About Nancy Haworth

Nancy Haworth is a Professional Organizer and Owner of On Task Organizing, LLC located in Raleigh, North Carolina. She assists residential clients throughout the area in organizing homes, decluttering, moving, and managing time. She has been a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers since 2011.

10 Tips to Organize Children’s Clothes

10 Tips to Organize Children's Clothes title

10 Tips to Organize Children’s Clothes

Organizing children’s clothes can sometimes be a challenge because kids are rapidly changing sizes.  Many parents are unsure of what to do with outgrown clothing, or where to store clothes the child has not yet grown into yet.  Setting up an organized system makes it easier to managing hand-me-downs, and have access to clothing that currently fits your child.

10 Tips to Organize Children’s Clothes

1.Sort through closets and dressers to declutter at least every 6 months or seasonally, or after a significant growth spurt.

2. Determine which clothing should be kept for hand-me-downs (if needed) or what should be sold, consigned, donated to charity, or given to a friend or family member.

3. For the clothing that you are keeping, store hand-me-down clothing in lidded bins in a climate controlled area, such as the top shelf of a child’s closet, or in an extra closet inside your home.

4. Label all hand-me-down bins by size and gender.

5. Create additional containers for “too big” clothing, and store those in a separate labeled container in your child’s room, an upper closet shelf or under the bed box.

6. Wash, dry and price the items you’d like to sell on consignment.  If you are participating in a consignment sale, schedule a time on your calendar well before the sale to prepare the clothing items.

7. If you are holding onto clothing indefinitely for sentimental reasons, please store those in labeled acid-free boxes in a climate controlled area.  Try to limit the amount of sentimental clothing you save to the number of items that will reasonably fit in the storage area you’ve chosen.

8. If you have multiple children, you may want to add labeled tags, or symbols for each child on the tag such as a colored dot, initials, or embroidered thread to signify which child the item belongs to.  For example, for a family with 3 children, the parents may use 1 dot on a clothing tag for the oldest, 2 dots for the middle child, and 3 dots to represent that the youngest child is now wearing that clothing item.

9. If you have children sharing a closet or would like to sort hanging clothing by size, I suggest using closet rod dividers.

10. Store clothing items that currently fit your child within easy reach.  Once your child is old enough to get dressed on his or her own, it is helpful if clothing is stored low enough for the child to reach.  If possible, place currently worn clothing in lower drawers, shelves, or cubbies, or add a low closet rod for your child’s items.

By | 2017-04-04T17:23:13+00:00 April 26th, 2017|Bedroom, Child, Clothing, consignment, Donations, Dresser, parenting|0 Comments

7 Hacks for Living in Small Spaces

7 Hacks for Living in Small Spaces title

7 Hacks for Living in Small Spaces

Living in small spaces like dorms, studio apartments or starter homes can bring about organizing challenges.  Creating additional storage space can help your small living space become more organized and less cluttered.  Here are some of my suggestions for storage products and organizing techniques for living in small spaces.

7 Hacks for Living in Small Spaces

1.Make use of the space behind every door by using hanging shoe organizers to hold a variety of items such as hats, gloves, scarves, cleaning supplies, haircare supplies and pantry snacks.

2. Create space on the inside of kitchen cabinet doors by hanging hooks, baskets, or even magnetic boards or bulletin boards to hold various items.

3. Take advantage of vertical space by placing tall shelving units in your living area.

4. Invest in furniture with extra storage capacity such as an ottoman or coffee table that has hidden storage inside, a bed frame with under-bed drawers, or a headboard with shelves.

5. Use furniture that serves a dual purpose such as a futon or fold-out sofa.

6. If you have space above your cabinets or fridge, store excess items in decorative bins or baskets there.

7. Always have a folding step stool in the your dorm, home or apartment so you can easily reach items stored on tall shelves and above cabinets.

By | 2017-04-05T10:21:40+00:00 April 19th, 2017|apartment, dorm, small spaces, storage|0 Comments

How Getting Organized Can Improve Your Mental Health

How Getting Organized Can Improve Your Mental Health title

How Getting Organized Can Improve Your Mental Health

The process of getting organized can improve your mental health in many ways.  If mental health challenges such as ADD, ADHD, OCD, Hoarding Disorder, Anxiety Disorders or Depression are a concern, it is best that you seek therapy from a mental health professional. All of these mental health challenges may also be represented outwardly by how you organize your space.  Some of my organizing clients are seeing a mental health professional to improve their mental health, while working with a professional organizer to improve their environment.  Whether or not you have a clinical diagnosis, getting organized can boost your mental health in the following ways.

Reduces Anxiety

Often, living or working in a disorganized can cause stress and anxiety.  By creating a more peaceful space and getting organized, your stress levels will be lowered.

Lowers Depression

Many times depressed feelings accompany the stress, anxiety, overwhelm and shame you may feel because of clutter and disorganization.  Getting organized and improving your environment can help to reduce depression.

Improves Time Management

Once organized, you will spent less time searching for items you cannot find.  This will give you more time to spend on higher priority tasks and doing things you enjoy.

Lowers Procrastination

If everything is organized and has a place, you will be less likely to procrastinate.  Proper organization makes it easier to start a project.

Increases Ability to Socialize

Disorganization may cause you shame about your surroundings, and you may feel embarrassed to host parties or have visitors over.  After organizing, you will have the ability to host guests and visitors, improving your social connections.

Boosts Productivity

Clutter can be distracting.  Living and working in an uncluttered space can make it easier for your to focus.  You will be able to find and put away items more quickly, saving time and boosting productivity.

Improves Your Relationships 

Clutter and disorganization can create tension and conflict among family members and co-workers. An organized space can reduce arguments about clutter.

By | 2017-04-05T10:11:10+00:00 April 12th, 2017|benefits, mental health, organizing, productivity, Stress|2 Comments

6 Reasons to Organize Your Garage

6 Reasons to Organize Your Garage title

6 Reasons to Organize Your Garage

Garages often become a magnet for unwanted items and clutter.  Many people feel overwhelmed walking through paths of clutter as they get in and out of their cars each day.  If your garage is too full to fit your car, the situation can become even more bothersome.  As the weather gets warmer, now is a great time to organize your garage.

6 Reasons to Organize Your Garage

1. To Park and Protect Your Car

Protect one of your biggest investments. Parking your car in the garage will protect it from sun, wind, rain, snow, storms, and drastic temperature changes, making it last longer.  There’s no need to scrape off snow and ice, and no need to defrost it in the morning.  By parking in the garage, your car will be cleaner, and you will need to wash it less need often.

2. To Come & Go from Your Home More Easily

Parking in the garage will make getting in and out the door quicker and easier.  From unloading groceries, to packing for trips, to taking strollers and children in and out of the car, it will be easier if your garage is organized.  You will also have better protection from the weather for all family members.

3. To Make it Easier to Find Things

By having a garage with shelves, bins or hooks for all of your garage items, you will save so much time searching for things.

4. To Better Protect Your Belongings

Properly containing items garage items in organized lidded plastic bins will protect your belongings from pests, weather changes, dirt and dust.

5. To Make Everyday Tasks Run Smoothly

An organized garage makes the following tasks quicker and easier: yard work, gardening, working with tools, car washing, car repairs, packing for camping trips and vacations, accessing sports equipment, giving kids the ability to easily play with and put away outdoor toys.

6. Easier Outdoor Holiday Decorating

By creating improved storage for your outdoor holiday decorations, it will be easier to access, decorate and put away these items in the winter.

By | 2017-04-04T17:22:37+00:00 April 5th, 2017|Garage, organizing|0 Comments

Ways to Create Routines and Habits to Stay Organized

Ways to Create Routines and Habits to Stay Organized Title

Ways to Create Routines & Habits to Stay Organized

Getting organized is not a one time event. As items and tasks on your to-do list come into your home, office and calendar, you need to set up routines and habits to stay organized.  Like any other habit such as eating healthy or exercising more, starting and keeping habits to stay organized require planning, will-power, and daily attention.

Tips to set up routines & habits to stay organized:

Create a place for everything.

Once all items have a home, it will be easier to put things away regularly.

Have one central calendar for all appointments.

Digital calendars work well because they are portable, can be easily updated and shared.  If you prefer paper, use a portable planner or small calendar.

Create a place for every task on your calendar.

For example, if you need to do laundry once per week, look at your calendar and choose a time to wash and put away the clothes.  If every Sunday from 7-8pm is “put away laundry time,” you will prevent clothing clutter from gathering in bedrooms.

Schedule a “tidy-up” time each day.

If you have already organized your spaces, tidying up shouldn’t take very long, if you do it daily.  I suggest you spend just 15 minutes tidying up each night.  Have a collection basket to bring things to other rooms to quickly put items back in place.

Plan, plan, plan.

Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan,  you are planning to fail”.  The best way to create a routine is to plan ahead.  Think about your goals and priorities, the areas of your home or office that quickly become disorganized, and plan what needs to be done, when it should be done, and who should do it to make sure it stays organized.

By | 2017-02-27T13:31:24+00:00 March 29th, 2017|habits, organizing, routines, Time Management|0 Comments

17 Reasons to Organize Your Kitchen

17 Reasons to Organize Your Kitchen Title

17 Reasons to Organize Your Kitchen

Many of my blog posts are about how to get organized in various areas.  Today, I’d like to explore WHY to get organized.  Let’s talk about your kitchen, one of the most high traffic areas of your home.  WHY will an organized kitchen help lower stress and save you time and money?

17 Reasons to Organize Your Kitchen

1. Organizing creates open spaces and improved functionality in all areas of the kitchen.

2. Recipes become easier to access.

3. Ingredients can be found faster in your fridge, pantry or cabinets.

4. Organized countertops create more space for chopping and mixing ingredients.

5. The cooking process moves more smoothly with easy to access pots, pans, cooking utensils and appliances.

6. Meal planning can be streamlined if you can quickly do an inventory of your kitchen before writing a meal plan and going grocery shopping.

7. Dishwashing can be faster with organized cabinets resulting in a better process for unloading the dishwasher.

8. Setting the table can be easier with better organized drawers and cabinets.

9. Packing lunches will be simpler with snacks and other lunch ingredients better organized.

10. You will save time on your morning routine with a coffee station that contains the coffee machine, cups and coffee all in one place.

11. Less stuff means less items to store and maintain.

12. You’ll spend less time searching for items in your kitchen.

13. You will save money by not re-buying items you already own, but cannot find.

14. You’ll reduce cleaning time with organized kitchen cleaning supplies and fewer items on your counters.

15. Mail will become easier to process mail with an organized drop zone.

16. An organized kitchen drop zone also means no more lost keys or wallets.

17. A kitchen charging station can keep your phones, tablets and computers charged and prevent them from getting lost.

By | 2017-02-27T13:16:29+00:00 March 22nd, 2017|kitchen, organizing, pantry, recipes|0 Comments

6 Bathroom Items to Declutter

6 Bathroom Items to Declutter Title

6 Bathroom Items to Declutter

Bathrooms are often the smallest rooms in a home and can easily become cluttered with many toiletries and other items. Here are 6 common bathroom items that can be decluttered or reduced in number to open up space in your bathroom.

  • Travel soaps, shampoos and lotions from hotel stays.  Keep only what you will use, and donate the extras to a homeless shelter.
  • Any type of hair or beauty product that you tried for a short time but no longer use.
  • Expired bottles of sunscreen.  Generally sunscreens remain effective for 3 years from the date of manufacture.  Many sunscreen containers have expiration dates.
  • Make-up that has expired. Expiration dates exist because makeup is prone to bacterial contamination, discoloration and drying out.  Some items such as mascara should be used within 3-6 months, other cosmetics such as lipstick should be used within 2 years.  If you have owned any makeup product for more than 2 years, it is time to discard it.
  • Excess cosmetic bags, the ones that often come for free with a beauty product purchase.  If you’re not using it, it may be best to give it away.
By | 2017-02-21T12:53:56+00:00 March 15th, 2017|Bathroom, declutter, Donations, makeup, small spaces|0 Comments

How Getting Organized Can Cut Down on Chore Time

How Getting Organized Can Cut Down on Chore Time Title

How Getting Organized Can Cut Down on Chore Time

Saving time is one of the greatest benefits of getting organized.  Household chores particularly take up a lot of free time.  Here are some ways getting organized can cut down on chore time.

Doing Laundry

To save time doing laundry, put all dirty socks in a mesh lingerie wash bag before washing.  All socks will remain together and you will save time searching for socks during the folding process.

By having multiple laundry baskets sorted by lights and darks or by family member, it will be quicker to wash and put away laundry.

Organizing dressers and closets and creating a place for all clothing will make it much easier to put away clothes.

Organizing linen closets allows you to make beds, set out towels and put away linens faster.

Cooking & Meal Preparation

An organized pantry and fridge saves you time when searching for ingredients while cooking meals or packing lunches.

Grocery Shopping

An organized kitchen makes it simpler to make a grocery list, shop and unload groceries.

Washing Dishes

One way to save time unloading the dishwasher is to adjust the location of frequently washed items.  If you place the cups, glasses, plates, bowls and utensils that are used daily in the drawers and cabinets closest to your dishwasher, you will reduce the number of steps needed to unload the dishwasher, saving you time.

Cleaning Kitchens

Placing cleaning caddies under the sink or in a broom closet will help you to contain and find all cleaning supplies, saving you time.

Cleaning Bathrooms

Storing bathroom cleaning supplies in another organized cleaning caddy saves time searching for the right supplies.  Using trays on the bathroom counter can save time when you need to clear the counters for cleaning.

Picking up Toys

Setting up organized playrooms and with labeled containers and a home for each toy makes toy clean-up quicker and easier for children.

Car Washing

Having car washing supplies organized in your garage makes the car washing process run smoothly.

Doing Yard Work

Organized yard tools and garden tools allow you to promptly find what you need to get the yard work done quickly.

Decluttering When Downsizing

Decluttering When Downsizing title

Decluttering When Downsizing

There are several steps to decluttering when downsizing.  As I mentioned in last week’s blog, “Preparing to Downsize,” work through one room at a time, in small increments of time.  Unless under a tight time frame, declutter for just 2 to 3 hours a day so it won’t become too exhausting or overwhelming.

Begin decluttering the storage areas first.  Items in attics, basements and garages have often not been used in a long time.  These are usually the quickest and easiest items to part with.

Prioritize all other rooms and work through one room at a time.  Starting with guest rooms or other rooms you may not have in your new place is a good idea.  You will eventually whittle it down to just the rooms you plan to have in your new space, for example, just the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen areas will remain.

Here are some areas & items to declutter when downsizing:

Bedrooms

Purge your closets and dressers of any clothing that doesn’t fit, is out of style, or you haven’t worn in the past year.  Then narrow it down to your favorite clothes that will reasonably fit in your new bedroom.

Bathrooms

Remove excess toiletries, expired medications, anything you haven’t used recently, that can easily be replaced, or will not be used in your new home.

Kitchens

Reduce the number of place settings, remove appliances you haven’t used in the past 6 months, narrow down pots, pans, glasses, etc. to just enough for your new lifestyle.

Linens

Keep just enough towels and sheets for your needs (2 to 3 sets per person).

Books

If you are not going to read certain books again, sell or give them away.  You can always use a kindle, library, or re-purchase a book at a low cost if you really need it again.

Old Media

Part with media you do not use such as audio tapes, CDs, film, video tapes, and DVDs.  If any of these are home movies, give them to a family member or have them digitized so they can be watched.

Photo Collections

Keep your favorite photos and give the others to family members and/or scan the photos.

Items from Old Hobbies

Tennis rackets, golf clubs, bowling balls, painting supplies, sewing supplies; if you don’t plan to continue with a hobby, give these items away.

Current Hobby Supplies

If you do have a hobby you plan to continue, still minimize your hobby supplies to an amount that will fit in your new place.  For example, perhaps you sew, but can only fit one bin of fabric in your new closet, keep your favorite fabrics and give away or sell the rest.

Furniture

Sell or give away all furniture you won’t be taking with you.  Measure all of your remaining furniture to make sure it will fit in your new place.

Once you’ve moved to your new space, begin unpacking in an organized way.  If you’ve done a thorough declutter before moving, you will have a lot less to unpack.  You may still find that not everything fits into the smaller space, and few more items may need to go, but your overall move will be so much easier if you declutter first.

Preparing to Downsize

Preparing to Downsize title

Preparing to Downsize

If you’ve decided that it is time to downsize, there are several steps to work through this process.   I often work with organizing clients in the midst of downsizing or rightsizing.  Here are some things to consider as you shift from a large home to a smaller space.

The Benefits of Downsizing

First, consider the many benefits of moving to a smaller space.  Perhaps you will be closer to family members, there will be less space to clean, less space to maintain, and less or no yard work.  The costs for some utilities may be lower.  You may be in a safer environment in a space that is easier to navigate.  With less space and less stuff to manage, you will find more time to spend doing the things you enjoy.

Decide on a Time-Frame

Getting to that place is a life changing event, it may not be easy, but it will be worth it.  Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to downsize, consider the time-frame.  How quickly you want or need to move, and what are the low stress steps to getting you there?

The Start of a New Chapter in Your Life

Once the time-frame is set, you can begin to think about this new chapter in your life. What will you want to bring with you and what can you part with?

Take an Inventory of Your Home

Walk through each room in your home, look in every closet and drawer to get an inventory of what you own.    If there are any items your family or friends may want, offer those things to them now.

Determine Valuables You Want to Sell

If there are furniture pieces or valuable belongings you’d like to sell, work with an estate sale company, or perhaps use Craigslist, Facebook groups or online neighborhood message boards to sell those items.

Designate a Space for Donations

Set aside one space or room to gather any possible donations, and be ready to call a charity to pick those up, or make a trip to a nearby donation center once you’ve decluttered your home.

Take One Room at a Time

Work through the decluttering process one room at a time.  Unless under a tight time frame, declutter for 2 to 3 hours a day so it won’t be too overwhelming or exhausting.  Next week, I will discuss specific areas and items to declutter when downsizing.

By | 2017-02-14T11:45:04+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|downsizing, empty nest, Moving, senior, Senior Downsizing|0 Comments

10 Meal Planning Tips to Save Time and Money

10 Meal Planning Tips to Save Time and Money title

10 Meal Planning Tips to Save Time & Money

Organized meal planning can help you in many ways.  You can save time and money by making fewer trips to the grocery store, and being able to easily access your recipes and ingredients.  Dinner time is a particularly hectic time for most families. These tips and resources can help you streamline your meal planning process.

Organize Recipes

Declutter old cookbooks and recipes you dislike. Gather recipes in an organized way using a recipe rolodex, binders, folders or flagged cookbook pages.  If you prefer digital recipes, scan your favorites, or set up organized digital folders or online bookmarks.

Use Digital Recipe Apps

All Recipes

Big Oven

Paprika 

Designate a Recipe Area

Create just one area to go to when you need a recipe.  This can be in your kitchen, dining room, somewhere near the kitchen, or on your laptop or tablet.

Involve Your Family in Meal Planning  

If you feel overwhelmed, you can delegate a part of meal planning to another family member as a chore.  Some chores that children can help with are selecting recipes, searching the kitchen for ingredients, writing the grocery list, gathering coupons, checking the weekly grocery sales, assisting you with grocery shopping, or unloading the groceries.  If you give other family members ownership in these activities, it can help build teamwork skills.

Use a Shared Calendar 

Use a shared family wall calendar or a shared online calendar.  This will help track your family’s schedule around dinner time to determine if there will be time to cook and eat a full meal.  Knowing your family’s schedule can help you plan for days when you need to eat on the go, have a crockpot meal ready, or eat leftovers.   Choosing nights for dinner out can also be a part of your meal planning.

Take an Inventory of Ingredients

Once meals are chosen, check your kitchen for the ingredient and add anything you do not have to your grocery list.

Monitor Grocery Store Sales

For more savings, plan your meals while looking at the current week’s grocery sales.  Choose meals containing ingredients that are on sale that week.

Make a Grocery List

Have notepad or a dry erase board on the fridge or wall so you can easily add items to the grocery list.

Collect Paper Coupons

Clip coupons from your Sunday paper, and use a coupon organizer or a 3-ring binder with baseball card holder insert pages to organize your paper coupons.

Use Apps & Websites to Help with Grocery Shopping & Coupons

Apps such as Grocery IQ can help with your shopping, and websites such as coupons.com or southernsavers.com can provide you with printable coupons or details on grocery store discounts.

How to Manage Mail

How to Manage Mail title

How to Manage Mail

In my experience, the two places that many of my home organizing clients struggle with are managing laundry chores and managing incoming mail.  Although the act of opening a letter seems simple, there are so many decisions that go into tackling incoming mail that it is not uncommon to become overwhelmed.  Mail arrives almost daily, so it is a constant in every home.  Here are my tips for managing incoming mail.

Designate 1 person to sort the mail daily

This person can cull junk mail and then place mail that must be read someplace where the recipient can see it, open it, and follow-up with it.

Always open the mail in the same place

With my home organizing clients, sometimes small piles of mail end up in various rooms of the house because that’s where it was opened.  Designate one place as your home mail sorting station.  I suggest this be near an entry doorway or in a home office, if that’s where you usually pay bills and respond to mail.

Have these 3 items near where you open the mail

  • A trash can
  • A recycle bin
  • A shredder

Take steps to stop junk mail

  • Go to the Direct Marketing Association  to request to be removed from marketing and mailing lists.
  • Contact Catalog Choice to request to be removed from certain catalog mailing lists.
  • Visit OptOutPrescreen to be removed from credit card offer mailing lists, or call 1-888-5OPT-OUT to request removal.
  • Cancel subscriptions to newspapers and magazines you no longer read.

Sort mail by person or type of task

Each piece of mail has an action associated with it, so create specific mail inboxes or folders for each family member. You can also separate the mail by tasks such as “to pay” or “to read”.

Create a “to file” area

Have a “to file” folder or inbox for important papers that you want to keep in a filing system.  Routinely bring these papers to your filing cabinet.

Check mail regularly

Get into the habit of checking your mail daily.  Schedule a day to pay the bills, file away papers, and respond to any other mail.  Organizing mail is an ongoing process and it must be dealt with on a routine basis.  I hope these tips make it easier for you keep the mail under control.

By | 2017-01-31T17:15:18+00:00 February 8th, 2017|mail, Paper Management|0 Comments

6 Steps to Master Bedroom Organization

6 Steps to Master Bedroom Organization title

6 Steps to Master Bedroom Organization

Keeping a master bedroom organized can sometimes be a challenge, especially if two people are sharing the room.  The master bedroom should be a relaxing retreat from the chaos of your day.   Here are some tips to help keep your master bedroom better organized.

1. Assess the mess  

Look at the master bedroom and determine what items are making it disorganized.  Is it unpacked luggage, overflowing laundry, bathroom items, books, mail?  Once you determine the types of items that are piling up, consider ways to better store and organize those things.

2. Move things to other rooms  

Quickly gather up items that belong in other rooms and move them to those areas.  You can eventually create a storage space for those things in their designated room.  For example, create an inbox for mail in a kitchen or office,  make space on a shelf for towels in a linen closet.

3. Create separate spaces  

If you share your master bedroom, I recommend giving a side of the room to each person, if the layout allows.  For example, if you sleep on the left side of the bed, place your dresser and other belongings on the left side of the room.  This will make the bedroom more functional, and give responsibility to each person for one side or the other.

4. Organize the nightstands

Add a tray to the nightstand to collect items that regularly pile up on it.  If you read in bed, limit the number of books and magazines that will reasonably fit on the nightstand, add a magazine file to hold your current reading materials.

5. Declutter dressers and closets seasonally

Often, master bedrooms become cluttered with clothing.  If closets and dressers overflow, it is hard to keep things organized.  I suggest sorting and purging your clothing collection seasonally (2 to 4 times a year depending on your climate).

6. Manage Laundry

Determine how you’d like to store dirty laundry: in a bag, a basket or a hamper (or more than one if you prefer to sort before washing).  If possible, store the dirty laundry container in the closet, bathroom, or by the doorway, some distance from the bed.  Try to fold clean laundry in your laundry room or another room so that your master bedroom doesn’t become cluttered with clothes.  Once folded, immediately put away the clothing.

By | 2017-01-31T15:28:18+00:00 February 1st, 2017|Bedroom, declutter, master bedroom|4 Comments

Conquering Kitchen Counter Clutter

Conquering Kitchen Counter Clutter Title

 Conquering Kitchen Counter Clutter

Kitchen counters are often a magnet for clutter.   Many times, a kitchen counter or kitchen island is the first flat surface you see after you walk into a house, making it easy to be a dumping ground for a variety of things.  Since the kitchen is a high traffic area and a gathering space, non-kitchen items also tend to land on kitchen counters.

How to Reduce Kitchen Counter Clutter

Assess what is landing on the counter

Gather up everything on the counter and separate into 2 categories: non-kitchen items and kitchen items.

Look at the non-kitchen items and ask yourself, “Does this item have a home in another room?” If it does, move it to that room. Cutter often arises because things do not have a permanent home.

Create other homes for non-kitchen items

Create a storage space for paper such as mail, coupons, school papers, magazines and newspapers. This could be in another area of the kitchen or in another room.  Creating a drop zone for these types of items helps to reduce clutter.  Use desktop file boxes, magazine boxes, baskets, hanging wall organizers or wall pockets to contain paper.

Other types of non-kitchen items found on counters may be pens, keys, wallets, sunglasses, phones, cords and other digital devices.  Continue to create homes for these items using a key hook, a pen cup, a charging station, and place these on a small table, tray or shelf in the kitchen or another room near the most used doorway.

Declutter kitchen cabinets, drawers and pantry

Once non-kitchen items have been removed from the counter, it is time to declutter all cabinets, drawers and the pantry to create more storage space.  Remove items you no longer use or need, and then make homes for any kitchen related items that have cluttered the counter.

Find a home for most of your kitchen items inside cabinets or pantries.  For appliances that aren’t used daily, make space in a cabinet, shelf, pantry or even a closet or another room to store those items.  I’ve seen lesser used kitchen appliances stored in laundry rooms, mud rooms, garages and hall closets.

Use space saving kitchen storage items

  • Trays
  • Cake stands
  • Tiered baskets
  • Under cabinet baskets
  • Hanging baskets inside cabinet doors
  • Hooks inside cabinet doors

Keep on top of regular chores in the kitchen

Put away all groceries as as soon as you return from shopping.  If a regularly used grocery item doesn’t have a home, make one.

Wash dishes and load and unload the dishwasher on a regular basis to prevent dirty dishes from piling up and adding to the clutter.

Regularly clear and wipe down counters after preparing meals.

Get into the habit of spending 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each night putting everything away and cleaning up the kitchen to prepare for tomorrow.

If you need assistance in decluttering and organizing your kitchen, please contact On Task Organizing at nancy@ontaskorganizing.com or 919-561-0885 to schedule a free phone consultation to discuss your needs.  On Task Organizing offers hands-on organizing and do-it-yourself consultations in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, and virtual organizing services via Skype or Facetime to all areas.

By | 2017-01-18T13:41:09+00:00 January 25th, 2017|kitchen, organizing, pantry, Paper Management, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Organizing for Pets

organizing for pets title

Organizing for Pets

Organizing for pets, most commonly dogs or cats, is a very frequent need for my home organizing clients.  Although some pets may be small, there are many items needed to care for them, and those things need to be organized.  If you have a pet, or a preparing to welcome one into your home, consider organizing in these areas:

Feeding Area

Set up a place to store bags and boxes of pet food.  This may be on a bin or shelf in a pantry, or in a rolling pet food container on the floor.

Create a space for pet bowls with a placemat underneath, perhaps in the corner of a kitchen.  Be sure to set aside space in a cabinet for any extra bowls or feeding supplies.

Medications

Pets sometimes have prescriptions or need heart worm pills.  Store these items separately from human medications.

Grooming Supplies

Pets need brushes, nail clippers, dental supplies, shampoos and more.  I suggest a portable caddy to hold these types of items.  Place this in the room where you most often use these items, maybe under the bathroom or kitchen sink.

Cleaning Supplies

If you have a pet, especially a puppy or kitten, you may need to clean floors, carpets and upholstery often, so I suggest another portable caddy for these cleaning supplies.

Pet Toys

Determine which room your pet plays in the most often, then place a basket or bin on the floor to store your pet’s toys.

Outdoor Pet Toys

Some pets such as dogs may also need a storage area for outdoor toys.  Place a bin or bucket on in your yard, patio, garage or deck to hold these items.

Vet Records

It is important to keep track of veterinary records, vaccination records and licenses.  Create a binder or folder for your pet’s records.

Pet Beds

If your pet uses a bed, decided which room you’d like to place it in.  Rearrange furniture as needed so this doesn’t become a tripping hazard.

Dog Walking Station

If you walk a dog, it is a good idea to set up a dog walking station near the door, or in a mudroom.  Use hanging hooks and baskets for items such as leashes and pet waste bags.  Place this near your own items that you’d need on a walk, such as keys, sunglasses, sunblock, an umbrella, sneakers and jackets.

Pet Waste

If you have an indoor cat, placement and set up of the litter boxes can be challenging.  If you have pet doors or the proper layout, litter boxes can be placed in garages, basements, laundry rooms, mudrooms or extra bathrooms.  Remember that you’ll need space for trash bags, disinfectant sprays and new litter bags in this area as well.

Traveling Pet Supplies

Consider storage of pet crates and other travel items like seat covers, blankets and harnesses, if you take your pet on trips with you.  Often, you can create space on a garage shelf for these things.

Pet organization is not just for dogs and cats, even my family’s hamster needs a storage bin for food, another for toys and folder for vet records.  No matter the size of your pet, think about creating a better organized area for pet supplies to make it easier to care for your pet.

By | 2017-01-17T15:36:46+00:00 January 18th, 2017|organizing, pets|0 Comments

Tech Tools to Save Time

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Tech Tools to Save Time

In this busy world, technology can greatly help you better manage your time.  Here are some ways digital tools and mobile applications can help you manage both your personal and business life.

Digital Calendars

These allow you to manage your schedules, share events, invite others to events, and help you to keep track of your daily tasks.  These can also be accessed on tablets or smart phones, giving you a portable schedule that you can access and change at any time.

Outlook

iCal

Google Calendar

Smart Phones 

Many standard applications found on smart phones such as contact lists, calendars, to-do lists, timers and alarm clocks can all help with time management.

Productivity Apps

Many productivity applications are available to help manage to-do lists for teams and individuals, here are some options.

Evernote

Remember the Milk

Toodle Do

Wunderlist

Producteev

Trello

Asana

Online Chore Charts

Here are some options for ways technology can help manage your family’s chores.

Chore Monster

Chore Buster

My Job Chart

Online Grocery Shopping Tools

Many grocery stores offer online ordering and curbside delivery.  Check with your local grocery store about this service.   These apps can also help with meal planning and grocery lists.

Plan to Eat

Cook Smarts

Pepperplate

Budgeting Apps

Here are applications that help with managing your budget and monitoring your finances.

YNAB (You Need a Budget)

Mint

Online Banking & Automatic Bill Payment

Check with your bank about online banking which gives you the ability to check your balance and account statements, and the option to pay bills online.  Many companies offer online bill payment for utilities and other recurring bills.  Check each company’s website to see if you can login and pay bills online or set up automatic withdrawal.  Online payments can save you time writing checks, mailing bills, and waiting for paper statements to arrive in the mail.

As with all electronic applications, it takes some trial and error to find the exact tool that will work best for you.  I suggest trying out applications that appeal to you, and if you find one isn’t working, keep testing others until you find the app that meets your needs.

By | 2016-12-13T22:12:44+00:00 January 11th, 2017|productivity, technology, Time Management|2 Comments

Car Organizing Tips

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Car Organizing Tips

Keeping your car organized can be simpler if you can create the habit of cleaning it out on a regular basis.  Having the right storage supplies in your car can help you to maintain a clean and organized interior.

Here are some items that can help keep your car better organized:

  • A trash container. This can simply be an empty bag, but using a plastic cereal dispenser with a lid can make it much neater.  The important thing to remember is to empty it regularly.
  • For those who park in a garage, I suggest having a small trash can in your garage to easily dispose of the car’s trash.
  • A car phone mount works well if you’re frequently using a mobile phone in your vehicle.
  • You may want to invest in trunk organizers to better manage items in the trunk.  If you’re often moving items in and out of the trunk and into your home, try storing a laundry basket inside the trunk to hold shopping bags and groceries.
  • For organizing items in the door pockets or glove box, consider a wedge organizer.
  • For children, use small plastic baskets or caddies to hold their toys, coloring books, and other items.
  • It is a good practice to store bottled water and emergency food such as energy bars in your car.
  • Be prepared for weather changes with an ice scraper, umbrella, and possibly an extra jacket or change of clothes.  Store these in a bin or bag in the trunk.

By making a list of what you need and use frequently in your car, and then creating a place for all of these items, it will be much easier to remain organized.   Making a habit of emptying the car of trash and non-essential items on a regular basis will help to eliminate clutter inside your car.

By | 2016-12-13T22:11:12+00:00 January 4th, 2017|car, organizing, vehicle|4 Comments

How to Prepare for an Organizing Session

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How to Prepare for an Organizing Session

Many people ask me, “What do I need to do before you come over?”  In response to that question, I’ve written this article to let you know what you do and do not need to do prior to your first home organizing session.

Do:

Discuss with your family:  Before a professional organizer arrives to help reorganize your home, please discuss the process with the rest of your family.  It helps if you know your family’s wishes for reorganizing certain spaces, and also if there are any spaces that they deem “off-limits” to reorganizing.

Sleep well the night before:  The process of organizing your belongings can be emotionally draining, you will be making many decisions, and it is best if you are well-rested.

Dress casually: During home organizing sessions, we will be moving items around and possibly kicking up dust.  I suggest you wear something comfortable that you don’t mind getting dirty.  This is extremely important for garage, attic and basement organizing sessions.

Eat breakfast or lunch:  Whether a morning or afternoon session, make sure you’ve recently eaten.  It is important that you are well fueled to best tackle the organizing process.

Reserve this time only for organizing: Do not schedule any work, calls or visitors during the scheduled organizing session.  Eliminate as many distractions as possible to make the most of the time.

Arrange for childcare:  Unless we’re organizing your child’s space, it is best to have your children at school, daycare, camp, or being watched by a babysitter or other family member during an organizing session.  If older children are home, please ask them to not disturb you during the organizing session.

Put dogs in another room or outside:  I love dogs, and I’m not allergic, but they do tend to get in the middle of organizing projects.  Please put them in another room or outside during the organizing session.

Do Not:

Pre-clean:  I’ve worked in various conditions and have seen it all.  Cleaning is something to do after organizing, not before.

Pre-organize:  You called an organizer for expert input and assistance, you do not need to do any pre-organizing.  It actually helps me if I can see how you actually live, and how and where items fall in your home.  If you hide it all in a closet, it will be harder to assess what needs to be organized.

Apologize for the “mess”:   I am there to help you organize it, no apologies or excuses are needed.  Life happens, and sometimes situations beyond your control can cause disorganization and clutter to arise.

Be nervous:  I am a non-judgmental and experienced professional organizer.  I know the methods and processes to help you.  I love coming up with organizational solutions and helping others.  I won’t yell at you, I am there to help you to re-gain control of your space.

By | 2016-12-28T19:53:41+00:00 December 28th, 2016|declutter, organizing, productivity, Uncategorized|0 Comments

My Best Organizing Advice

My Best Organizing Advice Blog Title

My Best Organizing Advice

Whenever I tell someone that I am a professional organizer, they often ask me for my best organizing advice.  There is no one “best way” to become or remain organized, it really does depend on each person’s learning style and lifestyle. During my 5 years as a professional organizer, I have found that the following concepts are the organizing strategies that I consider to be my best organizing advice.

Declutter first, then organize.

By removing items you no longer use or need, you will make the process of organizing and storing the remaining items so much easier.

Buy storage products after you’ve decluttered.

Before you’ve decluttered, you don’t know the size, amount or type of storage products that may be needed.  For example, it is not wise to buy 80 plastic shoe boxes if you’re going to declutter and reduce your shoe collection to 30 pairs of shoes.  Too many empty storage products can also contribute to clutter and disorganization.

Place similar items together.

It is much easier to search for an item if all similar items are located in one place.  For example, I helped an artist to organize all of her paint brushes into one storage shelf.  Before, she was wasting time and energy searching in several areas when she needed a paint brush, now she can access them quickly and easily.

Tackle one space at a time.

Although you may want to get everything organized at once, it is best to prioritize, and start small, focusing on one drawer, closet or room at a time.  Once you see progress in one area or room, you’ll feel more motivated to organize the next space.

Place items near where they will be used.

Think about the activities that take place in a room and how you move about that room. For example, if your children do homework at the dining room table, it may be helpful to keep homework supplies in a dining room hutch.

Assign a day and time on your calendar to do each task.

Setting deadlines with yourself and having each task on your schedule is the key to getting things done.

Create habits to help stay organized.

Getting and staying organized is not a one-time task.  Create new daily and weekly habits and routines in your life to keep your space and schedule organized.  For example, schedule 15 minutes at the end of each day to tidy up for the next day.

By | 2016-12-15T19:04:43+00:00 December 21st, 2016|organizing|4 Comments

Making To Do Lists

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Making To-Do Lists

Making to-do lists can be very beneficial to help you reach your goals.  You will be less stressed if you write your tasks down, because you can’t remember everything.  A list also helps to increase productivity and helps you to create habits and routines.  A list can be made on paper or digital devices, it really depends on your personal preference.

Paper List Making Resources

A bullet journal

A paper planner

Post-it notes

A notepad of any size

Digital List Making Resources

Evernote

Wunderlist

Todoist

Any.do

How to Make Lists

Focus on 1 day at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by putting too many items on your daily to-do list.  Narrow it down to important tasks that can reasonably be done in that day.  Schedule lower priority task for other days.

Prioritize.  Make sure the most important or urgent tasks are high on your list.

Break down projects into small steps.  Add those steps to your to-do list.

Be specific.  Be very specific about what you need to do to reach your goals.

Use an action verb at the start of each task.  For example, “Pay the phone bill,” “Call Ashley,” “Write this week’s newsletter,” etc.

Divide it into more than one category, such as personal and work related tasks.

Estimate how long it will take.  If you know how long it will take, the task is easier to schedule.

Decide when you’re going to do it. Determine a day and time of day to work on each task.

Refer to it regularly.  Checking off or deleting items you’ve already completed will help give you a sense of accomplishment and keep you motivated.

Review it at the end of the day.  Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, and move any incomplete tasks to the next day’s to-do list.

Once you find a list-making tool that works best for you, it should be easier to keep up with your daily tasks.  To-do lists are great in helping to form new habits and routines, such as achieving New Year’s Resolutions.  Be sure to review and adjust your list daily, since your tasks and priorities may vary each day.

By | 2016-12-13T22:10:17+00:00 December 14th, 2016|lists, productivity, Time Management|4 Comments