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.

When Organizing Books Don’t Work For You

When Organizing Books Don't Work For You Title

When Organizing Books Don’t Work For You

I think that organizing books are a great source of information.  I’ve read dozens of books on a variety of organizational topics as part of my education as a professional organizer.  In just about every home I organize, I find at least one organizing book, usually more.  These are often found under piles, or on an overloaded bookshelf.

Not All Organizing Methods Work for Everyone

In my opinion, organizing books, like many self-help books are great for practical information; however, just buying or  reading a book will not get your organizing project done.  Many of my clients have read books, and we’ll discuss organizing methods they’ve learned, but not all methods work for everyone.  There are different modes of learning.  Organizing systems need to be set up in a way that works well for the individual.  Some people buy a book, implement the system, and it works well for them, but not all people.

Learning & Organizational Styles are Unique

If you’re among the many well intentioned people who want a more organized life, have sought out books on the topic, and tried time and again to get organized, don’t be frustrated at the book or the author, or yourself.  Your learning style is unique, as is your organizational style.

A Friend’s Help Didn’t Work

Usually, after a book doesn’t do the trick, a person may enlist the help of a well-meaning friend or family member to get organized.  This sometimes works, but many times, you’re now imposing someone else’s organizing method that may not be right for you, and often the process of decluttering and organizing with someone close to you may end in arguments or disagreements.  This can derail your personal relationships.

It is OK to Ask for Expert Help

If you have 1 or 2 dusty books on “how to organize” in your home, and you’re still feeling overwhelmed with disorganization, it is OK to ask for help.  Reach out to a professional organizer trained in various organizing techniques and methods to help you to declutter, organize and simplify your life.  Remember, organizing is not a one time task, so your professional organizer will help to transfer skills to you so you can continue to remain better organized, once you feel your home organizing project is complete.

You May Need Accountability & Motivation

In most cases, a complete home or office declutter and reorganization will bring a person to a baseline level of organization.  This is a clean slate, a new starting point.  A place where organized systems are arranged specifically for you based on your lifestyle, the layout of your home or office, your current needs, and the needs of your family.  This does take time and motivation, but your professional organizer is there for you as your cheerleader, your accountability partner, and motivator.

Reach Out for Help

If organizing books don’t work for you, or you’ve read partway through an organizing book and just thrown your hands up in exasperation, reach out for help.  Over 4,000 trained and educated professional organizers are there for you, and can be easily found through a zip code search on the website of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.

On Task Organizing provides hands on organizing services in the Raleigh, NC area, and can assist you through virtual organization via Skype or FaceTime in all areas.  Whether you need hands-on help, a do-it-yourself plan, time management systems, or just general encouragement, a professional organizer is there to help lighten your load.

For further information, or to schedule your free phone consultation, email me or call 919-561-0885.

Back to School Organizing Tools

 Back to School Organizing Tools

Back to School Organizing Tools

As you prepare to send your children back to school, there are many organizing tools that you can use in your home to make school days less chaotic.  In addition to buying school supplies, consider some of these organizing tools.

Back to School Organizing Tools

A Pantry Snack Station

In your pantry, put after school snacks on a low shelf or in a bin or basket.  This will allow your children to quickly find an after school snack.

A Fridge Bin for Lunch Items

For refrigerated items, set-up a containers like these Fridge Binz to hold lunch making supplies and refrigerated snacks.

Hooks for Backpacks & Jackets

Give each child a sturdy hook to hold backpacks.  Also, supply enough hooks for jackets.  Make sure these hooks are placed low enough for young children to reach.  Labeling the hooks with your child’s name will also help give ownership to your child.

Shelves or Bins for Shoes & Hats

Create a storage area for other items such as shoes and hats.  Hats can hang on hooks or, be placed on shelves, in cubbies or bins.  Place a shoe shelf or bin or basket near the most frequently used door to further streamline the before school morning routine.

An Inbox for Each Child

Place a small tray or bin to act as your child’s “inbox,” for the small items they bring to and from school daily such as lunch money.  If they bring electronics to and from school, set up a charging station for phones and laptops.

A School Paper Wall Pocket or Folder

Set up a labeled wall pocket or folder for papers about school activities and for school forms to be signed by parents.

An Activity Tracker on the Wall

Use a bulletin board, magnetic board or dry erase board on a wall at home to keep track of activities and events.

Calendars or Planners

Give your child access to a planner, a shared family wall calendar or a shared digital calendar to keep track of times and dates of school holidays, after school activities, family events & more.

A Homework Station

Designate one space as the homework station.  Have regularly used school supplies such as pens, pencils, calculators, tape, scissors and rulers nearby.  Keep this surface clear so there’s enough space to do homework.  This should be located in an area with limited distractions.

By setting up organizing tools like these at home, your child’s before school and after school routines will be less stressful.  They will be able to easily find all items they need for going to school and doing homework.  With these organzational tools in place, you will also prevent losing important school papers or missing a school event or after-school activity.

14 Reasons to Organize your Home Office

14 Reasons to Organize Your Home Office Title

14 Reasons to Organize your Home Office

Home offices are one of the most common rooms I am hired to organize. So many people are working from home, or trying to juggle a busy home life and work at the same time, that a home office can quickly become cluttered and overwhelming.  Getting your home office better organized will not only improve your work productivity, but it can also benefit you by lowering stress at home.  Here are just some of the many reasons to organize your home office.

14 Reasons to Organize your Home Office

-Better organization can improve productivity and increase income.

– Save time searching for items you cannot find.

-Streamlined filing systems, reference material storage, and office supply storage will save you both time and money.

-To create a more comfortable workspace with the correct chair, desk and ergonomic set-up for you.

-For a more visually appealing workspace that makes you want to spend time in the home office.

-To make it easier to manage cords and charge electronics.

-For better use of time with improved to-do lists, calendar systems and overall time management skills.

-To save money by not repurchasing items you know you own but cannot find.

-To make space for others to visit such as clients or assistants.

-For quicker preparation for events, meetings and business travel.

-To create improved systems for accounting, budgeting and bill paying.

-To separate your home from business spaces for your business tax purposes.

-Organized tax papers make tax filing time less stressful.

-Less clutter and more organization will make cleaning easier and faster.

Preparing for Tax Free Weekend

Preparing for Tax Free Weekend Title

Preparing for Tax Free Weekend

In many states, tax-free weekend is offered in early August.  This is a great time to plan and prepare an organized shopping list.  Here is a general list of the items usually included, depending on your specific state’s tax-free weekend rules:

  • School Supplies
  • Backpacks
  • Clothing
  • Jackets
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Printers
  • Emergency Preparation Supplies

Not all states offer tax-free weekend, but those that do usually hold it in late July or Early August to coincide with back-to-school.  Some online retailers also offer discounts on tax-free weekend.  Check here to see if tax-free weekend is offered in your individual state.

Tips to for a Streamlined & Organized Tax-Free Weekend

If you know that tax-free weekend is coming up in your area, you can plan for a more streamlined shopping experience and savings, if you organize in advance.

School supplies

When it comes to school supplies, check your child’s teacher’s list, and determine what is needed in advance.

School Clothes and Backpacks

Test out your child’s backpack to determine if a new one needs to be purchased over tax-free weekend.  Have your child try on all clothing to see what they’ve outgrown, and make another list of clothing to be purchased that weekend.  Plan which stores you’ll need to take your child to, and in which order you’d like to go to each store.  I suggest starting at the clothing stores first thing in the morning, and plan a route that uses the least amount of travel time and gas.

Computers, Electronics & Printers

Test out your electronics to determine if anything needs to be upgraded.  Tax-free weekend is a great time to take advantage of discounts.  Make a list of what you need, and research in advance which stores or online retailers are offering tax-free deals and have the items you want in stock.

Emergency Preparation Supplies

Some states also includes tax-free emergency preparation supplies for hurricane preparedness and more during this weekend.  Check your survival kits and emergency supplies, and plan to shop for these items as well.

Since you only have a short time to take advantage of tax-free weekend, start shopping as soon as the stores open.  Divide the shopping amongst family members if needed.  If you must plan for a whole day, plan for a brief lunch break, and continue until you’ve gotten everything on your list.  Making a list and sticking to it is a very important way to keep to your budget, and make sure that you get only what you need.

By | 2017-07-06T10:24:36+00:00 July 26th, 2017|finances, money, shopping, summer|0 Comments

Traveling Compactly

Traveling Compactly Title

Traveling Compactly

Packing for vacation can be a daunting task.  Luckily, there are many storage products available to make it easier for you to travel compactly.  Whether you’re traveling by car, train, boat or plane, packing compactly will make your travels easier and more enjoyable.

Tips for Planning & Compactly Packing for a Trip

Schedule a Time to Shop for Your Travel & Vacation Supplies

From travel sized toiletries to clothing, you will most likely need to buy something before your vacation.  Schedule a day to do this shopping, well in advance of your trip.

Choose Clothing for the Trip

Determine how long you will be gone, and how many outfits you will need, and the type of outfits  needed such as formal, casual, or swimwear.  If laundry facilities are available, you can pack less, but must you plan for doing laundry while you’re away.  Closer to the travel dates, double check the weather forecast and pack accordingly, so there’s no need to buy a souvenir sweatshirt just because the beach was cold one night!  Try on all of your outfits in advance, and don’t pack anything that doesn’t fit.  Do pack at least one back-up outfit.

Buy Travel Accessories

Once you’ve gathered everything you plan to take on your trip, determine what size bags and containers you need.  Depending on the type of trip, you may want some of the following items:

Store Clothing Compactly 

Rolling your clothing and storing items like socks inside your shoes will save space. You can also use Compression Pack-it Cubes or Travel Space Bags.

Secure Electronics

Remember to pack all of your chargers and outlets. If traveling internationally, remember to bring adapters.  The Grid-it system offers great ways to store electronics while traveling.

Label All Luggage

Label all of your travel bags and containers using luggage tags, label tape, or permanent marker.  You can distinguish your luggage at baggage claim with colorful zipper-pulls, duct tape or painter’s tape.

By | 2017-07-06T09:49:30+00:00 July 19th, 2017|packing, Travel|0 Comments

Summer Party Organization Tips

Summer Party Organization Tips Title

Summer Party Organization Tips

Summer is a time of relaxation, which often results in summer pool parties, graduation parties, and cookouts or BBQs to celebrate Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day & more.  With this plan for a relaxing, fun party with friends and family, the party host is often left with the huge task of organizing the summer event.

Tips for Organizing a Summer Party or Cookout

Budget

Before planning any event, it is important set a budget.  How much can you or do you want to spend?  This will determine how many people you invite, the food you serve, how much you decorate, etc.  Keep track of how much you spend for this event, so the next time you hold one,  you’ll have a better idea of where you can cut costs, or a general estimate of what an event like this will cost you.

Check Calendars & Schedules

Make sure your event doesn’t overlap with someone else’s party or family event.  As for timing, consider an earlier time for families with small children.

Determine How Many to Invite

Think about the size of your home and outdoor areas and parking accommodations as you write your invitation list.  Also, consider if mixing groups of friends, families and co-workers will go over well.  You may want to hold two or more parties to keep things separate.

Send Invitations

Most likely, social media will be the best way to send invitations, but depending on your event, you may want to snail mail invitations or call friends.  Invitations should include details such as the date (including the day of the week & year), the start and end time, the address, parking information, and suggestions on what to bring such as a dish for a pot luck, a swimsuit for a pool party, etc.  Please mention if pets are allowed or not.

Plan a Menu

When planning your menu, consider allergies, having vegan or vegetarian options, or having kid friendly food, depending on your attendees.  Decide if there be alcohol available or if it is BYOB.  If alcohol is served, have a designated driver available, or suggest a taxi, Uber or Lyft for attendees.   Determine who will be serving drinks, and who will be grilling or doing the cooking throughout the party.

Prepare Paper Goods

If you don’t have enough dishes, disposable plates & utensils work well for summer parties.  You should have the following items: cups, paper plates, paper towels, napkins, plastic utensils, and enough containers for all of the leftovers.  If you want guests to take leftovers with them, have small portable tupperware containers available for them.

Determine the Party Layout

Make sure you have enough chairs and tables.  You may need to rent or borrow chairs and tables, or ask invitees to bring their own.  Also, decide where food will be served, buffet style is often best.  Determine where the cooking will take place.

Choose Music

You may want to set up an outdoor sound system, or have a band perform.  Decide what type of music your guests would like to hear.  It is best to set up a playlist in advance.

Plan Decor

Consider how much you want to decorate for this event.  You may need signs, streamers, tablecloths, balloons, etc.

Consider Outdoor Needs

Have sunscreen, bug spray, citronella candles or other pest control methods in place.  If rain is forecast, you may need an awning or to ask guests to bring umbrellas.  If it is a pool party, remind guests to bring their own towels, and figure out where guests can hang towels to dry.  You may need to buy more lounge chairs, rafts or pool toys.  If you are planning to play outdoor games, prepare frisbees, horseshoes, cornhole, etc. in advance.

Plan a Shopping Trip

You may want to make one trip for paper goods and decor, and another for grocery only items.  A day or two before the party, make sure you have all party foods including condiments and drinks purchased.

Plan Cleaning & Yardwork Beforehand

If you’re hosting this party at your home, hire a cleaning service and a lawn service, or schedule a time to clean your home and work on your yard.  Depending on the size of your space, this may take a while, so plan accordingly.

Plan Post-Party Clean Up

Have a plan for when the clean-up will take place, and who is responsible for putting items back to where they should be stored.   Do not skip this step!  I’ve been in many homes where the party decorations and supplies just never got put away, and then clutter piles up around it all, making it that much more difficult to hold the next party.

By | 2017-07-05T12:05:13+00:00 July 12th, 2017|organizing, party planning, pool, summer|0 Comments

How to Pack for Summer Camp

How to Pack for Summer Camp Title

How to Pack for Summer Camp

As your child goes away to summer camp, there are many things you need to get organized first to make his or her trip run smoothly.  Much of this can be done in advance to reduce stress.

Tips to Prepare for Summer Camp

Review the Camp’s List of Items Needed

Most camps will give you a general list of what to bring and what not to bring.  Check this list, and gather all items in one place, this will be a staging area for packing.  As for the items you do not have, create a shopping list, and plan a time to shop for these items weeks or days before the camp starts.

Plan Clothing for Camp

Depending on how long your child will be away, and if laundry facilities are available, determine how many changes of clothes should be packed.  Remember to pack extras in case they get wet or dirty.  Have your child try on all of this clothing to make sure everything fits.  If needed, make a list and plan a clothes shopping trip beforehand.  Check the weather forecast for the week of camp as you pack up.

Label Everything

From sunblock to swimsuits, label it all!  You can use permanent marker or fabric labels for clothing.

Separate Items by Category & then Choose Storage Containers

Depending on the method of travel, choose what is needed for this trip.  You may want storage trunks, luggage bags, toiletry bags, shower caddies, wet swimsuit bags and laundry bags.  Separate your child’s items by category and then choose the right size storage containers.

Involve your Child in Packing

After everything is purchased, labeled, and separated into the staging area where you’ve been keeping “bring to camp” items, and you have all storage containers ready, involve your child in the packing process.  This way, they will know what is in each container, where to find it, and (hopefully) how to pack it up at the end of camp.

Schedule Time to Prepare for Camp

Sometimes it feels like preparing for camp may take almost as long as the camp itself!  Remember to schedule time in your calendar well in advance to do these tasks: checking the list, trying on clothing, shopping for clothes, shopping for other essentials like toiletries, labeling everything, gathering the correct storage containers, and packing with your child.

Make a Final Review

Review the list one last time for anything you may have forgotten.  Review camp rules with your child before they leave.  Also, review their “packing up” plan for the last day of camp.

Remember to Schedule Unpacking Time

It is very important to schedule a time to unpack, put everything away, and clean laundry and other items. This will prevent stagnant piles, items becoming moldy, and disorganization going forward.

By | 2017-07-04T15:06:05+00:00 July 5th, 2017|packing, summer, Travel, Uncategorized|0 Comments

12 Reasons to Organize Your Bathroom

12 Reasons to Organize Your Bathroom Title

12 Reasons to Organize Your Bathroom

There are many reasons to organize your bathroom.  Although bathrooms are often the smallest rooms in homes, a tidy and organized bathroom can make a big difference in your daily routines.  Most bathrooms can be decluttered and organized in a short time, but can result in a very positive changes in your life.

12 Reasons to Organize Your Bathroom

Less time spent searching for items

You’ll save time getting ready in the morning and before bed.  Less time searching for items such as razors, floss, toothpaste, soaps, and make-up will save you time during both your morning and evening routines.

To save time cleaning 

If your bathroom has less clutter,  there will be less time spent clearing counters and tub or shower surfaces before you start scrubbing.  Having bathroom cleaning supplies  stored together and better organized will also make cleaning faster.

Less time and money spent re-buying items you have, but cannot find

After sorting similar items together, many of my clients have found that they have months worth of supplies like soap and shampoo, so they don’t have to buy those for a a long time!

To stop running out of essentials

With more organized bathroom cabinets, drawers and closets, you’ll know when you’re about to run out of essential items such as toilet paper, and you will know when it is time to buy more.

To improve emergency preparedness

With organized first aid supplies and medications, you will be better prepared for medical emergencies.

To make it easier to have guests 

If your guest bathroom is organized and decluttered, you can have guests visit without rushing to clean or hide things away.

To simplify bath time

Organized bath toys make children’s bath time rituals less hectic and easier for everyone.

To make pet grooming easier

Organized pet grooming supplies can make dog bath time quicker and less chaotic.

Reduce family arguments

Setting up separate and organized bathroom storage areas for each person can prevent family arguments as to ownership of certain items, and disagreements about who is responsible for each space.

To be ready for plumbing emergencies

With a decluttered and organized bathroom, the plumber can more easily access your pipes to repair leaks.

Easier to redecorate

It is easier to visualize decorative changes once the clutter is gone.

To create a calming effect 

Cluttered spaces often cause anxiety.  A decluttered bathroom will help to create a more calm and peaceful feeling.

By | 2017-06-08T15:32:06+00:00 June 28th, 2017|Bathroom, declutter, organizing, routines|0 Comments

Organizing Inventory in a Home Business

Organizing Inventory in a Home Business Title

Organizing Inventory in a Home Business

Running a business out of your home can be challenging, especially with space constraints and and a lot of inventory.  I have worked with home business owners selling a variety of items from their home.   I’ve helped organize inventory such as clothing, jewelry, make-up, skin care products, essential oils, gift baskets, sports equipment, cooking supplies, books and model cars.  No matter what the product, my clients have all had the same goals: to best utilize the space, and to have a functional system where they can quickly access supplies and fulfill customer orders.  Here are some of my tips on organizing inventory in a home business.

Tips for Organizing Inventory in a Home Business

Determine where to store items

Assess the space in your home and decide on the best location to store your business inventory, this may be in a bonus room, extra bedroom, closet, garage, attic or basement.  If you lack space in your home, you may need to rent an off site storage unit.

Consider climate controlled storage

Many products can be damaged if not stored in a climate controlled area.  Severe temperature changes, moisture, pests, dirt and dust can impact your inventory.  If this is a concern for you, check the temperature and insulation of your home inventory storage location, or request a climate controlled storage unit.

Stack vertically

Make the most of your storage space, by stacking inventory items vertically.  Sturdy metal shelves can provide efficient storage for home business inventory.

Label storage shelves

Label storage shelves by using numbers or letters, so an item can be quickly found.

Organize by type

Sort and organize your products by type, and store similar products together.

Label all boxes

Place text labels or digital photos on unlabeled boxes,  so you know what is inside each box.

Store popular products nearby

Store the most frequently sold items in the area that is easiest to access.

Set up “departments”

Layout your home office or storage area in “departments” such as incoming new inventory, inventory in storage, shipping and receiving.

Use software programs and apps such as these to help managing inventory

SOS Inventory

Inventory Now Lite for iPad

Cashier Live w/ Big Commerce

A well organized home business inventory will lower stress and improve productivity.  If you need assistance with organizing your home business, please contact us for a free phone consultation about our home and business organizing services including hands-on organization in the Raleigh, NC area and virtual organization to distant locations.

By | 2017-06-08T15:12:54+00:00 June 21st, 2017|home business, inventory, organizing, productivity, storage|0 Comments

Managing Household Papers

Managing Household Papers Title

Managing Household Papers

Paper is constantly coming into our homes, and it can sometimes be overwhelming to manage it all.  Each paper that comes into your home requires a decision.  These decisions can be broken down into these categories:

  • Toss or Recycle – if you don’t need it and it doesn’t contain personal information.
  • Shred – if you don’t need it, but it contains personal information.
  • Keep temporarily until you’ve addressed it where is is easily accessible.
  • Keep temporarily by filing it or scanning it until it is no longer needed.
  • Save permanently in your home in a file cabinet or fireproof safe.
  • Save permanently offsite in a safe deposit box.

Toss/Recycle/Shred

For each paper that you look at, ask yourself what needs to be done with it.  Tossing, recycling or shredding can quickly be done if you have a trash can, recycle bin and shredder near where you open your mail and look at papers.

Keep Temporarily Until You’ve Addressed It

For papers that need to be kept temporarily until you’ve addressed them (current bills, event invitations, etc.) create an easy to access place for these types of papers.  I suggest a desktop file box with folders for “to pay,” “to read” “to follow-up on”,  to make sure the papers are acted upon.  If you prefer a more visual solution, a cork board or magnetic board may work well, if it is looked at on a regular basis and doesn’t become overloaded. Here are my tips on managing incoming mail.

Keep Temporarily by Filing or Scanning

Many papers need to be stored temporarily, these can be filed away for back-up records or scanned, if you are trying to go paperless.  Consumer Reports provides great suggestions as to how long to keep tax records and other documents.  It is helpful to check with your accountant or lawyer about saving financial or legal records.

Save Permanently in Your Home or a Safe Deposit Box

When it comes to what to keep permanently, it is best to consult with your account and/or lawyer first about what to keep and how long to keep it.  In general,  information about medical records, utilities, automotive records, insurance policies, retirement documents, wills, birth certificates, other financial documentation, and warranties often needs to be stored long term.  Always refer to your accountant about your specific case when it comes to tax retention guidelines.  Check out my tips on organizing tax documents.

Make a Place for Keepsake Papers

One last category to consider is keepsake papers.  You are not legally required to keep these, but you may want to store them long-term for sentimental reasons.  Create storage or files for  children’s artwork, old school work, keepsake cards, theater programs, vacation maps, travel keepsakes, ticket stubs, letters, genealogy records and memorabilia.

By | 2017-06-06T16:05:55+00:00 June 14th, 2017|filing, keepsake, organizing, Paper Management|0 Comments

Organizing on a Budget

Organizing on a Budget Title

Organizing on a Budget

Organizing on a budget is definitely possible, as long as you have the motivation, time and energy to focus on an organizing project.  You often don’t need to buy new or expensive organizing products to declutter your home and make it more functional.  There are many ways to save by re-using items your already own or selling items as you declutter.

Budget Your Time

The number one thing you need to budget to get organized is your time.  It takes time to sort through, declutter, sell or consign, and functionally organize your space.  The amount of time it takes depends on the size of your space, how cluttered it has become, and how quickly you can sort through and make decisions.  I suggest scheduling time in your calendar for 3 or 4 hours at a time to focus on one area or category of items.  Once you’re on a roll, you’ll have a better idea of how much you can get done in that time-frame.

Save Money by Reselling

Set aside an area to collect all of the items you’ve decluttered.  You may be able to make some money by selling items online through websites and apps such as eBay, Craigslist, NextDoor, LetGo or OfferUp.  You can also go to local consignment stores to resell items.  If you have many items that you’d like to sell at once, and have the time and energy to do it, you may want to hold a yard sale or garage sale.   Anything that you cannot sell, can be donated to a charity; itemized donations are often tax deductible.

Reuse Storage Items You Already Own

If you are on a budget and want to organize for functionality, there are probably many items in your home that can be reused for storage.  Shoeboxes, cardboard shipping boxes and even cereal boxes can be reused, redecorated and labeled to hold some items.  As you declutter, you will probably empty many containers such as baskets, plastic bins and fabric bins, freeing up these for storage.

Shop for Storage Supplies with a List and a Budget

Don’t shop for supplies until after you’ve done a full de-clutter of your space.  This way, you’ll know the size and number of items you need to contain.  Make a complete list, including the dimensions of the containers needed.  Then browse dollar stores, Wal-mart or Target, because they often have affordable storage products.  You may also want to shop sales or with coupons at home storage specialty stores such as Bed, Bath & Beyond or The Container Store.  Online shops like Amazon sometimes have great deals, and save you the time and cost of traveling and searching for items.

Book a “Do It Yourself” or Virtual Organizing Session with a Professional Organizer

If you feel that you need expert assistance to get started, but don’t have funds in your budget for multiple hands-on organizing sessions with a professional organizer, there are a couple of cost-effective options available.  On Task Organizing offers “Do It Yourself” organizing consultations where a professional organizer visits you one time to help create a customized action plan for your home organizing project.  On Task Organizing also offers Virtual Organizing sessions, via Skype or FaceTime where you can schedule one hour at a time with a professional organizer to virtually guide you through your organizing project.  Please contact us for more information.

Pool & Beach Storage Tips

Pool & Beach Storage Tips Title

Pool & Beach Storage Tips

As summer approaches, you may need to get your pool or beach items ready for the season.  If you have a backyard pool, neighborhood pool, or even a lake or beach nearby, you need to consider the best way to store and organize all of those wet items such as towels, rafts, goggles, sunscreen, and pool toys.  Here are some suggestions for storage products and ways to best organize pool and beach items.

Choose a space to store these types of items in your home such as a screened in porch, covered deck, laundry room, garage or mud room.  If you don’t have any of these areas, set up a storage space in a bathroom or along the wall near the door you most frequently use.

Hang extra hooks or towel rods in the area where you plan to hang wet towels in your home.  If necessary, set up a laundry drying rack specifically for wet towels and swimsuits.

Store rafts and floating toys in mesh bins.  If you need portability, try the Intex foldable mesh storage caddy.  For storing rafts by your pool, a poolside float organizer or rolling pool storage bins will work well.

Use mesh or waterproof bags to carry supplies to and from the pool or beach.  These mesh whale bags work well for families.   For individuals at the pool, Speedo swim bags or backpacks are a great option.  The Travel Happens Wet Bag is great for storing wet swimwear while traveling.

To make it easy for children to carry sand toys, try the EocuSun mesh drawstring backpack.

Be sure to have waterproof bag or case for your smart phone whenever you’re near the pool or beach.

For a neat way to carry small items like keys and sunscreen, and to bring your own pillow to the beach, try the L.A. Wedge beach & storage pillow.

Try using rolling beach carts or wagons to help make travel to and from the beach or pool much easier.

For a full day at the beach or pool, I recommend a cooler with wheels and a handle like this Igloo Island Breeze cooler with wheels.

With all of these available storage products, I hope some of them will make your summer trips easier, better organized, and more enjoyable.

By | 2017-04-11T10:05:49+00:00 May 31st, 2017|beach, organizing, Organizing supplies, pool, storage|0 Comments

Organizing Jewelry

Organizing Jewelry Title

Organizing Jewelry

Although a single piece of jewelry may be small, it is important to organize your jewelry collection so that you can quickly find the piece you are looking for when getting ready each day.  There are many great storage products available, depending on the size and type of collection.

Before organizing jewelry, I suggest you discard any items you do not wear or use anymore.  Sell, donate, or give these items away to friends or family, so you will not waste time sifting through these items.

Once you’ve decluttered, determine how you best like to store your jewelry.  Some people prefer to have everything hidden in boxes or drawers, while others like to have items out on display.  Decide your preference, and then choose the right style and size for your jewelry collection.

Closed Storage Options for Jewelry

Jewelry boxes come in a variety of sizes and styles, and help keep all items together and hidden.

Jewelry rolls for compact storage or travel

Jewelry pouches to protect jewelry in transport.

Jewelry travel bags for trips.

Jewelry trays for storage inside dresser drawers

Open Storage Options for Jewelry

A hanging jewelry organizer for hanging on the wall, back of a door, or closet.

On a peg board wall rack so you can easily find items.

On display on jewelry stands on vanities, dressers or counters.

Once you’ve decluttered and organized your jewelry collection and put the correct storage products in place, you should find it simpler and quicker to select your jewelry for the day.

By | 2017-04-10T14:48:42+00:00 May 24th, 2017|jewelry, organizing|0 Comments

8 Reasons to Organize Your Guest Bedroom

8 Reasons to Organize Your Guest Bedroom title

8 Reasons to Organize Your Guest Bedroom

If have a guest room or spare bedroom in your home, odds are that it serves many other purposes.  Guest bedrooms are often likely to become disorganized and cluttered when you don’t have visitors regularly.  Here are 8 reasons to declutter and organize your guest room.

1. The Ability to Socialize More

If your guest bedroom is always organized, you will be able to host overnight guests at any time, giving you the ability to socialize more.

2. To Save Friends & Family Money

By creating a welcoming place to stay for visiting friends and family, you save them on hotel costs.

3. To Finally Have the Room Serve a Purpose

Each room in your home should have an intended purpose. By better organizing this room, you will be able to use it as a guest bedroom, or for dual purposes such as a home office area or storage space.

4. To Eliminate the Catch-all Room Once and For All

Guest bedrooms are sometimes treated as a “catch-all” for everything.  By decluttering it, finding homes for the miscellaneous items, and setting up an organized guest bedroom, you will eliminate the overwhelming “catch-all” room.

5. To Create Better Indoor Climate Controlled Storage

Often, the guest bedroom closet is a great place to hold keepsakes or other items that should not be in an attic, basement or garage.  Since it is inside, climate controlled, and free from pests, you may find this an excellent extra storage space.

6. To Spend Less Time Cleaning

With less clutter, it will be quicker and easier to keep up with chores in this room, such as dusting, vacuuming and sweeping.

7. To Redecorate Easily

Once your guest bedroom is decluttered, it will be easier to redesign the room, including repainting, and changing floor coverings, bedding and accessories.

8. To Increase Your Income

You may intend to rent your guest room thorough a service such as Airbnb.  Having your guest room always clean and organized can help you to earn money this way.

By | 2017-05-17T09:47:45+00:00 May 17th, 2017|Bedroom, benefits, Guest Bedroom, organizing|0 Comments

Parting with Sentimental Items

Parting with Sentimental Items title

Parting with Sentimental Items

Parting with sentimental items is a very emotional task.  Although you may want to keep many things for sentimental reasons, often the size of your home or the act of moving limits how much you can reasonably keep.  Many times, an entire lifetime of belongings can be inherited from family members, and discarding that person’s belongings may feel like you’re throwing away a memory.  Here are some tips to help part with sentimental items:

Take a Photo

Photographs of items take up much less space than the actual item itself.  You could store the photo digitally,  frame it, or put it in a photo album, digital album or scrapbook. This way, you will be able to look at and remember the item, but you will not need to store, maintain, and move it with you throughout your lifetime.

Select Only Your Favorites

Pare down collections of items by selecting only your favorites from the collection.  For example, if your mother had a large collection of jewelry, select a small number to keep in her memory, and sell, donate, or give away the remaining pieces.

Give Sentimental Items as a Gift

Your family may enjoy receiving a sentimental item as a birthday or holiday gift.  For example, one of my organizing clients took a Christmas ornament from her childhood that she had inherited, and wrapped it up as a gift for her sister.  This was a one of a kind and very welcome gift.

Find a Place of Honor for the Item(s)

If you are keeping items to honor and remember a loved one, why stuff it in the back of a closet?  Find a place of honor for this item, put it on display so you will see it regularly and evoke fond memories.

Come to Terms with an Item that has Served it’s Purpose

If the item you are hanging onto has served it’s purpose, it may be time to let it go and move on.  For example, if you saved a car seat from your child who is now in college, realize that it served it’s purpose at the time, but it no longer needs to take up space in your home.

Release the Burden

Sometimes, instead of joyful feelings, the thought of boxes of memorabilia causes burdensome and overwhelmed feelings.  If items are just taking up space in a closet, basement, garage or attic, and not being used or looked at, it may be time to release the burden.

Remember, You Are Not Throwing Away Memories

If the sentimental item is connected to a person, remember you aren’t throwing away the person or the memory of the person, you will always have that.

By | 2017-04-10T10:27:12+00:00 May 10th, 2017|declutter, downsizing, keepsake|6 Comments

Creating an Organized Study Space

Creating an Organized Study Space title

Creating an Organized Study Space

Creating an organized study space is very important for all students, whether you’re in elementary school or college.  All students need a space to work on homework without distraction, and with school supplies nearby.  Here are some things to consider when setting up an organized study space.

Choose an area most conducive to your work style

Some people work best in the middle of everything such as at a kitchen or dining room table, while others prefer a quiet place such as an office or corner of a bedroom.

Consider the sounds around your space

If you work best with background music or white noise in your study space, add that to your area.  However, if you need silence, try to set your study space up in the quietest place possible.

Check the size and height of your workspace surface

Make sure the workspace table or desk is large enough for you, and that it is the correct height.

Select a chair that works for you

Choose an ergonomically supportive and comfortable chair that is the right size for the desk or table.  Make sure the chair doesn’t distract you from working, for example rolling chairs sometimes distract younger children.

Provide the correct lighting

Consider the natural light in the your study space.  Make sure you have enough light, and that sunlight doesn’t hit your computer screen or eyes.  Adjust window coverings as needed.  Also, make sure you have enough overhead light in the study space. Add a task lamp to help prevent eye strain.

Have study supplies within reach

Place all study supplies in a caddy, bin, drawer or shelf near your work area.  Most students need quick access to school supplies such as pens, pencils, erasers, markers, crayons, calculators, rulers, scissors, glue, tape, etc.  Give all of those items a permanent home.

Make room for technology

Be sure the study area has enough power supplies, chargers, and extension cords for electronics.  Also, provide easy access to a computer, printer and wi-fi connection in the study area.

Have reference supplies nearby

Back up office supplies such as printer paper, books and other reference materials should be near your study space as well, perhaps in a closet or cabinet in the same room.

Use wall space to keep track of homework

Keep track of homework assignments by having a magnetic board, cork board or dry erase board in the study area.  Use a hanging wall file to hold school permission forms and other papers that parents need to review.

Add a snack tray

If drinks and snacks will be consumed during homework time, have a tray available to easily bring things to and from the kitchen.

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|6 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