Beat Black Friday, avoid the chaos

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching. There may be some deals you can find.  Ask yourself:

  1. Will you be spending a lot of your valuable time looking for that special holiday deal?
  2. Will you end up purchasing things that cause clutter for you or a friend?
  3. Will you overspend on your budget?
  4. Will you be happy with your purchases?

Fun Facts 

Here are some fun facts.  The term Black Friday first became used widely in the 1990’s and refers to retailers reaching profitability or in the black – black ink, as opposed to losses that were originally recorded in red ink.

Black Friday sales declined only once in recent years. It was 2008 during the  Recession. Only 263,820 seasonal workers were hired in 2008 – staggering low compared to the record 764,750 workers hired in 2013.

Here’s an idea you don’t have to wait in line for. 

Mind over Clutter.ca has 3 hour packages designed to help with any number of tasks in the home and office. Considering purchasing an

  • Income Tax Receipt Organizing Package
  • Holiday Cleanup Package
  • Streamlining Your Office Package.

Packages can be designed to fit the individual needs of the person receiving the gift.  Purchase your gift package for $150.00. Contact julie@mindoverclutter.ca to purchase your clutter-free gift of time.

A clutter free gift of time

Give the gift of time

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 to organize a Little Free Pantry

You may have heard of little free libraries.  They are cupboards mounted around neighbourhoods where you can donate a book and take a book, for free.  This Thanksgiving my niece introduced me to the Little Free Pantry in her neighbourhood.

Community Fridges have been around for several years, beginning in Germany and Sweden in 2012 and now several exist in many countries and across Canada including one in Hamilton and eight in Toronto.

Giving opportunity

My niece asked everyone in the family to bring canned or boxed goods or baby food and diapers to our Thanksgiving meal.  She collected them and is putting them in The Little Free Pantry as items are taken to help restock the cupboard. I was honoured to be asked to contribute to this project. The pantry is there for anyone to take some food or donate food to help everyone have better food security.   “Take what you need, leave what you can”, is their tagline.   Why are they doing this, to “build a better community by fighting hunger today.”

A wooden cupboard with four shelves filled with food having a glass door mounted on a wooden stand

519 community collective 

This project sprung up out of Covid. The founder is Julie Sawatzky.

They are one of many groups working together to fill gaps for seniors, single parents and families who are living in shelters or transitional living by providing emergency aid and essentials to create a better and more stable tomorrow.

The 519 Community Collective has 12 programs including a community fridge nourish kitchen, 2 urban gardens, 23 little free food pantries installed across the region, an assortment of emergency food programs, and more.

Lincoln County Community Fridge 

Down the road from where I live is another food pantry project.  On July 5, 2021, the Lincoln County Humane Society launched the Lincoln County Community Fridge at its animal shelter in St. Catharines, Ontario.

A large cupboard sitting on the side walk to take donations of food.

What is a Community Fridge?

This is how they describe their program.  “Our fridge, like others, is a place where anyone who needs food can come to our Community Fridge and take what they need.  We have a large, double glass doored fridge in a new room we built, out of a former cat gazebo. The insulated room is also equipped with 2 pantries to hold dry goods and some limited amounts of toiletries and hygiene products.

A fridge holding food donations

As I walk around my community I love seeing the many ways people are sharing to make their community better for everyone.

Tell me about sharing projects in your community.  

Julie Stobbe, professional organizerJulie 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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Use these 9 steps to organize your home

Reading Time – 2 minutes

There are so many books and articles about organizing a room.  It can become very confusing. How to start, what to do first.  All those words on the page.  Here is an infographic to visually show you the sequence of tasks you need to do to reach your organizing goals.


a blue ladder outlining the 9 step to organize a room

Let me answer your questions.  Book a complimentary 30-minute chat online.  

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 to organize your dorm room for maximum productivity

Reading time – 10 mins 

Tidy and organized room with desk in the center and bookshelf on the right

My guest blogger is Sophia Perry from Arizona Moving Professionals 

It’s back-to-school time! If you entered a university or college this year, you may be living in a student dorm room for the first time. If you plan to do your best this semester, you should ensure you have a productive study space in your dorm room!  Now is the time to start thinking about how to organize your dorm room for maximum productivity.

You may be thinking, “How can I establish a pleasant and effective study place that exudes creativity without overwhelming the room?” Finding solutions that work for you and your limited space is critical. What’s keeping you from getting organized? Will there be enough lighting in the room? What can you do to make this room seem more inspiring? These are all critical considerations to ask yourself when setting up a study place. Are you ready to learn how to make a productive study space in your dorm room?

Maximize your available space

You should first figure out how to make the most of the limited space in your dorm room. You must ensure that you are making the most of your limited space since studying in a cramped or cluttered room won’t be productive. You may use several space-saving tactics and ideas in your dorm room to create the illusion of extra free space.

One method to do this is first to declutter. Remove any large items, such as a bookcase, to create room for a study desk. Instead of a large bookcase, build open shelves on the wall. It enables you to make extra room while still having adequate storage for your books and personal effects. However, if you are missing space for some of your necessities, Centennial Moving can help by renting you the needed storage. A storage unit can also be handy when moving into or out of your dorm.  At the end of a semester, it may be more cost-effective to store your items than to move them back home. 

Everything should serve numerous functions

When you live in a tiny place, you must make the most of everything you own. Everything in your dorm should serve many tasks. Instead of a regular table near the bed, use an ottoman or cabinet with drawers and storage that can hold a bunch of stuff. Don’t simply use a table to set your laptop on; instead, choose a desk that takes up the same amount of room but has more storage.

Small dorm room with blue walls

Dorm rooms are often small, so make sure everything serves its purpose.

Bed lifts are handy for dorm room dwellers if you do not have a bed loft. Bed lifters are placed on the bottom of the memory foam mattress or beneath bed frames to raise it a further six inches. The wonderful thing about this is that you can now utilize the wasted area under the bed as storage. Another benefit of bed risers is that they have AC plugs built directly into them, giving you a greater choice in where you place the bed. There’s no need to worry about a hidden outlet buried under the bed you can’t reach.

Instead of studying in bed, study at your desk

When you have 30+ pages of your textbook to read, your bed appears quite attractive. Unfortunately, many students tend to doze off in bed. Unless you travel to the library or a study group outside your dorm room, try to accomplish all your studying, school work, and reading at your desk. It’s easy to zone out or fall asleep when studying in bed, particularly if you’re reading boring or too technical stuff. Relocating your textbooks or laptop away from your bed will organize your dorm room for maximum productivity. Bringing textbooks or a laptop into bed sends confusing messages to your body, and studies suggest that using technology in bed may harm your sleep quality.

Bed with books on it

Zoning out is common if you are studying in bed, so move your stuff to desk

Reduce Distractions

Is your neighbour’s music blaring across the hall? Or maybe you hear people talking just outside your door? If so, why not invest in a set of noise-cancelling headphones? Depending on what you find most comfortable, you may choose between over-ear, on-ear, and earbud models. It’s also a good idea to get a model with lengthy battery life so you can remain focused on your studies all day. Furthermore, noise-cancelling headphones are available in various price ranges, so you’re likely to find the right set.

Do you find yourself browsing social media during your study sessions? If this is the case, try designating particular periods of the day for texting or accessing the web. For example, you will get 10 minutes of phone time for every hour spent studying. Furthermore, lock apps may block you from using particular apps on your phone for a set amount of time. If you have trouble maintaining attention, there are many ways of organizing your life. You will be able to focus on your work without being distracted by social media, games, phone calls, or messages.

Person texting on their smartphone

Try moving your phone out of your line of sight and setting it to Do Not Disturb mode for less distraction.

You must coordinate (with your roommate)

Did you and your roommate bring duplicates of large items? Next time you go home to visit take some of those items back with you so the valuable room space can be organized for maximum productivity. Here are a few examples of space-consuming products that you’ll probably only need one of between the two of you:

  • Television (you may not need one, but let’s pretend you bring one anyhow.
  • Refrigerator — obviously, a mini-fridge; a full-size community fridge will most likely be accessible for storing large things and frozen meals.
  • The microwave oven
  • If you believe a gaming console to be essential, just one should suffice.
  • Dock for stereo/music player with speakers

Before a conflict arises, communicate as soon as possible to determine what arrangement works best for you. Is one of you comfortable being many feet above the ground on a top bunk bed? Is the other individual at ease sleeping under a bed frame, mattress, and companion weighing several hundred pounds?  Now that you have lived together for a while, make changes that help you both to feel comfortable.

How much room will you need to move about in the appropriate living area for yourself and visitors? What about furnishings like toss pillows, futons, and school-supplied desks and dressers? The main point here is to arrange as much as possible with your roommate and have the right mindset so your term is happy, enjoyable and productive.

In conclusion

There’s some truth to the old adage that buddies shouldn’t become roommates. However, there’s no reason you can’t get along with whoever your allocated roommate is. By working together and coordinating your activities, you may save money and organize your dorm room for maximum productivity.

How did you organize a dorm room?  Success and horror stories are all welcome in the comments. 

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 are the 2 most important boxes in a move?

Reading time – 3 minutes

Home interior right after moving in with many boxes piled up

Where are those 2 special boxes?Planning a  move takes time.  Moving is stressful.  The packing of all the boxes, the day of moving and then the unpacking.  It is easy to misplace something you need on moving day or soon after you arrive. Consider having those important things with you in your vehicle.

What are the 2 most important boxes?

When you are moving pack 2 boxes that have everything you need for moving day and the first night. Keep these 2 boxes with you and not in the moving truck. These boxes should include:

  1. Glasses –  plastic or glass for drinks or water.
  2. A roll of paper towels
  3. A roll of toilet paper for each bathroom
  4. A bar of soap or container of liquid soap for the bathroom
  5. A hand towel in the bathroom
  6. Dishcloth, dish soap and tea towel for cleaning dishes that may be dusty from moving
  7. Sheets for the bed and pillows so you can go to sleep at the end of a long day moving in
  8. Towels for a shower and basic cosmetics to clean up after the move
  9. A change of clothes as well as medications
  10. Chargers for your phone, tablet and computer

What supplies are important? 

It is handy to pack a pail of basic cleaning supplies so you can do a quick clean before things are unpacked.  Bring:

  1. Cloths
  2. All-purpose cleaning supplies
  3. Broom and dustpan
  4. Mop
  5. Pack it all in a pail

Pack a toolbox with basic tools. You may have to reassemble beds, bookcases or electronics.  Have:

  1. a screwdriver with multiple heads
  2. hammer
  3. plyers
  4. adjustable wrench
  5. tape

Where is that paperwork?

Lastly, have a bag with vital papers.  You will need your purchase/rental documents for your new home. Carry memory sticks, backup drives, passports etc that you don’t want to be misplaced or stolen  If there is work, assignments or agendas you will need the next day add them to the bag.

With these things easily accessible you can clean up and get a good night’s rest before you continue to unpack and make your new place a home.

Share your moving hacks in the comments.

If you need help with an 8-week packing/moving plan contact me julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

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 from a lunch bag – organizing school lunches

Reading time- 3 minutes

It is time for packing lunches for school.  Are you dreading it?  Children learn better when they are not hungry so the task is to pack food they will eat and not throw out, hide or trade.

1. You know what your child likes and doesn’t like.

Children will food jag, eat the same thing over and over and never get tired of it.  If there is a lunch they like, give it to them, a fruit, a vegetable, a protein and a carbohydrate.   When I went to school I would eat a cold chicken sandwich, bread butter and chicken, an apple, a cookie and drink usually milk every day for months.  My mom couldn’t understand why I didn’t get bored but I just loved it.  Life was easy she made it for me and I enjoyed it.

A drawing of a lunch box with an aple, banana , thermos and sandwich.

2. I hate sandwiches.

Some children don’t like sandwiches so give them leftovers.  Heat up the leftovers and put them in a Thermos.  I had a child who hated sandwiches, I would heat up taco meat and send the shell and toppings cold, a baked potato with butter or cheese, soup, stew, homemade macaroni and cheese. Pack warm chilli with taco chips, cheese and salsa. When you are cooking make extra and freeze it in individual meals and then you have a supply of lunches in your freezer.

3 thermos, black, blue and pink

Send warm foods to school in an unbreakable thermos.

3. Get lunches packed after supper when the food is out.

As part of our evening routine, each child would pack the food for their lunch that didn’t need to be refrigerated.  They packed veggies, pickles, crackers, and cookies.  In the morning I would add a sandwich or hot food to the lunch bag.  If you have more than one child this really makes life easy because you don’t need to remember which child likes what.

Lunch bags

Pick a size and shape of lunch bag that makes it easy to pack and send the correct amount of food to school, not too much, not too little

4. Finger foods are great but you might want to send a fork

Some schools have schedules where children eat smaller meals a couple of times a day.  Pack things that your child can eat a few items at a time.  Cut up cheese, meat, and bread into cubes.  Send nuts, hard-boiled eggs, veggies or cut-up fruit.  If you have a container with lots of sections they can open one box and see all their choices.  It makes it easier to pack and the child doesn’t have to struggle with lots of containers.  There is less to wash at the end of the day.  Children are not good at washing their hands before every meal so encourage them to use a fork, send a plastic one in their favourite colour.

Box with finger foods

Send a variety of foods in small quantities for quick snacks throughout the day.

5.  Leftover lunches – plan differently

When your child brings their lunch home remember it has been unrefrigerated all day, 8 hours, and dirty hands have been in the container touching all the food. Compost the leftovers.  Re-evaluate what you are sending and how much food you are putting in their lunch.

Plastic counter top compost bin

At the end of the day, compost leftovers to prevent a mild case of food poisoning.

Don’t use school lunches as a time to introduce new foods or worry about variety in their diet.  Use supper time or weekend meals to introduce them to new foods.  You want them to eat a healthy lunch every day.  Since you are not there to supervise them when they are eating, make a plan with your child so you can all be happy.

I think I have covered the basics.  Share your tips about school lunches in the comments.

If you need help with menu planning book a complimentary appointment 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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7 Organizing gadgets I found on my travels

Reading time – 5 minutes

I love to travel.  I enjoy exploring Canada, North America, South America, Europe, The United Kingdom, Asia and Australia.  I will go almost anywhere.  Whether you travel in-person or virtually it is a joy to see new places, people, cultures and ideas. One of the fun things I like doing on my travels is finding things relating to organization. Sometimes the items are good product solutions, show a novel way to use a product, encourage recycling,  a fun invention or a thought provoking work of art.

A Good Product 

I found these stacking laundry baskets in a store.  I like them because they stack in a way that you can place items in either basket without unstacking them.

A plastic white laundry basket stacked ontop of a blue plastic laundry basket.

 

Novel Solutions 

Once again I was shopping and noticed this shoe organizer that was being used in a novel way.  It was holding maps that were for sale.  It was easy to see the titles on the maps and quickly purchase the one you needed. 
A white shoe organizer with clear pockets hanging on a bookcase with maps in the pockets

 

One of my hotel rooms had this garbage can.  It is divided into 4 sections for recycling – plastic, paper, glass, cans and waste.  I thought this was a fantastic way to get travellers to recycle.  Everything was disposed of in one place.

A grey metal waste can with 4 compartments for garbage, paper and recycling.

 

Fun inventions

The first time I saw this I was a little confused.  It is a tap and hand dryer all in one.  No dripping across the floor to get a paper towel or use a hand dryer mounted on the wall.  It also is a no-touch device that makes it easy to have clean hands when you’re done washing. How does it work?  You wash your hands under the tap, the water is turned on by a sensor.  Then you move your hands to the right and left ( I like to call them the airplane wings) and the air turns on to dry your hand.

A tap and hand dryer all in one

 

I enjoy seeing furniture that has more than one purpose.  These tables can be used as seating, they store nicely under each other and they are eye catching home decor.

Glass coffee tables that slide under each other for storage.

 

Thought Provoking Artwork

Sometimes my organizational find is artwork.  This piece is called Organization.  It is oil on canvas, 1933-1936,  painted by Armenia born, American artist Arshile Gorky.  I wonder why he called it that.  Any thoughts?


A geometric painting called organizing

 

This metal sculpture is by Ruth Ewan, 2019.  It is called the Silent Agitator.  Ewan’s clock is based on an illustration by Ralph Chaplin. It is a nod to the  Industrial Workers of the World labour party. (IWW). It is also a new timepiece adding to the historical collection of ones that helped sailors know what time it was.

 

A metal sculture of a clock with the letters organizing on the face.

Donation

I saw this very creative way to share donations.  Items are bagged and tied onto a fence.  Anyone can take an item they can use.

Donations tied to a fence for people to take.

 

Competition

I have not traveled to Nepal, a friend has.  She sent me this picture with the caption, competition?  It was fun to see a very similar logo in another country.

An orange sign with the word home with a roof drawn over it.

 

Here a just a few fun organizing finds from some of my travels.  Which one do you like best? Let me know in the comments.

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 to get your wardrobe organized once and for all.

Reading time – 10 minutes

If you want to try and get your wardrobe organized once and for all, then you have come to the right place. Here you can find out the mistakes you could be making with your wardrobe, while also finding ways to actively try and fix the issue. If you want to find out more, then simply take a look below.

A build in closet with white shelves and hard wood floor

Start with a Big Clear-out

It is suggested that you have a big clear-out as this is the best way for you to try and get things nice and organized. You need to decide what you want to sell, what you want to keep,  what you want to donate and what you need to throw away. Try things on as you go.  If you leave a big pile of clothes to try on until the end, the task may seem overwhelming. Some clothes may have fit once upon a time and may not fit anymore, an item may need to be repaired, your tastes may have changed, or you never know, there could be a gem that was lost at the back of the closet that does fit you. If you can be mindful of how your body and style change with time,  it will help you to keep only the clothing that suits you and prevent you from having a lot of items that do not fit anymore or items that are dated.

Adopt a System for your Wardrobe

Try to adopt the policy of one item in, and one item out. For every new item you buy, you need to make sure that you give one away. If you want to test yourself, then make it two items that you give away.  If you have a good clear-out, when you bring something new home, it will fit nicely in your closet, match other clothing, be the correct size and make it easier for you to get dressed in the morning.

Make Some Money

You might not like something anymore, that doesn’t mean that someone else will feel the same way. To reduce your shopping buy something new only when you have made money from selling something old. Make sure that you use sites such as eBay when you’re researching what your items might sell for. There are also consignment shops that focus on high-end pieces as well.  If you are trying to sell clothes to a store, they should be no older than 6 months.  Stores, like Plato’s Closet,  want to have current fashions and items that will sell quickly.  You may find that you are able to make more than you think, and it is a fantastic way to remove frustrating clutter.

Organize Everything

If you can take the time to organize everything then your wardrobe will look neater and you will save a lot of time choosing your outfit. When you need to get changed in a hurry, having your clothes organized can work wonders. There are many systems for organizing a closet. 

You can group clothing by type, pants, shorts, shirts, ties, sweaters, blouses, dresses, suits etc.  Next, you can group each category by colour.  This is a great way to see how many you have of each colour.  In my closet, I have enough black items (pants, tops, dresses).  So when I go shopping I don’t even look at anything black.

You might prefer to put your clothes into outfits.  Placing a top, bottom and third piece together makes it easy to pick your outfit for the day.  This system allows you to see how many single piece items you own.  Those items are the ones that don’t get worn often because they don’t go with anything.  That is a good category of items to donate. 

Thirdly, you might organize by purpose.  Group together all your work clothes, workout clothes, party/fancy clothes, casual clothes and lounging clothes.  This system lets you see how much you have in each category compared to how much time you spend doing these activities.  For example, if you work 40 hours/week, workout 5 hours/week, spend 15 hours/week doing things and 1 evening/week getting dressed up you can see that your wardrobe needs mostly work clothes, a few casual clothes, less fancy clothes and some workout clothes.  Check and see if you have a balanced wardrobe for your lifestyle. 

 If you find it hard to stay then organize your wardrobe 3 or 4 times a year to see if it is balanced by lifestyle and colour as well as how many unused single items are hiding. 

Don’t Forget about Shoes

As you get older your feet change.  You lose the strength in your arch and your foot flattens making your foot wider.  Try on every pair of shoes to see if they fit, if they are in good repair and a style you like. Group your shoes to make it easier to find what you need.  They might be grouped by season, colour or style. If you have a lot of shoes in boxes then tape a picture to the outside of the box.  It will make it easier for you to find what you need without having to go through endless boxes. You might want to purchase clear shoe boxes for storage.  There are many shoe organizing systems, over the door, under the bed, wall units, cupboards, racks etc. Look for an option that suits your needs and space. If you purchase expensive shoes get them repaired.  Zippers can be replaced, heels can be reheeled, soles can be replaced and once they are polished professionally they will look like new.    You may find shoes that have never been worn and can be sold  like these shoes. Shoes can be donated too. 

Invest in the Right Equipment

Many people like matching hangers, purely because it means that you do not end up getting distracted by a messy looking wardrobe. There are many styles of hangers and sometimes you need specialized hangers for certain garments, pants, skirts, ties, belts, scarves etc.  If you have a small closet you will need to use less bulky hangers.  Wooden hangers take up a lot of space.  Felt covered hangers prevent items from slipping off but it takes patience to get a garment hanging smoothly.  If you’re not a patient person only purchase a few felt covered hangers.  Whatever style of hanger you like (plastic, metal, wooden, felt), purchase a good quality one so they don’t break, crack or bend. Try using boxes in the drawers or on the shelves to keep clothing organized. They prevent items from “moving” all over and making it difficult to find what you need. They work well for belts, bags, scarves, socks, smaller items etc.  If you invest in the right systems, that match your closet and personality,  you will find it is easier for you to stick to your system. 

Separate Clothing by Seasons

You may find it helpful to divide your clothes into summer and winter options if you have a smaller closet. Having only half your clothing displayed at one time makes it easier to find what you need.  When you change the clothing displayed for the next season, it is a good time for you to go through everything, donating items you didn’t wear, don’t like or don’t fit.  In some places, people have more items they wear year round and with climate change, there is becoming less of a need for 2 seasons of clothing.  This means you will need fewer clothes and it will be easier to keep everything organized. 

When you are deciding what clothes to keep and what to donate ask yourself:

  • Do I get compliments when I wear it?
  • Does it fit and do I feel good when I wear it?
  • Does it send the right message about the type of person I am? (confident, fun, honest, knowledgeable, healthy, etc)
  • How much is enough?

Reducing the amount of clothing you own, having a great closet space, and using good organizing devices will help you to have an organized wardrobe.  I think I have addressed many concerns about organizing your wardrobe.  Have I left anything out? Let me know in the comments.

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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

 

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10 Tips to help keep your home organized when kids are out of school

Summer fun with 5 children swimming at a lake.

Putting some planning into the time when your children are out of school will make life at home easier.  Don’t over plan activities for the children. Give them time to appreciate being at home and then going back to school. Share the planning and the fun.  Make it a special time together full of joy, learning and excitement not stress, tension and arguments.

10. Make a list of things that need to be done around the house.  For example, sweep out the garage/shed, break down boxes and put them in recycling, etc.  When the children start fighting or complain about being bored, tell them to pick a task from the list.  You get small jobs done and they are separated and not fighting.  I used this one summer.  It worked so well that they only fought once.  They found things to do so they were not bored.  Three things got completed from the list.

9. Pack the backpack with the necessary items for the next day the night before and place it near the door. Make your morning going off to day camps, activities or childcare easy to get out the door quickly.

8. Have a routine for wet swimming towels and bathing suits. They might hang them up, give them to you or place them in a specific spot. It is an easy way to help them learn about responsibility. No one wants to get into a wet bathing suit or reuse a damp towel.

7. Have an agreement about snacks and dirty dishes.  May a list and post it with snack choices.  Set a timer for snack time if you have young children.  Are dirty dishes put in a dishwasher, placed in the sink, washed or left on a table?  If the agreement is not kept then have them decide on a consequence.  Children are very good at deciding on consequences you might never have considered.

6. Determine a schedule for their activities, whether they are in programs or at home. Include screen time, outdoor time, reading time, and creative time. Also included in that schedule, is a time when you will be “unavailable to them” when you are all at home.  Use this “unavailable time” to get necessary tasks done around the house so things don’t get disorganized.  It is easy to always put off household tasks and to help, to play, or be constantly interrupted by your children so that things don’t get completed.

5. Have a routine for getting meals on the table and food and dishes put away. There are a number of tasks involved at mealtime: setting the table, food preparation, cleaning up leftovers, clearing dishes from the table and washing dishes.  Give everyone a task to do.  Record the tasks on a calendar and assign a person to each task.  The task assigned each day will depend on who is home before supper and who may have an activity after supper and they have to quickly get ready to leave.

4. Have a morning routine. Getting things done in the morning before the day gets busy is the best way to keep things organized.  Set a time for the latest children can sleep in.  Waiting for people to get up can be very frustrating if people are on very different schedules.  This agreed upon time may be different for each day of the week.   Tasks may include making their beds, making, eating and cleaning up their breakfast, tidying up things that were left out from the previous day, and completing a household chore.  Pick tasks that will help to make the day easier and keep the living space neat and tidy.

3. Declutter as you go.  If children aren’t interested in some toys (inside or outdoor) collected them and donate them.  If their clothing is too small or they won’t wear it, start a bag or box so they know where to put things they no longer need. They may have books or craft supplies that they have outgrown, collect them too.  You may decide to give them a challenge, find 5 things each day that you no longer need, use or love.

2. Try new ways of getting things done at home that is fun, simple and easy.  Summer is the perfect time to change the way things are done.  There is a little more time to teach children new skills and routines because there isn’t the pressure of getting homework done and getting to bed.

1. Sit down and have a family conversation about the expectations for the summer. Include when bedtime will be, responsibilities, consequences, special trips, activities and events that everyone would like to do.  Let the children help with the summer plan and take ownership in developing it.  When everyone is happy, things go a lot smoother.  Enjoy the time together.

Add tip number 11 in the comments. What do you do to help stay organized with the kids around the home? 

A family walking in the trees enjoying time together in the summer.

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 enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

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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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