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Spring organizing from A-Z

spring

Spring is finally here!! There are double exclamation marks because this past winter was a harsh one for most of the country. It seems everyone is even more eager to get things done inside so they can enjoy the outside. To help you with that, here is a list of things from A-Z that you can do to get organized this spring.

Arrange your furniture. Does your furniture placement make sense?

Bring out the spring wear, raincoats, boots etc. and put away the winter wear.

Clean, if you need to, usually once you move something there is a bit of cleaning involved.

Decide which areas are priorities and start with the most disorganized areas first.

Empty out the food in your home that is old or expired.

Find places for items that don’t seem to have one.

Get the garage in order, store winter stuff and make spring stuff easy to access.

Hang a picture or two or three. I often see pictures that are shoved in a box, bring them out and display them so you can enjoy them.

Invite friends over to see your newly organized spaces. A great motivator!

Join Freecycle! It’s a great place to figure out what to do with items you no longer want or need.

Kick clutter to the curb. Especially paper clutter that may be everywhere and anywhere.

Learn to love routines. Creating routines and sticking to them can help get you organized.

Make time for organizing. Check your schedule and slot in an hour or two or three.

Nick the bad habits. Start fresh, spring is a great time to do this.

Open the boxes in the basement that have been sitting closed for years. If you don’t need it, toss, donate or recycle.

Purge the items you don’t wear, don’t need or don’t fit.

Question why you keep certain items and ask yourself what would happen if you got rid of them.

Rise to the occasion and let go of items. A less cluttered home will equal a less cluttered mind.

Show your family where things go. Have a family meeting and get them on board or even better, get them to participate. Be sure to have solutions that work for everyone.

Treat yourself to a reward along the way. Organizing is hard work and is deserving of some recognition.

Understand that it will take time but move forward anyway. Small steps add up!

Value a few items rather than just tolerate a lot of items. Keep what you love and ditch the rest.

Wipe down shelves, counter tops and cupboards before putting items back in an organized fashion.

Xcept (Okay so not really a word but x is hard) that it will take twice as long to organize an area then you think it will.

Yearning for new products to get organized? Make sure you go through and sort, toss, donate, recycle before purchasing items you may not need.

Zip over the store to purchase some organizing products once you have completed the steps mentioned in “Y”. Need help with this step let me know and I can do a detailed consult with you to help you figure out the best products for your needs.

If you would like more help, go to my website for my spring organizing checklist.

Happy Organizing!

Laura


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Is your horoscope making you unorganized?

full moon

Have you ever thought you were destined to be unorganized? Do you find yourself constantly in a cluttered state? I have noticed through my dealings with clients that  certain horoscopes tend to stand out when it comes to getting and staying organized so I thought I would do a little bit of research on the topic. Now, I am no expert on Astrology so I contacted Joan Ann Evelyn from AstroConsultation. Joan Ann has more than twenty five years of interest and seven years of scholarship in the profession. You can read more about her here.

As it turns out, many signs have organizational challenges but some tend to fare better than others. Here is my Q&A with Joan Ann.

Q: Please tell me a little bit yourself and how you got into astrology?

A: I have been interested in Astrology since I was a teenager.  Many years ago I was going through a rough patch.  I was depressed for no valid reason.  Everything was going well in my life.  I read the horoscope Column in the Toronto Star and it said “Usually sunny Leo’s are feeling the blues as the planet Saturn moves into their sign”.  Instead of going to the doctor for antidepressants, I started studying Astrology.  Once I took an early retirement from my job at General Motors.  I studied the subject on a full time basis.  When I felt I had enough knowledge, I started my Astrology Business.

Q: What would you say is the most organized sign?

A: Capricorn is the most organized sun sign, especially in business.  Self-disciplined, responsible and practical, they have excellent reasoning power.  They often aspire to a position of leadership and will work hard to achieve their goals.

Q: What is the least organized sign?

A: Pisces, Virgos opposite sign, has a compassionate nature, but at times tends to live in a dream world.  Interested in music and the creative arts, they can be disorganized around the house.

Q: What sign has the most trouble staying focused?

A: Gemini’s can lose focus (or interest) quickly, since they are easily distracted.  They often move from one person to another or one event to another.  Naturally restless, they need to cultivate perseverance.

Q: What sign tends to shop the most?

A: Leos are the shopalcholics of the Zodiac.  Leo enjoys the good life, they like the best of everything, especially clothes and jewellery.  They enjoy looking spectacular.  Ruled by the Sun, Leo is most comfortable being the center of the Universe.

Q: Is there a sign that is more sentimental and would have a harder time letting go of things? 

A:  Sentimental and profound, Scorpio has a hard time letting go of things.  They remember everyone who has ever done them a wrong.  Sensitive by nature, they relate to the past as if it were yesterday, and have a difficult time letting things go.

Q: Can you be both organized and unorganized if you are a specific sign?

A:  Virgo tends to be either very organized or very sloppy.  Service and work oriented, they pay a lot of attention to detail, especially on the job,  This leaves them little time to get organized at home.

Q: Which sign tends to use time well?

A:  The earth signs (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn) use time the best.  Practical and dependable, their natural inclination is to set goals and move towards them.

Q: Which sign uses time the worst?

A: The air sign Gemini can be easily distracted, but so can the two fire signs Sagittarius and Aries.  Aries does not always finish whatever it starts, before it moves on to do something else.  Sagittarius can be restless and extravagant.  These signs generally do not use time well.

Q: If your sign is unorganized is it possible for you to change?

A: A disorganized sign can certainly change.  Once they recognize this as a weakness, they can make up their mind to overcome it.

Q: Anything to add?

A: Aquarius is individualistic and freedom loving.  This sun sign has the ability to organize, especially for humanitarian causes. Libra, ruled by Venus, loves to decorate and has the ability to create a beautiful home. Cancer, a water sign, is the nurturer of the Zodiac.  They are highly organized in the kitchen and make excellent chefs.  The home is their domain.

Disclaimer: The answers given are based on sun signs only and not on the horocsope of a specific person which is based on the person’ day, month, year, time and place of birth.

Double Take Organizing did not receive any product or payment for this post.

Happy organizing!

Laura

 


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***NEW*** Organizing printables

I am excited to announce that Double Take Organizing is now offering printables to help you get organized!

I am offering my weekly to-do list FREE for people who visit my blog and social media sites.

To-do list

Head over to my website to find printables for to-do lists, meal planning, office organizing and more.

You can also check out my Spring Organizing Challenge. Running from April 1st -30th.

Happy Organizing!

Laura


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Why technology doesn’t always save you time

William Penn once said, “Time is what we want the most but we use the worst.”

So how you do get more time? Well, the short answer is you can’t. There are only so many hours in the day but what you can do is use your time more wisely and productively. As my Dad always says, “Don’t work harder, work smarter!”

Now, I will be the first to admit there are some great uses of technology to save time. My iPhone, for example, is great as a small business owner because I can get back to potential clients quickly and easily without having to lug a laptop around with me. There are also a host of great apps that can help keep us organized.

However, here are a few technology time wasters that could be draining your time quicker than you can say, “How is it midnight already?”

#1 The social media suck

So you think to yourself, oh i’m just going to check my Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest  feed quickly and by the time you have gone through, replied to some messages and made a few posts two hours has flown by in a flash. The allure of social media is even stronger if you have a smartphone where messages can be sent and answered instantaneously. Be wary of spending too much time and be sure to block out specific times in your daily calendar for social media use.

#2 Sending ten emails or text messages instead of making a phone call

I know I have been guilty of this as well but picking up the phone is sometimes the quickest option to get the answers you need. We have become so used to texting and typing that we don’t consider doing this. I do think that both have their place but with longer or more complex conversations it might be best to go old school in order to save time not to mention your wrists. As an added benefit, speaking to someone on the phone gives you a chance to connect with someone in a way that smiley faces and emoticons simply can’t compare to. Ever been texting someone and wondering, “Hmm, was that a sarcastic comment or not?”

#3 GPS Systems

I think GPS’s are a great invention but I often think the route they choose is not always the fastest option. I have gone down enough gravel roads when there is a paved road nearby to know this to be true. Look at a map ahead of time, even if it’s on your phone or iPad, and know where you are going before you leave the house. You could even save yourself a accident in the process. Distracted driving is on the rise so why don’t we spent the fifteen minutes before we leave looking at a map, instead of looking at our Facebook page instead.

#5 Wearing a watch instead of using your cell phone to tell the time

I recently bought myself a new watch. I don’t know about you but I keep my phone in my purse. If I don’t wear a watch I have to rummage in my purse for my phone before I can find out the time while wearing a watch is just a simple turn of the wrist. As you can imagine, being an organizer, time is very important to me so when I don’t know what time it is I am lost. Is wearing a watch going to save you tons of time, in the grand scheme of things probably not much, but if you are the unorganized sort and don’t know where your phone is at least a watch is attached to you.

Happy organizing!
Laura


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Resolution to get organized in 2014?

I am not sure where I stand when it comes to resolutions. On the one hand, the organizing part of me loves the idea of setting goals and making plans but on the other hand, I fear many resolutions set us up for failure. Usually this is because our resolutions aren’t realistic. We try to do too much, too fast and then give up when it doesn’t work out. So here are some tips to get you going but not overwhelmed.

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Start small-What is the biggest problem you have trouble with? Is it that dinner always seems to be a chore or maybe you can find nothing in your closet? Figure out the thing you want to tackle the most and take small steps to achieve it. Don’t move on to anything else until the first is completed.

Reward yourself- Once you have completed one area reward yourself with something you enjoy or enjoy doing. A little reward can help motivate you along the way.

Put it on the calendar-If you have carved out a specific time for doing something you will be more likely to get it completed.

Expect it to take longer then you thought-I would say organizing always takes at least double or triple the amount of time you thought it would. Give yourself extra time to get things done.

Give back- Donating items can be great motivation. Not to mention helpful when de-cluttering. There is nothing more inspiring then helping others and by donating goods you can do just that.

Organize with a non-biased party- There is no shame in asking for help and organizing with a organizer helps keep things neutral because they have no attachment to items that may have you torn and they can help you work through these items with more clarity.

Tell a friend-Once the cat is out of the bag you may be more likely to stick to it. Or better yet, do it together! When you are both tackling projects it can keep you motivated.

Don’t fight what makes sense to you-Last but not least, if you always put your coat over the kitchen chair, why not install a hook in there for yourself? Organizing your home doesn’t have to make sense or look magazine perfect it just has to work for you.

Happy 2014 and happy organizing!

Laura


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Last minute organizing tips for the holidays

With less than a week till Christmas you may find yourself scrambling to get everything done. Here are a few tips that could make the next few days a bit easier to get through.

Too late - conceptual alarm clock showing that you are too late

Gifts

Prepare before your shopping trip – Have a list and know who you are buying for and what you are buying before you go. That way you can get in and get out quickly.

Shop in slow periods – Stores will likely be packed but shopping really early in the morning or late at night may make the process a bit easier on you.

Re-gifting – Perhaps this might be the year to start a new tradition with your family. As an organizer I know that everyone has something in their house that they no longer want or need so why not re-gift? However, I would lay out some ground rules with the family before doing this so everyone is on the same page.

Buy from a friend/neighbour or other small business – If you know someone who is a small business owner call them up and see if they have anything on hand for last minute gifts.

Gift certificates – You may not get the personal touch but if you go to stores like Super Store or Shoppers you can buy gift certificates for a large number of people all at the same time. You can also get these from small businesses too!

Leave the kids at home – If you have kids and can get someone to watch them this may lessen the stress factor for you while trying to get things done on a time crunch.

Dog with Santa Hat Popping out of Present

Meals

Eat out – Some restaurants are open on Christmas so if you haven’t had time to get a meal planned why not eat out. Do a search to see if your favourite restaurant is open in your area. Here are some restaurants open in Toronto.

open sign

Hire a service – No time to grocery shop? Hire a  grocery services like Grocery Gateway.To bring it local, you could also contact a concierge service that offers this. The same thing can be said for cleaning services if you are struggling to get your home in tip top shape before relatives arrive.

Travel

Car travel – If you are travelling by car be sure you check weather ahead of time so you can give yourself enough time based on weather conditions. If you don’t already, make sure to have your car stocked with the proper emergency equipment should you need it. Blankets, snacks and a charged cell phone are good to have. Also be sure you have at least half a tank of gas and extra windshield washer fluid.

By plane – Be sure to arrive ahead of time. Printing your boarding pass before you leave can save wait time in lines. If you are bringing presents with you you may want to consider keeping the important ones in your carry on so you don’t risk them getting lost. As with any air travel, if you have kids, lots of snacks, books and other toys will make the experience ten times better.

Boeing 747 Aircraft Taking Off

Maintenance

You may be tempted to let all of your normal routines slide over the holidays but try to maintain at least a few of them so that once January hits you aren’t spending hours getting organized again.

Last but not least, make a donation run part of your  New Year routine so that you can start fresh with hopefully less items in your home then you had before the holidays started. My favourite donation place is the Salvation Army. I also like the Canadian Diabetes Association because they pick up and giving to local shelters is also a good option.

And of course, if you should need help in the New Year feel free to let me know.

Happy organizing and happy holidays!

Laura

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