Eliminating Excess: It’s About the Process, Not Buying More

Eliminating Excess: It's About the Process, Not Buying More

Eliminating Excess: It’s About the Process,

Not Buying More

I was recently contacted by someone asking me to look at his home and tell him exactly what storage products are needed and the total cost of these products.  He believed that buying new storage products will get him organized.  He kept focusing on the storage products and not the process.  In my vast experience of organizing homes, eliminating the excess is the first and most important step to getting organized.  If you have too many items that you don’t use, buying more containers to hide them will not get you organized.

3 Simple Steps to Getting Organized

1. Eliminate Excess

Eliminating Excess, purging and sorting your belongings will make the most impact in decluttering and organizing your home.  I urge all of my organizing clients to not buy storage products until the space has been sorted and excess eliminated.  At that point, we will know that the items that remain are important and useful.

Excess items are donated, recycled, sold, given to friends and family, or tossed, depending on the item.  After those things are gone, empty containers or organizing supplies usually remain.  These empty storage products can then be repurposed to organize the remaining belongings.

2. Determine Storage Product Needs

Once remaining items are sorted by category, purpose and frequency of use, and storage products already owned have been repurposed, then the discussion of buying new storage products can begin.

The storage products needed depend on the size of the space, the amount of items to be contained, and where the items will be accessed and used.  Storage supply selection also depends on the home owner’s organizing style and taste.  Some people prefer clear containers, others want baskets, while others like fabric bins.  Some people prefer to hide things away in cabinets or drawers, and others prefer to have items in view on open shelves or countertops.

3. Select & Shop for Storage Products

Storage product selection also depends on your budget.  Some homeowners would like to spend nothing on products and just repurpose shoeboxes, others shop at Wal-Mart, while others shop at Pottery Barn.  Your personal decorative style, budget and organizing methods also help to determine which products are right for you.  The finishing touch is to put the new storage products in place and label as needed.

Shopping for new storage products is one of the last steps in getting organized.  Just buying the products will not get you organized, you need to go through the process of eliminating excess and determining your storage needs first.  The next time you see a display of organizing supplies in a store, hold off on buying them until you know what you need.

By | 2018-01-29T18:39:55+00:00 February 21st, 2018|declutter, organizing, Organizing supplies, repurpose, storage|2 Comments

Organizing Lingerie

Organizing Lingerie

Organizing Lingerie

As a Valentine’s Day special request, I am discussing how to organize lingerie.  This is a popular gift, but these small articles of clothing can easily be forgotten if not organized and stored properly.

Tips to Organizing Your Lingerie

Declutter First

Sort through all of your lingerie, bras and underwear and edit out items that no longer fit, are worn out or not your style anymore.

Sort Lingerie by Type

Sort clothing by category such as hosiery, underwear, sports bras, everyday wear, special occasion wear, sleepwear, slips, camisoles, etc.

Determine Storage for Each Category

Decide where you’d like to store these items for the easiest access based on the layout of your room.  You may want to store lingerie items in dresser drawers, in lingerie chests, in fabric bins on closet shelves, in under-bed boxes, or hanging in closets.

Buy the Right Organizing Products for Your Lingerie

Once you’ve determined where you’ll be storing each type of lingerie, buy the right storage products.  For example, you may want:

Basic drawer dividers

Honeycomb drawer dividers (great for panties or hosiery)

Lingerie hangers with clips

Small baskets or bins, just the right fit for your closet shelving

Other Lingerie Organizing Ideas

In drawers or bins, lie bras within each other, so you can see everything at a glance.

Organize by color to make it easier to find the exact color you’re looking for that day.

Keep matching sets together. Whether in the same drawer or box, or on the same hanger, keeping sets together will save you time searching through your collection.

Use lingerie bags for washing, this helps care for the lingerie, and it saves you time when putting away clothing.

By | 2018-02-05T17:03:41+00:00 February 14th, 2018|bras, Closet, Clothing, lingerie, organizing, underwear|0 Comments

Storing & Organizing Bulk Items

Storing & Organizing Bulk Items Title

Storing & Organizing Bulk Items

Many of my clients find that shopping at bulk discount stores such as BJ’s, Costco or Sam’s Club saves them both money and time.  Shopping in bulk does not save space though, so storing bulk items can sometimes be a challenge.  Here are some tips on shopping in bulk and ways to store and organize bulk items:

Only Buy Items if You have Storage Space

When shopping at bulk discount stores, only buy items if you have enough storage space.  If you buy too much, your own home may begin to look like a store with pallets of cans and packs of paper goods taking over floor space.

Keep Track of Your Supply

Keep track of how long it takes you to use up a bulk supply of items, then schedule your future trips accordingly.  Perhaps shopping in bulk once per month or once per quarter will work well, depending on your available storage space, budget and schedule.

Make a Shopping List

Make a list of what you need before shopping in bulk.  It can be very easy to overspend in a warehouse discount store.  Making a list and sticking to it will help you save money.

Consider the Climate of Your Storage Area

For items that do not need to be in climate controlled areas, such as paper towels, you may want to store those on a labeled shelf in a garage, basement or attic.  It is best to store food and perishable items indoors in a climate controlled area.

Repurpose an Extra Room or Closet for Storage

If you have the space in a bonus room or spare bedroom closet, install extra shelving and make this your bulk storage closet.  There’s no need to install permanent shelves, freestanding shelving such as this wire shelving or plastic shelving can work well for this purpose.

Look Upwards for Extra Storage

Utilize the very top shelves of your pantry, laundry closet or linen closet to store overflow bulk purchases.  If you have space on top of your kitchen cabinets, some bulk items can be stored there in decorative baskets or fabric bins.

Make Use of Shelves, Racks & Tiered Shelving

For canned goods, wire racks like this, or tiered shelves make it easier to see what you have in stock.

Contain Items by Category

Use bins to contain smaller items by type on shelves.  For items such as toiletries, sort by category and use small bins to contain these items on the shelves.

By | 2018-01-29T18:19:26+00:00 February 7th, 2018|bulk, shopping, storage|0 Comments

A Professional Organizer’s Take on Swedish Death Cleaning

A Professional Organizer’s Take on Swedish Death Cleaning

A Professional Organizer’s Take on

Swedish Death Cleaning

“Swedish death cleaning” is a recent trending term in the media.  As a professional organizer, I continually educate myself to keep up with organizing trends.  I recently read “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter,” by Margaret Magnusson to learn more.

The concept of “Swedish death cleaning” or “dostadning” may seem morbid, but it is simply another way to think about downsizing your belongings to leave behind less of a burden for your loved ones.  Magnusson says, “Death cleaning is not about dusting or mopping up; it is about a permanent form of organization that makes your everyday life run more smoothly.”

The author, who is over 80 years old, introduces this concept, and then spends most of the book detailing exactly what she parted with, what she kept, and how she parted with certain belongings.  It is her personal story of how this process benefited her life.  Unlike many of us, she has many children and a large extended family to slowly give gifts of her belongings to as she declutters her life through death cleaning.

It is suggested that those over 65 years of age begin death cleaning, but it can certainly be done at any age.  She states that “A loved one wishes to inherit nice things from you.  Not all things from you.”  This is something I agree with, and have seen time and again when helping to declutter and organize a home while a client is in the process of downsizing, or when helping adult children sort through their deceased family member’s belongings.

This book discusses the basic concepts of decluttering, organizing and minimalism, with a look toward future generations.  No one wants to think about their death, but the reality is that everyone’s belongings will someday need to be sorted and dispersed among surviving family members.  Not only that, another emotional event is when a senior is still alive, but due to health problems, there is a need to quickly downsize when they’ve been hospitalized or there’s an urgent need to move to assisted living or a nursing home.  In this book, the author talks about amount of time it takes to really evaluate everything you own and make decisions.  Unfortunately, when a medical emergency has come up, there’s no time left to take it slowly.

She brings up a very good point that I practice with my organizing clients.  She says to save sentimental things such as photographs and personal letters as the last type of items to declutter.  These are always the hardest to let go of, and some of these things you may want your surviving family to see.  In my experience, these are also the items that take the most time to go through because every photo or piece of paper has a memory that is relived as you look through it all.

I think this book may help to bring about family conversations on the topic, and make everyone think more about what will happen to their belongings after death.  Simplifying and organizing can definitely make things easier for us while we’re alive and for our survivors when we’re not.   From what I’ve experienced helping families to declutter and organize surrounding a major health problem or family death, it is better to start sooner than later with this process.

If “death cleaning” is too morbid of a term for you, call it decluttering, downsizing, simplifying or minimizing.  All of these terms mean you take a long look at your belongings, and remove the excess so life will be easier for you and your family going forward.  Although this is overwhelming, you do not have to tackle this process alone.  If you need expert assistance in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, contact On Task Organizing.  Nationwide, members of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals are available to help.

8 Tips to Create & Organize a Home Exercise Area

8 Tips to Create and Organize a Home Exercise Area

8 Tips to Create & Organize a Home Exercise Area

One of the most popular new year’s resolutions is to lose weight.  Creating a home exercise area is a great way to motivate yourself to exercise more, which will help in losing weight.  I’ve helped to create and organize many home exercise areas for my clients.

8 Tips to Create & Organize a Home Exercise Area

1. Determine a Location

You may decide to repurpose a room or create an exercise zone in a multi-purpose room.  When determining the location, consider the size of the room, the ease of access, the proximity to a bathroom, the type flooring and average temperature in the space.

2. Declutter

Once you have chosen a space, declutter to make room for the workout gear.  If reusing an space, such as repurposing a bedroom, basement, bonus room or garage space, clear out all of the clutter first.  Narrow down the items to only things you intend use while exercising.  If creating an exercise zone in a multi-use room, clearly outline which area will be used for exercising and declutter that space.

3. Make a List of Items Needed

The types of items needed in a home gym will vary by your type of workout, but determine what items are needed to make this a workable, useable home exercise space. Make a list of items such as weights, a yoga mat, yoga blocks, resistance bands, exercise balls, a jump rope, a foam roller, a treadmill, an exercise bike, an elliptical, towels, a water cooler, audio speakers, a TV or computer, a laundry basket, fans, space heaters, etc.

4. Consider the Layout

Think about how you will move from one exercise to another if doing a circuit workout.  Make sure you have, access to electrical outlets for some items, an open area for stretching and the ability to view a TV or computer, a mirror, or look out a window while you exercise.

5. Determine Flooring

Depending on if you are on an upper or lower floor, or in a basement or garage, choose the flooring that is right for you.  You may want to keep it as is, or add vinyl, rubber or foam flooring to this space.

6. Set Up Lighting

Lack of light in a room can discourage you from using it.  Make sure you have enough overhead lighting and floor lamps in this space.  Use mirrors, blinds and window dressings to control the amount of light in your exercise area.

7. Choose Storage Items

Once you have decided what items you need in your exercise space, invest in storage items to help keep it organized.  You may want shelving or storage cabinets for your media systems and accessories, a weight rack, hooks for towels, resistance bands and jump ropes.  If using a multipurpose space, you may want to hide workout gear in storage ottomans, decorative bins, or inside a closet.

8. Hang up a Calendar

Use a wall calendar to keep track of how often you use this room. Put it in your schedule to motivate yourself to exercise more.  Let family members know that this is your exercise time and location so they do not disturb you.

By | 2018-01-19T14:18:12+00:00 January 24th, 2018|exercise, New Year's Resolutions|0 Comments

6 Steps to Organizing Your Legacy

6 Steps to Organizing Your Legacy Title

6 Steps to Organizing Your Legacy

Your legacy is what you leave to your loved ones after you’ve passed away.  One of the most helpful things you can leave as a legacy is a collection of well organized important documents.  These documents can then be used to determine your legal wishes, reach out to insurance companies, close accounts, disperse assets and more.  When people thinking of leaving a legacy, they often think of money, gifts or other property.  If you have these documents well organized, you will be leaving your loved ones with less stress during an emotionally difficult time.

6 Steps to Organizing Your Legacy

1.Gather Your Important Documents in One Place

Choose one place to hold these important documents.  This may be in a file cabinet drawer, a file box or a binder.

2. Collect & Organize the Following Information:

  • Will and estate information, and your attorney’s contact information.
  • Healthcare and financial power of attorney details.
  • Funeral instructions.
  • Insurance policies  including home, car, health, life & disability.
  • Monthly budget and contact information for all utilities and loans.
  • Financial account information including all bank, savings & retirement accounts.
  • Safety deposit box information, and a list of its contents.
  • Deeds to homes, funeral plots, car titles, birth certificates, etc.
  • Recent tax returns & your accountant’s contact information.
  • Online password information and pin numbers.
  • Any other important documents you’d like to leave behind for your loved ones to easily find.

3. Clearly Label All Documents

Label folders or binder tabs, so that your family can find everything quickly.

4. Make Copies of All Important Documents

It is helpful to have copies of these documents.  You may want to store the original documents in a safe deposit box and leave the copies in your home in one location.

5. Tell Others

Make sure at least 2 trusted family members or friends know where all of this information is located in case of an emergency.

6. Keep Documents Up to Date

On a regular basis, update the information in your legacy documents.  Your situation may change, so be sure to keep things current.

If you need assistance in organizing your legacy, professional organizers can help to quickly and efficiently set up an organized system.  In the Raleigh, North Carolina area, contact On Task Organizing by email or by calling 919-561-0885.  Nationwide, visit The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals to search for an organizer near you.

By | 2018-01-08T13:45:15+00:00 January 17th, 2018|family, legacy, organizing, preparedness, senior, Senior Downsizing|3 Comments

How a Professional Organizer Can Help Your Senior Parents

How a Professional Organizer Can Help Your Senior Parents

How a Professional Organizer Can Help Your Senior Parents

I am writing this blog article by request.  One of my readers asked, “How do I get my parents to agree to hire a professional organizer?”  This is a sensitive subject to broach, because as the adult child, the home is not yours, and your parent or parents will be the main decision makers in the organizing process.

I have many conversations with adult children who want the help and services of a professional organizer for their aging parents, but unfortunately the parents are not on board.  Your parents may not see that the investment of a professional organizer is an investment in improving their life, time, stress level and environment.  Hiring a professional organizer can also relieve stress for their adult children who are trying to balance family caregiving along with so many other obligations.

Your parents may feel,  “I should be able to do this on my own,” or too proud or embarrassed to ask for or accept help.  They may not physically be able to lift and sort through items on their own, but may not feel comfortable asking for outside assistance.  Some parents may want to keep the home decluttering and organizing process within the family, but then disagreements and strained relationships result during this emotionally draining process.

Here are some tips on talking to your senior parents about why asking for organizational help is okay, and why they should agree to give it a try.

You Hire Experts for Other Needs

You hire a mechanic to fix your car, an accountant to do your taxes, a carpenter to fix your roof.  A professional organizer is an expert to help repair disorganized systems, improve your overall environment, and transfer organizational skills to you so you can maintain organization in the future.

These are Skills You Need and Want to Learn

If you wanted to learn how to paint, cook or play an instrument, you would take lessons.  Some people never had lessons in organization or time management, so a professional organizer can teach you these skills that you may need to improve or want to learn.  Home organizing sessions are individual personalized and customized lessons about you, your home, your time, your family and your life.  A professional organizer doesn’t just move stuff around, he or she helps you to discover your goals, prioritize, create a plan of action, make decisions on what to do with all the “stuff” that’s surrounding you.

You’ve Tried On Your Own, and it Hasn’t Worked Yet

Ask your parents, “How many times have you tried to get this place organized?   When will this get done if you don’t hire someone, schedule a time to do it, have an expert guide you in the process, provide storage product ideas, help drop off donations, and provide you with resources for selling or consigning items?”

You Want to Reduce the Stress of Downsizing or Moving

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events.  Downsizing or decluttering to age-in-place can be even more stressful because of the decades of memories and sheer number of items to sort through, often within a short deadline.  A professional organizer can relieve much of that stress, and make the entire process more manageable.

You’d Like a Safer Environment

Whether you are moving or staying in your space, decluttering and organizing will result in a safer environment.  Often, seniors need to make space for walkers or wheelchairs, and decluttering can help with that.  Organizing can improve other accessibility or safety concerns, such as removing falling or tripping hazards.

You Need or Want Accountability

A professional organizer will help to hold you accountable, keep you motivated, and work with you whether by your side or via email or phone to keep the process moving.  After each organizing session, “follow-up tasks” and “next steps” are discussed.  Your professional organizer will call you or check in with you at the start of each session to hold you accountable.  Sometimes having an accountability source is all you need to get the ball rolling and stay motivated.

You are Worth the Investment

The investment in a professional organizer can vary based on your needs. The cost really varies due to many factors including the size of the home, amount of items, number of people involved, and your decision making speed.  As many of my clients can attest, the monetary cost is well worth every penny because you are investing in your well-being, in lowering stress, in saving time, in improving your surroundings.

If You’re Happier, Your Adult Children will be Happier

With a better organized home, you will be safer, happier, and things will run more smoothly throughout your home.  You’ll have more time for enjoyable activities, and most likely this will result in a happier family, including your adult children.

As an adult child, remember this is your parent’s home and your parent’s choice.  As a professional organizer, before scheduling a session, I must speak with the homeowner and head decision maker first to be sure they are on board with the organizing process.

For more information, call On Task Organizing at 919-561-0885 or email to schedule a free phone consultation.  I can also set up a conference call with both you and your parents, so we can really discuss their organizational needs and concerns in depth together.

On Task Organizing’s Top 10 Posts of 2017

Top 10 Posts of 2017

On Task Organizing’s Top 10 Posts of 2017

As the new year begins, here’s a look back at the most popular posts of 2017 from the On Task Organizing blog, ranked in order of page views:

10.  How Getting Organized Can Improve Your Mental Health : Improved mental health is a wonderful benefit to getting organized, it can reduce anxiety, improve social relationships & more.

9.  7 Ways to Create Routines & Habits to Stay Organized : I offer tips on how to set up routines and habits to stay organized.

8.  Organizing on a Budget : I discuss ways to budget your time and money to get organized.

7.  Preparing to Downsize : Step by step tips to prepare for the downsizing process.

6.  7 Hacks for Living in Small Spaces : Living in small spaces like dorms, studio apartments or starter homes can bring about organizing challenges. Learn some hacks to make better use of a small space.

5.  6 Steps to Master Bedroom Organization : Learn ways to make the master bedroom a relaxing retreat from the chaos of your day.

4.  Conquering Kitchen Counter Clutter : Kitchen counters are a magnet for clutter. In this popular post, I wrote about ways to reduce kitchen counter clutter.

3.  Car Organizing Tips : I was surprised this ranked so highly because only a few clients have requested car organization services.  In this post, I discuss how having the right storage supplies can help to maintain a clean and organized car interior.

2. Decluttering when Downsizing :  A follow-up to “Preparing to Downsize,” . I discuss in further detail, room by room, how to efficiently declutter an entire home before downsizing.

And the top post on the On Task Organizing blog in 2017 is:

Parting with Sentimental Items : This emotionally difficult task is challenging for many reasons.  In this post, I offer tips to help part with sentimental items.  This is one of the most common topics clients ask about, so I am not surprised that it is the most popular post of the year.

What was your favorite On Task Organizing post this year? What would you like to see in 2018? Sound off in the comments!

By | 2018-01-01T15:11:15+00:00 January 3rd, 2018|organizing|0 Comments

How to Form Habits to Reach Your New Year’s Resolution Goals

How to form habits to reach your new year's resolution goals title image

How to Form Habits to Reach Your New Year’s Resolution Goals

As the new year approaches, many people are motivated to make changes to their lifestyle.  Two of the most popular resolutions are to lose weight and get organized.  Statistics show that 80% of resolutions fail by mid-February.  Achieving any resolution requires a change in habits, whether you want to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, save money, quit smoking, or stay organized, all require focus, will-power and a plan.

Create SMART Goals

SMART is an acronym to help you in setting your New Year’s Resolution goals.  It should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.  A SMART goal should cover exactly what you want to accomplish, how you’ll measure it, it should achievable, relevant to your life, and it can be reached within the amount of time you’ve given yourself.

Make a Plan

Write out a plan on how you will achieve this goal.  For weight loss, will you eat a certain number of calories, and exercise a specific number of times per week?  For getting and staying organized, will you sort your mail daily, or readjust your laundry schedule?  Plan for the little steps that will help you achieve your resolution.

Use a Schedule

“I don’t have time to ______” is a common excuse.  Your resolution most likely involves changing habits on how you spend your time.  For example, if your goal is to read a new book each month, put “reading” on your schedule at a certain day or time.  If a specific time is set aside for you to do something, you will be more likely to do it.  After a while, the new schedule will become routine and become more of a habit.

Find Accountability

Tell others of your plans to hold yourself accountable.  If a friend or family member has the same goal, support each other and discuss both your accomplishments and set backs as you try to improve your habits.  Tell friends, family members and co-workers, announce it on social media.  Do whatever you need to do help make sure others hold you accountable to reaching this goal.

Ask for Help

Sometimes, you can’t reach a goal alone, and you need to ask for help.  There may be many reasons for that, but there are both friends, family and professional experts available to help you. With experts such as personal trainers, nutritionists, psychologists, financial planners and professional organizers available, you can probably find an expert to hire to help you keep your New Year’s resolution.

By | 2017-10-07T20:13:33+00:00 December 27th, 2017|goal setting, habits, New Year's Resolutions, resolutions|0 Comments

Organizing Party Supplies

Organizing Party Supplies TitleOrganizing Party Supplies

Holiday events, birthday parties and other gatherings of family and friends bring plenty of fun times, but they also bring a lot of stuff into the party host’s home.  Many people do not have a designated place for the paper goods or seldom used specialty items.  There are often leftovers of paper or plastic goods from one event that you may want to save for the next year.  Here are some tips and ideas on ways to organize party supplies.

Store special event kitchenware in hard to reach areas

Since you don’t need items like punch bowls, serving trays and cake platters daily, find a place in your kitchen or pantry that is hard to reach.  Store them on the very top shelf of a pantry or in a high kitchen cabinet, or in the back corner of a low cabinet.  If your kitchen or pantry isn’t large enough, designate high shelves in another closet of your home, maybe in a guest room or bonus room, to store these items.

Create a paper goods and plastic ware section of your pantry, a cabinet or spare closet.

If you use paper supplies for your parties, designate one home for those types of items.  A portion of a pantry, a seldom used cabinet, or extra space in a laundry room or spare closet may work well.

Store in a climate controlled area

Remember that basements, garages and attics that are not climate controlled which can result in damage to both paper and plastic goods, so please store these items indoors in a climate controlled space.

Separate items by holiday

Designate a bin or portion of a shelf for each event, such as separating Christmas from birthday party paper goods.

Contain items by type

Use bins or baskets of varying sizes  to hold each type of item such as paper cups, paper plates, plastic utensils, napkins, tablecloths, streamers, balloons, candles, table decor, and any other party supply decorations.

Label your storage areas

If both the containers and the shelves or cabinets are clearly labeled, it will be easy for you and all members of your household to find items and put them away when needed.

Keep track of your inventory

Remember to check your party supply inventory before an event.  Buy only what you think you’ll need, so you don’t accumulate an excess of items that will not fit in storage areas.

Use, donate or recycle after an event

Many times, you may have paper party supplies that are only good for a certain event such as a 50th wedding anniversary or 1st birthday party.  Some people keep some of the decor for keepsakes or scrapbooking, but think about what to do with the remainder.  Holding onto a pack of baby shower plates until the child is in college is probably not the best use of your storage space.  It is a good idea to use up excess party supplies, recycle them, donate them, or give them to a friend or family member who may be able to use them at an upcoming party.  This will also open up room in your party supply storage space to prepare for the next event.

Purge party supply items regularly

To create more space in your kitchen & pantry, assess items on a regular basis; I suggest at least once per year, and definitely before relocating.  For example, if you have a punch bowl and haven’t made punch since the 70’s, maybe it is time to sell, donate, or give the bowl to someone else.

By | 2017-10-07T20:01:25+00:00 December 20th, 2017|organizing, pantry, party supplies|0 Comments

5 Tips for Organizing Gift Wrap

5 Tips for Organizing Gift Wrap Title

5 Tips for Organizing Gift Wrap

Gift wrap organization is often a challenge in many homes.   I’ve seen wrap and bags ruined by being stored behind or under items in closets or cabinets, or damaged by temperature changes in basements or attics.  Gift wrap doesn’t seem to have an obvious home, so here are some tips and storage ideas.

Store gift wrapping supplies near where you use them

If you wrap in a home office, the office closet may be the best location.  If you wrap in the dining room, the dining buffet cabinet may be a good choice.  Think about where and when you need to access these items.

Keep all gift supplies together

In addition to long rolls of wrap, gift supplies can include various sizes of gift bags, tissue paper, bows, ribbon, tape, scissors and greeting cards.  Assign one place for all of these items.

Store in a climate controlled and clean area

Paper can easily disintegrate, wrinkle, or be ruined by dust, moisture, temperature changes or pests.  To keep it all clean and usable, do not store these items in a non-climate controlled area such as a basement, garage, or attic.

Sort, purge & categorize your gifting supplies

Once you’ve gathered all supplies together, sort through them and recycle or donate anything that you don’t see yourself using.  Next, categorize items by type, size, and possibly by holiday.  Most people find it helpful to separate birthday wrap from Christmas wrap.  Next, if you feel you need more supplies for upcoming events, buy them now, and add those to your gift wrap supplies collection.

Decide on the right storage product for your needs

The gift storage product you use will depend on how much you have and the location where you would like to store the supplies.  Sometimes a clear plastic lidded bin, a basket or fabric bin on a shelf or in a cabinet, or a long underbed box is all that is needed.  For larger collections, you may want a gift wrap cart, a back of the door wall rack, or a hanging gift wrap organizer.  Smaller boxes like this card keeper can be used to store greeting cards.  Ribbon can be stored in ribbon boxes or hung on the wall like this hobby hanger ribbon organizer.

Once you have all of your gift wrapping supplies organized in one place, you will find it much less stressful to prepare for special events, holidays and birthdays, making the gift-giving experience even more enjoyable.

By | 2017-10-07T19:20:53+00:00 December 13th, 2017|gifts, Holiday, organizing, storage, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ways to Display & Organize Holiday Cards

Ways to Display & Organize Holiday Cards TitleWays to Display & Organize Holiday Cards

During the holiday season, greeting cards arrive in many mailboxes.  The recipient then needs to decide what to do with these cards.  Some display them for a while, and then may keep, recycle or toss the cards after the holidays.  Deciding what to do with holiday greeting cards is a personal choice.  If you decide to display or store the cards as keepsakes, there are several display and storage options available.

Holiday Card Display Ideas

On a mantle

Around a doorway, hanging from garland, ribbon, or tape

Hanging from a stairway bannister clipped to garland or ribbon

A metal wreath greeting card holder

A white wooden wreath greeting card holder

A rustic wooden wreath greeting card holder

On hanging ribbon with cards attached using clothes pins

On a wire tabletop tree

Along a twine hanging organizer with clothes pin clips

On an Umbra hang it photo display frame

On strips of cork board

On a bulletin board or a magnetic board

On a refrigerator door

No matter how decorative or simple a choice you make, there are countless ways to display and organize your holiday cards.  Keep in mind there are many do-it-yourself options with supplies readily available at arts and craft stores.

Storage & Organization of Cards After the Holidays

When the holidays are done, carefully consider the next home for your greeting cards.  You may want to keep all of them as keepsakes, or only save those with special meaning.  If you are leaning toward a minimalist lifestyle, you may want to recycle or donate them to be reused as craft supplies by a local daycare centers, elementary schools or community groups.

For keepsake cards, a card storage box like this will allow you to organize the cards.  This box is also helpful for organizing new cards that you’re planning to send. Other types of lidded memory boxes or keepsake boxes can also work well for storing received cards.

Remember to verify the current addresses of all holiday cards that you received to keep your card sending list up to date for the next holiday season.  Having the a display system and storage containers in place will help to keep your home clutter-free in the new year.

By | 2017-10-07T19:47:16+00:00 December 6th, 2017|decorations, greeting cards, Holiday|0 Comments

Laundry Room Storage Tips

Laundry Room Storage Tips TitleLaundry Room Storage Tips

The laundry room is often one of the smaller spaces in a home.  Whether you have a dedicated laundry room, or a small laundry closet, some of these storage products and tips can help improve organization in that area.

Laundry Room Storage Tips

Place a thin rolling cart in between or next to the washer and dryer,

Hang the ironing board and iron on the back of the door with an over the door ironing board holder or use a stowaway in-wall ironing board cabinet .

Use an over-the-washer shelf for storing detergents.

If you have wire shelving in your laundry room, add a shelf liner to prevent spills and drips from detergents and powders.

If you have a wire shelf in your laundry room, a hanging under shelf basket will add a great storage spot for laundry supplies.

If there’s a clothing rod, use a folding clip dryer for air-drying delicates.

A retractable clothesline is also helpful for air drying items.

A wall-mounted accordion clothes drying rack is another great option for drying clothing.

Use space-saving stackable laundry baskets.

Pop-up laundry hampers are also space saving because they can be easily folded when not in use.

For managing large bottles of laundry detergent, try the laundry soap station.

If you store smaller bottles cleaning supplies in your laundry room, try storing them in a cleaning caddy.

Hang a hanger hamper from a closet rod or hook on the wall.

Create extra storage space along the walls by adding floating shelves to hold laundry supplies or decorative items.

The top shelves or cabinets in most laundry rooms are difficult to reach.  Use these spaces to store infrequently used items inside bins or baskets, or designate these shelves or cabinets for paper goods that you may buy in bulk such as paper towels and toilet paper.

By | 2017-10-07T19:31:06+00:00 November 29th, 2017|Laundry, organizing, storage|0 Comments

7 Ways to Organize Kitchen Wraps & Foils

7 ways to organize wraps and foils title image

7 Ways to Organize Kitchen Wraps and Foils

When thinking about organizing a kitchen, people usually think of organizing food in pantries and refrigerators and dishes and cookware in cabinets.  Rolls of foils, plastic wraps,  parchment paper and resealable plastic bags are often forgotten about.  There are actually many options for storing these types of products.

7 Ways to Organize Kitchen Wraps & Foils

Inside a drawer

If you have a free drawer in your kitchen, designate a drawer or two to storing wraps and foils.

Stacked inside a pantry or kitchen cabinet

A kitchen wrap organizer like this can neatly hold 6 boxes of wraps and foils.

Inside a cabinet door or pantry door

Products like the Rubbermaid cabinet door mounted kitchen wrap and bag organizer storage rack or the Design Ideas pantry caddy can make it easy to store these items behind a door.

On an under-shelf holder

The Organize It All under shelf wrap holder can allow for wrap and foil storage under a shelf inside a pantry or cabinet.

On a wall mounted roll

Products like this Leifheit wall mount paper towel holder with plastic wrap, foil dispenser and spice rack can make great use of free wall space.

Be creative and re-use a magazine holder

The popular office supply, the magazine holder, can be reused to hold boxes of wraps, foils, parchment paper and resealable bags in a kitchen pantry, cabinet or counter top.

In decorative baskets or bins inside a pantry

Depending on your style, you may want to store these items in a rectangular decorative basket or bin inside your pantry.  Don’t forget to label the bin or basket.

By | 2017-10-07T19:09:15+00:00 November 22nd, 2017|kitchen, pantry|0 Comments

What to Bring with You on Moving Day

Title- what to bring with you on moving day

What to Bring with You on Moving Day

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events.  One way to reduce stress is to bring essential items with you in your vehicle for the first day and night in your new home.  Often, you may be waiting on movers to arrive or everything to be unpacked.  Being prepared that first day is an important step in the moving process.  Here is a helpful list of items you may want on the first day of move-in.

Items to Pack with You for the First Day & Night in Your New Home

At least 2 changes of clothing per person.


Toiletries including toilet paper, soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste.

A shower curtain.

A hand towel and enough bath towels for your family.

Daily medications.

A first aid kit.

Electronics such as laptops, tablets, phones, chargers and a power strip.

Trash bags, paper plates, paper towels, paper cups and plastic utensils.

Box cutters.

A small portable toolkit.

A flashlight and extra batteries.

A caddy of basic cleaning supplies.

Pet food and bowls.

If waiting on a moving truck to arrive with furniture, pack an air mattress or sleeping bags, and enough pillows, blankets and sheets for your family.

If waiting on furniture, you may want to pack folding chairs and a folding table, if you have space in your vehicle.

For quick meals, pack bottled water and snacks such as granola bars and nuts, a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly, and a box of pasta.  Include a pan, large spoon and colander if cooking on your own.  Many people will order take-out meals until the movers arrive.

Valuable items that you do not want to lose such as jewelry or family heirlooms, if these are not already stored in a safe deposit box.

Important papers such as financial documents, your checkbook, credit cards, passport, the contract from your moving company, and a checklist and contact information of the utility companies that service your new home.

If you want to efficiently and quickly have your home unpacked and organized, professional organizing services are available to help.  If you’re relocating to the Raleigh, North Carolina area, contact On Task Organizing about our unpacking services. If you are moving elsewhere within the United States, check The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals listings for a professional organizer near your new home.

By | 2017-09-05T07:23:12+00:00 November 15th, 2017|Moving, relocation|2 Comments

Organizing Digital Files

Organizing Digital Files Title

Organizing Digital Files

Electronic clutter is often overlooked because you can’t see the physical piles.  If you look at your computer desktop screen and feel overwhelmed with too many files and folders floating around, organizing your digital files can help to improve your productivity.

Improve Search Functions

Once your files are better organized and decluttered, your computer will have fewer files to search through, making it easier and faster to find what you need.  Likewise, if you know which folder an item is located in, it will be easier for you to find the file and quickly access it, saving you time.

Take it One Folder or File at a Time

Schedule time to work on this digital clutter organization project, and look through one folder at a time.  Delete any outdated content, or anything that you know you will not reference again.  Deleting the excess is the first step to creating an organized system.

Visualize a File Cabinet

If you have an organized physical file cabinet, look inside it to see the names of folders and types of information you’ve stored inside.  A computer file system is basically a digital file cabinet.  Use a similar naming pattern and structure that you’ve used in your physical file drawers.

Categorize into Folders

Look at the categories of information you have stored on your computer.  After you’ve done the initial delete and declutter, you should have a better idea of the types of information you store digitally.  Label folders based on these categories, and nest related folders inside them.  You can use any naming convention that works best for you such as by date, number, alphabetically, color coding or flagging certain folders.

Set Up Naming Rules for Files Going Forward

For example, will you date all files starting YYYY-MM-DD ? Will you list folders alphabetically such as Adams, John; Adams, Sam, etc. ? Determine what works for you and keep that similar naming convention when you create new files.

Schedule Regular Digital File Clean Up

After you’ve cleaned up your digital files, be sure to schedule regular maintenance time on your calendar when you can spend time sorting, organizing and cleaning up your digital file system to make sure it stays organized.

If you are located in the Raleigh, North Carolina area and need hands-on assistance in organizing your digital files, contact On Task Organizing for a free phone consultation.

By | 2017-08-29T10:17:14+00:00 November 8th, 2017|digital, Digital Files, productivity|2 Comments

What to Store in a Safe Deposit Box

what to store in a safe deposit box

What to Store in a Safe Deposit Box

Having a safe deposit box is a very useful thing.  If you tend to lose important items in your home, storing these in a safe deposit box in the bank may be very helpful.  Keep in mind that you should only store valuable items that you don’t need to access regularly.

You will have a key to your safe deposit box, and it is important that you decide who else should have access to it as a co-lessor.  An executor to your will may eventually get access to it after you die, so check with your attorney on this when writing your will.

Although some items should be stored on your property or in a firesafe box in your home, a safe deposit box is a great place for the following items.

Items to Store in a Safe Deposit Box

Important contracts & business papers

Valuable jewelry, stamp or coin collections

Personal papers

Social security cards


Birth certificates

Marriage certificates

Death certificates

Copies of wills & trusts

Divorce decrees

Custody agreements

House deeds

Vehicle titles

Insurance documents

Home inventory list

Stock & bond certificates

Back-up external hard-drives

Flash drives

Digital photos

Bank & investment account numbers

Diplomas & education transcripts

Credit cards & account numbers

Any other hard to replace items

Although in most cases, the original documents should be stored in a safe deposit box, you should make a copy of everything and store that in your home where it is easily accessible in case the information is needed.

Safe deposit boxes are a cost effective way to protect your valuables and important records off site, and protect you and your family in case of an emergency.  Please store the key in a place you’ll remember!

If are located in the Raleigh, North Carolina area and need assistance gathering important documents and organizing them to be stored in your safe deposit box, please contact On Task Organizing about our hands-on organizing services.

By | 2017-08-29T10:05:36+00:00 November 1st, 2017|filing, finances, inventory, Paper Management, safe deposit box|0 Comments

Organizing Decorations for all Seasons

organizing decorations for all seasons title

Organizing Decorations for all Seasons

Decorating for all seasons brings beauty and fun to each holiday.  Many people decorate their homes year-round, and they need a functional way to store decorations when not in use.  Decorations may be needed for holidays such as New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Graduations, Pool Parties, Birthdays, 4th of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah and more.  With so many holidays, there’s a constant shuffle of what needs to be displayed or stored.  Here are some tips for safely storing your seasonal decorations so you can find everything throughout the year.

Guidelines for Storing Seasonal Decorations

Determine a Storage Location for Decorations

Choose just one or two locations to store all of your holiday decorations.  I only suggest 2 locations because you may want to store indoor and outdoor decorations separately.  Think about a space that is easy for you to access, and a space that is large enough to hold your decoration collection. Large closets often work best.

Store Indoor Decorations in a Climate Controlled Area

Outdoor decorations are usually fine when stored in a garage, shed, attic, or basement.  To prevent damage from temperature changes, indoor decorations should be stored in a climate controlled area such as a climate controlled storage unit, inside a hall closet, bonus room closet, or guest room closet.

Use Shelving

To prevent stacking, use shelving so you can easily slide items in and out of the storage area.  Hardware stores offer both adjustable freestanding or wall shelving systems.

Create a Container for Each Holiday

Ideally, each holiday will have its own bin or container, so you can keep everything together.  Obviously, some holidays may have multiple containers.  If you do not have enough items from one holiday to fill an entire box, decorations from the same season such as Halloween and Thanksgiving could be stored together in a box labeled “Fall Decorations”.

Label Everything

Be sure to label each shelf and each bin or container, to save time searching for items.  This makes it easier to retrieve or put away decorations in the proper location.

Color Code or Use Clear Bins

If you prefer, you may want to color-code these boxes with black and orange bins for Halloween, red and pink bins for Valentine’s Day, etc.  Colors are easier to see than labels, however using clear bins is another way to help you see what is inside at a glance.

Use Specialty Storage Products for Odd Shaped Items

Decor such as wreaths, lights, artificial trees and other odd shaped items may need specialty storage products.  Invest in these storage products to prolong the life of your decor.  See the blog, 10 Tips for Organizing Holiday Decorations,  for more information.

Regularly Sort & Purge Decorations

At the end of each holiday, if you’ve bought new decor, or there are some items you know you will never use again, sell or donate those to make room for the new decorations.  If items start overflowing, buy a new container for that holiday, but only if you have the storage space for it.

If you need assistance in setting up an organized storage system for your holiday decorations, On Task Organizing offers hands-on organizing services in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, and virtual organizing services elsewhere.  Contact us for your free phone consultation to get started on your home organizing project.

By | 2017-08-29T09:56:06+00:00 October 25th, 2017|decorations, Holiday, organizing, storage|0 Comments

Organizing Automotive Records

organizing automotive records title

Organizing Automotive Records

Owning a vehicle comes with many papers that need to be organized and kept up to date. If you have a car, create folder files or digital folders for handling all of your automotive records.  Be sure to keep your car title and a copy of your insurance information off site in a safe deposit box.  Here is a list of vehicle records that you should keep organized.

Automotive Records to Keep

Purchase Agreement

Auto Loan or Lease Documents

Auto Insurance Coverage (the current year’s policy)

Auto binder, insurance payment info, and any auto insurance claims

Vehicle Title (keep a copy at home & the original in a safe deposit box)

Vehicle Inspection Records

Vehicle Registration and Registration Renewal Information

Auto Property Tax Records

Vehicle Repair Records

  • For resale value, keep a scan or hard copy of every time your vehicle was serviced.  This includes oil changes, tire rotations, body shop repairs, etc.
  • Set reminders for regular vehicle maintenance on your digital or paper calendar.
  • Keep track of your budget with apps such as YNAB or Mint, to know how much you have spent on your vehicle.

Driving Violations Records

  •  Speeding tickets
  •  Parking tickets
  • Accident details

Mileage Records (if traveling for business)

Auto Rental Agreements

Parking space rental, parking fees & garage fees

Fuel purchases (if needed for your records)

Toll records, such as E-Z pass statements

Keeping these records accessible will help you to do your taxes, maintain your budget, and keep your car in working order.  It will also give you an idea of how much your vehicle is costing you.  If you sell your car at anytime, having all of these documents in one place will make the selling process much easier.

By | 2017-08-29T09:37:24+00:00 October 18th, 2017|automotive, car, finances, Taxes|0 Comments

4 Ways to Streamline Email

4 ways to streamline email title

4 Ways to Streamline Email

Are you bothered by an overflowing email inbox?  Many people are overwhelmed by too much e-mail that is unread, unsorted and chaotic.  The organizational system of your email inbox should be as unique as you are.  The way you arrange your email depends on your learning style, the way you process information, and of the type and number of emails you are working with.  Here are 4 ways to streamline your e-mail processing.

1. Folders

Think about the big categories of email information you receive.  Create inbox folders based on these categories.  Remember folders are called “labels” in gmail and “mailboxes” in Outlook & Apple mail.  Don’t make too may folders at first, start with general categories, and if that works well, you can create more.

For example, for a business, you may want broad categories like “Finance,” “Vendors,” “Clients,” & “Marketing”.  For a home email, you may want categories like “Bills to Pay,” “School Information,” “Family,” & “Volunteer Activities”.

When deciding where to store an e-mail, and whether not to keep it, first ask yourself, “Am I going to reference this in the future?”  If so, “What folder is most appropriate?”

2. Filters & Rules

Take advantage of the filters and rules available through your email client.  When messages come into your inbox, they eat up your time, so by establishing filters and rules, you will save time checking, deleting and moving email messages around.  For example, if you receive many ads or coupons from stores, create an “Ads” folder and then set up rules to send all email from those vendors directly to the “Ads” folder.  This rule will keep your inbox clear, and then you can check that folder when you’re ready to shop.

3. Unsubscribe

Unsubscribe from as many email ads, newsletters and other information that you do not need regularly to help clear your inbox. You may want to try the service unroll.me to quickly unsubscribe from many automated messages.

4. Follow Through and Maintain

Email is a huge time waster, many people are checking it multiple times an hour, responding haphazardly, and having it interrupt the flow of their day.  Schedule your email reply time, rather than “putting out fires” every time a message comes in.  Set up 2 or 3 times a day where you will read and reply to messages.  Use a timer to help keep you on task, and to help you realize how much time emails are really costing you.

By | 2017-08-29T09:26:58+00:00 October 11th, 2017|digital, email, organizing, Organizing Tools, productivity|0 Comments