Double Take Organizing

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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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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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Summertime and the living is easy, seven tips for staying organized in the summer

Tropical Drink by a Swimming Pool

It seems that even this organizer is having a case of summer time escapism. For some reason, once the sun is up and shining it’s just a crying shame to waste the day indoors.

And so I haven’t been…for the most part.

I have spent the last three weeks helping my husband install a patio in the backyard, preparing for my daughter’s birthday, taking care of both of my children, my husband (most days), running my business and generally taking care of all aspects of the household, paying bills, making meals, cleaning, etc. etc. etc. Now if that’s not organized I don’t know what is.

But I digress…the best part about everything I just mentioned is that even though it has been busy, I finished every task on time, in a scheduled and orderly manner and am generally quite pleased with myself. I even gave myself a pat on the back the other day and said, “Good job self!”

Thinking about the advice I can give all of you to keep you organized this summer I immediately thought of maintenance. Now, when I say maintenance, I mean what happens after you organize an area. On our summer to- do list, the husband and I are organizing our garage, our storage area under our stairs, and the area of our basement that is not really used and is thus a place where things just get put but not organized.

I am not ashamed to admit as an organizer that my house is not completely organized at all times because as I tell all of my clients, it is constant maintenance that keeps things in shape. All of these areas were previously organized but have now become unorganized and so the cycle repeats itself. Life happens, things change and you are only human. The good news is that if you follow some of these classic organizing rules the faster it is to maintain things until you can really take some time and organize the heck out of certain areas of your home.

1) Keep the one in, one out rule top of mind at all times for everything
2) Make a to-do list of daily, weekly and monthly chores and stick to it
3) Sometimes you do need to invest in organizing products but really make sure you have fully purged everything you no longer need and that you aren’t just buying something for the sake of buying it.
4) If you have children, teach them to clean up, this goes for spouses too, ha!
5) Aim to give away/ get rid of one bag of stuff a month. The less stuff you have, the less you need to organize.
6) Touch paper once and then deal with it, this includes all forms of mail, flyers, newspapers, newsletters, you name it
7) Hire a wonderful person like myself to come in every season to help. I provide motivation, knowledge, overall support as well as muscle!

I hope everyone gets all of their summer projects off their to-do list so that once fall arrives, you can move full steam ahead. Everyone needs to be energized and ready to roll because once fall is upon us kids are back to school and the season of turkey’s, presents and Jolly old St. Nick isn’t far behind.

Happy organizing!
Laura