It recently occurred to me that some of the things I do everyday as a wife, mother and business owner could be helpful to those who are trying to get organized. I know I am always curious how other people go about their day so why not share how I go about mine. I want to reiterate that there is no one way to organize yourself. Everyone’s life is different and what works for me may not work for you. But if some of these things do work for you, marvelous! So without further ado…in no particular order, here are some things I do everyday that help me stay organized.
1) Unload the dishwasher in the morning and put it on at night – It seems like dishes are just one of those facts of life, they are never ending, like laundry, so for me, doing this everyday helps me keep my home running smoothly. It only takes a few minutes and there is never time wasted washing dishes because the others are dirty. All in all a simple thing but everyone has to eat right.
2) Speaking of laundry, I outsource it, to my lovely husband – I realized a long time ago that I can’t do everything, no matter how organized I am. There are only so many hours in the day so there are a number of jobs that he does around the house to keep things running smoothly. I may not get ironed pants and blouses but my clothes are clean and its one less thing I have to worry about.
3) My calendar and to-do list are on my phone – I did away with paper planners last year and so far it has been going swimmingly. I have less paper around the house, my phone is always on me so there’s no chance of leaving something at home and its backed up in case for some reason it was lost or broken.
4) I get everything ready for the next day the night before – This is kind of a standard organizing trick but I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me from being late. I am not a morning person so doing all this the night before makes my life so much easier.
5) I get up an hour to half an hour earlier than everyone else does – Maybe this seems a little 1950′s but as referenced in the last paragraph, I am not a morning person so getting up a little bit earlier allows me time to wake myself up, take care of my own needs and then get my family up so I can help take care of theirs. There just isn’t enough time in the morning to try and get everyone ready at the same time.
6) Anything I can do ahead of time I do – I usually start working on things the second I know about them if that’s possible and if its not the next possible span of time I have. This way I am not forgetting about them or trying to do them last minute and even if I don’t finish them they are started and the pressure is off. I find the longer you wait the more you get in your own way and before you know it the mental mountain grows so big you can’t see over the top.
7) I meal plan – As I mentioned in the first paragraph, everyone has to eat. That’s why I love organizing kitchens. It is one of the busiest rooms of the house and the most worthwhile to get organized. Meal planning allows me time as a busy business owner to make the end of the day easier. If I already know what we are eating groceries can be purchased prior and everything is already in the house. There is no looking in the fridge and trying to come up with a meal when everyone is saying they are hungry and I save money not eating out when food options are limited.
8) The end of night clean up – I spend fifteen minutes to half an hour every night tidying up. It may seem odd considering my profession but I have never liked cleaning. I do it because I must, not because I enjoy it. If I didn’t do this and had to spend the whole weekend cleaning it wouldn’t happen. Now organizing on the other hand is a totally different matter.
9) I have a place for everything – My home isn’t a page off a decor magazine but its extremely functional and everything has a place. This makes cleaning up faster and since I generally don’t like to clean, this is my saviour.
10) I declutter constantly – The less things you own, the less things you need to store. The less you have to pay for bins and other organizing products and the more money you save.
Lastly, here a few pictures of organizing I have done around my house that help me stay organized.
Since I often get requests for before and afters, I thought I would do a strictly visual blog post of some of the projects I have completed over the last year and a half. Enjoy!
BATHROOM ORGANIZING AND PAINTING
LIVING ROOM ORGANIZING
One of life’s biggest annoyances is running out of something that you don’t have. That is why I am a big believer in having a spare. This allows me to be pro-active instead of re-active.
For instance, in my kitchen I have spare paper towels under the sink. I have spare cloths in the bathroom for my kids to wash their hands. I also have a plastic shelving unit in my basement which holds extra canned goods and cleaning supplies. All of these items are ready to go when I need them. And in fact, though no one believes me, it actually allows me to be lazier on my not so energetic days.
Now I am not saying you should go out and buy two of everything. That would certainly clutter up your home in no time flat. But having a spare for “frequently used items” is a time saver and a stress saver.
A few other ways to be pro-active when time is limited:
-Plan your meals
-Create templates and use them
-Have a weekly to-do list and schedule your time
-Set deadlines for projects to be completed and stick to them
-Get rid of clutter daily, weekly, monthly and yearly before it becomes overwhelming
Need help organizing your home or office let me know.
Organizing products can range in price, size and function but ultimately once you have sorted your stuff you need somewhere to put it. As a professional organizer I have a huge list of products that I recommend to my clients but here are some of my favourites.
The over the door shoe holder – This thing is amazing! You can use it in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and pretty much everywhere in your home that has a door. It is a great solution for storing small items.
The magazine file – To be used for so much more then magazines. They are fantastic in offices and can be used to organize all sorts of different types of papers, office supplies, electronics. The list goes on and on.
The clear shoe box – These are the perfect size for so many things besides shoes. I have used these in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, closets and even garages.
The Martha Stewart file pocket – These are my go to when parents are looking for a place to put school forms and notices. They hold a lot of paper and are strong if mounted correctly.
The plastic shelving unit – You can’t go wrong with these units. They are inexpensive, easy to set-up, strong and great for basements and garages.
Baskets and bins – There are so many options out there when it comes to baskets and bins. You can even sew and make your own. I love how you can add your own personality to a space by purchasing bins with different colours and designs. They are the perfect product for function and design.
The closet organizer – I truly believe that every closet can benefit from a closet organizer. There is often tons of wasted space in a closet and the more shelving you have the better. Added bonus, I can install these for you! I really like the organizers with adjustable shelves. They are a bit more expensive but worth it as the people living in the room grow or the needs for the space change.
*Double Take Organizing did not receive any payment for recommending these products.
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.
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.