwhelmed and stressed by doing it on their own.  They find it easier to work with a professional who can guide them through the problem, help solve it and reduce the stress they feel about the situation. Working with someone makes you block time out for the appointment and helps you to stop putting it off.  It is always more fun working with someone than working alone.

My virtual clients find that working with me makes them accountable to themselves and to me, especially in the mini-session program.  We work together weekly, biweekly or monthly.

Will you give me homework to do?

Only if you want it.  Some people like to keep going with the work and get it done quickly.  Some people don’t want to work alone or would feel bad if they didn’t get the homework done so I don’t that person anything to do.  There are some tasks that are very time consuming and if you can do it on your own it makes it more cost effective for you, sorting paper, going through books, CDs, VHS tapes, clothing.  However, those tasks can be difficult to figure out what to keep and what to donate, so it might be easier for you to do it with me present.

Let’s chat

If you need more information book a complimentary 30-minute virtual chat with me, whether you want to work in person or online.  I hope to hear from you soon.

Portrait of young smiling shocked business woman wearing suit sitting at home office desk using laptop, looking at computer screen with happy surprised face expression, showing euphoric funny reaction

 

Please post your questions in the comments.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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What should I do with clothing I no longer need?

Clothes that are old and out of style are hard to donate so when you no longer want to have them in your closet make a plan so they can be loved by someone else.

1. Adopt a family

If you have children sort their clothes at the start of each season and put the clothes that no longer fit in a box or bag.  You may find it easier to put clothes that now longer fit into the donation box or bag right after they come out of the dryer.  Make a connection with a family that has children a year or two younger than your children and give them the box of clothes at the beginning of each season.  This helps both families to know what clothes they have and what they need to buy and you don’t need to figure out where to donate them because they go to the same family every season.

A little girl cleaning.

2. Selling 

There are many consignment stores that sell clothing.  You can find them online.  Each store will have its own niche market.  Contact them to see if they want high-end clothing, teenage clothes, baby apparel etc.

Clothing can be sold through consignment stores

Clothing can be sold through consignment stores

3. Theatres 

If you have unusual pieces of clothing like a nurse’s cape, old-fashioned outfits or accessories take them to your local little theatre group.  They may be able to use them in their productions.  It would help the theatre company to save money on their costumes.

Vintage and unusual items can be donated to theatres

Vintage and unusual items can be donated to theatres

4. Clothing Drives 

Sometimes communities have special clothing drives.  You may find that formal wear can be donated to groups collecting clothing for proms.  In the late fall, there may be a winter coat and boot drive for homeless people.  Running shoes can be donated at some running stores and they donate them to organizations that send the shoes overseas.

5. Shelters

Clothing can be donated to women’s and men’s shelters as well as thrift stores in your community.

6. Textile Recycling

For clothing that is too old, stained or ripped google textile recycling.  There are businesses that recycle fabric, leather, bedding and clothing.

Where do you donate clothing that you no longer wear?

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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The Psychology of Clutter

Reading Time – 7 minutes

Here are 5 scenarios about why people have clutter.  Clutter is different for everyone but most people have some clutter in their lives. Let’s look at the psychology of clutter.

Scenario 1 – Retail Therapy

I was talking with a friend about people who buy something when they are sad to make themselves feel better and how this can cause clutter, financial problems or health problems if it is food.  She said when she had a bad day at school her mom would take her to a store and buy her a teddy bear.  So she understands her joy in shopping.

Why do people shop and create clutter in their homes and offices? It’s the process of assigning the emotion of fulfillment, satisfaction or simply “non-depression” to an item.  You were feeling sad and now you bought something and feel better,  for a while.

 This quote is from a book called Living More with Less:

“As someone once said

  • we have bought into the foolish obsession of buying stuff we don’t need
  • with money we don’t have
  • to impress people we don’t even know.”

I think we can all relate to a purchase that we have made fitting this description.

Three ladies shopping in a shopping mall

Scenario 2 – Fear causes clutter

Perhaps it is fear that helps people to hold onto things

  • What if I need it someday – fear of scarcity
  • I’ll keep it just in case – fear of uncertainly and doubt
  • I can’t give that away it was a gift – fear of rejection
  • I can’t decide so I’ll keep it and what if it is worth something someday – fear of making mistakes

In an article by Hellen Bittigieg, she talks about: Steps to eliminate your fears and conquer the clutter

  1. As you sort through your items notice the thoughts that come up and begin to acknowledge them, say okay now you’ve got my attention.
  2. Notice where you feel the fear in your body, stomach, chest or headache?
  3. Analyze the fear and try to understand where it’s coming from then thank it and move on
  4. Replace fear with trust
  5. What if I need it someday replace it with all my needs are abundantly supplied
  6. I’ll keep it just in case – replace it with what are the odds I’ll ever need to replace it?
  7. I can’t give that away it was a gift – replace it with my real friends always love and support me
  8. I can’t decide so I’ll just keep it – replace it with I’ll make a decision and trust that everything will be okay
  9. What if it’s worth something someday – replace it with it will never be more valuable than joy, health, friendships etc

Afraid of being wrong

Scenario 3 – Sentimentality and Clutter

I have clients who if they touch an object will automatically keep it, so I hold up the object and don’t let them touch it when they are deciding to keep it or give it away.  Other clients need to touch an item before they can donate it, it is like saying goodbye to it.

The sentimentality can be associated with

  • Someone you loved gave it to you or
  • Someone you once loved used it
  • Stuff that you associate with a time when you were happy. (memorabilia)

Being able to separate an object from a person can be difficult. Make sure to keep only a few objects that are the best representation of that period in your life period or moment.  Learning that you can still have the memory and the corresponding feeling without having the object will help you to be able to donate items.

Scenario 4 – Control 

Clients will hire me and want me to do their plans.  As I work with them and make suggestions about alternative ways to organize things generally, they say no and then at my next appointment they usually say I thought about your idea, let’s try it.

People want to have control over their decisions and environment. Avoiding power struggles over decisions about what stays and what goes makes decluttering easier.

Scenario 5 – Keeping your Stuff to Sell

I have clients who want to make lots of money selling their stuff.  Sometimes it is possible and sometimes it isn’t. They will hold onto stuff for garage sales, to put on Kijiji, eBay or Facebook Marketplace.  Sometimes they hold onto it for so long that it has lost its value. They think I paid good money for it.    The reality is the money has been spent

Just because it was costly to purchase does not mean that it’s valuable today. Items change in value. What’s important is whether you are using what you have now, or if what you have is distracting you from the lifestyle you want. If you are not loving, using and enjoying your things, then reconsider their ‘value’.

I summarize these 5 scenarios into

  • Social – learning that you can’t always feel happy and that acquiring things will not make you happy
  • Psychological – trusting yourself helps you have the courage to let go,
  • Emotional – learning you can have that wonderful feeling without  the object
  • Personality – people need control over their decisions, you can’t make it for  them
  • Financial – The value of an object in the enjoyment it brings to your life

The important thing to discover is what reasons make it hard for you to let go of the things or cause you to buy more things and change those mindsets.

Which scenarios do you relate to the most?

If you need help clearing the clutter contact me julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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Moving students home? Make home life simple with a contract

Reading time – 5 minutes

It is that time of year when your young adult moves back home or the summer.  You might think of them as your kid.  They might think of themselves as an adult now that they have been living on their own for a year.  Each of you has changed over the year and so has your relationship.  Here are some tips on avoiding the conflict that might happen.

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

Expectations

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

Share your ideas

What are your expectations?

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

Sometimes parents think

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

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

Your contract/ agreement might cover the following ideas.

Sharing the car

May I have the car?

Car                                                                                                                                                

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

Food/ Groceries

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

Cooking

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

    Where do I start cleaning?

    What needs to be cleaned?

Kitchen

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

Schedule

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

Your young adult may feel like you are trying to “keep tabs” on their activities.  They have not had curfews and anyone to report to in a year.  Explain that you want to know when to expect them back for safety reasons.  If they don’t return when they are expected then it is time to start worrying and start looking for them.

Laundry

  1. Who is responsible for laundry?
  2. May they use the supplies at home or do they purchase their own supplies?

Cleaning

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

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

Our agreement looked like this:

Food                                                                                                                                                                                 

Family agreements about house rules

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

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

Car

  •  Mom will pay for gas

Kitchen:

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

Schedule:

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

2 weeks ago I wrote about Moving a Student Back Home 

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

 

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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3 Tips to organize a student’s move back home

Reading Time – 3 minutes

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 their things are packed in an organized way it will take some of the work out of moving back to school in September.

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

Stacking bins are easy to store.   Most of us like to cut costs and use boxes to move students.  Since moving is an 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.  They will only need to be purchased once whereas boxes are usually recycled and you need to find more every time. Bins are waterproof.Blue Rubbermaid storage bin with lid

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

Make sure the items that are needed at home are packed together in a bin.  Label those bins, bedroom.  Other items that they need only 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.  They may need a bin 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. If your student is moving across the country, arrange to have their school stuff stored with a friend or a storage unit. Save the shipping fees. Keep the list they made to move home to use in September.  When it is time to go back to school look at the list and repack the items that were used during the summer.When you're packing up at college or university, pack the things you need at home separately in one bin and everything else you'll bring back to school in other bins. Click To Tweet

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

Clean out the designated area before your student arrives home.    If everything is kept close together or in a limited number of areas when September arrives, it is easy to know where everything is.

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

Moving to university

Don’t forget anything

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

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

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Spring Clearing A B Cs

Yes, you read it correctly, spring clearing, not spring cleaning.   I first heard about it at an organizing conference in London, England.  The idea made so much sense to me.  We no longer have to do seasonal cleaning.  Our homes are much cleaner because of high-efficiency furnaces, paved roads, washing machines, vacuum cleaners.  Long gone are days of mud floors, dirt roads, open fires to heat your home and brooms for sweeping. Organizing and clearing your life on a seasonal basis will help you to maintain your home and lifestyle.

Activities

Clearing is a process that involves clearing out things you no longer need, use or want.  It is also more than that.  Clearing is about examining schedules, activities and commitments   Activities change with the seasons and that affects your schedule.  Some of those activities you may not be interested in anymore.  Clear them from your life and try something new. Revise your schedule to suit your new interests.

Commitments

There might be a lot of commitments in your life.  You might be volunteering, doing things out of guilt, involved in things that are no longer a priority in your life. Look at all the commitments and clear the ones that no longer interest you, you have outgrown or can be shared or delegated to someone else. Use your time in a way that allows you to you feel, fulfilled, passionate about the cause and excited to contribute.

Spring clearing involves clearing out things you no longer need, use or want. Also clear out schedules, activities and commitments that no longer suit your life. Click To Tweet

Possessions 

Clear items that you no longer need, use or want.  When you’re decluttering decide how much is enough and start to let go of the excess.  Make contributions to charities, sell items, donate them to worthy causes.  Don’t pass things on to other people unless they want them.  Check first before you drop something off. Recycle broken, damaged or very old items.  Keep as much as you can out of the landfill.

Download your Spring Clearing Guide

Here is a sheet to help you with your Spring or Fall Clearing, download it and use it as your guide.
Spring Clearing Tips

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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How to organize your bedroom to get more space.

Reading time – 7 minutes

Start by determining any special uses for 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.

Bedroom with a bed with a yellow blanket, bookcase, round white desk and yellow chair.

Closet

It is easy for bedrooms to become the collection spot for all sorts of items.  Piles form. When you declutter the bedroom, start with your clothing.  Hang up clothing in a closet or on a rack. Place other clothing in a dresser or on shelves. Keep the clothing you like wearing, you get compliments when you wear it and that suits your lifestyle.  Have a place to put dirty laundry.  Double your hanging space by installing a lower hanging bar.  Add an extra shelf up high in the closet to store off-season items.

metal hanging bar with hangers on the main rod and the additional rod.

Neatfreak Hanging Expandable Bar

Under the bed 

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

 

Bedside stand

A nightside table with a drawer and shelf or cupboard will provide more storage than a table. The nightstands in a bedroom tend to collect clutter.  Frequently clear off the surface and declutter the drawers.  Decide what is important to have handy.  Do you need a book, tissues, medication, charging station or water bottle?

Vertical space

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

Doors

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. Try using a shoe organizer. 

Over the door hooks

There are many organizing options for storing items on doors

Bedding

Reduce the amount of bedding to a minimum.  Have 2 sets of sheets one on the bed and one extra set. If you need to store sheets in the bedroom try using the shelf in your closet.  Fold the 2 sheets and pillowcase and slide them inside the other pillowcase.  You have a nice contained set of sheets that are easy to store. Recycle sheets with stains and holes. Donate sheets you don’t use, that are the wrong size and mismatched. Have a lightweight blanket for warm weather and a heavy blanket for cooler seasons.

Cosmetics

Cosmetics can also pile up on bedroom surfaces.  Use a container to store the cosmetics and make them look attractive.  Try repurposing a silver chest. Check expiry dates, remove expired items and products you no longer use.  Try to relocate some of the cosmetics to the bathroom.

Brown box with red velvet lining holding makeup brushes and make on 2 levels and in a drawer

The brushes nicely fit where cutlery used to be stored in this repurposed silver chest

Jewelry

Jewelry is another area to consider.  There are nice trays that can fit in drawers, boxes to sit on a dresser and wall-mounted cabinets to store the jewelry you use frequently.  Go through your jewelry and make sure you still love it, it is not broken and it is clean. Donate or sell jewelry that you no longer wear, fads that have come and gone and jewelry that doesn’t fit.

In most cases, the bedroom is used for relaxing and sleeping. Find new places for all the items that don’t belong and create a tranquil space.  I think I have considered all the areas in the bedroom.  Did I miss anything?

Let me know which tip you liked best and add your own tip in the comment box.

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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5 tips to get your garden organized

Reading time – 10 minutes

Backyard deck with a grey chair and brown wooden fence and lovely green plants

I have had a series of snowstorms come through my area in the last couple of weeks.  I wanted to think about something other than snow.  This week I decided to look ahead to spring and write a fun blog on organizing your garden.  I am not an expert on gardening but I hope these 5 tips will help you to feel like spring is just around the corner.

Do you need a plan to get your garden organized? Making improvements to your garden is a great way to enhance your lifestyle and make the most of your space. It can take a little while to get organized, but it’s certainly worth it in the end. To help you get your garden organized this spring, focus on these five tips.

1. Declutter

The first step to organizing your garden is to get rid of the clutter. If your garden is full of junk, debris and old building supplies, it’s unlikely to be an ambient space. Once you’ve removed the clutter you’ll have an inviting garden that you can be proud of. Remember, your garden can be an extension of your living space.  Now is a good time to think about what you planted last year.  Did the plants grow well in the area you planted them or should they be planted in a different spot?  Do you want to try something new or stay with the tried and true?

2. Organize your shed

If you have a shed in your garden it can be nice to organize this space at the beginning of the season.  Sheds can become “dumping ground” for many things that you don’t know where to store.  Once it is organized it is easier to get things in and out, you know what supplies you need to buy and when it is clean it is much nicer to walk into. Separate everything into different categories your gardening tools, winter items to be stored,  cleaning supplies and toys etc. The best way to get organized is to use compact storage boxes. With the help of storage boxes, you can create space, and keep everything in the right place. Store your spring and summer items at the front of the shed and off-season and less used items in the back. 

3. Create separate zones

One of the best ways to organize your garden area is to create separate zones, you can create different zones using decking, steps, hedges, or plants. One of the biggest garden trends this year is building a garden on multiple levels, it’s a great way to add space and depth to a garden. For example, you might have one zone with concrete paving, and a separate area of grass. When having paving installed you’ll need to contact the best Concrete Contractor. If you’re keen to keep up with the latest garden trends, here are a few more:

  • Create an outdoor living room.
  • Plant wildflowers that attract wildlife.
  • Make the most of your space by planting a vegetable garden.
  • Pastel colours are incredibly in this season.

4. Keep it tidy

If you want to organize your garden you’ve got to try and keep the space tidy. Ensure that you regularly mow your lawn, and remove any dead plants and debris. To keep your grass nice and green it’s important to use grass feed. If there are trees in your garden you’ll need to prune these, to keep them healthy. If you have big trees and you’re not confident looking after them, it’s best to call a professional.

5. Create a design plan

To improve your garden, it’s helpful to create a design plan. A design plan can help you to establish which style you’d like to create, for example, minimal or Mediterranean. You should also figure out an approximate budget so that you can avoid overspending.  Think about your lifestyle.  How much time do you want to spend on your garden?  Design the size of the space and choose the type of plants that will make it easy for you to have a lovely garden.  

There are so many different ways to make changes to your garden. Following these organizing tips you’ll create the perfect garden. Remember, making improvements to your home is a great way to improve your lifestyle.

Share your best gardening tip with me so I can become a better gardener. 

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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How Many Ways Can You Use a Shoe Organizer?

Reading Time – 5 minutes

The technical side of organizing involves a series of steps:

  • Sort items into groups of the same type of objects
  • Part with items you don’t need, love or use
  • Assign a place for things to be stored
  • Containerize items to keep them together so you know how much you have
  • Evaluate your system and see if it needs some adjustments to work better for you.

S P A C E is used to remember the basic steps of organizing.

For me the fun side of organizing involves thinking outside the box:

  • using old items in new ways
  • rearranging furniture to make a better flow in the room
  • storing items in fun containers

Today I am going to show you 5 ways to use a shoe organizer.

Storing clothing items

  1. Store scarves, hats, gloves or mitts.  The clear pockets make it easy to get out the right things.   In the summer a shoe organizer near the entryway is a good way to store sunglasses, sunscreen and hats.  Always a convenient  place to keep your masks.
  2.  In your closet, you can store belts, scarves, socks, bras, shoelaces anything that you like to easily grab and go.  What clothing items have you stored in a shoe organizer?  Oh, yes shoes.

Use an over the door shoe organizer to store hats, scarves, hair and accessories

Store cleaning supplies for you or the home.

  1. Shoe organizers are a good way to store all your shower needs, shampoo, conditioner, soap etc.  Take what you need into the shower.
  2. They are also great in a laundry room.  Put your cleaning solutions in the pockets, stainer mover, furniture polish, tile cleaner, rug cleaner, spot remover, clothes pegs, lint brush
  3. Make it your home repair center,  picture hanging kits, sewing kits, fuses, light bulbs, small tools, tapes, glue, felt furniture pads.

Use it in your craft room.

  1. The picture show quilt squares.  The pockets can hold paintbrushes, glue sticks, scissors, tape, ribbon, pencil crayons, markers, rulers, paints.  This list is endless.

 

Use it in your office. 

  1. I took this picture in a book store.  These are maps being stored in a shoe organizer.
  2. You can use it for office supplies, pens, pencils, stapes, business cards, rulers, tape measures, tape, glue, envelopes, cards
  3. You can sort photos into the pockets
  4. It can be an easy place to store your receipts by month or category.

A white shoe organizer with clear pockets hanging on a bookcase with maps in the pockets

What about your plants and gardening items?

  1.  It can hold your plants.
  2. It can hold your gardening supplies, tools, plant food, seeds, insecticides

    Pinterest.com

What is your favourite way to use a shoe organizer? 

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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