Double Take Organizing

"Making life easier!"


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What I’ve learned as a professional organizer

When I started my business over three years ago I never imagined the journey I would travel. This has been the most challenging but worthwhile venture I have ever undertaken. I can honestly say the teacher has become the student on many occasions. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

1) Everyone has a bin, drawer, closet that needs organization. In a perfect world we would have 48 hours a day to do everything we need to do. That just isn’t the case. Everyone can be more organized. Myself included.

2) Time management is an important component of getting and staying organized. It’s not enough for me to come over and organize your house. Systems need to be put in place to keep that organization working. Like a bicycle with a chain, you need to oil it to keep the wheels turning smoothly.

3) Sometimes we just need someone to get the ball rolling for us. Motivation is a huge component of what I do and by far this is the most gratifying. I love hearing from clients who tell me, “After you came over I did my whole basement I was so motivated.” Yes, this means less business for me but it’s a life changing moment for my client and hopefully this leads them to a more organized future with less stress. 

4) Often people just aren’t ready. If you are during a time of transition you may  think now is the perfect time to get organized but maybe not. It’s a journey not a destination. Much like getting in shape, its a huge lifestyle change and an even greater change for those who have been unorganized their whole life. 

5) Organizing does not come easily to a majority of people. If you know someone who is unorganized please try to be more helpful and less judgemental. Sometimes it’s really not as easy as just throwing things out. Do this and they will thank you for it.

Happy Organizing!

Laura

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One thing you can do today to get organized

January is coming to a close and now is a perfect time to reflect on how things are going since the beginning of the year. I personally am not a fan of new years resolutions because I feel it sets people up for failure. I much prefer daily goals that add up to long term successes and that brings me to what you need to do today!

Grab a calendar and jot down one thing everyday from now until the end of the year that is going to get you to your end goal. For example, say you have a closet that is weighing on you, literally and figuratively, grab one item out of your closet that you never wear and put it in a box marked donations. Keep the calendar and donation box somewhere in sight to visually remind you of your goals.

  
Or perhaps you have a junk drawer that is out of control. Dump everything out of the drawer and only add the things back in the drawer that you use all the time. Keep the rest aside and if you don’t end up using them, store elsewhere or add them to that box marked donations.

I like using a calendar for this activity but a planner will also work, as will a list of daily goals that you cross off as you do them. Whatever works best for you. I do realize it will take awhile to write all of this down but if you do this one thing today, I guarantee you will see results! As German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”

Happy Organizing!

Laura


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Things I do everyday to stay organized

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.

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Happy organizing!

Laura


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Always have a spare and other tips for the time starved

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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.

Happy organizing!

Laura


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Spring organizing from A-Z

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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