The holidays can be a trying time for many people. Between family drama, cooking, shopping, etc… it can get overwhelming. Here are some tips to keep everything in order without losing your cool:
Lists, lists, and more lists – make lists of everything that needs to get done and keep it all in one place. Grocery lists, guest lists, gift lists. This way whenever something pops into your head you can write it down. Better yet when you complete something you can cross it off (lets be honest- sometimes you put it on your list even after you’ve completed it just so you can cross it off… guilty!)
Let it go! (as the Frozen soundtrack dictates) – just because you have handmade all the pies in the past doesn’t mean you have to do it this year. Buy store bought and serve it in your own dish- none will know! I love the concept of Sandra Lee “semi-homemade” – a little fake-it-til-you-make-it never hurt anybody!
Prep ahead - some things you can cook days in advance and either put in the fridge or freezer. Space it out. I like to make my desserts 2 days before the event, my main course a day before, and the sides the day of. This way you aren’t stuck in the kitchen for the entire day at once and you can still have energy to enjoy your guests.
Enlist help – there is nothing wrong with potluck! If you detest making the stuffing give that assignment to someone else. If you can’t stand cleaning the dishes and the kitchen hire someone to come at the end of the meal to do the dirty work.
Don’t lose sight of what matters – the holidays are about gratitude. Don’t get caught up in doing everything perfectly- sometimes ‘good enough’ is just that. Let go and have fun!
Recently I have been getting a lot of calls for organizing kids’ playrooms. I guess its because all the kids are back to school and parents are clearing out the old to make room for the new.
Here are some photos from a recent project that B ORGANIZED took on:
This toy closet was chock full of toys and the kids couldn’t access them to enjoy them. So we purchased Kid’s Intermetro Shelving from The Container Store to hold everything- I absolutely love this piece because it is sturdy, attractive, and has a super cute area specifically for holding stuffed animals! We used large clear bins to store larger toys like cars and trucks. Now there is a pathway so you can get inside the closet to see what is there.
We had an empty hallway here which was prime real estate for toy storage especially for toys that the kids constantly play with. This expedit piece from ikea is ideal for any kids room. We put in small clear bins to hold everything from legos to art supplies. The labels on the front make it really easy to put everything away but you can even go the step further if your kids can’t read yet – posting photos of the contents of the bin on the outside.
We would love to make your kids toy area more organized. What is your biggest issue with toy storage?
The phrase “getting your inbox to zero” is tossed around the organizing and time management world as the ultimate goal in organization. It has always been something I have been interested in but never able to do… UNTIL NOW.
*photo courtesy of becomingawesome.com
Why does your inbox need to be at zero?
Your inbox is NOT your to-do list or your holding place for long term projects. When you are using it in those ways you create stress every time you open your email because you see all these items that you are not getting done.
How to clear out your inbox:
1. Create folders- here are some of mine: online purchases, american express, travel, apartment, invitations, recipes, taxes…
2. Once an email comes in act on it right away. In other words respond to the email or put a time in your to-do list to deal with the email and then send it to the proper folder. If it’s on your to-do list then it doesn’t need to be in your inbox. When the time comes to reference the email you know what folder it’s in (plus you have the search feature as a back up!).
3. For long term projects you also must have a list. This is not the same as your to-do list because you may not look at it everyday but it’s in the same place so you can reference it.
Currently my inbox is at 4. I know its not zero… but it feels pretty good!
Do your piles look like this?:
Well, they don’t have to…
I came across a post on RealSimple.com that I know will strike a cord with many of my organizing clients. The questions posed was “We have piles all over the house! How do we get into the habit of regularly tossing stuff or putting things where they belong?”
The answer comes from a fellow Professional Organizer. I couldn’t have said it better myself:
“Here’s a simple way to look at it: Everything in a pile is a deferred decision. In the moment that you had the item in your hand, you didn’t decide where it should live. Instead, you set it down, telling yourself that you would come back to it later. Then the next decision that you didn’t make landed on top of that and so on, until you ended up with a stack of indecision that you haven’t found the time to address. Every unmade decision takes you a little further from having a home that you love.
The next time you’re about to drop something in a pile, take another moment to say, “Wait, where should this go?” The answer should be something like “my nightstand drawer” or “the cabinet above the stove.” Not “the dining-room table” or “the entry console” or “the floor next to the sofa”—those are surfaces meant to remain open.
Realistically, sometimes you won’t be able to quickly decide where to put something or whether it’s important enough to keep. Put that object in a basket of “action items” and schedule a time for follow-through that same day. Tell yourself, At 9p.m., after I put the kids to bed, I’m going to make those seven decisions.
What’s best, though, is to make a decision before anything hits a basket. A pile habit is partly about entitlement: We have a conversation in our head about how tired and overworked we are, so we feel justified in going for the short-term fix—drop object in pile—rather than the real solution. But which of these is the better deal for you: the two-minute inconvenience of putting something away or the multiple times you’ll feel that slow burn of disappointment every time you walk by the dining table and see the item lying there? Sure, you’re doing OK if you’re down to a couple of piles here and there, but start taking that extra step to, say, actually put the off-season items away. Or plan an afternoon to make those store returns. You’ll feel a lot better. And how nice would it be to have no piles at all?”
For more organizing questions and their practical answers read the rest of the post on RealSimple.com.
Need help organizing your files? Paperwork is our specialty!
I love organizing a pantry! Nothing is more satisfying than getting your snacks in order!
In a recent project we built a beautiful pantry for a family that wanted all their kids to access the snacks on their own. We painted the walls a fun color and installed elfa shelving and stand alone drawers to maximize all of the space.
*Photo Courtesy of livingthebalancedlife.com
I recently visited a friend who has a 6 month old baby. I was pleasantly surprised that their home was not cluttered with toys. Their living room looked like adults actually lived there instead of looking like kidville rents space from them. It got me thinking about how I could encourage the rest of my clients to live with less for their children.
I came across this blog post “Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids” by Joshua Becker, the ultimate minimalist, and it really hit the nail on the head:
Toys are not merely playthings. Toys form the building blocks for our child’s future. They teach our children about the world and about themselves. They send messages and communicate values. And thus, wise parents think about what foundation is being laid by the toys that are given to their kids.
Wise parents also think about the number of toys that children are given. While most toy rooms and bedrooms today are filled to the ceiling with toys, intentional parents learn to limit the number of toys that kids have to play with.
They understand that fewer toys will actually benefit their children in the long-term:
1. Kids learn to be more creative. Too many toys prevent kids from fully developing their gift of imagination. Two German public health workers (Strick and Schubert) conducted an experiment in which they convinced a kindergarten classroom to remove all of their toys for three months. Although boredom set in during the initial stages of the experiment, the children soon began to use their basic surroundings to invent games and use imagination in their playing.
2. Kids develop longer attention spans. When too many toys are introduced into a child’s life, their attention span will begin to suffer. A child will rarely learn to fully appreciate the toy in front of them when there are countless options still remaining on the shelf behind them.
3. Kids establish better social skills. Children with fewer toys learn how to develop interpersonal relationships with other kids and adults. They learn the give and take of a good conversation. And studies have attributed childhood friendships to a greater chance of success academically and in social situations during adulthood.
4. Kids learn to take greater care of things. When kids have too many toys, they will naturally take less care of them. They will not learn to value them if there is always a replacement ready at hand. If you have a child who is constantly damaging their toys, just take a bunch away. He will quickly learn.
5. Kids develop a greater love for reading, writing, and art. Fewer toys allows your children to love books, music, coloring, and painting. And a love for art will help them better appreciate beauty, emotion, and communication in their world.
6. Kids become more resourceful. In education, students aren’t just given the answer to a problem; they are given the tools to find the answer. In entertainment and play, the same principle can be applied. Fewer toys causes children to become resourceful by solving problems with only the materials at hand. And resourcefulness is a gift with unlimited potential.
7. Kids argue with each other less. This may seem counter-intuitive. Many parents believe that more toys will result in less fighting because there are more options available. However, the opposite is true far too often. Siblings argue about toys. And every time we introduce a new toy into the relationship, we give them another reason to establish their “territory” among the others. On the other hand, siblings with fewer toys are forced to share, collaborate, and work together.
8. Kids learn perseverance. Children who have too many toys give up too quickly. If they have a toy that they can’t figure out, it will quickly be discarded for the sake of a different, easier one. Kids with fewer toys learn perseverance, patience, and determination.
9. Kids become less selfish. Kids who get everything they want believe they can have everything they want. This attitude will quickly lead to an unhealthy (and unbecoming) lifestyle.
10. Kids experience more of nature. Children who do not have a basement full of toys are more apt to play outside and develop a deep appreciation for nature. They are also more likely to be involved in physical exercise which results in healthier and happier bodies.
11. Kids learn to find satisfaction outside of the toy store. True joy and contentment will never be found in the aisles of a toy store. Kids who have been raised to think the answer to their desires can be bought with money have believed the same lie as their parents. Instead, children need encouragement to live counter-cultural lives finding joy in things that truly last.
12. Kids live in a cleaner, tidier home. If you have children, you know that toy clutter can quickly take over an entire home. Fewer toys results in a less-cluttered, cleaner, healthier home.
I’m not anti-toy. I’m just pro-child. So do your child a favor today and limit their number of toys. (Just don’t tell them you got the idea from me.)
You can read the original post here.
Want help sorting and purging through your kids toys? Our team of professional organizers can help you have a beautiful and well curated play room in no time. Take a look at one of our recent playroom makeovers:
1. Raise your bed with risers. The higher the better, because you’ll want to maximize every bit of space you have. This gives you room for under-bed storage for shoes, off-season clothes, and extra sheets and towels.
2. Think vertically and utilize wall space. Often there is extra wall space above the bed or over the desk, where you can install shelves that are great for books, photo albums, and decorative knick-knacks.
3. Bins and baskets and containers—oh, my! Having everything sorted and in its proper compartment will save you time and space. Be sure to buy a vessel (or 10) to hold your makeup, a place to store school supplies, and a three-drawer unit for underwear, socks, and bras.
4. Use the over-the-door space. Purchase a clear shoe-storage unit for the back of the door to keep shoes, jewelry, toiletries, cleaning supplies, or even snacks. These perfectly sized compartments are great for stowing a plethora of items.
5. Get crafty with the closet. If you need more room for hanging items, a rod-doubler will transform the space into a double-hanging closet. If it’s more folding space you need, drawers or hanging sweater bags will do the trick.
Read the full article on glam.com.
It is really hard to believe August is here and that the summer is speeding by. It was just yesterday I was reading about NYC moms hiring professional organizers to pack their kids up for camp (only in NYC!! Read the article here) and now its almost time for those kids to come home.
Getting your house in order before the new school year is absolutely essential to staying organized throughout the year. Even if you don’t have school aged kids its a nice idea to organize your home in the Summer for the start of Fall. September is the new January – a perfect time for renewal.
So…where to get started?:
-Toss the things that no longer serve you- clothes that are too big, workout gear you never use, books and magazines you’ve been holding onto but haven’t read.
-Throw out anything expired or unusable (medicine, food in the pantry, etc…)
-Set up a donation area in your home and figure out where you would like to donate those items. For a comprehensive list of where to donate what click here.
-Create systems where you need them most. Is your morning routine a mess because you can’t find your makeup? Set up a specific area for makeup so you always know where it is. Is finding your keys always difficult? Set up a hanging key station near the front door.
-Enlist the help of a friend or an expert- its often hard to keep yourself motivated and having a trusted friend or professional organizer to serve as your cheerleader can be a huge help.