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|2 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

Ways to Create Routines and Habits to Stay Organized

Ways to Create Routines and Habits to Stay Organized Title

Ways to Create Routines & Habits to Stay Organized

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

Tips to set up routines & habits to stay organized:

Create a place for everything.

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

Have one central calendar for all appointments.

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

Create a place for every task on your calendar.

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

Schedule a “tidy-up” time each day.

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

Plan, plan, plan.

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

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

17 Reasons to Organize Your Kitchen

17 Reasons to Organize Your Kitchen Title

17 Reasons to Organize Your Kitchen

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

17 Reasons to Organize Your Kitchen

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

2. Recipes become easier to access.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Bathroom Items to Declutter

6 Bathroom Items to Declutter Title

6 Bathroom Items to Declutter

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

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

How Getting Organized Can Cut Down on Chore Time

How Getting Organized Can Cut Down on Chore Time Title

How Getting Organized Can Cut Down on Chore Time

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

Doing Laundry

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

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

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

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

Cooking & Meal Preparation

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

Grocery Shopping

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

Washing Dishes

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

Cleaning Kitchens

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

Cleaning Bathrooms

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

Picking up Toys

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

Car Washing

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

Doing Yard Work

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

Decluttering When Downsizing

Decluttering When Downsizing title

Decluttering When Downsizing

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

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

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

Here are some areas & items to declutter when downsizing:

Bedrooms

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

Bathrooms

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

Kitchens

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

Linens

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

Books

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

Old Media

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

Photo Collections

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

Items from Old Hobbies

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

Current Hobby Supplies

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

Furniture

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

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

Preparing to Downsize

Preparing to Downsize title

Preparing to Downsize

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

The Benefits of Downsizing

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

Decide on a Time-Frame

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

The Start of a New Chapter in Your Life

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

Take an Inventory of Your Home

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

Determine Valuables You Want to Sell

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

Designate a Space for Donations

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

Take One Room at a Time

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

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

10 Meal Planning Tips to Save Time and Money

10 Meal Planning Tips to Save Time and Money title

10 Meal Planning Tips to Save Time & Money

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

Organize Recipes

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

Use Digital Recipe Apps

All Recipes

Big Oven

Paprika 

Designate a Recipe Area

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

Involve Your Family in Meal Planning  

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

Use a Shared Calendar 

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

Take an Inventory of Ingredients

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

Monitor Grocery Store Sales

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

Make a Grocery List

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

Collect Paper Coupons

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

Use Apps & Websites to Help with Grocery Shopping & Coupons

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

How to Manage Mail

How to Manage Mail title

How to Manage Mail

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

Designate 1 person to sort the mail daily

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

Always open the mail in the same place

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

Have these 3 items near where you open the mail

  • A trash can
  • A recycle bin
  • A shredder

Take steps to stop junk mail

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

Sort mail by person or type of task

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

Create a “to file” area

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

Check mail regularly

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

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